Five on Friday: Fall Break

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Happy Friday, friends!  AND HAPPY FALL BREAK to my local friends!!  We have been SO READY for a nice break from school, and I swear, I feel like we just barely made it!  We have been working so hard, worn out, and just ready to not have a tight schedule to keep for the next week, at least!  And I thought that I hadn’t done a 5 on Friday link up in a lonnnnnnnng time, and decided to drop a few randoms on you today. 🙂

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1- Fall Has Arrived!

FINALLY, it seems that summer has released her firm grip on Georgia, and we have had cooler, fall-like temps this week.  And it is GLORIOUS.  We went out for ice cream the other night and ate it outside without sweating to death. Hallelujah!!  It was jeans and long sleeve shirt weather, which is pretty much perfection to me.  I ordered the Apple Dumplings with caramel sauce and ice cream (seen above), and it was the perfect way to usher in my favorite season of the year.  As I make our meal plan for the next week, I am much more drawn towards soups and casseroles, and it’s about time to make my annual switch from white wine back to red (I ought to throw a party?!).  I definitely like red wine far better than white, but I just can’t drink room-temp red wine throughout the summer, when I need something cold and crisp.  But I drink red all fall and winter long.  SO BRING ON THE SHIRAZ!!

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2- Trip to Washington DC

I am overdue in sharing that I was lucky enough to tag along with Scott on a trip to DC last week!  He had a conference to attend, and my mom was able to watch the kids for us (Thanks Bammy!!), so we made it a fun little road trip.  Since it’s a 10-hour drive, we made a little pit stop in Dillon, South Carolina, and stayed at a beautiful little bed and breakfast (one of our favorite things we used to do before kids, haha).

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Gorgeous, right?!  And though the picture may have you think otherwise, it was VERY affordable for a bed and breakfast.  Find more about The Columns Bed and Breakfast Inn here.

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We were starving when we got to town, and went to Shuler’s BBQ for dinner.  WHOA- it was good.  Yes, that is my plate, but NO, I did not eat it all, though there was no lack of trying!

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The next morning, we were on the road and ready for DC!

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Scott was gone at his conference most of the time we were in DC, so I took advantage of the time and was able to have some wonderful me-time and indulged in a delicious bloody mary brunch with mussels and crusty bread!

Then once Scott was done with working, we were able to visit the indescribably beautiful and moving Arlington National Cemetery.

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There was hardly a word spoken between Scott and I at Arlington, it really demanded so much introspection and reverence from us both.  We were both really looking forward to seeing the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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It was amazing and undoubtedly a bucket list moment.

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We finished up at Arlington seeing the gravesite of JFK and his family, which was so moving and so beautiful.  We took a taxi back to Woodley Park, where our hotel was, and grabbed some dinner.  There was a Japanese place just about a block away from our hotel, so we noshed on some sushi rolls and ramen bowls!

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As much as Scott and I are fans of trying all types of cuisine, we have been so spoiled on Vietnamese Pho, that all we could think as we were eating our ramen, is how much we liked (loved) pho more than ramen bowls!  Maybe we had sub-par ramen?  Perhaps (my sushi roll was AMAZING, though).  But maybe we just prefer the Vietnamese-style noodle soup to the Japanese version.  Either way, we both left dinner with full tummies!

Our last day in DC, we both got a lot of work done, and then met in a charming French bistro again, about a block away from our hotel.

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PS- the weather in DC was *perfect* fall temps.  We were in longsleeves and jeans, and very comfortable.  Ah, it was amazing!  As shown above, we sat inside, but beside open windows, and it was wonderful.  We ordered a four course, pri-fixe menu with wine pairings, and it was so much fun!  Though we both like French food, we don’t typically eat at French restaurants!  But it was one of my favorite dining experiences and makes me want to branch out a little bit more.

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Our first course started with escargot for me and baked mussels for Scott.  I enjoyed the escargot (I have had better, though, TBH), but the baked mussels were delicious.  I was jealous of Scott’s selection here!

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The second course was sea scallops, and they were completely delicious.  I could have just eaten 100 scallops for dinner and been fine.  And I could not get enough of the mushroom risotto underneath the scallops.  Best dish by far!

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Third course was Beef Bourguignon, and, not to repeat myself over and over, but it was just delicious!  The beef was tender, the sauce was light but rich and savory, and we both ate every single bite.  Four thumbs up.

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And for dessert, Scott ordered our favorite, Creme Brulee, and I ordered the Floating Island, and both were divine.  We love a smooth, not-too-eggy brulee, and it was delightful.  And the floating island was meringue in a creme anglais, and I had to stop myself from licking the plate clean!  We had a wonderful dinner out and enjoyed every bit of our French meal!

We thoroughly enjoyed our long weekend away, and loved seeing Washington DC.  The drive through Virginis, North and South Carolina was beautiful, and we really can’t wait to go back.

3- Starbucks Via Instant Latte- Pumpkin Spice Latte

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I’m about to let you in on a little secret…I am actually not a HUGE fan of Pumpkin Spice Lattes!!  {{closes eyes tightly and covers head}} But before you rush my house with torches and pitchforks, you have to understand that I drink my coffee black 90% of the time.  In the other 10% is 9% of the time that I actually get to run through Starbucks and order my PLAIN venti non-fat latte with an extra shot, and that last teeny little 1% is when I want to be crazy and try the newest seasonal offering, or order my obligatory PSL.  And typically the PSL is just too syrupy-sweet for me.  Insert these Via Instant Lattes!!  I grabbed the box of 4 packets the other day at the grocery store, and it made the perfect little cup of spicy pumpkin coffee goodness.  It’s a powdered mix that you add hot water to, so it’s not overly sweet like (I feel) the regular PSLs are.  Anyway, I love them, and it’s worth trying if you want juuuuuust a little taste of the PSL craze like I do.

 4- Fall TV

Reason 432, 971 why I love fall- new TV shows!!  I was pretty much hooked on This Is Us from the first preview teaser that was posted on Facebook, and I totally think it is living up to the hype!  I cried through the first episode, loved #2 (but at the end–where is JACK??!!), and will be watching #3 this weekend.  Hopefully it is the next Parenthood like has been promised!  I have been DVR-ing the new seasons of Quantico and Chicago PD, and watched the first episode of season 7 of Shameless last night (OMG- probably one of my favorite shows ever–you can watch seasons 1-6 on Netflix if you have absolutely nothing to do for the next month–it’s so addicting).  If that wasn’t enough, I started Mr. Robot last night and am TOTALLY hooked.  Luckily there’s only been 2 seasons so far, so it won’t take weeks to get through, haha!  What are your favorite fall shows?

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5- Fall Food!!

With the slightly cooler temps, I have been all about casseroles and soups, fresh fall veggies, and comfort food.  I made The Pioneer Woman’s Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Pork Tenderloin the other night, and it was the perfect transitional fall dinner.  Then, I pureed the leftover squash with some broth, a little butter, and a bit of cream, and made a delicious Butternut Squash soup with some parm shaved on top.  YUM.  I could eat that soup morning, noon, and night with a piece of crusty bread and a light salad all fall long, it was so good.  Now the challenge going forward is making all these warm, comforting fall foods a little lighter!  Challenge accepted.

That’s it for me today!  I hope you have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend!

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