Holidays in Atlanta

The temperature has finally dropped here in Atlanta. 🙌

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So much so that they’re calling for ‘snow’ tomorrow!

The cooler temps and Christmas lights in excess have put me in the mood to do all of the holiday things. Per my usual list-making tendencies, I’ve compiled a list of attractions to see and things to do before the holidays are over. If you’re an Atlanta local and know of any fun things I shouldn’t miss, please let me know in the comments!

Grab drinks at Miracle on Monroe (or the Buckhead location).

Walk through Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Garden Lights & Holiday Nights.

Drive over to Callaway Gardens for their Fantasy in Lights (you can never enjoy too many Christmas lights).

Catch a Christmas flick at Krog Street Market (& grab some popcorn to-go at Bar Mercado)

See a live nativity.

Attempt to ice skate at Ponce City Market’s Skate the Sky.

Wonder around Atlantic Station’s Christkindl Market in search of schnitzel.

Stop by Bella Cucina’s holiday pop-up at The Shops of Buckhead

Catch a showing of The Snow Queen at Serenbe.

Revisit Trap Wonderland (it was closed last time!) for some … people watching?

A Floral-Trimmed Christmas Tree

On today’s “episode” of tacky or tasteful. I’ve trimmed my Christmas tree with silk flowers.

Christmas Tree

Not a fan?

That’s okay…it had to grow on me too.

In years past, I donned a more traditional tree – the classic red with mercury glass ornaments were my go-to. This year, I felt like that look didn’t quite fit my current space. After perusing around the internet seeking inspiration, I came across this post by DesignLoveFest and my interest was piqued.

Christmas Tree

| tree & tree “skirt” | 

While this look is definitely unconventional, it’s fun, whimsical and temporary; so, don’t be intimidated! Not to mention, you won’t have to deal with broken ornaments or those pesky hooks and your silk stems can be repurposed throughout the year.

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

It took a few rearrangements, multiple Facetimes with friends and two trips to Michael’s before I was happy with the result. But after a few days of letting it grow on me, I was in love with the installation. Whether you’re decorating your tree with faux flowers or a variety of ornaments, here are best tips for trimming your tree…

  • Coordinate the color scheme with the rest of your home so the tree feels like a natural extension to your aesthetic.
  • Always buy one more strand of lights than you think you will need.
  • Place large ornaments first, then fill in spots with smaller ones.
  • Weave lights up and down the side of each branch, as opposed to just stringing them around the outer branches. This makes the tree really glow.
  • Nestle some ornaments closer to the tree’s center “trunk” instead of just on the end of each branch. This will make your tree look fuller and give it depth.

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

If you’re inspired to create your own floral-trimmed tree…

  • Choose flowers based on size and colors and don’t worry about the type. ie: No one will care that you have summer poppies on your tree in December. They’re red, festive and fit perfectly.
  • Arrange the flowers in their spots and leave for a day or so before you cut off any tags or shorten the stems. That way you can change your mind and rearrange or return stems for other better fitting options.
  • In fact, if you don’t want to cut the stems (in case you want to repurpose later), simply bend them in a spiral or wrap them around the branches.
  • Find silk flowers on sale (I purchased mine at Michael’s when they had all of their silk stems 60% off!) Ikea has affordable options too.
  • Save your prettiest, biggest flower for the topper.

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Christmas Tree

Note: My tree is 6 ½ feet tall and I used 31 stems. I separated some stems that had multiple flowers and used them to fill in gaps. To be more cost effective, I did not fully wrap the flowers around the whole tree and instead just kept the arrangement to one side as the other side wasn’t very visible.

Christmas Tree

Cornbread Dressing at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is upon us and I’m already feeling full.     

Thanksgiving

To kick off the week I’m sharing a family recipe for my favorite Thanksgiving side – cornbread dressing. 

Thanksgiving

My family’s Thanksgiving menu is extensive – lots of casseroles and carbs – and growing up we only ever had cornbread dressing, never stuffing. In fact, it wasn’t until I was in college that I even realized that dressing was more of a southern side and that most of America noshed on stuffing.

This recipe is passed down from my mema and even though I’ve been tempted to tweak it, I can’t fathom the thought of making it any differently than she did. So while the ingredients are bread-heavy, just know that you can work it off later. It’s so worth the calories. 😉

P.S. Dressing pairs perfectly with cranberry Moscow mules!

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

*Disclaimer: Every time I make this recipe, I usually Facetime my mom 20 times because she never gives me the exact measurements. “It just has to look/feel/taste right.” This last time I prepared it, I took notes so that I had the proper-ish measurements. But feel free to FaceTime Brenda if you need a second opinion. 😉

Mema Howell's Cornbread Dressing
Serves 20
a southern staple at Thanksgiving
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 50 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 50 min
Ingredients
  1. Cornbread (White Lily cornbread mix recommended)
  2. Milk (per your cornbread mix)
  3. 1 sleeve of saltine crackers
  4. 4 slices of white bread
  5. 4 boiled eggs
  6. 1-2 medium sweet onions, chopped & sautéed
  7. 6-7 cups of chicken broth
  8. Salt & pepper, to taste
  9. 2 tsp sage (optional, add to taste)
  10. 4 raw eggs (+ eggs for your cornbread)
Instructions
  1. Following the instructions on your corn bread mix, make cornbread in a large cast iron skillet or casserole dish. Be sure to oil your skillet or pan well, using Crisco or vegetable oil. (I do a recipe and a half of White Lily** using a 9-inch cast iron, plus a 6” x 9” casserole dish.)
  2. While cornbread is baking, boil your eggs. Peel, chop and set aside.
  3. Chop 1 ½ to 2 sweet onions and sauté until slightly translucent.
  4. Crumble and combine cornbread, white bread and saltine crackers in a large (4-quart) bowl.
  5. Add boiled eggs, onion and black pepper.
  6. Pour 4 cups of chicken broth to start and begin mixing. Continue adding chicken broth, ½ cup at a time until the consistency is gloopy and wet.
  7. Mix the dressing (sometimes it’s best to use your hands) well, making sure there are no big chunks of bread. The dressing will be clumpy but the cornbread and white bread should be soft and broken down.
  8. Add finely minced sage and taste.
  9. Add salt and pepper if needed.
  10. Once you’re happy with the taste and consistency, stir in 4 large raw eggs.
  11. Pour mixture into a well-oiled casserole dish and bake until golden brown at 375°F – for about 40-50 minutes.
  12. If dressing isn’t browning, bump oven up to 400°F for 5-10 minutes.
  13. Serve with giblet gravy and or cranberry sauce.
Gin & Jewels http://www.ginandjewels.com/
**White Lily Southern Buttermilk Cornbread

Happy feasting!

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Keep scrolling for a little Friendsgiving inspo! Chaz and Caroline hosted our dinner again this year and it was perfect. Caroline, once again, outdid herself with the tablescape and decor. Thanks for having us, Bagwell’s!

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

ThanksgivingThanksgiving

Update II: 101 in 1001

It’s been a while since I revisited my 101 in 1001 list – 547 days to be exact. Seeing Jessica of Bows & Sequins post about starting her own list, I was motivated to check up on mine. I quickly realized I have a lot to accomplish between now and April 28th – a deadline extension appears to be in my near future.

Since my last progress report, I’ve only marked 13 things off. To name a few…

I went wine tasting in Sonoma (Napa was on the list, but it’s wine country either way). Instead of Helen, I Oktoberfest’d in Berlin (even better, right!?). I visited 4 new cities – San Francisco, Asheville, Berlin and Copenhagen. I earned a promotion at work and started a retirement fund (future me is happy, current me would rather have the extra spending money). I got a new (to-me) car and I don’t know how I ever drove without a backup camera. I voted in an election and even wrote a letter to my future daughter the same night (which I need to finish…). I managed to exceed my goal of 40 new restaurants (no surprise here) and made a dent in “concerts-with-dad”. I even learned how to sew – er, more like embroider.

I still have a lot left to do in the next 165 days.

I’m hoping to check off a few more things over Thanksgiving (ie: recipe compiling, learning to drive a stick, etc.). Who knows, maybe I’ll hit the lottery between now and April so I can squeeze in a trip to Italy and South Africa!

I’ll share another update first of the year. In the meantime, what have you marked off your list?

 

My Philosophy on Souvenirs

I may not have the healthiest of spending habits but I’m a damn good at shopping.

Anywhere, anytime – I will find always find something to buy.   

It’s not surprising that this habit has caused me to suffer from buyer’s remorse more times than I care to admit. I always let dumb purchases haunt me for days – ridiculous, I know. So in the spirit of self-improvement, I’ve been making a conscious effort to be less of an impulse buyer and more of a thoughtful shopper. But for whatever reason all logic goes out the window when I’m on vacation. I over spend, over purchase and usually come home with things I don’t need.  

Most of my frivolous purchases fall within one of three camps – food & beverage, beauty products and home décor. When prepping for my trip to Copenhagen and Berlin, I made a mental note of items that I knew I would want to bring back (based on the aforementioned categories) and promised myself I would have more self-control in hopes of avoiding that guilty feeling. 

I thought I would share my philosophy when it comes to souvenirs – what I look for, what I avoid and what I purchased during my recent travels…

It’s no secret I’m a self-proclaimed cocktail connoisseur – so shopping for bitters, liqueurs, tinctures are easy buys I never regret. Along with stocking up on my bar inventory, I love picking up local provisions (i.e.: meat, cheese and candy). Sure, they don’t last forever but when you have a memory tied to a bottle of wine (or even a block of cheese;) ) it feels that much more special when you enjoy it back home.

One of my favorite parts about traveling is trying beauty brands that aren’t accessible in the states. During our stay in Berlin, I stumbled across the perfumery – Frau Tonis Parfum. Their store was an absolute dream and I loved everything from the branding and bottle shape to the stories behind each fragrance. I’ve always loved how certain scents can instantly take you back to a specific memory. For me, this makes fragrances excellent souvenirs. My tiny bottle of parfüm is the sweetest addition to my vanity and takes me back to Berlin with just one spritz.   

Lastly is home décor – my biggest weakness. Plates, trays, candles, coffee table books are all items I love to collect and display throughout my space. I love the Danish aesthetic but wasn’t able to purchase any home pieces (my indecisiveness got the best of me). I did manage to find a few candles that I plan on burning well into fall. The vessels are pretty enough to upcycle, allowing them to always serve as a reminder of my time spent in Denmark.         

Things I don’t buy? The destination-themed knickknacks that you find in those cluttered souvenir shops. Your souvies don’t have to read the town’s name you visited to be sentimental. Just knowing the story behind each purchase is good enough for me. I also think you should never pressure yourself into buying something just because you’re on a trip. Sometimes the best souvenirs are the free matches from a lunch spot, a postcard from your bill at dinner or all of those photos on your camera roll (print and frame them, people!).

                                                                                                                               

I would love to know – do you have a strategy when it comes to purchasing souvenirs? What are items that you stay away from? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Packing Like a Pro

Raise your hand if you’re an over packer.

over packer

*Raises two hands*

I prefer the phrase well-prepared but if I’m being honest, I’m just a product junkie who over packs. For most trips, I embrace it and fill my car up with all the things I don’t need. But when I’m flying, I try and consolidate. Fact: I have a real fear of having to lift my carry-on into an overhead bin and it falling on top of me. 

over packer

I never have a problem editing down my wardrobe but definitely have trouble downsizing my accessories (ie: toiletries, hair products, makeup, my Buttercup). Over the years, I’ve fine-tuned my packing list and relied on three “tricks” to help keep my well-preparedness in check:

over packer

  1. Always keep your favorite toiletries in stock.

Should I ever need to flee my apartment in a hurry, I find comfort in knowing that my toiletry case is always packed. I keep a supply of travel-size shampoo, skincare samples, contacts & solution, a mini electric toothbrush, etc. on hand, always. I have a designated drawer to collect extra items while also keeping the essentials stored in my toiletry bag for quick packing. When I return from a trip, I make a list of items to replenish and go ahead and stock up so I’ll be ready for my next getaway.                                              

  1. Knowing when to donate or keep those free samples.

Whether items are from a “gift with purchase” promo or cashed-in points at Sephora – I’m a sucker for miniature/travel-size anything (as discussed in Tuesday’s post). But it’s important to keep your stash stocked with only things you will actually use. I make a point to donate or give away samples and travel-sized items that I know I won’t use.    

  1. Pack, assess, edit.

Though I tend to over pack initially, I always go back and edit my suitcase and toiletry bag. Usually after weighing them and realizing I’ve exceeded the 50lb limit but that’s neither here nor there. Once I’ve packed everything I think I need, I reassess and remove items that I could probably live without. It’s hard to do at first, but you’ll pat yourself on the back later. I usually make it a game – remove 5 unnecessary items and I reward myself with a drink. 😉

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And because I love reading about/seeing what other people keep in their bags (read: I’m nosy!), I thought I would share some of my favorite travel-friendly beauty products that I’ve packed for my trip…

over packer

In the hair care category – I need all the help I can get to extend my blowout. So I a few dry shampoo options, good shampoo + conditioner, and duck clips are musts.

over packer

For skincare – I like to continue my at-home (pretty basic) routine while on the road. Face wash, toner, and makeup remover – I can’t go without. I especially love Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser – the bottle isn’t huge so it makes it perfect for travel but it lasts a long time. The formula is so gentle (yay for no burning eyes!) and passes the white towel test every time. Not pictured is the moisturizer stashed in my carry-on. 😉

over packer

I would love to know if you have any go-to products for travel or any tips and tricks for packing! Read up on my carry-on essentials in this post

| shop today’s post here | 

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over packer

Inflight Cocktails

Today’s post combines two of my favorite things – cocktails minuatures.

Inflight Cocktails

I’m getting ready for a trip abroad and while I’m procrastinating packing my suitcase, I’ve started brainstorming what cocktails I plan to enjoy mid-flight.

Totally normal, right?

While we all have our own pre-flight “rituals,” I think it’s important to consider each trip as a treat. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of your fellow rushed passengers. So next time you’re heading out on a trip – pack a few airplane bottles, indulge in a drink, close your computer (those emails can wait!) and start your vacation before you reach your destination.  

Here are a few of my favorite travel-friendly combinations that will add a little party to your next flight…

Inflight Cocktails

Pack a mini gin and mini Chambord. Snag a lemon wedge and sugar packet from the food court. Order a club soda and 2 cups – 1 with ice. // Pour gin, a heavy splash of Chambord, sugar into a cup over ice. Pour beverage back in forth between cups to mix well. Add a squeeze of lemon and top with club soda.

Inflight Cocktails

Pack a mini vodka, a mini bottle of hot sauce and mini celery bitters. Snag some salt & pepper packets and lemon wedge from the food court. Order a can of tomato juice and cup of ice. // Pour vodka and tomato in a cup over ice. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon and add 5-6 dashes of hot sauce and celery bitters. Stir, sip and tweak to taste.

Inflight Cocktails

Pack a mini tequila. Snag a lime wedge and sugar packet from the food court. Order a club soda and 2 cups – 1 with ice. // Pour tequila over ice. Add a squeeze of lime and sprinkle in sugar. Pour beverage back in forth between cups to mix well. Top with club soda.

Inflight Cocktails

Pack a mini bottle of Baileys. Snag a sugar packet. Order a coffee. // Pour sugar packet in hot coffee and stir. Add a healthy splash of Baileys and sip away.

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While these libations are delicious don’t forget to drink lots of H2O during your flight. Sip the cocktails, chug the water – I say!

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!   

 

 

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. 😉

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.)

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

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)!

My Favorite Podcasts

Have y’all heard of this new thing called podcasts?

Kidding, you guys. I’m late to the podcast party but boy have I made up for lost time. I have to credit Abbye on getting me started and must thank Karen and Georgia for keeping me hooked.

Admittingly, I used to wonder how my work buddy, Alina, could listen to her podcasts while working – but now it’s my favorite way to get focused. Earbuds in, a podcast playing, and I’m more productive than ever.

Here are my current favorites …     

1. If you binge watch Criminal Minds (& have a crush on Dr. Reid), you will probably enjoyMy Favorite Murder

I could listen to Karen and Georgia (& Stephen) for hours on end. I thoroughly enjoy the first couple minutes of “housekeeping,” live for their rehashing of their favorite murders and even find myself entertained by their self-read advertisements. They somehow manage to teeter the edge of TMI with just enough gory details to make you think, “what the hell?!?” Their commentary is hilarious without being offensive. They always tell you exactly what to google if you want to look up that gruesome photo they’re discussing – we’re all guilty of this, don’t lie to yourself. Basically, they are the two best friends you didn’t know you needed.  [Must-listen episode – ep 71 Put It In A Door*]

*but you should really listen to them all, in no particular order. 

2. If you consider yourself a part of #BachelorNation and still follow Shawn B on Snapchat, you will probably enjoyOff The Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe

Kaitlyn Bristowe recently launched her new podcast and although she’s only 3 episodes in, I’ve subscribed and I’m hooked. It’s a delightful reprieve from the world’s more serious issues and the perfect podcast to listen to when you need to check out and un-wine (sorry, had to). [Must-listen episode – Her first episode is co-hosted by Shawn B. so start there.]

3. If you love watching Jimmy Fallon interview celebrities on YouTube, you will probably enjoyAnna Faris is Unqualified

Full disclosure – I’ve only listened to a handful of episodes, but I’ve loved every one. Anna Faris is charming and charismatic while she hosts a wide range of celebrities – from the likes of Allison Janney to Andy Cohen. She offers genuine advice to listeners and callers, usually with the help of one of her Hollywood friends and Sim (producer and co-host). It’s an easy listen and the perfect background noise to have playing when you’re trying to get through your inbox. [Must-listen episode – ep 17 with Chris Evans and Jenny Slate]

4. If you remember when that Georgia school teacher went missing in 2005, you will probably enjoyUp and Vanished

Thanks to MFM, my intrigue with murderous crimes has only increased. Up and Vanished is a natural fit based on my interests. Fellow Atlantan, Payne Lindsey, unravels a middle Georgia cold case that has a small town at the center of murder mystery. The Tara Grinstead case is over 10 years old, but new discoveries and arrests are happening in real time. Can we credit Payne Lindsay for the recent progress made with the case? Listen and judge for yourself. [Must-listen episode – Start with ep 1 so you can get the full story from the beginning!]

5. If you like to dissect every episode of the Bachelor/ette until your head hurts, you will probably enjoyHere to Make Friends

A HuffPost podcast, this broadcast is hosted by Emma Gray and Claire Fallon. The duo lovingly snarks on the Bachelor franchise, episode by episode. So now you can relive those eye-rolling moments with sentiments from 2 women who are most likely thinking the same thoughts as you. They occasionally will have a celebrity guest on who is equally as captivated by The Bachelor as you are. Stars are just like us!  [Favorite episode – S13e3, Allison Williams co-hosts!]

As you can see, I definitely have a type – murders and pop culture. I would love for you to share your favorites (even if they don’t follow under the aforementioned categories). 😉 I’m always looking for a good listen!

 

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 …

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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…

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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…      

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