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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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It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here! My absolute terrible ability to keep secrets has been crushing me while keeping this project under wraps — I’m so excited to finally be able to share the brand new home for Domestikatedlife online! I worked with the amazing talented team of Erin and Melissa, and they helped bring my vision to life. A few of things that I’m super excited about (and that hopefully help my readers as well!) are lots of new navigation elements. Now you can dig into posts by topic, whether you’re searching for the perfect recipe or looking for entertaining inspiration. There’s also a whole new section that collects all of my posts about events and things to do and see in Boston in one place. I’ll also be pulling some of my favorite seasonal posts out of the archives and featuring them in my ‘editors picks’ section at the bottom of the page. I’m still working out a few kinks, but check back soon for lots of new content, and another big announcement coming soon (hint, hint!).Homepage

It’s National Apple Month — the perfect time for apple picking, and then of course the perfect time for baking and cooking with apples! I realize I have quite the arsenal of apple recipes from this fall and previous seasons, so I thought I’d round-up my favorites to give you some inspiration for what to make with all of your bounty from apple-picking this autumn. Check out the full list below!
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Feel that crisp, cool air? Feels like fall is here! I know everyone gets all pouty that summer is coming to an end, but not me. Bring on the boots and jeans and cozy sweaters, and most of all: bring on the apple picking and the baking! I got the baking bug this weekend and was inspired to test out a recipe inspired by IZZE’s sparkling apple flavor — a flavor full of that perfect green-apple tartness. The result? A mini apple-toffee “pie-let” — the name my husband dubbed this sweet treats when he saw them cooling on the counter. Full recipe below: apple toffee hand pie 5

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I posted last week about some of my tips for planning an instagram-worthy vacation, but I  have to admit that I’m guilty of keeping all of those vacation pictures and on my phone and camera long after we return home. Remember the good old days when you couldn’t wait to run out to the photo store and get your film processed from vacation? With the instant gratification of digital photography, I rarely actually print out images anymore, they end up just living online. Snapfish offered to let me try out their new website and travel photo books to help me put an end to all of my vacation pictures staying on my iPhone.

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Let me let you in on a little secret: I love the process of planning a trip almost more than I do going on the actual trip. It’s like a sport for me — finding the hidden gems in a new city, organizing our days to maximize all of the different neighborhoods I want to explore, and collecting as many recommendations as I can before we leave about what I *must* eat or drink in our destination city. We have taken some pretty amazing trips over the past few years that lead to awesome adventures (check out our travels to Austin + Marfa, Nashville, and our cross-country honeymoon road trip for a few examples!). Someone commented on one my instagram posts last week and asked how we go about planning for these fun little getaways, and it dawned on me that I actually do have a pretty standard process that I thought I’d share here today, check out my tips for note to plan awesome getaways:  

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I’ve got a recipe for you today that’s a little bit cheesy, a little bit spicy, and is served in a crispy, carb-y, delicious bread bowl made from La Brea Bakery’s jalapeño cheddar bread. So you know, you’re welcome. The bread itself was the inspiration for the recipe, jalapeño and cheddar are a winning combination in my book! I used those flavors to update a classic baked spinach dip for a savory appetizer with a little bit of a kick. And if you’re not ready for a piping-hot dip just yet, you can refrigerate it and serve it cold too, I tested it both ways and they’re equally delicious. Recipe below!

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This hot, steamy, humid weekend called for a serious cool-down concoction. I’ve seen this idea of adding popsicles to cocktails on Pinterest before, and this felt like the perfect time to try it out. In a wine glass I muddled a few mint leaves and sliced peaches,  poured in some chilled vodka, and topped off the glass with half an IZZE sparkling peach. Then for the finishing touch, a peach popsicle dunked in to keep things cool! And the best part is that you get to snack on the popsicle while you enjoy your drink! Cheers! 

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