Peony Provisions

It’s the most wonderful time of year!

Patios are opening, temperatures are rising and peonies are blooming. There is no shortage of peony posts on my Instagram feed and I don’t hate it. Admittingly, I stalk Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s like a crazy lady for peonies and scoop up a bunch every time they’re available. But these lush flowers are popular for good reason – not only are they photogenic (;)) but they smell wonderful.

So after stumbling upon some peony-scented cleaning supplies (seriously, 2 of my favorite things combined) I was inspired to track down every other floral product so I could enjoy the scent long after my bouquet dies. From skincare to home fragrance – I’ve rounded up 7 of my favorites …

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7

Lavender Lemon Collins

This cocktail is dedicated to all the men and women who got shit done working on the I-85 bridge.

Cheers – y’all rock.

If you’re a fellow Atlantan, you’ve probably been complaining about traffic more than usual with the bridge collapse. As of Saturday, the bridge has officially reopened, meaning we can dial back on the road rage while traffic returns to its normal level of being unbearable. 😉

Speaking of traffic… I once spent an entire Saturday driving from Lowes to L’Occitane to Whole Foods to Home Depot to another Whole Foods trying to track down lavender. #Priorities. I was making infused-sugars for a shower and was determined to have a lavender option. My efforts were to no avail…I guess lavender was out of season? But ever since I’ve always kept my eyes peeled when shopping.  

So you can only imagine my reaction when I saw potted lavender outside of Trader Joes a few weeks ago. I think I actually squealed (embarrassing, I know). I scooped up one without hesitation and have since been trying to keep it alive (it’s not too hard) with intentions to make a cocktail.   

This cocktail is super dainty and gin-lovers dream. The light floral flavor of the lavender syrup and tartness of the lemonade sing together beautifully! Scroll down for the recipe.  

| recipe |

Wall Decor Wishlist

I’ve been in my new apartment for just over a month and now that everything is in its place (but is it ever really?), I’m focusing my attention on wall decor.

| wall art dream board featuring Slim Aarons & Gray Malin

I have a bare spot in my bedroom that needs some love. With my room being very neutral – lots of whites and greys – I’m envisioning the wall décor to add a pop of color. I’m still deciding between a small, curated gallery wall or just a simple, framed piece of artwork but leaning towards the latter. While I would love nothing more than to splurge on a Slim Aaron or Gray Malin (examples featured above), I’m opting for a more cost-friendly option. In my search for the perfect piece, I rounded up 5 of my favorites that are all under $100…

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Lemon Blossoms

When life gives you (a bowl of) lemons (that are nearing expiration)…

…make Lemon Blossoms!

Last week, I realized I needed to use up my lemons before they went bad. Surprisingly, I opted for a sweet treat over lemonade (or a cocktail – gasp) and remembered a delicious recipe my sister had shared with me years ago. These little bites of pure lemony bliss are best when baked in mini muffin tins – making them bite size and extremely dangerous. 😉 Scroll down for the recipe!   

Lemon Blossoms
Yields 2
bites of lemony bliss
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
12 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
12 min
Ingredients
  1. 18½ oz. package yellow cake mix
  2. 3½ oz. package instant lemon pudding mix
  3. 4 large eggs
  4. ¾ cup vegetable oil
Glaze
  1. 4 cups powdered sugar
  2. 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  3. 1 lemon, zested
  4. 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  5. 3 Tbsp. water
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Grease your mini muffin tins with cooking spray or butter.
  3. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs and oil and blend well with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour a small amount of batter, filling each muffin tin half way.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  5. Once the cupcakes are baked, turn out onto a tea towel.
  6. To make the glaze, sift the sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, zest, oil, and 3 tablespoons water.
  7. Mix with a spoon until smooth.
  8. Dip the tops of the cupcakes into the glaze while they are still warm.
  9. Place on wire racks with waxed paper underneath to catch any drips.
  10. Let the glaze set thoroughly, about 1 hour, before storing in an air tight container.
Adapted from Paula Deen
Adapted from Paula Deen
Gin & Jewels http://www.ginandjewels.com/

 

Links, Lately

It’s Friday…it’s Cince de Mayo…it’s Friday.

| A snapshot from my Tuesday night dinner at 8arm – this bar is a dream! | 

Welcome to weekend, friends! Hope you’re able to enjoy some bebidas this weekend (I’ve been sharing some inspiration on G&J Facebook page if you need some ideas). 😉

To pass the minutes until we reach happy hour, here are the links for the week…

A round up of the summer’s must-see movies. Pass the popcorn, please.

I could spend an entire day watching 73 Questions on Vogue’s YouTube channel – current fave: Aziz Ansari’s interview.  

My favorite part of the Met Gala are HONY’s photographs and beautiful captions.

Buzzfeed lists 16 times Whole Foods had absolutely no chill – I always find WF coverage so ridiculously funny.

Lastly, if margs aren’t your thing, here are three mint julep recipes for Derby weekend!

Have a great weekend, y’all!

Piña Paloma

Feliz miércoles!

Special thanks to Google Translate for helping me with the intro of this blog post. 😉

I’m kicking off the Cinco de Mayo celebrations a little early this week with a Mexican-themed cocktail you never knew you needed. A classic Paloma elevated with a little pineapple makes for the most refreshing combination. It’s truly a fiesta in a glass – salud!  

| recipe |

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Sometimes I open my mouth and my mother comes out.

She’s a firecracker, that mother of mine, and I love her to pieces! Even when we have our differences (which is more often than not) she’s always been my cheerleader, confidant and number one adviser. I think that’s what makes mothers so wonderful – their unconditional love (& ability to provide unsolicited advice on how to live your life). 😉

In honor of our beloved matriarchs day, I’ve rounded up 7 gifts for any kind of mama – the traveler, the chef, the homemaker and the firecracker…      

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7

For more inspo, check out my previous Mother’s Day gift guides here and here.

Links, Lately

Happy weekend, you guys! 

| freshly fluffed living room for my first house guest in my new place | 

All of our besties are reuniting in Atlanta this weekend for our sweet friends’ wedding reception. Even though we’ve been fortunate enough to see each other pretty often these past few months, we never take for granted our time spent together. I’m looking forward to a few days of relaxation and lots of celebratory champs! Hope you’re weekend is wonderful! 

Here are some (entertaining) stories from the past few weeks…

TIME Magazine shared their 100 Most Influential People list  – always a fascinating read.

Talk about #housegoals – this Sausalito home tour is a dream.

Steve Madden is bringing back these shoes and I’m excited!

Anna Faris live tweeting her pre-red carpet routine looks pretty similar to my getting ready to go out routine (minus the kids, glam squad and hot husband).

A great example of an ad campaign done right.

Bachelorettes Do Nashville

This Thursday I’m throwing it back to Allison’s bachelorette weekend in Nashville….

…because today is her wedding day!

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

Allison and Brandon are currently eloping atop Sunset Rock in Highland, North Carolina and I’m over here just impatiently waiting for them to return to Atlanta so we can all celebrate on Saturday. Until then, let’s recap her last fling as a single lady.

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

Per usual, Nashville did not disappoint. Our weekend was a leisure one, kicking off with a taco dinner and lingerie party at our Airbnb Friday night. We spent Saturday day drinking on the rooftop at Acme and just soaking up each other’s company.

 

Something that made the weekend even more special was a thoughtful surprise planned by our sweet and talented friend Sarah. Sarah is an Atlanta-based photographer and was able to connect with Nashville local, Rachel of Brasspenny Photography, to host a photoshoot for us. Since Allison is eloping and wouldn’t have the traditional bridesmaid pictures, we thought it would be a treat to plan a photoshoot to commemorate the weekend.

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

*PS – the confetti tossed above is biodegradable, something I said multiple times, out loud, so that strangers knew we weren’t trying to litter the beautiful pedestrian bridge. 😉 

I must admit, trekking around 12South with a herd of 13 women followed by a photographer felt a little obnoxious and awkward – but the pictures turned out beautiful, making the weird glances and snickers from strangers well worth it. Rachel was an absolute gem and was a pro at corralling us to get some good shots.

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography | 

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |  

| Clearly, we get extremely excited when champagne is popped! |  

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Where We Stayed

The Best AirBnB in 12South (which is sadly no longer listed!)

Where We Played

SOUTH

The Stage

 

Where We Ate

Acme

Moto

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| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

Cheers to you, Mrs. Allison James. Your bride tribe loves you a lot!

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For more bachelorette inspiration, see our trips to Miami, Charleston I, Charleston II, and the North Georgia Mountains.

Backyard Movie Party

Being an aunt has so many perks.

One of those perks being able to have all the fun without the added pressure of having to actually parent a tween.  

I’m sure my sister is thinking, “your time will come, Bree. Just you wait.” 😉

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It’s safe to say I get my party planning skills from my sissy. Maybe it’s our southern roots or something we inherited from our mother, but we love playing hostess. Come springtime, we join forces to plan my niece’s birthday and it’s always so much fun. It also gives us an excuse to load up on paper products and party décor (something that we both do without reason too frequently).   

The conversation usually goes like this:

Me: “What are you planning for Morgan’s birthday?”

My sister: “I don’t know yet. But whatever I do, I’m keeping it small this year.”

Me: “Yeah, small is good. She’s only turning 11.”

…famous last words

Countless phone calls and 72 pins later… my brother-in-law is blowing up a giant movie screen, my mother is rolling out homemade fondant and my sister and I rearranging air mattresses in the grass. You only turn 11 once!    

Last year Morgan’s party was art-focused with a floral motif, this year was a relaxed backyard movie soiree. With Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants as the feature film and 20 tweens in attendance, we pulled off another unforgettable birthday! Here are a few snapshots from the party…

| Couldn’t pass up an opportunity to make my caramel bacon popcorn! |

| Invitations via Paperless Post

| Party Favors: stationary + a note from the birthday girl herself. |

| Menu: corn dogs, raw veggies, french fries and glass-bottled sodas |

| acrylic popcorn containers |

| cake plates + napkins |

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Happy Birthday, Morgan!

Links, Lately

Happy Friday, bunnies!

After spending last weekend getting settled and organized in my new apartment, this weekend will be spent on the road – heading south to celebrate some very important people. My youngest, niece Morgan is turning 11 and my sister and I planned the cutest outdoor movie party. (I’ll be sharing the details next week.) Then on Saturday, we’re showering our girl Molly as she gets ready to welcome Baby B into the world. It’s going to be the best kind of busy weekend!

Here are the links for the week …. 

These quotes on New York make me smile and miss the city I once called home. 

Anyone else feeling super sad about GIRLS ending forever? Vogue shares five facts that you may not know. 

Fashion insiders revisit their most regrettable outfitslol.

Ina knows best when it comes to entertaining – definitely bookmarked this post for future reference. 

Have a wonderful holiday weekend! 

Crudites & Carrot Mimosas

Crudité is like charcuterie’s West coast, vegetarian cousin.

ie: a beautiful platter of raw or lightly blanched vegetables that are frequently served as an accompaniment to dips.

While a meat and cheese board is always a crowd pleaser, it never hurts to rotate in some veggies. With Easter this weekend, I wanted to share some appetizer inspiration. For my platter, I chose colorful carrots, thinly sliced cucumbers, snap peas, heirloom tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, endive leaves and sweet mini bell peppers.

The options are endless when it comes to arranging your spread, but my general rule of thumb is to start on the on corners and work your way in. I also like to layer cutting boards and use small bowls to add a little dimension. 

Serve your crudités with carrot & orange mimosas and you’ve reached your daily veggie intake with a little bubbly too. 😉 Happy Easter!

Hand-Embroidered with Love

Long time no see, friends! I took a semi-intentional break from blogging while preparing for my move (ie: all my cute sh*t was packed up so I technically couldn’t shoot any content). Shame on me for not planning ahead! March was a busy month all around, with two weddings and a move so I let myself neglect G&J for a bit. But I’m back today and I’m sharing previously promised and very delayed post on how to hand embroider your comfiest t-shirt.

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I have such an affinity for cheeky tees, and more recently embroidered ones.

They are clean, simple and I love the added detail of a stitched saying. For Alden’s bachelorette, I made each girl a shirt to have as a little souvenir. I’ll be honest, this project was a little trickier than I anticipated. It took me a few tries to get the hang of the backstitch, but once I got use to the technique, the project became surprisingly relaxing. I would work on 1 or 2 shirts every night while catching up on my dVR – #multitasking.

SUPPLIES | T-shirt + Embroidery Thread + Embroidery Needle + Disappearing Ink Pen + Wine

STEP x STEP |

  • To make your pattern/stencil, type your desired phrase (use a semi-thick font) and print on a white piece of paper.
  • Cut out a box around your pattern and slip the piece of paper inside your shirt. The lighter the tee, the easier it is to see your stencil.
  • Trace onto the shirt using a disappearing ink pen. Once you’re happy with your word/phrase placement, you can begin threading the embroidery floss and needle.
  • Cut a long strand of the floss – the length really depends on how long your word or phrase is but if you ran out, you can always re-thread and pick up where you left off.
  • Before you thread the needle, split the floss in half, so that you have 2 strands with 3 strings in each. (See photo below)
  • The trick when threading the needle is to push the eye of the needle through the thread (instead of pushing the thread through the needle). This video explains it best.
  • Now that you have traced your word or phrase and threaded your needle, take a sip gulp of wine and get started!
  • Use the back-stitch to complete your word (this video is super helpful, skip to 0:18). When you make the first stitch, tie a not on the inside of your shirt, as shown below.
  • Continue stitching, making sure your stitches are short so that you have more control over the line or curve of the letter. The shorter the stitch, the smoother the lines.
  • Once you’re finished with the entire bottle of wine word, knot the thread to secure it in place and clean off any dangling threads on the inside of the shirt.
  • When knotting the thread at the end of your word, make sure not to pull the thread too tight. You don’t want to pull the thread from the front because it will gather the fabric in between the stitches. 

Don’t forget to dip the area of the embroidered word in water to remove the pen marks. This pen is water soluble and the ink vanished almost immediately.

If you’re not an expert seamstress (*raises hand*) don’t let this project intimidate you. With the help of YouTube and a glass of wine, you would be surprised about how much you can accomplish. If you decide to try this DIY, I would love to see your finished product – send me a Snap!

My Spring Agenda

After Atlanta’s surprise cold snap last week, I welcomed spring with open arms. Even though I will forever be a fan of fall, spring time is a close second.

In Atlanta, we tend not to experience “true seasons” so our winters aren’t terrible. Still, I always look forward to March and April when the temps start to rise. It’s warm enough for sandals and patio happy hours but not miserably hot and humid.

As we all know, I’m a list maker so I’ve jotted down 8 things I want accomplish while the weather is so enjoyable…    

What will you be getting into this spring?

Cheij Yes!

You’re not experiencing déjà vu – just another post re: a bachelorette trip (plus a super simple DIY project)!  

One of my sweetest friends, Alden, is getting married this weekend. We had the best time throwing her a shower back in November and a few weeks ago we got together again for her bachelorette in the *North Georgia mountains. It was such a nice break from the city – the perfect amount of relaxation and activity. And by activity…I mean going to a winery. 😉  

Because I’m always looking for an excuse to go shopping, I put together little gift bags for everyone to enjoy over the weekend. While all “bach bags” are different (examples here & here), this version is one of my favorites – focused on a self-pampering and keeping cozy. Since there were only 8 of us, I was able to DIY most of the contents. Here is what I included: 

Tote | The bags were from Forever 21 and fit the girly theme perfectly.

Pink Mug (DIY below) | I picked up blank mugs from Ikea and added eye lashes using an oil-based Sharpie. The added deco was simple enough but added an extra girly touch.

Boozy Hot Cocoa | In effort to keep things easy, I stuffed the mugs with hot cocoa packets, mini bottles of Bailey’s or Kahlua and homemade marshmallows.

Sheet Masks | What girls weekend is complete without doing a mask in your PJ’s? I ordered these from Target and included one in each bag.

Candle (DIY here) | You guys know I’ve been on a major candle-making kick lately! For Alden’s girls weekend, I personalized the labels with Beyonce-inspired names, paying homage to Alden’s love for Queen Bey.  

Hand-embroidered Tees (DIY coming soon) | I wanted the girls to have something that would remind them of our fun weekend, so I embellished white Old Navy tee’s with Alden and Matt’s wedding hashtag – Cheij Yes! (Cheij – pronounced Shay – is Alden’s soon-to-be last name.)        

Homemade Chex Mix | Lastly, I wanted to include a snack. My sister’s chex mix recipe has made me look good on numerous occasions, so it was a no brainer that I would make some for our weekend. Filling cellophane bags with a dry snack is always an easy option to toss in any gift bag.

   

 

Traveler’s Note: As I mentioned earlier, the weekend was very low key. While we didn’t leave our warm cabin often, we did make a trip to 12 Spies Winery and Fortify for dinner. Both of which I highly recommend if you ever find yourself in the area!

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DIY Eyelash Coffee Mug

SUPPLIES | Mug + Oil-based Sharpie

STEP x STEP |

  1. Wipe down your mug with a wet cloth, making sure the surface is completely clean and dry.
  2. Draw the desired design or text on your mug using an oil-based I used a stencil, but you can absolutely free hand. If you mess up, a quick swipe of acetone will remove the ink.
  3. Let your mug dry for 72 hours. I know, I know this seems like a long time but this will ensure that your design will stay put.
  4. Once 3 long days have passed, place your mug in a cold oven and heat to 425 degrees.
  5. Bake the mug for 1 hour. Once 1 hour has passed, turn off the oven and let the mug cool completely in the oven
  6. This method helps keep the mug from cracking. I recommend baking your mug at the end of the day, so it can cool completely overnight. I also recommend handwashing and not putting you precious new mug in the dishwasher.

Check back next week for a full breakdown on how to embroider your own t-shirt!