Growing up, I always loved chicken and pastry (or chicken and dumplings). When I was little, our church would do a Pot Luck Sunday every few months and the chicken and pastry was always one of my favorite things on the menu (along with homemade chocolate layer cake, of course). I've only made it myself a handful of times, but it really is so easy to make as long as you have a few minutes to stand with the pot! 

A friend shared her recipe and I made a few changes to make it our own. It's a great weeknight meal and perfect for cool fall evenings!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Anne's Frozen Dumplings
  • 2 - 32oz chicken broth
  • 32 oz water
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1 Lipton French Onion Packet
  • 1 tbsp. (or season to taste) Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, boil water with Lawry's Seasoned Salt. Add chicken and boil for an hour. Remove from pot and shred. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, boil the chicken broth and water (should be 96 oz of liquid total). Add in garlic powder and French Onion Packet.
  3. Drop in dumpling strips 8 - 10 at a time, continuously stirring lightly. Let the pot come back to a boil before adding in the next step. Continue until entire package is in pot.
  4. Continue cooking for 8 - 10 minutes. Stir continuously.
  5. Add in shredded chicken and continue cooking for a couple of minutes.
  6. Remove from burner and set aside for a few minutes to cool.
  7. Serve and Enjoy!


Happy Prime Day! I've been searching through some of the #PrimeDay deals to see what kind of goodies I may need and was happy to see that some of my favorites are great deals as well! My favorites list below includes items I already own - and keep reading to see what is on my wish list!

Roomba - when we first got our Roomba, I used it daily. While I don't use it as much as I used to, I still turn it on a couple of times a week! We have one of the more basic models but I love the option of having the one with mapping. 

Camo Leggings - I have had these for over a year and they're still just as great as they were when I ordered them!

Air Pods - Love these! Would also make a great Christmas gift if you are shopping early. 

GrandeLash - I got these serum back in March when quarantine first started and I stopped getting my lash extensions. I haven't used it as much as I should have but can tell a difference in my lashes! 

Makeup Bag - I don't have this exact makeup bag but a very similar one from Amazon! Love the marble print and the organizational system inside!

T3 Hair Dryer - I actually got my hair dryer when it was on sale during the Nordstrom Sale and so far, I love it! I like that it has 3 temperature and speed settings and I've been trying to use less heat on my hair so that feature has been very helpful!

Shop Other Amazon WishList Items:

When I first started blogging, I shared a Friday 5 every single week! It ranged from something I had purchased to something I had my eye on to an event that had happened in the week! I want to get back to sharing these tidbits so welcome back to the Friday Five!

Golden Coil Planner

I absolutely love my Golden Coil planner. I'm very picky about what I look for in a planner as I like having a lot of space for note-taking but don't necessarily want to have to keep up with a second notebook. What I love about the GC is that is completely customizable. I opted for a weekly view that has a calendar on one side and a page of notes space on the other. It's the perfect hybrid option that fits my needs.

Marble Makeup Bag 

One of my best friend's actually recommended this makeup bag to me last summer and I've used it ever since! I love that it has compartments and also packs nicely. It's also under $15.00 so that's a win too!

Makeup Towel 

I finally purchased a set of Weezie makeup towels after having my eye on them for months and they haven't disappointed! We have white towels from Pottery Barn that I love because I bleach them, but it's been so nice having makeup-free towels. They have several cute options to choose from for embroidery but I went with a monogram. 

Juliska Mug 

When we got married, we registered for  a set of mugs from Crate and Barrel. I hardly ever used them because they just didn't hold a large cup of coffee and I found myself reaching for our novelty mugs instead of the set. I finally decided to get rid of those and instead bought a set of these Juliska mugs and that's what I drink coffee from each day!

Pumpkin Chai Candle 

Hello, fall! I purchased a new fall candle from my local Pure Barre studio the other day after class and it hasn't disappointed! I love candles and almost always have one burning when we're at home and it felt so cozy in our house!
For our 3rd wedding anniversary, Stephen and I decided to book a last minute trip to Asheville. It's a five and a half hour drive from home, which made it a doable weekend trip. We wanted a change of scenery and a relaxing place to celebrate three years of marriage. I was a little nervous to travel with all that is going on these days, but it was honestly a much needed little getaway and I'm so glad we took the time to get away!

Where We Stayed:

The Omni Grove Park Inn - I've always wanted to stay at the Grove Park Inn and it certainly didn't disappoint! If you are looking for a relaxing weekend, this is a great option. You could honestly check in for the weekend and never leave the grounds! I absolutely love living at the beach but there is just something so incredible about the mountain views. Each evening, we found a spot to take in the sunset and our room also had a great view of the mountains (and the golf course, too). 

Where We Ate:

We received so many wonderful recommendations on restaurants in Asheville! I made a couple of dinner reservations for restaurants in downtown, but ultimately, we decided to stay on the property each night for dinner. While we'd love to try some more of the recommendations on our next trip, eating dinner at the Grove Park was the best fit for what we were looking for. We were able to get ready, grab drinks, watch the sunset on from one of the many locations to take in the views, and then eat a delicious dinner - all without having to go anywhere. 

There were also a few places we wanted to go that were only offering takeout - so be sure to double check before you go!
Wicked Weed Brewpub - This was our first stop once we got to Asheville! We had to wait about 25 minutes but they take your number and text you when your table is ready so we just shopped around while we waited! They were not seating guests inside but the patio was spacious with large umbrellas so we were comfortable outside. We decided to skip full meals and chose a few sides and appetizers and it was perfect! I don't drink beer all that much but they had some great cocktails as well - I had the F-P-3 and it was good and refreshing.
Sunset Terrace at the Grove Park Inn - This was our favorite meal of our trip! We managed to snag a super late reservation (someone had cancelled), so while we didn't watch the sunset during dinner, we watched it from one of the landings on the back deck while waiting for our table and the atmosphere was still perfect. It's the perfect date night spot, for sure. Steve loved his steak and I loved my wedge salad (we got appetizers and sides, too!). 

Isa's Brunch - We just happened upon this little spot while looking for a parking spot on Saturday morning. Our wait was probably 30 minutes (maybe a little more), but again, since it's in downtown, you can wander around while you wait. Stephen ordered the Chicken and French Toast and said it was amazing! My pancakes were great, too. 
Edison at the Grove Park Inn - We decided to go to Edison's last minute. We had reservations at Posana's but after going hiking and being away from the hotel for the day, we just wanted to take relax and hang out there. It was the perfect option as we got drinks and hung out on one of the terraces while we waited for our table (we didn't have a reservation but we only waited about 45 minutes - and when you have views and good drinks, that wait flies by!). Edison has all kinds of menu options but we opted for the cheese board and Stephen got a cheeseburger and I got a bacon grilled cheese and soup. My grilled cheese was good but the cheeseburger was amazing! Would highly recommend. 
Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack - This came recommended to us and we also drove past it on our way into town! We decided right then that we would give it a try on our way back out of town. The restaurant is currently closed to dine-in, so I'd recommend calling ahead or ordering online! While they do have outdoor picnic seating and a covered patio that you can take your to-go order to, we decided to just eat in the car before hitting the road. Our car picnic lunch didn't disappoint! I had the Rocky's Way chicken tender sandwich (mild), while Stephen had the fried chicken plate (Rocky's Hot). And if you don't try anything else, get the fried mac 'n cheese poppers - I didn't say it was healthy! 


Other recommendations:
  • Sierra Nevada Brewery (we wanted to go there for lunch our first day but sadly, they're still closed for dine-in)
  • Curate (the most recommended by far)
  • Hemingway's
  • Posana
  • Corner Kitchen
  • Sunny Point CafĂ© (we would have gone there for brunch but they were take-out only)
  • Pack's Tavern
  • Red Stag Grill

What We Did:

  • Shopping in Downtown Asheville
  • Hiking
  • Breweries
  • Golf 
  • Spa

The Highlights:

Hiking at Craggy Gardens - Going into the weekend, I knew I wanted to go for a hike of some sort. Craggy Gardens is the perfect option if you are looking for stunning views but a quick and easy walk. We drove just slightly past the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center and through the next tunnel to a little parking area and from there, we hiked the 1.4 mile (round trip) up to the Craggy Pinnacle, a 360 degree view at 5,640 feet. The hike up (through a tunnel of rhododendron) s a good little workout but a quick walk and the views are incredible. 
The Spa at Grove Park Inn - While I wasn't sure if I would end up getting an appointment at the spa, I was so glad I did! I managed to snag an 8:30am massage appointment on Saturday morning and it was absolutely heavenly. The atmosphere going in was so quiet and relaxing and the amenities offered in the spa are incredible as well. I didn't end up taking advantage of the amenities as much as I would've liked as I was the only one with an appointment and Stephen and I had plans for later in the day, but the next time I visit, I'd love to spend more time in the spa and better utilize the extras. 
Golf at the Grove Park Inn - Our final activity of our time at Grove Park Inn was a round of golf. I don't play but Stephen is an avid golfer and I was happy to ride along with him. We had an early tee time of 7:50, and while it was cool and foggy when he first teed off, the fog burned off nicely to absolutely incredible views. It was so relaxing to drink my coffee and ride along in the cart while watching him play.
From Stephen: The golf course at Grove Park Inn is a nice Donald Ross design. The fairways are not too tight and it's not very intimidating off of the tee but there are humpback greens that make you play your approach shots close to score. The good thing about this course is that even if you don't have a great round, you'll still have a great time and it's enjoyable from start to finish. 

Questions:

  • How was it traveling during during COVID-19? Traveling in 2020 is very weird. But we also felt very safe throughout our trip. We took necessary precautions, wore our masks in public areas, and social distanced. We ate outside for almost every meal as well. As far as our hotel, we felt safe and clean in our room and there were certain limitations set by the Grove Park Inn to keep everyone social distanced.
  • Was it difficult getting a reservation for dinner? I would definitely recommend making a reservation in advance. We tend to like to explore our options before making reservations but with everything going on, restaurants are operating at a lesser capacity and others are completely closed. I'd definitely recommend making a reservation as soon as you can if you know of somewhere you'd like to try. I ended up refreshing my OpenTable app throughout Friday afternoon and we ended up getting the late-night Sunset Terrace reservation which as perfect. I had previously called and they were booked up for the entire weekend so we were lucky that it opened up!
  • Did you make a spa appointment in advance? I got lucky on this one too! We went by the spa just to check it out on Friday evening and the staff let me know there was a last-minute opening for the following morning. I didn't book it and then kicked myself for not snagging the appointment. They open at 8am on Saturdays so I went down first thing and luckily, it was available! I would try calling throughout the day if you don't get an appointment in advance. I don't think it always works out that way but it's worth a try!
Safe to say we thoroughly enjoyed our trip! I'd love to head back this fall when the leaves are changing colors - the mountains in the fall are always a favorite. 
The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is officially here for some early access shoppers - as the week progresses, more people will be able to shop, and the sale opens to everyone on August 19th! I always enjoy shopping the sale but sometimes there is so much hype over it that people may feel pressured to shop - and at the end of the day, it's just a sale! Throughout the last few months, I've been trying to declutter our house - my closet included! I've really been working on identifying voids in my closet and not purchasing something just because (or just because it's on sale).

In past years, the things I've purchased from the sale that I've truly loved have been things like:
  • Booties
  • Workout Clothes
  • Jacket
  • Sweater
  • Spanx Leggings
There are some cute sweaters in the sale this year! I am holding off on purchasing sweaters as I know we have some cute ones coming to the shop. I wouldn't mind finding a couple of pairs of workout leggings and maybe a new pair of booties! I've also found that my closet doesn't have a ton of dressier blouses, so I have my eye out for those as well! Keep reading to find what's in my shopping cart for Thursday + some on-sale items that I currently own!
Beyond Yoga Leggings - While these are currently sold out, I'm hopeful they come back in stock! Things are often restocked throughout the sale and these are definitely on my wish list! Beyond Yoga is one of my favorite brands for barre clothes. 

1.STATE Flutter Sleeve Top - This sleeveless top is the perfect transitional piece. It stays hot for so long in North Carolina so the high neck flutter sleeve is the perfect way to add a little fall without being too warm. 

Halogen Cashmere Ruana - This throw on sweater is another great option for a transitional piece. I have a similar one from last year's sale and I often take it with me when I travel.

Sam Edelman Slide - These slides are definitely in my shopping cart. I love Sam Edelman, especially their slides, so this is a good item to add to my shoe closet. 

T3 Hair Dryer - I've had a BioIonic hair dryer for years and while it's been a good one, it's time for a new one. Since the T3 is on sale, I may end up snagging it!

Steve Madden Ankle Booties - I love these gorgeous booties! I have a similar pair in black from last year but love this gorgeous cognac leather. 

Dior Lip Set - I love the Dior Lip Balm so this set is a great value!

FP Movement Crop Tank - If you keep reading, you'll see why I love this tank! I may end up with a second color!

Favorite Nordstrom Sale items in my closet:

Free People Tank - I wore this top in the mountains on our hike and I absolutely love it! It's cropped so I opted for a size M to give a little more length.

Taupe Booties - Last year, I purchased the booties shown above and I definitely think they were a top item in the sale (and I wore them all through fall and winter!) These cute booties are this year's version and I have a feeling they will be a fan favorite, too. They also come in several colors!
Spanx Leggings - I've had my original Spanx leggings for years and years - probably since 2014. They're still in excellent shape! Over the years, I've added a few other styles and if you are wanting a pair, the sale is a great time to purchase! I've also had people ask if they are worth it - I really do think they are. It's what I wear so often during the winter. 

Clothing & Outerwear:

Workout Wear & Lounge:

Shoes:

Accessories:

Not long ago, I shared a recipe for a pound cake, which has been my go-to for baking this summer. Stephen brought home some blueberries the other night and I decided to switch things up, make a few adaptations, and do a lemon blueberry version instead! Hope you enjoy!

Cake Ingredients:
  • 3 cups of fine sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 1 small tablespoon vanilla abstract
  • 1 small tablespoon lemon abstract
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups blueberries

Glaze Ingredients - simply whisk all ingredients until smooth and pour over cake!
  • 6 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Cake Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and spray a tube pan with baking spray. I used this one!
  2. Beat the sugar, butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric stand mixer (we have this one) until fluffy - around 7 minutes. 
  3. While the above is mixing, coat blueberries with a tablespoon or two of flour (I just used enough to ensure that each one had a light flour coating!)
  4. Beat in eggs one at a time.
  5. Add in vanilla, lemon, and buttermilk.
  6. In another bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Slowly mix into the batter. After all flour is in, scrape down sides and beat for another 2 - 3 minutes until smooth.
  7. Fold in blueberries.
  8. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes to an hour and a half. I used a toothpick to test the middle until it came back clean (1 hour and 20 minutes ended up being perfect for our oven). 
  9. Let cool for 15 minutes and then remove from pan to cool.
  10. Once cooled, enjoy or top with lemon glaze (recipe below!) and enjoy!
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