December 31, 2015

Two Thousand Fifteen

Two thousand fifteen was a roller-coaster of a year for us. We rang in the New Year with friends in D.C., and then suffered through another bitterly cold winter filled frozen pipes and icy roads. Just when I though I could not survive another snowy day, spring finally came. May was a momentous month for us: Will finished his second year of law school, I quit my job in marketing, and we moved to Charleston, so Will could intern with a law firm there. 

Summer in Charleston was almost perfect. We ate our way around the city and lazed away our weekends on the beaches of Sullivan's Island. We were in Charleston during the attack on Mother Emanuel, but witnessing the community resiliency in the aftermath was a truly inspirational event.  After a Summer in Charleston, we spent time Hilton Head Island, and in the Fall, I finally made it to New York for a weekend of shopping, museums, and excellent food. 

Looking back, I've never experienced a year filled with more triumph and hardship. Making the decision to leave my full-time job to live with my husband in Charleston was one of the hardest decision I've ever made. But, I now know it was the best possible choice. I was able to spend the summer in my favorite city, and I am more than excited to call it home in 2016. 

Will is returning to his firm after graduation, which means we will be moving back to Charleston in August. Besides graduation and the big move, 2016 should have a lot more in store for us. We're planning a trip to Europe after Will takes the bar exam, and we will hopefully be getting another cat once we get settled in Charleston (fingers crossed!). This year was filled with a lot of personal and professional growth, and I am excited to see this hard work bear fruit in the coming year. Thank you to everyone who followed along in 2015. This blog would not be the same without your continued love and support. Below are a few of my favorite images for this past year. Cheers!

December 30, 2015

Cocktails for Two: French 75

When it comes to New Year's Eve: stick with the classics. Champagne goes hand in hand with this evening for a reason, so why fix something that is broken? There is nothing wrong with simply pouring a glass of champagne and toasting the evening, but I like that start off with something a little more complex. A classic French 75 is one of my favorite cocktails. The lemon juice and gin give a subtle tartness to the sweet champagne. It is the perfect drink to have alongside an appetizer and gets the evening off on the right foot. If you find yourself with a bottle of champagne tomorrow night, I highly suggest you give this cocktail a try.

French 75

2 ounces gin
1 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce lemon juice

Combine gin, simply syrup, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until cocktail shaker ices over. Pour mixture in to two coupe glasses. Top with chilled champagne.

December 29, 2015

Best of 2015 Playlist

Staying relevant in music is becoming harder as I get older. I am not constantly surrounded by people who have similar tastes in music, and therefore I sometimes feel a little out of the loop. Despite this, I did discover a few new bands and albums this year. I was lucky enough to see one of my favorite artist, Sufjan Steve perform Carrie & Lowle in Richmond. It was the most memorable concerns I've ever seen. I've rounded up a few of my favorite songs that came out this year in this playlist. Click below to listen and let me know what songs you loved this year. 

December 28, 2015

In the Kitchen: Whipped Goat Cheese Crostini

My husband and I have like to keep it simple on New Years Eve. We normally have an appetizer at home and then head out dinner, but what we eat and where we celebrate changes every year. After all the hustle of Christmas is over, I generally look forward to a relaxed evening ringing in the new year. These whipped goat cheese and onion jam crostini are the perfect starter for New Years Eve. They require very little prep, but have a deep, complex flavor. Serve their with your favorite cocktail to get the evening started. 

Whipped Goat Cheese and Onion Jam Crostini

1 baguette, cut into 1/2 inch slices 
1 tbs olive oil
3 ounces goat cheese 
1/8 cup heavy cream 
1/4 cup onion jam
2 tbs chopped parsley 
1/2 lemon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush olive oil over slices. Bake for 6 minutes, flipping halfway through until lightly toasted. Set aside. 

Place goat cheese and whipping cream in a food processor. Mix ingredients until goat cheese is whipped and sticks to a spoon. Add more heavy cream if necessary. 

Place about one tablespoon of whipped goat cheese on a baguette slice, and then top with one teaspoon of onion jam. Garnish with parsley and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Serve immediately. 

December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas

We're heading to Atlanta today to spend Christmas with my family. I am in a little bit a shock that it is already Christmas; how did December go by this quickly? I'll be signing off from the blog for the next few days to enjoy a little time with my family and friends. I hope everyone has a very, merry Christmas full of good food and great company. 

December 22, 2015

In the Kitchen: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

When I think of Christmas cookies one thing comes to mind: chocolate. Growing up, our Christmas cookies varied from classic chocolate chip cookies to peanut butter kiss cookies, but these chocolate crinkle cookies were always a favorite. The dark chocolate cookies flaked with powdered sugar looks festive and is equally delicious. Plus, they are relatively simple to make when you need to get cookies out fast (this is necessary around the holidays). I would love to know what cookies you're baking this holiday season. 

chocolate crinkle cookies

 Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat sugars together until combined. Then, mix in eggs, instant coffee, and vanilla extract.

Melt chocolate chips and butter in a microwave, stirring every few minutes until melted. Set aside. With mixer on low, add in flour mixture and beat until combined. Then, pour in melted chocolate and butter and mix until combined. Let dough chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes until hardened.

Pour powdered sugar in to a shallow bowl. Using a spoon or small melon baller, roll dough balls in powdered sugar (you want a pretty heavy coating) and place on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until edges have hardened but middle is still doughy.

December 21, 2015

Style: Grey Sweater Skirt

When I think of holiday dressing I imagine red party dresses, satin skirts, and patent leather heels, but life in Charlottesville does not require such prim dressing. We rarely wear heels and party dresses, but a full sweater skirt is appropriate. I'm trying to buy pieces I can wear for multiple occasions and  this wool skirt is the perfect piece. I can dress it up for a holiday party with a nice blouse or throw on a sweater and boots to wear to work come January. Either way, this skirt will be on a pretty heavy rotation in my closet this winter. 

 JOA Wool Skirt // J.Crew Turtleneck // J.Crew Regent Topcoat // Madewell Booties (similar) // Rebecca Minkoff Bag // Karen Walker Perfect Day Sunglasses

December 17, 2015

Holiday Gift Guider: Under $300

Double-Cloth Collarless Coat J.Crew - $280 // Bolster Pillow Furbish Studio - $190 // Rag & Bone Fedora Net-A-Porter - $195 // Copper Trey Mark & Graham - $175 // Le Creuset Dutch Oven Williams-Sonoma - $180 // Illesteva Mirrored Sunglasses Nordstrom - $150 // Modern Loafer Everlane - $165 // Rose Gold Quartz Earrings Net-A-Porter - $185 // Equipment Striped Silk Shirt - Net-A-Porter - $270 // Cashmere Scarf Cuyana - $190 // Bucket Bag Madewell - $160 // Denim Off-The-Shoulder Tunic Tibi $295 // Gold Bar Tool Set Simone LeBlanc - $225 // Wood Salad Bowl Artisan Connect - $180 // Byredo Perfume Net-A-Porter - $220 // Eclipse Onyx Cuff Scarpa - $230 // Filson Briefcase - $265

December 16, 2015

Christmas Tree Basket

I love to talk about how great my cat is, but she is still a cat and can be a real jerk. She is very passive-aggressive, and likes to take out her anger by peeing on our bed, and around the holidays our Christmas tree skirt. Two years ago, we had to throw away our tree skirt because we could not break her of this bad habit.

So last year we went skirtless, but without a skirt our tree did not look complete. I thought about buying one after Christmas on sale, but nothing jumped out at me. Behold: the Christmas tree basket. It is both functional and visually attractive. This give our tree a more rustic look, which compliments our trees natural shape perfectly. It slides easily over the tree stand, and is cat-proof. So, if you have a naughty feline in your life, or are looking for something different I highly suggest this wicker tree basket

December 15, 2015

Style: Pleated Midi Skirt

Elle recently published the Top 50 Trends of 2015, and many of my favorite pieces made the list including Gucci's pleated skirt. This skirt was shown in almost every fashion week recap this fall, and instantly fell in love with its classic shape and bold color. Like almost all fashion week trends, this skirt was extremely out of my budget. So when I spotted this skirt at Banana Republic for under $50 I almost squealed. It has the same look as the Gucci skirt for a fraction of the price. A thick charcoal grey sweater plays well with the muted blue hue and soft pleats, while still keeping me warm. We may be nearing the end of 2015, but I'm still loving this trend and hope it stays for 2016. 

December 14, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide: Under $150

Knitted Turtleneck Sweater Dress Madewell - $130 // Wine-Champagne Bucket Crate & Barrel - $50  // Aerin Rose Body Wash Net-A-Porter - $50 // Ciao Coin Purse Clare V - $85 // Kensington Leather Rose Gold Watch Need Supply Co - $125 // Baguette Studs Domino - $58 // Enamel Sauce Pan Brooke Farm General Store - $130 // Italian Leather Gloves J.Crew - $100 // Sugar Paper Recipe Binder Waiting on Martha - $60 // Eberjey Jersey Pajama Set - $120 // Oslo Salad Servers Matte Gold Jenni Kayne - $60 // Fresh Rose Face Mask Sephora - $62 // French Press Yield - $150 // Silk Turkish Towel Simple Life - $56 // Apolis Charlottesville Market Bag Scarpa - $65 // Build Your Own Bitters Kit Hella Bitters - $65 // Buffalo Check Sweater Banana Republic - $80 // Woven Slub Wool Tie Mr Porter - $110

December 11, 2015

Cocktails for Two: Mulled Apple Cider

Finding time to truly savor the holiday season is easier said than done. We are all busy: work, children, traffic, school, travel... The list goes on, and during the holidays it only gets bigger. We all feel committed to attend every party and function, and try to find the perfect gift while keeping our homes spotless for company. In the end, the holiday season can be taxing. 

The past few holidays have been stressful for my husband and I. It is our busy season with both school and work, making little time to relax by the tree. Luckily, this year has been easier. We've enjoyed nights at home, great dinners, and a less hectic schedule. At the end of a long week, curling up with a warm drink by the tree is all I have the energy for, and luckily my husband feels the same way. So this holiday season take a moment to savor a warm beverage with the ones you love.

Mulled Apple Cider

6 cups apple cider
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
4 cinnamon sticks
5 star anise pods
4 whole cloves
1/2 orange peel
1/2 lemon peel
apple brandy

Combine apple cider, 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 star anise pods, 4 whole cloves, orange peel, and lemon peel in a sauce pan and simmer over medium-low heat. Allow to simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes until flavors have melded.

Remove from heat and strain the mixture through a sieve and return to saucepan. Reheat if necessary. Ladle hot mulled cider into serving two serving glasses, there will be cider left over. Top glasses off with brandy (about 1 ounce), and garnish with remaining cinnamon sticks and star anise.


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