Gifts that Give Back

I can't believe the holidays are almost here! It's finally the season of hot chocolate, cookies, and of course giving.

This year, why not try giving gifts that give back? When I was searching for gifts, I only had 2 criteria:

  1. Does this product have a charitable purpose?
  2. Would I buy it if it didn't?

If the answer to both these questions were yes, it went on the list! 

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Falling into Fall

Things are finally settling down here; I passed my licensing exams for work and finished moving into my new apartment. At first I didn’t know what to do with myself. I couldn’t remember what people did when they weren’t studying or decorating. Luckily, the beginning of fall helped me realize there was more to life than sleeping in and Real Housewives marathons.

There are so many great things about fall. It’s the start of sweater and boots season and opens the door for pumpkin recipes to take over Pinterest. There is no better way to take in everything that fall has to offer than a picnic, and when that picnic takes place at a vineyard, well, you’re pretty much in pumpkin spice heaven.

That is exactly how my boyfriend and I fell into fall. My favorite thing about Maryland is that it is a mini-America. I may live in the city, but I’m only 45 minutes from the beach, 1 hour from the ski slopes, and 30 minutes from the country. If I ever feel like I need to escape, I have plenty of options that are only a short drive away. One of those options is Boordy Vineyards in Hyde, Maryland.

I had been to Boordy once before to see a Midsummer Night’s Dream, but I had gone straight from work and was woefully unprepared for the chilly night and cheese cravings that good wine always seems to cause. This time I was going on the first fall Sunday for CRUSH ’13, an event celebrating Boordy’s 69th vintage. This time, I was prepared.

Wine Tasting at Boordy Vineyards

We were welcomed to Boordy with a souvenir wine glass and tastings of their newest vintage. I was born and raised in Maryland, so I went straight for their Icons of Maryland series , which have a different Maryland critter on each label. My favorite was the Shiraz, the boldest of their Icon reds, with the Assateague wild ponies on the label.

Wine Tasting at Boordy Vineyard

Josh was raised in Texas, so he wasn’t as drawn to the Icon series as I was and began by tasting Boordy’s Landmark series. Although I think he is quickly becoming a Marylander, since the wine he chose was 100% Maryland grown. We ended up buying two bottles of Josh’s pick, the South Mountain Red. It is a new release for Boordy and went perfectly with our picnic menu.

Vineyard Tour

After setting up our picnic, we were able to tour the new Wine Building, where they offered a sample of their rose and explained the three years of planning and construction that went into the new building and expanding their capacity.


It was great to see the new building, but my favorite part was just sitting down and enjoying the beautiful weather and High Strung Bluegrass. Our picnic of cheese, salami, and pumpkin turkey chili wasn’t too bad either.


Overall this was the perfect way to welcome the new season. With my picnic essentials and easy fall menu, you can get out there and fall into fall too! Trust me, it’s even better than a table-flipping Jersey Housewife fight.

easy fall menu

.... and how should you carry all of these things to your picnic you ask?

Picnic essentials

Pumpkin spice kisses.

Vacation days

There's a sad moment in every (full-time employed) post-grad's life when you realize that you no longer get a summer. Instead of getting three months off, you have to plan of months ahead to get three days off.

That's what I had to do in April, when I asked for special permission to get three days off to go visit Austin, Texas.

Obviously I will be blogging more about my trip, but I would just like to say that I have never been happier to be in the 106 degree heat than when I am not at work. Especially when my paycheck was direct deposited in to my bank account while I was designing a new necklace at the Kendra Scott color bar midday on a Thursday.

Kendra Scott | Hello Darlings

So enjoy your weekend fellow yuppies, and I hope you like these photos from my trip! There are many many more to come when I return!

We stayed in a log cabin that Josh's grandfather built in the 1970s.
Salt Lick Cellars | Hello Darlings
Salt Lick BBQ | Hello Darlings
Bocce at the Salt Lick | Hello Darlings
Trudy's Texas Star | Hello Darlings
Sopapilla at Trudy's | Hello Darlings
Learning to Shoot | Hello Darlings

...and why would I go to Texas without learning how to shoot?

Learning to shoot | Hello Darlings

Is this what it's like to grow up?

've been super busy the last few months...

I spent the last 10 weeks of my life studying for the Series 7, and it slowly killed my soul. The weekend before I finally took the exam, which happened to be the weekend of two of my best friends' birthdays, I sat at home by myself and studied. When the instagrams of my friends having fun without me became too much to bear, I gave up reading about the code of arbitration procedures and popped open a bottle of cava. I don't know if it was the wine, the defeating spirit of the 7, or my biological clock starting to click... but on this sad Friday night, I found myself crying during an episode of Say Yes to the Dress.

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Check out this blog!

Update: Will passed away on February 2, 2015. He shared some of his artwork on his blog for two years, and my family is selling items featuring his artwork to raise money for JDRF and scholarships in his name at McDonogh and Rollins. Please visit the Hello Darlings Shop if you are interested in purchasing something!

 You can also make a donation in Will's memory to JDRF by clicking this link.

 I also started a bravelets page, and $10 from each sale will be donated to JDRF in memory of Will.  

Original post: 

Hey everyone!

My brother just started a blog to share his artwork. He is posting everything from T-Shirt designs to murals. Be sure to check it out here,