Thursday, May 26, 2016

Around the Web

I've spent way too much money on lattes this week.

A company makes nude leotards for women of color - via Brit & Co.

There's a vodka that has San Francisco fog as an ingredient (not kidding) - via Huffington Post Taste

How irritable are you? Take this quiz to find out - via New York Mag

Secrets revealed from flight attendants - via Mental Floss

How to save a few calories in your cocktails - via Huffington Post Taste

The secret ingredient to pie crust is vodka, apparently - via Pure Wow

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

11 Happy Hour Favorites in Chattanooga (Free Guide!)

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you already now that I'm a cocktail lover. Now that it's summer (well, almost), I thought a Chattanooga happy hour guide would be the perfect way to kick off my favorite season, SUMMER!

Let me preface this by saying that this is a list of my favorite places to grab a drink for happy hour. There are tons of places in this town that offer drink specials but these are places that my friends and I frequent and love.

To make life easier, I've created a FREE guide that you can download and use for your own summer drinking. Cheers!

[Please note: hours and deals are subject to change]

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Weekend

I feel like this weekend sort of flew by really quickly. John and I are preparing to leave for vacation soon so we're mentally prepping for that but since life still goes on, so there's "regular" stuff we're doing too. Friday night, Jennifer and I went out for a girls date and had dinner and cocktails - always a good time. If we're friends on Snapchat, you for sure saw some deleted scenes from our weekend adventures.

Saturday, most of my day consisted of sitting in a coffee shop, working on a number of projects. Those kind of days feel good and are necessary most of the time because I feel like I have so much to do. Sometimes working in our house just doesn't work - I get distracted really easy. Sunday, I decided to get my hair braided because, why not. I needed something easy for the next few weeks - especially as summer and vacation season begins, I do not want to worry about my hair. So here we are.

Hope you had a great weekend.

Happy Monday!

Friday, May 20, 2016

What I Loved on Pinterest

Alright lovelies. It's time for another roundup of things I'm currently coveting and loving on Pinterest. You know how I much I love Pinterest and every now and then, I try to pass along my inspiration to readers. I hope we're friends on Pinterest if not - what are you waiting for!?

| f o o d |

Sriracha butter (The Endless Meal)

Four cheese drunken pasta bake (Half Baked Harvest)

Pink champagne cake (Half Baked)

How to roast a chicken (Design Love Fest)

| d r i n k |

Sauvignon sunset (The Beach House Kitchen)

Pineapple cinnamon margarita (Spicy Southern Kitchen)

Watermelon pineapple smoothie (Ambitious Kitchen)

Frozen peach bourbon mule (The Kitchn)

| h o m e |

Chalkboard kitchen (Apartment Therapy)

White & gold kitchen (Decor Pad)

Green couch (SF Girl by Bay)

Pink barstools (Contemporist)

| f a s h i o n |

Bow pumps (Nasty Gal)

Floral short set (Her New Tribe)

Green blazer (Bloglovin)

Gold pleated skirt (Vogue)

| t r a v e l |

Guide to Austin (My Domaine)

Guide to Paris (Local Milk)

Cocktail guide to LA (Design Love Fest)

Beautiful bars in Toronto (Thrillist)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Around the Web

Soon we'll be traveling to Canada. Have you been?

An awesome article about the gap between 'foodie' culture and what American really eat - via Slate

Should you buy or rent items like clothes and tools? - via Forbes

Plant based milk. Would you try it? - via PopSugar Fitness

The best story ever from Prince's former private chef - via Food and Wine

How bad is it really to eat raw cookie dough? - via Prevention

What to do when dinner party guests won't get off of their phones (annoying) - via The Kitchn

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Pineapple Cayenne Wedges

I love pineapples - they're refreshing, sweet and remind me of tropical times. When John and I were in Costa Rica, we ate so much pineapple - even John had tons of it. I've always had a weird reaction to pineapples - they literally tear up the roof of my mouth and irritates it so bad but I can't ever stop eating them. Recently, on one of my 'Around the Web' posts, I shared an article explaining why pineapple can sometimes be so harsh on your mouth.

Despite the irritation that pineapples sometimes cause me, I do enjoy snacking on them and I especially love them in cocktails. I mean, I've written about pineapples in cocktails several times. There are also tons of health benefits to snacking on pineapples. Pineapples have tons of vitamin C, they can help with digestion issues and with bone strength. Who knew? Recently, I was looking for foods to snack on besides my usual unhealthy mix of Goldfish (which I love) and Lay's Sweet Southern Heat chips. I'm embarrassed to say that I call that little snack "fish and chips". Geez that's lame but it's also really good. So to get away from my fish and chips, I went out and purchased a whole pineapple (here's a quick tutorial on how to cut pineapples).  I cut them into wedges and made a really addictive snack. Here's how...

Pineapple Cayenne Wedges

1 whole pineapple (or you can buy one already cut)
Cayenne pepper
Fresh lime juice

Layout the wedges in a bowl or a flat surface like a baking sheet.

Squeeze fresh lime juice on top then a few dashes of cayenne pepper. If you like it spicy, lots of cayenne would be appropriate. If spice isn't your thing, be very reserved with the red pepper. Shake the wedges around to make sure they're saturated in the juice and pepper.

Put them on a serving dish and let the snacking begin.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Weekend

My new weekend regimen consists of working out. Even though I'd rather be sleeping, I get out of bed and head to the gym for my workout class and I'll go ahead and admit, it makes for a much more productive day. Saturday, after my [exhausting] workout, I posted up at a local coffee shop and worked for hours. Sure, I was a bit tired but I felt energized from my workout and I felt energized with the thought of marking things off of my to do list - it just feels great.

I went to an awesome fundraiser Saturday night with my friend Jennifer and if we're friends on Snapchat, you saw the behind the scenes of that party. We ended the weekend with seeing a movie (Money Monster) and what else, tacos. Did I tell you I've been re-watching the show Brothers & Sisters? My weekend also consisted of finding time to watch episodes. Anyway, lots of exciting things on the horizon and it was nice to have a weekend to reset and refocus. How was your weekend?

Happy Monday!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Oven Baked Chicken Tacos

John and I are the type of people that seriously never get tired of tacos; we eat them all the time. Actually, now that I'm writing it out, I should definitely do a post on one of our favorite taco places here. We even had tacos at our wedding but I'm sure you knew that already - that's how much we love them.

The weird thing is that we go out for tacos quite a lot but I rarely make them at home and I'm not sure why that is. Tacos are so easy to put together and I think it's fun too. Also, I had no idea that standing taco shells existed, did you? This has totally changed my life. Thanks to this recipe, which I found on The Cookie Rookie, my life has been enhanced by these "stand 'n stuff" taco shells. These baked chicken tacos aren't overly complicated and don't require a lot of time or effort. SCORE! I don't know why I never thought of baking tacos - I mean, that's a simple technique that makes the tacos even better, in my opinion. Anyway, let's make these tacos.

Oven Baked Spicy Chicken Tacos - adapted from The Cookie Rookie
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 pound cooked chicken, shredded 
  • 1 packet hot and spicy taco seasoning (I used Old El Paso)
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatos, drained
  • 1 can chopped Green Chiles
  • 10 Old El Paso Stand and Stuff Taco Shells
  • 1/2 can black beans, drained (I used Bush's)
  • 2 cups Mexican Blend Cheese, shredded
  • Toppings of your choice

Heat oven to 400F then spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray; set aside.

In a skillet heat olive oil and add onion. Cook until onion becomes translucent (about 3 minutes).

Add in the chicken, taco seasoning, tomatoes and chiles;stir. Reduce the heat and simmer. Cook for 6-8 minutes.

Place the shells in the prepared baking dish (makes sure they're standing up) and begin the stuffing. Being with the beans, then top with the chicken mixture, lastly add the cheese (I love cheese so the cheesier, the better).

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the cheese is ooey-gooey and the shells have browned a bit.

Remove from the oven and top with your favorite toppings!


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Around the Web

Change is happening...

Summer is coming and these rosè slushies sound delicious - via Style Me Pretty

Easy cooking tricks - via A Cup of Jo

Ever wonder where baby corn comes from? - via Huffington Post Taste

Jetblue is doing something interesting for parents with crying babies on flights - via Travel & Leisure

Krispy Kreme was bought out for over a billion dollars (gasp) - via Grub Street

California just raised the smoking age. What do you think? - via Refinery29

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Lemony Arugula Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

Chrissy Teigen is my spirit animal. Seriously. I just love her so much.

I mentioned not too long ago that I received her cookbook, Cravings, nand I'M IN LOVE WITH IT. I won't go too much into it because you've probably already read about me ranting and raving about it but I seriously love this cookbook. The recipes are fantastic and the ingredients are easy to find; I've loved everything I've made so far.

So this spaghetti cacio e pepe - admittedly, I was a little apprehensive to make this. I think it's because I love pasta but sometimes I find pasta without a sauce to be so dry and tasteless. However, Chrissy has raved about this recipe on social media and I've seen other Cravings cookbook owners also write about how much they loved this recipe so, I had to try it. Much to my surprise, I LOVED this recipe. It's flavorful, lemony and filling. I made this recipe twice in one week - that's how much I loved it. I'm pretty sure I'll make it again very soon.

Anyway, it's not very time-consuming and it's extremely easy to prep and get on tthe table in almost no time. Between the lemony flavor, the saltiness of the bacon and the spiciness of the arugula, this dish is a no-brainer for a weeknight dinner. Also if you're wondering what cacio e pepe means (I mean, I had no idea) it means cheese and pepper. Did you now this?

Lemony Arugula Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe - from Cravings Cookbook

Kosher salt
12 ounces dried spaghetti
1/4 pound bacon (or pancetta), finely diced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 cups baby arugula

In a pot of heavily salted water, cook the pasta according to the package. Be sure to reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon (or pancetta) over medium-high heat until crispy. Add olive oil to the skillet then add the garlic, red pepper, and black pepper. Cook until fragrant - about 1 minute.

Add the lemon juice then toss in the drained pasta and toss to coat. Add the cheese, toss and add in the pasta water (a couple of tablespoons at a time). This will help the cheese to melt.

Add in the arugula and toss until it wilts. Season to taste with more salt, pepper and red pepper. Top with more cheese if desired.

Holy moly this is good.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Weekend

So this weekend was busy. I don't mean, 'oh we've been running errands' busy but we had guests and we've hanging, eating and laughing all weekend. So much fun. I love entertaining but after entertaining guests there's a bit of an emptiness that looms over me and to be honest, it's exhausting. But I wouldn't change it for anything in the world...ever.

I've eaten so much this weekend (I'm in desperate need of a detox). Lately, John and I have been trying to work out a bit more but I just realized that this week looks a little busier than usual. Not to say that I can't do anything active but it just throws off my schedule a little bit. Since you asked, here's what I've been doing: Monday's I do yoga, Wednesday's I do a bit of cardio and light jogging then Saturday's barre class. I need to get ready to hit the beach this summer. I'm also recording my first podcast this week (eek). Not sure when it will up and ready but one day. I'm also working on a blog redesign, which will have a new tab for podcasts (I think). Can't believe I'm finally getting into this whole podcast thing. More on that later. Hope you all had a great weekend!

How cute are these Cheeky plastic cups?

Happy Monday!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Around the Web

Just a few more weeks 'till vacation.

Chrissy Teigen has some hilarious tweets about motherhood - via PopSugar

Alexis Bledel's (Rory Gilmore) Brooklyn penhouse - via Refinery29

Anthony Bourdain is going on a tour! Is he coming to your city? - via Eater

Everything that's coming to Netflix this month - via Huffington Post Women

Reasons why drawing your to do list is better than simply writing it out - via Well and Good

Apparently Ryan Gosling never said 'Hey girl' - via Today

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Orange Blossom Cardamom Gin & Tonic

I'm not sure you can really call this a gin and tonic. Sure there's gin in this cocktail and there's tonic water but a true G&T is just that, right? Gin and tonic. Maybe you can throw in a little piece of mint or something pretty as a garnish but the main ingredients are gin, tonic and ice. So if you're reading this and saying to yourself that the title alone gives it way too many ingredients to be a true gin and tonic, I get it. I hope you find comfort in knowing that I've already thought of that too but here we are.

Moving on. A while ago, I made a very random purchase of orange blossom water from Amazon. You can buy anything there. I bought the orange blossom water for a dessert that failed and never made it to the blog. As the days went by, I was anxiously wondering what to do with this fragrant, unique ingredient in my kitchen. Orange blossom water is highly regarded in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cultures but I was at a lost as to what to do with it. So when all else fails, I make an orange blossom simple syrup for cocktails!

I've preached the need to make your own simple syrups multiple times here. I usually do equal parts water and sugar (sometimes a little less sugar) but this simple syrup I approached a little bit differently. Since the orange blossom water is so powerful, I did equal parts orange blossom water, water and sugar. I just wanted the syrup to have a hint of orange but not too overpowering.

For the cocktail:

Orange blossom simple syrup
Tonic water
Ground cardamom, garnish

In a glass filled with ice, add gin and simple syrup; stir.

Top with tonic water then sprinkle with a bit of cardamom on top.


Monday, May 2, 2016

The Weekend

So I'm trying to get back into shape. That sounds so odd. What does it even mean, 'get back into shape'? What I really mean is that I'm forcing myself to stop being lazy and actually get up and get moving. When John and I were planning our wedding, we did a pretty good job of going to the gym and getting outside to go on our daily walks. It seems as though since we have no wedding to get ready for, we've sort of lost our drive to get out and stay active. Well, that laziness has come to an end. Last week we went to workout together and it was great. To keep up with the momentum, I decided to go to a barre class on Saturday. I've been to one before and was highly surprised at how it was definitely nothing like how my calm ballet classes used to be. Anyway, I say all of that to say, the barre class was great and it definitely kicked my butt.

I'm sore but sort of looking forward to continuing the schedule of working out. Even though my body is sore, it feels good.

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Traveling to Canada

Photo: Leeroy, StockSnap

Later in May, John and I will be frolicking to Canada for the first time. We're both super excited since neither one of us have ever visited. Before we decide on where to vacation, John and I usually have a conversation towards the end of the year or the very beginning of the year and talk about places on our travel bucket list and discuss a time of the year to go. Even though our Portland trip was sort of sporadic and wasn't in our yearly travel planning, most of our trips are carefully planned and executed.

Anyway, I'm so excited about Canada. Well...let me narrow it down a bit; we're traveling to Toronto and Montreal. Originally, our plan was to travel to Paris but it seems like every single time we start planning a trip there, something tragic happens. Not too long ago, I read an article on Travel Noire entitled 5 Reasons to Skip Paris and Head to Montreal.


Don't get me wrong, we'll get to Paris sooner rather than later, I hope. I mean, I even added it to my 34x34 list, which let's be honest, won't happen this year (womp womp). We've heard lots of great things about both Montreal and Toronto and I'm looking forward to spending time there, seeing some sites and eating some crazy delicious foods. I already have a list in my phone of all the places we should eat. Of course after we return, I'll share our 'travel diary' of where we ate, drank and frolicked.

Have you been to Toronto or Montreal?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Around the Web

I'm pondering starting a podcast - will you listen? 

Remember Digable Planets? They're going on a reunion tour (eek!) - via Pitchfork

How to do a gin and tonic the right way - via Dinner: A Love Story

We're ruining the health perks of coffee. See how - via Eat Clean

Drake will soon get in the alcohol business, he's launching a whiskey - via Huffington Post Taste

Are you considering a group vacation? Here's how to handle it - via New York Magazine

The science behind napping - via Infographic a Day

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Chicken Enchilada Dip

Sometimes you come across recipes so easy that it makes you do a double-take. That's how I feel about this chicken enchilada dip. I wish I could take full responsibility for this post but unfortunately, it's not mine. Thanks to the blog Creme de la Crumb, I was able to whip up this amazingly delicious dip in no time.

On the evening that I made the dip, I remember John tasting a little then putting it away because we had plans. Later, we sat in bed after midnight and demolished it. So delicious. I remember blowing John's mind when I told him exactly how simple and easy this dip was. On another note, here's my problem with most dips: they seem to always contain a TON of cream cheese and other white, yucky foods that I don't particularly care about on the ingredient list. That doesn't mean I haven't cooked with cream cheese before, I have, but in the back of my mind, all I can think about is the cream cheese that's inside of the dip. It's sort of like a mental thing for me. Whatever.

Anyway, I say all of that to say that this dip has no cream cheese in it and that makes me very happy. If you're having folks over soon and want to make some snacks, please add this to your list. You won't regret it and your guests will definitely ask you for the recipe.

Chicken enchilada dip - adapted from Creme de la Crumb

1 small can red enchilada sauce
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded (I used a rotisserie chicken from Publix)
1 small can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen yellow corn, thawed
2 tablespoons Old El Paso hot & spicy taco seasoning*
1½ cups shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterrey jack, whatever you like)
cilantro, roughly chopped
tortilla chips for serving

*regular taco seasoning can be used if you're afraid of the spice


Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a pie pan (or any type of shallow baking dish), pour in the enchilada sauce.

Add the beans, corn and chicken. Sprinkle taco seasoning on top and top with cilantro.

Add the shredded cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Serve with tortilla chips and yum! 

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