May 29, 2015

Cocktails for Two: St Germain Sparkler

I will always say yes to a champagne cocktail, especially when St. Germain is involved. St. Germain is an elderflower flavored liqueur. It is a little pricey, normally over $30 a bottle, but you can find more affordable brands. If we ever buy a bottle of champagne we usually start off with some sort of cocktail, either this one or a French 75. This cocktail is very easy to make: little measuring and no shaking. You can make it for a crowd just as easily as you can for two. So, if you find yourself celebrating this weekend grab a bottle of St. Germain and give this easy but luxurious cocktail a try. 

St. Germain Sparkler 

2 ounces St. Germain
Angostura bitters 

Pour 1 ounce of St. Germain into a champagne flute. Add a few dashes of bitters. Top with chilled champagne. Repeat in second champagne flute. 

May 28, 2015

Style: Stripes & Straw Hats

This striped dress is one of the most worn pieces in my closet. I purchased it at Gap almost two years ago, and still find myself reaching for it on an almost weekly basis. It is extremely lightweight and comfortable which makes it perfect for a hot summer day. 

I wore it this past weekend to grab lunch at Saint Alban with my new J.Crew Straw Hat. If you're in Charleston make sure you stop by this cafe. I love their butterbean bowl for lunch, but they serve all day. We went to the beach later that afternoon and I threw this dress on over my swimsuit. Dress and cover up: the perfect summer combination. Sadly, this dress is no longer available, but I have linked to a few similar dresses below. Are there any pieces in your closet you seem to gravitate towards in the summer?

Gap Dress (similarsimilar & similar) // J.Crew Wide-Brimmed Straw Hat // J.Crew Cyprus Sandals // Kate Spade Bag (similar) // Karen Walker Sunglasses (similar)

May 27, 2015

Style: 20 One Piece Swimsuits for Summer

Living on the coast definitely has its perks: costal breezes, beautiful sunsets, and easy beach access. We spent this past Memorial Day at Sullivan's Island, which is quickly becoming our go-to spot. With just a quick trip off the peninsula, we have our toes in the sand. I bought my first one piece swimsuit from J.Crew a few years ago. It is a black halter-top with a ruffle detail. I love this swimsuit and wear it every chance I get but, they sadly no longer make this style so I'm on the hunt for something new.  I'm thinking something stripped or a fun palm print. Below you can find my top 20 one piece swimsuits for the summer. They range in style and price point, so hopefully there is something for everyone. 

May 26, 2015

In the Kitchen: Paprika Spiced Chickpea Salad

With the recent move I haven't felt very inspired in the kitchen. Honestly, I am in a bit of a rut. The produce in Charleston is absolutely wonderful, but I haven't had any desire to turn on the stove. Maybe it is the heat, maybe it is my laziness, but there have been a lot of smoothies and salads around here. This post is what is real. This post is what I am eating now. Beans work their way into a lot of my meals. I eat mostly vegetarian during the workweek so they provide the protein and fiber my body needs. These spiced chickpeas add a welcomed heat and texture to my everyday salad. They are an easy additional to any mid-week salad, and are great alone as a snack. What are some of your go-to weekday meals?

Paprika Spiced Chickpea Salad 

2 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed 
1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
pinch cayenne pepper 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 head romaine lettuce, shredded 
1/2 cucumber, sliced 
1/4 cup cilantro, minced 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pat chickpeas with a paper towl to dry. Toss chickpeas with paprika, cayenne pepper (use as much as you like), salt, pepper, and olive oil on a baking sheet. Cook for 25 minuets, tossing occasionally until chickpeas are a deep brown. Allow to cool.

Combine 3/4 cup roasted chickpeas, lettuce, cucumber, and cilantro in a large bowl. Top with dressing and serve immediately.

There will be leftover chickpeas which are perfect for snacking. Add additional chickpeas, lettuce, cucumbers, and cilantro to serve a larger crowd.

Kefir Feta Dressing

1/4 cup plain kefir (you can substitute yogurt)
2 ounces crumbled feta
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt & pepper

Combine kefir, feta, sour cream, and lemon juice in a bowl. Stir to combine, using a spoon to break up any large chunks of feta. Season with salt & pepper. Add water if it is too thick. Keep refrigerated.

May 22, 2015

The Brow House

For years I've feared having my eyebrows waxed. I had two traumatizing experiences in high school where my skin was peeled off. Since then, I've stuck with tweezing. My friend Brooke recently open, The Brow House, a waxing salon in Charlottesville. She has the best brows, hands down. They are so perfectly full they make you question your own. So when she offered to do my brows and give me a few helpful tips I jumped on the chance to give waxing another try. 

Though she offers a multitude of waxing services, she is truly a brow expert. Not only her is waxing studio charming (who doesn't love a faux deer head), but she has years of experience and her cheerful nature that makes you feel immediately at ease. Below are a few of Brooke's tips for getting exactly what you want out of your next wax appointment. 

"Waxing is my specialty and has been for years. Its the old saying do one thing and it good! I also believe using high quality products makes a difference. I have a multitude waxes to fit different needs. Before I start any service, we have a consultation, if its your first wax or 20th with me. And I have a few tricks up my sleeve to make you more comfortable.

First we make sure you are candidate for waxing, i.e. are not using skin care you can not be waxed on, or have you had a problem waxing in the past. Then I want to know your 'brow history', when did you have them done last, do you like the shape, how would you like to see your brows, and any questions you have."

I had never felt so relaxed during a waxing. Brooke trained at the Aveda Institute and believes in using botanical ingredients, which I found to be very soothing on my sensitive skin. She ran a "test wax" first to make sure I was candidate for waxing. I passed the test and the waxing began.

She starts with a light massage and then dusts a fine powder around the eyebrows to protect the skin. The actual waxing is almost painless and I left with virtually no sign (unusual redness) that I had just been waxed. She then will pluck any hard to get hairs and do a quick brow trim. A cold compress is then placed over the brows for a cooling relief. Brooke will then fill in your brows, if necessary, and answer any questions.

"Put down the tweezers, and go see a professional brow artist. There is almost always something that can be done! Some times its growing them in... might take a while, but as I always say 'nobody regrets growing their brows in, the regret not doing it sooner.' And if worse comes to worse, practice using make up on your brows can look beautiful and natural when done right.

After you have found a 'brow professional' learn how to fill your brows in. Invest in the right products. And when you are tempted to go at them  yourself, its time to make an appointment! Plan ahead when you know you have an important event so you don't end up using your tweezers in haste!"


Before & After

May 21, 2015

Style: Perforated Midi Skirt

There is something magical about Charleston's streets. I've spent a fair amount of time just walking and admiring all the beauty this city has to offer. Each street is unique in its own way, and I love discovering the charm hiding within each home. We took a stroll around our block before heading to dinner the other night, and this perforated midi skirt from Anthropologie was just the right piece to wear. The perforation adds a little air-flow which is necessary in this humidity! Plus, it is currently on sale so what's no to love? 

Anthropologie Lasercut Midi Skirt // J.Crew Cotton Oxford Cropped Top // Gap Clutch // Stuart Weitzman Sandals (similar) // J.Crew Necklace (similar

May 20, 2015

May Favorites

Greetings from Charleston! We're still settling in after a crazy move (no water in our apartment over the weekend), but things are slowly coming together. As I conquer heaps of laundry and closet organizing I'm dreaming of a few new pieces to add to my closet this summer. I'm looking for lightweight pieces that will protect me for the sun, because this fair-skinned girl is a little afraid of the Charleston sun. See a few of my favorites below. 

ONE An embroidered tee is high on my must-have list for summer because you can easily dress it up or down. // TWO These gold-plated earrings would look great with a simple white dress. THREE Spice up your koozie game with this bold number. // FOUR This Lemlem scarf can double as a beach cover up making it a versatile summer piece. // FIVE I would love to slip into these perforated leather espadrilles. // SIX Afraid to take the plunge on a bright red bikini? No worries, this one piece will look just as good. // SEVEN A printed maxi for those really hot days. // EIGHT Loeffler Randall put a few pieces on sale, and I am eyeing these gladiator sandals. // NINE Make cocktail hour a little more whimsical with these zebra napkins. // TEN Keep your skin protected in this wide-brimmed straw hat. // ELEVEN These light grey twill shorts would be so comfortable on a lazy summer afternoon. // TWELVE Stand out at the beach with this colorful straw tote. // TWELVE Keep your lips protected with these bight lip balms. 

May 15, 2015

Spring Road Trip Playlist

We're off! We crammed two months worth of necessities into the back our Prius, along with our cat Ina, and we're hitting the road. Now we're off the Charleston with a few good tunes to get us there. 

Talking Backwards // Real Estate 
Feel Flows // The Beach Boys 
Wake Up // Arcade Fire 
Peace Like a River // Paul Simon 
Blue Moon // Beck 
Maps // Yeah Yeah Yeahs 
My Type // Saint Motel 
Graceland // Paul Simon 
Burning // The War On Drugs 
Step // Vampire Weekend 
Young, Wile & Free // Snoop Dogg 
Walkin on a Pretty Dat // Kurt Vile 
Drops In The River // Fleet Foxes 
Born to Run // Bruce Springsteen
All My Friends // LCD Soundsystem 

May 14, 2015

We're Moving

By this time tomorrow, we'll be on our way to Charleston. A while back Will was offered a summer clerk position at a firm, and unlike last summer where we lived apart while he was in Jackson, I knew I could not pass on this opportunity. It's both exhilarating and a little frightening to pack up and move for just over two months, but I'll get to call my favorite city home. I've always loved Charleston, and have dreamed of living there since high school. 

As we transition into our new life in the Holy City, blog posts may be a sparse at first, but I am excited to share this journey with all of you. If you have any suggestions of sights to see or places to eat - please let me know. Also, if you're in the Charleston area please say hello, I would love to make a few friends while I'm in town.

May 11, 2015

In the Kitchen: Strawberry Clafoutis

Just like last May, Charlottesville is already feeling like summer. It is supposed to get into the 90's this week and most of the trees are fully bloomed out. This being said, I'm still holding on to spring. I made this strawberry clafoutis a few weekends for the first time and it was delicious. It is a classic french dessert that reminds me of a cross between a pancake and custard. You can top it with almost any fruit (cherries would be delicious) and it comes out golden brown and puffed. It quickly deflates leaving a custard like center. Top it with a little powdered sugar and you have an easy show-stopping spring dessert. 

Strawberry Clafoutis 

1 cup milk 
3 eggs 
1/2 cup sugar 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
2 tablespoons melted butter 
1/2 cup flour 
1/2 cup strawberries, halved 
1/4 cup powdered sugar 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cast iron skillet or pie pan. Set aside. 

Whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and butter until sugar is dissolved. Add flour and whisk until mixture is smooth. 

Pour batter into cast iron skillet or pie pan and top with halved strawberries. Bake for 30-35 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Serve immediately. 

May 5, 2015

Cocktails for Two: Paloma

Surprising fact: margaritas are not the most consumed cocktails in Mexico. That prize belongs to the paloma. A similar concept to margaritas, but with a fizzy twist. This cocktail is extremely refreshing on a hot day or alongside your favorite Mexican dish. I had my first paloma when we first moved to Charlottesville. To me, it is even better than a margarita because the flavors are more subtle (meaning you can easily drink more than one). If you're in a pinch for time just combine grapefruit soda with tequila for an equally tasty drink. If you're indulging in Cinco De Mayo try this cocktail for a change: you won't be disappointed.

4 ounces tequila 
4 ounces grapefruit juice 
2 ounces lime juice 
1 ounce simple syrup 
sparkling water 

Fill 2 highball glasses with ice and set aside. Combine tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until mixture is chilled. Pour mixture evenly over highball glasses. Top with sparkling water. 

May 1, 2015

10 Spring Essentials

We made it to May! I'll be living in the sandals this weekend, but dreaming of a few of these spring items. What are you loving this season? 

ONE A duster coat is the perfect spring coat: the same feel as a trench coat, but with a little more edge. // TWO A pair of black sunglasses will go with any outfit. // THREE You can wear these silk shorts now & well into summer. // FOUR Still suffering from dehydrated winter skin? Plump up your lips with this pretty pink balm. // FIVE Wear one of this year's biggest trends with this removable perforated shell. // SIX Place this on your lips and cheeks for an all-over rosy glow. // SEVEN I'm loving mules this season & this pair with a wooden heel may be my favorite pair. // EIGHT You could easily wear this bucket bag all year. // NINE Bohemian blouses are making a comeback. // TEN Get a jump-start on summer with this panama hat. 

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