Vino in Virginia

Virginia, in my opinion, is a very underrated state in the U.S. Neighboring our nation's capital and the Atlantic ocean, this state provides a unique variety of urban and rural settings. Among my favorites, second to the beach of course, is the little slice of wine country that surrounds Charlottesville.

I previously visited the Charlottesville area a handful of times and I was always captivated by it's beauty. It was a no brainer when I, along with the ladies in my family, started to plan a mini girls getaway. Among our top picks for the weekend itinerary are also must see places for those planning to visit the area: Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards and Early Mountain Vineyards.

Pippin Hill

Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards is like a scene from a fairytale! I've visited the winery once before and while I normally prefer to visit new places, this serene setting keeps me coming back for more. I'll just let the images speak for themselves.

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Pippin Hill is also one of the few winery locations offering a culinary experience so we scheduled our visit around the lunch hour. A trip tip for a visit on Saturday - Pippin Hill does not take reservations so plan to arrive by opening at 11 a.m. in order to grab a table in the tasting room or have someone in your party make a quick trip there to put your name on a list because the wait time can be around an hour and a half (it's worth it, I promise you!).

We all shared a bottle of rosΓ© (yes way!) and dined on the most delicious farm-to-table cuisine served tapas style. Our favorite was the cheese plate featuring a variety of local cheeses, spiced nuts and seasonal jams. It paired perfectly with the rosΓ©.

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Early Mountain Vineyards

Like Pippin, our last stop from the weekend not only boasted the most beautiful views but also served a tapas style cuisine with locally sourced ingredients. One step inside the property and it's easy to see why Early Mountain Vineyards was voted the #1 tasting room in America. 

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In addition to the stunning scenery, the food and wine did not disappoint. Our favorites included the 2016 Chardonnay (with 6% Pinot Gris) and the cheddar pimento small plate, both also paired perfectly together.

This girls wine weekend was one for the books and I have a feeling there will be several more chapters because we're already planning our next visit back to the area!

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A Year of Firsts: Bridal Shower Gift

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Fall is increasingly becoming a popular time for weddings. In fact, the hubs and I are preparing for four weddings this season, one of which will be celebrating the union of his youngest brother and our soon to be sister-in-law. Admittedly, I often struggle with the (bridal or wedding) shower gift registry because the sentimental side of me seeks a more personal gift. There was no exception to this for my sweet, soon to be sis-in-law's bridal shower.

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For me, every year of marriage is my favorite; yet, there was something so extra special about the first. I was originally inspired by the champagne glasses on the couple's registry and planned to combine them with a nice bottle of champagne to use for celebrating their first wedding anniversary. While exploring the idea with my trusted friend, Google, I stumbled upon another - a "basket of wine for those special moments in time".

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I inquired with the groom-to-be about the couple's wine preferences and combined their favorites with hand lettered tags for a variety of "first" experiences as husband and wife. I also hand lettered little messages about each experience on the back of the tags.

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Coincidentally, the couple registered for storage baskets; so, I purchased one for their gift and added the above mentioned champagne glasses with a wine accessory from their registry. I completed the gift with a little reusable slate plaque, reading "A Year of Firsts" and attached it to the basket.

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Looking for gift ideas this wedding season? I find it helpful to not only purchase from the registry but to get inspired by it. And if all else fails, here's an idea that is sure to please both the groom and bride-to-be! For a nonalcoholic version, try substituting the wine bottles with candles for a similar effect.

Get: basket from Target here // slate plaque from Michaels here // tags from Amazon here

My Favorite Season

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The warm sun, sand between my toes, and the sound of the ocean roaring up the shore. This is what I live for. It's no secret, summer is my favorite season and I can't help but reflect on this past as we near the end of it.

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I'll admit, summer is far from perfect (and pumpkin fans may argue fall takes that title). There are challenging, messy days to this season. Hello heat and sticky humidity!

Ironically, there is a parallel to this figurative season I'm in now. I've experienced some of the most challenging days in my life so far and to this day I struggle to find balance between myself, marriage and motherhood.

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Yet despite the challenging moments, I've come to realize that this season of my life is my favorite. Motherhood is my favorite.

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Just like the warm sun, the smile on my daughter's face quite literally lights up my life. The pure joy fills my heart and soul to a depth I never knew existed before.

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As we near the end of summer this year, I'm reminded of just how quickly time passes by. That this season is fleeting. All I can do is be fully present and soak up every light filled moment. So, this is where you'll find me for the rest of the it.

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Thank you to our dear friend Shannon for continuing to capture our season so perfectly! xo

Photography: Shannon Moffit // My Dress: Free People // Lena's Playsuit: Marlow & Mae // Lena's Flower Crown: Sage Sisters from Noble Carriage