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Our trip to New Orleans last week was full of what the city had to offer …. lots of eating, lots of drinking, and lots of exploring! We stayed at the Old No 77 Hotel and Chandlery, which was beautifully decorated and had a hip, laid back vibe. It was a great location, right on the edge of the French Quarter and close enough that we could explore other areas of the city. The first day we arrived we walked around the Garden District and meandered down Magazine Street to check out the shops, and then the second day we tackled the more touristy areas in the French Quarter. As always, I collected a list of all of our favorite places we visited along the way!
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Well, would you look at those two nerds taking a selfie with Elvis? (My husband is a saint for agreeing to my antics, don’t you think?) We just got back from another road-trip adventure, our favorite vacation ritual. We flew into New Orleans for a few days and decided while we were there to take a quick excursion to Memphis for the day to see Graceland and get some local Memphis flavors (read: BBQ!). Graceland was everything I hoped it would be, tacky and over the top. The house itself is actually sort of small by today’s ‘mansion’ standards but the interior design was hilariously gaudy and rich. One of the best parts is that you can tour the inside of Elvis’ two planes and check out his massive car collection too. Graceland was the main Memphis attraction, but we also stopped into Central BBQ to try one of just about everything on the menu (my favorite was the pulled pork).

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Christmas gets egg nog, New Year’s Eve gets a champagne cocktail — but what’s our go-to Thanksgiving drink? I’m all for mixing up cocktails at family Thanksgiving celebrations, and my friends-giving parties tend to have a few drinks flowing too.  A holiday as delicious as Thanksgiving (my second favorite holiday, actually! carbs!) deserves one, don’t you think? I started thinking this week about some of my favorite autumnal flavors that could make up a festive cocktail for friends-giving gatherings and a marrying of pomegranate (fresh seeds + IZZE Sparkling Pomegranate), sage leaves, and the herby flavor of gin felt like the perfect combination when served in festive flutes. Check out the full recipe below!Friendsgiving Cocktail 4 read more

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. In less than a month we bought a house, packed up our old apartment and moved, went to two weddings, helped throw an engagement party, relaunched this website, all while doing all that fun everyday stuff like working hard and trying to get settled into our new home. I may be the only person in the  world who thinks her life may actually slow down at the holidays this year. Part of our lives’  recent craziness was rooted in the fact that we were overlapping a few weeks in our house and apartment, which lead to a lot (a lot!) of driving back and forth between the two locations and wondering at which house half our belongings where located at any given time. Our hour-long drives to and from the new house happened after work, in between errands and events, and unfortunately meant we were taking a lot of meals on the road too.
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If you’re waiting in line at the grocery store this week and see the new issue of Family Circle magazine, pick it up and give it a flip through, you just might see a familiar face (me!!). I’m excited that for the second year in a row to be their Happy to Host blogger, sharing hostess ideas for November holidays. In the article you’ll find a bunch of my tips for making holiday hosting a little bit less stressful and a little more fun this year. You’ll also get an exclusive recipe that I created for the holiday season with help of Hidden Valley Ranch: ranch roasted root vegetables, a family-friendly spin on some classic fall flavors that just might be the perfect way to spice up your Thanksgiving table this year. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I’m long overdue in recapping the baby shower I helped throw for my darling cousin Jana a few weeks ago. She had a dream team of friends and relatives that jumped in to help throw her a shower, so I volunteered to tackle what I do best — decorations. When I was visiting her a few months back she showed me an amazing DIY mobile she was going to hang over the baby’s crib, a festive little thing full of pink and mint tassels and pom-poms — the perfect inspiration piece for the baby shower. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset read more

You didn’t think you could love a mimosa more than you already do, right? Well, prepare to be amazed. I’ve been participating in a little drink recipe contest with Better Homes & Gardens and Simply Juices, and I’m excited to announce I’m a finalist for the best recipe: A Frozen Berry Mimosa — everything you love about frozen drinks, combined with the greatest brunch cocktail a girl could ask for, the mimosa. The recipe for this tasty concoction is below, and if you’re feeling kind please head over to BHG to vote for my drink!
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I owe a lot of people a lot of thank you‘s this month. We’ve been preparing to move, and I feel like all of our friends and family have jumped in to help, from packing up boxes (full of my ridiculous amount of craft supplies and kitchen tools), picking up our mail when we’re in between our apartment and new place, and probably most helpful, have been there to listen to me when I’m complaining about being overbooked and a little frazzled!
imageWith all of those thank you’s in order, I’ve had “little hello gifts” (as my mom calls them) on my mind lately. “Hello gifts” are a little treat to thank a friend for having us over for dinner or helping out with a small errand. This simple DIY combines two of my favorite things into one colorful little hello-gift: washi tape and cocktail fixins’!I grabbed a pack of sparkling IZZEs and used some really fun, bright washi tape to wrap it around the edges of the cardboard container to ‘wrap’ the box. This pattern worked really well because of the variation in the stripes — no need to be exact. Each stripe was slightly layered over the next, until you covered the whole box. For the corners around the handle, I simply folded the edges under the box and tucked them in with the dull side of a table knife to get a clean edge. Then I added in some matching drink stirrers and paper straws, and tied up the whole thing with a bow — and it’s ready to gift!  Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Please Note: This post was sponsored by Izze; all images, ideas and content are my own. 

While waiting for this new site to get up and running, I’ve fallen a little bit behind on my content updates! So this post about the Better Home and Gardens Stylemaker event I attended in NYC a few weeks ago is coming delayed, but felt so worth recapping — better late than never, right? BHG invited a group of awesome bloggers together to meet editors and style makers at this amazing event. One of the best sessions I attended was a look behind the scenes at how food stylists work on BHG’s recipe and food spreads. Libbie Summers was one of the food stylists and taught us how to get perfect ‘dollop’ for whipped cream (take the back of a spoon and run it across the surface of the whipped cream about 3 times to create some streaks, and then use the front side of the spoon to scoop the opposite direction to preserve those lines — brilliant!).  Another food stylist said he used an old paint stripper in lieu of a kitchen torch to brown up and tighten food after it has been sitting for a while on a shoot — so smart!

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Sometimes the best inspiration comes from just walking through the grocery store. I found bunch of fresh lavender at my local Whole Foods and I couldn’t pass them — I had to make something with them! Of course my inspiration gravitated towards the ingredients on my bar cart, and a homemade lavender simple syrup was the perfect ingredient to start refreshing new drink idea. Full recipe below!
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