August 16, 2018

Monticello Wine Trail: Veritas Vineyards.

     My summer of visiting local wineries continues! In today's post, I'm taking y'all on a virtual tour of Veritas Vineyards, as well as their summer weekend event Starry Nights. I had no idea what a big deal Starry Nights was in this area... several hundred people (if not over 1000 people- I can be bad at estimating) were there!! I'm not even sure that my pictures do the crowds that attended any justice. 😊

     Pictured above is the Veritas Viognier wine. Since moving to Virginia, I learned the Viognier grapes is actually the state grape! Viognier wine is my favorite type of Virginia wine -it's a sweet and summery white wine, with lots of notes of fruit. The Veritas Vineyards Viognier (try saying that five times fast!) is great.

     Veritas Vineyards is about 30 minutes from downtown Charlottesville, in neighboring Nelson County. It's a family-owned winery, which was founded in 1999. It's located pretty close to Afton Mountain Vineyards, which I featured in my last Monticello Wine Trail post. To find Veritas, you turn onto a long driveway, and are surrounded by fields upon fields of grapes on both sides, until you near the winery itself. It looks quite magical when you arrive! As I mentioned above, I recently attended Starry Nights, which is a monthly summer event hosted at Veritas. Starry Nights are outdoor concerts at the vineyard, featuring great bands. The band that performed this past weekend was The Legwarmers, an 80s cover band that has quite the local following! I'd heard a lot about The Legwarmers around town, so it was great to see them perform. The first couple hours of the event are for mingling, eating and drinking wine, and the latter part of the evening is the concert.  I was generously given two media tickets for the event, and I invited my friend Eden to come with me. We loved the buffet dinner that was served, and enjoyed a relaxing Saturday evening outside, listening to the fun music from The Legwarmers!

     We also checked out the Veritas tasting room when we purchased our wine, and it is gorgeous! If you visit Veritas on a normal day and not for a Starry Nights event, you can sit in the tasting room on the comfortable sofas, outside under a covered table, or on the expansive front porch. This is a larger winery, so it seems perfect to visit if you're looking for one that could accommodate a larger group.

    I really enjoyed visiting Veritas Vineyards and getting to go to Starry Nights! There are so many different local concert series in the summer all around Charlottesville, some free and some ticketed. I've been trying to go to as many of these as possible, and now I can check Starry Nights off!

     Past Monticello Wine Trail Blog posts:

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 


August 15, 2018

Midweek Ramblings.

Better Together Worship Service

{A look at the amazing worship service that I attended in Downtown Charlottesville this weekend, to mark the one year anniversary of the 2017 riots in the city. More about this below! Follow me on Instagram @miss_alk} 

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  • Beautiful words about Waiting: I've followed Nicole Cole's blog for many years- I think since the year I started writing Southern Belle in Training! She is quite a woman of faith, and her posts about Christianity and faith related topics through the years have always been an encouragement to me. Last week, Nicole wrote three posts all on the subject of Waiting. Whether you're waiting to get married, waiting for a child, waiting on a new job, or something else, I know that you will be blessed by these posts!! I only wish she'd written them last year when I was still in Vermont. 😉
  • 7 minute challenge: I've been trying to find more creative ideas to mix up my workouts over the past few weeks! I've been getting back into fitness videos, and I really love finding ones that I can do in the comfort of my living room- they're great for days I don't make it to my apartment gym for a full workout! Last Wednesday, I first did this video for a 7-day 7-min fitness challenge. These exercises and stretches kick your butt, and it's been fun to see my stamina get better each day of the week that I've done the video. I want to check out more of Lucy's videos! 
  • Better Together worship service: This weekend, I was blessed to have the opportunity to attend the most amazing event here in Charlottesville. I posted the photo above on my private personal Instagram and my Facebook, with this caption: "One year ago, I was in Vermont, working my usual Saturday/Sunday air shifts in my old studio. In between talk breaks, I was glued to the news online about violent riots happening in a city in Virginia called Charlottesville. 1) I couldn’t believe that type of hatred was so alive and well, and 2) I was mind boggled that as a self-proclaimed geography nerd and someone who had driven through VA many times, I didn’t think I’d heard of Charlottesville Virginia. One year later, and this charming, beautiful, love-filled place in Central Virginia is my home. Tonight I had the honor of attending a worship service in downtown Charlottesville with hundreds (maybe over 1000?) of my Christian brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors, from ALL types of Christian churches in Charlottesville. We worshipped and prayed together, and it was one of the most special things I’ve ever seen. THIS is the CVille I’ve fallen in love with- a place where God is living and working."

Weekend Recaps:
  • Last weekend: I hosted Girls' Night at my apartment for several awesome ladies from my church! I can't say enough how amazing my new church community is here in Charlottesville. And the best part is everyone is always down to hang out! 😊 On Saturday I started my day with a great workout in my apartment gym, called both my parents, and then headed to a housewarming party. After that, my friend Eden and I headed to a really fun evening event called Starry Nights at Veritas Vineyards. We had a great time- more on that in tomorrow's blog post! Sunday was church, brunch and sermon discussion after church with friends, and then I attended the Better Together worship service (mentioned above). 
  • This weekend: I am having an Annaliese date on Saturday, which is much overdue! My year in Vermont showed me that I actually really do enjoy spending time in my own company, and that it's important to do that regularly. I'm planning to head out of Charlottesville on Saturday and enjoy a solo day of exploring Virginia and I actually can't wait! I have busy weekends coming up, so it'll be nice to have a solo day. On Sunday, it's my first time hosting the weekly brunch and sermon discussion that my church's young adults group does each week after church. If the weather is nice, I'm hoping to have it outside at my apartment pool! 

  • My dad kindly ordered me these water shoes! I was considering getting a pair of Chacos for outdoor activities (I think I mentioned this in a recent Midweek Ramblings post), but all in all Chacos are just not my style in the least! Haha. I did need some sort of water shoes though for an upcoming weekend activity, and these fit the bill! I'm normally a size 9 but I ordered an 8.5 after reading sizing reviews, and they fit perfectly.

  • I saw these adorable pens featured in another blogger's post this week, and I immediately bookmarked them! SO cute! I am totally a sucker for fun school supplies.
  • Another amazing Amazon find that I bookmarked from another blog post... this mug rack! I have so many mugs that I'm starting to run out of room in their designated kitchen cabinet. I think I need this! 
  • I've had my eye on this pretty bralette for months- and Nordstrom just started carrying it in more colors!
  • Kate Spade has entered the smart watch business, and this one is so different and cute! 
  • A ruffled floral dress that's ideal for late summer, and under $50!

Recipe of the week:

Song of the week: Outlaw by Selena Gomez & the scene. (Lol remember when Selena Gomez had the scene band? TBT!!) This song was never one of Selena's hits, but it was always one of my favorite songs by her. I totally forgot about it and rediscovered it on Spotify last week- isn't that the best feeling? 

On the blog this week: 

      xoxo Annaliese

August 14, 2018

What I've Been Watching on Netflix / On Demand This Summer.

     It sounds so cliche I'm sure, but it's the truth that watching TV is one of my favorite ways to de-stress and relax! Summer is one of my favorite times of the year, but one of the few things that I dislike about summer is that almost all of my favorite TV shows are on hiatus. Part of that is good I suppose- as it gives me more free time to do summer activities. But I also really miss my regular shows!

     This summer I've been on the hunt for fun new things to watch, and I've also been enjoying some older favorites. Sharing what I've been watching in my free time this summer- I'd love to hear in the comments if you've seen any of these shows or movies!

Best TV Shows Summer 2018

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     What TV I've Been Watching: Live TV

  •      TODAY (NBC): I could probably count on one hand the times that I'd seen the TODAY show before I moved to Vermont. When my work hours at my job there switched from being on-air middays to afternoons (last August), I suddenly had a lot more free time at home in the mornings. I started watching TODAY off and on some mornings, but became a religious watcher this winter following Matt Lauer's departure. I love the fact that TODAY is currently a female-lead morning show, and each one of the ladies kill it every morning! Watching TODAY before work just puts me in a great mood, and I sometimes use the stories that I hear about on the show in my radio show later that afternoon! Plus watching TODAY in the summer means that you get to see the amazing performances in the weekly summer concert series!

  •      Megyn Kelly TODAY (NBC): I wasn't too familiar with Megyn or her style of journalism when she worked at Fox for several years. I have however grown to love her NBC show, which airs following the first two hours of TODAY. Megyn starts off each episode with a roundtable discussion with other NBC reporters (or sometimes people in other professions, like lawyers), to discuss the news of the day. It feels like a table of smart friends discussing current events, and I love it! Megyn also brings guests with absolutely amazing personal stories onto her show for interviews in the second half, and I am always mind blown at the types of stories featured on her show. This is one that I'd love to get tickets for the next time I'm in NYC! 

  •      Live! With Kelly and Ryan (Check local listings): This was my favorite daily show to watch in Vermont!! Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest have such fun chemistry as hosts. I want to be BFFs with Kelly- she is just the cutest and funniest person. My cable in Vermont aired NBC morning programming at slightly different times, so I used to be able to watch all of Kelly and Ryan before work. Now in Virginia I usually leave for work about 20 minutes into the show, but most weekdays now I still try and catch their fun opening monologue! 

  •     Younger (TV Land): This is the only scripted show I watch that has new episodes in the summer, instead of the traditional TV season. Younger is such a guilty pleasure show, and I love it. It's currently in season five. Sutton Foster stars as Liza Miller, a 40 something recently divorced New Jersey woman, who finds that getting back in the workforce after being out of it for years is harder than she anticipated. She lies about her age on a resume to get a job in NYC, and the TV show follows her city adventures playing the role of a late 20s single girl. Hilary Duff also stars in Younger as Liza's coworker and friend Kelsey! 

     What TV I've Been Watching: Streaming

  •     Friends (Netflix): Okay I know I'm the absolute last person on earth to watch Friends in full, but I'm committed to doing it! I started watching the first season a couple years ago when it first went on Netflix.... don't hate me but I just couldn't get into it! This winter I decided to pick back up with Friends and see if it got better further along. I'm currently in season four- it's definitely better now than it was at the beginning... but I still don't know if I love it? I'm a huge HIMYM fan and I keep comparing the humor in Friends to that, so maybe that's the problem. Either way I do want to eventually finish this. I put Friends on a lot when I'm working on my computer- it's a good "background noise" show.

  •      Dynasty (CW, on Netflix): This is a newer CW drama that finally went on Netflix! I've always enjoyed the CW shows that aren't superhero or supernaturally based, so I thought I'd give this one a try. It has somewhat similar vibes to Gossip Girl, in that it follows characters that are extremely rich, and there is a lot of drama thrown in as well. I love the fashion and costuming in Dynasty. The two female leads, Crystal and Fallon, always have stunning outfits! As far as the show itself, I'm about halfway through season one and still can't decide if I like it. Maybe it's like Friends and I have to keep going? I'll probably finish the first season eventually in my free time, but it would have to get a lot better for me to watch it live this fall. 

  •     Teachers (TV Land, On Demand): This is another TV Land comedy, and the third season is currently airing on Tuesday nights following Younger. I'd seen the commercials for this show so many times when watching Younger, so I finally decided to give it a try when I saw the entire show was available with Xfinity On Demand. I finished the first season, and got about halfway through the second before I gave up on it. Teachers is a sitcom that follows the lives in and out of the classroom of six elementary school teachers. There were some really funny moments in season one (I love the "Sex Ed" episode especially), but in season two I felt that the plot lines and jokes were getting too absurd and unrealistic, so I stopped watching.

  •      Superstore (NBC, On Demand): I'd been wanting to see Superstore pretty much since it premiered, but I missed the first several episodes of the show, and I hate to start watching sitcoms midway through. So I waited patiently for it to go On Demand or a streaming platform. The complete series so far finally went on Xfinity On Demand this summer!! So far I'm about halfway through season one and I LOVE THIS SHOW!!! Every episode that I've seen so far makes me laugh so hard that I cry. I can't wait to finish season one, and I hope the show stays good! 

  •      It Takes a Church (Game Show Network, on Netflix): Oh man... if you're having a Girls' Night anytime soon, this is a MUST-WATCH! I feel like this would be an odd show to watch alone, but it's made to be watched in groups. It Takes a Church is the Christian version of The Bachelorette! Christian pop star Natalie Grant serves as the host, and each episode is stand-alone and set in a different church community around the country. (The first episode is actually set in Charlotte, although I wasn't familiar with the church it was set at.) I don't want to spoil a lot of the magic of this absolutely ridiculous show, but I'll just tell you this. Each episode's "Bachelorette" is surprised by her church congregation and nominated to be on the show in the middle of a church service (truth), trade out Fantasy Suite Dates.... for very chaperoned and awkward group dates, and the pastor of the church is always very involved in deciding which Bachelors stay and which leave. This show is a train wreck. I watched a random episode during a Girl's Night last week and we were all laughing so hard that we cried! 

     What Movies I've Been Watching: Theaters

  • Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again: This movie was one of the biggest delights of my summer! I've seen the first Mamma Mia! a couple of times throughout the years, and where I enjoyed it, I wouldn't say it was one of my all-time favorite movies. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again might have just changed that. I absolutely loved the sequel, and I thought the music was much better in this movie! This is truly the most delightful film to see on the big screen, and if you haven't seen it yet, try and catch it before it leaves!

  • Crazy Rich Asians: Okay technically this doesn't premiere until later in the week, but I already have my ticket pre-purchased so I'm counting this anyways. I know it's going to be amazing! The Crazy Rich Asians trilogy were some of my favorite reads of 2018, and I am just over the top excited for this movie to come out. 

      What Movies I've Been Watching: Streaming

  •      Ibiza (on Netflix): I haven't seen a ton of Netflix original movies, and I wanted to try a couple this summer. I saw the preview for Ibiza, and it looked like a cute film about a girls' trip to Europe. I'm not even sure I made it halfway through before turning it off. This movie is filled with over the top sexual content and drug references and use. I don't mind mature content if it makes sense with a plot, but this movie seemed like it added all of these things solely for shock value. Not a fan. 

  •      Set It Up (on Netflix): I enjoyed this much more than Ibiza (and I did watch it all the way through!). Set It Up is a 2018 millennial centric romcom, made exclusively for Netflix. It tells the story of Harper and Charlie, two 20 something NYC workers, struggling to advance in their careers due to having terrible bosses. Harper and Charlie meet by chance one night, and get the idea to try and set up their bosses on dates. Their plan doesn't exactly go as they'd like, but the ending of the movie is cute. 


     If you have any watching recommendations for me, please let me know! Comedies and sitcoms are my favorite types of shows to watch (I'm not into any shows that are too scary or violent), but I'm open to watching other things as well!

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese