December 31, 2013

Two Thousand Thirteen


I doubt there will be a year that can compare to 2013. I saw so many events I had planned for come to life. With our wedding, moving, and starting a new job, I can surly say that 2013 was a year for change. I'm looking forward to getting more settled in 2014, and I cannot wait to see what it has in store. Cheers to 2014!

 
 

December 30, 2013

Cocktails for Two: Moscow Mule


Ringing in the New Year is the perfect occasion to splurge on a little bubbly. I'm partial to a French 75, but if you're entertaining, making cocktails for a crowd can be tiresome. Moscow Mules are an easy go-to. They have the bubbles you want for a special occasion, but are easy to assemble. So, if you're expecting a crowd try this cocktail for a change. 

Moscow Mule 

4 ounces vodka 
12 ounces ginger beer 
2 lime wedges 

Fill two highball glasses with crushed ice. Add 2 ounces of vodka and 6 ounces of ginger beer to each glass, and stir to combine. Garnish with a lime wedge. 


 


December 24, 2013

Merry, Merry


Merry Christmas! I am taking the next few days off to celebrate the season with my family in Atlanta. I hope everyone has a lovely holiday season, and takes some time to be thankful and reflect on the year that is almost behind us. Cheers.

December 23, 2013

Friday Favorites: Cocktail Dresses

ONE // TWO // THREE

This year, we're planning on keeping New Year's Eve pretty low-key. Will's sister is coming to town, and all I see in our future is a good dinner and maybe a drink out. But, if I did have a fancy party to attend I would love to wear one of these beautiful cocktail dresses. New Year's Eve is the perfect excuse to put on your best dress and bold lip. So, if you have grand plans this year, check out a few of these sparkly delights. 

In the Kitchen: Raspberry Shortbread Cookies


To me it's not the holidays if there isn't a little baking involved. These shortbread jam cookies are the perfect holiday treat. They are relatively easy to make (no rolling involved), and look festive with the red jam centers. I made these a few years ago for my husbands family, and had a craving for them last week. I love how buttery and crumbly shortbread is. Plus, when you roll it in coconut, you have a winning combination.  

Raspberry Shortbread Cookies 

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature 
1/2 cup sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water 
10 ounces unsweetened flaked coconut 
Raspberry jam 

In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar until they are combined. You want them to almost double in size and turn a light yellow color. Once fluffy, beat in vanilla extract and salt. Then, slowly add flour. Mix until the dough comes together. Turn dough out on a floured surface and work into a flat disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

Once dough is chilled, roll the dough into 1 inch balls. Dip each ball into egg was, and then into flaked coconut. Place the balls onto a cookie sheet and make a small indentation into each with your index finger. Place 1/4 teaspoon of raspberry jam into each indentation. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until golden brown. 

 
 
 

December 20, 2013

Friday Favorites: Gifts Under $50

ONE // TWO // THREE // FOUR // FIVE // SIX // SEVEN // EIGHT // NINE // TEN // ELEVEN 

Are you a last minute shopper like me? Amazingly, I have the majority of my Christmas shopping already done, but there are still a few little items I need to pick up. I think that small items are sometimes the most fun and thoughtful. So, get ready to brave the lines and get out there! Christmas is only 5 days away! 

December 19, 2013

Style: Simple Sweater

 Sweater: J.Crew // Jeans: Gap // Shoes: J.Crew // Necklace: J.Crew // Sunglasses: Karen Walker

This outfit is my go-to look lately: oversized sweater, sparkly necklace, and skinny jeans. I wouldn't say I'm in a style rut, I've just found my look for the season. I love that it is easily changeable depending on the weather or my mood. By just switching my necklace or shoes, I can change this look for almost any occasion. Do you have any go-to looks this season?

 
 
 

December 18, 2013

Style: Holiday Plaid

Top: J.Crew (similar) // Skirt: Madewell (similar) // Necklace: Anthropologie // Lips: Nars Heat Wave // Tights: Unknown // Bag: Kate Spade 

In college, I had a major obsession with oversized shirts. I probably had over 30 large T-shirts, along with a few oversized button-ups. One of my favorites was a light blue plaid shirt from J.Crew. I updated that shirt last year with a more fitted version, and I never realized how holiday appropriate it was until I wore it to work. I'm not one to wear a holiday themed sweater, but I will wear a little plaid to get me in the Christmas spirit. 



 

December 17, 2013

In the Kitchen: Apple Butter


My husband and I spent the fall exploring the outdoors in Central Virginia. And for me, that meant apple picking and vineyard hopping. After a trip to Albemarle Ciderworks, we ended up with nearly 20  pounds of apples. We ate the majority as snacks, but the rest ended up in this apple butter. This is like a rich, almost savory applesauce. It is great on toast, as well as with cheese. If you have any apples left over I suggest you make this butter, because it makes a great gift too.


Apple Butter:

7 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Place apples in a crockpot. Stir in spices and sugar. Cook on low for 10 hours, stirring every few hours.

Stir in vanilla extract and break up any large chunks that may remain.  Cook for an additional two hours. Allow the apples to cool overnight. Remove from fridge and puree with an immersion blender. You want the mixture to be very smooth, so use a blender if necessary. Spoon mixture into jars and store in the fridge for up to two months.

December 16, 2013

December Wish List

ONE // TWO // THREE // FOUR // FIVE // SIX // SEVEN // EIGHT // NINE // TEN

December is the perfect time to make everyday items more glamorous. I think one of the best parts of the holiday season is being able to transform simple pieces in your closet into holiday appropriate attire. Take for example this red swing dress by J.Crew. Add a sparkly earrings and heeled booties and you are ready for any cocktail party. But, when it is not time to dress up, comfortable basics come to mind this time of the year. Woolen mittens and knee-high socks will keep you warm by the Christmas tree. Enjoy this time of year, and try to rework some of the basics in your closet.  

December 13, 2013

Friday Favorites: Beanies

ONE // TWO // THREE // FOUR 

Tomorrow, we're expecting winter weather for the third time this week. We've mostly had a slushy mix of snow and sleet so it isn't that bad, but I am so cold. For the most part, I do enjoy living somewhere more seasonal. I just can't believe it is only the second week of winter and the highs are not escaping the low 40's. It is going to be a few long cold months until April. But, in order to survive the next few months, I looking for a beanie. I've never been much of a hat wearer, but they seem to be a necessity here. I'm looking for something simple that I can wear everyday with a slight pattern and a neutral color. I'm particularly leaning towards this cable knit beauty by Jcrew. 

December 12, 2013

In the Kitchen: Orange Cinnamon Rolls


The last few years we've made cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning. It is a tradition I look forward to every year. We prep the dough the night before, and then let them finish rising while we open presents. We've never stuck to one recipe, mostly because every year someone comes out with a cinnamon roll even more tasty. This year I'm eyeing this orange cinnamon roll recipe. The tartness of the orange balances out the sweetness very well. Plus, it is about to be citrus season, and that is the only excuse I need. 

Orange Cinnamon Rolls 

Dough 
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast 
1/2 cup milk 
2 tablespoons butter, melted 
1/4 cup granulated sugar 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
zest of 1 orange 

Filling
1 tablespoon softened butter 
1/2 cup brown sugar 
zest of 1/2 an orange 
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon  

Icing
2 ounces softened cream cheese 
1 tablespoon softened butter 
2 tablespoon powdered sugar 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
splash or orange juice 

Place flour, sugar, salt, and orange zest in the bottom of a stand mixer with dough hook attached. In a separate bowl combine milk, cooled butter, and yeast. Stir milk mixture until yeast has dissolved. With mixer on, slowly pour milk mixture into flour. Keep the mixer on low and let dough need for 5 minutes. The dough will be sticky, but will form a tight ball around the dough hook. Remove dough from hook and place back in the bowl to rise. Wrap bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours. 

Remove risen dough from bowl onto a well floured surface. Roll dough out into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Spread the softened butter over the dough leaving a 1/4 inch boarder. In a small bowl combine brown sugar, orange zest, and cinnamon. Spread the sugar mixture evenly over the butter dough, then slightly press it in with your fingers. Starting at the smaller in, begin to roll your bun. Using a serrated knife, cut your dough into six rolls. Place rolls in a greased cast iron skillet. Allow the rolls to rise overnight or at least 2 hours. 

In the morning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly golden. Allow rolls to cool for 5 minutes before icing. Serve warm. 


 
 


December 11, 2013

Life Lately


The past few weeks have flown by. It is hard to believe that there are only two weeks until Christmas, and that Will is almost finished with his first semester of law school. I know he has really enjoyed his first semester at UVA, but I also know he needs a relaxing break. Between work and school, our free time mostly consists of going out to dinner, but this weekend we picked out our first Christmas tree and watched a few holiday movies. This weekend will be hectic, but I can at least look back on last weekend.

A very believable cranberry bog in Raleigh, NC // My mustached family 
Will cutting down our Christmas tree // Thanksgiving cheese board 
Time well spent at Three Notch'd Brewery // Matching my husband 

December 10, 2013

Our Wedding Feature


I was lucky enough to get to know Kathryn of Snippet and Ink a few months before my wedding. She is not only incredibly talented, but a very genuine person. So today, I am so excited to share my wedding featured on Snippet and Ink! I still cannot believe it has been six months since the big day, and looking at these pictures it really does feel like yesterday. 

December 9, 2013

Icy Blues

Sweater: J.Crew // Scarf: Gap (similar) // Jeans: Gap // Boots: Hunter

On Saturday, we took a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains to cut down our first Christmas tree. We were a little surprised when we found ourselves in a winter wonderland on top of a mountain. The fog had caused the trees to ice over (no worries, the road were clear). The scenery was breathtakingly beautiful. We stopped at a few overlooks to take it all in before we made our way to the Christmas tree farm. What is not pictured in these pictures is my giant puffer coat in the car. Because if anyone knows me well, they know I am a total wimp when it comes to cold weather. Stay warm, kids! 




December 6, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Stocking Stuffers


Will and I have a tradition of giving each other one big gift, and a few smaller, stocking stuffer like gifts. Finding the perfect trinkets always turns out to be a lot of fun. I've listed a few of my favorite little gifts at different price ranges.

ONE Stationary never goes out of style. TWO Because leopard is a neutral. THREE Keep his feet warm in fair isle socks. FOUR This bow wine stopper is the perfectly feminine. FIVE Shop small this year with Rifle Paper Co & Furbish StudioSIX Fur mittens will take her back to childhood. SEVEN Statement earrings are perfect for the holidays. EIGHT A little sparkle is always a good thing. NINE My favorite hand cream. TEN If he has a nice shoe collection, he will be thankful for these cedar shoe inserts. ELEVEN So pretty you will want to use these travel bags at home too. TWELVE For the girl who has everything. THIRTEEN An iphone battery booster is the perfect for your techy friend. FOURTEEN Too cute for words. FIFTEEN Beenies are making a comeback. SIXTEEN Just the right size for a stocking or purse. 

December 5, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Foodie


I don't like to think of myself as a foodie, but rather as someone who enjoys a thoughtful meal. That being said, I can't deny my love for nice kitchenware. Wether you are updating classics, or investing in a great basic, the cook in your life will love any of these gifts.

ONE Ottolenghi's Jerusalem was the "it" cookbook of 2012, and I'm declaring his newest cookbook a must-have for the holidays. TWO A large wooden cutting board can really change your style of food prep; give this to a new cook. THREE These salad servers will jazz up any holiday buffet. Four A great chocolate bar can turn any bad day around. FIVE I find condiment bowls to be underrated. SIX The only knife you will ever need. SEVEN The ultimate dream team in cookware. EIGHT So much better than a bottle of wine. Add it to a gin & tonic for a refreshing floral aroma. NINE Update stemless wine glasses with a gold edge. TEN A splurge worthy champagne bucket.

December 4, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Hostess


I love giving baked goods as hostess gifts, but during the holidays when food is abundant, it can often go to waste. So, I've complied a list of easy go-to hostess gifts. 

ONE Monogrammed linens in a spunky color show your thoughtfulness. TWO We received a cheese board as a wedding present and have loved using it because it doubles as a serving tray. THREE Voluspa candles are my favorite. They come in an array of scents, plus they burn for over 100 hours. FOUR A light blue vase can go with any season. FIVE Coffee table books are always a go to, but this one provides more than just pretty pictures. SIX You can never have too many comfy throws. SEVEN Pair this with a bottle of wine for the perfect quick gift. EIGHT Bring the after dinner coffee. NINE Pick a color scheme that compliments their home. TEN Fitting for any bedroom or bathroom. 

December 3, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Gentlemen

I find that men are particularly hard to buy for because they either have everything or want nothing. So, when it comes to shopping for the men in my life (mostly my husband) I like to stick to updating the classics. It it easy on me, because I know he will always be glad to receive a new flannel shirt or messenger bag.

ONE Every boy needs a good pair of boots. TWO A classic watch at a great price. THREE Update his copy with a new, revamped addition. FOUR Keep him warm all winter long in a flannel shirt. FIVE Still using the same bag from college? Splurge on a leather messenger bag that will last for years. SIX Make a gentlemen, out of your gentleman. SEVEN Honestly, his favorite booze can solve any holiday disaster. EIGHT This benefits both you, and him. NINE You can never have too many leather accessories. TEN This is his version of a facial, so give him a little luxury.  

December 2, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Ladies


It is December second, so bring on the gift giving! Christmas shopping can be a little daunting (I haven't started yet), but if you go in with a plan it can be quit easy. Below are a few of my favorite giftable pieces for the women in your life.

ONE The perfect stripped sweater, that is as soft as it is pretty. TWO I'm all about the pendant necklace this season, and this one by Lulu Frost for J.Crew is gorgeous. THREE Keep her warm in a faux fur snood. FOUR Yes, a leopard clutch is a neutral, and can easily transition from day to night. FIVE A pastel coat is high on my wish-list. SIX A great pair of booties can last for years, and these are already a classic. SEVEN A quilted black leather watch will never go out of style. EIGHT This will be the "It" book on every style obsessed girls list. NINE Perk up your standard gloves with gold accented bows. TEN Seriously lust worthy frames.   
 

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