Wednesday, November 26, 2014

5 Tips for Having a Successful Thanksgiving

image via Bon Appetit
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and though I'm not cooking this year, it's still my favorite holiday.  I'm hoping that in the near future, I'll pick up where I left off and start preparing Thanksgiving dinner again.  At any rate, for all of you who are frantically prepping for dinner tomorrow, I thought I'd share a few tips that will hopefully help you have disaster free dinner.  Even if you're just a guest at Thanksgiving, hopefully these tips will help you be an even better guest.

I've shared my love for Bon Appetit magazine and in the November issue, they shared lots of useful tips and suggestions for a successful Thanksgiving.  The list is amazing and includes both cooking and etiquette tips. I've sifted through the entire list and found a few highlights that I believe will be most useful for your day tomorrow.  Here we go.

Invite at least one non-family member.  This ensures that everyone is on their best behavior...hopefully.

Guests should be prompt but never early.  Bon Appetit sums it up perfectly: the unexpected early guest is a pest.

Argument is not conversation and rudeness is never wit.  I love this. Trying to be witty doesn't give you or your dinner guests the right to be rude.

The kitchen is a no-fly zone.  Stay out of it unless you're asked to help.

No scented candles.  The food cooking will be enough of an aroma sifting through the house.

Read the entire list here.

Happy Thanksgiving - I'll be back with new posts on Monday!

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Weekend

Last weekend before Thanksgiving!  John and I are headed to Virginia in a couple of days and I'm just ready to get through the week!  The last weekend before a holiday is never too exciting for me simply because I'm trying to wrap my head around all that I have to do before heading out of town.  I was starting to feel a little under the weather Friday and Saturday, which CANNOT happen. So I quickly overdosed on fresh juice from Whole Foods then on Saturday finally frolicked to a somewhat new juice shop here, Local Juice. Nice staff, good juice and great location.  Not sure how well the raw juices works but I'm feeling better and I hope to keep it that way!

I had a hankering for flourless chocolate cake from a local restaurant so John obliged and took me to pick up a slice (it's so good!).  We ended the weekend with Friendsgiving at a friend's house and nothing says Thanksgiving like a Bud Light Applerita, right?  I'll let you try it for yourself and decide how it tastes...

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Around the Web: Turkey Day

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is next week! This year has flown by so quickly.  Here's the Thanksgiving edition of what I've read on the web this week!

1.  A Thanksgiving Calculator via Huffington Post Taste

2.  17 Thanksgiving Cocktails via Huffington Post Taste

3.  The Holderness family is at it again via Deadspin

4.  Easy Tablescape Ideas for Thanksgiving via PopSugar

5.  Have Thanksgiving dinner...with all fast foods via BuzzFeed

6.  The United States of Thanksgiving via New York Times

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November's POPSUGAR Must Have Box

You guys.

I'm so excited about this month's POPSUGAR Must Have Box. In my most recent weekend post, you saw all the boxes that I've had delivered from all of my online adventures and this POPSUGAR box was one of those deliveries. There are so many good items in this box, I can barely contain myself.  Scroll down to the end of this post to see how you can get a discount on your own POPSUGAR Must Have Box - it'll be well worth it.

I love snacks so this was naturally one of my favorite items:

G.H. Cretors popped corn.  Not just any popcorn, it's a mixture of kettle corn AND cheddar cheese.  Does that sound odd to you?  Trust me, it's delicious.  Definitely adding this to my grocery list.

Next up, Dominque Ansel's book: The Secret Recipes.

So Dominique (we're on a first named basis) is the creator of the famed - or infamous - cronut. At any rate, I love that the box had this book in it!! I can't wait to get into it and make something.  This is Dominique's first cookbook but just from flipping through it - it's a bit more than just a cookbook.  It's even broken down into different sections.

Awesome, right?

The weather is cold and I hate it but it's much more tolerable with my new K.Hall Simpactico butter cream.

Goes on smooth and it didn't leave my hands too oily like a lot of moisturizers do - smells nice too.

Other items in the box:

Wine glass writer - How many times have you had people over and folks put their glasses down and then struggle to figure out which glass belongs to whom?  These are fast-drying and nontoxic.  Problem solved.

Heart Stationary from Tiny Prints - I love Tiny Prints.  I've ordered both holiday and business cards from them so I was thrilled to find a set of stationary...and they're cute!

SORIAL wallet on a chain - Not too many words to say about this because it's so needed! It's the perfect accessory for a night out when all you need are the necessities and not interested in carrying around a huge handbag.

Interested in getting a POPSUGAR Must Have Box like this delivered to your doorstep? Sign up before December 2 and get $10 off a 3 month subscription...just in time for the holidays.

Code to enter: NOV14SELECT
Don't forget - deal ends December 2nd!

Disclaimer:  POPSUGAR provided me with a complimentary POPSUGAR Must Have box. The opinions I have shared about the box are my own and POPSUGAR did not tell me what to say or how to say it.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Weekend

Apparently it's winter.

What. Is. Happening.

I'm unhappy with these dropping temperatures. It makes for a less than exciting weekend on my end.  Also, John was feeling a bit under the weather so we didn't do too much...just trying to get him feeling better. We did go to the movies Friday evening to see Birdman.  Have you seen the previews for this?  Interesting, weird, sometimes funny. Michael Keaton is in it.  Definitely much more lighthearted than the movie we went to see last weekend, Nightcrawler. Eeek!  This past Saturday marked the 4 month mark until our wedding day! Oh my word - I can't believe it!  I went to brunch with my girl to talk wedding, bachelor/bachelorette party planning and other things.  Quiet but fun weekend.

The photo of the boxes above are all leftover online shopping/blog packages.  Yikes. Ready to tackle this week, I guess, and mark off tasks on my to do list.  Hope this week is nice to me.

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Wedding Watch: The Guestlist

Here we are...another wedding update.  You know, my goal is these posts is so I don't inundate you with all the deets of my wedding planning so we'll do one little update, once a month.  This month - it's all about the guest list.

This was an easy and difficult task.  Easy because both John and I have close friends and family that we absolutely need and want to share our special day with so it was a quick decision for some.  Then you have the difficulty of the friends (and let's be honest, some family) that sure, you want may even have a pretty good relationship with them but you're just not sure if you should invite them or not.  So we had to go with a formula: if we hadn't spoken to, seen or had lunch/dinner/drinks with someone in well over a year - it's a 'no' on the wedding invite.  This was pretty much the only way we'd be able to keep the guest list number manageable.  

All of this guest list talk got me thinking about wedding crashers.  Yes, the movie but also just wedding crashers in general.  People who just 'show up' with no RSVP or even invitation.  The thought of it annoys me greatly but I also started thinking of people who I wouldn't mind if they crashed my wedding.  

Who's on my wedding crasher list?

Chrissy Teigen
image via 
Well duh.  I love her.  She loves food like I do.  She's super-crazy fun (or seems like it at least). Not to mention, I love her husband, John Legend - I've seen him in concert twice. So if she stops by, John may come too.

image via
This isn't a shocker for any of my friends.  I love Jay-Z!  I'm pretty sure he'd be fun at a wedding, right?

image via
Cliche I'm sure but I've seen her wedding crash on her show years ago so I'm pretty sure she could do it again. I wonder if she'd bring a gift?

John's choice: Andre 3000
image via
I asked John for his opinion on this matter. One of his favorite rappers is Andre 3000 and obviously he's from Atlanta...we're getting married in Atlanta so there's that connection.

John's choice: The cast from Workaholics
image via
Haha! Do I have to even explain this?

The wedding planning process continues...'till next time!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

I love coffee.

The end.

I drink coffee almost everyday. I try and support local coffee shops and I make my own at home whenever I have time.  During the hotter months, I do love a good iced coffee and generally I stick to the same formula when making coffee.  I was looking around on Pinterest, as I do so often...looking for recipe inspiration and I came across The Sugar Hit's recipe for Vietnamese Iced Coffee.  I was immediately intrigued by the sweetened condensed milk. Condensed milk isn't typically an ingredient I keep in the house nor is it something I'm familiar with.  I vaguely remember my mom and grandmother cooking with it during the holidays when they made pies and other desserts but other than that, it's pretty much nonexistent in my life.

Until now.  Sweetened condensed milk has changed my life or at least my coffee life.

I made this two ways.  

First, brew some coffee. 

Also, as a random note - in Northern Vietnam, apparently this is also known as 'iced brown coffee'.  

Next, pour some oozy, delicious condensed milk in your glass or mug.

Add the coffee on top of the milk; the coffee will just sit on top of the milk.  Very pretty.

Add ice.  I added my usual coffee ice cubes but if you don't have time to prep those, regular ice cubes will be fine.

Because it's delicious, drizzle a bit more sweetened condense milk, give it a good stir.  


Now, if you have a bit of extra time, try the cold brew version of this. Cold brew the coffee overnight then repeat the same steps the next day: pour cold coffee in mug, drizzle some milk, add some ice cubes, stir it up.

For a little extra flavor, add a few dashes of cinnamon in your coffee grinds - so good. I made the cold brew version over the weekend.

Vietnamese coffee...I love you.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Weekend

This weekend, John and I went to our last wedding of the year!  From January 'till November, we've been on the wedding circuit and I think we're both exhausted - not to mention, planning our own wedding (where's my personal assistant!!). At any rate, the weekend was grand though as always, too short.  With the holidays rapidly approaching as well as our wedding date (4 months, 1 week as of Saturday...but who's counting?).  I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed.  You know, that feeling that the holidays bring sometimes? No?

Maybe it's just me.  

There are so many things to do and accomplish personally, professionally, wedding-related, blog related and just everything.  No seriously...where's my personal assistant? At any rate, I'll do my best to enjoy the last two months of 2014, a year that has been anything but boring.  The weekend may be over but my to-do list is just beginning.  

As a pick-me-up on Friday, John left me a sweet treat in my office from one of our favorite bakeries - sweet. I also scored some lovely goodies in Target.  How amazing is that gold planner?! I'm in love.  

I made the most delicious iced coffee Saturday morning too.  I've written about iced coffees before but this one was my favorite - I'll share more details soon.  I got a rare photo of John enjoying a salad at brunch on Sunday.  Weird.  Overall, good weekend.  

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Around the Web

Busy week in the interwebs...

Edible holiday gift ideas - via YumSugar

Starbucks delivery? - via GrubStreet

Step by step guide on Cuban coffee - via I Need Coffee

Anyone remember the Keeping up with the Kardashian episode when Khloe was addicted to Cuban coffee? Just me? Moving on...

25 things we didn't know about Steel Magnolias - via

The story behind Sophia Loren giving Jayne Mansfield the side eye - via ABC News

Best new cookbooks - via PopSugar

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pear Moscow Mule

I know I talk about bourbon and whiskey a lot but sometimes, I step out and drink a little vodka especially when it's something delicious like a Moscow mule.  There's something about the combination of vodka, ginger beer and fresh lime that's just simply refreshing. I'll occasionally order them at restaurants - especially when it's warm out.  It's even better if the restaurant has coughed up the extra coins to get Moscow mule mugs! You know, those beautiful copper mugs that not only look gorgeous on the bar but keep your Moscow mule cold and frosty.  

As I write this, I'm pondering making another one of these.

You know I love infusing alcohols.  Now that it's fall, I decided to infuse a little vodka with some fall flavors: red pears and cinnamon.  I let it infuse in a Mason jar and allowed it to steep over the course of four days. Every now and then, I shook the jar a little bit and opened it to check the strength of the flavors.  At the fourth day, the vodka tasted like fall and it smelled ahhhmazing.  This is going to be good.

Squeeze about a 1/2 ounce of fresh lime juice the mug.  The lime juice really takes this drink to the next level - so good.

Then, top with ice.

Pour vodka over the ice.  Mmmmmm. About 2 ounces.

Top with ginger beer...not ginger ale.  Ginger beer.  Totally different.  Let's do about 3 ounces.  

Give it a good stir.

Top with a lime wedge and pear slices.

Full disclosure: I thought I had fresh pears at home and it turned out I didn't, so I used alcohol-soaked pears that were used while infusing the vodka as a garnish.  I think it was a good call.


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