Adventures in Cake Decorating

I don’t head out of the Center City limits often, but last week I found myself doing just that. I have to admit, it was a week night, I was dead tired and cranky from an annoying day at work, and pretty much the last thing I wanted to do was drag my ass on the regional rail and hoof it out to the suburbs (and in the rain no less!), but I’m so, so glad I did. I got to take a break from my normal routine and learn cake decorating tips and tricks from Noelle, the owner of the (fairly new) Ella Vanilla cake decorating supply shop. And let me tell you, spending a night elbow deep in frosting was exactly what I needed!

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Let me start by explaining that Ella Vanilla is not a bakery. That’s a common mistake (and one I made myself). It’s strictly a cake decorating supply shop, which is actually the coolest thing ever. Noelle has pretty much everything you might need to decorate cakes, cupcakes and cookies. And everything is color coded and super organized. It’s an OCD baker’s heaven!

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What started as an online shop that sold cake decorating supply kits has spawned into a brick and mortar shop on Chestnut Hill’s main drag (Germantown Ave). Don’t worry, you can still buy the cake decorating kits, but now you can also get fondant, gum paste, all different types of sprinkles, molds and pretty much any cake supply you can think of. Plus, if there happens to be something Noelle doesn’t have stocked, she’ll order it for you.

Through my own experience, I can tell you that it’s pretty difficult to find any sort of decent amount of cake supplies, never mind professional quality ones. And when you can’t even find red sprinkles around Christmastime, you know there’s a problem. Luckily Ella Vanilla is to the rescue, bringing professional cake decorating supplies to the people one pastry tip at a time. #letthemdecoratecake

The real gem of Ella Vanilla is the decorating classes, though. Making cakes has always kind of intimidated me. After a chocolate ganache birthday cake decorating disaster, I had sworn off cakes for a bit. So I was really excited when the opportunity to take an actual cake decorating class came up. We were all skeptical of how our creations would turn out, but Noelle assured us they would look great…

The shop is tiny, so only 5 people fit in a class and Noelle teaches the classes herself. The whole thing was very intimate, and the small class size meant Noelle could give each of us one-on-one attention, if needed. Noelle had prepared some snacks (and of course there was wine), so the whole thing had a great girls night vibe, which I think exceeded all of our expectations for a dreary Wednesday night.

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Here’s Noelle, showing off a larger version of the cakes we were going to decorate.

The class offerings including cookie, cupcake and cake decorating and range from kids classes to adult classes,  with different levels and instruction depending on age range and time. For classes that deal with larger cakes, Noelle told us she goes through more tips of how to assemble a ready-to-frost cake, but for our purposes and time constraint, she already had mini cakes crumb coated and chilled.

First, we learned how to create gum paste roses. We chose colors and learned how to dye our gum paste (a messy, but fun experience). And then Noelle showed us a quick and easy way to assemble the roses (you’ll have to take her class to find out what it is!), and we each had a couple of flowers in no time. We made matching leaves out of fondant and set all that aside to dry out a bit.

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In case you’re wondering…
The difference between gum paste and fondant? Gum paste is rock solid when it dries. Gum paste creations keep for a really long time, but are near impossible to bite into once they dry. Fondant is more edible, and actually tasty. Noelle told us she sells a brand of particularly delicious fondant that tastes more like marshmallow than some other brands. We all tried a bite and I have to agree with her!

Next we learned some frosting techniques. Tall Guy got me pastry tips and reusable bags for Christmas a few years ago, so I’m pretty comfortable using them, but admittedly haven’t learned any techniques with the tips. I’m great at the standard swirl (my go-to for decorating cupcakes), but everything else usually comes up shapeless. Noelle suggested I focus on releasing the pressure from the pastry bag during my decorating. We used a star tip to make a shell border on the outside of the cake. This is a simple technique that looks pretty impressive in the end. We were only frosting mini cakes and our hands were already cramping- I really got an appreciation for where the money goes when buying big cakes!

We finished off the top of the cake with grass! The grass pastry tip was so fun (and easy) to use and gave us all great results. I REALLY want a grass tip, but can’t justify the purchase until I can think of something to decorate with grass!

We topped our cakes with the decorations we made earlier in the night and voila! Beautifully decorated, professional-looking cakes, as promised!

I had SUCH a great time at Ella Vanilla decorating my cake. Noelle was the best teacher and a great host. I’m dying to go back to learn how to master cookie icing- and maybe to pick up a tube of sprinkles… or 3!

Head to the website to shop online, find classes and learn about the real Ella.

Ella Vanilla
7922 Germantown Ave
Chestnut Hill
Philadelphia, PA 19118
215.909.9392
Currently open Wednesdays through Sundays

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Travel (way back)Log: New Orleans

NOLA was on my travel list for a while and I finally get to cross it off! Well, finally, as in months ago… I am so, so late with this post. why do i find myself saying “better late then never” on every blog post recently?

One of my favorite travel partners-in-crime, Jess, and I went to NOLA last October and had the best time! While I think I kind of missed the boat on the perfect time to go to Bourbon Street (ahem, senior year of college when partying was top priority), we still had a great time visiting the city and exploring all that the French Quarter (and beyond) had to offer.

The Highlights
Our stay at the adorable Olivier House Hotel, which is a block from Bourbon Street and the
perfect walking distance to everything in the French Quarter, but on a street quiet enough for us to actually get some sleep!
Finding the NOLA Jazz Legends Park on Bourbon Street (aka our Bourbon Street “safe zone” where the drinks were strong and the atmosphere was chill).
Learning all about NOLA history on the Friends of the Cabildo walking tour. Sounds dorky (and maybe it is?) but it was kind of fun to hear about how New Orleans came to be.
Not one, but 2 ghost tours! We did the French Quarter Phantoms Ghost and Vampire Tour and the Haunted History Voodoo Tour.
Going to a Saints game! Football = Love
Touring Lafayette Cemetery.
Finding Zele NOLA, a Garden District shop full of local artisan work (all at very affordable prices).
Live music everywhere.
The most humane petting zoo I’ve ever been to (the animals even looked happy, which made me SO happy!).
Searching high and low for a monkey’s paw for Tall Guy. It was the only thing he requested I bring back, but little did we all know that they’re super rare and not at all cheap $$$… We did finally find one at Requiem Oddities, which Jess and I thought was a huge success, but all Tall Guy got was a picture of it (broke girls on a budget, and all that).

 

Food and Drink
Our very first meal- super late night dinner at Le Bayou on Bourbon Street.
What would a trip to NOLA be without a stop at Cafe Du Monde for beignets and chicory coffee?
Post-walking tour happy hour at Bourbon House (which was a recommendation from our tour guide).
Quick brunch at Petite Amelie (an extension of Cafe Amelie), which is very similar to your standard fancy coffee and pastry shop. My only wish of the trip is that this place was closer to our hotel, so every day could start with a delicious cappuccino and quick breakfast.
A fancy girls night meal at Bayona, our so, so worth it “splurge” meal of the trip.
And of course we had to try the frozen daiquiris… Our walking tour tour guide suggested Fat Tuesday, right on Bourbon Street, and it did not disappoint. Is this totally a tourist thing? Hell yes, but who’s complaining? Since NOLA’s loose open container laws allow for drinking in public, we made Fat Tuesday a regular stop so we could grab drinks and go about our adventures. #wheninrome
Brunch at Surrey’s Juice Bar in the Lower Garden District.
We made sure not to leave without trying some traditional NOLA flavors (with a twist- think char grilled oysters, shrimp & grits and jambalaya pasta) at Desire Oyster Bar. It’s right on Bourbon Street in the Royal Sonesta hotel, but don’t let that fool you- our food was out of this world delicious.
We stopped by the Salon by Sucre for some late night snacks and absinthe cocktails (where we both decided we don’t care for absinthe), and then had the best (and prettiest) dessert downstairs at Sucre.

I feel like we ate SO MUCH, but barely made a dent in the NOLA food scene. Everywhere looked good, and as we found out, you can’t judge a restaurant by its storefront, especially in New Orleans.

Travel Tips
Skip the shuttle to/from the airport. We found out (after the fact, of course) that cabs are cheaper.
When in doubt, take Uber. It’s easy to walk around the French Quarter and even around the close outskirts (like Frenchmen Street, where the music scene really gets going), but if you want to travel beyond that, call a cab or get an Uber. We tried to take a trolley to the garden district, but ended up waiting at the wrong stop for a trolley that never came and finally gave up and got an Uber.
Definitely venture out of the French Quarter. We spent 3/4 of a day walking around the Garden District and also spent a night away from the Bourbon Street craziness in favor of live music craziness on Frenchmen Street.
Leave room in your suitcase for souvenirs- artwork abounds pretty much everywhere, so you’ll want to make sure you don’t leave something just because you don’t have a way to get it back home.

Not Pictured
The moment Jess and I realized we were not in the same timezone as Philly (which may or may not have been on the airplane about 20 minutes before touching down in NOLA).
Booze-fueled snacking on beignets at Cafe Du Monde at 2 am. #doingNOLAright
The overnight front desk man at our hotel who was DEFINITELY a vampire.
The voodoo doll that was supposed to be mine, but was purchased by someone else instead. (hangs head in shame- still not over it!)
Jess and I learning the WHO DAT chant at the Saints game… We’re still not sure how to respond to it, though. #whodat #wedat?

I’d like to go back to New Orleans with Tall Guy, who would love the atmosphere, foodie culture and creepy voodoo history. I also think it would be the PERFECT place for a bachelorette party. Don’t be put off by the party persona the city has, though. There’s a lot of history to learn, music to hear, architecture to see and art to explore, so even if you’re not into partying that much (or at all), there’s still plenty to do!

Have you been to New Orleans or are you planning a trip there? Let me know in the comments!

Travel Log: Myrtle Beach, SC

Tall Guy and I decided to head out of town during Pope weekend in an effort to avoid what Philadelphians were calling “popepocalypse.” Since we both love the beach, and I found a great Groupon for our hotel, we decided to head to Myrtle Beach for one last blast of Summer.

The weather wasn’t exactly perfect (it wasn’t the major flooding that the state saw a week after we left, either), but we had a great time nonetheless.

The Highlights
Our awesome room on the 17th floor of the Patricia Grand Hotel
One of my best friends sending champagne and chocolate covered strawberries to our room (Seriously, how thoughtful is that?!)
Walking around and shopping at Broadway at the Beach (which is not actually on the beach…)
My first helicopter ride
Riding the East Coast’s tallest ferris wheel
Getting a hole in one and *winning* mini golf at Captain Hook’s Adventure Golf! (For those of you that don’t know, Tall Guy usually wins… Everything.)
Parasailing
Tall Guy went jet skiing
Getting a couples massage at The Awakening Spa (which was also my very first massage ever… Can every week end like that?)

Food and Drink
A quick bite and some pool at The Original Shuckers Raw Bar.
Rainy night dinner at Little Italy. This place was such a find! We came across it on yelp and it absolutely did not disappoint! The chef even came out to talk to us during our meal, and our waitress, Taylor, was the MOST adorable (she also thought Tall Guy and I were married, but that’s a whole other story…)
Pier 14 where we were able to have lunch right on the water (literally).
A surprising dinner at Moe Moon’s, what looks like the most spring break-y place, but actually has some really delicious bar food.

Travel Tips
September was a great time to visit Myrtle Beach! The water was still warm, the sun was still hot and we never waited for a table anywhere!
We bought a case of water at the beginning of the trip which assured we always had water handy and didn’t need to hunt down convenience stores during our outings. Definitely doing this on future trips!
Uber made getting around SUPER easy. Everything seemed to be a 10 minute (or less) drive away, but 20-30 minutes walking! Ubers were never hard to get and took the stress out of venturing off of Ocean Blvd.

I’d been to Myrtle Beach for a family reunion when I was much younger, but I don’t remember much except for the mini golf at Broadway at the Beach and getting in trouble for sneaking out of my mom’s watchful eye to meet boys on the beach at night. So this time around was obviously a lot different (although mini golf still had a big impression on me haha). Tall Guy and I had the best time vacationing off-season and I highly recommend making Myrtle Beach your next beach vacation destination. We also really loved our hotel, The Patricia Grand. The staff was so nice and very accommodating, our room and the grounds/pools were clean and they even allow dogs for those of you pet parents!

Ever been to Myrtle Beach or planning a trip there soon? Share your experiences and ask me questions in the comments!

Travel Backlog: Washington, DC

I have TOTALLY got the travel bug, you guys! Fresh off the heels of an awesome trip home with one of my truly favorite people and I’ve already booked another beach trip for September (peace out, Mr. Pope!). That got me thinking about my poor little neglected blog and all of the potential posts I’ve had floating around forever… So to ease back into things, I thought I would post some pics from my DC trip (way back in April)… Better late than never, right?

We happened to go the weekend of the Cherry Blossom Festival, which we decided not to take part in, but don’t worry, we saw TONS of Cherry Blossoms anyway. We had a great time! I highly recommend DC if you have an interest in history and culture, like museums, enjoy a good brunch and don’t mind walking everywhere. There was so much to do that we had a pretty packed weekend, and didn’t even get to see everything we wanted! Guess another trip is in order…

 

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Travel Log: Sugarbush, VT

I’ve been all over the place lately- both figuratively and literally! Work has been super crazy busy, but I’ve also gone on some pretty awesome trips as well! My travel log is more of a backlog at the moment, so let me start with the trip to Vermont I took a few weeks ago…

The Rundown
Where: Waitsfield, VT
Stay: 2 nights at The Featherbed Inn
Food and Drink: Pizza at American Flatbread, Cappuccinos at The Sweet Spot cafe, Craft Beer shopping at Craft Beer Cellar and Burgers at Prohibition Pig
Shopping: Artisan’s Gallery

My mom and I went up to Vermont to celebrate her, ahem, 29th birthday. She and my dad used to go up to the Sugarbush area a few times a year, so this was a little trip down memory lane for her, but a new experience for me.

Our Stay
We stayed at this awesome little B&B called the Featherbed Inn, run by Tom and Linda, who are perfectly friendly and ready to offer suggestions about anything you might need- from where to go skiing or hiking to the best places to grab a bite to eat. I had never been to a B&B before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the Featherbed would have surpassed even my greatest expectations. We stayed in the Ilse room, which was spacious, with two beds and a small sitting area, and an adjoining private bathroom. The beds, I should note, are actual featherbeds, as the name suggests, and they are supremely comfortable. Seriously, it was like sleeping on a cloud. The rest of the inn open to guests, which consisted of two living room type areas and a four-table dining room, was clean and cozy, with all of the mountain charm you’d expect to find in a Vermont inn, complete with two friendly cats and two dogs.

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It being a B&B and all, breakfast was included with our stay. And let me tell you, we had THE best breakfasts while we were there. The first morning we had what they called “Featherbed eggs,” which was a sort of egg souffle. How I’ve never had an egg souffle before, I’ll never know, because it was so delicious! The texture was amazingly fluffy and the eggs were perfectly flavored. The meal was accompanied by a pitcher of brewed coffee that was as good as I brew myself. Those of you who know me know I have high standards, so this is no easy feat…

The second morning we had a little birthday champagne to go in our orange juice (courtesy of a gift basket my dad snuck into the car when my mom was packing), plus more of the delicious coffee, of course. The meal that morning was raspberry and ricotta stuffed french toast. French toast as in, I’m pretty sure it was actual slices of French bread. Fancy! (And so, so good.)

Where We Ate
American Flatbread

We got to the area late afternoon on a Friday and, after checking in at the Featherbed, went next door to the Lareau Farm to put our name in at American Flatbread. Never heard of it? I hadn’t either. But my mom raved about it the whole ride up, so we made sure to get our name on the list asap.

They have kind of a funky reservation system. They’re open Thursday through Sunday, and start taking reservations at 4 pm (you must go there in person to put your name on the list). How it works: You go there as close to 4 pm as possible and put your name on the list for a certain seating time. Then you come back a little before that time, check in and wait for a table to open up.

Since it was late in the season, we only waited 15 or so minutes for our table when we went back later that night. On busy nights, my mom told me you can wait hours! Luckily, they have a bar, and drinking by their outdoor fire pits while you wait is highly encouraged. We both grabbed drinks and were settled at our table in no time. We were seated right near the oven and had a good time watching them throw and cook the pizzas. The dining room is adorably cozy and warm, and super casual, with folding chairs and red checkered tablecloths.

While everything sounded scrumptious, we settled on splitting a salad (which was a special salad they had that night which I can’t for the life of me remember, shame on me), half of a special pizza which had roasted portobello mushrooms, roasted garlic, arugula, blue cheese from a local farm and was sprinkled with a honey glaze and half of their New Vermont Sausage pizza with house-made maple-fennel sausage, sundried tomatoes, caramelized onions, roasted mushrooms, olive oil, cheeses and herbs. (How cool is it that they let you get half a pizza of ANY pizza?) Both pizzas were so yummy! Think organic everything and the freshest pizza you’ve ever had baked in a wood-fired oven. We ate leftovers for lunch the next day and were tempted to go back for dinner on our second night. You can find more details about the reservation process and menu on American Flatbread’s website.

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Prohibition Pig
On Saturday night, we drove into nearby Waterbury, VT and had dinner at the Prohibition Pig. I had read about the restaurant online because they are one of a select number of places that sells Alchemist beer. Unfortunately, they only had Alchemist IPA (I am NOT an IPA fan), so I ordered one of the Prohibition Pig’s own ciders, which was the cloudiest cider I’ve had to date, and also tasted more like an actual (non alcoholic) apple cider than any I’ve had. It was a good twist from the usual Woodchuck or Angry Orchard I typically get.

We weren’t expecting it to be super crowded, but of course it was, so we waited a good 45 minutes for a table. They had a nice long area by the bar with a table height shelf for drinks and hooks for coats and purses, etc., so with drinks and good conversation, the wait was OK. The actual restaurant part was pretty small, but very comfortable. Maybe I’m used to Philly, where restaurants really pack you in like sardines, but it seemed like the tables were really spaced out, which meant some good distance between us and the people eating next to us, for a change.

My mom and I split a kale salad that had sweet potato, cranberries, cheese and buttermilk dressing. I don’t love kale, but the salad was so good! And they even put it in two separate bowls for us, which was super helpful. We also split the house burger, which has pimento cheese, fried green tomato and applewood smoked bacon. We subbed out the pimento (I’m not sure if I’ve ever even had pimento cheese?), but I love me some fried green tomatoes (fried anything, really), and putting one on a burger did not disappoint. Check out the rest of their menu here.

What We Did
Waitsfield
After putting our name on the American Flatbread list on Friday night, we drove up the mountain to check out the ski area. There’s a neat little patio right at the base of the ski trails where they have some shops and restaurants- you can just picture how popular it must be in peak season! It started snowing lightly when we were up there and made it, to use a term completely ruined by The Bachelor, pretty magical. Unfortunately this was as close as we got to snow sports the entire weekend. We brought cross country ski and snow shoeing gear, but the conditions weren’t great for either of those, so we ended up scrapping that idea in favor of shopping and sightseeing.

After breakfast on Saturday, we headed out in search of the land my family used to own. Back when my parents came to the area multiple times a year, they purchased an acre of land with the intention of building a house on it. I was very young, but specifically remember my parents pulling the car to the side of the road and saying something about how “this was ours” as we got out of the car to look at a (then) very run down wood barn. This moment must have made quite an impression on me, because other than that I can’t remember ever coming to Sugarbush. But that big old barn, with its red roof and enormously high ceiling, is a memory as clear as day. The land, which was supposed to be called “Sweet Meadows,” never came to fruition, and eventually my parents sold it. Since then, the paperwork has gone missing (likely been thrown out), so we had no address to look up, but my mom knew what general direction it was in and was sure she would recognize it. That is, until it occurred to her that the barn might not still be there, in which case she might not recognize it. But we went looking nonetheless… And success! The barn is still there and no one has developed the land. It was right around where my mom thought it would be, and just like I remembered, plus an amazing view of the mountain that made me pretty impressed with my parents choices way back when. We can’t, however, decide whether we’re happy or sad about the fact that nothing really became of the land…

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Next we swung by the round barn, which is as gorgeous on the inside as it looks on the outside, and saw them setting up for a winter “elopement.” Apparently these days there is such a thing as an elopement ceremony… Which I guess is just a really REALLY intimate wedding? Right next door is the Inn at the Round Barn, which looked very nice as well (and has the cutest mailbox ever).

From there we headed into the Waitsfield “shopping district.” Our first stop was at Artisan’s Gallery. It set the bar pretty high, and was definitely my favorite of all the stores we went into. It had all kinds of things, the items are curated by a handful of people that run it, including fine art and pottery (!). It’s where I found my new favorite mug! Have I mentioned I LOVE Birch trees?

Across the street from Artisan’s Gallery is an interesting little place called All Things Bright and Beautiful. It has every stuffed animal you can think of, from small enough to fit in your pocket to can’t even fit in my apartment, and hand-painted and glass ornaments. Two (what looked like twin) sisters run the shop, one of them does the painted ornaments, and there were a couple cats sitting around in boxes. You couldn’t have gotten me out of this store when I was younger, so definitely a good spot to check out if you’re in Waitsfield with kids. Or, on second thought… Maybe not!

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Around the corner from those stores is the most adorable cafe, The Sweet Spot. When we first drove through town, I noticed there weren’t any coffee shops. Not that I was expecting a Starbucks on every corner, but I didn’t even see any privately owned places! Thankfully we found this place, because we had THE BEST cappuccinos there. They also served delicious looking breakfast items and baked goods, although we didn’t indulge in any of them. Despite it’s somewhat hidden location, the place seemed to have a bunch of regulars, and was quite crowded when we stopped back in on Sunday before our drive home.

We also stopped into Waitsfield Pottery, of course, a few antiques shops and an unbelievably expensive French boutique that was entirely unimpressive.

And we made sure to stop by the Waitsfield General Store on our way out of town on Sunday morning. It had a lot of fun kitchen and home items, and we ended up picking up some gifts there. If I could shop at a store like this for all of my kitchen stuff, I would be a happy woman.

Warren
After checking out Waitsfield, we headed to Warren Village, which is basically the most quaint (quaintest?) road you’ve ever seen, with a general store, a picturesque American inn and a covered bridge. The Warren General Store is a funky place with a nice clothing shop upstairs and food, beer, etc. on the first floor. Across the street, The Pitcher Inn is the most expensive place to stay in the area. It has a very nice restaurant off of the lobby and a more casual bar/restaurant in the basement (it’s possible I was taken here as a very young child…). Even back then I was making friends in bars, you guys.

Waterbury
We decided to drive the 20 minutes to Waterbury for a little change of scenery (and passed the other Duxbury, Duxbury, VT). Since we weren’t ready for dinner when we got there, we went craft beer shopping at the Craft Beer Cellar. Little known fact about my mom- she loves craft beer. Probably more than I do. What’s it like to have uncool parents? I clearly wouldn’t know…

The Cellar did not disappoint with its craft beer selection, and my mom ended up getting a few different things to try. She picked up some Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout which she had already had and liked (and then we had a couple later that night and I definitely recommend it if you like stouts!). I’m pretty sure the employee dress code was dirty blonde hair, a good beard and a hoodie because all of the employees looked the same, and we had a hard time remembering which ones we had talked to. Fortunately, they were all really nice and helpful and one of them recommended my mom get Evil Twin Brewing Imperial Biscotti Break and even said it would “change her life.” (My mom opened the bottle with my dad a few days after we got back and let me know that it did live up to the hype.) We spent about an hour in the shop and had so much fun picking out beers to take home.

My mom and I had a great time on mini vacation in the Sugarbush area. We did a lot, but also kept things low key and relaxing, and had some really great girl time (and girl talk) along the way. The area was beautiful even amidst melting snow, and I’m sure is just gorgeous in the peak Winter season and during the Summer. There are lots of outdoor activities, if you’re into that, but also plenty of other activities if you’re not. It’s a great place to get away if you’re looking for a relaxing girls weekend, or some time to hit the slopes. One of my favorite things about the area is that no matter where you go, jeans and winter boots are totally acceptable attire. Score one for foodies in Vermont! If you’re in the area, definitely don’t miss American Flatbread, and if you need a place to stay, with your significant other or your whole family, look no further than the Featherbed Inn.

Until next time, Vermont!

me and mom

Vacation All I Ever Wanted

Last week, Tall Guy and I returned to Philly after a whopping 11 day vacation in my hometown. See below for highlights from our trip!

Stay tuned for a few restaurant reviews from places around my hometown!

Are you planning any vacations this Summer? Tell me about them in the comments! xx

Christmas Tree Adventures

Since both my roommate and I had to slack on Halloween this year because we were crazy busy working at a haunted house during the month of October, we decided to put all of our decorating/party efforts into Christmas instead.

I never had a fake tree growing up, but I’ve just never saw a good enough reason to buy a real tree for any of the apartments I’ve lived in since moving out of my parent’s house 4 years ago. I’ve also never gone Christmas tree hunting without my dad, and I’ve certainly never had to put a tree in a stand or worry about keeping it watered. Well, all that changed this past weekend, when my roommate and I dragged went with our boyfriends to cut down a real, live Christmas tree.

We went to Indian Walk Christmas Tree Farm in Wrightstown, PA. I had never been there before, or even heard of it, actually, but it was super cute! They had a bunch of farm animals and cute shops, as well as multiple kinds of trees and all the other trimmings you can think of!

It didn’t take us long to find our favorite tree. As a matter of fact, we both spotted it as soon as we walked a few feet down the main path. We scouted for a little bit longer, but ultimately decided that the first tree we saw was the best.

And we even got lights up on the tree last night! Finishing touches (aka popcorn and cranberry garland) coming soon!

Have you gotten your Christmas tree yet?!

 

Broke Girls Go Out… for Halloween!

As promised, more about Terror Behind the Walls and what I did for Halloween!

Broke Girls Go Out

We Broke Girls love celebrating pretty much anything, so it should come as no surprise that most of us love Halloween! From costume changes to haunted houses, we all had a blast yesterday. 

What did you do for Halloween?

“Since most of the Halloween season I’ve been busy with Terror Behind the Walls (but what better way to celebrate than a haunted house in an abandoned prison), I only had one night off the weekend before Halloween that I could dress up and celebrate! One of my best friends held a party at her house where my boyfriend and I dressed up as an angel (me) and devil (him). While not the most unique costumes ever, we added a twist to it… masks! We also realized he was more of a classy devil in a suit while I was more of a naughty angel, so to speak. My costume was…

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Free and Fun: Fall Festivals Around Philly

My latest piece on Broke Girls Go Out… Fall is festival season in Philadelphia!

Broke Girls Go Out

There are few things I like doing more than perusing the aisles and food trucks at an outdoor festival on a sunny Saturday morning. Luckily for me, Philadelphia has a plethora of Fall festivals to choose from, and most of them are free to attend (delicious food truck fare and craft/art/vintage purchases will cost you, though).

Uwishunu is a good one-stop-shop for all things Fall festivals in Philly, but I’ve highlighted a few of the ones I’m most looking forward to below.

Night Market –  Happening TONIGHT!

nightmkt The Food Trust holds its final Night Market event of the season tonight in Chinatown! Come hungry because this outdoor food truck festival has over 60 of the city’s best food trucks, plus some local brews and bands. Although this one isn’t right outside my front door (see below), I still expect it to be a great time. Single serving portions are $5…

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Surprise Surprise

I love surprises. Well, ok, I love good surprises… Like surprise birthday parties and when your dad sends you $20 in the mail along with your new AAA card…

I was going to write all about my weekend in Mass, but I got a few paragraphs in and was already bored, SO to make a long story short… I made a surprise trip home for the weekend to see my brother go to prom! He’s 17 and it was his first prom, he took this super precious little sophomore who had the good sense to wear fancy flip flops instead of heels and he looked SO ADORABLE in his tux. All together now- AWWWW. 

Prom in my town is kind of a big deal. They literally roll out the red carpet for the event and parents and friends play paparazzi for a day while students promenade into the school. I promise, it’s more cute than weird… (For perspective, my brother said the promenade was the best part of the whole night.) Pictures or it didn’t happen!

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This is the scene… Pretty much the whole town comes out to watch the kids walk in. Duxbury, MA.

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That was their ride for the night! The school also does a “best ride” contest that gets pretty serious. People have come to prom in shopping carts, go karts, motor boats (on a trailer), you name it- these kids have thought of it. Duxbury, MA,

red carpet

There they are on the red carpet! It’s pretty similar to an awards show in that all the way down the carpet, people who know you will shout out your name and then you and your date have to pose while they take a picture… Ridiculous and fun. Duxbury, MA.

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And here’s a close-up of them when they stopped in front of us! Don’t they make such a cute couple?! Awww. Duxbury, MA.

Sorry- was that too much sisterly love in one post? I just can’t help it! He’s so grown up now and I still think of him as a 12 year old! Sigh. If you have siblings, you must be able to relate!

When was the last time you surprised someone? How did it turn out? Tell me your stories in the comments!