An Evening in "Whine" Country

Remember when I talked about how classy I was when my mom and I went wine tasting in the back of a junk shop?

Or when Ian and I went wine and chocolate tasting at a State College winery?

Obviously, tasting wine makes you classy. So when I found a free concert at the Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton, VA, I knew we had to go. It even said that summer sangria would be available! Um, yum.

So naturally, I did my hair and put on my classiest high-waisted shorts for our little adventure.

We drove about 45 minutes over the river and through the woods, back through neighborhoods with the biggest houses we have ever seen. That right there should have been a clue. 

Or maybe I should have considered right off the bat that we no longer live in a little college town in Central PA, and that you used to balk at paying over five dollars for a pitcher of an alcoholic beverage, and that when it says that "summer sangria is available" that means it's free, right?

Not so much--try 25 dollars! For a dang pitcher! And six dollars just for a measly glass of locally crafted wine!

Yes, I know. Welcome to the real world, Bren.

We arrived to the beautiful winery, parked in the field, and hiked over to the newly renovated barn where dozens of high-class adults were milling around with glasses in hand and nibbling on platters of cheese and nuts. Out on the 200 degree patio, with every seat and table taken, mosquitos in the air, was a man playing the guitar. Hm-- so much for concert. 

It was hot. I wanted wine. My hair was a mess. I was suddenly feeling super down about the whole situation.

New plan? Go home, crack open a beer, and watch Waiting.

But when we got home, after some research on the husband's part, he discovered an Irish pub not too far from us that had live Irish music. That sounded more like our scene, so after a quick outfit change we hopped in the car again and headed down the road to the Auld Shebeen. 

Even though the price range was still a little higher than what we would have liked (read: 2.50 for a State College pint), the fun atmosphere, live music, and delicious Guinness made it OK. 

Who say that pubs can't be classy too?!


The Hair Game

Yesterday, the weather cooled off a little bit so we took a little stroll through suburbia up to the lake. The waters weren't clear blue like Jamaica, but hey, we'll take it. I wore the huge red hair flower that I wore for the wedding to bring back some of that Jamaican vibe.

Speaking of hair, it's getting to be that time of year where I'm ready for a new 'do. I usually tend to go through this in the fall, with the end of the summer humidity and the start of a new school year. This year I think it's a little early because 1) It's been AGES since I've had a brand new haircut, 2) I haven't done it in at least a year because I wanted to have long luscious locks for the wedding, and 3) New life, new place=new hair. Right?

Here's what I'm thinking...

Thoughts? I had bangs several years ago, and have been wanting them lately. Although I think I might be forgetting how much of a pain they were...


The Newlywed Nest: The Finished Product

A couple days ago, in the blistering heat, my new husband and I moved to what my mother lovingly refers to as "the lower level of a contemporary home". In layman's terms, we're living in a basement.

But before you imagine Ian and I huddling for warmth next to the furnace, peeping out the tiny ceiling windows, and swatting away spider after spider, take a look at the amazing apartment we scored that just so happens to be in what used to be a basement. (However, the spider part might be more accurate than not...)
Path to our private entrance.

DIY'ed bulletin board using extra tea towels and wedding brooches.

Have any idea what my favorite room might be?

Now on to the living room...

The best part of this room is by far the built in shelves. So many decorating options!

Take a stroll down the hallway through more leftover wedding decor to the room with the only brand new furniture we own...

White walls soon to be filled with wedding photos.

And last, but not least, the manly/Penn State room where Ian does real person stuff and Bren can use when she wants to/needs to be business-y.

It's slowly beginning to look and feel like home.


Newlywed Hungry Jack Zucchini Surprise

After a gourmet dinner of Giant Frozen Pizza on our first night in the new pad, I thought my lucky husband deserved something requiring a little more thought after a long day of more endless unpacking.

Wanting to use one of my pretty new casserole dishes, and considering that all we really have in the kitchen are ingredients to make a casserole (eggs...cheese...assorted vegetables...) I found this recipe for a Bisquick Zucchini Bake. Since I had to improvise with a few things, I renamed it to Newlywed Hungry Jack Zucchini Surprise. I think that sounds better anyway.

4 eggs
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup oil
1 cup Bisquick
1 onion (chopped)
8 oz cheddar cheese
Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano

Let the fun begin! The zucchini was supposed to be grated, but since we don't have a grater, I just chopped it up really small.

 And then I remembered that I'm a real person now and have a gadget that will do that for me! How swell!

Step two: shredded cheese. Didn't have that one either, but we sure did have some sliced cheddar. So it was back to the cutting board for this one.

Next, the Bisquick. Or your favorite pancake making mix, perhaps the one that was on sale? 

Now just throw it all in a bowl with the eggs, olive oil,  a few shakes of parm, and spices and mix your little heart out with your new wooden spoons...

...and throw it into a pretty teal casserole dish given to you by one of your best friends!

Pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes and enjoy the aroma wafting amidst the boxes, plastic, and bubble wrap. Excitedly pull it out as you jump for joy that you didn't burn the place down and it looks pretty damn good.

Enjoy with your hungry husband! Because the next day, maybe he'll make you pancakes.

Today's cooking adventures brought to you by Mrs. B!

**Speaking of cooking, my sister just started a cooking blog so you should check it out! She is fantastic and I kind of miss her a lot.


The Newlywed Nest

I've been having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that in the past three weeks, I have gotten married...

...been to paradise and back...

...and came home, packed up, and left our hometown to begin our life together in our big fat Greek basement apartment.

The two days following the honeymoon were spent in a frenzy throwing all of our stuff into boxes, hard-core cleaning my apartment, and trying to see as many people as possible before we left State College. Because this time, it wasn't just us leaving--many of my friends are headed off to all corners of the country (and world!) in the next few weeks. And this time, it's not just for a summer or for a semester--it's real life. I couldn't have imagined a better way to spend one last night at home than sitting around my parents kitchen table with my new husband, old friends dropping by, and enjoying some wedding cake. 

We rose early on Thursday morning to begin our journey with a 16-foot Budget Truck and the big blue un-air conditioned SUV. Oh yeah, on the hottest day of the year. Let's just say I might have managed to sweat a good portion of the calories I gained on the honeymoon.

I will be honest--I got a little emotional as we drove the familiar streets of State College for one last time on our way to stop at a friend's house (to pick up a very classy wedding gift :-)). But those feelings were quickly replaced by excitement to start a new adventure and to unpack all of our new toys. And then those feelings were replaced by a little bit of fear of driving on the Capitol Beltway all by myself. And then the 100+ degree heat made me stop having feelings.

Other than a flat tire on the truck in Maryland, the trip was very smooth and we arrived to our new home to a little housewarming gift from Georgia, the Greek landlady.
Champagne in the fridge.

After everything was moved in, she invited us up for some sandwiches, beer, and some Greek wisdom on marriage--you will definitely be hearing lots about Georgia in future blogs. 

So here I am, blogging from a new spot, drinking coffee from new mugs, and ready to share all of our new adventures, stories from the wedding and honeymoon, and a new scene of thrifty shopping!

And because I'm all about sneak peeks these days, check out a preview of our new home:

Red Kitchen Aid mixer, antique tins from the wedding, and AWESOME spice rack.

Retro glasses wedding gift from bridesmaid Shannon.

Red bowls on our vintage kitchen table from Aunt Joan's basement + retro teal chairs from a flea market in Reedsville (thanks mom!).

Ian's man cave--panoramic photo of Beaver Stadium from the groomsmen!

The husband is out at Sears, so it's time to get to work on the rest of the unpacking before the best part--DECORATING! 

-Brenda Brodie....BB.....Mrs. B....time to find a new signature!


The Big Day: A Quick Look

After months of planning, hard work, crafting, nitpicking, and maybe a little bit of stress, the big day arrived.

And it was perfect.More to come very, very soon folks.


The Back Porch

Everything is quiet. Everyone is my house is still in bed, and there is nothing on my to-do list that can't wait a couple hours. I'm sipping a steaming mug of Caribou Coffee from the magical Keurig and dare I say, we are almost ready to go have a wedding?

Even though I am a big girl and have my own apartment in the same town as my parents, I've been sleeping every night this week in my bedroom at home, the one I've grown up in, rearranged furniture every other month in, created to reflect my ever-changing teenage style, and moved back into every summer after a school year in the dorms. Even though now it is overtaken by bridal shower gifts and wedding decor, I can still see the remnants of my childhood peeking out: the album cover decorations on the wall, paintings from when I tried to be artsy, scrapbook and craft supplies poking out from under my bed. It's all there, and unfortunately, waiting to be sorted through as I decide what will come along to Virginia. 

But my favorite spot at my parents house, by far, is the back porch.

You always hear laments that we live in a world where people sit on their back porch in seclusion instead of the front porch socializing with the neighbors. I was fortunate to grow up in a neighborhood where people do still sit on the front porch - in fact, my neighbors make up a large portion of the wedding guest list because everyone is very close - but nothing beats the solitude of the back porch when you just need a quiet moment. The birds in the trees, squirrels rustling the leaves, and the wind blowing  as you read a book with a big glass of iced tea. 

Then at night, the twinkling Christmas lights come on and the back porch turns into the family gathering spot after dinner, where we come sit and chat with each other, watching the fireflies and feeling safe in our little back porch haven.

Last night, after a particularly crazy day mostly spent in the car driving all over creation for various wedding appointments, Ian and I parked ourselves on the deck with a two glasses of Chardonnay and just took a deep breath: we're almost there! My parents came in and out, my sister was inside baking chocolate chip zucchini bread, and I thought about how much I am going to miss the comfort of home sometimes.

But as Ian and I were chatting (and fishing stray bugs out of our wine), we were talking about how blessed we are as we get ready to start our new life together: he has a job, we have an AWESOME place to live, and we have had so much help and support from our friends and family who have lovingly donated their time and talents to making our big day incredible. 

The best part about our new place is that we will have our own back porch! It's like it was meant to be.I can't wait for evenings on our new porch under the twinkling lights with a glass of wine and my new husband. Visitors always welcome. 


A Productive Birthday

22. The next age that comes after your last big birthday milestone (before 50?). Last year, I celebrated my newfound ability to go out and have an adult beverage in public. This year, after breakfast with my handsome man, I jaunted around Amish country with my mom and sister.

After a visit with our florist in Burnham, PA, we stopped in this great diner right down the street for a delicious and incredibly nutritious pre-wedding week meal of fries and a milkshake. And let me tell you, they were incredible.
Hello future kitchen inspiration!

After several detours through the mountains of PA, I headed to the mall with some beautiful friends to spend up bridal shower Victoria's Secret gift cards. In my true bargain hunting fashion, let's just say we made out very well. 

The evening was spent at the baseball field cheering on the good 'ole State College Spikes with some of my best friends-- aka enjoying some expensive ballpark beer, talking, avoiding fly balls, and cheering when we were supposed to.

It was a great birthday.


Shower the People You Love with Love

After the madness that was the bachelorette party last Saturday night, it was time to put on some class for the bridal shower.

I couldn't have thought of a more perfect way to celebrate than with my gals, neighbors, and family in the backyard of one of my best childhood friends. When the planning process began, I told the girls I only had one stipulation: no dumb games. AKA, no wrapping people up in toilet paper wedding dresses. Because does anyone really enjoy that? I was envisioning a laid back affair where people could eat and just chat and enjoy each other's company. And that's exactly what happened. 

I got so many beautiful gifts, including lots of pretty red things to adorn our new kitchen! The weather was perfect (as in, a great hair day!) and it was so fun to have all the important ladies in my life in one place.

The gals and our moms.

The Saylor gals with my future Mother In Law.

One of the coolest things about having childhood friends as your bridesmaids? Re-creating childhood photos like this one:

Can you feel the love?

It was absolutely perfect. And the best thing is we will all be together again in just one week!

Woah. ONE WEEK. Yeah, this is happening. Get ready for a CRAZY week!

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