Today is my birthday and I’ve got mixed feelings. I’m majority super excited because who doesn’t love the day when it’s your party and you can cry if you want to?! No crying here though, only cake eating! My only hang-up is that I sincerely thought I would have everything figured out by now. If you asked me in my early twenties what I would be doing now I would have definitely said something along the lines of “RULE THE WORLD”, and by that I mean be a high-powered somebody in a creative field where I only answer to me. That was obviously V ambitious and V millennial of me. Oh well, I have gained the maturity at this point to understand that finding your space in this world is a process that I’ve just got to roll with…so I shall party on! Enough of that talk though. To celebrate my birthday I’ve put together a festive outfit that screams summertime party!
I highlighted the Linley dress because I’m considering buying it for myself as a birthday present! It is breezy and fun but still polished looking. Anything fussy is OUT of the question in this D.C. swamp heat. I hope you love this outfit as much as I do!
If you watch Portlandia you’ll know what I’m talking about. If not, watch Portlandia, it is hilarious! I’ve always been obsessed with animals, but mainly those of the soft and fluffy variety. Only recently have I found myself fascinated by birds. They are so cute the way they hop around and move their little heads quickly in every direction, chirping and fluttering. These attributes apply mostly to smaller birds but my interest does not stop there. I find larger birds mesmerizing as well! The way larger birds swoop around makes me wonder what that might be like, but I definitely prefer my diet to theirs! I’m pretty sure birds don’t get to pour themselves a glass of Sauvignon Blanc on the reg so I’m good down here on my own two feet!
I look at certain birds and am struck by the naturally occurring patterns and colors that people strive to replicate. I find it truly amazing that that beauty just happened in nature! Needless to say, I am SUPER into the bird theme that seems to be dominating home decor websites and stores. SO, in honor of our feathery friends, I thought I would share some of my favorite bird-themed finds for whatever tickles your fancy!
Getting back into a routine after spending a week on vacay is rough. I’m so thankful for the time spent away with family and friends but now that I’m back in D.C., it feels like I need another vacation to reset! “Just a couple more days to get my life in order, pleassseeeeeee” I would say to my boss in a perfect world… Oh well, I’ll get back into the swing of things and have all sorts of fun things to share in the meantime!
Over the years I’ve heard friends and family rave about Maine. They’ve talked about the gorgeous coastline, amazing seafood, and charm of vacation spots well loved by New Englanders. I can finally share in the convo (about southern Maine at least)! I agree with all the wonderful things I’ve heard about the state but would like to add that I am CERTAIN mother nature likes Maine way more than anywhere else (D.C. for sure) because the weather was perfect from our arrival on Sunday evening until our departure on Thursday Morning. Mid-70s to Low-80s, a dream really.
We stayed in Wells for our trip, a great jumping off point for our adventures into Kennebunkport, York, and Ogunquit (try saying that one 10 times fast). I had a REALLY tough time with the word Ogunquit in the beginning but can now proudly say I’ve got it down (that second “u” is a rascal). Our first full day we went to Kennebunkport to do lunch and see all the beautiful homes. I was overjoyed to see the Bush family compound, it really is gorgeous and quite impressive!
For lunch we popped into Arundel Wharf where I gleefully consumed a Bloody Mary, steamers, and lobster salad piled high atop half an avocado (meal of dreams). I’ve found lunch is made better by picturesque views of pristine boats bobbing in the water!
The following day was the 4th of July (YAY AMERICA) and we drove to York to spend some time at the beach! We were visiting my boyfriend’s Aunt and Uncle who are members of a delightful beach club with a pool area where we basked like turtles in the sun and consumed many tasty beverages. The frozen lemonade with vodka was too good, as was their cucumber basil lemonade with vodka!
After visiting the beach club we drove into Ogunquit to have Lobsters! We went to Barnacle Billy’s etc. in Perkins Cove and it was magical. I ate a Lobster the size of my head and had the most fun doing it! We sat on a stone patio canopied by trees and surrounded by flowers. We could see the boats coming in and out, preparing for the fireworks to take place that night, it was a wonderful experience!
After dinner we went and found a prime spot for watching the fireworks, an activity I look forward to every year no matter where I am for the 4th! The Ogunquit Beach firework show was one of those that you could swear the finale is happening about every five minutes because it is so spectacular. Between lounging at the beach/pool, eating a Lobster, and watching the fireworks, I’d say it was a perfect 4th of July!
The next day we decided to go wander around Ogunquit for a bit to shop and eat lunch before heading back to York for another day at the beach club. We ate lunch and had a couple of drinks at Cornerstone, obviously sitting on the patio for people watching reasons. After lunch we bopped over to the CUTEST shop called Calluna Fine Flowers and picked up a navy serving tray to give to our hosts as a gift! If you have the chance to visit, this shop has a wide variety of items that are perfect for gifts (or you obvi)!
As many have said before me, GO TO MAINE! It is absolutely beautiful. If you are like me and grew up in the south going to the beaches in Florida, Alabama, Texas, the East Coast is a fun change of scenery. The best word I can use to describe Maine is charming. The towns we visited were lively and vibrant but quaint!
We ended our week of vacation on Lake Winnisquam in New Hampshire with friends! We ate delicious food, worked puzzles, played beer pong, and sat by the fire. Just the right amount of rowdiness and relaxation!
This past weekend I planned to do some serious R & R before rolling full steam ahead into the 4th of July. The idea was that I would go to a friend’s birthday celebration/housewarming party for a bit on Friyay, get into bed early to rise and shine on Saturyay. I needed to be up early (well, early for me on a weekend at least) for the Quicken Loans Golf Tournament where I planned to stroll around drinking mostly water (because hydration). After the tournament I would get home to cook dinner and pack before getting into bed early again to leave for Maine bright and early Sunday morning. I was going to be well rested, I was going to be energetic, I was going to be ready for a party week! As you have likely gathered at this point, things did not go as planned and I was not any of these things on Sunday morning.
On Friday night my boyfriend and I headed to my friend’s housewarming where she was having a Rosé tasting. Sounds classy AF, right? WELL, for me and my galpals “tasting” turned into full blown glasses of each type that she bought. She bought 8 or so bottles and there were about 6 of us “tasting” consistently so you do the math. We then proceeded to stay out until about 1am before finally moseying home to get some sleep for our 7am wake up time the next morning. Restful this evening was NOT, but was it super fun, YES! FYI, my fave Rosé was from Austria, the more you know!
So I’ve discovered that I LOVE going to golf tournaments. The manicured grass, chirping birds, and abundance of people wearing athleisure takes me to my happy place. While I was far from well rested, I had a good amount of energy and was ready to seize the day when we arrived on Saturday morning. And seize the day I did, quite aggressively. Three glasses of Chardonnay, one torrential downpour, and a moscow mule later I not only probably looked like a wet dog, but had turned a lovely shade of lobster red from that delightful (hot as the blazes of hell) DC summer sun. Again, not at all relaxing but a ton of fun. I did get Rickie Fowler’s autograph though, definitely a win!
One of the many beautiful views of the golf course!
I just really loved the giant Rolex clocks!
Time to go home and pack now, right? WRONG. We then went to a friend’s impromptu barbeque where I thought it was a good idea to get back into the Rosé and eat my bodyweight in Oreos… woof. So let’s fast forward to 10pm when we are finally home trying to pack (I literally had no idea what I put in my suitcase). On the way to Maine I was thinking, hopefully I have all the things I need but who knows? I chose to look at this like a fun game rather than an adulting failure!
Rested and relaxed I am certainly not but it was an awesome weekend! I’m choosing to look at it like my boyfriend and I are just extremely dedicated to getting the most out of our vacation (beginning literally and hour after we got home from work on Friday… whatever, YOLO).
Throughout what I am calling my “Rosés of the World Tour” this weekend I did pick up some useful things to share:
Firework Oreos are GOOD. They taste just like regular Oreos but have itty bitty bits of candy that pop a little in your mouth (sounds weird but is pretty delightful).
Oreo Thins are GOOD (but it defeats the purpose of buying them if you recklessly eat half the package AND regular sized Firework Oreos).
Miraval Rosé from France is amazing and the most beautiful amber/blush color.
Zweigelt Rosé from Austria is V Tasty.
Pallas Rosé from Spain is also wonderful.
See, my indulgent behavior was all for you so you can know about these wonderful things! Pick one or ALL of them up to upgrade your 4th of July Party! Meanwhile, I’ll be over here in Maine continuing to recover (and by that I mean continuing to drink Rosé)…
It is always so exciting when a holiday rolls around because it is a great excuse to try out new recipes to serve at parties. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have go-to dishes that I know will be a hit, but making something new is always fun. You’ve got a whole room full of taste testers!
Where food is concerned, I’m looking for options. I like a few different flavors on my plate to keep things interesting. Given this tendency, it is no wonder that one of my favorite parts about attending any kind of holiday party is the variety of food! I am always wondering (dreaming really) about the food spread awaiting me. A significant percentage of this obsession with party food is focused specifically on different types of dip (and chips, but I can’t even begin to discuss that dangerous love affair right meow without starting a whole new post).
Dips are simply the best. So many flavors, so many textures, it is overwhelming I know. You can essentially build a meal of JUST DIPS! I’m not saying you should necessarily, but you surely could (and I definitely have many times)! I’m too excited. My point is, with the 4th of July just around the corner and parties galore to attend, you need to be armed and ready to take an amazing dish to share, so why not a dip? I’ve got your back! Below are 7 recipes that are sure to delight no matter where you’re headed to celebrate:
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely grated onion
1 (12-oz.) jar diced pimento
8 ounces coarsely shredded extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese
Stir together first 9 ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. Stir in onion. Fold in pimento and cheeses. Cover and chill 8 to 12 hours. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes, and stir well before serving.
Small Dice bell peppers & onion either by hand or using a small chopper. Finely chop the cilantro. Drain the corn. Drain & rinse the black beans. Place everything in a bowl adding lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
8 slices bacon (9 oz) cooked until crisp, cooled and crumbled into bits
1 (8 oz) pkg. Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 (1 oz) pkg. Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Dressing Mix
1 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup chopped green onions (from about 2)
Fresh vegetables and crackers , for serving
Place Neufchatel cheese in a medium mixing bowl and use an electric hand mixer to whip until smooth. Add sour cream and mix until smooth. Add dressing mix, cheddar cheese, green onions and bacon. Stir and fold until well blended. Serve with vegetables and crackers. Store dip in refrigerator in an airtight container. If you’d like to have some of the cheddar, onions and bacon on top of the dip just set some aside before mixing the rest in.
Four 9-ounce boxes frozen artichokes—thawed, drained and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Tabasco
2 1/2 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
Crackers or sliced baguette, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350°. Roast the jalapeño directly over a gas flame, turning, until charred all over. Let cool, then peel and seed the jalapeño and cut it into 1/4-inch dice. In a large bowl, mix the artichokes with the jalapeño, mayonnaise, Parmigiano, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and Tabasco. Transfer the mixture to a 1-quart baking dish. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until hot. Preheat the broiler. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar evenly over the hot dip. Broil for about 2 minutes, until browned in spots and bubbly. Serve hot or warm, with crackers.
3 cans (15 oz each) white beans, drained, liquid reserved
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
4 cloves garlic, chopped
¾ tsp table salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
zest of half of a lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary
In the bowl of a large food processor, combine all ingredients. Process until mixture is smooth and creamy. Add desired amount of reserved liquid from white beans, if you want to thin it out to desired consistency. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crackers, pita chips, or sliced baguettes. Can also be made ahead of time, up to 1-2 days ahead.
1 lb of pork breakfast sausage, browned and drained
2 cans of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
Cut the Velveeta into chunks. Place Velveeta, both cans of Rotel and cream of mushroom soup in your crock pot set to low. Once the cheese is melted, stir in the cooked sausage and ground beef. Stir occasionally and serve with tortilla chips.
The 4th of July is fast approaching and I’m sure that you, like me, are thanking your lucky stars for a day or two off (NEED.VACAY. NOW.)! Independence day is one of my favorites because frankly, I love outdoor drinking activities. Specifically, I love being on or in sight of a body of water with a cold adult beverage in my hand. Those of us who thrive in this type of festive outdoor environment know that it takes a bit of planning to have everything you need on hand for a truly carefree experience.
It seems counterintuitive that you’d need to plan to have a good time but if you’ve ever been the person who accidentally shattered your beer bottle or wine glass on a concrete slab with a hoard of barefoot people milling around (shame, shame, shame), you know what I’m talking about! It is especially traumatic when a no glass rule was put into effect and you were the only one bold enough to break it (“I won’t drop it”… OK butterfingers). Given the number of times this type of party foul occurs on or around July 4th, I thought it might be helpful to compile a list of practical yet stylish containers to help you carry your dranks…
These products will help you and your bevs to stay cool and no one be able to point the finger at you for the piece of glass stuck in so-and-so’s foot… YAY for letting someone else be the ruiner of fun! Now you just have to remember sunscreen, sunglasses, bug spray, water, a hat, etc. so make a list, get to packing, and stay tuned for more 4th of July posts over the next week or so!
Everyone and their mother are wearing off-the-shoulder tops and dresses right now (myself included), so today I want to spotlight a different neckline! Don’t get me wrong, I love the playful way that the popular shoulder baring trend highlights the entire décolletage, but I also think there are ways to highlight the area that many consumers are currently missing out on. You might ask, “How could she be so silly? Off-the-shoulder tops and dresses are the bees knees, what is wrong with her?” WELL, I assure you there is method to my madness.
I LOVE a good high neckline top or dress with arm-baring cutaways. This cut, regardless of whether the back of the garment is revealing or comes all the way up to the base of the neck, is sweet and super flattering for most body types. The only shape that may have difficulty with this neckline is someone who is very busty, as a high neckline could amplify already front-and-center assets. Try it on for size though and see how you feel!
This high-neck cut can be sleek and polished, but also fun and feminine as it highlights the collarbones and draws the eyes up your lovely face. With this cut you can choose the vibe you want to create with fabric and color! The shape created on the top half of the body also lends itself to the illusion of an hourglass form from head to toe. In light of my high neckline summer obsession, I pulled together a crisp but lively summer outfit from some of my favorite websites…
This dress is perfect to withstand the summer heat while looking stylish. The structure at the top of the dress contrasts beautifully with the drop-waist feminine flutter at the bottom. The perfect balance of polished and playful. The Monterey dress is also a wonderful canvas for some colorful accessories!
These AMAZING earrings shout summer to me. The bevy of blues and inventive use of materials make these serious showstoppers! The color stands out beautifully against the crisp white dress. These earrings are sure to be conversation pieces no matter where you find yourself.
This shoe is wonderful in its simplicity! A blush/neutral heeled sandal like this can take you from day to night in a heartbeat and for the purposes of this outfit are a pretty addition to a refreshing summer outfit. The neutral tone and open toe keep the feeling light while not being too matchy-matchy (the term I used as a little girl to fuss at my mom when she wanted me to match and I wanted to basically dress myself like a tiny clown wearing all the colors).
This clutch makes me so so so happy. The shape, the flowers, the rose-gold bow, it is fun and feminine without being fussy or frilly! The floral theme compliments the organic feel of the earrings as well, tying the two together without being too closely aligned. For me it is all about a theme in piecing together an outfit, not necessarily total sameness.
These bangles are too cute. They are just delicate enough and do not outshine the earrings (the real statement of this outfit where jewelry is concerned) or compete with the clutch! These are similar to the earrings with a touch of sparkle and mix of materials. The bangles are interesting but not over-the-top by any means.
I see this outfit in a daytime party or brunch setting! So give your off-the-shoulder tops and dresses a break and try a high-neckline on for size. Creating a personal style is all about shaking things up every now and then so push yourself outside your norm and see how it feels!
I spent half of the day yesterday wandering through antique shops where I couldn’t even BEGIN to afford any of the merch. Why do I torture myself so? King St. in Alexandria, VA is a magical place where I can feel like my best and most luxe self; that’s why. Although King St. can be quite touristy in the summertime, especially near the waterfront area, it is still so much fun to wander about as long as the afternoon heat will allow.
Arriving pre-noon is definitely the way to go. At this time it is not swelteringly hot yet and you can have your pick of restaurants! We chose to sit outside at Daniel O’ Connell’s Irish Restaurant and Bar to start the day off. I ordered a glass of Sauvignon blanc (classy AF, I know) and a Crab Salad Sandwich, what turned out to be a delightful combination. My partner-in-crime (the best boyfriend in all the land) ordered the Smoked Salmon Croissant Benedict and a $3 Bloody Mary (emphasis on the 3 doll-hairs) which were both delicious too! While this restaurant is well-known, a fixture of King St. really, it is worth reporting that they don’t rest on their laurels. Our service was wonderful and I will definitely be visiting again! I do not feel the slightest bit guilty for not venturing “off-the-beaten-path” as they say (you know, the all-knowing “they”) for a lesser known dining establishment.
After brunch we made our way down to the waterfront to take some photos to send to our parental units (I am constantly below my photo-sending quota in my parent’s book). The sky was full of pillowy clouds and cute little ducks were happily bobbing alongside the beautiful boats in the water at the marina.
After taking in the view for a while and doing some grade A people watching, a favorite pastime of mine, we began our mosey up the street. We walked up King St. for about an hour, weaving through a few shops here and there, before turning back the way we came to get some ice cream.
You’ll find that many of my roads end in ice cream! The last time I visited King St. I tried Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Co. and ordered Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (OBVI that’s the best ice cream flavor). This visit, when I was inevitably craving ice cream, I decided to go to the The Creamery directly across the street from Pop’s to do a taste comparison. I ordered Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough again to preserve the scientific integrity of my experiment. Like choosing a significant other, everyone has a type, and while I see the value in the way The Creamery makes their ice cream, Pop’s is definitely the one for me! I like my ice cream to be fluffier, almost icier to some extent, and that is how Pop’s serves it up. The Creamery is, well, creamier and smoother (I know, such an inspired description).
I take leisure activities extremely seriously so trust me when I say that if you find yourself with a free afternoon in the DMV area, King St. in Alexandria, VA is a wonderful way to spend some time!
Happy SaturYAY! I’ve been to a restaurant on 14th Street called Provision No.14 a couple of times now for dinner and drinks. I really enjoyed their dinner fare and the tasty and imaginative cocktail presses they do. When my friend and I were trying to decide where to brunch this afternoon we thought P14 would be fun. We sat outside on the restaurant’s beautiful patio, complete with whimsical string lights draped over the seating area. They were not on because it was the late morning/early afternoon but just visualize with me here…it was beautiful!
I ordered a mimosa variation they call The Orangina, consisting of sparkling wine, orange juice, grapefruit and lemon; and my friend ordered the Mango Mimosa with sparkling wine, Bayou Rum, mango, lemon, and ginger. These shake-ups of an old brunch favorite were delicious and gleefully consumed!
While perusing the food menu I considered, for the briefest of moments, choosing something healthy like the Avocado Toast before quickly asking my friend if she wanted to share the Chicken + Funnel Cake. Yes, I said FUNNEL CAKE! Like the responsible adults that we are we ALSO ordered side salads of course, for nutrients. You know, general health and wellness and such. This plate of food was amazing and everything I wanted it to be. The funnel cake was fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside with powered sugar on top, and the chicken was fried to crunchy golden brown perfection. The power combo was served with maple syrup and some type of life-changing sweet gravy (hidden behind the pile o’ chicken in the photo).
The photo does not even begin to do the dish justice but you can sure see how unique it is! If you have not already gathered, our brunch experience at P14 was wonderful and I highly recommend it. I’ve got my eye on the Pound Cake French Toast or the Steak Benedict for the next time I make a brunch visit (expect a report); after which future me will definitely claim that my diet will start the following week.
One of my favorite restaurants in D.C. is Farmers, Fishers, Bakers on the Georgetown waterfront. It is always absolutely slammed no matter what time of day you go so a reservation is recommended, but frankly I enjoy sitting at the bar waiting as much as being at a proper table most of the time. The drinks are delicious and some feature liquor distilled by their sister restaurant Farmers & Distillers that just opened up (to which I have not been yet but will be visiting post haste). In addition to speciality drinks on the menu, they make a mean dirty martini with ALL the olives up in there! This is one of my go-to beverages so I’m always paying attention to who makes a good one.
On to the food! The menu features everything from sushi to jambalaya and I truly believe there is something there for even the most particular eaters. I think this variety is why I enjoy it so much. The menu is not enormous a la Cheesecake Factory (a place that is also close to the less distinguished, large-portion-loving side of my heart) but still has an impressive variety of food that is all executed exceptionally well. Normally when I visit I zero right in on the seafood items, ordering one of the many available Mussel Pots, Sushi Rolls, or seafood pasta. This past visit I still sort of did that (creature of habit over here but they really do have amazing seafood) by settling on a favorite, Calamari…but ON A PIZZA!
I was tickled to see what this Calamari Pizza would look and taste like and let me tell you, I was not at all disappointed. I think that was one of the tastiest pizzas I’ve eaten stateside (Italian pizza can only be compared to its Italian pizza brethren, this is law). I’d be lying if I said I didn’t 100% know that the Calamari would be delicious, I’ve probably ordered it 5 times there before as an appetizer, but I had never tried one of their pizzas and was curious as to how they would create it! I also have never had calamari on a pizza, but hey, it’s 2017 and wayyyy stranger things have happened. The crust was on the thinner side but certainly not “thin-crust” and had a layer of parmesan cheese on top. Then came the tomato sauce which was thick and tomato-y (that’s a word now) but light and fresh. Add the crispy calamari on top and a drizzle of zesty lemon aioli and you’ve got yourself a pizza WINNER!
If you are in the area and enjoy seafood you have got to try this pizza. If this pizza sounds awful to you, you should STILL GO to Farmers, Fishers, Bakers, and get one of their many other wonderful dishes! Needless to say I will be doing some thorough pizza research, testing out all the pies at Farmers, Fishers, Bakers, and report my findings. All for the pursuit of truth in the name of science, and pizza.