Saturday, August 25, 2012

4Rivers Smokehouse: The Sweet Shop

Kudos to you, John Rivers, kudos.
This man is quite literally smokin'.
He originally opened Four Rivers Smokehouse
back in October of 2009. Since then the place has completely
taken off. If you don't think so, take a drive
by any of their locations during a lunch hour- or any hour for that matter.
The line is literally out the door. 
They recently moved locations in Winter Park and Bryan
and I were super excited to check out the new place.
Still a crazzzzyyy line out the front door but so completely 
worth it. I already knew what I was getting before
I even pulled in but waiting in line really got me looking at the menu.
I recalled the over sized cupcakes and pudding cups they used to sell
at their old location but this time I noticed a lot more marketing
geared towards their "The Sweet Shop." They even made sure to place a
second entrance outside of the building advertising it.

via Orlando Business Journal

Once we got our plates and walked around the corner
to what opened up into a cafeteria-like lunch room, 
I was immediately drawn to the adorable little bakery
they had set up towards the back left corner. 

via Orlando Business Journal

In between bites of my delish pulled pork
sandwich, I was kind of scoping the place out.
One large oven, a giant hot pink standing mixer,
very clean cut staff, treats everywhere and a
Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake
sign- I was really diggin' it. 
I basically through away 3/4 of my dinner just
to be move on to dessert :)
After harassing questioning the girl behind the counter,
I found out Amanda Eubanks, a friend of John Rivers,
is the girl behind the idea.
The concept of "The Sweet Shop" only goes hand-in-hand
with 4Rivers so you will never see a stand alone shop.
The owner of 4Rivers must have, not only seen
a great opportunity in Texas-style BBQ, but in cupcakes too!
And for that John Rivers is a smart man. 

image via

So I couldn't just take a peak.
I HAD to find something to take home in the cutie little pink 
treat boxes! Bryan went for the Orange Creamsicle cupcake.
Sounds good to me.
So it LOOKS delicious.
But how does it taste? tastes delicious. Ughhh these people are too good. 

Among other treats in the display case, something else definitely popped out at me.
Coca Cola and Potato Chip Cupcake?? 
Sounds gross but actually looks very interesting!
Next time, Sweet Shop!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Birthday Weekend Recap

So you saw the Golf cake and you know my theme, 
but here is a quick little recap of the weekend.
Starting with..
Thursday August 16th
Thursday we went to Bloodhound Brew in MetroWest.
One of my friends opened this place a few months back
and I am addicted. 
Plus we def love supporting other local bar owners. WooWoo!
They have an awesome selection of
craft beers and an even more unique food menu. 

1. Pumpkin Bombs! Bryan got me hooked on these! 
A pumpkin bomb consists of half a glass of a pumpkin draft
(Try Shipyard Pumpkin Head-- it's tooo diiiee) and a shot of
1/2 Baileys and 1/2 Goldshlager. Drop it on in and chug! 
2. Flights! I can't wait to get flights in our bar! 
They're such a good way to sample your drafts. 
Mike, the owner, brought us samples of Sea Dog Blue Paw
(which I didn't need to sample because it's already clear I'm obsessed),
I-4 IPA (another fave), Frambroise and Lost Coast Tangerine.
3. BHB Burger- Holy. Delicious. This burger was so dang good.
So good that I dedicated early Friday morning to cardio =/
Topped with a slice of Bacon and Mac&Cheese. Yeah. 
Friday August 17th
The day before my birthday was SO fun!
I spent the morning in the office and walked into
a pink pile of fun waiting for me at my desk. 

1. See?! My pink pile of fun :)
I loved the pink golf balls! So appropriate.
I also got the cutest little UCF Tervis cups
from Kell and Carla! But lets discuss the 
cupcake for a moment. Kelley found the most
delicious looking Red Velvet cupcake and displayed
it in an individual cupcake dome. I was immediately drawn
to its cuteness. 
2. Kathryn treated me to lunch at my FAVORITE
little downtown Orlando spot: HUE 
Definitely try the Grilled Chicken Bites. 
3. We wrapped up the evening at Amigos. At this point
I felt like I had been eating all day so I just had a soft taco 
and a Corona Light. 
Saturday August 18th
I am such an 8-year-old.
I literally woke up and sat straight up in bed that morning-
like I do every year on my birthday and
Mom of course called at 11:10 on the dot
(when I was born)
and sang Happy Birthday.
1. Mimosas. Duh. 
2. Exploding Golf Balls- ohhhhhhhhhh
the exploding golf balls.
I thought I was being super sneaky having Mike bring
these from Ocala. My plan was to wait a few holes then pull
em on the boys. Bryan clearly had the same thought process.
They, of course, let the Birthday Girl go first and 
much to my surprise (well, first I was actually surprised
that I hit the ball) but oh look! My golf ball exploded!
Nice job, babe.
3. I thought we were all mature enough to stay composed
on the golf course. I was wrong. Golf cart collisions everywhere.
4. Bry Babbyyyy :)
Sunday August 19th
Ok after three days of partying hard,
I needed to relax.
Saturday was a loooong day so I strategically
threw out the idea of a boat day on Sunday to finish off the weekend.
Like I have already mentioned, I L-O-V-E Disappearing Island
in New Smyrna. Totally the "Shark Bite Capital of the World"
..or so Bryan says. It's actually Ponce Inlet which is close,
but I digress.

1. Jake was hot. He needed to cool off, hello?? 
Seemed like a logical idea at the time apparently.
2. Lime-a-Ritas!!!! I am obsessed. 
(Although I am holding a Corona)
3. Little Big Town's Pontoon is playing in my head right now.
"Floatin' is all I wanna do" :) 
At this point it was starting to lightning and I was the 
only one still floating. Jake looks comfortable though.

The past 7 days have completely 
flown by and I am already a WEEK
into my 24th year! Holy Heck :/
Happy Weekend yall!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Golf Themed Cake

Well, I'm officially 24! 
It's going to take me forever to stop replying "23" 
when asked my age. Ugh.
Although I just might stick with that response for a while. ;)

So for my Birthday this past Saturday,
I wanted to do something different.
No party at the house.
No limo downtown.
No giant group of people out for dinner. 
I saw something super cute on Pinterest a while back--
Golf Themed Bachelorette Party!
I loved the theme but no Bachelorette here so I decided on a 
Golf Themed Birthday at beautiful Stoneybrook in Orlando!
Pink, green, obnoxious golf outfits, and Mimosas yay!

Tiffany volunteered to tackle the cake, 
so unfortunately I can't take credit but I still wanted to share.

I gave her a snapshot of a very basic golf-themed cake and 
she kind of took the idea and ran with it.

She baked a standard 9 inch cake and 
allowed it to cool. Once cooled, she cut a wedge
out of the left side of the cake to serve as the sand pit.
She then used a #4 tip to pipe
out the "grassy" frosting, leaving the sand pit
area and the "green" on the right untouched.
Finally, she used a different shade of green frosting
for the green and filled in the sand pit with crushed
vanilla wafers. And the pink flag just made me smile! 

Thanks girl! Love you! 

*Birthday Weekend Post to Follow!*

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Shark Week Cupcakes

I'm not sure exactly what it is about
watching a shark viciously ripping off a limb that makes this week
the most watched television program in the World,
but iitttssss sharrrkkkkk weeeeeeeeeeeeeekkk!!
This year, the Discovery Channel will be celebrating
its 25th year of Shark Week-
whatever brilliant individual coined the idea to dedicate
seven entire days to sharks, shark attacks, survival stories,
yada, yada, yada- WOW.

In honor of shark week, 
make something festive!
I loooove these cupcakes:

Has anyone ever played the Shark Week Drinking Game ??
Check out these rules and grab yourself a beverage!

1) Drink every time you hear an Australian, South African, or British accent
2) Drink every time you see a diver in a cage.
3) When a great white is 'jumping' out of the cage, drink from when the shark exits the water til it the re-entry
4) Drink every time a person mentions chum, a shark attack statistic, or a shark fact (note: this can only happen once every person)
5) Drink every time the camera shows a surfboard or person underwater in the same frame as a shark. Also drink if they show you a chewed-up surfboard.
6) Every time a new person is interviewed, drink
7) Every time a person is declared a "shark expert," drink
8) Finish your drink at the end of the episode. Should you not finish between the end of the episode and the start of the new show, chug an extra beer.
9) If they mention the state you live or have a house in. Drink. 
10) Drink every time the show references a new type of shark. If the shark does not attack humans (nurse shark) drink three times.
11) If a shark attacks an animal, drink until the animal dies or escapes. If the animal is a seal, finish your drink.
12) Drink every time someone mentions punching a shark in the nose or eye to stop an attack.
13) Drink every time a Facebook friend posts a #sharkweek status on Facebook or Twitter.
14) Drink every time some one mentions "Jaws" or if the "Jaws" theme music plays then say "we are going to need a bigger boat".
15) Drink every time Andy Samberg is on TV.
16) When a shark attack victim talks about the attack, drink for 1 second per 5 stitches the victim received. If the victim is a girl or a young child, double the time.
17) Drink half of your beer for every limb the shark victim lost. If it happened to be their genitalia, the least you could do is drink the whole beer.
18) Drink every time you see a subdued shark being poked, prodded, or given a tracking device on a boat.
19) Every time you mutter LL Cool J's lyrics, "Deepest, bluest, my hat is like a shark's fin" under your breath -- or aloud. Drink. (And good  luck getting that out of your head.)
20) Drink because it's shark week! (Editor's Note: This one looks to be subjective, so interpret however you see fit.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

College Football Prep!

I love the Summer months and all, but this has been my first
"working Summer"
since I took a sales position at an environmental consulting firm-
as well as everything that has been taking off within the
entertainment industry for Bryan. 
My summer has been slim to nonexistent. 
So Summer? Not so exciting anymore.
But, Fall? :) Yes. Ma'am.
I love September through December.

Fall Highlights include:
Cooler Weather
Pumpkin Spiced Lattes
Pumpkin Spiced Cupcakes
Pumpkin Spiced anything, really..
My FAVORITE heeled boots
Pumpkin Carving
Haunted Houses
7 Year Anniversary (yay!)
Browns/Tans/Other Neutral Tones
And My. Favorite.

My week is typically schemed out according to
who is playing and where we are watching the game. 
Almost every Saturday is spent tailgating at a UCF
game or rooting on the Gators. Sometimes doing both at once!
Like good Alumni- We LOVE & SUPPORT UCF
but we are Gator fans at heart. 

In preparation for this 2012 Football Season,
here are a few things you will need to get your tailgate on:

A Natalie Kim Game Day Dress

Available in several different team colors, including UF & UCF!

Purchase yourself a NKG Dress HERE

I am particularly excited to rock this
Black & Gold chevron dress from TJ Maxx-

Portable Football Grill 

Grills are such a pain in the butt to haul around-
get something festive and portable!

Tailgate Treats

Football Cake Pops

Team Cookies from

Team Cupcakes from

Girly Cooler

..Why don't I already own one of these ??
Saw these at Dick's Sporting Goods a few weeks
ago and already made my mind up that I will be the one
rolling the cooler around for tailgates this season ;) 

No matter who you root for-
[UCF plays Ohio State on Sept. 8th..which should be interesting]
-Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Best Dang Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Housewarming to Chris & Tiffany!

We spent this past Saturday back home in Ocala for Chris & Tiff's
They closed on their new home a few weeks after
he proposed, so a joint party seemed logical.

I decided to whip up a batch of a good old fashioned
Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I don't think I've given you a cookie recipe 
so I'll start you with something classic :)

I loooovvee the New York Times
recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies!
The recipe first ran back in 2008 and I'm convinced
that they are the most fabulous cookies ever.

The ingredients are pretty much the same as most CC cookie recipes- 
its the dough refrigeration that makes the huge difference.
As David Leite described, 
refrigeration allows for the dough and other ingredients to fully absorb
the liquid, resulting in a drier dough which bakes to a better consistency.
Fun fact for the day!
48 hours IS a long time to wait 
for Chocolate Chip cookies-
but well worth the wait. 

Okay, okay here's the recipe..
1 2/3 c Cake Flour
1 2/3 Bread Flour 
1 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 1/4 c Unsalted Butter
1 1/4 c Packed Light Brown Sugar
8 oz Granulated Sugar
2 Large Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
20 oz Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

1. Sift together dry ingredients. Set aside.
2. Combine butter and sugars with electric mixer for about 5 minutes.
Mix in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. Reduce speed to low and
add dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Stir in CCs. 
3. Place dough in airtight container and refrigerate for 24-36 hours.
4. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
5. Bake 18-20 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Let cool.

Throw these sweet little treats in a cute cookie jar,
tie a pretty bow around the top and you're all set with a
housewarming gift! 

But I didn't stop there... 
I clearly have a thing for framed monograms
with embellishments. 
Literally, I have made them for almost all of my girlfriends.

I bought a distressed looking frame, the "V",
burlap and the burlap rose from Michael's. 
Looks sooo cute in their new home :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mint Oreo Cupcakes

Oreos are a hot item in my household lately.

[ See also Deep Fried Oreos Post from Last Week ]

I saw this recipe a while back and finally got 
talked into making them this past weekend.

Side note: Also starting to get a little crafty 
with the pictures! Weeeeee! :) 

I got so preoccupied catching up on the RHONJ
that I literally whipped these up as Bry was making dinner. 

If I wasn't so interested in what was going to happen 
on this ever-so-anticipated camping trip I would have been extremely irritated.

I hate being in the kitchen when other people are in the kitchen.
It was like getting ready and straightening my hair while Bryan was getting
ready when we use to have a small bathroom- GET. OUT. 

Anyway, here's the recipe!

For the Cupcakes
24 Mint Oreos
1 Box Chocolate Cake Mix
1 Stick of Butter
1 c Water
3 Eggs

1. Preheat over to 350 and line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
2. In mixer, combine cake mix, melted butter, water and eggs. Beat on low
speed for a minute.
3. Fill muffin tins 2/3 of the way full and bake for 18 minutes.

For the Frosting
15 Mint Oreos (completely crushed)
4 Sticks of Butter, softened
4 Tbsp Milk
8 c Powdered Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Mint Extract
4 Drops Green Food Coloring

1. In mixer, beat butter, milk and extracts until smooth.
2. Slowly add powdered sugar and beat on low.
3. Add cookie crumbs and beat on low until well combined. 

holy. mint. 

These things are sweeter than sweet, but ENJOY!
If that wasn't sweet enough for you, let me close with:
Monday, July 30th was National Cheesecake Day!
There was no way I wasn't celebrating... 
Bryan and I treated ourselves to Cheesecake Factory obviously.
What you see here, folks, is Godiva Chocolate and Banana Cream cheesecake.