Tag Archives: Football

Fresh Market: A Whole New World


Today was the day, folks. The day for which I have been waiting for more than six months. The day which made me semi-envy those who were standing in line to be among the first to behold the wonder on September 11th. The day I was so grateful for a small surplus in my budget so I could indulge in a few “splurge” purchases. The day that Ian and I went to Fresh Market.

Fresh Market has revolutionized this side of town like I’ve never seen. Where I live in the ‘Burg, people do the bulk of their grocery shopping at Kroger. I thought the massive renovations “my” Kroger has been undergoing made people crazy… until I saw little old ladies ramming people’s hips with their carts, yoga-pants-clad undergrads intently forcing their way through the aisles, and small children wide-eyed and clutching large bags of candy corn.

I knew we were crazy for attempting our exploratory shopping trip on the first Saturday FM was open after just three days of business, but we set out anyway. I had my list in hand (chia Kombucha Synergies, natural PB, pitted dates, raw cashews, and Kodiak Cakes) and my budget in mind ($25 — ha!). We got a ridiculously close parking spot and forged our way inside amidst the throngs of FM-goers.

I was simultaneously in heaven on earth and overwhelmed. There were several hundred people buzzing around the store, most of them having parked their carts directly in front of the busiest sections of the store. Go figure. No matter — we were both so excited to see what the area’s newest hotspot had to offer that we somehow remained friendly and optimistic the entire time.


Ian readily agreed to be the basket-holder (as long as he didn’t have to hold my purse ;-)) so I could browse. I can’t even count the number of times something caught my eye and I said, “Oh, wow!” You probably would’ve enjoyed my facial expressions if you could’ve seen me marvel over the bulk bins of wasabi trail mix, the frozen kefir, the bright organic produce, the fragrant seasonal coffees, and the sample stations.

Ian *needed* to be back home by 3:30 for the A&M vs. Alabama game, so we were on a slight schedule. As a consolation prize for myself, I decided to treat us to lunch from FM. He picked up a wrap from the deli, and I had a custom-made deli sandwich. With the exception of lunch and a Clif sport energy packet to try, I stuck pretty closely to my list:


FM total: $34.91

We made a quick pit stop at Kroger for the natural PB (I’m sorry, but $9 for a jar of PB at Fresh Market is just not my style) and syrup for the pancakes. I said to Ian, “Would you be offended if I got agave nectar instead of syrup?” and he immediately said, “…yes!” He makes me laugh 😉


Kroger total: $6.44

I would have liked to spend all day more time in Fresh Market today, but it was a madhouse and things were getting a wee bit claustrophobic. We hung in there with the chaos for over an hour, but we were both getting pretty hungry, and I was still, ahem, recovering from last night’s festivities with one of our favorite couples. We got our goodies to go, popped by Krogs for the final two items, and settled in for an afternoon of football at home.

I am beyond excited to make Kodiak Cakes tomorrow morning before Ian heads back to Richmond, and to make Brittany’s homemade Lara balls this afternoon! I also can’t wait to go back to Fresh Market and explore further, perhaps during the week in the morning when it will (hopefully) be less crowded. Lots of exciting stuff coming your way, so stay tuned!

P.S. Do you have a favorite grocery store that just gets you really excited about food? Or am I that crazy blogger who professes her love for grocery shopping, completely oblivious to everybody else’s groans…? Let’s chat!


Is This Real Life?


Shit’s getting real, my blends. The bridezilla-mania hath begun. Hence my absence from Le Blogge over the past week.

I told Ian this afternoon that I don’t think I’m going to be the kind of bridezilla who cries and screams and throws a hissy because things aren’t going her way; I think I’m going to be the kind who gets easily overwhelmed and shuts down. I told him this as we were exiting the Richmond Bridal Expo. There’s nothing like hours of breathing flower fumes, attempting to converse with vendors at an unreasonable decibel, and sampling overly sugary treats to make you feel like you’re losing your mind.

We walked around the downtown Richmond Marriott for well over three hours, poring over photography samples, analyzing invitation fonts, tasting miniature cupcakes, smelling perfumey seasonal bouquets, and asking rapid-fire reception venue questions — all while dodging thousands of other brides and grinning like fools. There is so much to think about — and this isn’t even the half of it!



This is just a smattering of the information I attempted to cram into my handy-dandy bag I was given as we walked in. It should have contained a calculator, tissues, a shot of whiskey, and a tiny TV for the grooms to watch the championship game. My guy earned major Bonus Points for missing Ray Lewis’s last game 😉 Mom also earned Bonus Points for coming downtown to help me ask all the right questions and gather critical information. Go Ruth!

Of course, we slipped in for the obligatory goofy photo booth shots:


We attended a wedding in June 2011 of one of Ian’s fraternity brothers; he and his wife had a photo booth, and we thought it was just adorable! Couples and friends could take as many photos as they liked during the reception, and both the newlyweds and their guests got a copy of their silly pics for keepsakes.

When we finally stepped away from the chaos, my head was buzzing: Cupcakes or traditional cake? Bowties or ties? Indoor or outdoor? Church and then reception site or all-in-one? Plated dinner or buffet? Seasonal flowers or personalized bouquet? Richmond or out-of-town? Photographer or videographer? Tuxes or suits? Plantation or ballroom?

[Don’t mind me. I’m just slowly suffocating. Carry on!]

The one thing we do know? We (hopefully) love each other enough to make it through this planning nightmare together and alive 😉

PLEASE — If you are married or engaged, give me any and all advice or recommendations you have for wedding-planning! We are such total novices in this department!

Why Did I Eat That Much?!


For the first year in about a decade, I actually ate turkey. I’m 98% sure we’re all sick to death of hearing about Thanksgiving and looking at other people’s Instagrammed turkeys, but I’m going to be cliché and blog about my Thanksgiving anyway, if for no other reason than that most families — with the possible exception of the Obamas — would be hard-put to have as ridiculously large a spread. I’d like to pretend that I’m not bragging, but I totally am. The Gradys and the Smiths put on one hell of a Thanksgiving celebration.

Let me back up to Thursday morning; we were to be out the door by 8:30 sharp, and somehow we met our goal. As I mentioned previously, we celebrate Thanksgiving at my mom’s oldest sister’s house, which is 3 hours from our house. With (miraculously) just one bathroom stop, we arrived around 11:45. I’m pretty sure Caroline and I were supposed to make ourselves useful, but we pretty much explored photo albums and socialized with our cousins. Finally, when all 16 of us were present and accounted for, we feasted. I tried to snap a few photos before my 20-year-old, 6-foot cousins devoured everything, but this is just a sampling:

A new addition by Gina, pizza dip (I will definitely be modifying and trying this recipe!)

Sylvia’s famous carrot cake, as well as pumpkin pie

Pecan pie, and my mom’s “magic cookie bars,” which I successfully recreated

Corn pudding, Gina’s deviled eggs, Sylvia’s sweet potato casserole, homemade cranberry sauce

Requisite mashed potatoes and gravy — literally, the best I’ve ever had!

There was whipped cream for the pies…

…but we were not lacking for anything, even so.

There were also collard greens, turnips, pickle and olive selections, cream cheese dip, creamy garlic dip, port wine cheese dip, country ham, frosted pumpkin bread, mini cranberry muffins, hot spiced apple cider, homemade dinner rolls… and probably more that I’m forgetting, as I’m still recovering from yesterday’s gluttony.

Yesterday, for the first time in many moons, I ate until I could not eat anymore. I was terrified that as in Thanksgivings past, I wouldn’t have room for dessert, so I sampled almost all of them. Indulgence is both a blessing and a wicked curse. Thankfully, after our belly-bustin’ meal, everyone wanted to go see my cousin Bethany’s new house, so we (literally) piled 10 people into two cars and set off. If I had not walked up and down sets of stairs, climbed over piles of plywood and siding, and mozied around the yard, I would have lapsed into a food-induced coma. I am absolutely not ashamed that after my meager “exercise,” I returned to the food. After all, part of being grateful for all that I have is not insulting the cooks 😉

We finally decided to pack it up around 7:30, which put us home just after 11:00 last night. If I hadn’t still been so full, I would have been just the tiniest bit sorry to miss the last quarter of the ‘Skins-Cowboys game, which was in full swing when we departed:

Today, my sister and I are planning to venture out to do some Black Friday shopping. We are not those midnight-to-6 a.m. crazies, or the loonies who’ve been camped out for three days in front of Best Buy. Any deals I was hoping to catch will still be available around lunchtime or on Cyber Monday. For me, Christmas shopping on Black Friday is a rush, though the parking situation is a different kind of rush…

Needless to say — as evidenced by the above — I am thankful.

I hope your Thanksgiving was excellent! What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?

Anniversary Weekend Treats


Sometimes, it’s really hard to believe Ian and I have been together for three years. It seems much shorter some days, but often I feel as though I’ve known him all my life. Three years have absolutely flown by and so much has happened in the interim, so it was extra exciting to celebrate in Richmond this weekend.

We accidentally dressed exactly the same — down to brown leather footwear.

As it turns out, P.F. Chang’s makes special arrangements for couples celebrating their anniversary. The second we walked in the door, two hostesses and two waitresses wished us a happy anniversary and asked us how many years. They seated us in a special part of the restaurant, and they even brought us a complimentary bottle of champagne to toast.

I know I always say I would have taken pictures, but… but on Friday, I just wanted to soak in every moment.

We ordered my favorite appetizer — vegetarian spring rolls — and Ian’s favorite appetizer, lettuce wraps. I got my absolute Chang’s favorite entrée: the Ma Po Tofu. It’s crispy silken tofu surrounded by fresh steamed broccoli and served with white rice. I can’t even explain the perfection. Plus, most people don’t swoon over tofu. I really wanted to order my favorite dessert, the Chocolate Dome, but we were just too stuffed!

Because we had a 5:30 reservation, we got back to my house around 7:00. We decided to rent The Campaign, which was absolutely hilarious. Obscene and ridiculous, of course, but just what we needed to top off our evening. Accompanied by some Strawberry Cheesecake Skinny Cow 😉

At 7 a.m. on Saturday, I was rudely awakened by my alarm. Yes, Ian had us up at the crack of dawn (or so it felt) to head to Hampden-Sydney with some of our couple friends and his med school buddies.

Armed with secret-ingredient brownies which I borrowed from Colleen, camp chairs, buffalo chicken dip, and enough beer for a small army, we set out while there was still frost on the grass. I always love a road trip 😉

Even though my parents couldn’t make it, Ian’s parents set up one of the most fun and well-attended tailgates we’ve had in 4 seasons of Tiger Ball. HSC was playing their top rival, Randolph-Macon College. Unfortunately, they lost at home yesterday, which was a tough loss to watch. In fact, my sister and some of our friends and I didn’t return to the stadium after halftime. We checked the live stats from the Tiger Athletics website, which is something I don’t normally care about, but the Macon game is a big deal at Hampden-Sydney.

After the game, we tailgated for a few more hours before finally packing it up. Some of us even shared dance moves…

We were supposed to attend VCU’s Med Ball ’12 with some of the friends we’d brought to the game, but frankly, we were exhausted. I was disappointed that I didn’t get to wear the beautiful dress I had spent weeks picking out, but there will be other opportunities. Actually, I enjoyed watching Parks and Recreation with Ian at his apartment, simply talking and spending time together, and hitting the hay before midnight.

Today, after brunch and a little more R & R, I’m headed back to my apartment. Guess it’s time to get my head back into Work Mode. T-minus 24 days until my much-needed Christmas break!

I hope you had a fantastic weekend!