Friday, September 30, 2011

In October We Wear Pink!

Since tomorrow is October 1st, which is the start of breast cancer awareness month, I thought I would dedicate this post to something that has become very dear to my heart during the last year.  This year, a very close friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She was the first person close to me who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.  I know how hard it was on her, her family and friends but through everyone's prayers, excellent doctors, and support from her family and friends, I can happily say she is now a breast cancer survivor.  She will get to see me walk down the aisle, she her children graduate high school and college and be there when they get married.  I want in my lifetime, for a cure to be found for this awful disease that affects so many people.  That's why I'm reaching out to all of you; there is so much we can do to help find a cure!

For My Fellow Fashionistas:

So many designers/companies are donating a portion of their sales on certain products to breast cancer research, which I think is fabulous.  You know that your purchase is going towards a good cause, which could take away from your buyer's remorse! :)  There are so many companies donating, so PLEASE be on the look out.  I am just giving you a few of my favorite items!

Ellie Tahari, "Key to the Cure T-Shirt"
Available exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue this October.
100% of proceeds will be donated to the Entertainment Industry Foundation's Women's Cancer Research Fund    Shop October 20th-23rd, when Saks will donate 2% of sales to local and national women's cancer charities.
Danielle Nicole, "Jelly Shopper Tote"
Donating 20% of profits to Susan G. Komen for the Cure 
KiraKira "Marrakech" 18k rose gold vermeil hoop earrings
Donating 30% of proceeds to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation
White + Warren "Dip Dye Travel Wrap" in cashmere
Donating 50% of proceeds to Women at Risk
Ann Taylor "Ann Cares Pink Jewel Ring"
Donating 70% of sales to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation 
Philosophy "Shower for the Cure" Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath
Donating 100% of net proceeds to the Entertainment Industry Foundation's Women's Cancer Research Fund 
Smashbox "O-Gloss"
Donating 100% of sales to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation
TAI "Brest Cancer Awareness" rose gold, crystal and cord bracelet
Donating 20% of sales to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

There are so many items out there, so please be on the look out!!

Also, there is always the Susan G. Komen walk for the cure.  Please check out their  website to find out about walks in your area.  You can also donate to any of the charities I've mentioned.  I will post their links below.  Let's do our part in finding a cure for this awful disease.  Remember, in October, "We Wear Pink!"

Avon Foundation for Women Breast Cancer Crusade
Breast Cancer Research Foundation
Entertainment Industry Foundation's Women's Cancer Research Fund
Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sweet Tea

My love of sweet tea began when I moved to Charleston, SC right before college and into college in North Carolina.  I never realized how amazing sweet tea was!  Growing up in Texas, I was never exposed to sweet tea, which is a shame.  When I moved up to Northern Virginia, I remember ordering a sweet tea at a restaurant and everyone at my table looked at me like I was crazy.  I was reminded that I was no longer in the South.  However, I have found a few places that serve sweet tea, Rocklands being my favorite up here!  So, whenever I visit Charleston, SC I make it a point to stop by McAlister's Deli and pick up some sweet tea.  Their's is my absolute FAVORITE!  I don't know what it is but it is HEAVENLY.  I don't think I've ever had a bad cup of sweet tea from there.  So, last night I decided to make a batch of sweet tea.  It's quite easy to make.

You will need:
3 quarts of water
2 cups of sugar
Enough tea bags for 3 quarts (it should say on the box)
Pinch of baking soda

1.  Bring your water to a boil

2.  Pour in your sugar and make sure it has desolved

3.  Add your tea bags and let them steep for 20 minutes (make sure your pot is covered)

4.  Add a pinch of baking soda which eliminates bitterness by reducing the taste of the tea's tannins (thanks for this tip, Lynda!)
5.  Pour over ice and you've got yourself a nice glass of sweet tea
Hope you enjoy this easy recipe!! :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Honey Bee

I got into the car this morning and the weather was quite gloomy. I feel like the DC Metro area has not seen consistent sun in so long. This weather we've been having is quite depressing. Every morning I listen to The Kane Show on Hot 99.5. I listen to it as soon as I wake up in the morning, during my drive into work every morning and usually at my desk. There is something about their show that just makes my day! Well, during their commercial break I switched stations. As most of my family and friends know, I'm a huge country music fan, so I switched to a country station and one of my favorite songs right now, Honey Bee by Blake Shelton, was playing. It instantly put me in a good mood despite the gloomy weather. I don't know what it is about this song, but I'm completely drawn to it! I've always enjoyed Blake Shelton, but after watching him on NBC's "The Voice", I have fallen in love with him! Below is the video for "Honey Bee." I hope you enjoy it as much as me!! :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Polka Dot & Leopard

I probably committed a major fashion faux pas, but I like it and that's all that matters.  I decided to wear a dark navy pencil skirt with a white blouse and a blue cardigan with white polka dots.  I normally would have paired my outfit with a pair of nude or grey pumps but I decided to take a trip to the wild side by pairing my outfit with my favorite flats; my Tory Burch leopard print Reva Ballet Flats.  I decided to think of the leopard print as a "neutral".  I'm happy with my outfit and think it's a little outside my comfort zone.  Just waiting for the first accountant to stop by and complain about my fashion faux pas... ;)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chucktown Here I Come!!

I am beyond excited that I get to go to Charleston, SC tomorrow.  The main reason I'm going is for my first dress fitting!!!  I am thrilled!  I cannot wait to try on my beautiful wedding dress.  My mom and I are also going to meet with the florist so I can make a final decision on what types of flowers I want.
                                   (how cute is this invitation?!?!?!)

My mom's best friend is also having a shower for me on Saturday and I'm so excited.  My sister is coming in from Atlanta, GA for the shower and my Aunt and cousins will be there along with a lot of my mom's friends.  It's a quick trip, but a jammed packed one with lots of exciting things. 

I'm also really excited to see my sister's dog, Winnie.  She's been living with my parents for awhile and I absolutely adore her.  Whenever I'm home visiting my parents, I always wake up early just so I can have extra time to play with her.  I cannot wait until the day when Dave and I can have a dog of our own.  Also, I'm hoping to get some McAlister's sweet tea...mmmmmmmmmm!!! :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Couples Therapy

Last night Dave and I had our last pre-marriage counseling session with our Pastor.  We are very lucky in that our Pastor does a lot of business up in the DC area.  So for our past 2 sessions, we were able to meet with him here, instead of down in Charleston.  Before we even began our counseling sessions this summer, we had to take a compatibility test which asked us various questions about how we resolve conflict, when we would like to start a family, finances, etc.  Needless to say, I was a bit nervous about these meetings with our Pastor.  However, he was very easy to talk to and has provided us with so much insight on how we can strengthen our relationship as a couple.  We have taken so much of what he has said and used it over the past couple months and have seen our relationship grow even more.  At the end of last nights meeting we went over what would happen during our ceremony and he went over the readings and it suddenly hit us; we are getting married so soon!  We were both beyond excited and could not stop smiling thinking about how much closer we were to saying "I do."  I'm ready to start the rest of my life as Dave's wife and cannot quit thinking how lucky I am to have met such an amazing person to spend the rest of life with.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Erin, The Non-Artist

As many of you know, I went to a painting class this past Friday with my friend Kristal.  We had such a fun time, laughing about how horrible are paintings were, though I thought her's turned out great.  Though I love going to these classes, a part of me hates them at the same time.  I'm some-what of a perfectionist and the fact that I'm a HORRIBLE artist drives me crazy!  I tried so hard to get my painting to look like the teacher's but mine turned out AWFUL!!  I wouldn't even hang it in a garage!  I was hoping it would be able to go in our kitchen but that is simply out of the question!  I'm hoping with all this practice, my painting skills will improve but with the way this painting turned out, looks like I've got a long way to go!
On a happier note, Dave and I went and got manis/pedis on Sunday afternoon.  He's probably going to kill me for telling you this and showing you this picture, but I think it's cute!  It was a relaxing thing for the both of us to do together and now his nails will be all pretty for the wedding! :)

I'll post about Monticello later this week! :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Fall

When I woke up this morning it was 50 degrees, which to me equals boot weather!  I was so excited that it was starting to finally feel like fall; my most FAVORITE time of the year!  I wore my Steve Madden brown riding boots with a pair of jeans and a cute cardigan from Banana Republic.  Don't you love casual Friday?  I had to make a trip to the post office during lunch, so I decided to stop by Starbucks to pick up a mocha as a yummy fall treat!

I'm looking forward to a fun weekend!  Tonight I'm going to Brush N Blush in DC with a girlfriend of mine.  I'm super excited about a fun night with wine and painting!  Tomorrow is supposed to be absolutely GORGEOUS, so Dave and I are going to Monticello to do some touristy things and visit a winery.  Should be the perfect day! :)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  It's starting to look a lot like fall! :) :) :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What's in a Name?

I was given the name Erin Leigh Quirk by my parents.  You would think that with a short name like Erin, there would be no need for nicknames, right?  Well that whole theory was WRONG.  I guess I never realized how "unique" my last name was because in high school I was no longer Erin, I was "Quirk."  My high school swim team also gave me a few nicknames.  To them I was Quirky, Quirkypoo, or Spaz.  Spaz because I tend to freak out when people poke or tickle me.  I'm very ticklish and am constantly laughing when I'm getting pedicures!  Water also comes out my nose when I bend over to get a drink from a water fountain and my friends found that to be "Spaz" worthy.  I'm sure there are many other reasons Spaz was a nickname, but probably too many to list.  Luckily, "Spaz" only stuck in high school.   

Once I went on to college, I figured I would be Erin again but I was wrong.  I was called Quirk or Quirky.  One of my bosses I worked for in college even decided to call me "Q". Then I moved to Arlington, VA.  I was out of college, trying to be a "grown-up", so I thought, no more nicknames, right?  Wrong AGAIN.  Some of my friends call me "Rein" because their BlackBerry would auto-correct Erin to Rein.  Dave calls me Rin, which my dad thinks is pretty funny.  We were at my parent's house this past Christmas and Dave, my dad and me were decorating Christmas cookies.  Dave decorated a cookie and wrote "Rin" on it and my dad was cracking up, he said, "What? Is Erin too long?"  Haha.  But Dave continues to call me Rin and his brother, Tim, likes to call me Rin Rin.  I guess you can never be too old to have a nickname!

The name I'm most excited about is the one I'm getting in LESS than 2 months, Mrs. David O'Brien. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

For All Those Candy Lovers

Anyone you know in your life addicted to candy?  Well, I've got a neat idea for you!  Dave absolutely LOVES candy, well any kind of sweets that is, so I decided to do something a little different for his birthday this year.  In addition to his gifts and ice cream cake, I decided to make him a candy cake!  I simply took a few different size tin cans from Michaels and stacked them on top of each other.  To make them stick to each other, I used packing tape.  Once I got the shape and height I wanted I started to put double-sided tape on candy bars that I had bought.  I had bought all different kinds of candy bars, both full size and fun size from Target.  You can use whatever candy your heart desires!  I then began to tape the candy bars around the tins, filling up every inch of space.  I then topped it off with a big blue bow!  It was a very simple project that I think turned out wonderfully and I think Dave will agree.  I seem to remember him having 3 full sized candy bars in one sitting.  Can we say chocolate overload?!?! :)  All in all, I'm happy with the way it turned out.  Next time I might try wrapping the candy bars in different color paper/wrapping paper to match a certain theme (think bridal shower, baby shower, graduation, etc.).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another Great Weekend Has Come to An End

 I had such a fun and relaxing weekend after a stressful work week!  Dave and I started the weekend off by going to Fire Works Pizza, in Courthouse, with another couple.  We enjoyed some yummy pizza, beers and sangria!  Then we went back to our place and enjoyed a few beverages and played Taboo and Catch Phrase. It was a fun night with lots of laughs!  I'm still constantly singing "Team 2, Team 2, Team 2!!" ;)

 Saturday we slept in, which was AMAZING, and just hung around the house for a bit.  I had purchased a deal through Capital Deals for Barrel Oak Winery, located in Delaplane, VA.  I had been there before a couple years back for a work outing.  I thought it would be the perfect thing to do since the weather was AMAZING and it had been such a crummy, rainy week.  So, we took the hour long journey into the "country."  It's so beautiful out there and it's always nice to escape city-life every once in awhile.  So we started our tasting.  We got to taste about 12 different wines which was so much fun.  I forgot my sheet with all my notes this morning, so I'll post later what my favorite wines were!   Half way through our tasting I noticed Dave's good friend Ross and his girlfriend, Caitlin, were there too; what a wonderful surprise!  By the way, Caitlin has an amazing blog Patent Leather Shoes, you should definitely check it out!  So, we ended up hanging out with them the rest of the time.  They bought a bottle of wine and we sat outside and enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine with some brie and goat cheese and were able to catch up.  It was a wonderful afternoon.  After we said our goodbyes, Dave and I decided to go back to Stribiling Orchard to pick up some more apples and cherry apple cider, since we were only a few miles away from the orchard.  After we got our apples, it was time to head back into the city!
We decided to catch the Georgetown vs. Lafayette game in Georgetown, since Dave is a Lafayette Alumni.  We had a nice evening watching football.  Unfortunately, Lafayette lost, but was still a great night to watch football.  Then we decided to check out Bobby Flay's new burger joint in DC,  Bobby's Burger Palace.  We both enjoyed our meal.  I had the "Dallas Burger" which is spice crusted with coleslaw, monterey jack, bbq sauce and pickles with a coffee milkshake.  Dave had the "September Special" which I believe had bbq sauce, bacon, cheese and shoestring onion rings with a black and white milkshake.  We shared a thing of sweet potato fries.  We still prefer our burgers from Rays Hell Burger, but were happy to give Bobby's Burger Palace a try!  I did thoroughly enjoy my coffee milkshake!! :)

Sunday was a relaxing day.  We finished watching a movie from the night before and then Dave had a soccer game in the afternoon, which they won!  We were able to do some chores around the house and I made Dave ANOTHER apple crisp! :)  All and all it was a WONDERFUL weekend!  Just what a needed!!  Just 3 days left until the deadline!  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can....

AND exactly 2 months until the wedding!  :) :) :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Ever have one of those days when everything just seemed to go wrong?!  Well, I had that kind of day yesterday.  I was meeting with a client in DC and I was super excited to wear these new tights I had gotten from Banana Republic because I LOVED the design and I was going to wear this awesome bracelet I had gotten from the Kate Spade sample sale.  Whenever I have something new to wear, I always get excited and happy, which USUALLY makes for a great day.  So, I took the Metro into DC, minding you, I had never been to this client before.  Apparently I took the wrong exit out of the Metro.  I ended up walking the wrong way in the POURING rain.  After about 20 minutes I finally made it to my destination.  I was meeting a co-worker there but she was running a bit late because of the traffic, so I decided to sit in the Starbucks which was located next to the office building.  Once I sat down, I noticed a HUGE snag in my NEW tights.  I was so mad!  I know most people wouldn't consider this to be something to fret about, but I was annoyed because they were brand new!  I sat there for about half an hour waiting for her, checking work emails, Twitter, etc. 
 My new tights
 My new bracelet

We worked there until about noon, then she dropped me off at my place so I could get my car and drive into work.  The rain was beyond awful at this time.  I could barely see in front of me.  This made for a VERY long, stressful drive into work.  I've been so swamped lately with the September 15th deadline quickly approaching, that I've been working later than usual.  So when I left work last night, I thought the traffic wouldn't be too bad because I was leaving so late.  Boy, was I WRONG!  It took me over an hour and a half to get home.  I guess it didn't help that we were having major flooding.  By this point, I just wanted to go home and go to bed and end this terrible day.  When I got home, Dave had dinner made, a cleaned apartment, and a homemade mojito made with the mint that we are growing on our porch.  What did I do to deserve such a sweet guy like him?  After venting to him about my terrible day we relaxed, ate a fantastic dinner and caught up on some tv.  At least my bad day ended on a high note! :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

You Know I l Like My Chicken Fried...

(Picture only shows half of my meal!! :))

Cold beer on a MONDAY night.  A little tribute to The Zac Brown Band, who I'm actually listening to right now! :) Being a girl raised in the south, I enjoy grits, biscuits, fried okra and of course fried chicken!  I know they aren't the healthiest things in the world, but it's nice to have them every once in awhile as a "splurge"  Well, my fiancé, Dave, and I really enjoy Liberty Tavern's homemade buttermilk fried chicken.  It is to DIE for!!!  It's so moist, not greasy.  Words cannot describe how amazing this dish is!  Liberty Tavern, which is located in Clarendon, runs a special on Monday nights; for $15 you get buttermilk fried chicken (portions are generous-lasts me 2 nights!), two sides, a biscuit, some gravy and rolls.  This has got to be one of Dave's favorite meals!  

We hadn't had the fried chicken in quite awhile, so these past two Monday nights, we have ordered it to go and brought it home to watch "Breaking Bad" (a favorite show of ours).  I would like to think this could be a Monday night tradition, but I don't think my waistline would appreciate that! ;)  If you live in Northern VA or in DC and you love a good fried chicken, please try Liberty Tavern's.  It will change your WORLD!!! :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Maps of LOVE

So I stumbled across another project I wanted to try on Pinterest and thought I would try it over the long weekend.  First, you get maps from places that are important to you (e.g. where you met, where you married, etc.) and cut them in the shape of a heart and frame them.

I had ordered 3 maps from Amazon - Virginia, South Carolina and Jamaica.  Arlington, VA - where we met, Charleston, SC - where we are getting married, and Montego Bay, Jamaica - where we are going on our honeymoon.
I went to Target and purchased 3 distressed white frames, scrapbook paper and heart cutouts to trace.
I came home and placed the heart-shaped cutout over the map of Virginia, making sure that I was including Arlington and proceeded to cut.  I did the same thing with South Carolina and Jamaica.
I then took three sheets of scrapbook paper and cut them to the size of the frame.  Next, I glued the heart-shaped map onto the scrapbook paper.  I had also bought some small heart-shaped cutouts and decided to put them next the important cities - Arlington, Charleston and Montego Bay.
I put them in the frames and voilà, my project was complete!
It was a very easy project and I think it looks great over our bed.  It symbolizes important places in our lives together! :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Apple Crisp!

After our hike on Saturday, my fiancé and I went apple picking at our FAVORITE orchard, Stribiling Orchard, in Markham, VA.  This is our third year going!  We picked a lot of delicious apples - mainly Macintosh and Gala apples.  We bought so many apples, that I decided to make my future mother-in-law's famous apple crisp!  It's my fiancé's absolute favorite.  Here's the recipe:
6 cups apples, peeled, cored, sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1/2t. cinnamon
1 C brown sugar
1 1/4 C all purpose flour
1 C rolled oats
1/2 t salt
1 stick butter
1/3 C shortening

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2.  Mix apples, sugar and cinnamon and place in bottom of 13x9 baking pan.
3.  Combine brown sugar, flour, oats and salt
4.  Cut in butter and shortening until mixture is crumbly. (Slightly microwave the butter to soften.)
5.  Sprinkle over apples
6.  Bake 40 minutes or until crisp and brown
7.  Serve with vanilla ice cream
Thanks, Lynda for the AMAZING recipe!  It was SO goooooooood! :)

Thunderstorms, Rocks, and Bears, Oh My!

My fiancé and I are not the most "outdoorsy" people but we decided to try something different this weekend - a hike!  My fiancé did some research and decided that we should go to Shenandoah National Park.  So we stopped by our favorite bagel shop so we could "carb up" before the big hike.  We also got sandwiches in case we got hungry during our hike.  We started our drive and the sky looked pretty dark and scary.  I was getting nervous because I am deathly afraid of storms and the last place I would want to be stuck in a thunderstorm is in the middle of the woods.  About 20 minutes into our drive, the rain started to poor and the lightening was unbelievable.  At this point, I was hoping my fiancé was going to just turn around, but he assured me it would clear up.  We finally made it to Shenandoah National Park after about 1 1/2 hours and the sky had cleared up!  
My fiancé stopped and got a map of the hike we were going to do.  It was about 6 miles, downhill on the way there and uphill on the way back.  We parked the car and we were off!  The hike to the waterfall was pretty uneventful except that I fell a couple times on some rocks, but that's just me being clumsy!  I didn't think the hike to the waterfall was too bad.  We spent some time taking in the scenery and took a few pictures, then we were on our way back!  

About five minutes into our hike back, we ran into some hikers who warned us that they had just seen a black bear and for us to be careful.  I was terrified at this point but my fiancé and I had no idea what to do.  We tried to quickly hike back to the grounds, but it was pretty difficult since the hike back was all uphill.  My stomach was in knots because I was so scared that I was going to see a bear and the hike uphill was tiring me out.  Luckily we made it back to the camp grounds without running into a bear but we were exhausted.  We were so happy to be back to the campgrounds.  If it wasn't for the bear thing, I think this would have been a great experience, however, I think I'll be staying out of the woods for quite some time. :)