Double Date Night


We had the luxury of escaping “real life” & venturing down to Tampa last weekend for a double date with friends.

I have read about this new boutique hotel, The Epicurean, which opened in January 2014, in many design magazines & creative blogs.  It only took one glimpse at the photos to know that I had to check it out myself!  (my favorite part about traveling to a new town is getting inspired by the local design)  The Epicurean did not disappoint.


The details of this boutique hotel were exquisite.  I loved their mix of textures, especially on the walls & ceilings.  I mean, really, who doesn’t love a reclaimed wood clad column!?  And wine crate covered lobby ceiling?  The depth of design was inspiring!

While we only had a few minutes to enjoy the hotel pool, it was refreshing enough!


Our friends have been telling us about Bern’s Steakhouse for months – and for those of you that know my husband, you know that there’s not much that gets between Robert and a good steak.  This restaurant was incredible!  You guys, I have been fortunate enough to eat at some very fine dining establishments while traveling for work, but I have never seen anything like Bern’s Steak House.

It felt like we were in another country as soon as we stepped inside the lobby.


Marble walls, ornate mirrors, stone statues & how about those gaudy red velvet chairs fit for a king?  It was clear that we were in for something really special.

Once we were seated our waiter greeted us & had to spend at least 10 minutes teaching us how to read the menu alone.  It was like a book.  And the steak page was incredible.  You literally:

  •  select your style of steak (Filet, Ribeye, Delmonico, etc)
  • select your thickness of steak (1″, 1.25″, 2″, etc)
  • select your weight of steak (6oz, 10oz, 12oz)
  • select how you want your steak cooked (rare, medium, well done, etc)
How to order your steak

How to order your steak

Not to worry, if you are not  a carnivore lover, they have amazing seafood, pastas, chicken, etc.  In over 40 pages of menu, there is something for everyone!

The steaks are not cut from the bone until you place your specific order, which guarantees the freshest piece of steak.

We upgraded to a Caesar Salad, which is made tableside.  #bestceasarsaladinmylife  The waiter rolls a little cart up to your table & literally prepares the salad before your eyes.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it. 🙂


Oh, and every entrée comes with French Onion Soup (to die for!), baked potato (loaded!) and chef’s seasonal veggie (grown locally on Bern’s personal farm).  Are you full yet?

Here we are as a group – ready to dig in to our plates full of deliciousness.


PS. Robert ordered an 18oz Delmonico steak – I think he is still eating off that steak, 3 days later.  So delish!


After dinner is complete, your server takes you on a tour of the kitchen, which operates like a well oiled piece of machinery.  Really, it was SO cool to see all the action.

Did I mention that Bern’s Steak House has over 6,000 wine labels on site!?  Can you imagine?  We were invited to tour their wine cellar, which was such a treat.  They have a bottle of wine that dates back to 1815, which is now worth over $30,000!


My date for the night ❤


Wouldn’t you know that even after all of this amazingness, the best was yet to come!?  Enter the Harry Waugh Dessert Room.  That’s right, a completely separate room to enjoy your dessert & after dinner drinks in.


“The Harry Waugh Dessert Room is located on the second floor of Bern’s Steak House.  The Dessert Room is constructed of California redwood wine holding tanks that Laxer had purchased from California wineries, shipped to Tampa. Once in Tampa, his crew created the 48 individual enclosed booths that reside in the dessert room.”

~Bern’s Steak House website

You have got to see this place.  It was so intimate & so fun.  What a genius idea, to enjoy dessert at a different table than your main course.  Duh.

We ordered a few dessert drinks & couldn’t resist the bananas foster, flambe’d for you tableside.

If you are ever in the Tampa, FL area, I highly recommend both The Epicurean Hotel & Bern’s Steak House.  You will not be disappointed!

Oh & to top off this unforgettable night – our Hokies pulled out a WIN against Ohio State!  Love me some Hokie football.




Family photos + a quick DIY


Do you guys even remember me!?  I almost forgot how to log on to this blog!  So sorry I haven’t written in a very looooooong time.  6 months to be exact.  Let’s just say, we had an amazing summer!

I just finished a fun little DIY project at home this weekend & though it would be fun to share with you.  We spent 2.5 weeks up in Virginia this July, visiting with family, friends, old neighbors, college roomates, even my grandparents came down from NY to visit with their Great grandbabies.  Such fun family memories!

Perhaps the highlight of the trip was celebrating my father in law’s 75th Birthday.  Pop has been such an instrumental part of Robert’s personality (think, reeeaaaalllly good work ethic!) and he has always made me feel like a welcome part of the family.  You guys – he brought me a 6-pack of Guiness beer when we had Caroline because he knew it boosted your breast milk production.  I mean, how thoughtful is that?  (And maybe secretly, he wanted to share a Guiness with me as well, but I like the 1st part of the story better) 🙂

Robert & his siblings thought long and hard about the perfect gift for their Dad’s 75th Bday.  And they quickly realized that all Pop really wanted was to have the entire family together & to capture our moments at the farm via a professional photographer.  Enter some of the most amazing photos to date:

We hired Mary Otanez for these pics & she was so patient with us.  If you’re in the Richmond, VA area, definitely check her out.  Incredible.

As soon as I saw the proofs, I knew I wanted to frame a bunch of them & make a gallery wall for the house.

I scored some 8×10 picture frames with white mats at Ikea a few weeks ago.  (they were only $7.99 each!)


I was thrilled with the way the photos looked on the wall, but I felt like they just needed a bit more detail to them.  Enter the DIY step.  🙂

I had saved a pic from Better Homes & Gardens a few months back where they had “gold leafed” the edges of a basic white frame & it looked like a million bucks.  I wanted to replicate this look, but I didn’t want it to be permanent, so I took some gold spray paint & sprayed it on strips of painters tape.  I then cut the painters tape to size & applied it to the corners of the photo frames.


I am so thrilled with the results!  It was just the right amount of detail that our bedroom hallway gallery wall needed.



What do you think?


Reynolds Reunion & the ATL


Hi friends!

We’ve just returned from our 1st travel of 2014.

We spent 2 days up at Reynolds Plantation on Lake Oconee in Georgia.  This was a sort of “family reunion” with some of our best friends from our years on Hilton Head Island, SC. (we lived on that glorious island for 7 years, can you believe it!?)

These friends go way back……back to when Robert & I were just newlywed’s. (we moved to Hilton Head the day we returned from our honeymoon, literally.)  We spent many nights grillin’ steaks and delicious salads at our condo.  Many summers spent lounging around the Marsh Side pool basking in the beautiful Lowcountry sun.  Many evenings with cold cocktails at Hemingway’s (now Black Marlin), Mellow Mushroom or on the rare occasion, “Bar Triangle”.

This circle of friends helped us welcome our children into this world; they’ve cried with us during times of tragedy.  We’ve seen 1 through a successful two-year tour with the Peace Corps in Africa & another through a move to Nashville.

You see, when your nearest family member is over 400 miles away, you’ve got to find friends who BECOME your family…..and that’s exactly what this group is.

HHI Family

HHI Family

We started the weekend on Friday night with a few cocktails & games while everyone (safely!) arrived in town.FamilyNight

Robert & I searched out a great playground for the kids on Saturday morning.  They even had a hiking trail through the Georgia woods, complete with Winnie-the-Pooh characters.  It was lovely.



We met up with the rest of the crowd at the Ritz Carlton Lodge for a little lunch break.


Me & Kate McP

Lucky for us, it was “family weekend” at the Ritz & they had a trackless train at the ready for this choo-choo loving group.



I wish I could bottle up the smiles on Davis’ face when we rode this train.  He was simply amazed – even shouted out “Alllllll aboard!” at one point.

Click here for a quick video clip of our train ride.

Saturday night brought more excitement, as we went up to the Ritz Carlton to listen to our friend Eric Dodd, who is an incredible musician.  If you haven’t heard of him, check out Eric’s website here & become a fan.


You’ll hear him on the radio SOON.

Eric played a few tunes for Caroline & Davis earlier that day, and they were completely impressed…….check it out here.

Selfie - timer style

Selfie – timer style

After a teary farewell with friends, we drove 1.5 hours north to Atlanta where we spent 2 wonderful days with Robert’s brother and his family.

The first toy that Davis found in their playroom was this:


He was so excited to emulate the tunes that Eric had just played for him. 🙂

Caroline & her cousin, Elizabeth hit it off immediately.  They were like two peas in a pod.

Little Besties

Little Besties

We enjoyed a short walk to their neighborhood park on Sunday afternoon.

But my favorite view was this:

Teeter Tottering with my baby boy

Teeter Tottering with my baby boy

The weather was amazing!  We really lucked out.  It was cool enough to enjoy my scarf & vest (not something I get to wear often in this hot FL weather), but not too cold to play outside most of the weekend.

Here are the cousins.  Pretty cute, aren’t they?


We played at Piedmont Park on Monday morning:

A quick pit stop at the local burrito shop for lunch, where Caroline & Davis tasted their 1st milkshake:

It's a hit!

It’s a hit!

And then on to the Georgia Aquarium for some fun with the fish!

Robert & I are so thankful that our kiddo’s have grown accustomed to travel – we can’t wait to plan our next family trip!


Chapel singers


*Disclaimer – I wrote this post about 4 months ago  & just stumbled upon it in my drafts.  Apparently, I never published it! Ooops!)

We are so fortunate to be able to send Caroline & Davis to an incredible Christian school for their pre-school years.  It would be our dream to continue their education at Mt. Dora Bible throughout their elementary, middle & high school years as well. (or until we make the great move back to our home state of VA… that even a possibility anymore?)

Not only are they growing in their developmental & social skills, but their faith is strengthened every day that they attend school.

The pre-school starts their day with a short Chapel service every morning from 8:45-9:00AM. All of the classes gather in the “park” and read & discuss a short verse from the Bible.  Then, one person from each classroom gets to come up to the front and pick a song to lead the group in singing.

Group of 50 something toddler’s singing songs about Jesus = beyond precious!

I have stayed to share in the Chapel experience numerous times and it always warms my heart.  These kids are so impressionable at this age & I love the guidance they receive from some amazing teachers and aids.

"The Park" at Harden Early Childhood Center

“The Park” at Harden Early Childhood Center

Things were rather quiet around the house a few days ago.  And then we witnessed this:

Click to view

C & D were role playing “Mr. Bob” & the chapel singers.  Robert & I stopped in our tracks when we realized what they were doing.  And our hearts grew 2 sizes in that very moment.

If you watch closely you will see Davis gently put his hand on Caroline’s back – M.E.L.T.

You might also notice that they are using coasters in place of the popsicle sticks they choose a song from at school.  Clever.

Round Two

This is what it’s all about friends.



Get your holiday shopping on!


The 2013 Holiday seasons brings a few new additions to the Lil Bits of Love Collection.

Holiday Collection 2013

Holiday Collection 2013

Or maybe you crave something a bit more personalized:

Custom Applique Pillow - Avaiable with any letter, number or wording

Custom Applique Pillow

Looking for the perfect gift for your newest member of the family? A reversible bib is for you:

How about a set of holiday burp clothes, so even the tiniest member of the family can partake in the festivities:


Headed to a party & looking for the perfect hostess gift? These tea/dish towels are sure to please!

Get your orders in soon – Christmas is only 29 days away.

Stop by my Etsy shop or send me an email with your special request.  I’d love to add a bit of cheer to your holiday season!


A showering of PINK…


I wish we could rewind to last weekend.  We’d be in Virginia, surrounded by the most amazing family.  Celebrating the upcoming birth of another baby in the fam.  Doesn’t get much better than that, right?

So what if it’s taken me a week to share a recap of last weekend with you – it gave me good reason to relive the greatest moments of the trip!

Can you believe the beautiful colors on these leaves?  I miss VA!

Can you believe the beautiful colors on these leaves? I miss VA!

First things first – we kicked off the weekend with an amazingly perfect baby shower, honoring my little sister & her growing family.


I worked with my Mom & sister-in-law to perfect all the tiny details of the baby shower.  We had such a blast coming up with these ideas & I must give props to my Mom (who is not the most eager crafter/entertainer) who pulled out her best talents to make this party memorable!


Personalized water bottles

Various foods were labeled with Storybook titles

Various foods were labeled with Storybook titles


Favor Table included cookies, chocolates & bottles of PINK nail polish.

Favor Table included cookies, chocolates & bottles of PINK nail polish.

My brain-child for this shower was the craft activity.  Rather than play games, we decided to put our guests’ creativeness to work in making onesies for Baby Berger.  You could choose a onesie, select a fabric & shape of your choice and put them together to make an adorable, wearable gift to the Parents-to-Be.

Selecting fabrics

Selecting fabrics

One-of-a-kind Onesies for the Momma-to-be

One-of-a-kind Onesies for the Momma-to-be

I think everyone had a great time & I know Kelley felt so blessed to be smothered in so much love & generosity.  Thanks to all who came from near & far to celebrate this fun day with us!


The Schiller girls

My cousin Kristin flew down from OH & she brought her baby boy, Tommy, with her.  I was thrilled to sneak in some newborn snuggles from this little guy.


Isn't he a cutie patootie?!

Isn’t he a cutie patootie?!

I also got to share lots of laughs with my sweet niece, Lauren, who is such a loveable child!

Eskimo kisses from Aunt Tia

Eskimo kisses from Aunt Tia


Cuteness Overload

Caroline (who is the oldest cousin on this side of the family) loved being the ring leader & even thought to share her lovie with cousin Lauren.



The boys spent the afternoon at a BBQ place, watching football (cheering on the Hokies to an awful OT loss to Maryland, boooo!) & drinking beers waters.  🙂

The Boys

The Boys

This was the first time we had all 4 Great Grandbabies together with my Grandmother.  We thought it was the perfect picture opportunity…..Lauren did not.  😉

Not only did we get to shower Kelley’s new baby with love, but Sunday was especially blessed as we celebrated Lauren’s Christening together, as a family.

My brother & his sweet, sweet family

My brother & his sweet, sweet family

Being baptized is exhausting…..


After the church service, Michael & Hannah hosted a nice reception at their house where Caroline & Davis loved exploring Lauren’s toy bin.

These 2 are going to cause quite a stir in another 12 years.....

These 2 are going to cause quite a stir in another 12 years…..

While we were all dressed up & looking spiffy, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for a family photo…….C & D thought otherwise.  Typical.


We visited Mt. Trashmore Park on our last day in Va Beach.  It is this huge park on a hill (probably the highest elevation in the city, ha!) that was developed on an old town dump site.  Clever, right?  It was a gorgeous day & we had so much fun climbing, swinging, sliding & rolling.

We’re always sad to leave our Gigi.  She spoils us!  All of us!


Never fear – on the days that I really, really miss our home state of Virginia, I have this great necklace that I wear & it reminds me of our “roots”.

Virginia is for Lovers

Virginia is for Lovers

An all around amazing weekend!  We’re so anxious to meet the newest member of the Schiller family & we feel so blessed to have shared in Lauren’s special day.  Memories to last a lifetime.



Oh & PS.  have you started your holiday shopping yet?  I whipped up this Christmas dish towel for a friend this week & just had to share it with you all.  Isn’t it fun!?  The perfect hostess gift for all those holiday parties you’ve got invites to.

Holiday Tea Towel

Holiday Tea Towel

It can be yours – $10 on my Etsy site.  Get your orders in quick – Christmas is only a month away!


A barrister bookcase


Robert & I have been searching for a barrister bookcase for a few years now.  We’ve always loved the look of this type of shelving but could never agree on a style, nor find one with a fair price tag.

The search is over!  We found the perfect bookcase on a whim today.


Barrister Bookcase at the antique mall

We think it is made with Oak & stained a medium/dark color.  You can tell it’s got decent age to it because the glass has that “leaded” look to it & the planks in the back are original to the piece.  It needs a good cleaning/polish and it’ll be as beautiful as ever.  Robert was in a wheeling & dealing mood today & was able to secure 25% off the sticker price.  Cash & carry, baby!  🙂

I’ve got the perfect place in mind for this bookcase in our new house.  Until then, we’ve added it to our family room & stocked it with a few books and accessories.



For those that have never heard of the Barrister style of bookcase, they come in many different sizes & styles.  Their uses are endless & it’s a timeless piece that looks good in almost all decors.

Here you see a more modern style used to store clean linens in a loft style apartment.


This gorgeous collection of barrister bookcases adorns the corner of a home office/library.



A metal version of the bookcase was used in the Smart Home, built & designed by the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago, 2012.

Photo:  Daily Herald, Smart Home

Photo: Daily Herald, Smart Home

The bookcase below provides a safe (& dust free!) place to store special china & dishware in a more casual kitchen/breakfast area.

Photo:  Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Even Lexington Furniture has created a spin-off of the barrister bookcase.

Photo:  Lexington Furniture

Photo: Lexington Furniture

What do you think?  Would you ever add a barrister bookcase to your home furnishings?