Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tomato Nirvana

Last night I made Barefoot Contessa's Fresh Cream of Tomato Soup, from her Back to Basics cookbook, people it was amazing! I had some Hanover tomatoes on hand and whipped up this easy and delicious soup. It was perfect because this week has been chilly--it's time to switch out those summer clothes!
A few tips--- I used fresh from the market tomatoes and would recommend using good quality as it's the main flavor in the dish, I used a blender instead of a food mill and then put the soup through a sieve--adding a little bit of the pulp for texture, and finally I served this with cheddar jalepeno bread which was delicious! (thank you baker's crust) which gave the meal a little more substance and some heat.

3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red onions (2 onions)
2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped (5 large)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves, plus julienned basil leaves, for garnish
3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
Croutons, for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.

Add the cream to the soup and process it through a food mill into a bowl, discarding only the dry pulp that's left. Reheat the soup over low heat just until hot and serve with julienned basil leaves and/or croutons.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Vest Obsessed

I love vests...there I said it...I'm not ashamed. I love puffy vests, businessy vests, and more recently faux fur vests. Maybe I've been watching too much Rachel Zoe or maybe it's my inner stylist finally getting trendy but I'm digging some faux fur right now. I do think I might need to sprout a few inches to pull this off--heels will be necessary, otherwise I look like I'm drowning in fur. I've been checking my ebay options for these beauties:

Rachel Zoe...I bet Taylor HATES this vest and thinks it's soooo unfair--like everything else in her life

BB Dakota love

And just because you can never have too many of these...

Monday, September 28, 2009

A case of the Duvets

The things I hate shopping for the most are:

1. Prom Dresses---this was a yearly saga often ending in tears and an empty wallet (mostly caused by my hatred of having! to find a dress in a short amount of time and living in a city where Target is considered an upscale store)

2. Suits---maybe this is just me but I cannot find an amazing suit, everything seems too big or formal or...I guess I just don't like suits

3. And Duvet covers--the bane of my existence, what is the deal with finding a pretty duvet? I admit I might be a duvet snob (more like definitely) but pottery barn cannot be the only option right?

So now that it's becoming colder-ish...I think it's time to swap out our very summery and nautical! duvet cover, which looks similar to this:

I like these options from PB but I don't know where else to look.

Any advice on searching for duvets? This is also a gender-neutral challenge--help!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

We will not speak of this again--weekend recap

So this weekend was...not what we expected. After I worked my butt off at the UVA Career Fair all day on Friday I was totally exhausted. I spoke to at least 50 soon to be college graduates, many nerves, sweaty hands, and gum chewing--really?! I also decided this was the perfect way to contract swine flu--so I purelled the hell outta my hands as often as I could. Post career fair we ordered a pizza, watched I love you Man, and stayed in for the night. Saturday we went up to DC to visit family, and we had a few surprise guests. My sister and aunt ended up coming in for the game so we had 9 people! hanging out. It was really great to see everyone, especially baby davis who entertained everyone all night. He was obsessed! with my digital camera and ran around showing everyone the pictures of him I had taken...and occassionally launching my camera into the ground, haha. And the game....well that was a letdown. The nitts couldn't get anything done---at all. It was bad. So long great season, so long.

Bryan got a birthday surprise, dallas cowboys style.

And some of us got blue food coloring in our hair...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Game Day, sorry hawks

Tonight we're heading up to watch the Penn State big ten opener with my family in DC. Yes, PSU football is an event that we will travel hours to watch on someone elses tv. Last year the Iowa Hawkeyes beat Penn State, by ONE point, and ruined their otherwise undefeated season, by ONE point--so tonight they will be after revenge. No I'm not bitter about it or anything. Hopefully State will be able to put up a nice lead so my blood pressure will go down enough to enjoy the game, and my family of course. We've also got some birthday surprises planned for Bry! It should be a great weekend--I'll report back with our Ikea finds, cute toddler D pics, and a highlight reel of Penn State's Iowa stomping.

Hopefully including this--

And this--

Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Today Reagan is going for her 6 month vet checkup. I realized I've never talked about her on my blog--She is the worldest greatest cat, for those of you who haven't met her. After going back and forth for months about getting a cat and taking on the extra responsibility I decided to just swing by the SPCA, just to look, not to take home anyone. theory that was a good idea. Reagan was the only kitten in the SPCA at the time, I went looking for an older cat btw--haha you try turning down a kitten! it didn't happen. We played with her for a while and had a one on one visit. As we were leaving, and I thought I'd made up my mind to come back later, I stopped and asked about putting a hold on her, which you can only do for an hour because kittens are so popular. I called my roommates and pleaded with them to ok the decision. Then Bry and I went shopping, supermarket game show style, throwing stuff in the cart to meet our hour deadline. We made it, barely, and Reagan has been here ever since. She has the most affectionate and playful personality and loves to hang with everyone we have over. She is a source of constant entertainment and companionship.

Sleepy Reagan as a kitten.

Looking curious and stylish with her Virginia sweatshirt.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Things I don't miss Tuesdays

As a child of the 80s/early 90s, here are a few things I do not miss wearing, seeing, or loving in my everyday life:

Stirrup pants (though I was never wearing 3 inch heels with these lovelies--more like an oversized sweatshirt and clogs)

Staring at the school clock all... day... it recess yet?

Ohhh crimped hair, which I was WAY into--yikes

Why were Doc Martins ever popular? How ugly are these shoes??

Also making the list are warm-up suits, jinkos, grunge-wear, acid washed denim, and crazy colorful (sorry Mr. Cosby) sweaters

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekend Recap

They won!! Now we're number what?! in the country?

This weekend was wonderful. We had no plans to do anything but watch football, run errands, and eat delicious things. My mom ended up coming into town for brunch on Sunday and some shopping--I acted as personal style consultant for the day, aren't there jobs where you get paid for this? I need to look into that....Anyway we found some great fall clothes and I saw the largest human being I've ever! seen in real life. This poor guy, I say poor b/c people must just stare at him the entire time he's out in public, was at least! 7 feet tall and maybe taller. He was not a basketball player, as Bryan immediately inquired, he was just a middle aged dad with his, seemingly tiny in comparison, normal sized wife. My mom made me go stand near the guy, in the baby section no less, to compare how much taller he was than my shrimpy self. Anyway, the weekend went by too fast as usual but we got our costco run out of the way and our football fix met until next weekend.

I also picked up another pair of F-Uggs (fake Uggs) at Costco, in brown, which I was super pumped about. I am obsessed with these shoes--they are soo comfortable and at $35 bucks it's more than worth it.

This week I'll be heading to Charlottesville and then DC this weekend to visit family/watch Penn State play Iowa. I can't wait!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Football and Appetizers

The boys are back!

I'm really looking forward to being home this's been a while since I've gotten the chance to relax and enjoy being around town. I'm also planning to cook up a storm, appetizer style. I love me some spinach artichoke dip--so obvi that is on the menu, and I'm going to try a buffalo chicken dip recipe--we'll see how that turns out. The house is stocked full of beer and chips, and a bag of baby carrots so we don't get scurvy, so it should be a wonderful weekend! I'll be enjoying watching the Nittany Lions on our brand spanking new Big Ten network (which rocks my world) so we'll actually be able to see the game. Our other football picks are in (we're doing a pick-em' league every week with friends) so I'm crossing our fingers we did better than last week--ugh we chose 3 or 4 games correctly out of 10!
Delicious, my all time favorite.

The best part about these appetizers is that they both call for massive amounts of cream cheese...

Happy Friday everyone and have a fabulous weekend. If you have any appetizer recipes to share I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Under the Weather

Bryan has been sick all week so it's no suprise that this morning I woke up to a sore throat. I am usually super immune to everything and never get sick! --that is until I moved in with two elementary school teachers and my world came crashing down. I was literally as sick as a dog for weeks and weeks during that year. I do have a helpful remedy for sore throats however, Traditional Medicinals Organic Throat Coat Tea--it is amazing and it will change your life. The tea tastes like licorice and literally soothes your throat everytime you take a sip. You find it in the organic section of the grocery store.

I've also got new NBC tv to look forward to tonight! I am so pumped up for some Office antics and I think Community Development looks promising too. The love of my life 30 Rock won't be airing until October I it's only reruns for the next month!
Happy Thursday--we're almost there!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I just realized that my credit card is in the trashcan at our apt.

I was putting my credit card number into Ebay, of course, and realized my Chase card was missing. The last time I used it was at the grocery store and Walgreens according to my online statement. You know when you drive through Walgreens how they give you the credit card and your ____ (enter medication here, in this case it was the ring--which I love!) in a paperbag. Well I was a day late on the ring, per my usual oh crap its sunday night and theres no ring in waiting, so I ditched the paper bags in the trash and thank GOD Bry didn't take it out yet. So my credit card is sitting in our trashcan.

Is it Friday yet?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Weekend Recap

We had a great weekend! We drove to Charlottesville Saturday morning to tailgate for a few hours before the game. We had soo much food--silver pig bbq, shrimp cocktail, dips, veggies, and butterscotch cheesecake bars--delicious. I brought along some sweet tea vodka and arnold palmers to quench the game day thirst. Then it was time for presents! My mom went to the J Crew warehouse sale a few weekends before and she must have had her gameface on because I received a ton of cashmere goodness. I also received a ton of Clinique makeup, some pretty notecards, and homemade granola. We hung around a little bit after the game and drove back to Richmond to watch the Ohio St/USC game...ugh I hate USC.

Sunday the ladies were in town for a late brunch and shopping at Short Pump. It was so fun to see everyone. I'm getting more and more excited for Homecoming in October.

Tailgating on the street, 'cause thats how we roll...

Scott Stadium from the Hill.

Yes, we wear sundresses--as all UVA ladies should.


This weekend went by wayyy too fast, with an exception during the UVA/TCU game when time stopped altogether.....UVA is awful this year. The students were holding up pink slips with coach Grohs name on them which was more than understandable. At least Penn State won! My birthday weekend recap is coming tomorrow--

We watched Earth last night, the Disney movie that came out in April, gotta love Netflix! Anyway it's amazing--the footage they have of some of the animals is incredible. They cover the entire globe and tons of different species. It was a nice break from Sunday NFL football, which will be taking up my life for the next few months.
It's time to start decorating for fall! I'd love to find some of these cableknit pillows, comfy throws, and pretty wreaths--all pottery barn.

If only it would get cold enough to feel like fall! Happy Monday--

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Love

So I've been in a little birthday funk since yesterday...I'm not sure why but I guess it has something to do with turning 25, feeling (for the first time) a tinge of yikes I'm getting older, thinking about what my next life adventure will be....etc. I feel like 25 is the age of almost being able to get away with anything--you can do things like buy a house, get married, not get carded every time you order a bottle of wine, it's weird! I understand people do these things all the time and often before they are 25--but for me it's strange to be getting closer to the appropriateness of those life events. Anyway I'm trying to break out of the funk! This little blog-therapy session should help--along with a ton of football watching this weekend.

This weekend is going to be great! We're headed to the UVA game on Saturday and then birthday brunching with friends on Sunday. I'm planning to go sundress shopping tonight in search of something cute for tomorrow. It's supposed to be sunny and beautiful tomorrow!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Birthday Cheese

But not Chuckie Cheese...circa my 7th birthday.

Today is still allll about the cheese--but thankfully I've upgraded to the Melting Pot for birthday dinner tonight! We went last year on my birthday so it's quickly becoming a tradition. I love all of the courses and how dinner takes 2 or 3 hours. The food is soo delicious and the wine list is incredible--so I'll be eating a light breakfast and lunch to make room.

It's been a great birthday so far! I've already received a ton of surprises--

I love Barefoot Contessa and I use her recipes all the time. So simple, classic, and delicious!

I've been a pearls stud girl since my first year of college, hello sorority style!, but I'm slowing trying to break my addiction by introducing other sparkly options to the mix.

I'm not a big stout all. But this creme brulee kind is delicious! We had it for dessert last night watching Top Chef!

My first etsy find! This necklace is beautiful, and oh so nautical...

Classic Coach clutch, love! it

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

SPA Week

Apparently I've been living under a rock and somehow didn't discover spa week until recently. It only happens for a few weeks in the fall and a few in the spring. During those times spas in major metropolitan areas discount many of their services to $50. You can choose from an array of packages depending on the location and spa. First you need to sign up through,, where you can access all the info you'll need.

This sounds amazing! I'm hoping the Richmond spa scene will throw me some cheap $50 love--since I discovered last year that I do not, yes you're reading this right, do not like massages, I'm excited to try a few other spa activities, like pedicures or facials--anything where I'm not naked in a room with a stranger.
Good luck spa-ing everyone~!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bergers & Crew

I forgot to mention one of the most important parts of the trip! Berger cookies!! I have been obessessed with these cookies since one of my college roommates from Baltimore introduced me to the goodness our second year. I don't even like chocolate by the way, I mean it's not my preference though I have a ridiculous sweet tooth--I'll eat just about anything if it has sugar in it. These cookies are all fudge and deliciousness, good thing I bought 2 boxes! Anyway you've got to try these if you're ever in Baltimore, the only place they are made. You can also order them online and have them shipped--yes I am sick and I looked that up.

Also a big thank you to JCrew for the 20% final sale action this week, what a birthday gift!

This is my sneaky attempt to wear jeans to the office this fall--I've been rocking white ones all summer!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Weekend Recap

Inner Habor view from our hotel.

We had a fabulous time in Baltimore/Annapolis for the last few days. Its always exciting to get out of the routine and travel. Suprisingly because of our mandatory vaca on Friday we got up to Baltimore without any 95 traffic, an incredible feat. We checked into our amazing! hotel--the Haborplace Renaissance Hotel right in the harbor and went to the aquarium. The aquarium was pretty packed with little ones--note to anyone planning a trip there, it will be crowded and there will be tons of small children running everywhere. I feel like its almost not worth going at this age unless you have kids. After the aquarium we started towards Camden yards to watch the Orioles play. We ran across an awesome bar, the Pratt St Ale House, which brews their own beer and had an amazing! happy hr with 2.50 beers. Knowing we were going to pay $18 per beer in the game we happily drank up.

Pizza lunch at Mathew's in Baltimore. Yes--we're those people, if you are our waitress you will probably have to take a pic before the meal is over.

This is what they mean by pre-gaming.

Sat morning we hung around the Inner Habor and then went to...ESPN Zone--yep and it was my idea, but the first day of college football was here! and I had to see at least a few plays from my Nittany Lions. After that we drove over to Annapolis where we hung out with my family and Baby, now toddler, D. All in all it was an awesome vacation--and my birthday is coming up this week! Whats better than a 4 day week to celebrate your birthday?

How cute is he?

Happy Labor Day!