Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Drink in the Aroma


I am very happy to announce that I am expecting my first little one! Whenever I say this to a wine-drinking friend, their first words are congratulatory, and their second words are sympathetic because I will not be drinking wine for a number of months.


To these people, and other women who are or will be expecting, do not let these sympathetic words bring you down! You can still be very much involved in the wine experience! How you ask? Let me tell you:

1) Drink through your nose
No, I am not saying to snort your wine. (Though that would look hilarious) When a woman is pregnant, her sense of smell is extremely heightened, so smelling a wine can be almost like tasting it. For myself, I have found this to be especially true! I could walk around just smelling wine all day and be the happiest person at the vineyard.

2) Finger Tasting
Everyone knows that alcohol is not good for a developing baby, and thus a mom-to-be. However, many physicians today will admit that a small amount of wine or beer is ok. (Just like a small amount of caffeine is ok) I’m sure there are gasps of horror from some of my readers and cheers from others. To make sure I am not misunderstood, let me explain.

My husband and I have been on numerous wine tours since I found out I was pregnant. At each winery we visted, only my husband purchased a tasting. We both get to hear about how each wine is made, and he lets me swirl and smell each wine that is poured. After that, Dan usually gets to enjoy the wine on his own. However, if I find one or two wines that smelled particularly delicious to me, I will put a drop or two of wine on my finger to taste.

Do I feel bad about doing this? Not at all. Do I think it will have any effect on my baby? Nope.

This is my personal choice though, and I will not look down on anyone who chooses to do, or not to do, the same.

3) Sip, swirl, and spit
One other option that pregnant women have is to take a sip of the wine, swirl it around their mouth, and spit it out. This is very similar to the second option I mentioned. If you choose to try this option, just be careful how big a sip you take, because some of the wine will linger in your mouth and inevitably be swallowed.


So, when you decide to start having children, do not think that your wine experiences have to end. You can still enjoy the atmosphere, aroma, and (to a degree) taste of wine. I guarantee that your friends will still love having you go with them to the wineries, especially since it means they will have a DD for the next few months. :)

For those who are curious, my little munchkin is a boy! The pregnancy is going well, and both parents and all grandparents/aunts/uncles are eagerly anticipating his arrival.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wedding Details, part 2 - The Venue and the DJ


Our Ceremony and Reception Venue:
For our ceremony and reception, Dan and I chose to go with Bowling Green Country Club in Front Royal, VA. We were looking for a location that could have an indoor or outdoor wedding (because you can never trust the weather), a large reception area for guests (because we have LOTS of friends and family), and a price that would not reach the bottom of our savings account. Bowling Green met all of these.


Bowling Green offers two different rooms for receptions, and each has nice wooden floors, big windows, and a bright neutral d├ęcor that will go with any wedding theme. The outdoor ceremony area is a pretty little awning that the events manager keeps meticulously landscaped.

One requirement for having an event at Bowling Green is that the catering and drinks must be done through Bowling Green. However, you should not let this scare you away. Their food is fantastic (as well as VERY reasonably priced), and if you have a favorite wine, beer, or alcohol, the event manager will work with his distributors to find what you are looking for. For Dan and I, he brought in three delicious wines from two of our favorite Virginia wineries. It was wonderful!


Dan and I are very happy we chose Bowling Green for our wedding venue. While there were a couple times we had a trouble reaching someone, we did get all our questions answered. On the week of and day of the wedding, the events manager, Brian Jones, and his team were wonderful. They were eager to help put the finishing touches on everything, and when it continued to rain on our wedding day, they set up the ceremony inside the reception hall in record time.

If you ever choose to have an event at Bowling Green Country Club, let Brian know we that we sent you and tell him that we say “Hi!”.

Our Wedding DJ:
One of the trickier things for us to find was a wedding DJ. There were a LOT of them out there, but most cost way more than we could afford. After asking our friends for suggestions, we were recommended to Kevin Owens, an event DJ and magician.


Things worked out well because Kevin lived very close to the wedding venue, so we would not have to spend extra money on the mileage that most of the other DJs charged. Kevin also worked with us to play a good mix of eclectic music – as Dan and I like a mix of all different kinds of music. He even helped a friend of mine who taught all the guests a line dance during the reception. :)

If you’d like to learn more about Kevin and see what events he does in the area, you can read all about him on his facebook page!


PS: Special thanks for the pictures goes to our fantastic photographer, Stephanie!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Wedding Details – Intro and Carytown Cupcakes


Did you know that the average wedding today costs about 25 grand?! Personally, in today’s economy, I have no idea how the average is so high.

Dan and I both have decent paying jobs, but going into our wedding planning, we promised ourselves two things. First, we would NEVER go into debt over a one-day party (no matter how unique a day it was going to be). Second, even if we miraculously won the lottery and could afford an extravagant wedding, we would keep our bottom line well under the $25,000 mark.

Taking these two guidelines into account, I am extremely happy with all of the wedding vendors that we chose to work with. They all provided excellent services, and each one came at a very reasonable price. My best advice to any newly engaged couple is to shop around, get recommendations, and don’t go with an expensive venue just because they have a good review on The Knot. Chances are you can find someone equally as good for much less.

For my next few posts, I am going to take a little time to give props to the venues that Dan and I got to work with. These posts will be FULL of wedding photos and what we liked or didn’t like about each venue.

Carytown Cupcakes
For today’s post I am going to send a big THANK YOU to the folks who made our wedding cake and cupcakes – Carytown Cupcakes.

As many people do these days, Dan and I decided to have cupcakes at our wedding instead of the traditional large, tiered cake. Cupcakes are so much more manageable, and you can usually get more than one kind of cupcake for your guests to enjoy.


Choosing a vendor was easy for us because we are both big fans of Carytown Cupcakes in Richmond, VA. Their price was unbeatable (under $300, compared to the $700 and up prices of the bakeries in northern Virginia), and we are STILL getting complements from our guests about the cupcakes.

After sampling many different types of cupcakes, our final list included:
  • Red velvet (my favorite)
  • Vegan pumpkin chocolate chip (Dan’s favorite)
  • Gluten free caramel apple
  • Dirt/oreo, complete with gummy worms
  • Carrot cake


Our only challenge for the wedding cake was bringing the cupcakes up from Richmond. After speaking with the owner, Dawn, we decided to freeze the cupcakes and have Dan’s father bring them up from Richmond with him. This worked very well, and did not hurt the flavor of the cupcakes.

To display the cupcakes, Dan and I purchased old wooden farm crates, which we laid on their sides and stacked on a table. This made fun little compartments where we could stash all the cupcakes.


In addition to the guest cupcakes, Dan and I had a little six inch cake made for us. This enabled us to do the traditional cutting of the cake, without having tons of left overs. The edges of the cake were decorated with grape vine clippings that we gathered from local vineyards, and the cake topper was made of Leggos. :)


PS: Special thanks for the pictures goes to our fantastic photographer, Stephanie!