Monday, September 15, 2014

A Taste of Chuy's Fairfax.

This weekend, my friend Maddy and I attended a media preview of Chuy's, a new Tex Mex restaurant in our area. Chuy's hails from Texas, but has recently branched out north and plans to steadily take over the east coast. I'm not kidding when I say that Fairfax was in dire need of a good sit-down Tex Mex experience. We have our Chipotle, Cafe Rio, and a few other hole-in-the-wall places, but nothing quite like the experience and fun that Chuy's offers.

We started out with cocktails and a tour of the new space. It was great to hear the history of Chuy's, watch fresh tortillas being made, learning about the artists, crafters, and pickers that help make the Chuy's experience what it is today.

Chuy's sees the importance of making their customers feel like friends, and throughout the restaurant you can see many personal touches the Chuy's team adds to the atmosphere. Not only is there a river of hand-carved fish swimming through the bar, but in the bottom right of this photo you can see the GMU fish, which of course is totally unique to the Fairfax location. Another thing I loved was learning that if you bring a framed photo of your dog, they'll hang it up for you! That's something that every pup deserves!

We were offered a variety of cocktails, and of course Maddy and I were excited to try those! To start, we had the Humble House Margarita. It was light and refreshing, and made with hand squeezed limes!

Next was the Sangria, which was so delicious. This is seriously the one to try, even if you're not a wine person.

There was also a jalapeƱo martini, which was to die for! 

And a frozen strawberry margarita! Yum!

Our Chuy's has multiple rooms with different motifs, and one of my favorites was the Hubcap Room. Complete with hundreds of hubcaps from multiple makes and models of vintage cars. It was awesome to see something that would normally be discarded turned into a work of art!

We also had a "sauce tour" and got to taste all of the different sauces that Chuy's has to offer. Maddy and I loved the Deluxe Tomatillo, Ranchero, and different varieties of queso. My favorite by far was the guacamole. It was simple and fresh and SUPER tasty.

We also got to try the Tortilla Soup, made with fresh chicken and tortilla strips. This is a great option for lunch or an appetizer, as it's not too heavy.

We also tried the steak and chicken fajitas, which were super tender and flavorful!

The star attraction was the Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken. A nod to the king of rock, this dish is a chicken breast with a Lay's potato chip crust (interesting!) and topped with a green chili sauce. In one word: AWESOME.

All in all, I think Chuy's is a great addition to the Fairfax food scene. The staff is warm and friendly, the drinks are fabulous, the food is awesome, the atmosphere is creative and kitschy, and the prices are reasonable. All that makes for a great dining experience. If you have a chance, stop by, and tell them I sent you!

Have you ever been to Chuy's?
What would you try from this list?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Super Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip!

I made this super quick and easy buffalo chicken dip for a few friends the other night, and it was a huge hit! It was perfect for a quick snack for multiple people, and is great served both hot and cold.

To make this Buffalo Chicken dip, you will need:
1 can of white chunk chicken
3/4 cup buffalo sauce
4oz (half box) of cream cheese
1/4 cup ranch dressing

First things first, drain and rinse the chicken. Then, shred the chicken.
Heat up your cream cheese and mix it in with the chicken. Then, add the buffalo sauce and ranch.
Make sure it is mixed thoroughly, and heat via microwave or oven if desired.

Serve with chips, biscuits, or crackers.
Top with shredded cheese and bake if desired.
Then, go have a party!

What are your favorite party snacks?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hand-Knitted Collar Scarf!

Earlier this week my roommate Sabrina finished knitting this awesome scarf for me. I picked out these colors after Sabrina had made her own scarf, and I told her I needed to have one! She was happy to start a new knitting project, and I was of course excited to get a custom-made scarf for fall! The scarf is really thick and warm, and coolest of all, it's reversible! I can't wait to wear it with all my fall clothes!

Have you ever completed a knitting project?
What are your fall essentials?

Monday, September 8, 2014

22 Things I'D Rather Do Than Drink a Pumpkin Spice Latte

Over the years, I've actually grown this strange irrational hatred for the Pumpkin Spice Latte or #PSL. The sickeningly sweet, overly hyped, and stomach churning cult classic is back, inducing eyerolls and gagging sounds from me. People hop on the PSL train like it's going out of style. I've never been a fan. I don't even enjoy pumpkin spice candles that much (sue me, I've got this thing about food smells being attached to actual food)

However, if you were to hand me some pumpkin muffins or even a slice of the pie, I'd be good as gold. I don't need to drink it or douse myself in the scent to get my autumn on. I'm getting my autumn on just fine over here. Or at least trying to.

Here are 22 things I'd rather do than drink a Pumpkin Spice Latte:

  1. Go hiking in the mountains in the first weeks of October (hello, changing leaves!)
  2. Get my eyebrows waxed
  3. Donate to charity
  4. Snuggle with my boo
  5. Read a book
  6. Clean my house
  7. Rake leaves
  8. Volunteer
  9. Go to class
  10. Donate blood
  11. Do my homework
  12. Blog!
  13. Kiss my pets
  14. Pick someone up at the airport
  15. Contemplate the meaning of life
  16. Watch the State of the Union address
  17. Drink water
  18. Go to the gym
  19. Organize my computer files
  20. Give a stranger directions
  21. Speak in front of a group
  22. Literally anything else

What would you rather do?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Business Babes - Prints & Needles!

Hey all! This week I have the lovely Natalie from Prints & Needles! Natalie prints and designs her own beautiful fabric creations. She has some insight to share with you about her craft and what it's like to be a business owner! I hope you all enjoy her stuff as much as I do!

Shop: Prints & Needles

Tell us about yourself:
I have always been a quiet person, expressing who I am through my artwork and the way that I present myself. Making is my ultimate form of expression. The prints that I design are inspired by my lifelong interest in fairy tales, nature and pop culture, and my love of cats, classic rock, good food, and travel. I hope that the things I make tell a little bit about me.

A description of your shop:
I make simple, utilitarian pieces, including lunch bags and zipper pouches, that feature colourful, intricate screen-printed designs. I prefer to use natural materials, like cotton, but I also love using neon colours, especially pink. Aesthetically I am always inspired by Art Nouveau, the 1960s, and anything Japanese.

When did you start your shop?
I started my shop in 2011, while I was still in school, studying Textile Design at Sheridan College.

What are your goals for your shop in the future?
I plan on continuing to grow my shop slowly but steadily. I would like to develop some new product, possibly some clothing. I would love to one day have my own brick & mortar store with a studio attached somewhere in Ontario, where I live.


Things that most inspire you to create:
In general, I like to share the things that I like and make with others, whether that be a good movie that I have seen, or some food that I have made. My desire to create stems from wanting to share. What motivates me the most to create is positive response, people really liking the things that I have designed and made, it's a wonderful feeling, and it keeps me doing what I do.

Do you have a favorite Etsy shop besides your own? Care to share? 
I have so many favourite shops on etsy I could never choose just one favourite; I am constantly inspired by what others are making.

A peek inside your workspace:

Do you have any advice for anyone just starting out?
I would say, find a way to do what you love, and it's okay to start small.

What would your ideal day be like?
My ideal day would be spent outside in the sunshine, riding my bicycle, or going on a hike with my sisters. It would include lots of laughter, and delicious homemade food.

Be sure to give Natalie and Prints & Needles some social media love!

Tumblr // Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Etsy
Thank you so much Natalie!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Meet Page!

This is Page, my parents' new puppy. My mom had been looking for a puppy for quite a few months (almost a year, really), but we'd had a couple bumps in the road when it came to adoption agencies being shady and our older dog getting sick. Even though I don't live with my parents anymore, it's exciting to have a puppy around. She's come up to my house to be babysat, and she seems to like me quite a bit. It's taken me some time getting used to a puppy, since my dog was older and had been more relaxed for her last couple years.

Page is an absolute nutcase. She is full of endless energy and loves to run and fetch. Her favorite activity of all, of course, is chewing, and she chews on anything and everything. Including me.

Here she is giving me a good chew.

This was one of the only pictures I could get her to sit still and look "normal" in. She's not one for staying in the same place for long!

Another bit of chewing. She's also got giant ears that she has trouble keeping in the right directions.

Annnd we have some chewing.

This is right before she jumped up to grab and chew on a bunch of my hair.

Running (probably saw something to chew on.)

I think this is a wink, not sure. She might be giving me the stink eye.

All in all, Page is a wonderful puppy. She's happy, she's a really fast learner and knows how to sit, lay, and roll over. We're still working on coming when called and "no biting." I think that one might take a while. I'm excited to see her grow and to give her belly rubs every time I see her.

Isn't she the cutest thing?
Do you have a dog? Tell me about them!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

weekly art update #7

Recently I've been really interested in the study of chakras. I just finished this painting of the 7 energy points Root, Sacral, Navel, Heart, Throat, Third Eye, and Crown. Each of these also coordinate with the 7 colors of the rainbow.

I think it's really interesting that each of our chakras are related to different aspects of our personalities and well-being. A person with balanced chakras will be at ease, confident, secure, healthy and enlightened. Each person will naturally have their stronger and weaker chakras, and I learned mine from taking this test. It was really cool to see how accurate it really seems to be!

What are your strongest chakras?