wine down

I had the opportunity to do a little wine-ing down this weekend.  A much-needed girls getaway for sure!  Have you ever been to Long Island?

Long Island Wine Trail

I was completely blown away by the beauty.  It boasts everything I love rolled into one, well, long island. We stayed in North Fork, Suffolk county on a harbor nestled amongst the wineries.

LI wine trail

The majestic fall color was in its prime.

Long Island Wine Trail 7

Vineyards galore.  One right after another and then another and another.

Long Island Wine Trail 4

Antique stores!  Yes, Long Island had some gorgeous little shops full of inspiring displays.

Long Island Wine Trail 7

Long Island Wine Trail 6

Clever repurposing ideas.  I’d love to replicate this wine bottle “wall” somewhere.

Long Island Wine Trail 2

Beautiful old farmhouses and farm markets…all along the bay.

Long Island Wine Trail 3

Long Island Wine Trail 9

If you are looking for a getaway, I’d highly recommend a weekend trip out to Long Island.  It is just another reason to love this beautiful country!

Long Island Wine Trail 5

But back to biz!  Next up, I will be at The Painted Home’s Holiday Pop-Up Shop with 2 of my favorite comical and creative bloggers.  I’ll be alongside Kelly of Eclectically Vintage and Denise of The Painted Home this Friday from 2-8…or until we run out of wine.

Painted Home pop up

Unfortunately, I can’t make it Saturday so be sure to come for Friday happy hour if you want to see a free milk paint demo!  Good thing I just came back from wine country.  There will be plenty to share plus some tasty treats to pair!  Yup, I’m a poet.

   Long Island Wine Trail 8

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farmers market roundup

I’m usually that girl who plants mums in August and has pumpkins out for Labor Day.  This year, however, I have been reluctant to say goodbye to summer.  I’m simply not going to do it ’til summer is really over.  At the end of September.

But I can’t deny the crisp air and winding down humidity so I have been thinking about switching out my seasonal decor and introducing some late summer favorites.  I love this time of year at the farmer’s market.  The colors, textures and pickins’ are in abundance.  Not only do I want to eat the season’s harvest but I want to decorate with it!

fall bistro table

Here are a few decorating ideas that will bring the changing season in without breaking your budget.  If you’re lucky, you might already have these crops growing in your own backyard garden.  If not, you know where to go!

Indian Corn Wreath:  Husks of Indian corn aren’t just for the lamp-post.  Pick up clusters of mini Indian corn which show a variety of colors.  Attach them to a wire form and you have yourself a new wreath plus a squirrel’s feast.  These are best hung between a storm door and front door or you won’t have anything left in a matter of hours!

mini Indian corn fall harvest wreath

Hot Pepper Wreath:  Pick up some hot peppers next time you’re at the market.  If you can find a surplus of them, you’ll get a better deal.  Wire them up to wreath form for new door decor.

hot pepper wreath

Farmers Market Vignette:  This vignette is nothing more than colorful, seasonal squashes and a pumpkin mixed with locally grown flowers that are drying out.  Arrange them amongst some other items that are already on hand like a rusty old scale and homemade pumpkin for instant impact!  When you’re not sure about what’s for dinner, slice open that squash and steam it.

fall vignette

Mumkin:  There is always the classic pumpkin planter stand by.  Grab a large pumpkin and 6 inch mum at the market.  Carve and hollow the pumpkin.  Plant the mum, pot and all, directly into the pumpkin planter.

Mumkin

Seed Packet Art:  If you can’t bring the freshness of the harvest inside, you can always create your own original seed packet art.  I duplicated a few vintage seed graphics last fall with paint and reclaimed wood.

vintage sunflower seed pack reproduction sign

the CSA way

This summer we joined a CSA for the first time. All I can say is, why didn’t we do this sooner?

csa (10 of 10)

We love everything about the experience!  We’ve been introduced to so many new varieties of vegetables which is right in line with our new healthy diet.

Raise your hand if you know what kohlrabi is.  Two months ago, I had never heard of it and I went to an agricultural college in the area!  Now it is one of our new favorite vegetables.  Unfortunately, they’re pretty much done for the season but that’s ok because we’ve moved onto tasty summer squashes.

csa (1 of 10)

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  In the spring, we paid a membership fee to Pennypack Farm and as a result we pick up 6 shares of locally grown produce & herbs weekly during the summer harvest season.  It has quickly become my favorite day of the week!

The shares offered weekly change as the growing season changes.  It’s like Pandora’s box of produce.  Being part of a CSA also challenges us in the kitchen because you have to work each week’s offerings to create delicious meals.  My latest concoction was beet stuffed peppers with a dollop of local honey.  Delish!

csa (3 of 10)

This week we got to pick our own string beans which we took right home and had for dinner.  It doesn’t get any fresher than that!

csa (4 of 10)

We go very few places without Wilson.  So its awesome that dogs are allowed on the farm too!

csa (5 of 10)

As a bonus we get to harvest flowers from the cutting garden.

csa (7 of 10)

csa (8 of 10)

Summertime and the livin’ is easy….

csa (2 of 10)

If you have the opportunity to join a CSA next year, I highly recommend it.  It will expand your palette and culinary skills as well as support local farms and farmers.  I have to thank Karen, a blog reader, for referring us to our CSA!

farm to table

…sort of.

I love that phrase – farm to table.  It sounds like such a basic concept.  It is one that we’ve embraced recently in our house.  Well, I guess it has been more like farm to store to table.  But once the harvest season starts it will definitely be more farm to table.  Anyway…

First let me say thank you to so many of you who have consistently followed up with us on Ryan’s MS diagnosis last fall.  He is doing just wonderful.  In fact, much better than before.  And me too.  We have embraced new routines and ditched a few old ones.  Mostly we’ve been really cognizant of what we’re eating and how our meals are made and, most importantly, how those foods impact Ryan.

I’ve never been much of a chef and I’m no food blogger.  There are plenty of fantastic blogs out there for recipes and such but as I’ve been sharing some of my new recipes with friends, they encouraged me to post about it.  Perhaps you’ll have an interest too.

We haven’t become vegetarians or anything official but we’ve embraced a highly vegetable based diet and legume based for that matter.  The turning point was receiving my first ever food processor at my bridal shower.  We ate veggies before but usually in a raw or steamed state as a side. Nothing fancy.  The food processor has hands down changed my life.  And I actually like cooking and experimenting in the kitchen now.  I had no idea how versatile chick peas are!  Yes, I’m getting excited about chick peas.  That’s the new me.

Let me just share some of my latest concoctions.  Ryan laughs at me every time I take pictures of our meals.  I take pictures of our sofa, mantelscape and everything else.  So why stop at dinner?

Chick pea “meat”loaf with carrot soup – my soups need some work

chick pea loaf & carrot soup

Sweet potato stuffed pepper with a garlic cream sauce – hands down, my favorite so far although probably the least photogenic.  Can you believe I never ate a radish before now?

sweet potato stuffed pepper

Mediterranean loaf (with basil, pepper, tomato & mozzarella) – Ryan thinks we need to come up with a new word for “loaf”.  I agree.  Any suggestions?

Mediterranean loaf

Smoked salmon salad – an oldie but goodie.  I think we may be headed down the path of pescetarian but again, no official commitments here

smoked salmon salad

Mango vanilla smoothie – we still go for the ol’ classic strawberry smoothie on the reg too. Apparently I don’t have pictures of either.

I seriously shock myself with my new found kitchen prowess.  Ryan is feeling very healthy and active which is the goal when you have MS.  You want to keep a high energy level and remain active so the disease doesn’t creep up on you.  Certain foods, like kiwi, can increase your energy level.  He’s even lost weight.  Men, they lose it so easily!  Hmmph.

And we LOVE doing yoga.  It is so relaxing & strengthening.  I find it helps me a lot with stress.  I never thought I’d become an organic, yogi but I think that’s the path I’m on.  Ryan continues to do all of the things he loves like fishing & bike riding.

It’s funny how life has a way of throwing you curve balls.  You can either let it get you down or embrace it and make the best of it.  I’m pretty happy with how we’re tackling Multiple Sclerosis head on over here

So what healthy recipes should I try next?

making progress

Everyone in the blog world is talking Thanksgiving and Christmas and here I am talking spring.  As most of you know, we are planning our dream wedding.  Ok, my dream wedding.  Ryan is a doll who seems to agree with all of my ideas for our wedding.  So at this point, we’ve made a lot of progress including securing a date, venue, photographer, officiant, band and some of the other “big things”!

No I didn’t choose a dress yet.

We’re getting into the nitty gritty details at this point so I thought I’d keep you up to date.  Details, as you know, are my thing.

About 6 weeks ago we had an engagement photo shoot.  We lucked out that crisp fall morning with a wonderful showing of bright autumn colors at Maple Acres Farms.

They were so very accommodating at the farm.  They even let us bring Wilson although he was a bit of a diva (or is that divo?) when it came time for his close up.  I thought you’d like a peek at our photos since there are rarely pictures of us posted.  But let’s start with Wilson since you see him all of the time.

Our e-session photographer, Mandy Keep, captured just how vivid the autumn day was and all of the natural beauty and charm the farm offers.  I particularly like how the photos emphasize the primary and secondary color scheme which is very opposite of how the wedding color scheme will most likely work out.

It was important to me that we look like ourselves and dress like ourselves.  Ryan and I shopped our closets for favorite clothes we already own in complementary colors.  We didn’t do anything over the top to prep for the shoot.  We were just us.  Wilson too.

Now this is where Ryan would probably point out that we don’t normally take a wagon full of vintage props out on a walk with us.  And he’s right.  That’s where I may have gotten carried away but overall I like how the props and colors worked into the farm setting.  Subtle right?

Check us out on the vintage Orrlaskan wool blanket (similar to a Hudson Bay blanket)!

We also had a pair of vintage industrial stools out in the field which is totally natural.  I love how Mandy captured the foliage in this shot.

And who doesn’t love frolicking in the cornstalks?

We’re just about 6 months out from the big day. I am starting to think about our invitations and what they might look like.  As you may have guessed, I would like to hand make them.  I had initially thought we wouldn’t send Save the Dates mostly because it would be too laborious to make them all plus how could I practically make them and add engagement photos?

However, our wedding is essentially a destination for 99% of our guests since we are getting married at the beach which is about 2 hours away for most.  We decided it would be considerate to send Save the Dates after all.  And I’m glad we did once I heard the date morphed from May to March in one line of communication in my family!  Now everyone has plenty of time to  make accommodations.

We partnered with Wedding Paper Divas to create the perfect Save the Date.  After narrowing down several hundred Save the Date choices to about a dozen, we ended up going with Chalk Frame Charm for our layout.  I like how it had the look of an erased chalkboard but also allowed us to incorporate 3 pictures from our shoot.  It definitely foreshadows the fun, casual vibe that we’re creating for our wedding.

We received the Save the Dates in less than a week and sent them right out to our guests.  We actually had the opportunity to speak with a live consultant at Wedding Paper Divas and provide feedback on our proofs so we were sure they were perfect!  I’m glad we ended up doing Save the Dates.  It wasn’t nearly as daunting of a task as I’d initially thought.  Check that off the list!

And the money shot of the day goes to Wilson.  This one is going up on the wall.

There are a few other favorite photos that have a vintage vibe to them.  I am using them on other areas of the blog and for business purposes.  My favorite one is on the ‘About‘ page.

Photos by Mandy Keep Photography

on the road

Today was a pretty great day.  The perfect fall day to be on the road with my sidekick, Wilson.  (This was the best shot he’d give me.)  Fall is still hanging on and the sun was shining high.  We had a gorgeous drive.

We made a new friend who was all about posing for the camera.

She wasn’t shy at all.  In fact she gave me her better side.

And then invited me in for a tour.

I don’t know what it is about barns and farms in general that I am enamored with.  I suppose it is a lifestyle that I know little about having grown up in the suburbs but I’m always caught off guard by all of the simple, natural undeveloped beauty a farm offers.

And the old construction of the barns plus the new patina.  Boy, what I would do with that door.  It would look great above my mantel.

So what was a non-farm girl like me doing on this beautiful horse farm?  My upholsterer’s studio is located there!  I know.  Amazing.  I love taking that trip.  There are a couple of cute outbuildings and several homes on the property including a grand old farm house!

Back to biz though.  I picked up a fabulous club chair that I will post about next week after I tweak the finish.

Wilson and I made a few other pickups today.  Mostly of the holiday merchandise type.  Specifically vintage and handmade!

We also made some wreaths, painted a bit and planted paperwhites when we returned home.  Actually who am I kidding?  Wilson took a nap!  I did those things.

Prep mode continues for the holidays at our Brick & Mortar.  Hope you’ll come visit this weekend!  Open Saturday & Sunday 10-5.  Don’t forget, we have Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in stock too!

Other local events that I am participating in this weekend include viewing Freud’s Last Session at Arden Theatre after attending The Scene.

And on Saturday night I will launch my modeling career at The Frock Shoppe’s charity fashion show.  And then I’ll retire my modeling career.

What are your plans for the weekend?