Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving in Ireland

John and I decided that since we weren't going home for the holiday that we would take a little vacation instead. We flew out Wednesday evening and had an overnight flight to Dublin, we got in around 7am and immediately got a rental car. Even though I was super tired there would be no sleeping in the car for me because I was FREAKING out! Thank goodness John loves an adventure and thought it would be fun to drive on the other side of the road. To make it even more fun he had to get used to shifting gears with his left hand too! No matter how smooth John was driving it seemed like every time I looked back up from the map I panicked that we were on the wrong side. 
When we stayed at a castle turned B&B last year on our trip to France we decided that those are really cool and we should stay at more of these. We drove about an hour and a half north of Dublin to a tiny little town to stay at the Castle Leslie Estate. The castle was built in the 1600's and is still in the original family's possession.
(I know this is a terrible picture and there is stuff on the lens but unfortunately its the only one I took of the outside)

The estate is about 1,000 acres and has lakes and forests and is absolutely beautiful! They even had an equestrian center.
John surprised me with a tour of the estate on horseback when we got in. I tried to take pictures while we were on horseback but it didn't really work out, not quite as smooth as I thought :)
Since the castle was in the countryside there wasn't much to do besides relax which is not our usual vacation but turned out to be really nice! We even ended up eating all of our meals on the estate too since they had several options and it was all really great food. Sadly our Thanksgiving dinner did not include turkey but instead pigeon! Definitely interesting and pretty good although very gamey, not sure pigeon would pass as food in NYC :)
The next day we just walked around the estate and then ended the evening watching the AR vs LSU game. You of course knew we would find a place to watch the game even if we were in another country :)
This definitely was a nice setup, unfortunately the game didn't turn out quite the way we hoped :(

The next day we got up early and continued our journey North. I'll share more on that in another post.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Feeling Domestic

Occasionally I feel in the mood to cook something besides our usual's (ie. tacos, spaghetti, casseroles). Since its fall I can get pumpkin ravioli in the freezer section so to pair with that I made pear and parmesan salad, one of my faves and so easy! Its just sliced pears, parmesan, walnuts and then an easy lemon vinaigrette. I use walnut oil in the vinaigrette with the lemon juice instead of olive oil for something a little extra :)
The salad I make all the time and is super quick. The brussels sprouts below however took quite a bit of preparation and I had never tried the recipe before but it turned out so yummy!
The brussels sprouts had bacon, sauted red onions and apple cider vinegar soaked cranberries. The recipe called for raisins but I'm not a fan so I substituted dried cranberries instead. I found the recipe online here.

I should mention that growing up we had boiled brussels sprouts which are really awful, I've only recently discovered that brussels sprouts can actually be great. They're quite trendy here in NYC so I've gotten to taste lots of different preparations :)
And for the main dish we had the pumpkin ravioli which I did with a simple sage browned butter sauce. Such a yummy meal and almost vegetarian except for the bacon :)

Living in NY has definitely opened my eyes to all kinds of new and exciting foods, I would have never even gotten the idea to cook this meal back in Arkansas.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Christmas Cards

How can it be that time of the year already! The fact that Thanksgiving is just a little over a week away is blowing my mind. I don't know if I completely lost track of time because I've been wrapped up in my new job but this year the holidays have completely snuck up on me.

Anyway, seeing everybody start to post about their Christmas cards reminded me I should probably get on that too. Shutterfly is doing their promotion again for free cards if you blog about them which I love! I did this last year and used pictures from our trip to Paris. 
Since I don't have adorable babies like all the sample Christmas cards show I just use pictures from vacations we've been on :) It feels a little weird to send out pictures of just the two of us but oh well!

I started looking through all 930 Christmas cards ( and found one that I thought might be nice. The funny thing is that out of all of those cards I picked one from the exact same designer as last year, and no, its not obvious that they are from the same designer :)

I've also been thinking about having a Christmas party this year. I've been wanting to have one but John and I don't have many couple friends so then I started thinking about just doing another cookie party with the girls like I've been doing for Valentine's day. I checked out Shutterfly's holiday invitations while there ( ) and they have some pretty cute invites too, now to plan a party :)

If you aren't already a member of at least one photo site you should definitely consider it just for the promotions. Last year, along with the free Christmas cards I got free address labels  ( as one of Shutterfly's many promotions. Honestly I'm probably a member on too many photo sites judging from all the emails I get but I love to do things with photos! I think I'm up to four or five photo books now :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

AR Wedding

Two weekends ago I flew back to Arkansas for a friend of mine's wedding. I flew into Little Rock a little early so I could spend some time with my family and then I drove up to Fayetteville for the wedding festivities.

The wedding was at the Garden Room on Dickson and it was so beautiful! It was a perfect Fall day (keep this in mind for the irony later)....
Julie and Tony
I have to admit I borrowed all of these photos of the lovely couple from Facebook, my bridesmaid dress didn't really allow for my camera :)
Julie and I went to design school together along with Pepper and it was so fun to be back in town and get to hang out with old friends!
Pepper, Julie and Me
A quick note about the bridesmaid dress, its very cool but a tiny bit complicated. Its the Dessy Twist dress and can be configured in so many ways which is awesome but it definitely requires some practice and maybe another set of hands :) 
Me and Charles (Pepper's significant other)
After all the wedding festivities I drove back down to Little Rock and I was really looking forward to a scenic drive but unfortunately the entire drive looked more like this :(
And as a super fun welcome back to NYC we had snow this past weekend, yes, I said October!