Monday, September 29, 2014

The Weekend

If I could sum up this weekend in one word, it would be: tired.

Gone are the days where going to a concert on a Sunday night and being able to properly function on Monday morning.  Sheesh.  Great weekend but it was crazy busy. Wedding dress shopping, concert, meeting with photographer, visiting friends...the list goes on.  I think I always wish I had an extra day in my weekends but this particular weekend definitely needed an additional day.  

The good news?  I found a wedding dress! Thank goodness - I can mark something off of my to-do list.  Now we can move on to more important wedding planning details.  I'm hoping at some point, I'll get some rest and get out of this foggy cloud I'm in.  

Wish me luck.

Outkast concert was ahhhmazing and so much fun, which is the reason why I'm so tired but it was all worth it.

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Cocktail: Hibiscus Mojito

Mojitos are generally a cocktail that I enjoy on occasion particularly while in warm, tropical weather. There's just something about a mojito that reminds me of warm, vacation-like weather.  You know the rules of mojito ordering, right?  Never order it at a busy bar - the bartender will despise you.  Imagine a bar full of people who have had long work days and are eager to order a gin and tonic or a glass of red wine but the bartender is too busy muddling mint to get to your order.  Ahhhh. 

Now imagine a bar full of angry people.

I never make mojitos at home either.  There's no particular reason - I just don't.  Until recently.  I decided to try my hand at a hibiscus mojito...fancy.  Well, it's not really that fancy because of this little invention called hibiscus syrup.  It's amazing and there are actual flowers in it.  You can probably find it at any specialty market.

You can pretty much follow any classic mojito recipe, which is code for I don't *really* have a legit recipe to follow.

Muddle a little lime until the juices and oils start to release.  

Add ice.

Add rum, hibiscus syrup and mint.  

Stir to combine.

Top with club soda and add additional mint for garnish.

Enjoy and happy Friday!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cooking with Music

Music has always been in my life.  From piano lessons to learning how to play the flute, I've always been enamored by music.  Different genres of music, various instruments, beats, vocals...all of it. It's never been a dream of mine to perform music but I've always enjoyed the art of it - especially live music. Sometimes when I cook, two of my favorite subjects to join forces: food and music.  Though cooking is very therapeutic for me, adding music to the scene helps with the process.  Depending on what kind of mood I'm in or what I'm cooking, usually determines what type of music I'll play.  Sometimes it's moody music like Amy Winehouse.  Sometimes it's fun and upbeat hip hop like Rick Ross. It honestly depends.

One thing that is for sure, the music has to be just right or it throws off my process.  I'm very particular.  

I thought I would share 5 songs (from my iPod) that are helpful and fun for me while I'm in the kitchen.  I'll even share what I *might* be cooking for each song...

American Boy - Estelle

Such a fun song! If I'm listening to this, it's probably because I'm making some cocktail like this one.

Some Unholy War - Amy Winehouse

I love this woman! If I'm listening to anything Amy Winehouse, I'm making something labor intensive or something that's requires a little attention so that it looks appealing and tastes great like zucchini bread.

Maybach Music 3 - Rick Ross

Rick Ross means it's a Saturday afternoon and I'm probably baking.

Paradise - Coldplay

Love. This. Song.  It's so laid back and relaxing - definitely not a song where I'm sweating in the kitchen. Cinnamon sugar tortilla cups with ice cream?  Yes please.

Window Seat - Erykah Badu

Ahhhh - Erykah.  Definitely the sounds of bourbon cocktail creations.  Nice and smooth.

What are you listening to when you're cooking?

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Weekend

Seriously - I've sort of failed you this weekend.  I feel like I did a lot but I didn't do too much of anything to be honest.  Friday night John and I went to a movie and went to dinner, which was really nice but Saturday was more like a "I'm not doing anything that's on my to do list day".  Then...I had a migraine, which really stopped me from doing anything I wanted to do including frolicking out to a birthday party.  Friday night, we did go to Target and manage to buy the cute coffee mugs pictured above; we couldn't leave them in the store obviously.  At any rate, Sunday I did muster up the energy to clean and do a couple of things on my wedding to do list but if you've ever had a migraine, you know how exhausting they can be and how tired you are the next least I was.  Though it wasn't the busy weekend I hoped for and love, it was nice to just chill.

I did manage to get a frozen hot chocolate, which seems to cure everything.

Sunday night we had a couple of friends come over and hang and watched the Pittsburgh Steelers win! Though I have a pretty busy start to the week, I'm hoping the end of the week will calm down and allow me to breathe a little.  Next weekend will definitely result in photos; there's a pretty exciting weekend approaching!  One word: Outkast! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Eat. Drink. Wear. // Black & White

A few posts ago I mentioned I was in the process of working on a new blog series...actually more than one. The first one was posted last Friday and the second one is debuting today! Exciting!

So here's the deal: Once a month, I'm talking food and fashion of some sort - two things that I love. Each Eat.Drink.Wear. post will have a theme; this month's is black & white. Sometimes it'll be food and other times it'll be drinks.  Occasionally, you may even see John or a friend instead of my face.  Sometimes the food portion will feature a recipe that I've made while other times it may be something I've had at a restaurant. Bottom line - no matter who made it, it'll be delicious.  

I think you get the point.  Let's have fun with this.

[Black & White]

I love wearing black...I love wearing pops of color here and there (read: pink).  I never thought that black and white was really "my thing" until I discovered I had a lot of black and white dresses, shirts and skirts in my closet.  Weird.

This is easily becoming one of my favorite black and white frocks.

Dress: Aso's
Shoes: BCBG
Necklace: Target

Another back & white favorite: vanilla ice cream with Oreo's (and a little caramel on top) from one of my favorite ice cream shops here.

I mean, life doesn't get any better than that, right? 

Get it at:
The Ice Cream Show

Happy Friday!

p.s. Thanks to my sweet friend Jennifer for being my photographer on a really hot September day. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Beso Del Sol Sangria

Occasionally, I get introduced to a delicious beverage company that I must share with you.  Recently, I was introduced to Beso Del Sol a 100% natural sangria company.  I love sangria and though I don't drink it all the time, nothing beats a good glass of sangria...especially on a warm Sunday afternoon.  Sangria is so versatile - there's white and there's red sangria...there's so many different fruits you can add to them.  

I must admit, I was a little skeptical about this whole boxed sangria thing.  Boxed wine isn't anything I've been interested in so I assumed I wouldn't be interested in boxed sangria either.  I hate being wrong but I'll confess...I was! Beso is really tasty and all you have to do is pour it over ice and enjoy!  Here's some really cool facts about Beso Del Sol:

The box that it comes in is eco-friendly; made from 100% recycled cardboard.

It's 8.5% alcohol.

The box is easily portable to the beach or a picnic.

It's made from a high quality Spanish Tempranillo.

One 3 liter box = 4 bottles.

My favorite tidbit: it lasts up to six weeks!

One of my favorite ways to enjoy sangria is with fresh fruit in the glass and I have a few favorite sangria fruits.

So, how did I Beso? 

I decided to Beso with: apples, peaches, plums and oranges.  

I haven't tested the fact that it lasts for up to 6 weeks yet but my box of sangria has been open for well over a week and it's still just as tasty.

See what Beso is all about:


Join the conversation! #igotabeso // #besoathome

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary sample of Beso Del Sol however, the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Weekend

I actually had a "long" weekend this weekend.  I didn't work on Friday; John and I frolicked to Atlanta to start the search for wedding venues and thus the long weekend began.  It felt nice to have a day off and try and get some planning done...just some.  The rest of the weekend was spent making lists, eating lots of food, cleaning and just really trying oh so hard to get some type of organization in our lives.  That part is still a work in progress. We did find some time to see a movie - The Drop. It's one of James Gandolfini's last movies. It seems as though there are some pretty decent movies coming out this fall and I'm super excited about movie nights with John.  Even though Autumn isn't my favorite season, I am looking forward to it...just a little bit.  

I'm really amped for the America's Test Kitchen cookbook we got as an engagement gift from friends; I could hardly contain myself when I opened it.  John and I will definitely be making some deliciousness from that cookbook soon. 

I realized this weekend that most of my wedding planning accessories are all polka dot. That's normal, right?

Some friends of ours are moving to Houston soon so we headed to their house Saturday night for some cocktails and Hollywood Game Night.  Yes! Do you watch this show? Comes on NBC.  We love it and I had no idea there was a board game for much fun! We ended the weekend with food truck lunch and a very late dinner that involved me making twice-baked potatoes...again. Details on that coming to the blog soon.

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Wedding Watch: Engagement Update

Welcome to my new blog series: Wedding Watch.  This should be fun.

Today marks 1 month since we've been engaged! I told you I wouldn't make this into a wedding blog and I'm not but sometimes I get asked about how things are going, if we've set a date yet, do I have a dress, blah blah blah. I have no answers to those questions yet so once a month I'll blog about where we are in the wedding planning process.  We'll chat about decor, vows, setting dates...the whole shebang!  Each month will have a different theme so to speak and this month is just a simple update about our engagement.

I'm enjoying being engaged and going through the process with John together.  This month has been extremely busy and I have a feeling life will continue to be a bit hectic so I'm trying to do my part and stay calm, organized and truly enjoy this process.  So far, so good.

Currently on our radar:

Today, we're looking at our first wedding venue and I'm super-excited and I'm hoping it goes well. Once we figure out a location, I feel like everything else will fall into place.

Let the planning begin!  Stay tuned for next month's Wedding Watch update.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Four Roses Sage Fig Smash

You guys.  Brown sugar simple syrup has changed my life. I know that seems very dramatic but I'm so serious. It's changed my life and it's change my at-home cocktail making.  I was SO excited when I was contacted by the publicity team for Four Roses Bourbon to concoct a bourbon cocktail for Bourbon Heritage Month.  Uh, yeah, did you know that September was Bourbon Heritage Month? The U.S. Senate says so.  At any rate, the light bulb in my little head immediately went off because I knew that whatever cocktail I would make, brown sugar simple syrup would an ingredient.  

I've worked with Four Roses before so trying to figure out what type of cocktail to make was somewhat of a breeze because I was a bit familiar with the the flavors that Four Roses posses.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with how Four Roses tastes, you'll probably be able to pick up on subtle hints of fruity flavors like plums and cherries.  When you smell it, it smells a bit spicy and floral and there's a little hint of maple syrup...which probably explains why I love using a splash of Four roses sometimes when I make French toast - so good. Enough of me blabbing - let's make a cocktail.

Figs are beautiful aren't they? Whole Foods has a variety of figs but I finally settled on "common figs".  That's what their called, not my words.  

Figs are like this weird little forbidden fruit that I almost never...well never, experiment with but I know I've enjoyed them when I've had them in various dishes and drinks.  The color of the figs' juice is beautiful; you'll see once you make this beautifully delicious drink.

So here's what you'll need (makes 1 cocktail):

2 figs, halved; plus 1 more for garnish
1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 oz. simple syrup
2 sage leaves
1 oz. Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon

If you prefer a more "bourbon like" flavor, use 1 ounce of syrup and 2 ounces of bourbon.

In a cocktail shaker, add the figs, lime juice, simple syrup, and 1 sage leaf.

Muddle, muddle, muddle.

When you're done muddling, add bourbon and ice and shake for about 30 seconds.  Your cocktail shaker should get really cold and frosty.  

Strain in into a glass.

The straining may take a few times to get all of the liquid out of the shaker. Be patient - it's worth it.

You can pour this over a large ice cube so it stays cold but doesn't water down the cocktail or you can use fun ice.  Pellet ice is what I call fun and can be seen here.  If you have a Sonic near you, you can buy it there.  I just found that out like a month ago so I've been buying my fun ice there.

If you'd like to make your drink even prettier add a garnish.  Take the remaining fig and half it along with the remaining sage leaf and slide it onto a cocktail pick. 


Interested in being a part of the Bourbon Heritage Month conversation on social media? Use the #BourbonHeritage hashtag to join the convo!


Disclosure: I'm participating in blogger program to celebrate National Bourbon Heritage Month and received complimentary bottles of Four Roses Bourbon as compensation.  All opinions and recipes are my own.

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