Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Christmas Dress, #tbt style.

I am a firm believer in buying a dedicated Christmas dress every year.
I am sentimental and cannot help it.
I blame my mother for this.

and I am am simply in love with what I found this year.

This ritual and life event of finding the perfect Christmas dress stems from cherished childhood memories. I distinctly remember as a child being able to open two presents on Christmas Eve, both revolving around church. One was a toy that would keep me quite and entertained during the service. The other was my Christmas dress with matching hair bow. I would immediately put it on and prance around the house.

My mother took such pride in finding the perfect, smocked, monogramed dress clad with huge paper white collar and perfectly tied bow in the back. You know the dresses I'm talking about. The ones that make all southern mamas swoon. And my mother was no exception. She has a true talent, some would call it a calling, for finding the perfect children's clothes. Just ask any of my friends who have little ones. She can also tie the perfect bow, I don't know how she does it but she does.

yes, that is little ole me in one of my said dresses.
 and check out those bracelets.
girl knew how to accessorize even back then.
and is it sad that I still have the same damn haircut?

I really had not intended to take a trip down ole memory lane when I planned this post. But while I was home the other weekend visiting my parents, I stumbled across these and could not help myself.

All of my old Christmas dresses from my childhood. 
My sweet mother has been keeping these pretties tucked safely away in hopes that one day I might have a daughter of my own to play dress up. Not only had she kept these babies in pristine condition but she also had a slew of my classic Lilly shifts stashed right along with them. I am not sure that I can think of a sweeter gesture than this... my mother is a gem I tell ya! 

Ok, let's fast forward to present day and let me introduce you to my classic, yet chic, 2014 Chirstmas dress

|| dress || shoes || watch ||

I am in love with her. 
She was bought on a whim, when I had exactly 15 minutes to find something and boy does she deliver. Plus she looks fab with my way to expensive rehearsal dinner Badly Mischka shoes that I never can find an excuse to wear.

I have already rocked her once to a Galla for Longwood but plan to wear her to my company's holiday party and Christmas eve at church. 
I am totally loving black this season and just think this dress is something else. 
So versatile and so easily wearable to a holiday party or wedding. 

Do yourself a favor and go buy the dress now, she is a keeper and one to wear over and over again.

photo creds go the amazing lady over at Newlyweds:North - duh, I could never do this myself.
xoxo Steph. 

gotta shout out to Annie over at Home of Malones for hosting her Thoughts for Thursday Linkup - thanks lady!

Have a fab Thursday and cheers to one more day before the weekend.



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Monday, November 17, 2014

Grateful for Friends.

Are y'all ready for things to get all serious and mushy on a Monday morning?
This post today is coming straight from the heart.

So it's mid November and Thanksgiving is truly right around the corner.
For me, this time of year serves as a gentle reminder to stop, and take a moment to express my gratitude for the amazing things in my lives.

Today my heart is overly grateful for my friends.

I desperately need to pause for a moment and give thanks to the amazing women who I am blessed to call my besties.

I need to acknowledge those ladies in my life that continue to lift me up when I fall but also slap some sense into me when I truly need it.

Who know who I really am and still love me.

The same ladies that have held my hand through breakups, stood by side at my wedding, held my hair back during some not so proud moments and laugh with me.

The ones who were my roommates, confidants, life coaches and reality tv watching buddies.

Who never let me doubt myself and truly want what is best for me.

The ones who loved me at my darkest moments and who were so truly proud of me during my wins.

Who sit in my office and listen to me vent when days just seem too overwhelming and who pat me on the back when I deserve it.

These are the ladies who loved me before I knew who I was.

These are the ladies I need to thank.
 And I do, from the very bottom of my heart.

It is not easy to admit, but I do a poor job of keeping up with these amazing women. I let life get in the way too often and neglect the ones that mean the most. Work, sheer laziness, travel are all excuses I lay out as to why I suck so bad at keeping in touch.

Reality is that relationships change as we get older, and I struggle with how to handle that. I find it harder to hold on to what we used to have and transition to what we have now. It does not mean that I love these ladies any less, in fact I love them more. It just means that I am learning how to balance being a wife, friend, professional and myself all at the same time. And that is hard.

Over the last couple of weeks, my friends have just shown me so much love, in so many ways. Whether it be through texts, chats over wine, girls night out, or a much needed phone call. Having these amazing women in my life restores my faith in myself. And that is something you just cannot get from anywhere else. Your kind words, kick in the pants and no judgement has been a life saver for me.

So to my dear sweet friends, you know who you are, I love y'all more than you will ever know and I am truly grateful everyday to have you in my life.

So, now that I got the sappy post out of the way, I have got some pretty things up my sleeve for you this week.

Have a great Monday loves and give send your besties a little love today.



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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Find your Voice.

So, I have to tell y'all...I had a whole other blog post planned for today but I just could not get what was going on in in this little pea head of mine to translate on paper (or blogger). 
So that post will have to wait till another day.

|| headboard || curtains || watch || leggings || similar shirt ||

So instead let's chat about finding your voice.
 your blogging voice. 
and I think I am still finding mine actually. 

Ever since this post and this one too, I truly feel like my writing and voice here on Virginia Sweet has been the most honest and true sense of myself yet. It feels good to not hold back and really use this blog as a platform to be as candid as I choose to be. 

This new found voice is something that I work hard at. I feel silly admitting that to y'all but it is the honest truth. Do y'all know how hard it is to type just like you talk and not hold back? It's scary to put yourself out there to people who only know you through your blog. 

There have been several times here on the blog where I had to put my big girl panties on and just hit the publish button. I was doubting myself. Doubting that I would come across wrong or silly. But the more I put myself out there, the more I learn that this type of exposure is what makes me relatable. 

And if I have learned anything over the last year of blogging, it's that being relatable is one of the most important things. I try to be as genuine as I can and not sugar coat what my reality really looks like.

So here is my advice,
 because clearly I am such an expert, 
find your voice and stay true to who you are. 
write like your talking to your bestie and remember to not over think things.

and that's all for me today.

I promise for more fun and frank convos next week. 

Oh, and I gotta give shoutouts to my fav guest co hosts of Thoughts for Thursday link up, Stephanie at Newlyweds: North and Laura at Happily Ever Parker



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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

a blogger photo shoot

so the following post is what happens when one of your dear friends, who happens to be a fellow blogger and an uber talented amateur photog, comes to Richmond for a girls day.

You take blog photos, drink a whole bottle of wine and the go shopping.

I had been dying to update some pics around here and just couldn't bring myself to pay for an hour with a professional photographer. So as soon as Stephanie told me she was heading South to escape the cold that is Maine, I knew she would be game to take some pics. Especially if our old friend St. Michelle Riesling was in attendance. And who would I trust more than my old rommie and
fellow blogger to pose and promise me I do not look crazy and awkward.

The girl came with a vision in mind for the shoot and even brought me her beloved faux fur vest to wear. Now, that's love. What happened next, I am over the moon about.

I am tickled beyond belief to show y'all these.

She nailed it huh? 
I cannot tell you how much fun we had and how much I love these photos.  
Steph, thanks for these and everything else we have buddy.
"One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood." ~ Seneca
I would also be remiss if I did not acknowledge our Veterans.
Thank you to all the countless men and women who have laid down their lives and to those still serving so that we may have the freedoms that we so much enjoy.
 Thank you for your service and pride.
and thank you Daddy!



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Monday, November 10, 2014

Weekend in photos.

We had the best weekend y'all. 
It left me feeling super blessed, uber mushy and truly thankful for the wonderful people in my life.
These are the kinds of weekends that are just plain good for the soul and make you feel just down right lucky. 

We spent a ton of time with our sweetie little niece and nephew. These two are just too cute for words so the following pictures will have to suffice. And I think they will! How sweet is Miss Libbs in her pink marshmallow suit? And Palmer in his hat and vest? 
I just can't handle all the cuteness. 

We all had a blast at the Urbanna Oyster Festival on Saturday and basically ate our way through the darling little town of Urbanna. My brother and my husband ate as many raw oysters as they could get their hands on and us girls stuck to the fried ones.

Sunday was wonderful. Stephanie, who is in town visiting her parents, drove up for a day of much needed girl talk, wine and photos. 
a girl could really get used to having her so close by. 

so, without further ado, enjoy my lovely weekend in photos! 

and I could not let y'all go without a sneak peek of the photo shoot the incredibly talented Stephanie did for me yesterday. Can't wait to share more tomorrow! 

A special thanks to Biana, and Meghan for hosting their wonderful linkup!

Have a stellar Monday kids and see y'all tomorrow!



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Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday confessions...

happy Friday y'all!


 I thought it would never get here.

Well, thought I would change up my usual Friday ramble and make some confessions.
Nothing is more entertaining that reading someone put themselves out there for all blogland to read right? heehee

{willow crowns}
I must confess that I bought something for every little love I know including myself. I just could not help myself. I am a sucker for a great bow, what can I say?

{I watch terrible tv}
This week's highlights include Lifetime's Prison Wives Club, TLC's 90 Day Fiance and Home Sweet Bus. All of which are incredibly awkward and huge train wrecks and I love them anyway.

{these pants}
I may or may not have worn these every night this week when I got home from work. yes, they are sweatpants, don't judge.

{Chick-fil-a's grilled chicken}
Why did I even try? When am I going to learn, you just don't mess with a good thing.

{I bought these booties....}
because Stephanie told me too. And she was right. They're awesome and maybe I need the black pair too?

{blanket scarf}
why are you so damn hard to tie!?! I don't know what I am doing with it half the time so I end up shoving it down my Barbour vest and praying for the best.

{speaking of scarves}
I really want this one. It has been sitting open on my work computer all week, starring at me, taunting me to push the complete my purchase button.

{remember this post?}
yea, you know, the one where I bragged about being so great about meal planning on Sundays. Well that did not happen this week. Our dinners consisted of Trader Joe's frozen meals, pizza, wings and cereal. delish huh?
epic fail.

Well friends, I think that about sums it up for the week.
Hope that made you chuckle just a little bit.

Tomorrow Reid and I are off to the Urbanna Oyster Festival tomorrow, then a special Northern visitor will be in Richmond for some girl time.

And I have to mention my link up gals! 
Five on Friday: April, Christina, Darci and NatashaFriday Favorites: Amanda

Have a wonderful weekend loves.



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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

fool proof crockpot chicken noodle soup.

Boy have I got a good one for ya today friends. 
Last week, I crockpotted the crap out of this recipe and I promise it could not be any easier. 

basically, you chop, dump and cook
and presto chango 
you have a delicious classic ready when you get home from work.

Corey over at Family Fresh Meals really knows how to throw a good crockpot meal together. I did tweek a couple things and basically used this recipe as a guide. I beefed up the amount of veggies and used store bought chicken broth because I for sure don't have the time or the patience to make it from scratch. 

So here's the skinny on this soup.

what you will need:
1 large crockpot
3 nice sized boneless skinless chicken breasts - about 1.5-2lbs
2 1/2 cups peeled and chopped carrots
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3-5 stalks of celery (I used 5 because I love a hearty soup)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
7 cups of low sodium chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups uncooked egg noodles
fresh parsley for garnish - I totally skipped this!

what I did:
I did all of my prep work the night before I planned on making this soup.
I chopped my carrots, onions, celery and minced my garlic. Threw all of that, plus my thyme, bay leaf and olive oil in a big bag and placed it in the fridge over night.

The next morning, I placed my chicken breasts directly on the bottom of the crockpot. Dumped my veggie mix from the fridge on top. Poured my 6 cups of store bought stock on top. Salted and peppered it real well. Turned on low and went to work. (approximately 6-7 hours, my crockpot has a timer with a warm feature and it works swell)

When I got home, the house smelled like I had been in there cooking all day, and it was divine.
I took the chicken out, and used two folks to pull it apart. Dumped that back into the crockpot. Measured out two cups of uncooked noodles, threw those in along with one last cup of stock. Turned the cockpot on high for 15 minutes or so and it was complete.

I was very impressed with the end result and took exactly one blog photo prior to diggin in. Clearly, I will be making this one again.

hope y'all enjoy!



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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November must dos.

is it really November?
golly day.
Christmas will be here before ya know it.

and just where did October go?
probably the same place those Reese's Pumpkins went.
you start with a whole bag, then next thing you know, you're eating the last one.

I feel like time is just flying by this year and if I don't make some goals quick, we will be chatting about New Year's resolutions....

Here we go!

1. drink more water.
I do not drink enough water. I get so wrapped up in work, I really just forget to drink anything or even get up to go pee. Yikes, not good.

2. Get all my Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving.
I want to do this for three reasons. One, I want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the mall. Two, I tend to overspend when I wait till the last minute since I then in scramble mode. Three, I want my tree to look all pretty with wrapped packages under it for as long as possible. Clearly, three is the most important - duh!

3. Take a good family picture and order Christmas Cards.
I waited too long last year and never ordered them. epic fail. This year, that cannot happen. Tripod and camera remote to the rescue.

4. Eat more meals in the dining room.
We eat all meals sitting on the couch. This is amazing for catching up on the DVR but horrible for my butt, stomach and kitchen. I tend to just lay down right after I eat and snuggle in for a night of tv watching instead of cleaning up from dinner. This has to stop. Plus, I love my dining room. It should definitely get more use.

 5. Couch to 5k.
and speaking of my butt and stomach....this looks promising and I think I could actually do it. Reid thinks it would be fun to do together.... ummm yea right - he works out every day and loves that ish. I workout never. As a person who self proclaims herself to be skinny fat, I guess it is time I do something about that.

6. Cancel my ispy subscription.
I keep forgetting to do this. And I am sorta over it.

Well there you have it.
At least I finally got this list out there.
 What is on your list for this up coming month?



ps....gotta give a shout out to Stephanie and Megan over at Willow Crowns. Stunning job ladies.
 I am simply in awe of your winter collection!

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Weekend Recap.

So Monday, we meet again. 

at least we got an extra hour of sleep, right? 

So, I need to get some blog house cleaning out of the way because we know no real cleaning got done at my house this weekend. 

First, I am so excited to announce the winner of the May Designs give away. 

I am over the moon exicted for you, Jillian!
did you know they have a sweet little baby diary?

Second, I want to say hello and welcome some new followers to Virginia Sweet. Sharing this little piece of blogland with you makes me one happy gal. 

Third, let's get right into the my weekend recap. Other than insta, I sorta unplugged this weekend. Which was a nice change of pace for my husband and family. I did not worry about what  I was wearing, what sorts of pictures I was taking (which resulted in terrible ones, sorry!) or what time it was. It was lovely. 

After our 3 trick or treaters came by on Friday night, Reid and I scooted down to Cary Town for an impromptu date night. We had an early and pretty tame Halloween night. We tried to grab Starbucks on the way home, but it was closed at 8pm....say what!?!?!

Saturday, we got up and proceeded to the closest Starbucks (because clearly we did not get our fix the night before) and then made our way down to Williamsburg to see my parents. We met them for lunch at my mothers fav spot, the Old Chickahominy House, then she persuaded me to hit up Yankee Candle Factory with a 2 for 2 coupon. How could I resist? My dad, Reid and the dogs all headed back to my parents house to watch football while I spent what seemed like eternity in Christmas hell. Now, I love Yankee Candle Factory, let's just be clear about that. But my mother, Judy, is obsessed with Christmas and she has to Bless her heart. After 4 candles each and a rip roaring headache from all the smells, we headed home to sit by the fire, wrap up in some fuzzy blankets with the dogs and sip on apple cider.  We ended the evening with delicious dinner at Kingsmill before crashing into my childhood bed. Isn't is strange to be sleeping with your husband in the same bed you slept in when you were like 14? It is soo odd to me! 

Yes, that is Sampson riding in a real life baby car seat. No, we did not buy that for him. Yes, we are crazy but not that crazy. It is my nephew's car seat and Sam just happens to like it too.....we think it is because he can see out and Tuggy cannot get to him as easily. 

Anywho. Sunday, we had an absolutely lovely, lazy morning cad with blueberry sconces and tons of coffee. The sun came peaking out mid morning, so Reid and I decided to do something with our lives. We headed down to Colonial Williamsburg with Tuggy for a quick stroll and some Cheese Shop for lunch. Mom and Dad met us for lunch, handed us our other dog Sampson and then we scooted back to Richmond just in time to baby sit for our two fav little people under 3 - Libbie and Palmer.

||my vest||my scarf||his sweatshirt||

Phew....what a weekend. 
but I have to say that I loved every second of it!

A special thanks to Biana, and Meghan for hosting their wonderful linkup!

Till tomorrow loves!


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