Austin Food+Wine Festival Fire Pit

The Austin Food + Wine Festival will take place April 24-26, 2015, bringing an array of taste, talent and culinary entertainment to the Capital City.  As part of the festival, the Fire Pits will showcase multiple chefs on Saturday and Sunday, each offering a front-row experience cooking with live fire to all festival pass holders.


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Saturday, April 25 @ 11-3pm, enjoy bites from chefs including:


Sunday, April 26 @ 11-2pm, Fire Pit masters will include:


Final event at Fire Pit features three distinct cooking challenges issued to fans directly from participating Fire Pit chefs Andrew Wiseheart (Contigo/Gardner), Paul Qui & Thai Changthong (ESK Thai-Kun), and Tandy Wilson (City House, Nashville) and Pat Martin (Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint in Nashville).


To enter, fans pick a challenge, prepare the specific dish and post to Instagram for a chance to win two (2) Weekender Passes and a KitchenAid Magnetic Drive Torrent Blender. Entry is open now until March 26


Learn more and connect:



Weekender passes for the 2015 Austin Food + Wine Festival are still available at $250/person, and include access to fire pits, cooking demos, food, wine and cocktail tastings, book signings, and Grand Tasting tents on Saturday & Sunday.  Purchase Weekender passes

Rustic Farm Wedding Red Tail Farm Goshen

Rustic Farm Wedding Red Tail Farm Goshen

My best friend from Germany, who I met in the 9th grade and we bonded over our love of escargot and cultural adventures, recently got married at the Red Tail Farm in Goshen, Indiana.  Goshen is a wonderful Mennonite town 95 miles east of Chicago, about two hours by car, with a beautiful and historic downtown.  My friend went to college here and celebrated her wedding here.  Although now located on the East Coast, her dream was to get married on a farm and she found the perfect one.  Adam, the farm owner, himself got married on the farm a year and a half ago and made the planning process incredibly easy.  They are partnered with a local catering company, Rachel’s Bread.

Rustic Farm Wedding at Red Tail Farm in Goshen Indiana

Red Tail Farm in Goshen Indiana


Rustic Farm Wedding at Red Tail Farm in Goshen Indiana Rustic Farm Wedding at Red Tail Farm in Goshen Indiana Rustic Farm Wedding at Red Tail Farm in Goshen Indiana Rustic Farm Wedding at Red Tail Farm in Goshen Indiana Rustic Farm Wedding at Red Tail Farm in Goshen Indiana Rustic Farm Wedding at Red Tail Farm in Goshen Indiana Rustic Farm Wedding at Red Tail Farm in Goshen Indiana

Book Review: Never the Bride

My sister got engaged to a wonderful guy this past weekend. My younger sister. I am so incredibly happy for her, thrilled to be her maid of honor, and the only minuscule rain cloud on the horizon is the impending questions I’ll be asked:

“When is it your turn?”

“How long have you and your boyfriend been together now?”

“Are you sure you’re not in a hurry to get married?”

to which I always respond:

“Not any time soon.”

“Almost three years.”

“Not rushed at all.”

However, if there was any doubt in my mind though, I’d simply have to re-read “Never the Bride” by Cheryl McKay and Rene Gutteridge.

never the bride by Cheryl McKay and Rene Gutteridge
Click on the image for publisher/book's website!

I found this book while searching for new books at my local library. I saw Kristin Billerbeck’s quoted inside the the book and was immediately intrigued because I am a HUGE fan of Billerbeck and her straightforward, sharp wit!

This modern, Christian chick lit is fun and witty but also rings so true. The second you let go and give God the steering wheel, the beautiful love story he’s written for you is IMMEDIATELY revealed. Quite frankly I think it can be applied to any part of anyone’s life, not just as far as relationships are concerned.

The book left me feeling very satisfied, it had everything I normally expect and want from these types of books and reminds the readers that God has something wonderful planned.

***Read the first chapter of Never the Bride here.

Best Wedding Registries Offers

Congratulations! You’re getting married! Stores want to reward that as well! By taking the time to create registries in their stores or on their websites, here are some popular ways retailers want to help celebrate your wedding:

1 – Bonus gifts: If you register for a certain number of items, certain items from specific brands, etc. you’ll get gift cards or freebies! If your gifts spend a combined $200 you’ll get a $20 gift certificate (from JCPenny)! Register at Bloomingdale’s for $200 worth of Emeril Cookware and get a 2 piece set of Ramekins, valued at $39.99!

2 – Discounts for Guests: Kohl’s hit it out of the park, not only do they offer FREE announcement cards to slip into wedding invitations but they also offer wedding guests a 15% discount for purchasing items on registry! To me this is a no brainer.

3 – Discount Post-wedding: After the dust has settled from the wedding, the newlyweds are offered discounts ranging from 10-20% off the remaining items. Most post-nuptial discounts are offered through email notifications; make sure you watch out for them. Some are offered regardless of time, some expire after a month to the first year.

4 – Gift Card and other Freebies: Some companies offer $25 gift cards just for creating the registry. JCPenny also offers a free engagement portrait. Lots of retailers offer online wedding tools, free printable planners, magazine subscriptions, and other benefits.

5 – Mingle and Scan: Macy’s and a couple other companies offer events throughout the year where engaged couples can come for an evening of FREE drinks and refreshments while scanning their registry with other smitten couples.

6 – Mobile Apps: Some stores offer mobile versions of their sites or mobile apps for quick updates, checking on registries.

These were the most important aspects to notice about gift registries that I found. It’s pretty standard to offer the tools/online resources so I didn’t include the links to those. The images are links to the wedding registry home page for each retailer. Happy Scanning! Let me know if you find any others!

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for ALL your favorite retailers, restaurants, and travel sites with your anniversary. You’ll get more freebies and gift certificates then! 😀

Retailer Benefits Discounts Post Wedding Other Special Offers
Crate & Barrel Wedding Registry Bonus Gifts – register for specific items for additional freebies, list here. The Completion Certificate gives you two separate opportunities to acquire the remaining gifts on your registry for 10% less (once in-store/online).
Pottery Barn Wedding Registry
  • FREE announcement cards
  • Tuesday night registry workshops
10% off remaining items in registry

  • Add desired items registry after wedding
  • Doesn’t expire until 6 months after wedding
Traveler’s Joy is an online honeymoon registry. Friends and family visit your page and use their credit card to give a gift toward part or all of your trip.
Bottle Notes Wine Wedding Registry Sign up and create your own unique registry full of amazing wines. Email after your wedding for 10% off all wine purchases.
Belk Wedding Registry $25 gift card for registering 10% off purchases + 2 events w/ 20% off in the first year (no brand exclusion)

  • 0% financing first year for purchases over $300
michael c fina Wedding Registry Offer the choice of either:

  • Traditional Registry – gifts are mailed within 2-3 days
  • Consolidated Registry – gifts aren’t mailed until requested, if you no longer desire item, exchange before item is shipped
  • 15% completion discount
  • Registry Rewards program – rewards if purchases from your registry exceed certain amounts
jcpenney wedding registry
  • $25 gift certificate w/ registries values $2500+
  • Registry Rewards program
  • FREE wedding portrait just for registering
  • Free wedding organizer
10% off remaining items in registry for up to a year!
REI wedding registry
  • Option of selecting pre- and post-event shipping addresses for gifts
Macy's wedding registry $100 giftcard from reward points program

  • Points from purchases made and gifts received
Search for local events to like this one 1/26/2011 at Macy’s La Cantera

  • FREE refreshments, drinks, and gift
  • Free monogramming
  • Bonus gifts program
  • Registry guide
  • Test drive table settings app
10% off remaining items in registry for up to 6 months after wedding date
Lenox wedding registry 10% off items purchased from store (on registry or not…) for 6 months after wedding
Williams Sonoma Registry
  • Request announcement cards for invitations
  • Vendor offers if you register for certain items
  • Facebook app
Bed Bath & Beyond Wedding Registry
  • Additional gifts if guests purchase certain items
  • Free announcement cards by request
  • Refer a friend, $25 a friend
  • Bridal book
Completion discount (amount unmentioned) once online and once in a store – anytime up to three months after your event.
Kohl's Wedding Registry 15% off remaining items on registry for up to 3 months after wedding Guests receive 15% off entire purchase
Sear's Wedding Registry
  • Give gifts as a group of people
Dillard's Wedding Registry
  • 20% off the remaining regular priced items in registry, 60 days after wedding, for 2 months
Target Wedding Registry
  • Welcome Kit
Tiffany & Co Wedding Registry