I have been craving a fresh, fruity summer drink and mixed up a batch of this easy raspberry mint lemonade to quench my thirst! It’s such an easy recipe — just a few muddled fresh raspberries and mint leaves in the bottom of a glass, topped with ice and filled to the top with some good lemonade (sometimes I look for a sparkling version at Trader Joe’s!). If you’re serving it as a cocktail — which you totally should — add about an ounce of vodka to the glass before you top it with the lemonade. It makes a refreshing beverage to batch prep in a big pitcher for summer parties, and it looks so very festive with the bright green mint and red raspberries muddled in the glass. Leave the vodka on the side so guests can decide to spike it (or not!) to their desired drink strength. And set out some festive straws and long sprigs of more fresh mint to let everyone garnish their cocktails! read more

Ignore what the calendar says – it’s officially summer over here. The temperature has been rising, my favorite sundresses and white denim pieces have made their way out of the closet, and we had our first after-dinner walk to the ice cream shop. I also spent more time than I’d like to admit researching kiddie pools today (I can’t decide: the watermelon or the donut pool? Tough choices!). I’m sharing a few of our recent and upcoming summer adventures below, as well as a few more links and updates in this week’s download: read more

Over the long weekend we had several barbecues to attend, and I got the idea to make a little homemade hostess gift to bring along to each party. I felt like a real rockstar for coming up with the idea, some homemade limoncello infused with a lemon thyme simple syrup, and getting them packaged up in pretty glass bottles tied with baker’s twine and fresh thyme sprigs. Let me tell you what was not a rockstar move: forgetting them all in the fridge before we embarked on our day of BBQ-hopping! I didn’t realize until I got home that night, that all of my cute hostess gifts were still chilling in the fridge. The good news is, the recipe won’t go to waste — you can find it below to DIY yourself — and the drinks won’t go to waste either. I’ll be pouring myself a limoncello and soda spritzer tonight!  read more

I took a little hiatus from cooking when we were on vacation earlier this month, and struggled to get back in the kitchen groove when we returned. Sometimes when I get in to a “what should I make for dinner?!” panic and need dig into the pantry to get inspired. My friends at Ken’s Foods recently sent me some of the dressings from their line with some new flavors to try! My inspiration hit when I pulled a bottle of Dijon Honey Mustard dressing off the shelf. read more

I find that some of my most enjoyable party experiences are those that revolve around casual settings and shareable food – and there is no better way to create a casual, shareable vibe than with a taco party! In the spirit of kicking off summer, I have been working on some new taco-inspired recipes for al fresco entertaining. On the menu: quick and easy grilled chipotle chicken tacos that guests can assemble themselves with all of the toppings. And to cool off after a bite of these spicy tacos, I’m serving up big-batch pitchers of frozen peach margaritas – they use frozen fruit for a sorbet-like texture, yum. Head over to the Chinet®brand blog today to get the chipotle chicken taco recipe, instructions for making the frozen peach margaritas, and a few tips for setting up your own summer taco fiesta! read more

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, which means it’s time to kick off summer, wheel out the grill, and get our backyard celebrations started! I admittedly jumped on the BBQ train earlier this week when I saw some cute hot dog napkins at Target that quickly inspired our dinner plans. Grilled hot dogs, some macaroni salad, and pickles made for a pretty delicious weeknight treat. Now that the first al fresco meal of the season has been taken care of, I’ve been digging in my archives for more Memorial Day menu ideas and thought I’d share a few of my favorites here as you plan your own long-weekend celebrations!  read more

When I’m styling a table for entertaining, I always start with an inspiration piece — something that sets the tone and palette for the whole scene. When I received this beautiful geranium printed tablecloth in the mail (from Roller Rabbit, my favorite place to source table linens) the bright punchy pinks and deep jewel-toned greens had me hit the ground running for this colorful summer garden party.   read more

Memorial Day is coming up next weekend, and I’ve been thinking about all of my favorite summer BBQ recipes to break out for some grilling and al fresco celebrations. It’s also the perfect time to test a few new recipes too, and one of the ideas I’ve been cooking up takes no actual cooking at all! I made these mini berry mascarpone cakes, and didn’t even have to turn on my oven. Want to know the secret to this magical 15-minute no-bake dessert? A few store-bought ingredients! I used a pre-made pound cake and cut it into little cake rounds, then topped it with a sweetened mascarpone and lemon spread. Fresh berries give the dessert tons of patriotic color and sweet seasonal flavor. Just a little dusting of sugar on top and it is ready to serve. It comes together in just minutes, and can even be prepped a few hours in advance and chilled before your guests arrive. I think this is going to be on the menu for all of my summer parties this year! Get the full recipe below:  read more

I am loving warm-weather this year a little bit more than usual. Life with a toddler gets exponentially easier when the sun is shining and they can run wild in the grass and on the beach.  Because of this, we have been spending as much time as possible outdoors – sidewalk chalk drawing, bubble blowing, nature walking, and a little bit of good old-fashioned picnicking too! I plan to put my picnic-skills to the test this summer and thought I’d share a few of my favorite picnic menu and packing tips to get you inspired for some al fresco dining of your own: read more

I have been feeling little bursts of summer all around this week — a few warm days, lots of playtime outside with Jane, and our yard is coming back to life! It’s been just the motivation I need (getting back on track post-vacation was rough) to get rolling on some new content with summer in mind. Get ready for grilling recipes, outdoor entertaining ideas, and home projects coming up in the next few weeks! And in the meantime, a few links to check out in this week’s download:
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