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!   

 

 

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!

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!

Candied Conversations

Why spend 2+ hours making homemade candy conversation hearts when you get pick some up at Target?  

Because you can customize the messages (i.e.: “love you more than vodka“). That’s why. 😉

Candy hearts are one of my favorite sugary treats – right up there with Blow Pops and chewy Sprees. Everyone has their vice, right? The mix of nostalgia that comes with these Valentine classics and the fact that they are homemade, make them the perfect gift for your students, galentine or even co-workers. The recipe itself is super simple (the kneading is time consuming) but all in all it’s totally worth having creative control over the colors, flavors, and copy. Scroll down for the recipe!

| cookie cutter |

Homemade Conversation Candy Hearts
Yields 60
if homemade means organic, these are organic
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Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 ½ tsp. unflavored gelatin powder
  2. ½ cup clear soda
  3. 6 cups powdered sugar
  4. food coloring
  5. flavored extract
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve gelatin in soda (I used Sprite).
  2. After about 5 minutes, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water to melt the gelatin completely (until you cannot see any granules).
  3. Using an electric mixer, mix in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time.
  4. Keep adding the powdered sugar until you have stiff fondant-like dough, it will be somewhat sticky.
  5. Dust a clean surface with powdered sugar and begin kneading the dough. You may need extra powdered sugar to fight the dough’s stickiness.
  6. Divide dough to your desire – depending on how many color/flavors you want to make.
  7. Add in extras (I used mint and almond, separately) and food color. Continue to knead until the color is fully incorporated.
  8. Taste the dough to make sure the flavoring is to your liking.
  9. Roll the dough to a ¼ inch thickness and cut in to desired shapes using cookie cutters*.
  10. Lay out the candies on a baking sheet, lined with parchment.
  11. Let dry for 48 hours, flipping over the candies occasionally to ensure even drying on both sides.
  12. Once candies are completely dried out and hard, use edible markers to add your messages.
Notes
  1. *I used a 1 inch heart-shaped cookie cutter and had plenty of room to write fun messages.
Gin & Jewels http://www.ginandjewels.com/

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More Valentine DIY’s – here & here.

| cellophane baggies |

 

Chandler in the Making

Once a chandler, always a chandler…

I’ve officially reached the peak of my old lady-ish ways – I made homemade candles for holiday gifting. I’m not going to even act embarrassed because it was damn fun.

Candle-making is a trial and error type project, but once you perfect your measurements and temperatures – you’re golden. I purchased all my supplies from Candle Science and couldn’t be more pleased with their quality and ship timing. Their site proved to be an excellent resource for tips and supplies. Who knew there were four types of wicks!?

Wax // Wick //  Jar // Thermometer // Pitcher // Scale

Rose // Citrus Basil // Gardenia // Lavender Cucumber Sage

Here are my no-fail tips for making candles that are pretty enough to gift:

  1. Create a clean work space, protect said work space from potential wax spillage and lay out all your supplies.
  2. Before heating the wax – get setup. Prep your jars by adhering the wick to the bottom of the container.
  3. To make three 8oz candles, you will need 1lb of wax. If you don’t have a scale, 1lb of wax is equivalent to about 5-6 heaping cups.
  4. Place your pouring pitcher (filled with wax flakes) in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Once the wax starts to melt, heat the wax to 185° F.
  5. Once melted wax reaches 185° F, let the wax cool to about 160° F and add 1oz of your chosen fragrance. Mix well with a whisk.
  6. Continue to let the wax cool to 135° F, then carefully pour the wax evenly into your jars.
  7. Secure the wick to ensure it says straight and centered with a clothes pin.
  8. For best results, let your candles cure at room temperature overnight.
  9. Trim wick to ¼ in. before lighting. Be sure to trim your wick before each burn.

#CrazyCandleLady Tip – always allow your candles (homemade or store bought) to burn completely to the rim. This will ensure that no wax is waiting and the candle will burn clean. If you blow your candle out too soon, you will eventually be left with a “cave” and wall of wax that never burns evenly – such a waste.

I completed my candle craft, with self-designed labels (& cocktail-themed names), personalized matchboxes and the prettiest tissue wrap from Target. 

For more details, check out Candle Science’s step-by-step guide.

Editor’s Note: I made about 20 candles (8oz) with 10lbs of wax. 1lb of wax needs 1oz of fragrance.

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Candlefish

If I could be a store, I would be Candlefish

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And if I could be a city, I would be Charleston. 

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A few weeks ago, Stacey, Abbye and I enjoyed a little weekend getaway to Charleston. It started out as an excuse to go see The Lumineers live (even though they were scheduled to be in Atlanta that same weekend) but we quickly filled our itinerary with dinner reservations, sight seeing and a candle making class.

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With plans to attend the 10am Saturday class, we decided to start off our morning with a nice walk to the studio. To set the scene –  Saturday is my favorite day, I was with two of my best friends, and candles are probably in the top 5 of my favorite things (coming in right between dogs and bar carts). Needless to say, I was super pepped to start my day. The universe had other plans. My shoe broke 5 minutes into the 20 minute walk, it was more humid than I planned for and Starbucks made us late. So by the time we got to Wentworth and King, I was flustered and slightly irritated with my disheveled appearance. But as soon as I walked in Candlefish I became zen AF. 

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For the next 2 hours, we sniffed, poured, and shopped to our hearts content. The class was educational (I learned you’re suppose to smell your inner elbow to cleanse the palette between smelling scents) and the staff was so warm and welcoming. At risk of sounding like an old lady, I had an absolute blast pouring wax and watching candles cure. Seriously, I kept looking at Stacey and Abbye saying, “this is the best. day. ever.”

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| bloggers gotta blog

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If you’re headed to Charleston* soon, I highly recommend visiting the beautiful people at Candlefish. Even if not for a class but just to browse. Their store is stunning – housing a library of 100 scents and filled with all of my favorite things.

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Special shout out to Gabriel who introduced every scent by giving a them a guy’s personality. i.e.: This candle smells like a guy who slept over but never texted you back. OR This one smells like a guy who still lives with his mother. OR my personal fave – This candle smells like a guy who is attractive and established. Looking to buy a home in the ‘burbs. Has a dog , but like a clean dog that you won’t mind letting sit in your lap. (I want that guy …er…I mean candle.)

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For more details on Candlefish classes, check out their schedule

*Currently, Charleston is their only location. However, they hinted that they are expanding and let’s just say, I’m keeping all my fingers crossed in hopes they come to Atlanta. 

xo Bree

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See more of my Charleston adventures here and here

Gin & Tonic Ice Pops

Being an adult is really just figuring out ways to add alcohol to your favorite childhood treats. (as seen here & here)

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| recipe // popsicle molds |

With the rising mercury comes my constant craving for a frosty treat and since most store bought popsicles are basically frozen sugar I decided to make my own – you know a more healthier version…with gin, obviously. 😉

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Peeled and sliced cucumber, fresh sprigs of mint, a drizzle of agave and a splash of lime juice – makes for the most refreshing combination.  Add a little libation and your Popsicle just became adult-friendly and even more satisfying.

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Cheers!
xo Bree

Gimme Some Sugar

Anytime I plan a party – I start with the cocktail selection and then the party favors.

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It’s all about the details, you guys.

Not all parties need a little takeaway but I think wedding showers always deserve a little token of appreciation. For Caroline’s kitchen shower that we hosted back in May, I wanted to give something to match the kitchen motif.

Infused sugars and salts are the ideal DIY gift because you can make large batches for a very little cost. When crafting for a crowd – practicality is key. The process takes a few days but the steps are easy … I promise!

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Step x Step
1. Choose your infusions – fresh citrus, savory seasons, or even the classic cinnamon + sugar combinations always work.

2. Mix two parts infusion with three parts sugar. This measurement is totally flexible depending on the flavor level you want to achieve.

3a. For dry ingredients (like cinnamon), it’s simple. Add in your seasoning, mix well and store in an air tight container.

3b. For any infusions with moisture (like citrus or ginger), there are a few extra steps…

4. Zest, chop or crumble your infusion in a bowl of sugar. Pack in an airtight container and let sit for 6 hours or overnight. The longer the better!

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5. The next day you will notice the sugar is clumpy and moist.  Spread out the mixture onto a backing sheet and let it sit out overnight.

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6. The next day the mixture should be completely dry and hard but still clumpy. Next, you’ll want to remove most of the infusions – strips of rind or chunks of ginger. *It’s okay if you don’t remove every little piece because it will just get mixed in the blender.

7. The last step before packaging, you’ll dump the dried sugar mixture into a blender and pulse until all of the clumps have been pulverized and the sugar is back to a sandy powder.

8. Distribute into jars or small airtight container you wish.

9. Adorn with some ribbon and a tag and you’re all set! *For the tags, I added a short list of things that the sugar would go well with – just for a little culinary inspiration. 😉

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Looking for a short cut? If you don’t have time to infuse your own sugars, you can always find some at specialty store – Beautiful Briny Sea is a personal fave and local to Atlanta.

xo Bree

Marble & Gold

My general rule of thumb when it comes to a DIY is: spray paint gold, let dry, enjoy.

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But for our most recent project, we decided to go the extra mile by adding a marble finish.

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We’ve been on the hunt for the perfect shelving unit to house our dishes and linens since February. The piece we had previously went back home with Anna when she moved out – miss you, Anna! Our biggest challenge was finding something that wasn’t too large for the space (our farmhouse table takes up a lot of real estate) but large enough for all of our stuff.  Ikea’s VITTSJÖ unit fit the bill!

Though I sometimes think Ikea is a synonym for pain in the ass, if you have the patience to put the furniture together you really can’t beat the affordable price. After purchasing two shelving units, we assembled first and spray painted second. I added on the sheets of marble contact paper to the top and bottom shelves, leaving the glass shelves as is. Truthfully, it wasn’t bad as I anticipated. It took about 5 episodes of Girls and only half a bottle of Pinot. #winning

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All in all the total hack came in under $150 and was totally worth the extra do-it-yourself effort. With most buffets and sideboards starting in the $400 range, we were quite pleased with ourselves! 😉

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Ikea Shelf | Marble Contact Paper* | Lamps | Mirror

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We are officially dinner party ready (& happy to have our dining room table back)! Have you tried an Ikea hack recently?

xo Bree

*We used 2 rolls of marble contact paper and had a little left over.

Turning Ten

I’ve been an aunt since I was 8 years old and as cliché as it sounds – they grow up so fast!

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My youngest niece, Morgan, turned ten last week and I was able to be home the weekend prior for her birthday party.  My sister and I planned a fun afternoon of painting at the cutest spot in downtown Valdosta – Art & Soul. With a floral motif, 18 little girls tweens painted, chatted and sipped punch (they are so much more sophisticated than I was at their age).  Here are few shots from the party…

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Since Morgan loves fresh flowers (something she gets from me and my sister), we made mini arrangements as party favors – great alternative to kitschy treat bags filled with candy and plastic toys that no one needs.

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My current go-to way to decorate a cake – top with fresh flowers + the cutest plates and napkins.

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Special thank you to the ladies at Art & Soul and Mrs. Rylin Crane!

xo Bree

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Happy Birthday, Mo!

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Valentine Succulents

I’m a sucker for cheeky Valentines with punny sayings.

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And even though I’m 26 going on 75, I still like to gift my best friends a little V-day treat. Is it wrong that my 13 year old nephew thinks he’s too old for Valentine cards, but I don’t?

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This year I majorly procrastinated.  I ended up painting a few blank cards, slapped some gold foil hearts on them and called it a day. But my inner over-achiever felt like I needed something more. So after a lunch-break run to Home Depot and a quick spray paint party, I produced these really cute and very simple baby succulent pots.

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Last year’s Valentines were also quick and easy!

Nothing is more thoughtful than a last-minute Valentine, amiright? 😉

 

xo Bree

Dinner Party DIY

‘Tis the season for entertaining!

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My roomies and I are hosting Friendsgiving at our townhouse this year and we are so excited to gather some of our closest friends at our dinner table. No holiday dinner party is complete without a festive little takeaway and I wanted to gift something special but useful. A dainty Christmas tree ornament fit the bill. This simple “Gold Wishbone” DIY fit the bill, coming in under $10 and only taking about an hour to complete.

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What You Need:

  • 2 blocks of white oven bake clay* (I use Sculpy)
  • 1 can of gold spray paint
  • Twine or string

 

How to:

  • Break off 1/4 of the block of clay.
  • Divide the chunk in half and roll each piece into a ball.
  • Roll the ball into a “snake,” about 8 inches long and an 1/8th of an inch thick.
  • Make a U-shape with your “snake” and pinch each end with your finger.
  • Pinch the connected in together to make the “handle” of the wish bone.
  • Using a toothpick or skewer, poke a hole in the “handle” for you to thread the string.
  • Follow the baking instructions on clay packaging. (usually bake at 275 degrees for 12-15 minutes.)
  • After the wishbones have cooled completely, line a baking sheet with old newspapers and spray paint one side.
  • Let the paint dry completely before flipping each wishbone over to spray paint the side.
  • Use any string of your choice and tie securely.

*14-18 wishbones, depending on size

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xo Bree

Pinning!

Did you know that you can go to your iPhone settings and look up how much battery was used on what apps?

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Yikes – apparently I’m addicted to Pinterest (and Instagram). So here is what I’ve been pinning lately….

Slide2Hostess with the Mostess

Slide3Happy Hour

Slide6Cook Book

Slide1Brunch is the New Black

Slide5Bachelorette Pad

Slide4Beauty Cabinet

P.S. If you haven’t already noticed, you can now easily pin any G&J post by simply hovering over an image and clicking on the Pinterest logo. Happy Pinning!

Follow me on Pinterest here

xo Bree

Market Flowers

One thing I never have to worry about at our house is having fresh flowers.

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My BFF and roommate, Stacey, is our very own in-house florist and I love her for it!

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Flower Tips

We are constantly hosting get-togethers at our place and you can bet money there are always a few bundles of flowers throughout our home – #StyledByStacey.  She’s a pro at taking the simplest of blooms from Whole Foods or TJ’s and turning them into something lovely. Coupled with her keen eye and past experience working for James Farmer – she’s my go to when I need to know what to buy and how to arrange.

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A couple of months ago while she was prepping for her sister’s baby shower (welcome to the world Miss Sallyann!) I took the opportunity to bug her for a few tips and tricks on whipping up an easy and beautiful arrangement. Stacey's Florist Tips (2) Stacey's Florist Tips (3)Stacey's Florist Tips (5) Stacey's Florist Tips (6) Stacey's Florist Tips (1)Stacey's Florist Tips (4)

Happy Arranging!

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xo Bree

Beautiful Briny Sea

Things are getting a little salty today on G&J.SONY DSC

A couple of weeks ago Team 360 (my old job) visited Beautiful Briny Sea in Grant Park.  A wonderful Atlanta-based company that creates artisanal, small-batch salts and sugars.

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Of course when mixing my salts and sugars I kept thinking…“would this be good for rimming a cocktail?” While my co-workers were like…“will this be tasty on seafood?” #priorities

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Suzie and her team were so lovely and patient with our lack of “ingredient” knowledge.  Who knew you could put cornflower in sugar??  They helped guide us with flavors while letting us be as creative as we wanted to be.  Their generosity and guidance was very much appreciated!  The combinations are endless and it was definitely a trial and error process – but after some help from the BBS team – I created three batches (2 salts & 1 sugar) in which I gave them ridiculous names.

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Miss Pink Pepper (salt) turned out pretty spicy but so delicious. The pink peppercorns and strands of saffron gave it great color. I’ve used it on steak and it’s amazing.  It adds such great flavor to the meat with the perfect amount of heat.

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I made Sweet Ginny (sugar) with a random mix of ingredients including juniper berries – hence “gin” in the name.  I’m working on mixing up the perfect cocktail to pair this one with so stay tuned!  In the meantime, I sprinkled some on a baked sweet potato and it was amazing.

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I knew I wanted a citrus salt for seafood but mostly for margaritas. I created Citrus Yourself Down (salt) with a little bit of everything – the result a very bright, tangy salt!

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I highly recommend swinging by for a “class” – it makes for a fun work activity or even a girls night. They even had wine, beer, and delicious popcorn from Little Tart out for us to help get our creative juices flowing.  If you can’t make it to their workshop, you can shop their small batches here!

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xo Bree

 

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