Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gifts for Mom

Mother's Day

With April coming to a quick close, Mother's Day is right around the corner! Although we should celebrate our mothers all the time -- after all, how great are they -- Mother's Day is an extra special time to show them how much we care. Being that Mother's Day is also spring time, I love to get my mom gifts that are perfect for the season.

Shop Now:
One // Yves Saint Laurent Baby Doll Kiss and Blush
Two // Tory Burch Eau de Parfum Spray
Three // Letterpress Personalized Tray
Four // Society Social Floral Highball Set
Five // Tory Burch Printed Flops
Six // Golden Thread Monogrammed Necklace

If you haven't seen this video for the World's Toughest Job, you can watch it here.

Thanks, moms!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Showers & Soirees: The Wedding Dress Cake


When I hosted a shower for my best friend last summer, I wanted to create a memorable dessert. Let me disclaim that I am no chef or baker. With that said, I love to try my hand at new recipes or projects, so when I came across a Wedding Dress Cupcake Cake on Pinterest, I had to give it a try. It was just a picture without instructions, so I got creative in the kitchen. I also gave this cake a test run as I didn't want my first time creating it to be for the shower.

Ingredients:
  • Cake Mix of your choice
  • 3 16-oz. cans of icing (or 48 ounces of icing if you are making your own)
  • Cake Box bottom or similarly sized cardboard box*
  • Beads or other decor for belt
  • Icing dispenser 
*My mom wrapped our cake box bottom with wrapping paper so it was not just a blank sheet

Directions:

  1. Bake 22 cupcakes per directions. (I used a yellow cake box mix and followed the directions provided)
  2. Align plain cupcakes (no icing) to create a dress-like shape. Start with 5 cupcakes on the bottom, 4 on the next row, then 3, then three rows of two. Finally, add two cupcakes as the sleeves. 
  3. Once cupcakes are in desired shape, put a dot of icing under each one as to prevent them from slipping out of the dress shape.
  4. Ice each individual cupcake with your icing dispenser.
  5. Once each of the cupcakes are iced, go in to the holes of the "cake" and fill with icing. I did a circular dot pattern to fill in the space between each cupcake.
  6. Finally, add your decoration to complete your wedding dress!
This cupcake-cake does take a lot of icing -- so I would certainly over-prepare. It is also a bit messy if you're not an accomplished baker, which I am not. I had icing everywhere, but was very pleased with the finished product!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Save the Date for Hanes Hosiery


Who said tights are just for the winter? Hanes Hosiery offers so many different options of tights and hose, some of which are perfect for wedding season. One of my favorites is the sunkissed tight -- it gives your legs a smooth finish and even enhances your tan. Plus, closed toed shoes feel that much better!

You can enter the Hanes Hosiery Save The Date Sweepstakes for the chance to win $1,000 and plenty of Hanes Hosiery products!

Here's a sneak peek of the sunkissed tight -- you can't even tell I have tights on!

Stay tuned for a full feature of Hanes Hosiery!

This post was sponsored by Hanes Hosiery, but all opinions are my own.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Weekending in Williamsburg

Between a few days off from work, a quick trip to Williamsburg, and Easter, it's hard to get back into reality. But we had such a great time in Virginia. We normally go in the summer -- and you would think that it would be warm in the middle of April, but it was quite the opposite! We were dressed in pants and sweaters instead of shorts and tanks. It was certainly different, but we had a great time nonetheless. It was also rainy on Saturday, and whereas we would have normally walked around Colonial Williamsburg, we settled for a little drive-through, which let us see a few things without standing in the pouring rain. We did stop at the Jamestown Settlement before heading back home, as they have an indoor exhibit. We've visited before, but it's always interesting to go back, especially if you like early American history.

Busch Gardens was a large part of this trip, and one of the main reasons we went. The great thing about this theme park is that there is something for everyone. I love the thrill of roller coasters, and Busch Gardens offers 5 large coasters that are a blast. There are also shows like a Celtic Irish dancing performance, Pet Shenanigans which features rescued animals, and even performances that you can watch while you grab a bite to eat. There are also many kinds of food to choose from -- Busch Gardens is split up into countries, so if it's pasta that you crave, lunch in Italy is for you. It was the busiest we've ever seen it this year, so we purchased Quick Queue passes. To us, this was a major advantage because we would have spent much of the day waiting in lines. With the Quick Queue, you could cut your wait time down over an hour at times. And several times we didn't have to wait at all. I would highly recommend Busch Gardens for as a trip -- it is perfect for people of all ages.

This trip is a tradition in our family, so we tend to do the same things each time we go. Dinner at Aberdeen Barn is a staple -- the Delmonico or Filet are the top choices on the menu. A stop at the Christmas Mouse (a year-round Christmas store) has happened since we were very little, so we continue to do it each year. Roller coasters at Busch Gardens bring out the adventure. And it's hard to beat breakfast at the Colonial Pancake House -- it doesn't stand out as a restaurant from the outside, but it is delicious. I recommend the french toast.


 














Itinerary:
Thursdsay --
Drive
Ferry Ride
Dinner at Aberdeen Barn
Christmas Mouse
Friday --
Breakfast at Colonial Pancake House
Busch Gardens
Dinner at Fireside Chop House
Saturday --
Breakfast at Colonial Pancake House
Jamestown Settlement
Home
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and a perfect Easter!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Williamsburg 5

It's already Friday again -- and today, I'm spending it at Busch Gardens! My parents have always taken us on "mini-vacays" to Williamsburg since we were little. It was a tradition that my grandparents did with my dad, so we do it together as well. We always take a few days just to go to Busch Gardens (probably the only theme park I really and truly like), eat at our favorite restaurants, and explore Colonial Williamsburg. I'm excited for this impromptu weekend trip -- and for the thrill of roller coasters today!

One/
I have always loved history, and Williamsburg is so rich in it. I did a rather large project my senior year of college on Williamsburg and its transformation that was helped along by the Rockefellers. It's the same each time we go, but it's fun to wander the streets and wonder what like was like in simpler times.

Two/
Remember that tradition is everything on this trip. Once we get in to Williamsburg, our first meal is more often than not dinner at the Aberdeen Barn. It is so delicious -- and it takes you back in time.


Three/
I am not the biggest theme park person, but something about Busch Gardens has always been so much fun. With so many shows and dining options, plus animal exhibits and concerts, there is always something going on. It is such a clean and well-groomed environment. At some points, you feel more like you're ina park as opposed to a theme park. The roller coasters at Busch Gardens are also a lot of fun -- there are so many to choose from, and if you don't like roller coasters, there are so many other attractions as well. Because I love Europe, I also love that each section of Busch Gardens is themed after a European country. So I'll be in Germany, France, Scotland, and Italy all in one day. Ciao!


Four/
I love being able to spend this time with my family -- this includes awkward poses with little sis next to a bear holding a camera...


Five/
Views like this one. Can you believe this is in the middle of a theme park? That's one reason why I think BG trumps so many other theme parks -- nature conservation is a huge theme.


Any suggestions for us while we're in Williamsburg?

Hope you have a great weekend!


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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Insta-Lately

Today, I'm road-tripping with SW and my fam to Williamsburg for a little end-of-the-week giveaway. It's been a tradition since we were little, and though we normally visit in the summer, I'm excited to see Williamsburg in April. We'll be visiting Busch Gardens, too, but you'll see a little more about what we're doing tomorrow. For now, here's a little bit of life, lately.
Instagram: @vzellebrown
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