in honor of my sista

For more details on my sister’s birthday week extravaganza, see here {a trip to Hinnant Family Vineyards} and here {homemade hand scrubs: chill pill + pep talk}.

Hot Apple Cider for the office!

Gingerbread and pumpkin whoopie pies with colorful cream cheese frosting...and multi-colored sprinkles of course

Sister siiiiiister {to the tune of the Sister Sister theme song}

Typical 🙂

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trip to hinnant family vineyards

I am finally getting around to posting some long overdue photos. On my sister’s birthday, part of her surprise scavenger hunt was a trip to a vineyard in Pine Level, North Carolina called Hinnant Family Vineyards. We had a blast sampling the muscadine wines {which I recently discovered are my favorite kind of grape!} for only $5. And we got wine glasses to take home- I added mine to my growing collection {which includes Three Foxes in Delaplane, Virginia and Dennis Vineyards in Albemarle, North Carolina}.

Interestingly, there is a small graveyard across from the winery

Welcome to the vineyard!

Wine glass display

Hinnant wine glasses

My sister sipping her wine. Love that ring (it's from our grandmother)

wine tasting tips + a review

This morning, it randomly occurred to me that we might have been supposed to tip at our wine tasting the other day. I did a quick google search and found that tips are not expected (whew!). I also came across several websites that list wine tasting etiquette, so I thought I would share some of their dos and don’ts. Shockingly, we didn’t break any of the rules! That might be a first 😉

In general, the rules are: don’t bring loud kids (though we did bring the dogs, which are like children. But quiet ones!). Don’t confuse the palette-cleaning crackers with a buffet. Don’t smoke. Don’t wear perfume. Don’t chew gum. Ask for a spit cup. Don’t complain about the tasting room fees. Don’t get too drunk! Don’t ask for the sweet wine too soon, because it affects the palette.

As I was reading these unofficial rules, I realized how important it is to choose a winery where you will feel comfortable. We called two on the way out to Albemarle and ended up choosing to go to the one with longer hours but also friendlier staff members. In case you don’t know me and my sister in real life, we are very casual and not interested in putting on airs at a pretentious place!

Dennis Vineyards & Winery was exactly what we were looking for. Luckily, we were two of only a few patrons, so we received stellar individualized service. As I mentioned in my last post, I ended up realizing that I like semi-dry wines, not sweet wines. The wine tasting attendant customized our tasting menu to our tastes, choosing each wine based on our reaction to the previous. Because of this, we were able to narrow down our selection as we went.

On October 8, they are holding a Harvest Festival and Grape Stomp, complete with a fall hay ride. I encourage you to make the pretty drive to Albemarle to check it out. And don’t hesitate to contact me if you do decide to go!

a jaunt to the vineyard

On Sunday, my sister and I decided to take a spontaneous trip to a vineyard as part of our “leaving work at work” pact. We are of course still in love with Raleigh, but it’s nice to get away to rejuvenate and refresh every so often- or in my case, accidentally every weekend (DC then vineyard then DC again!).

So we grabbed PSLs from Starbucks, pumped up the iPod, rolled the windows down, put on the cruise control, and acted like the silly sisters we are.

Pictures galore!

The lone table at the top of the hill (the “Table in the Sky”) at the Three Foxes Vineyard in VA, wher we went for a Hike & Wine trip

Beautiful field of flowers at Sky Meadows State Park

I made these amazing pumpkin pancakes and topped them with butter, a dash of powdered sugar, and a few Halloween sprinkles 🙂

Zucchini-carrot muffins made from this recipe. I used cinnamon applesauce because it’s the only thing I had on hand. These are amazing warmed up with cream cheese!

Delicious fajitas made with this homemade fajita seasoning . I stir-fried onions, peppers, and zucchini with the seasoning, melted jarlsberg on top (only cheese I had!), and threw on tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, and beans.

I saw an ad in the laundry room from one of my neighbors, so I went to check out her items for sale. I bought a clear vase, 5 wine glasses, and a picture frame- for $4!

Found a great use for the vase/bowl!

Made great use of the picture frame. I have a picture of my best friend from home (“Wifey”); my sister and I with our newborn nephew; me, my sister and her best friend (who’s like my other sister); and cowgirl hats, which remind me of home.

I’m a terrible photographer but I somehow got this amazing picture when I was in high school. I’ve been meaning to frame it ever since, and I finally did yesterday. *Note: the picture of the picture is horrible, but the actual picture is great 🙂

Pictures of friends and family hanging by my door!

The space over my couch has been glaringly white and empty since I moved in. My friend and I were chatting yesterday when we had the completely random idea to use pashmina scarves (which I needed a place to hang anyway) as wall decor. I love it! It’s funky and eye-catching.

If you know me at all (or even have read my blog at all), you’ll know I’m obsessed with fall. I wanted a place to display this gorgeous pictures- in beautiful shades of orange, yellow, and red- so I decided to make a little hanging collage!