Labor Day Entertaining

In the spirit of prepping for everyone’s favorite holiday (..kidding, but seriously who doesn’t love a Monday off work?) I wanted to share two fun things to enjoy this extra long Labor Day weekend.

The first thing being – surprise, surprise – a cocktail.

I realize that it’s technically not autumn yet but Labor Day does signify the end of summer so I think it’s safe to start celebrating with fall flavors. But let’s hold on the pumpkin, please.

Pear Margarita Labor Day Cocktail

My fall-ish spin on your typical margarita involves some pear and a little honey. It’s sweet with a punch of tequila and makes the perfect transitional bev for this “it’s-football-season-but-still-not-quite-fall” stage we’re in. Salut!

Pear Margarita Labor Day Cocktail

Pear Margarita Labor Day Cocktail

| recipe

Pear Margarita Labor Day Cocktail

On to the second thing – a game – creatively coined, The Accent Game.

Pear Margarita Labor Day Cocktail

A little backstory… this “game” started as something we would play on long road trips – previously called The Acting Game. I know, I know, my names are so inventive. The premise involved reciting weird sayings while expressing a specific emotion. My friends weren’t that into it, but I thought it was hysterical. This game eventually morphed into The Accent Game* after one too many Moscow mules in Highlands one night and has since been a group favorite ever since.

Instructions are explained below and to get you started I created a printable template with accent prompts (+ blank ones too). All you need to do is write in some really hilarious sentences. Adult beverages are optional, but strongly recommended. (It helps with the accents.) 😉

  1. Nominate someone to be the “Dialect Coach” – they are responsible for coming up with the hilarious sayings and writing them on the slips of paper. The Dialect Coach can participate in reciting a saying but can’t participate in the guessing (because they will already know the accent).
  2. Fill a bowl, hat, or whatever container you have with the folded (filled-out) slips of paper.
  3. The participants then each choose a slip of paper and keep their accent/phrase a secret.
  4. One at a time go around the table and each person can recite their saying using the accent instructed. The accents included in the template have a little more context but it’s only to help you get into character. The bolded word(s) notate the correct answer.  

Example: Accent is Boston police officer that was born and raised in Dorchester. If someone guesses “a Boston accent” that is totally acceptable.

  1. Other participants try to guess the accent the speaker is impersonating. Whoever guesses correctly first, collects the slip of paper. (Optional play: For every incorrect guess, drink.)
  2. The participant with the most slips at the end of the game wins!

*Editor’s Note: After proudly sharing my entertaining game idea with friends, I was later informed that the game already exists. 🙄 I will admit their name is catchier but my DIY version is just as fun!   

 

 

Fave Five: Feeding a Crowd

It’s been too long since my last “Fave Five” post but with Labor Day weekend approaching, I wanted to share a few of my best crowd-pleasing recipes. 

If your long weekend plans include entertaining company and feeding a crowd – I hope you find some inspiration with these yummy eats…starting with breakfast:

| Breakfast: Chocolate Chip & Pistachio Pancakes |

LaborDayRecipes

| Lunch: Blueberry & Prosciutto Salad

LaborDayRecipes

| App: Whiskey Bacon Jam

| Dinner: Dirty Bird Nachos

| Dessert: Chocolate Pie

Turn Around Bright Eyes

I intended on posting this recipe yesterday so you all could enjoy an adult bev while viewing the Solar Eclipse today but I figured I shouldn’t promote drinking gin on a Monday around the 2 o’clock hour.   

Solar Eclipse Cocktail

However, I do recommend ending any workday with a little libation, especially on a Monday.

Solar Eclipse Cocktail

This solar eclipse-themed cocktail gets its dark hue from activated charcoal and its name (Turn Around Bright Eyes) from that song that’s been stuck in your head all day. 😉

Solar Eclipse Cocktail

| recipe |

Feeling a little unsure about mixing charcoal and booze? Don’t worry, I did my research before shaking up this combo. And by research… I mean I googled, “Will you die if you drink gin and activated charcoal?” We’re in the clear! Also, I’m no scientist but I think the detoxing qualities of activated charcoal will cancel out any chance of a hangover – so drink up, my friends! #ThingsITellMyself

Solar Eclipse Cocktail

Solar Eclipse Cocktail

Solar Eclipse Cocktail

Solar Eclipse Cocktail

| Shaker // Tools // Coupes // Plates |

 

Dorm Decor

Whether you’re 18 or 28 – everyone can always use a lacquer tray or a storage ottoman, amiright? 

My oldest niece is starting college on Monday and while visiting her dorm this week, I became surprisingly nostalgic about my collegiate days. It also got me thinking about how my home décor style has evolved over the past 10 years (thank God it did). Though I’ve toned down the DIY accents and completely ditched all of the sorority memorabilia, I do think there are a few accessories that can be carried over from college to post-grad living.

Dorm Decor

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5  

I wouldn’t necessarily call these items timeless, but more so transferable. They function in a cramped dorm room but could also follow you to your first post-grad bachelorette pad – if you can keep up with them, that is. 😉

 

Links, Lately

Work anniversary flowers and a G&T to start the weekend! 

| filed under my favorite things: flowers and gin |

My goal for the weekend is to tackle few household chores I’ve been putting off for a while. But before I do, Abbye and I are taking a trip to Scott’s Antique Market tomorrow and I’m hoping it will inspire me to finally complete my projects. Nevertheless, I’ll be sharing my weekend adventures via Instastories – TBD on if I continue to procrastinate or actually GSD.

As for the links…I’ve been compiling an obnoxiously long list in my notes on my phone, so I’m sharing more than usual today!

New York has their pizza rat and Atlanta now has their pizza squirrel! #WelcomeToTheSouth

A guide to all the lifestyle concepts you’ll be forced to know about soon.

Love a movie with a surprise twist ending! Here are 28 of the best.

Mindy Kaling’s home tour makes me want to paint an entire room turquoise.

Speaking of house goals – Maggie Griffin’s home tour on Ballad Designs is every. thing.

What it’s like to live next to Bumble’s headquarters – spoiler: it ain’t great.

Taking solo trip is on my (ever-growing) todo list – I loved reading about these 8 US destinations that I would have never thought about visiting.

14 new books that deserve to be read.

Somewhat tempted to try this new “brandless” online grocery store – gotta love smart branding.

Lastly, you should really go follow Woody Harrelson on Instagram.

Have a fabulous weekend, friends!

Sisters Weekend at The Spectator

It may have taken 27 years to have our first sisters weekend but I think we started a new tradition!

SistersTakeCharleston

Charleston was the perfect locale for our weekend getaway.

No kids or husband left us with a weekend full of doing whatever the hell we wanted. I’m pretty accustomed to these types of vacations (perks of being childless and single), however, my sister (the most self-less person I know) is used to coordinating plans around her pre/teenagers and husband. Not to say she didn’t miss them – there was a lot of Facetiming – but it was a nice break for the both of us. 

SistersTakeCharleston

From the minute we checked in – greeted with complimentary cocktails – I knew I would love our weekend home away from home. After being shown to our room, we helped ourselves to (more complimentary) snacks and freshened up before heading to dinner. The rooms were spacious, clean and gorgeous – the perfect mix of southern charm and 1920s art deco. I won’t bore you with details on how beautiful the bathroom was, but it’s worth a peek at their photo gallery.

SistersTakeCharleston

SistersTakeCharleston

Each night when we would return from dinner, our bed would be turned down, robes laid out and a delicious night cap would be brought up from their in-house mixologist. I’d also like to think our stay at The Spectator temporarily made me a morning person – waking up to (again, complimentary!) room service was such a treat.

SistersTakeCharleston

SistersTakeCharleston

The team at The Spectator made sure we had everything we needed without being bothersome – truly an art in the hospitality. We felt so spoiled and loved every minute of it. My only regrets are not grabbing a drink downstairs in the library and taking advantage of their onsite bicycles. All the more reason to visit again soon!

As for food – we totally over indulged. Being my sister’s first time in Charleston, I took her to some of my favorite spots but tried some new places too. Also, our cocktail game was strong, as seen below…

SistersTakeCharleston

SistersTakeCharleston

SistersTakeCharleston

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SistersTakeCharleston

Where We Stayed

The Spectator

SistersTakeCharleston

Where We Ate

The Darling

Butcher & Bee

The Macintosh

Poogan’s Porch

The Vendue Rooftop

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Love you, Sissy! 

SistersTakeCharleston

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For more of my Charleston travels – see here, here & here.

This post is not sponsored, I’m just that obsessed with this boutique Charleston hotel. 😉

Limoncello Spritz

Because Mondays are rough and we all could use a little cocktail pick-me-up…  

limoncello cocktail

This past weekend was spent celebrating our very special gal, Abbye, for her 27th birthday.  If you follow my Instastories – you probably already saw that we had a very fun weekend. 😉

Selfishly, my favorite part was having everyone over to my apartment for some pre-dinner drinks and snacks. Having all my closest friends in one place makes my heart so full. 

limoncello cocktail

Since I don’t have a ton of space, I kept the spread simple. I put together a quick cheese board with some sweet and salty accompaniments, tossed some beer in an ice-filled beverage tub and because I can’t fathom the thought of a pre-party without a yummy cocktail –  I mixed up a large batch libation using some ingredients I had on hand.

limoncello cocktail

limoncello cocktail

To keep things easy, I made the cocktail a few hours in advance and kept it in the fridge until right before my friends arrived. When it came time to serve, I poured the Limoncello Spritz into a couple of glass bottles and chilled them next to the beer. (Which I think is my new favorite way to serve cocktails to a crowd! Who wants to play bartender all night?) Since they were pre-mixed, everyone could help themselves. I ended up pulling out some champagne to top things off because everything is better with a little bubbly!

limoncello cocktail

limoncello cocktail

limoncello cocktail

Large batch cocktails are one of my go-to’s when entertaining friends and with such an easy setup it leaves me more time to mingle and enjoy everyone’s company.

What are your favorite entertaining tips and tricks? I would love to know!

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limoncello cocktail

 

Chocolate Chip + Pistachio Pancakes

It’s only Tuesday but I’m dreaming of weekend brunch. 

While I’m all for indulging at a local eatery with a curated brunch menu and bottomless mimosas, some mornings call for sleeping in and making your own breakfast (dangerously close to lunch time.)

If you’re in the mood for the latter, you will love these pistachio & chocolate chip pancakes! Keep scrolling for the recipe.

Chocolate Chip + Pistachio Pancakes
Serves 4
chocolate & pistachios are a total dream team
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Salted Honey Caramel Syrup
  1. 1 ½ cups clover honey
  2. ½ cup heavy cream
  3. 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  4. 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  5. 1 Tbsp. bourbon
  6. ¼ tsp. kosher salt or coarse sea salt
Chocolate Chip + Pistachio Pancakes
  1. 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 ¼ tsp. baking powder
  3. ¼ tsp. fine salt
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus for the pan
  6. 2 Tbsp. clover honey
  7. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  8. 1 tsp. orange zest
  9. 1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups buttermilk
  10. ¾ cup lightly toasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  11. 3 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  12. Pomegranate seeds, for garnish
Salted Honey Caramel Syrup
  1. Combine honey and cream together in a deep saucepan and stir.
  2. Bring to a boil and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture registers 240°F on a candy thermometer.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat, whisk in butter and vanilla until combined.
  4. Add bourbon and salt, whisk until full incorporated.
  5. Let cool before serving.
Chocolate Chip + Pistachio Pancakes
  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until smooth, then add in the melted butter, honey, vanilla, orange zest and 1 ½ cups buttermilk until just combined.
  3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. If the batter seems very thick, stir in a little more buttermilk.
  4. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  5. Fold in the pistachios and chocolate.
  6. Place a baking sheet with a baking rack in the oven; preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
  7. Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet over medium heat and brush with butter.
  8. Ladle about ¼ cup batter per pancake onto the griddle and cook until light golden brown on the bottom and bubbles form on the surface, approximately 2 minutes.
  9. Carefully flip the pancakes and continue cooking until golden brown on the reverse side, approximately another 2 minutes.
  10. Transfer the cooked pancakes to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.
  11. To serve, stack 3 pancakes on each plate – drizzle salted honey caramel syrup and top with pomegranate seeds. Best enjoyed while hot.
Notes
  1. The syrup can be made up to 3 days ahead. Store, covered, in the refrigerator and reheat before using.
Adapted from Bobby Flay
Adapted from Bobby Flay
Gin & Jewels http://www.ginandjewels.com/

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Links, Lately

Friday came quick this week!

| Back when my fiddle leaf was (sort of) thriving…note the first dead leaf in the planter. |

After a long weekend away, I look forward to staying put in Atlanta for a low-key weekend. Among my less exciting plans (ie: trying to revive my slow dying fiddle leaf fig), I’m pumped to catch up with some friends who just moved to my neighborhood (yay for new homeowners!).  Speaking of, Allison has been teasing some seriously beautiful works of art on her Insta stories – check her out!

Here are the links from this extra short week…

11 TV show fan theories that prove everything is just a dream.

A guide to all the lifestyle concepts you’ll be forced to know about soon.

Me and all my friends in 20 years. #ForeverABridesmaid

(Spoilers Ahead) Harper’s lists the 28 best movie plot twists.

An easy trick to keep in mind when entertaining.

Have a happy weekend!

An American Cocktail: Wazimalon

Happy Monday from Cape San Blas!

I’m at the beach for the Fourth with my favorite crew of people. (I lovingly refer to them as my “old people friends”, even though they’re not old and occasionally still get carded.) I used to tag along on these beach trips as the babysitter, now I just come for fun. So in honor of my favorite Gen X’ers, I’ve mixed up a beachside beverage highlighting a classic American throwback – Zima.

According to my sister, Zimas are best enjoyed ice cold with a jolly rancher floater – but it never hurts to add a little extra booze. We are on vacation after all. 😉 Scroll down for the recipe!

                                                                             

 | recipe |

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Cheers to you, America!

Links, Lately

Oh happy day!

| Nothing like a quick trip to Lucy’s Market to get you in patriotic party mode! |

Here’s to the holiday weekend ahead! I’m leaving tomorrow for the beach which means I’m spending my Friday afternoon packing up all my summer essentials (& running those last minute, not really necessary errands that I tend to do before going out of town). I’m sharing a delicious (& nostalgic) cocktail recipe on Monday – just in time for Tuesday’s firework show – so check back then. In the meantime, here are the links for the week…

Vanity Fair explores the transformation of Naz/Riz Ahmed in the The Night Of – which was one of the best HBO mini-series of all time. (IMO)

This new Gatorade commercial will give you chills but not just because it features our Matty Ice.

Ina Garten memes will never get old.

Movies to inspire your next adventure!

These peach white wine slushies are calling my name.

In need of some 4th of July party nibbles? These watermelon, feta, and mint wedges are crowd-pleasers.

Hope you and yours have a beautiful Independence Day!

 

A Southerner’s Hummus

Your friends called. They want you to bring this boiled peanut hummus to their 4th of July party.

Seriously though, can we please make boiled peanut hummus a thing?

Like when brussel sprouts started popping up on every menu and chicken & waffles became the go-to brunch meal. I’d like to see James Beard nominated chefs do more with boiled peanuts. It’s such a southern staple!   

The recipe includes your typical hummus ingredients but swapping out the chickpeas for boiled peanuts changes the flavor in the best way possible. Scroll down for the recipe!

 

Boiled Peanut Hummus
Yields 1
a southerner's spin on a middle-eastern dip
Write a review
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Total Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup shelled, boiled peanuts
  2. 2 Tbsp. tahini
  3. 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  4. ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  5. ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  6. 1 small garlic clove
  7. 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  8. Kosher salt
  9. Chips or pita
Instructions
  1. Toss boiled peanuts, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne, and garlic in a food processor and pulse to combine.
  2. Slowly add the extra-virgin olive oil while the food processor is running.
  3. Continue to purée the mixture, adding 1 tablespoon of water at a time, until the hummus reaches a smooth consistency.
  4. Season with salt, to taste.
  5. Serve with chips or pita.
Adapted from Bon Appetite
Adapted from Bon Appetite
Gin & Jewels http://www.ginandjewels.com/

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P.S. Recipe is kid approved too! 😉

Quick Trip to Nashville

I was tempted to name this blog post, “28 hours in Nashville and 28,000 Calories Consumed…”

But it seemed a little long (& dramatic).

Over the weekend, Caroline and I took a quick trip to Nashville to visit some friends. The main reasons for our trip was to attend a housewarming party for our friend Lindsay and to visit Stacey who had moved up about 3 months ago. While we did go to Lindsay’s party and we did catch up with Stace, we also managed to eat some really, really delicious meals. So if you’re headed to Music City any time soon and want to avoid the crowds on Broadway – here are 4 can’t-miss spots for breakfast, brunch, dinner and donuts.    

Located a little outside of downtown Nashville, The Old School is a farm-to-table spot where the farm is like very close to the table. The restaurant is housed in an 80 year old restored schoolhouse with a beautiful outdoor space surrounded by flowers, gardens and strung lights. From the building itself to the parking lot with old, rusted basketball hoops still intact – the whole place brings a since of nostalgia that makes you feel like a carefree kid (who just consumed a pitcher of mimosas and some really good food). Their delightfully southern menu is full of options that make it really hard to choose only one. Which is always a good problem to have in my opinion.   

Don’t leave without ordering … THE POP TARTS.

For dinner, we chose a neighborhood restaurant in Germantown. Rolf & Daughters is industrial but cozy, small but not terribly loud. Their menu was full of sharable plates that you may not want to share because each dish is so good. We started with a shared salad and then ordered three dishes of pasta. Things escalated quickly but I didn’t regret a single bite. Their homemade pasta makes you never want to eat zucchini noodles again.

Don’t leave without ordering … Garganelli verde with heritage pork ragout and sarvecchio. (Their menu changes often but this dish is longstanding.)  

Our last meal was just as indulgent as the first two. We opted for a French brasserie in Midtown – Le Sel – where all your plush, pink booth and striped umbrella dreams come true. The menu consisted of traditional French fare with a few more modern dishes sprinkled in.  I chose a Croque Madame and Frites – fries and cheese are always a solid choice, albeit a heavy one.

Don’t leave without ordering … Crêpe with Bear Creek Farms sausage, sunnyside egg, tomato and fromage blanc.

 

 

And because we just weren’t ready to stop treating ourselves, Caroline and I swung by Five Daughters Bakery on the way out. I may regret that croissant/donut hybrid next week when I’m at the beach but at that very moment it was an excellent decision!           

Don’t leave without ordering … King Kong (a bacon topped donut, enough said.)

/ / /

Happy housewarming to Lindsay and shout out to Stacey for being the best host! You guided us to some really delicious eats. xx

Links, Lately

Peace out, work week!

| Loving everything about Upbeet’s (West Midtown’s newest eatery) décor |

It’s the first official weekend of summer so Caroline and I are taking a quick trip to Nashville to visit Stacey. I can’t wait to get out of the city for a little bit and escape this June Gloom we’re experiencing here in Atlanta. Here’s to hoping Tennessee can spoil us with a little sunshine!

A must-watch segment from Steve Hartman.

This gorilla showing off his dance moves is exactly what the world needs this week!

Here’s how to turn off your Snap Map on Snapchat, if you don’t want people creeping up on you.

Easy day trips to explore the real south. (Greenville and Birmingham are next on my list!)

Purewow shows the biggest entertaining trends this summer. #Swineapple

Have a wonderful weekend, y’all.

 

Bar Cart Basics

Today, we’re talking about one of my favorite pieces of furniture – ever.

[Hint: it rhymes with car fart.] 😉

Is a bar cart a necessity? Nope Depends on who you ask. Does it have potential to be the most stylish piece in your home that also serves the very important purpose of holding your most cherished libations? Absolutely.

When it comes to interior decorating, time and patience is a virtue. Some pieces you seek out and know exactly what you want, while others are just ideas waiting to be found and executed. Same goes with styling your bar cart. My best advice is to stock up on the essentials (quick buys) and the other knick knacks will come together over time. So, in hopes of inspiring you to add a new piece of functional furniture to your space or rearrange your current situation – I’m sharing my bar cart essentials.  

THE CART | Bar carts can follow under a wide price range but I’ve linked some more affordable options below. Choose a design that suits your personality but that will also be aesthetically pleasing and fit your space. Personally, I prefer a thinner design with not a lot of bulk. After all, I’m going to load it down with lots of stuff so the simpler the better.  

TOOLS | A shaker, bottle opener, and jigger are must-haves. Other tools like a strainer, muddler, bar spoon, and lemon peeler/zester are good additions if you’re wanting to whip up some slightly advanced craft-like cocktails.

LIBATIONS | Stocking up on booze is the fun part. While I’m always tempted to judge alcohol based on how pretty their bottles are (silly, I know), it’s best to go with what you know you like. If you like Burnett’s because it reminds you of college, then live your life and add that thing to your cart. (But really try Ketel One – it’s great). Keep a variety of liquors on hand, so that way your company has a small menu of options to choose from. (I’m not a huge fan of darker liquors but keep a stash for guests.) Vodka/gin (do both!), tequila and whiskey is a good place to start.

For mixers – I recommend on keeping ginger beer, flavored sparkling soda, juice, tonic and/or soda water on hand at all times. You never know when a long day might call for more than a glass of wine. 😉 I keep my mixers chilled in the fridge – must leave room for a few decorative pieces.

ADDITIONS | Bitters, a bowl of citrus, books, and fresh florals are not must-haves but really complete the look. Bitters (highly concentrated flavored alcohol) are kind of like spices for your cocktail. My favorite brands include 18·21 Bitters, Scrappys and Fee Brothers. I like to keep a couple fresh lemons and limes on hand at all times so even if I’m just making a gin & tonic, I can add fresh lemon wedge. A small, dainty bowl is the perfect home for citrus. I also love stacking small books to add height and serve as inspiration for recipes. Fresh florals don’t serve a real purpose besides just looking pretty – making your bar cart less about being an open shelf and more about being a styled design element in your living room.

Happy decorating (& drinking)!