Friday, February 12, 2016

Movies + Chill: Favorite Movies About Love



So I'm closing out the week of love with movies about yes, you guessed it...love. Going to the movies is one of my favorite dates that John and I have - I LOVE them. In the beginning of our relationship we went to the movies a lot and I think just hold on to those dates and guard them with my heart - so much fun. Anyway, I thought I'd get John in on this post so today, we're both sharing our favorite love movies.

I thought *maybe* we would have one or two of the same movies on our list but shocker, we don't. This was sort of tough for me but finally I was able to narrow down my list to just five. Some of these may not be what you would consider love or romantic movies, so to speak, but in our minds, they're definitely about love...even if it's subtle. So, what are your favorite movies about love? Here are ours...

My movies:

Love & Basketball

Friends with Benefits

The Best Man

It's Complicated

The Break-Up


John's movies:

Crazy Stupid Love

Coming to America

American President

The Wood

Silver Linings Playbook


Have a great Valentine's weekend! xoxo

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Valentine's Gift Guide for Him


We do a lot of sharing about girly things here on the blog - not my intentions - it's just that, well, I'm a female so I'm sort of knowledgeable in that world. Today, during the week of love, I wanted to give the dudes some love. Today's gift guide is all about HIM. If you're looking for something to buy your husband or boyfriend, I've rounded up 6 items and bonus: they're all under $50.

Boys need love too, right? My husband is pretty low-key when it comes to gifts and such and I'm *trying* to stick to that when buying gifts for him but it's hard because I love birthdays and over the top random things. Anyway, here's what I've put together if you're looking for a gift for the man in your life.

Clockwise:

The Kaufmann Mercantile Guide

Field Notes

Soliidus beard oil + conditioner gift set

Goorin Brothers cap

Brass collar stays

Uncommon Goods beer tasting map

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Valentine's Cocktail: Black Peppercorn+Raspberry Shrub with Gin


The week of love continues with a delicious adult beverage that'll knock your socks off. I'm a lover of all cocktails...well most of them and I especially love to try cocktails that have unique ingredients - things you wouldn't traditionally think to put in a cocktail. I loved this pineapple cilantro Moscow mule and I was surprised at how popular it was on the blog, quite honestly. What that tells me is that readers also like interesting cocktails.

So here we are. Almost Valentine's Day and I've got an impressive cocktail for you to make for your loved one or friends. It's red, it's unique and it's sort of a cool conversation starter. I got the recipe from With Food + Love and changed it a bit to include raspberries instead of cranberries. Even if you don't have a ton of cocktail-making skills, you can still pull this drink off and impress your friends.

Trust me.



Alright, let's get to it.


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen will be fine)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ice
  • club soda
  • gin
  • black pepper, for garnish
Instructions:

Start by making the shrub. In a medium sized sauce pan bring the water and peppercorns to a light simmer.
Add in the raspberries and simmer until the they are completely cooked down; the liquid will become red - about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add in the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup. Stir and then strain the mixture through a sieve into a glass jar.

[The shrub is good on its on, by the way. It's an acquired taste but it's sort of delicious sans alcohol]
For the cocktail:

Combine 1 ounce gin, with 1 tablespoon of the shrub syrup over ice and top with club soda (can use tonic water too if you want).
Sprinkle with a bit of black pepper on top.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Valentine Giveaway - CONTEST CLOSED


We're kicking off the week of love on the blog today with an awesome giveaway because who doesn't love a giveaway?

But first, let me tell you a little bit about a local jewelry store, Homegrown Silver and Stone. This is the cutest store with the sweetest staff. Homegrown Silver and Stone features local and handmade jewelry, accessories and gifts - they also have an in-house studio for custom orders. It's awesome. They have an Etsy shop too with some great pieces. For readers who don't live here in Tennessee, visit the Etsy shop - you're bound to find something that you'll fall in love with.

Recently I stopped into this cute shop and was wowed by the unique jewelry - no seriously, I wanted to buy everything. Just the other day on their Facebook page, they featured some beautiful rose gold stacking rings. Must. buy. now. Anyway, let's take a virtual look around the store.







All of this brings me to my next point: a giveaway. I'm so excited about this one. Homegrown Silver and Stone and I have teamed up to give away a beautiful gemstone bar necklace.



Adorable, right?

A little about the necklace: It's made with a gold fill 14" chain and a hook and eye clasp (the clasp was hand crafted in the Homegrown studio!). The gemstone bar is made with real amethyst stones, which just happens to be February's birthstone. This necklace is great layered with other necklaces or as a stand alone. The gemstone bar necklaces are VERY popular and usually sell out so enter for your chance to win it!

To enter: Leave a comment here telling us your most memorable Valentine's Day...it's that easy. Contest entrants must live in the Chattanooga area and winner must pick up the necklace from the Homegrown Silver & Stone store. Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is named. Contest ends Thursday, February 11th, 11:59pm. Winners announced Friday, February 12th. 

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Weekend + Week of Love



Ahhh. The weekend.

Let's see...what did I do this weekend: celebrated a friend's birthday, made some healthy-ish nachos and put in a little work at a coffee shop on Sunday before the Super Bowl started.

Let me be honest for a second - I will proudly admit that I'm a bigger Jay-Z fan than Beyonce. However, I'm slightly geeked about her world tour and pray to the Beyonce gods that we can snag a ticket; I think it would be quite amazing to see her live. It feels like this year is beginning to be pretty decent for concerts for John and me. We're seeing Gary Clark Jr. at the end of this month, Alabama Shakes later this spring and Janet Jackson in August. So excited.

All this week on the blog, it's the week of LOVE! With Valentine's Day less than a week away, I figure I'd try to get you prepared for the "big day". There's a really exciting giveaway happening tomorrow so be sure to come back for that!






Also The Brunch Collective is having a meetup later this month. If you're in the Chattanooga area stop by. More details on the website!



Happy Monday!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Kale Chip Nachos

Thank you Simply 7 for supplying products to review for this post; all opinions and content expressed are my own. Now let's eat!


The "big game" is tomorrow and if you're scrambling to find easy, stress-free recipes for your Super Bowl party, I've got a really simple solution. 

First off, I'm not really into the Super Bowl this year. Not that I haven't ever been into it, I'm just not into tomorrow's game, you know? I'm a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and since they didn't make it to the Super Bowl, I have no vested interest in the game. I am however, a little bit of a fan of Cam Newton. So if I had to pick a team, I'm going with the Panthers. I'm also looking forward to the halftime show. Let's be honest though, the halftime show hasn't been the same since Janet Jackson. Boo.

Anyway, I was approached to try Simply 7 kale chips and I'm always down to try new snacks (especially healthy ones) so I inevitably said yes! I instagrammed a photo when I received the chips and I couldn't wait to try all of the flavors. The first one I cracked open was the sea salt and they were delicious but I was surprised to find out that I really liked the lemon and olive oil ones. For the nachos, I used majority of the sea salt flavored chips mixed with a few of the lemon ones.



Enough of me talking, let's get to these nachos - the Super Bowl is tomorrow!



Ingredients:

1 lb.ground turkey
Salt
Black pepper
Garlic powder
Cumin
Ground red pepper
Chili powder
1 15oz can of black beans (I used seasoned Bush's black beans)
Salsa
Simply 7 kale chips
1/2 small onion, chopped
Chives, chopped (I used about 3 chives)
Handful of cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno, sliced
Shredded cheese



Instructions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown the ground turkey and generously season with all of the spices.

While the turkey is browning, mix the black beans with some of the salsa in a small bowl and set aside.



Spread the kale chips on a baking sheet and begin the layering process. Add the turkey, bean & salsa mixture, onions, chives, jalapeno and cheese.

Pop these babies in the oven and bake until the cheese has melted.

Ready just in time for the Super Bowl!


Friday, February 5, 2016

Create+Cultivate: 5 Lessons Learned



Last weekend, I had the most amazing time in Dallas at Create & Cultivate, a conference that connects entrepreneurial women in a modern digital world. Because I'm trying to work through my 34x34 list, I had to make sure to attend a blog or business conference at some point this year and I'm glad I chose Create & Cultivate. Even though I consider myself an extrovert, I'm also an only child who thrives on being alone. On the flip side, I also love spending time with groups of people. No matter how much of an extrovert I *think* I cam, I was a little nervous about traveling to Dallas to go to a conference of over 400 women...none of whom I knew.







Would I make friends?

Would I feel comfortable enough to talk to anyone?

Will the ladies be friendly to me?

Am I going to feel out of place?

Will I be bored?

The answers to those questions - in order: yes, yes, yes, no, no.



This was such a friendly group of women from the attendees, to the volunteers to the Create & Cultivate staff. Oh even the speakers were friendly and welcoming. My worries were null and void. With a conference so full of activity, I definitely learned a lot. Here's what I picked up.



Sell your passion not your technical skills (or lack there of)


A lot of times when we're searching for jobs or trying to get a new client, we spend a lot of time trying to convince others that we're so skillful in the job we're trying to get. We name off our accomplishments and awards but what really matters is do you have a heart for it? Are you passionate about it? Sometimes your passion secures the gig, not how many letters are behind your name.


Skill doesn't equal talent


Think about it. how many of us are really good at something we don't like or don't want to do? A lot of us. Skill is the ability to do something well but talent is natural. Talent is a gift that you nurture. The two, skill and talent, aren't synonymous.


Girl crushes exist


There were so many amazing women at this conference, I can't even. I had a chance to meet so many business women and bloggers that I follow. Tina Craig of Bag Snob is one tough cookie and I LOVE HER. Her confidence, her little nuggets of knowledge - this lady is fabulously smart. Another favorite lady is Maxie McCoy. I'm so glad I picked her for my mentor sessions. Talk about inspirational - I learned a lot from her in the short time we were together. Lastly, the founders of Soul Cycle. There's only two words to describe them: bad ass. Foreal. Follow Elizabeth and Julie on Instagram for more bad ass stuff.


Constant momentum is key


If anything is going to succeed, you have to keep going. One of the first panels I participated in featured Sophie Macks of Beyond the Mag. First off, she's great. Second, she said something that has stuck with me since the weekend: in order to take off, you need constant momentum. It's simple, makes sense and very true. You're going nowhere real fast if you're not consistently working on it.


There's no right way to start/launch a biz


Sure, there were a lot of similarities between everyone's stories. But what rang really true to me was that no one story was the same. Yes, there are basic or general avenues one can take to launch a biz or grow a business but your journey is going to be very different from mine. What works for me, may not work for you and that's OK. Listen to your gut (it's there for a reason) and make decisions that work best for your business not what you think worked for others. 


Overall, C&C was great and I'd definitely recommend it others. I made friends with a couple of really cool ladies: Jessica of No Real Jewelry and Emily of Emily Wong Design. I even found out that a friend from Chattanooga would be there so that was nice. Bottom line: if you're hesitant about attending a conference, don't be. I promise it'll be fine.

Be sure to follow Create & Cultivate on social media (here and here); they'll be announcing their next city on the 15th of February! Go forth and create and cultivate!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Around the Web


It's almost my half birthday - Valentine's Day!



A super smart 11 year old started an international book drive - via Refinery29

Yes, you can keep lemons fresh for an entire month - via The Kitchn

There's a Ghanaian version of Sex & the City and apparently it's really good - via Refinery29

What are the most annoying posts on Facebook (all of them) - via Social Media Week

No heavy cream? Here's what you can use instead - via PopSugar Food

Do you know what the Iowa caucus is? Here's the low down - via Brit.&Co.


Monday, February 1, 2016

The Weekend


I had such an awesome weekend. For starters, I went to Dallas for the weekend to attend the conference, Create & Cultivate. It all seems likes such a whirlwind because I worked Friday and my flight left at 9:15pm. I got to Dallas around 10:30CST, got settled into my hotel and went to sleep almost immediately. Conference check-in was at 8am so I wanted to make sure I got plenty of sleep. Luckily my flight Sunday didn't leave too early so I had a chance to sleep, get coffee and chill in my hotel before having to fly back home.

Friday's post will be a full recap on the conference but what I will say now is that I met lots of awesome ladies and I'm looking forward to seeing them again and potentially collaborating in the future. The weather was great and unseasonably warm but I'm definitely not complaining. I got back early Sunday evening and first thing on the list was tacos with Johnny bear. Even though I had a jam-packed weekend, I went straight to work once I was back home. After tacos, we went to a coffee shop to set up shop. Must continue creating and cultivating, right?

a literal look at how much fun I had



new snack, pretty tasty.



Found a little slither of time to have dinner and drinks with friends in Dallas - before crashing again and going to sleep. Overall this was truly an awesome weekend. Can't wait to start executing everything that I learned. 

Friday, I'll be recapping all that happened so come back to get the scoop. Happy Monday!

Friday, January 29, 2016

What I Loved on Pinterest


I make it a point to keep my Pinterest updated. I love it for my personal inspiration and to inspire others. In case you haven't made it over to my Pinterest page, every now and then, I try to recap a few of my favorite pins that I've discovered over the last few months. Also, over on my Facebook page, I'm doing something new by sharing my "pin of the week", which is my most favorite (or popular) pin from the week. But today, it's all about the things I've been loving on Pinterest lately - hope you find something inspiring.


| f o o d |


5 minute cinnamon toast (Peach and the Cobbler)

butter basil roasted chicken (The Kitchy Kitchen)

meatballs with rosemary garlic wine sauce (Game and Garden)

thai red curry with vegetables (Cookie and Kate)


| d r i n k |


whiskey hot chocolate (My Dish is Bomb)

ginger beer with lavender & honey (Hello Home Shoppe)

bourbon brule (NY Times)

pineapple & ginger moscow mules (Sugar and Charm)


| h o m e |


pink couch (Desire to Inspire)

bedroom ideas (Apartment Therapy)

white & gold kitchen (The Sunday Chapter)

blue apron sink (Design Love Fest's Instagram)


| f a s h i o n |


champagne tee (Thug Life Shirts)

fitted black dress (Simply Cyn)

plaid scarf & coat (SheIn)

off shoulder black dress (Neiman Marcus)


| t r a v e l |


nashville guide (My Domaine)

how to eat like a local in montreal (Travel Noire)

9 vacation spots in mexico (My Domaine)

10 places to eat & drink in Paris (The Kitchn)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Around the Web


Headed to Create+Cultivate in Dallas and I can't wait!


Did you know there are hidden Netflix codes that unlock more stuff to watch? - via PopSugar

Easy tips to help you make smoothies ahead of time - via Hello Glow

Which cities have the most bakeries per capita? - via Huffington Post Taste

Seems relevant since I got a new car. Tips to help you buy a car confidently - via The Financial Diet

Top music festivals with the best food. Did your favorite festival make the list? - via PopSugar

5 grocery myths, dispelled - via The Kitchn


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

STIR


I love it when new restaurants open. It makes me so happy to see people bring their food dreams to life. The restaurant industry is cutthroat so my hat is off to anyone who even attempts to get into it; I definitely do not have the guts or courage to get in it. This year, I want/need to do more restaurant posts - they're some my favorites to write about. John and I always love going to new (and old) restaurants and I've made a promise to myself and my readers to *try* and do a better job of documenting those adventures. I'll say this though: I do not plan to (nor do I want to) become a restaurant critic; that's not what this blog is about. I do, however, want to share my restaurant experiences and recommendations. Here's the last restaurant post I did.



So STIR is a restaurant that opened last November and though I've been there quite a few times, I'm really looking forward to dining there in the warmer months. You can access their bar from the outside and they have an awesome patio - I live for outside dining. You may remember me mentioning this place last year because I got an opportunity to takeover their Instagram account for their grand opening party, which was a lot of fun. Since then, John and I have been back a few times to take advantage of their happy hour and yummy cocktails.

So, off the top, STIR has an oyster and raw bar. I haven't indulged in that part of the menu quite yet but I'm sure it's great.

taken at STIR's grand opening party

OK, let's talk other food.



I'm a sucker for French fries and tacos. I know, French fries...really? But seriously, I hate when I go to a restaurant (especially one that offers burgers and sandwiches) and the fries suck. Just to be clear: the fries do not suck at STIR. John loves them and so do I. They're Parmesan white truffle fries so they're not playing around here.

Another favorite of mine are the blackened fish tacos and the baja tacos. Won't go wrong; can't go wrong with those.

fried green tomato burger

I've been told the fried green tomato burger is quite tasty. I'm not a fan of tomatoes especially fried green ones, so I'll trust my sources on this. Our last two visits to STIR, I've been drawn to the shrimp and grits. It's very rare, in my opinion, to be able to find a shrimp and grits dish that DOES NOT HAVE HAM IN IT. I just don't want ham in my shrimp and grits. Maybe I'm alone in that thinking but I don't want it and STIR doesn't offer it so I was already a fan before even tasting them. I think STIR'S shrimp and grits and mine are my favorites so far. Haha - shameless plug.

Moving on...drinks!



Oftentimes, when I go to a restaurant, I look at their beverage offerings before I even look at anything else. What can I say, I love a good cocktail. STIR does have an "ice chef". Yes, you read that correctly. STIR takes pride in their ice production; there's a whole process to producing perfect, purified ice. My favorite drink is the whiskey bramble.



The cocktails are tasty with prices ranging from $10 - $14. If a cocktail from the menu isn't your thing, they have over 300 types of liquors so there's definitely a little something for everyone.

one of my favorite photos from the grand opening party - THE LIGHTS!

We haven't tapped into their dessert or brunch scene yet (yes, they have brunch) but we'll definitely be adding it to our to do list soon. I hear the seasonal cobbler is a good dessert option but I've usually been too full to even attempt a dessert.



If you go:

STIR
1444 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN
Monday-Thursday 11am-midnight
Friday & Saturday 11am - 1am
Sunday 10:30am-midnight

TIP: go for happy hour. Monday-Friday, 4-6:30pm (bar & cocktail area only)

Have you been to STIR? What did you think?

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