Monday, February 8, 2016

@JennyCraig 5 day weight loss starter kit available exclusively at @Walmart #JennyCraigKit #spon

Jenny Craig's new weight loss starter kits being sold exclusively at Walmart

If you checked out Friday's Instagram and Blog Post Teaser, then you know I am going to spill the tea today on Jenny Craig's new weight loss kits being sold exclusively at Walmart in participating stores. (right now in store only)

Last year I entered a blog contest over at The Chatty Momma for one month of Jenny Craig which included weekly one-on-one consultations with a dedicated consultant who would help identify challenges, map out goals and track my progress as well as a one month supply of food. Shout out to Tonia for the amazing giveaway, it really helped me get a good running start to re-vamping my Lifestyle Choices when it comes to meals and portion control.

That was my first ever intro to Jenny Craig, I had never tried a program like this prior to this experience and I am happy to report I was successful at losing weight with the program - Members following the Jenny Craig program on average lose 1-2 lbs. a week.

Out of the four weeks, I had only one 'un-successful' week and it is because I didn't stick with it, I was away from the meals most of that week because of my insane schedule - that is the only week I gained, not much, but it proved without a shadow of a doubt that if you stick to it, the program really does yield results. I wasn't just 'out and about' I was traveling so I couldn't take the food with me, if only this kit had been available then, I could have just purchased one when I landed!

As promised, I am going to prove to you that this average sized box actually contains 3 meals a day PLUS a snack for FIVE days (here is the kit 'un-boxed'):

Jenny Craig's new weight loss starter kits being sold exclusively at Walmart un-boxed to show contents

Contents:

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Five healthy Breakfasts! (Very Left with the Yellow Labels)

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Five Healthy Lunches! (Second to Left with Orange Coded Labels)

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Five Healthy Dinners! (Second to Right with Green Labels)

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Five Tasty Snacks! (Far Right with Purple Labels - a little salty and a little sampling of sweet - because sometimes you want chocolate other times chips!)

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - One month free consultation at any Jenny Craig Center or Jenny Craig Anywhere

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - ***Special $50 food savings when you join a Jenny Craig Center***

The Jenny Craig Weight Loss Starter Kit is available exclusively at Walmart - right now in store only - there are also three day kits available (the three day kits retail for $44.98) - those kits have the chocolate dream shakes in them which I highly recommend! (If you buy both kits you'll have the weekend covered too! PERK)

For the truly observant you may notice my kit accidentally contained 4 dinners and 6 lunches but if that happens to you don't worry you can substitute - I just used one of the lunches for dinner.

and one of the things I love about the program is that you can add a salad to any lunch or dinner - now just remember, it's NOT the salad that does folks in, it's the dressing - the plan comes with a pre-portioned balsamic dressing that I really love. They also offer 'anytime' items. 

MY TAKE:

Advantages/Loves/Pros:

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - The fact that this kit does NOT require refrigeration and can be stored at room temp makes it perfect for my 'cubicle chicks' - no worries about stuff disappearing from the office fridge. (In my younger days I worked on a Trading Floor and lunches constantly disappeared from the Fridge - not cool, especially in winter!) - Just store them in your desk and you have all your meals literally at your fingertips. And with having the dinners with you, if you work late, you are covered and don't have to worry about being starved by the time you get home.

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Hate meal planning? - BOOM, this kit plans for you - it literally doesn't get easier than that.

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ -  Hate shopping for a ton of ingredients you don't end up using or having food go bad? Not going to happen with this kit. With me being a single gal in the city with no kids I don't want to prepare elaborate meals just for me - lunches especially - I don't have time for it, so this is absolutely perfect for me. I also tend to skip breakfast if left to my own devices, this system helps me start my day with something in my system making me less likely to snack before lunch and give me more energy. PERK!

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Even as a SOHO (small office/home office) I love that I can always have something portion controlled, healthy and TASTY at my disposal. They are super fast to prepare which is perfect and some of the lunches that don't even require heating like the salad kits (chicken or tuna salad with whole wheat crackers and apple sauce) can be tucked into your purse for a meal on the go so you are less likely to cheat while out.

Cons: (these are actually not 'bad' - totally personal preference stuff)

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - In the beginning it takes getting used to the smaller sizes, especially for the snacks. Re-training my brain can be hard, especially when I am up late at night trying to meet deadlines - that is my snacktime danger zone. I know enough to know it can be exhaustion from working solid so many hours coupled with de-hydration from not taking enough breaks that make me crave the bad for me snacks. I wish the snack portion sizing were a bit bigger but that's the point - not to cut out snacking completely, just learn to cut back. By the way, while it was not included in this kit - the triple chocolate cheesecake from Jenny Craig's is addictive and rivals any of my favorite cheesecakes hands down. A pro and a con indeed! Delicious - total pro, the fact that I want to eat at least four of them in one sitting a con! LOL

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - I am a grab and go if at all Breakfast person - the chocolate dream shake is PERFECT, but it is not included in this particular kit (I am at an advantage and dis-advantage that I am familiar with the entire range of meals offered and have my favorites!) I do wish this five day kit included the shakes as the shakes can also be used for a boost mid-day if you are craving something and are far from your next meal time, the shakes are considered 'anytime' items (as well as many of the bars like the Chocolate Peanut Butter Anytime Bar). Nothing to count, just follow along the menu plan and it outlines how to incorporate anytime items into your day.

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Now I don't know if all the kits are like that, but I wish mine hadn't repeated meals more than once, and had given me total variety with something different each day but I have a feeling that most of the other meals are ones that require refrigeration so that is why they weren't included.

Now I know what you are thinking butterflies, "but butterfly if the program worked for you, why didn't you stay on it longer than the trial month?"

Good Question, simply put the weekly meetings were really hard to fit into my schedule. I am a Life Coach, Social Media Consultant, Freelance Writer and Blogger and commuting to the city as there is no branch closer to me just for the consultations got harder and harder to schedule, now that the kits can be picked up at MY convenience I can see myself picking it up again to jump start my way into Spring and get myself back on track eating wise and portion control wise. Also, with the beverages, hauling the food from the branch to my home as someone who does not drive and was taking public transportation was also a challenge for me, this kit is way lighter and much more compact and can be picked up during a regular shopping trip closer to home so it's a total win/win in my book.

For those of you who decide to become full members after trying the weight loss kit, here are my personal food faves from the Jenny Craig Menu:

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Breakfast Faves: Egg, Cheese & Turkey Sausage Burrito, Florentine Breakfast Pizzas (Whole Wheat Crust, Scrambled Egg White, Spinach and a blend of cheeses and BACON, yes Bacon!) and for me I used the Chocolate Dream Shakes often for Breakfast as well.

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Lunch Faves: Baja Style Chicken Quesadilla, Creamy Chicken and Corn Chowder, Stuffed Pizza Bites, White Bean Chicken Chili (this one is included in the kit! PERK!)

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Dinner Faves: Turkey Chili, Chicken Carbonara (which has BACON!), Chicken Fettucini, White Fish and Mushroom Risotto

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Snack Faves: Bruschetta Veggie Chips, Black Bean Taco Chips, Chocolate Lava Cake and Gold Stars to the Triple Chocolate Cheesecake!

When following the program, I lost just under 2 pounds per week each week, so I hope that the new kits at Walmart will also be made available soon at Walmart.com because having it delivered right to my door would definitely make an already good thing - that much better!

What say YOU? Do you shop at Walmart? Will you be making a bee line for the diet/weight loss aisle to try the new Jenny Craig 5 day Weight Loss Starter Kit exclusively at Walmart? The Ground hog says Spring is coming early and you know what that means - summer isn't far behind!

***NOTE: $50 Food Discount to be used in $10 increments with minimum food purchase of $90 (US) $95 (CAN), plus the cost of shipping, if applicable. Membership is required to redeem the $50 Food Discount. Enrollment fees and monthly fees may be required and vary by location. Valid at participating centers, Jenny Craig Anywhere and jennycraig.com - Valid for food purchase only;  may NOT be used for shipping costs. No Cash Value. Not Transferable. Restrictions Apply.***

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FTC Disclosure:  This is a sponsored/compensated Post in conjunction with Acorn Influence and Walmart, however all opinions are 100% my own! The Weight Loss and The Love Is Real Folks - Portion Control really is KING. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 - Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, you may check our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for additional information regarding Ascending Butterfly Disclosure. Check with your Doctor before starting this or any weight loss program. Some meal/snack items contain tree nuts, read ingredient labels carefully before purchasing.

Friday, February 5, 2016

#JennyCraigKit now available @walmart #ad


Fresh off Ascending Butterfly's Instagram Feed: Hard to believe this is 5 days worth of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks too! The #JennyCraigKit is now available at EXCLUSIVELY at Walmart and I had the chance to try it out! Look for a full post on Monday so you can see what's in the box! This is just a teaser! :-)

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FTC Disclosure: This is a compensated/sponsored Campaign, All opinions are 100% my own! I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 - Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, you may check our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for additional information regarding Ascending Butterfly Disclosure.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Need Ideas for Valentine's Day? Top Ten Things To Do in BrandyWine Valley @visitbrandywine #TravelTuesday #BVFoodie

Brandywine Valley, #BVFoodie

Stuck for Valentine's Day Ideas? How about you both toss aside the drugstore flowers and chocolates in a tin for something a little more upscale, something that will allow you to leave the 'day-to-day' behind and take time focused solely on each other.

I had the chance to take a Food and Wine Bloggers Press Trip/Media Familiarization Visit to BrandyWine Valley, and thought I'd share a top 10 list of things to see and do, and ideas on where to stay of course!

This City Mouse/Butterfly enjoyed the charming Pennsylvania Countryside where I got to sample great food and wine, hit the sites and the shops and experience some time away from my crazy hectic life in New York City. While PA is not that far from NYC, I felt like I was a world away - and I mean that in a *GOOD* way!

The last time I visited Pennsylvania was on a church bus trip to Amish Country! I was super young (maybe I'll post an 'adorkable' Throwback Thursday if I can find those photos!), but I do remember it being such a stark contrast to my life in NYC. This trip brought me back to that first one. Especially while we were on the road and passed two young ladies horseback riding! (I so want to do that on my next visit! I have been horseback riding since I was very young, and it is one of the things I try to arrange to do when I am on personal/vacation travel.)

Where I stayed:

I stayed at Mendenhall Inn located at 323 Kennett Pike/Route 52, Mendenhall, PA - those of you following this butterfly on Instagram got to see my Instagram post showing my room and the neat swag that was waiting for me upon arrival! If you are not yet following Ascending Butterfly on Instagram, make sure to remedy that right now! (Sometimes Instagram Photos happen way before the full blog recap does so it's a fun way to share in what I am doing in the moment).

Mendenhall Inn, BrandyWine Valley, Press Trip, Room Interior, Swag Bag, Travel, Lifestyle Blogger
Room at MendenHall Inn
During our visit, there were several events/happenings going on at the same time (including several wedding parties!) and I have to say I was amazed at the fact that I didn't really hear any noise in the hallways. They also did offer breakfast, but as I was on a Press Trip, Breakfast was already planned for us and so sadly I didn't get to try Breakfast at the hotel. But everything looked great! It was a little crowded when I peeked in so I didn't get a chance to nab my own photos. (I didn't want to be that creepy lady with the DSLR snapping random photos of people eating breakfast! LOL) They offer Eggs (with or without cheese), bacon, sausage, sausage gravy, biscuits, make your own waffles or pancakes, oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, bagels, juice, coffee or tea. The hotel has quite a rich history and great overnight package specials that also include admissions to local attractions.

Mendenhall Inn, BrandyWine Valley, Press Trip, Room Interior, Swag Bag, Travel, Lifestyle Blogger
Swag Bag Upon Arrival!

By the way I had to share that I made Shrimp Puttanesca with the Puttanesca sauce from my swag bag when I got back home and it was really GOOD! 

What you might not know is that Brandywine Valley is a destination for Exotic Mushrooms, hence the mushroom kitchen towel that was included in our swag bag! It is behind the Breakfast in the Brandywine Valley Book so it might be hard to see. (It is currently being displayed proudly in my kitchen now as I love cooking with mushrooms - I hear they have a mushroom festival in BrandyWine Valley and I may have to time my next trip out there with that festival).

BrandyWine Valley, Press Trip, High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge, historical West Chester, Pennsylvania, Menu, Appetizers, Entrees
High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge Menu


We arrived in the late afternoon and headed out to Dinner at High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge in historical West Chester, Pennsylvania. Bringing a taste of my favorite place NOLA to Pennsylvania - they offer Cajun, Creole and Exotic Cuisine (Creole Fusion) that is truly delicious, but it's actually one of the 'cocktails' that rocked my world! I had no idea that what my Margaritas were missing in their life was BOURBON! Yes Bourbon!

BrandyWine Valley, Press Trip, High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge, historical West Chester, Pennsylvania, Menu, Appetizers, Entrees





































The Bourbon St. Margarita at High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge was my favorite on their specialty drink menu it contains: Milagro Silver Tequila, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, OJ and a splash of sour and Bourbon. It really kicks a traditional margarita up in notch not just in terms of 'punch'/'kick' but flavor as well!

BrandyWine Valley, Press Trip, High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge, historical West Chester, Pennsylvania, Menu, Cocktails, Cocktail Menu, Bourbon St. Margarita Signature Specialty Cocktail
Bourbon St. Margarita Signature Specialty Cocktail
Needless to say I had to get a close up of it!

We were a party of Four and ordered a few Apps to share and different entrees and like the good Lifestyle Bloggers that we are, we stopped to take photos of everything! We also split everything - so we could 'taste it all'. Tough job my butterflies, but somebody has got to do it! :)

BrandyWine Valley, Press Trip, High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge, historical West Chester, Pennsylvania, Menu, Appetizers, Entrees


Alligator Sausage Entree, High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge
Above: Alligator Sausage - 'exotic cuisine' on the menu at High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge


Blackened Red Snapper, High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge
Above: Blackened Red Snapper (tasted as good as it looks!)


Lobster Ravioli with Blackened Sea Scallops, High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge
Above: Lobster Ravioli with Blackened Sea Scallops

Dinner Entree, High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge

Jambalaya, High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge
Above: This Jambalaya was definitely a taste of New Orleans!

Creme Brulee Dessert, High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge
Above: I always ask for Creme Brulee for dessert, even if I don't see it on a menu! It's one of those things I enjoy having when I am out but never make for myself! (Much like with Lava Cakes and Cheesecake too!)

Cheesecake Dessert, High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge
Above: Cheesecake! The good thing about ordering different desserts in a group is you get a taste of everything!


Proprietor of High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge, Donny Syracuse
Above: Proprietor of High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge, Donny Syracuse
Boxcar Brewing Co., Boxcar Brew Pub, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie
ABOVE: After High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge we hit Boxcar Brewing Co. for some music and live entertainment!
Boxcar Brewing Co., Boxcar Brew Pub, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie
I love that Boxcar thinks local!
Boxcar Brewing Co., Boxcar Brew Pub, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie
Boxcar Brewing Co., Boxcar Brew Pub, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie, Cider, WIne

Boxcar Brewing Co., Boxcar Brew Pub, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie



Boxcar Brewing Co., Boxcar Brew Pub, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: Looks like we arrived right on time for live entertainment!


Boxcar Brewing Co., Boxcar Brew Pub, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie, Mango Ginger Pale Ale
Above: I ordered the 'Mango Ginger Pale Ale' - The sweetness of the Mango with the crispness of the Ginger made this a beer to remember!


Boxcar Brewing Co., Boxcar Brew Pub, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie, Upstairs Bar
Above: Shot of the upstairs Bar

Hanks Place, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: The next morning we bypassed Breakfast at the hotel and hit Hanks Place, had to nab a shot of this sign that reads: "Hanks Place Where Hungry People Eat and Friendly People Meet'.

The sign couldn't be more true, a great breakfast and great laid back vibe with very friendly people! I enjoyed Hanks Place and definitely recommend them.

Hanks Place, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: I love the warm welcoming entranceway!


Hanks Place, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie, Breakfast, Steak and Eggs
Above: This steak and egg breakfast was just what the Doctor ordered after an evening out!


The Artisan Exchange, Indoor Farmers Market, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: After Breakfast we hit The Artisan Exchange.


Farm and Garden Flowers, The Artisan Exchange, Indoor Farmers Market, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie
The Artisan Exchange provides an affordable space for the exchange and discovery of local, sustainable, hand-crafted foods by some of the Philadelphia area's best artisans. This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me. As a digital entrepreneur I have great respect for my fellow creatives and loved the idea of a space where so many different types of businesses were able to reach a wider audience. And how one vendor would always recommend another when it matched your interests or complimented what you were purchasing. I got lost in the candle section and took a few home because I loved so many of the scents!

Firehouse Donuts, The Artisan Exchange, Indoor Farmers Market, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: Sweet temptations on display from Firehouse Donuts! Founded by lifelong fireman and EMT, Kevin Carney to raise funds to benefit his local fire company.


Chicken or Pork Burritos, The Artisan Exchange, Indoor Farmers Market, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: Wish I hadn't been still stuffed from Breakfast, the burritos looked good!

Meat Sampler Tray, The Artisan Exchange, Indoor Farmers Market, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: Sign reads: "Ask me about the samples today. Also please don't grab with fingers"



Heirzoom Bakery, The Artisan Exchange, Indoor Farmers Market, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: Another fun stop was the booth of Diane Holtaway of Heirzoom Bakery who displayed her Fennome Pastries - an heirloom Hungarian Pastry Recipe that had been passed down in her family for generations - I'm pretty sure you could actually taste the love!


Veronica's Doggie Delights, The Artisan Exchange, Indoor Farmers Market, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: There was even something for your loyal doggie furbaby - Veronica's Doggie Delights offered up Beef & Cheddar Twist and Bark-A-Que Twist, and Grain and Gluten Free Products for Dogs as well.

Wynnor Farm, The Artisan Exchange, Indoor Farmers Market, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: Wynnor Farm in their own words 'is a working relic in Chester County, Pennsylvania with fun for all ages.' While we didn't get to actually visit the farm personally I do know they offer a corn maze, pumpkin picking hayrides, pedal Kart Races, they sell 100% wool yarn spun from their own sheep's fleeces (little known fact about me, I used to crochet when I was younger),  and they also sell Turkeys for Thanksgiving as well.


Rebecca's Dumplings, The Artisan Exchange, Indoor Farmers Market, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: Rebecca's Dumplings - Rebecca Li Jordan's family recipe became so popular among family and friends that a business was born, varieties include: Gluten Free Pork, Gluten Free Vegetarian, Bacon Egg and Cheese Dumpling, CheeseSteak Dumpling (I wish this sample had been available that day I have a weakness for Philly CheeseSteak!)

Chocolate Sea Salt, Mompops, The Artisan Exchange, Indoor Farmers Market, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie
Chocolate Sea Salt Flavor Mompop




Above: While the price is not 'free' Mompops are FREE OF: Gluten, Dairy, Peanut, Soy, GMO Free, Low Calorie, NO Additives, No Preservatives, No Concentrates, are 100% Vegan AND Kosher! oh did I already say they taste good too? :)


MacDougall's Irish Victory Cakes, The Artisan Exchange, Indoor Farmers Market, BrandyWine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: MacDougall's Irish Victory Cakes are made with all-natural ingredients, they buy ingredients from local farmers and use eco friendly and 100% recycled packaging. Their 'Massie's Sweet Butter Cake' utilizes their Great Grand Dad's Award-Winning Recipe - golden eggs, sweet butter and dairy - fresh from the farm (and a 'wee' bit of whiskey that is baked in) you add your favorite jam and fresh whipped cream. These were SO GOOD!

I spent so much time talking to the artisan I bought the candles from, I neglected to take pictures so when I light them I will take photos  and post them!

Below: After The Artisan Exchange, we were on to Levante Brewing - We got a chance to try one of their craft beers when we got there which was a nice way to unwind after power shopping at The Artisan Exchange Indoor Farmers Market. Shopping makes a gal thirsty!

Brandywine Valley, Levante Brewing Co., #BVFoodie
Levante Brewing Co. 










Brandywine Valley, What's on Tap, Craft Beers, Brews, Levante Brewing Co., #BVFoodie
Above: Get a load of what's on tap!


Brandywine Valley, What's on Tap, Craft Beers, Brews, Levante Brewing Co., #BVFoodie, Elevate Your Craft, The Writing is on the Wall
Above: "Elevate Your Craft" - the writing is on the wall baby!


Brandywine Valley, What's on Tap, Craft Beers, Brews, Levante Brewing Co., #BVFoodie, Elevate Your Craft, The Writing is on the Wall, Eric Gillard
Above: Eric Gillard of Levante Brewing led us on a tour of the Brewing Company and the facilities.


Brandywine Valley, What's on Tap, Craft Beers, Brews, Levante Brewing Co., #BVFoodie, Elevate Your Craft
Above: A peek at where Levante makes their craft beers


Brandywine Valley, What's on Tap, Craft Beers, Brews, Levante Brewing Co., #BVFoodie, Jack Daniels Barrels
Above: Levante uses Jack Daniels Barrels which helps to impart a unique flavor to their brews!


Brandywine Valley, What's on Tap, Craft Beers, Brews, Levante Brewing Co., #BVFoodie
Above: #BVFoodie Crew in front of Levante Brewing Co. I wish it were warm enough for just a cardigan right now! :-)


Brandywine Valley, What's on Tap, Craft Beers, Brews, Levante Brewing Co., #BVFoodie
Above: We had a brew on the way in and one after the Brewery Tour, there were folks playing Jenga others at the bar and I really liked the laid back vibe at Levante. (and it's proximity to The Artisan Farmer's Market can't be beat!)


Talula's Table, historic Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Brandywine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: This leg of our itinerary was like sensory overload! Great Breakfast at Hank's Place, then The Artisan Farmers Market, Levante Brewing Co. and then we hit Talula's Table for a meet & greet. Talula's Table is a gourmet market in historic Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, a sort of modern 'general store' that offers specialty foods as well as imported goods from around the world.

Talula's Table, historic Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Brandywine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: Check out the assortment of tasty scones! Mixed Berry, Pumpkin, Cranberry Orange White Chocolate - YES, PLEASE!

Talula's Table, historic Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Brandywine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: From sweet to savory, Talula's Table has a little something for everyone! I just wish there was already 'smell-o-vision'!

Talula's Table, historic Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Brandywine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: I LOVE a good sourdough bread! The best I have had was in San Fran, good to know there is some closer  to me than the West Coast!


Talula's Table, historic Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Brandywine Valley, #BVFoodie, honey on display, pumpkins, rooster, fall



sole propietor Aimee Olexy of Talula's Table, historic Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Brandywine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: Talulah's Table co-owner and sole propietor Aimee Olexy also shared a bit with us about her 'Farm Table Dinners' which literally book 4 months in advance, this Chef's Table dinner offers an 8 course Tasting Menu ($108 per person) and you bring your own bottle ($25 Corkage Fee per table) there are no modifications made to the menu, which you can check out HERE before you book. If you can't visit PA anytime soon, you can also shop Talulah's Table online! I for one have my eyes on the 'grande gourmand' and 'truffle love' gift baskets!


The Whip Tavern, Pennsylvania, English Pub, Horse country, Brandywine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: After Talulah's Table it was time for a late lunch at The Whip Tavern - a traditional English Pub in the heart of Horse country (hence the two young ladies on horseback I saw on the way there!).


The Whip Tavern, Pennsylvania, English Pub, The Tavern Sandwich, Horse country, Brandywine Valley, #BVFoodie
Above: I ordered 'The Tavern Sandwich' A Thick Slice of Smoked Ham on Crusty Bread with Brie, tomato, and spicy honey mustard with crisps (that's chips for my fellow yankees, LOL) I started with the Mushroom Soup, my photo came out, but I'm not sure it really did it justice which is why I left it out! :-) (If I were 'superman' brie would be my cheese kryptonite - I definitely can't resist it!)


Chaddsford Winery, Brandywine Valley, 632 Baltimore Pike, US Route 1, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, #BVFoodie
Above: Wine Selection for tasting at Chaddsford Winery. 632 Baltimore Pike (US Route 1) Chadds Ford, PA - 610.388.6221

Let's just say a day that offered both a brewery tour and a winery tour definitely required being fortified well, so it's a good thing that we ate well that day! :)

Chaddsford Winery, Brandywine Valley, 632 Baltimore Pike, US Route 1, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, #BVFoodie
Above: Time for some serious tasting!


Chaddsford Winery, Brandywine Valley, 632 Baltimore Pike, US Route 1, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, #BVFoodie, 2013 Proprietors Reserve American White Wine
Above: First up a lovely 2013 Proprietors Reserve American White Wine


Chaddsford Winery, Brandywine Valley, 632 Baltimore Pike, US Route 1, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, #BVFoodie, 2013 Chardonnay Barrel Select
Above: Second up was the Chaddsford 2013 Chardonnay Barrel Select


Chaddsford Winery, Brandywine Valley, 632 Baltimore Pike, US Route 1, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, #BVFoodie, Chaddsford 2013 Proprietors Reserve American Red Wine
Above: Third Wine on the tasting menu was the Chaddsford 2013 Proprietors Reserve American Red Wine


Chaddsford Winery, Brandywine Valley, 632 Baltimore Pike, US Route 1, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, #BVFoodie, Chaddsford Winery Club Series Red Wine
Above: The Fourth Wine we tasted was the Chaddsford Winery Club Series Red Wine (I wish it had been NY Yankees of course, but I have to admit it was good!)


Chaddsford Winery, Brandywine Valley, 632 Baltimore Pike, US Route 1, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, #BVFoodie, Chaddsford Winery Sunset Blush
Above: The Fifth Wine on the tasting menu was Chaddsford Winery Sunset Blush.


Chaddsford Winery, Brandywine Valley, 632 Baltimore Pike, US Route 1, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, #BVFoodie, Chaddsford Winery Spiced Apple Wine
Above: The Sixth Wine turned out to be the biggest surprise. Chaddsford Winery Spiced Apple Wine was a totally pleasant surprise. While I do like apples, I didn't think I would like a Spiced Apple Wine (I am NOT a Spiced Cider fan) so when I tried this and I really liked it I was totally surprised. I immediately imagined all the ways I could integrate this into my cooking, particularly pork dishes.


Chaddsford Winery, Brandywine Valley, 632 Baltimore Pike, US Route 1, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, #BVFoodie, Chaddsford's Holiday Spirit
Above: The Seventh and final Wine is Chaddsford's Holiday Spirit. I thought it was great to be able to try out their seasonal variety in addition to some of the more standard wines you expect to try at a typical tasting.


Terrain (an URBN INC shop), Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania, #BVFoodie
Above: Outside shot of Terrain (an URBN INC shop)

Our day was eventful to say the least, so we got a little down time between the winery and our late dinner at Terrain.


Terrain (an URBN INC shop), Terrain Cafe, Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania, #BVFoodie
Above: Terrain's picturesque outside gives way to a warm interior, with seating that gets you very close to your neighbor.


Terrain (an URBN INC shop), Terrain Cafe, Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania, #BVFoodie, Bread served in Planter
Bread served in a Planter!
Above: Honestly you just need to taste this bread to find out why it deserves its own hi-res photo, yes it's THAT good!


Terrain (an URBN INC shop), Terrain Cafe, Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania, #BVFoodie, Scallops served on Cedar Plank
Above: OK so if you haven't figured it out yet I'm a bit scallop obsessed! Drooling yet?


Terrain (an URBN INC shop), Terrain Cafe, Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania, #BVFoodie, Fruit, Cheese, and Nuts tray
Above: This Fruit, Cheese, and Nuts tray was perfect - Terrain (like Tallulah's Table) is BYOB by the way!


Terrain (an URBN INC shop), Terrain Cafe, Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania, #BVFoodie, Duck Entree
Above: I ventured out of my seafood comfort zone and ordered the Duck.


Longwood Gardens, Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania, #BVFoodie, Plants, Flowers
Above: Since the day before was jam-packed it was a nice way to end our journey with lunch and a tour of Longwood Gardens.

There are things I consistently take pictures of while traveling - things that probably don't make much sense to anyone else - doors, doorways, pathways, churches, any building with 22 or 222 as a building address and so when I saw this door I had to stop and nab a photo. This fits with my 'zen' vibe perfectly!

Longwood Gardens, Thousand Bloom Chrysanthemum, Miracle of a Thousand Blooms, Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania, #BVFoodie, Plants, Flowers, Garden, Gardens, Gardening
Above: I took a picture of the sign so I could remember, it reads:

"This is the largest plant of its kind ever grown outside of Asia.

This Thousand Bloom Chrysanthemum has more than 1,400 equally spaced flowers blooming on a single plant. Out of the hundreds of cultivars of chrysanthemums, only a few are suitable for growing to this size.

Our horticulture experts have trained in Japan to learn the intricate secrets of growing the Thousand Bloom. From a single stem cutting, it has taken 17 months and more than 1,500 staff hours to nurture and train this single plant into a perfect blooming dome."

Longwood Gardens, Thousand Bloom Chrysanthemum, Miracle of a Thousand Blooms, Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania, #BVFoodie, Plants, Flowers, Garden, Gardens, Gardening
Above: Isn't the 'Miracle of a Thousand Blooms' beautiful?

I have a ridiculous amount of photos from Longwood Gardens alone, so I'll save some of those for a Wordless Wednesday series of photos when it's a bit closer to Spring.

MY TAKE:

What I loved about this trip is how well each experience flowed into the next, great food, great spirits, great people, great venues and great company, we were a small group which I was incredibly grateful for. I know the assumption is that bloggers are wildly social and love to 'live out loud', but some of us are actually pretty shy and the bigger the group the more intimidating it can be at times so for me having a small group made it much easier to socialize and not feel totally worn out at the end of the day!

It was the one-on-one interactions with proprietors like Donny Syracuse of High Street Caffe & Vudu Lounge and Aimee Olexy of Talulah's Table that really stood out. Would I have loved those venues as much if I hadn't met them? Definitely, the passion they put into their establishments show through in the service and the quality and caliber of the meals. I love that they both wanted to bring the things they most loved to where they are. Vudu Lounge is such an amazing taste of New Orleans, the food was great so was the service and the vibe was comfortable and familiar - as a New Yorker because a lot of our restaurants raise the bar in that way, but I have also visited the beautiful city of New Orleans and it was fun getting a feel for being on bourbon street in Pennsylvania. If Donny's name sounds familiar he traveled the world playing with "Arcade" (Ratt and Cinderella) opening for Bon Jovi so it's not uncommon to see Tour Buses outside Vudu Lounge! Had Bon Jovi been out there that night I probably would have been totally star struck.

In stark contrast was Talulah's Table, it was more of an equivalent of a lower Manhattan/Village Vibe.

Boxcar with it's live entertainment and craft beers was fun also.

All the venues embraced a strong 'farm-to-table' culture which I truly loved.

There were a few excursions I didn't get to experience that I would love to go back for - Wintherthur, Herr's Snack Factory Tour and I definitely want to go horseback riding the next I am there.

If you are looking for an amazing Valentine's Day Weekend somewhat 'off-the-beaten' path, Brandywine Valley has got you covered!

Readers Sound Off: Which of these ideas appeal to you most for Valentine's Day? Is it a cozy weekend at an Inn? A Wine Tasting? A romantic Dinner? (And if you are single like me, make it a girls weekend with your single friends! or as the interwebs is calling it #GALentinesDay)

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FTC Disclosure:  This is NOT a monetarily compensated Post, however the trip was sponsored by BrandyWine Valley for Editorial Consideration. All opinions are 100% my own! I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 - Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, you may check our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for additional information regarding Ascending Butterfly Disclosure.