Out and About in DC: Dirty Dinner at Calleva Farm

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photo courtesy of calleva.org

There are so many great things to do in the DC metro area that I don’t think I have even skimmed the surface after living here for 12 years.  Then children come along and your ambitious plans for new adventures slow to a crawl.  Fortunately, the husband and I do get out every once in a while.  So on a hot but manageable July Saturday, we were fortunate enough to enjoy an evening at Calleva Farm in Dickerson, Maryland in late July.  You may ask how did I hear about Calleva Farm.  The answer is easy.  A Dirty Dinner for Four was an item up for bid at our children’s school auction.  We won the Dirty Dinner, asked some friends to join us, and we headed out for an evening of live music, local food and wine and an evening in the countryside.

This is the information provided on their website:

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Dirty Dinners at Calleva Farm is a series of unique evenings in the countryside, featuring local ingredients, local wines and live music on our beautiful farm in Dickerson, MD. The past 2 seasons have been everything we’d hoped for: brilliant groups of guests, great music, absolutely delicious food (if we do say so ourselves), and being selected “Best of” with Bethesda Magazine and “Things to Do” for Washingtonian. We love the way the Dirty Dinners series reflects Calleva’s mission & values by introducing people to the beauty of the great outdoors in Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve. Dinner ingredients are mostly grown at Calleva Farm, plus additional produce from other area producers & wines from local vineyards. Our dairy products come from South Mountain Creamery. A typical Dirty Dinners evening at Calleva Farm: 5-6 pm Social Hour, Hay Rides & Garden Tours; 6:15-9:30 pm Dinner, Music & Dancing.

I really had little expectation going into the event.  I was looking forward to adult time since we rarely get any.  It was a long ride from DC and the most unexpected part of the evening happened when we rounded a bend in the road and came upon a ferry…White’s Ferry.  Maybe I am the only DC resident that didn’t know there was still a ferry service across the Potomac.  Needless to say, it was a safe and secure ride from Virginia to Maryland and then a quick hop to Calleva Farm.

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Upon arrival at the Farm, we parked and headed up for a mocktail, tour of the farm, a hayride and even made some picked vegetables.  Out of these four activities, I enjoyed the mocktails the best.  There were two to choose from:  fizzy blueberry lavender lemonade and skinny hot pepper peacharita.  I dove in for the blueberry and absolutely loved it.  The rest of my party sampled the peacharita and liked it but not as much as the blueberry.  It had a bit of spice and on a hot evening maybe not what the doc ordered.

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After the mocktail hour, we sat down for dinner and live music.  Dinner was 6 courses of farm to table items and the wait staff described to us what each would be.  If I am honest, my party observed that the wait staff was giving different nuggets of information, and sometimes our wait staff didn’t give us the run down at all.  Not a dinner ruiner but maybe just something they need to clean up for future events.  I enjoyed the menu selection as there were a few items on the menu I wouldn’t normally order like the crunchy radish and dill salad.  It was delicious.  I also enjoyed the soup course as well as the summer squash fritter.  My only complaint about dinner would be the extended time between each serving.  It caused dinner to drag a bit but thank goodness for our friends and good conversation.  Wine was also served from local vineyard Black Ankle.  They offered both a white and red with our meal.  After dinner, they had a bonfire with tea and coffee service.  The music and atmosphere put you at ease and was quite relaxing.  We left soon after dinner because as I mentioned earlier, it was a bit of a drive from Capitol Hill  and we all needed to relieve our babysitters.  We can’t use and abuse our dear babysitters!

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All in all, Dirty Dinner was a surprisingly enjoyable event that got us out of the concrete jungle for the night.

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Happy Release Day, Emma Hart. Tangled Bond is here.

TangledBond-final-ebooklgOne date with the sexier-than-sin Detective Drake Nash. Simple.

Until you take into account that my brother finally proposed to his girlfriend, so Nonna is on a warpath—and the crazy old bat has Cupid by the balls.

The upcoming mayoral elections has everyone running on full speed, and while I couldn’t give any less craps about the corrupt Holly Woods mayor’s office, a dead body in the middle of a campaign speech has me thrown right into the middle of it. The victim is close to the mayor, but all he cares about is minimizing the damage to his campaign, so he hires me to work alongside Drake to close the case as quickly as possible.

Bad news for our tentative relationship.

We disagree far more than we agree, but being at loggerheads won’t get this murder solved… Or deal with the arrival of someone from his past.

The mysteries behind the murder aren’t the only things unraveling, and despite being knee-deep in lies and corruption and bonds so tangled they’re almost indecipherable, I have to figure out if I’m willing to fight for Drake the way I do justice…

Or if he’ll be my one who gets away.

One date with the sexier-than-sin Detective Drake Nash. Simple.

Until you take into account that my brother finally proposed to his girlfriend, so Nonna is on a warpath—and the crazy old bat has Cupid by the balls.

The upcoming mayoral elections has everyone running on full speed, and while I couldn’t give any less craps about the corrupt Holly Woods mayor’s office, a dead body in the middle of a campaign speech has me thrown right into the middle of it. The victim is close to the mayor, but all he cares about is minimizing the damage to his campaign, so he hires me to work alongside Drake to close the case as quickly as possible.

Bad news for our tentative relationship.

We disagree far more than we agree, but being at loggerheads won’t get this murder solved… Or deal with the arrival of someone from his past.

The mysteries behind the murder aren’t the only things unraveling, and despite being knee-deep in lies and corruption and bonds so tangled they’re almost indecipherable, I have to figure out if I’m willing to fight for Drake the way I do justice…

Or if he’ll be my one who gets away.

 

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“We’re both fools, Noelle.”

I take a deep breath and look down at my hands clasped around the mug. “I’m sorry,” I say softly. “I just…”

“You’re not used to anyone other than your brothers stepping up and protecting you.”

I hate it when he’s right. Really, really hate it.

He closes the slight distance between us and gently takes my hands from the mug. “Hey.” He touches his fingers to my chin and lifts it, making me look at him. “I get it. I already told you I don’t want someone who needs saving. But saving and protecting are two vastly different things, cupcake. I don’t care if you need protecting from a killer or some sleazeball hitting on you because he’s loaded and wears fancy suits. I’m gonna protect you, whether you like it or not. I’m not afraid to stake my claim where dicks like him are concerned. One-up me on solving murders every day of the week, but don’t be mad at me for doing what feels right. Nothing matters more to me than protecting you, bella.”

Of all the things he calls me, I’ll never let him know how much bella affects me. Because just about every time he says it, I stop breathing. It’s always at that moment when my heart is already pounding.

“I know.” I raise an eyebrow. “I’m not apologizing again though.”

“I’m surprised you said sorry once.”

I purse my lips at his wide grin. “It won’t happen again.”

“I didn’t think it would.” His eyes spark in amusement. “I’m sorry too, but I can’t help it if your badass gene pisses off my alpha complex.”

“My badass gene is laughing at you.”

“My alpha complex wants to smack your ass.”

I grab my purse, put it over my butt, and walk backward. “Nope. That’s not how we’re starting today.”

“You’re right.” He stalks toward me with a lusty glint in his eye. “We’re gonna start it like this instead.”

He slams me back against my front door and I drop my purse. He dives his hands into my hair and seals his lips over mine. Fireworks erupt across my skin as I curl my fingers around his neck.

He devours me, plain and simple.

“Now,” he breathes, smiling. “Now, we’re gonna go and get some work done.”

I flick my thumb across his bottom lip, wiping away the smudge of my lipstick. “Now, we are.”

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Photograph cheating spouses. Hand over the evidence. Cash my check.
That was my plan when I returned home to Holly Woods, Texas, and became a private investigator.
Finding the dead body in my dumpster? Yeah… Given the choice, I think I would have opted out of that little discovery, especially since all three of my brothers are cops. And my Italian grandmother is sure the reason I’m single is because of my job.
Of course, my connection to the victim is entirely coincidental. Until I’m hired by her husband to investigate her murder and shoved bang-smack into the path of Detective Drake Nash.
My nemesis, a persistent pain in my ass, and one hell of a sexy son of a bitch.
Shame he still holds a grudge from that time I shot him in the foot twelve years ago, or we could have something. In another life.
So now all I have to do is avoid my nonna’s blind dates, try not to blackmail my brothers into giving me confidential police files, and absolutely do not point my gun at Drake Nash. Or kiss him. Or jump his bones.
All while I hunt down the killer.
Sounds totally simple—until a second body proves that sometimes things that start as coincidences don’t always end up that way…

 

(Twisted Bond is book one of the Holly Woods Files series and while it does not end in a cliffhanger, it is not a standalone.)


By day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to two beautiful little monsters. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of whatever she fancies – usually wine – and writes books.
Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.
She likes to be busy – unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.

Release Week and Review: Playing with Fire by Lexi Ryan

 

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Adult Contemporary Romance

Release: July 7, 2015

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Dr. Phoenix Reid isn’t who she seems…

Everyone knows a phoenix rises from the ashes. What they don’t talk about are the people she drags with her into the fire.

I thought one hot night with Max Hallowell was harmless. I never expected it would force me to face my past or bring back the man who swore he’d never let me go. Now Max wants to help me. Wants to save me. But if I let him, he’ll be destroyed. I can already smell the flames.

A woman with a secret past. A man determined to protect her. A dangerous passion that could cost them both everything.

My Review:

I love Lexi Ryan’s New Hope Series and I was excited for Max to finally have his day.  After losing his chance with Hanna, I just wanted him to be happy.  Both Max Hallowell and Dr. Phoenix Reid are characters we are familiar with from the Unbound series.  I absolutely loved Max and knew Phoenix (Nix) would be an interesting lead. 

Nix has been hiding a whole life outside of New Hope and she lives in fear that it will rear its ugly head in her new life that she has carefully constructed.  But Max has been interested in Nix since she showed up and he wants to figure out why she is such a mystery.  They all hang out with the same group but Nix is the person he knows the least about in the group.  Nix is attracted to Max but she is adamant about staying single which ties into her past.  Max is purely determined to unravel her and he wants her to be part of his life.

 

I enjoyed this book and loved seeing all of our old favorites pop up from time to time.  I would tell any reader to pick up all the New Hope books before this one because I always like having the back story of the other characters in hand.  I loved the epilogue for this one as well as we get a glimpse at Cade’s story and the woman he falls for!  

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Playing with Fire is the first in a new series of standalone novels featuring the New Hope characters Lexi Ryan fans have come to love. While you wait for Nix and Max’s storyexplore Love Unbound, the collection of books set in Lexi’s New Hope world. 

*Note: Each series can be read on its own, but for the chronology purists, the reading order is below.

Love Unbound: Splintered Hearts

Unbreak Me (Maggie’s story)

Stolen Wishes: A Wish I May Prequel Novella (Will and Cally’s prequel)

Wish I May (Will and Cally’s novel)

Or read them together in the omnibus edition, Splintered Hearts: The New Hope Trilogy

Love Unbound: Here and Now

Lost in Me (Hanna’s story begins)

Fall to You (Hanna’s story continues)
All for This (Hanna’s story concludes)

Or read them together in the omnibus edition, Here and Now: The Complete Series
Love Unbound: Reckless and Real

Something Wild (Liz and Sam’s story begins)

Something Reckless (Liz and Sam’s story continues)
Something Real (Liz and Sam’s story concludes)

 

Love Unbound: Mended Hearts

Playing with Fire (Nix’s story, coming July 7, 2015)

 

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author Lexi Ryan’s novels have been described as intense, emotional, and wickedly sexy. A former college professor, she now writes full-time from her home in Indiana, where she lives with her husband, two children, and a neurotic dog. Find her on Facebook or Twitter to chat about books, TV, and her children’s latest antics.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

 

 

 

Release Week and Review: Sweet Sinful Nights by Lauren Blakely

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We are so excited to bring you the Release Week Blitz for SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS by Lauren Blakely, the first full-length novel from her Erotic Romance Series, Sinful Nights! Lauren Blakely is well known for writing sexy, heartfelt and humorous contemporary romance as well as deeply emotional new adult stories –one commonality in all her books is the scorching hot sexy times. And SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS is absolutely no different! Brent and Shannon’s story is sexy and will keep you on the edge of your seat squirming and asking for more! This new series is a new erotic romance series, Sinful Nights, written in the high-heat, high-stakes, high-glamour style of the Seductive Nights series that readers know and love, but heading in a new direction with a new family that’s full of drama, checkered pasts and dangerous life-and-death secrets. Check out Lauren’s message below to hear more from her!

 

 

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ABOUT SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS:

A sexy, suspenseful new romance novel from Lauren Blakely, author of the New York Times Bestselling Seductive Nights series….

She was the one who got away…

Ten years ago, Brent Nichols let the love of his life slip through his fingers. It’s his greatest regret, especially since she’s all but disappeared. But when the gorgeous and captivating woman walks into his life unexpectedly, he’s determined to win her back. Whatever it takes, he won’t make the same mistake twice.

Easier said than done…

Shannon Paige has hardened her heart to the man she was once engaged to be married to. After the way he left, and after the hell she’s been through with her checkered family, there’s no way she’s letting him into her life again. The problem is, the second she sees him, he’s more handsome and charming than before. And she’s torn between wanting to fight with him and wanting to sleep with him – maybe both. Soon they fall into each other’s arms, consumed with a desire that burns through the years.

But if these two fiery lovers are going to have a real second chance at this kind of intense, passionate, bone-deep love, he’ll have to give her his whole heart, and she’ll have to give up all the secrets from her messy past.

And that messy past is about to spill over into her carefully constructed present…

SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS is book one in SINFUL NIGHTS, a four-book series. Each book will follow a new couple.

MY REVIEW:

I am a fan of anything and everything that Ms. Blakely writes.  Sweet Sinful Nights is another fantastic book one in a new series by this fantastic author.  I absolutely adored Clay in Seductive Nights and was excited to meet the other Nichols brother.  What can I say? I’m a fan of the Nichols men.  I am hoping she writes another series with a long lost Nichols brother just so we get more.

Brent was exactly what we expect of a Nichols man: alpha to the core, damn good looking, and can charm the panties off a nun.  Plus, Brent is a comedian by trade so he gets you laughing pretty easily.  Shannon was well matched to Brent through and through.  I loved that they were a second chance love.  These two were engaged and both knew who they were and what they wanted but they thought above all they loved each other.  Sometimes young hearts lose their way and that is their story.

After their engagement ended and the two moved on with their lives, they couldn’t seem to move on from each other.  We find the two of them tangled in a business deal in Sin City.  Brent isn’t stupid.  He realizes this is a golden opportunity to get back the one and only woman he has ever loved.  Shannon isn’t convinced.  She has built a fortress around her heart because she wants no part of another heart broken adventure.  Of course, Brent is a master at wearing her walls down and I thought he did an excellent job.  I swooned.  Shannon eventually swooned.  These two were destined for each other.

I didn’t want this book to end and I am thrilled we will get books for Shannon’s brothers.  Seriously, don’t miss this one or really any of Lauren Blakely’s books.  She is one of my go to authors on one-click.

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Add SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS to Goodreads here!

 

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Message from Lauren:

Dear Readers:

I am thrilled to share some exciting news with you! Many of you have been patiently waiting for SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS, the story of Brent Nichols and the woman he loves. Many of you already know Brent since he’s the younger brother of Clay Nichols, from NIGHT AFTER NIGHT….The good news is this-SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS is Book One in a new erotic romance series, Sinful Nights, written in the high-heat, high-stakes, high-glamour style of the Seductive Nights series that readers know and love, but heading in a new direction with a new family that’s full of drama, checkered pasts and dangerous life-and-death secrets.

SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS kicks off this new series with a fiery, passionate, and suspenseful story of two lovers reuniting after ten years. Each book in this series follow a new couple and will be set against the backdrop of sin, money, sex, greed, passion and love in the city of Las Vegas. Brent’s love interest is Shannon Paige, and she has three brothers. Yep, you guessed it – each of her brothers will be getting a book! And while each book in the Sinful Nights series follows a new couple, get ready for a storyline that will carry across the entire series — a story of danger, risk and high-stakes suspense.

 

Q&A about the Sinful Nights series:

Does this take place after the events in the Seductive Nights series?

A: Yes. This story begins one year after the final Seductive Nights book.

 

Can I read this if I haven’t read the Seductive Nights series?

A: Yes! You won’t miss a beat if you start with SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS. That’s why it’s Book One!

 

Brent is Clay’s brother. Does this mean Clay will be in SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS?

A: Why yes! He will indeed appear in a handful of scenes!

 

Is this series similar to the Seductive Nights series?

A: Absolutely. The hero in book one is a Nichols man! Nichols men are known for being dirty, passionate and fiercely loyal! You can also expect scorching hot sex scenes, dirty talk, high-class and glamorous settings, and passionate love. Have I mentioned the heat :)?

 

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And be sure to watch for the next titles in the Sinful Nights series!

 

SINFUL NIGHTS series on Goodreads

 

SINFUL DESIRE – Sept 29

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SINFUL DESIRE on Goodreads

SINFUL LONGING on Goodreads– Jan 2016

SINFUL LOVE on Goodreads – March 2016

 

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Author PhotoAbout Lauren Blakely:

Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat, heart, and humor, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. Like the heroine in her novel, FAR TOO TEMPTING, shethinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. She loves hearing from readers! Her bestselling series include Caught Up in Love, Seductive Nights, No Regrets and Fighting Fire. She recently released Forbidden Nights, a standalone novel in her New York Times Bestselling Seductive Nights series that became an instant New York Times Bestseller. Her next book is 21 Stolen Kisses, a new adult romance filled with angst and romantic tension, releasing in May. This summer she’ll release Consumed by You, her next title in her NYT Bestselling Fighting Fire series about sexy firemen and the women they love, and Sweet Sinful Nights, the first book in her new series Sinful Nights. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, text BLAKELY + your email address to 678-249-3375 (please use the actual + sign).

 

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS Goodreads ** Lauren Blakely Goodreads

 

 

Sinfully Sweet Summer Giveaway!

What would make your summer sinfully sweet? A new iPad Mini to catch up on all of your summer reading or a mini vacation?

Lauren is so thrilled that you are spending part of your summer with Brent and Shannon that she decided, as a special thank you, to give one lucky reader an iPad Mini or a gift certificate to their favorite hotel chain ($250 value).

Enter here for a chance to win!

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