13 in ’13: Paint & Sip Party!

Hey there!  I’m back with another update on our quest to complete 13 fun things in 2013.  Last weekend, my friends and I visited the Uncorked Artist for a BYO wine and painting class.  Wine and creativity and fun with my girlfriends?  Can I just say – what a GENIUS idea for a business!!

We had a blast.  Basically, you bring your own wine and snacks, and the school provides the paint supplies, canvas, smocks, and instruction to paint a themed painting.  The theme of our class was “Circle Tree.”  Although the instructor gave us general guidelines, everyone picked their own color palette for their painting, and we had license to get as creative as we wanted with the painting.

Here are a few pics from the night:

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Our final masterpieces:
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And one goofy pic for good measure 😉

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I definitely encourage you to try out a painting class if you never have before.  For a type-A personality like me, it was challenging to just relax and get creative and paint with abandon.  But it was so fun!  This would be such a great idea for a unique date night, or a girls’ night out, or a bridal party activity.

How do you let your inner artist come out and play?  Do you consider yourself to be a creative or artistic person?

13 in ’13: Photography at Longwood Gardens

Hi guys!  It’s been a while since I last updated you on my quest to complete 13 things in 2013 along with my friends.  Since then, we not only finished our winemaking adventure (I have 7 beautiful bottles of Pinot Grigio to show for it!), but we also had a great time learning about macro photography at Longwood Gardens.

Longwood Gardens is located in Kennett Square, PA, and is known as one of the greatest gardens in the world.  They have different exhibitions throughout the year (including a beautiful holiday display that I’d love to see this year), and the weekend we visited was right in the middle of their “Orchid Extravaganza.”  Orchids are some of my favorite flowers, so I was so excited to go there with my friends!

My friend Joanne is an amazing photographer, and she not only was patient enough to teach us how to use our cameras, but she also brought along some really nice lenses for us to try.  I am definitely not a natural when it comes to photography, but I thought I would share a few of my favorite shots from the day:

Longwood Gardens1 Longwood Gardens2 Longwood Gardens3 Longwood Gardens4 Longwood Gardens5 Longwood Gardens6It was such a fun day with the girls, and being surrounded by all of those gorgeous flowers made me forget about the dismal PA weather for a little while 🙂

Stay tuned for a post on our next adventure:  a wine + painting class!  (are you sensing a theme here with the wine??)

Weekend Recipe: Baked Apple Steel Cut Oats

Every time I get sick, I get this weird burst of energy right before it takes me down.  It’s almost like my body knows that its hours are numbered and I better get all my chores in before it’s too late.  Weird, right?

Go figure I got a flu shot for the first time in, oh, a decade, and I think I still got the flu.  What gives??  But fortunately, in the window of time before I became the completely useless, sniveling, fever-ridden mess that I am right now, I had the foresight to cook up some really yummy comfort food.

I think this would be a great recipe to make on the weekend, and then you’d have plenty of leftovers to reheat during your work week.  It’s a warm, yummy, healthy, stick-to-your ribs kind of breakfast – enjoy!

Baked Apple Steel Cut Oats

1 cup uncooked steel cut oats
2 tablespoons of butter, divided
2 cups of boiling hot water
1 large apple, cubed (I used a Pink Lady)
1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or regular milk would be fine)
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus some for sprinkling
1 teaspoon vanilla
a pinch of salt
Optional:  brown sugar, nuts, granola, raisins, etc.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place your steel cut oats in a heatproof bowl along with 1 tablespoon of the butter:

Oatmeal1Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the oats, cover, and let sit for 20 minutes:


Meanwhile, melt the other tablespoon of butter in a saucepan, add the apple pieces, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Let this cook down on medium heat until the apples are softened (this smells heavenly!!):


Mix together the almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup, and salt:


Now mix the almond milk mixture, apples, and oatmeal together and spoon into either a 8×8″ baking dish, or 4 smaller crocks.  Bake for 40 minutes (please excuse my dirty oven):


Et voila!  I sprinkled 1/4 cup of granola cereal over the top of the crocks in the last 5 minutes just to add some crunch:Oatmeal7Please let me know if you try this recipe!  And stay healthy, friends.  xo

13 in ’13: Winemaking!

My friend Joanne had a brilliant idea for 2013: a group of us are going to do 13 new things together in 2013; fun things that maybe we’ve wanted to try for the first time or learn more about.  Examples of these “13 things” could be running a 5k, taking a self defense class, learning about macro photography, or learning how to cook something interesting.

So, for January, we decided to get together to make wine!  Specifically, Pinot Grigio, which happens to be my faaavorite white wine 🙂

Below are some pics from Saturday night – thanks, Sara and Joanne, I had a blast! (And we missed you, Julie!)

First, we read the directions 😉


Here’s the Pinot Grigio grape juice in a huge box!


Next, we added warm water to the bottom of the big bucket:


Then, added a packet of some mystery substance to the water:


Next came the juice!


More stirring…


And then we rinsed out the juice bag with more water, which was added to the bucket:


Final step was to sprinkle yeast over the top of the liquid:


…It may look a little creepy now, but in a short time we’ll each have oodles and oodles of delicious vino!


Can you tell I’m excited?!?


In about a week, we’ll check the alcohol level and if it’s ready, we’ll syphon the wine into another container called a “carboy.”  Then, I think there are a few more steps before it’s ready to be bottled.

What a fun evening with some great ladies!  I love the idea of setting a group goal to try new things and learn from each other this year.  If you were to pick 13 new things to try in 2013, what would some of those things be?  I think we could use some inspiration for extra goals to add to our list 🙂

oh and p.s. I forgot to mention I CHOPPED a ton of my hair off!!  what do you think?