As You Wish

I’m so excited to share our engagement photos with you today!

Looking through these, I kept thinking about the Princess Bride and her “Farm boy, poor and perfect.”  If you haven’t seen it, it’s one of the best movies of all time (seriously); you must watch it!

The Fellow, being the wonderful man that he is, let me have free reign over theme and wardrobe. I wanted a vintage feel and had been dying to wear the crinoline I scored at Goodwill a little while ago.

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All of the ruffles!

We asked his grandmother to do our photos as she does photography as a hobby, and I am so pleased with how they came out!

I had my heart set on taking our pictures on an old stone bridge. We went to Sharpsburg, MD to the Antietam Battlefield where we know of two such bridges, and unfortunately both were being restored and were blocked off, covered with plastic, and had construction pieces and dumpsters right next to them. I was crestfallen.

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We decided to stop at the Sherrick House where I could at least have some pictures with a stone wall. A friend at work gave me the adorable picnic basket in the pictures for my birthday, and between it and the historic house, our romantic, vintage bridge photo shoot was turned into the sweetest, vintage, farm, picnic photo shoot, and I just loved it!

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Fogo De Chao

This past weekend was the Fellow’s birthday. We wanted to go to a SCA event but the time off in comparison to the drive/event time didn’t line up. We decided instead to grab our Household buddies and head to the Maryland Renaissance Festival near Annapolis.

After hurriedly putting the final touches on my totally non-garb level fantasy costume, there we were, all decked out in our costumes and nearly two hours into our drive, and the traffic starts to bog down. We’re almost to the gates, when we see it – the flashing road sign searing out in orange lights: “Renn Fest sold out.”

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Out hearts dropped. So we turned around and headed back down the road. We decided since we had to stop in Frederick to drop off one of our friends, we would get sushi. If you’ve never seen the reaction when a couple of Vikings walk into a sushi restaurant, it’s pretty entertaining.

I had tried to set up a surprise with a few friends earlier to drive out to Baltimore to a restaurant the Fellow had been dying to try, but I couldn’t get the schedules figured out. I ended up openly asking him if he wanted to go – just the two of us – on Sunday, and he was so excited. One of our friends was able to go on Sunday after all, so we all piled in the car (again) and headed out B’more bound.

I’m honestly surprised that the concept of amazing food outweighed my fellow hate of cities, but it did. The restaurant is called Fogo De Chao. It is a Brazilian steakhouse.

The website recommends business casual, so we dressed up (any excuse to bust out my pearls) and made reservations for as soon as they opened – they were packed. This was some of the most amazing food I have ever experienced in my life.

The set-up is unique. There is a large salad bar in the center which you are free to visit as much as you wish (and you’re going to need it!). The wait staff circles the dining room with giant skewers of their specialty meats. When you are ready for meat, you flip a small token from red (no) to green (yes), and they will  stop at your table and slice off your portion directly onto your plate. When you’ve eaten entirely too much meat, you will need a break to get some veggies from the salad bar.

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Prime rib on tap. Think about that for a moment. Yea . . . amazing. The best dish we all felt though was surprisingly not beef. Rather, it was the Lombo (pork medallions coated with Parmesan cheese and then grilled to seal in the juiciness of the lean meat) which we found most impressive. I could’ve died and gone to heaven when I bit into that amazing pork, and I’m not usually a pork person!

The service was also phenomenal. We did need to ask some questions as we weren’t familiar with Brazilian etiquette, and everyone was gracious in their responses. Our cups were never empty; we never had to wait for food or clean plates, and everyone was pleasant and engaging. The stark contrast to the poor service we received at the same level of restaurant in Niagara Falls was shocking.

To finish out this amazing culinary experience (and since it was his birthday) we were gifted a dessert, and the Fellow chose Crème brûlée at the waiter’s suggestion as it is their specialty. To. Die. For.

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Our experience at Fogo De Chao was absolutely phenomenal, and I foresee us braving the big bad city again in the future.

There are 29 locations in the United States . If you can get to one – do, and don’t miss the Lombo!

Big Top

This past week was our Employee Appreciation Week, and it had a carnival theme. We had a lot of fun! There were carnival games, food, and a  bunch of guest visitors from other branches of the company.

I ate my first fried Oreo which was simultaneously delicious and disgusting. All that grease! But that’s to be expected.

There was cotton candy on a stick (Side note: Other countries’ names for cotton candy include Candy Floss, Fairy Floss, Tooth Floss and Sugar Clouds. Sugar Clouds is my favorite.) which made me particularly happy. I never had cotton candy on a stick as a kid, but I would always see it in old pictures and things. When I got cotton candy, it was always in a bag. I’ve had it on a stick only one other time. Yuuumy!

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Don’t mind me. I’m just clowning around!

We also had a dessert contest at work. I originally planned to make a Big Top-themed cake with a performing elephant on top but ran out of time. I decided to make the easiest thing I could find – fudge. Normally, we make peanut butter fudge, but I was feeling some chocolate.

This recipe is all over Pinterest from a dozen different sites with little to no variation.

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 bag of chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
sprinkles (optional)

Put the full bag of chocolate chips into a microwaveable bowl. Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk and vanilla over them. Microwave for one minute, stir, pour, chill, and serve. It’s that easy! (But I will give you some additional tips in a moment.)

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I’ve made this with both semi-sweet chocolate and milk chocolate chips, and it sets up about the same with both. My mother thinks that the semi-sweet chocolate chips are too “chocolaty,” but I think they’re just fine. (There is never enough chocolate for me!)

For work, knowing that each judge would need a piece and having already bought the elephant, I decided to pipe the fudge into mini cupcake wrappers instead of just pouring it into a glass baking dish lined with wax paper (which is how I did the second batch and what I would actually recommend doing with this recipe). The fudge doesn’t harden like some fudges; it stays pretty pliable – which can make it hard to get out of the wrappers.

I added some fun rainbow sprinkles to give it a little carnival color pop, printed some circle circus cupcake toppers, and arranged them on a tray around Reginald the Fancy Elephant.

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Working with office supplies, Reginald’s stand is a Dollar Store bucket, that I usually keep pens in, with a paper circle and star, and his top hat was printed on our no-color printer.  He now lives on the cubicle divider between my desk and my neighbors among the jungle that is my office plant.

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We’ve grown rather fond of him.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Everyone knows that song, right? No? Go listen; then come back.

Fall is campfire weather, and I’m all about it! I’m in charge of our (company) side’s bulletin board, and I went with a camping theme.

I was a bit concerned about how it would turn out as my campfire was much bigger than the tent, and the background poster board wasn’t as large as it needed to be, but I think it turned out cute. The stars list all of our team members.

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S’mores are one of my favorite treats, and I was a bit skeptical when I found s’mores-flavored coffee flavoring, but it is sooo yummy. It even has that smokey flavor!

I eat s’mores all year round. What’s not to love about crunchy, gooey, chocolatey deliciousness? They’re pretty easy to make indoors as well.

I make mine in the toaster oven. I pop the whole thing directly on the rack – graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows. (I usually end up using mini marshmallows as that’s what I have on hand.) The toaster oven browns the marshmallows and melts the chocolate. You need to keep an eye on them though because the graham crackers can burn if left too long.

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If you don’t have a toaster oven, the next best thing it to toast your marshmallows over an oven burner. (I don’t recommend candles as they release the scents/chemicals into the food.)

My third option is the messiest. You can microwave your marshmallows for about 10 seconds. Be forewarned; they get HUGE, and the marshmallow becomes more plastic-y and stretches.

When I can get to a camp fire though, that’s my absolute favorite choice for a s’more. Nothing beats that authentic campfire taste and going to sleep with the lingering scent in your hair, still humming campfire songs.

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