Jul 22, 2014

Celebrate :: Blind Beer Tasting Birthday Party!

Last fall I threw Rob had beer tasting party for his 25th birthday and never ended up posting about it here.  It turned out to be so fun, I think it's worth sharing a few months late ;)
Beer Tasting Party Score Cards
Pitchers for blind beer tasting
Pitchers for blind beer tasting
Beer pitchers spread out all over the house
I researched a lot of different ideas on Pinterest about how to do the actual beer tasting.  I knew that I wanted everyone to be able to taste the beers and score them without knowing which beer they were drinking.  I ended up modifying a bunch of different ideas but the end result worked out great.  I ordered 25 plastic pitchers, one for each guest, (from The Dollar Store!) and made labels to number each pitcher.  On the invitation, we asked guests to bring a chilled six-pack of their favorite beer.  When guests arrived, I took their beers into our office and poured that beer into a pitcher.  I made a spreadsheet in advance with the pitchers numbered and added the person's name who brought it and the type of beer.  I made sure to use the numbers at random so it wasn't as obvious who brought what.  Three beers ended up being the perfect amount in each pitcher, which let people drink their favorites of the remaining beers after the tasting part was over.  
Beer Tasting Birthday Party
I had tasting glasses set up with tasting score cards and mini golf pencils.  I also made a big batch of Skip-And-Go beer punch, which brought back many college memories!  As for food, I tried to keep the menu simple, bar food.  I wanted everyone to be free to walk around and taste instead of tied to sitting down with a plate of food so I made a walking chili bar.  I had bags of fritos that guests filled with one of four different types of chili (regular chili, white chicken chili, taco chili, and a spicy chili) and topped with their choice of toppings.  It worked out perfect because I was able to make the chili earlier in the day, leave them in crockpots during the party and socialize!  I also had giant soft pretzels with various mustards and cheese sauces, popcorn, pub mix, and a salted caramel birthday cake.  Having a good amount of food was key to balancing out the amount of beer!
Walking Chili Bar
food for a beer tasting party
I let the party run pretty freely, letting people eat and taste however and whenever they wanted.  Towards the end of the evening, I collected the score cards and counted up the votes.  I loved reading everyone's comments....especially the funny ones from later in the night! I bought $10 giftcards to Hopjacks (a local restaurant/bar) for the two winners: the overall favorite and the birthday boy's favorite.  (Surprisingly enough, they ended up being the exact same beer so we had to go with the second place overall winner!) I also slipped in a pitcher of Bud Light just to see if people would be able to recognize the taste.  I was totally impressed by how many people knew immediately and wrote that it was Bud Light in their comments! 
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The boys drinking straight from the pitchers at the end of the night.  One of the few pictures I took the entire night! 
We had so much fun and I definitely want to have another tasting party!  Have you ever been to a beer tasting party?

Jul 17, 2014

Getaway :: To 30A!

It's no secret that we love living in Pensacola.  One of the things we love the most is the ability to drive only a few hours and experience somewhere completely new!  Our favorite weekend or day getaway is to 30A.  30A is a stretch of uniquely planned beach communities located on the Florida panhandle along the Gulf of Mexico.  Each community has it's own distinct style and personality.  All of the communities are located along the same road, 30A, and easily accessed by bicycle.  One of the communities, Seaside, is the idyllic setting of the movie The Truman Show and it is easy to see why. The water is bluer and clearer, the sand is whiter, and the pace is slower on 30A.  It is only a two hour drive from Pensacola but feels like a vacation in paradise.
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The first time we ventured to this area, we stayed at the Watercolor Inn in Watercolor for Valentine's Day.  Watercolor was the first place we visited along 30A and to this day is still one of our favorites!  If we were to ever own a home here, it would definitely be in Watercolor.  The people at the Watercolor Inn were wonderful and extremely friendly.  Our room walked directly out to the beach and to a heated adults only pool.  We spent our days riding bikes, laying by the pool, and drinking mimosas.  At night, we headed to Rosemary Beach for dinner (Restaurant Paradis) followed by wine and chocolate fondue at La Crema.  I highly recommend La Crema!!
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Since our first trip, we have been back several times! When Rob's parents came into town, we knew we had to take them and when I finally got a beach cruiser of my own, I couldn't wait to ride it in Seaside!  There is so much to do in this area but here are some of our favorites:
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Eat:
Almost every single trip, we have arrived hungry and eaten brunch at Great Southern Cafe.  The bacon and pecan waffles are out of this world good!  This last trip we tried The Donut Hole which was also fantastic!  Bud and Alley's Taco Bar, The Shrimp Shack, Pickles and the food trucks in Seaside are our usual stops for lunch.  As discussed above, fondue at La Crema is fabulous.  They have an entire menu dedicated to chocolate!  A cold treat from Poshsicles in Rosemary Beach is always welcome.
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Drink: 
A 32 oz mimosa from Modica Market is a necessity. No questions asked.  I highly recommend doing happy hour at Caliza in Aly's Beach.  I'm in love with the architecture in Aly's Beach and the ambiance at Caliza is so cool and modern.  The pool is closed at night so you are able to take your drinks and relax on a hammock or in a cabana.  Finally, you can't beat the view from happy hour at Bud and Alley's, especially during sunset!
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Do:
Bicycle is definitely the preferred mode of transportation--rent a couple of beach cruisers or bring your own.  We love to ride bikes through the neighborhoods and check out all of the gorgeous homes.  The beach is obviously another must do but there are also tons of cute boutiques and shops to check out, in addition to farmers markets and festivals.
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I am already day dreaming about my next trip back!

Jul 14, 2014

Blues Are Back In Town + Quick Getaway!

Our weekend was jam-packed with fun, trying to fit in as much as we could before Rob's schedule changes this week.  First order of business was watching the Blue Angels!  Last year, the Blue Angels were grounded due to government stuff so their flying in the air show this year was a huge deal!  The Blue Angels never disappoint and it was crazy to imagine that they all started out at one point in flight school in Pensacola, just like Rob!  They are just incredible!  We switched up our normal brunch routine and tried out Jaco's this weekend.  The bayfront view is gorgeous!
Blue Angels Pensacola, FL
Brunch at Jaco's Pensacola
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We also squeezed in a quick trip to our favorite nearby getaway, Seaside.  We love this cute area and make the trip whenever we can.  Although it is just a two hour drive, it feels like a whole different world!  More about our favorites on 30A later this week.  The weather wasn't great, but it was nice to get out of town and spend time together.
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Our first stop when we got into town was grabbing donuts from the donut shop, The Donut Hole.  Oh my goodness, they were completely worth the wait!  I had to try the red velvet and the key lime pie filled donut and could not pick a favorite.  (Rob's favorite was the cinnamon apple crumb!)
The Donut Hole 30A
We spent the rest of the day riding bikes, shopping and relaxing on the beach.  The sun even came out for a few hours which was a nice treat.  We grabbed small plates and cocktails at Bud and Alley's before heading home. You can't beat the view from the rooftop of Bud and Alley's.
Day trip to Seaside, FL
Drinks at Bud and Alley's
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Happy Hour at Bud and Alley's
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Linking up here , here , here , here, and here 

Jul 11, 2014

Friday Links

Happy Friday!  I could not be more excited for the weekend!  Our plans including riding bikes, laying on the beach, and watching the Blue Angels fly in the air show this weekend! Last Sunday during sunset yoga on the beach, we were getting our namaste on and all of the sudden the Blue Angels came flying in right overhead and it was seriously the coolest moment ever!  I say it all the time but we just feel so lucky to live in Pensacola!
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Some links for beach entertainment:

Can you believe they fly only 18 inches apart?! 

I have chills (and I already know what happens!)

Is it time for a career change? 

Made me LOL

Have you been to any of these?

I have three within walking distance

Did you vote yet?

You had me at "sorted by store aisles" 

Time to write a few of these

#cyclehack

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Have a great weekend!

Linking up here

Jul 10, 2014

Saturday Morning Routines

While some people may consider routines boring, I LOVE them!  Maybe it's because we already have so many unknowns in our life or maybe it's because I just like knowing what to expect, but I love having a good routine in place.  Our Saturday morning routine has evolved into this perfect routine that I look forward to every week.  We have done the same thing every week for the last couple of months and each time I still get excited.  I think part of the magic is that Saturday mornings feel like stolen time since for the last couple years, most Saturday mornings were slept away thanks to Friday night! ;)
Pensacola Palafox Market
Our morning starts by waking up slowly.  Reading in bed, talking, but never rushing and never setting an alarm.  Once our stomachs finally start rumbling, we head downtown to Bodacious Brew for almond milk lattes and scrambles.  The coffee at Bodacious is absolutely amazing and the food is wonderful too.  They make the food next door at their sister restaurant, The Bodacious Olive, and everything is so tasty.
Things to do in Downtown Pensacola
Bodacious Brew Pensacola FL
Brunch at Bodacious Brew
After filling up on coffee and brunch, we head to the other side of Palafox Street to stock up on fresh and local produce for the week at the farmers market.  I love to walk around and look at all the interesting vendors but cannot leave without my usual haul - kale, eggplant, seasonal berries and fresh flowers.
Palafox Market Pensacola
Farmers Market in Pensacola
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Pensacola Farmers Market
In addition to fruits and veggies, I have two favorite stops at the Palafox Market.  The first is to listen to the awesome bluegrass band that plays every Saturday.  (The sign below about looking for a new bass player cracks me up!)
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Palafox Market Pensacola FL
The second is grabbing lemonades at the East Hill Honey stand.  East Hill Honey is an awesome local honey company run by the cutest Pensacola couple.  (They deliver their honey weekly to East Hill proper by bicycle!) A trip to the market is never complete without a mason jar of their delicious honey lemonade.
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We usually round out the day with a beach trip or time by the pool.  Is it Saturday yet?!  How do you spend your Saturday mornings?
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