Sur la table cooking class

It has been a few weeks now, but I wanted to finally post about my amazing birthday surprise from my sister! She put in so much work to plan a surprise cooking class for us at Sur la table at Southpoint Mall, and she secretly got two of my best friends in on it! It is one of my absolute favorite experiences, ever. I can’t describe the happiness and excitement I felt the entire evening. She put so much thought into every single detail, from balloons to decorations and champagne, to having my friends block off the night as well!

Emily had asked me to block off September 21st weeks earlier; I figured it was for a birthday surprise but had no idea what exactly it could be. I am a person who loves the idea of a surprise, but if I know one is coming, my mind goes crazy trying not to obsess over it, which makes me obsess over it even more! Am I alone in this?! So I was reallllly curious about what she had up her sleeve! I thought maybe a wine and design class, a concert, a festival or something…I never would have guessed a cooking class! We both love to cook, and I am such a fan of the gift of an experience you can share! It is so meaningful and something you can always keep as a special memory.

Emily drove us to Southpoint and tried to tell me my gift was dinner and shopping for a birthday outfit for that coming weekend celebrating with friends, and as bratty as it sounds my heart kind of sank – if you know me, trying on clothes is not necessarily my ideal time because I am so picky and hard on myself – but I tried to sound upbeat about the surprise. (Actually, no, I didn’t; I mean, I tried, but what came out was something like, “Oh, well…I mean, I’m not sure if I’m in that kind of a mood to try things on…and I told you I was planning on wearing Whitney’s floral dress…but we can see after dinner!” I felt like such a brat). Then we turned the corner, and there were Whitney and Kelly holding pink 3-0 balloons, wearing aprons, and yelling surprise! I was SO overwhelmed I just immediately started to cry (imagine that:  Me, crying). Like, couldn’t stop crying with joy pretty much the entire night! I just felt so special and loved, and it was one of those memories where you just remember feeling alive, like when you go to a great concert or a big life moment happens.

during the cooking class, chef-ing it up and having so much fun

We made the most delicious meal together, and our chef/instructor helped us through every step of the way. It was so much fun to see everything come together, and to have everything already pre-measured and planned out was an added bonus. Not to mention that all of the cooking equipment we were using was high quality and what kitchen dreams are made of! We sipped champagne while we cooked and I just felt like a lucky and happy gal the entire time. Our final meal was champagne butter shrimp, a surprise lobster tail that our chef made for us, zucchini fritters with a garlic-basil aioli, a red wine risotto, and a caramel pear torte cake – all from scratch! Our instructor also made me a surprise happy birthday plate with truffles for dessert.

the finished plate – amazingly delicious!

Like I said already, it was just one of the best nights, ever. When we were done, we all signed up for another cooking class during the holidays to spend some time together and re-create this fun evening! My sister gets maaaajor props for this gift, and I will always remember how special it was! Here’s how you can schedule your own cooking class. I would definitely recommend it for a gift, or as an experience to do together with a friend, group of girls, or even a double date!

with our instructor after our class!

FriYAY feels!

weekend vibes & my newest reading

Friyayyy! This week felt long. By Tuesday I was asking myself, is this week ever going to end?! But here we are, fam! We made it.

I have actually had a lot of really wonderful little things happen to me this week! Tuesday, I got to attend a Superintendent’s breakfast to celebrate our School-to-Career initiative. It was fancy and fun! They had two student speakers and they were both very impressive. It’s always so amazing to get to see what kids are doing in our schools and how our community provides incredible opportunities for them.

Wednesday, I won a $20 gift card to Paintbase Nail Bar! They were doing a giveaway on their Instagram account, so I entered on a whim – I never win things. And I won!!!  Then, in the same day, I had a surprise birthday gift come in from one of my sister’s best friends (and a long-time friend of mine, too!). It was such a nice surprise and she has snuck up on me like that before with little gifts in my email for teacher appreciation week or just because. It really made my whole day and was so above and beyond! Then, again in the same day, I had my Wednesday shift at the pub and it was a great night at work. I received a random amazing tip with the sweetest note thanking me for being a teacher. I love reminders that there are good human beings everywhere, and that there are quiet acts of kindness that happen every single day. It’s also nice to know that people do value education and don’t just think it’s “cute” that people teach the future of our country. So thank you, so very much, to the lovely couple at table 15 on the patio, wherever you are!

Thursday was a Teacher Work Day, and I always celebrate those! I got to get a lot of work done, planned lessons for the next little while, and graded some papers that were piling up! I also got to eat lunch with my main squeeze, which was really nice because I feel like I haven’t really seen him all week!

Thursday night, my sister surprised me with a girls night out cooking class at Sur la table! My best friends Whitney and Kelly were there holding a 30 balloon! I couldn’t believe it! More to come on that later 🙂 I was so overcome with good emotions and it was such a special time.

This weekend, I am celebrating turning the big 3-0! My birthday is on Monday, but I always love to stretch out celebrations. Then, in another week or two, I’m heading to Arizona with my mom for our big trip for my 30th!

I have so many things to be thankful for, and life is good! Sometimes we just need a little reminder or two of that. What is everyone else thankful for this week? I hope it has been a good one!

I’ll be back next week, cheeky as ever. 30 isn’t getting me down!

Oh! And it’s the first day of Fall?! My favorite time of year! HAPPY FALL, Y’ALL!

 

Happy birthday, Bruno + Oliver!

oliver & bruno

These tiny terrors turn four years old today! I can’t believe it has been four years since I got these little buddies. I truly can’t imagine my life without them.

I introduced everyone to Bruno and Oliver in this post and really nothing has changed since then. Their personalities have stayed the same, and DARE I SAY that Bruno has even calmed down a little! As I type this, they are both snuggled asleep at the foot of my bed. I know they’re dreaming of their loving mother treats and open fields.

In honor of their birthday, my sister and I baked dog treats using the corgi cookie cutter I got this year for Christmas. They came out so cute! The doggies LOVED them. Like, went crazy about them. Here’s the simple recipe. Tips:  Use quite a bit of flour when rolling out the dough! Also, the recipe doesn’t specify whether or not to spray the pan, but we did and the treats didn’t stick!

before baking the treats

the finished product!

is it weird to feed corgis corgi-shaped treats?!

bruno + oliver patiently anxiously waiting

doing their big trick; bruno can’t even

had to take care of my girl nala, too!

These guys deserve to have an exciting birthday, even if they don’t realize why. They have been there for so many important moments of my life. They’ve watched me laugh, cry, and be a brat when I can’t find anything to wear. They’ve lived with me in four different homes and through getting my master’s degree, changing careers, and going back to teaching. They have snuggled up next to me night after night. Most importantly, they’ve never stopped being excited to greet me when I make it home. It’s crazy how much we love our pets; they’re family, too.

Here’s to Bruno and Oliver. Happy fourth birthday to my low-riding, crazy, blonde bundles of joy!

Twenty-nine

bday-candles

It’s official. One more year ’til the dirty thirty!

My birthday was last Sunday, and I can’t believe it has been another whole year. So much happens every day, week, month…I feel like another trip around the Sun comes before we can even think about it. The older I get, the more I realize what is important in life (besides wine, cheese, and bread). With every birthday it becomes more and more clear that I just adore being surrounded by the people I love.

My evening started at Tazza Kitchen in Cary (there’s also a Cameron Village location). Their food is so delectable, and the decor is rustic industrial – super hip and fun. I kept this group pretty small, because those things can so quickly get out of hand and reservations can be difficult. We ate, had a few drinks to celebrate, and then opened presents. Everyone else met up at Pharmacy Bottle + Beverage in downtown Cary. I have LOVED getting to know some of the fun spots around downtown Cary. It’s right by home, has a crowd that is more my age, and doesn’t require staying out raging until 2am to have a good time. My kind of vibes.
bday-dinner

Birthday dinner!

brawfuss-bday

My best girls since studying abroad in Italy (in 2008!)

My actual birthday was spent having brunch with my best friend in downtown Cary (again!). We ate at the new Mayton Inn restaurant Verandah, which was so fancy and beautiful and delicious. The rest of our day was spent being lazy, shopping around, checking out her new home (!!!), and then I had to do some grocery shopping and meal prep for my six week shred challenge. Yes, I had a little indulgence on my birthday…and no, I don’t feel guilty about it. You have to live a little! The evening was spent celebrating with Andrew, who is OFFICIALLY moved to Raleigh, and my best friend and her boyfriend in their new house. I got so many cards and sweet phone calls or messages.

andrew-me-bday

Boo thang

bday-brunch
whitney-me-bday

Brunch with Whitney

I am blessed beyond belief to have these people (and more!) in my life to support me, lift me up, and show up when it’s important. The only thing that could have made my birthday better would have been having my family with me!

Here’s to 29! Next year I’ll be thirty, flirty, and thriving. Bring it on!