Happy Wednesday and Happy Valentine’s Day, if you’re someone who gets into the holiday! I used to love it as a child (but who didn’t, thanks to decorated shoeboxes full of notes, unlimited sweets, and a lot of pink!) but have been pretty apathetic about it as an “adult.” I think it’s due to the commercialism and that a lot of people mope around and strongly dislike the day…J and I have never actually gone out to eat but instead typically order takeout and do some kind of small gift ~$20. This year we’re foregoing the gifts, ordering Chinese food, and spending the evening packing (and blogging, etc. for me, let’s be honest), since we’re heading to Amsterdam tomorrow! We found a great deal via Scott’s Cheap Flights a few months ago and jumped on it–we’ll be back Monday, but I’m excited to explore a new city that’s been on my bucket list for seemingly ever.
With that, a few random happenings from around here…
I’ve mentioned this in passing, but we seem to have front-loaded our travel this year! We’re currently in the midst of a few nearly back-to-back trips…Amsterdam tomorrow, a weekend at home, Boston/Maine for three nights in the beginning of March, I’m heading to NYC the Thursday after that, and we have a wedding in Dallas the weekend after that. It’s kind of crazy to think about since in the past, we’ve stuck around DC in the early part of the year and done any traveling in the summer and fall. Regardless, it’s been a great start to the year! Stay tuned for some mini-travel guides/trip recaps in the near future :)
EVERYTHING BUT THE HOUSE
Have you heard of this website called Everything But The House (EBTH)? I discovered it last year and periodically go down the rabbit hole in search of who knows what. It’s basically an online estate sale where you can bid on items–you can search by geographic area or they offer an estimated shipping/delivery price if the item is large. Obviously smaller items that are easy to ship are available, too…if you’re overwhelmed, a good place to start is the art. The prices can be insanely good–a quick search for “Thomasville” confirms that! I’ve found myself searching for random trinkets and even a small console table (we ended up getting this one, but it’ll get posted on Craiglist if we were to find the perfect vintage one) and more recently, a small wood desk. I’m looking for a very specific kind of desk and am in no rush (and also want to spend as little as possible), so am hoping either EBTH or Craiglist comes through!
Katie got me hooked on Olly vitamins in the fall and I’ve been taking the Multivitamin and Beauty gummies daily. I think they work well? My main thing with multivitamins is that they frequently make me queasy if I don’t take them with food, which was happening way too frequently with the large capsules I used to buy. The Olly ones haven’t upset my stomach, and I like being able to take them whenenver it’s convenient and not worry about mealtimes. The Beauty gummies initially seemed a bit gimmicky to me, but I think they’ve actually helped strengthen my hair and nails.
To be honest, the best part is that Olly vitamins taste really good (I picked up the mango probiotics ones once and they were literally like eating two delicious pieces of candy–not sure how effective they were health-wise, though, so haven’t re-bought them) and I haven’t seen anything indicating that they aren’t as effective as traditional vitamins, so plan on continuing to purchase them. If you’ve heard otherwise, I’m all ears!
I’m not sure that I’ve really mentioned it here, but I’ve been working with Sweet & Spark in a freelance capacity over the past few months! This is sort of a pinch-me moment because I’ve known the founder, Jillian, and the brand since the company’s infancy (very longtime readers may remember this post and this post!) and to get to work on some of their marketing collateral–emails, blog posts, and website graphics–has been such a fun experience. If you’re not familiar with S&S, they primarily source vintage pieces and clean them up so you have something timeless that feels “new” but is incredibly unique and has a past. They also recently introduced apparel and more accessories–definitely check them out because they’re the perfect source to have in your back pocket as you shop for gifts (or yourself). I have several pieces and alternate between two pairs of earrings multiple times a week!
BARREL OAK WINERY
I’ve been to a handful of wineries in the DC area but this is a new favorite! On our way back from skiing this past weekend, we stopped at Barrel Oak Winery (pictured above) and it was truly wonderful. The vibe is more casual and the space is still incredibly well done (it kind of feels like a whimsical high-end cabin…with a few bars), and I love that they’re very dog friendly–you can even bring pups inside–and let you bring your own food. It was one of the few times I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every single variety in a tasting–we actually did two different tastings split between each couple, so that’s really saying something! We ended up bringing a couple of bottles home and I can’t wait to get back there and enjoy their outdoor space when it’s warm out.
This one’s for bloggers…if you remember my my site redesign, you know about my enthusiasm surrounding Empress Themes. Well, they just released some new plugins that are designed to work on most WordPress sites, and they are good. I’m especially excited about the Boutiques and the Grid–the former will make this page a lot more user-friendly, and the latter will make my recipes significantly more navigable. Something to consider if you’re looking to make a few easy updates to your site in the new year!