Today I turn 28. Whoa, that sounds pretty darn old. But I think about the last 27 years of my life and no wonder it seems that way- I’ve done a lot of stuff in 27 years!
I’ve never been one to make (or stick with) new years resolutions but I have always used my birthday as a time to think about what I want to do differently, accomplish, change, etc. for the next year. Last year was definitely a crazy one with our engagement parties, showers, wedding, and honeymoon so this year I’m looking forward to a little slower pace of life and making sure I am appreciating the things I do.
We already have a few trips planned for my 28th year including London this Spring (share any tips + favorites you have please!) and then a cruise this summer with stops to Belize and Honduras (again, share any tips + favorites!). I am looking forward to spending time with my husband, family, friends & become an Aunt! We are so excited about welcoming a new little member to the family this summer! We’ve started the search to buy our first home, and I’m sure it’ll be a long search around this area, but a fun one. We have friends’ weddings to attend & I love love so I’m excited to celebrate them. 27 was a great year, but every year just keeps getting better so cheers, 28! I’m excited for what it has in store starting with a delicious dinner tonight at Espita Mezcaleria & a fun little at-home brunch with some friends! Bring on the cocktails!
IGK Hair Care Productshave hit the shelves at Sephora and I could not wait to try these puppies out! Now I am not that great with my hair. I actually hate having to do my hair so when there’s products that will allow me to take some short cuts to manage, I’m going to try them out! So here you go…
Smoke & Mirrors ($29) A conditioning cleansing oil that is great for dry scalps and hair. I usually don’t use a cleansing oil unless I’m putting my hair up in a bun or letting it air dry on the weekends and although this product worked great for norishing, it also left a heavy feeling that made my hair look flat and left a tad bit of residue. I used after towel drying and then blew out my hair which helped reduce the residue feeling but I’m still more keen on using when I’m not blowing out my locks!
Rich Kid($27) I. Am. In. Love. I have naturally wavy hair already so this might work different for other people, but I have used this serum on my towel dried and fully dried hair and love the result that I get both times! It’s an oil-infused gel that helps create undone hair look while keeping your hair hydrated. Also, I can’t go on without mentioning that you will want to smell your hair all day. Love it!
Beach Club($29) Ok… you’re welcome for saving you from spending money on a plane ticket, hotel on the beach, and a new swimsuit. THIS is such a good texturizing spray that delivers a salty-hair, windswept look in seconds without the heaviness, stickiness, or drying that so many of these sprays come with. What’s great about this spray too is that you can apply to damp hair, twist sections, and air dry for soft separation and a beach wave texture or you can spray through your dry hair if you like piecey fullness and sexy style. Gives great volume if you’re trying to tease your hair too!!
I used to be a Hoola by Benefit fan through and through until last Christmas when my adorable little sister gifted me this travel sized duo. The mascara I liked but theToo Faced Soleil Matte Bronzer ($30) in chocolate, I loved! Believe it or not I still have a little bit left of my mini sized bronzer, but I was ready to graduate to the big girl size bronzer! I find it to be perfect for a quick swipe over your cheeks for every day wear or for sculpting and contouring for those fancy date nights out. The color lasts all day and it isn’t too orange or too brown- a good medium sunkissed bronze.
I had been dying to try the newMakeUp Forever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation($43) but as always, had to wait until I was close enough out of my foundation to justify buying a new product. I ordered the Cover Stick Foundation in shade 117 = Y225. It’s a little light on my skin but another week into winter it’ll be perfect. It’s full coverage but not heavy. I’ve tried it on it’s own, and mixing with my liquid foundation and both work just fine for my skin type. I definitely recommend wearing a moisturizing primer before applying- I love this one. I’m a fan & will re-buy since I love the coverage and you don’t have to touch up throughout the day- unless you want to!
I purchased theBenefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil ($24) in Medium Brown because my little brush end of my Anastasia pencil keeps breaking off! (It’s in my makeup bag, with the cap on, so I am baffled at how this keeps happening!!) It’s not my favorite. It’s fine. I like the angled edge but it also sometimes made brush strokes thicker than I wanted. Verdict: I’m going to keep testing my luck with the Anastasia brow pencil unless someone has another one they recommend me trying!
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Let me know if you have some go-tos… I’d love to try some new products!
It just dawned on me that since all of my previous posts were swiped (see post here) some of you might be wondering who I am!
I am a blogger, turned fiancée, turned wife, who needs to have some sort of creative project so I don’t go insane! Insert blog. Not sure exactly where I’m going to go with the blog this go ’round but it’s here so stick along for the ride!
I love cooking but thanks to the DC Metro traffic, J does most of the cooking in our house. (He’s the best!!) And we use Plated. We love Plated. Without Plated I would have never had thisdelicious meal (french onion soup burgers), or this one (tilapia confit & green beans) both household favorites!
If you clicked those links and got curious scrolling my Instagram feed, you probably noticed that I have quite a bit of cocktails on there. When J is cooking and I’m coming home late, it’s usually my job to either pour a glass of wine or mix up a cocktail. And yes, we have a favorite household cocktail too. It was the cocktail we served as our “signature cocktail” at our wedding because it is the cocktail that we whip up for parties and cozy nights in alike – aka actually our signature cocktail.
Directly across from our place is the most adorable little corner coffee shop, Mia’s. After a couple of mornings passing by we couldn’t help but stop in. The menu at first glance is your typical coffee shop fare – lattes and pastries – but then you look twice and see a coffee shop menu with a Latin flare. If you ask their baristas, they’ll recommend the signature drink, the Horchata latte- a milky cinnamon deliciously warm (or cold) drink! I’m a huge fan of their cappuccino- not too frothy & always with a little design! The breakfast and lunch menu consists of different carnitas, black bean, and barbacoa sandwiches and bowls. The barbacoa breakfast bowl is hands down my favorite. So filling and definitely crave worthy. Especially on those weekend mornings when you might have had just one too many drinks the night before!
This holiday season is just a little extra special. For one, it’s the first year that J and I are actually together on Christmas day. (Neither of us wanted to give up being with our families in years past so we’d celebrate together before or after) And it’s the first year that we can start to create our own little traditions together. We came up with one for Thanksgiving that we both immediately agreed on- blackberry cobbler. It’s actually a double whammy because not only do we want to make it for every Thanksgiving, it was one of the desserts that we served at our wedding so it’ll remind us of November 5th too!
This Christmas we’ll see what we come up with. We’ve tossed around some ideas, and have a few things planned. I know growing up we had a few traditions that I wouldn’t mind continuing, like mimosas and cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, so we’ll see what the verdict is! One of things that I’m definitely going to continue is sending Holiday cards to all our loved ones. This year my sister told me about Paper Culture before I made my decision and I’m so glad she did! For every order Paper Culture plants a tree! The designs are modern, fun, and you have tons to choose between. And unlike a lot of places, there isn’t a large difference in foil printing vs. matte colors. My order arrived in time for us to address and send out our holiday cheer!
Tis the season for lots of yummy treats. From cheesy appetizers to frosted cookies and pies, it’s hard to resist! I have two holiday get-togethers this weekend that came with the request for us to bring some sort of dessert. Immediately I knew I wanted to make these fun little S’More Bites for one of the parties. And I was so relieved that I wasn’t going to be spending countless hours trolling Pinterest. (It gets overwhelming!) These S’more Bites are super easy to prep, quick to cook, and always a crowd pleaser! Plus they’re a great little pop-in-your-mouth-between-laughs kind of dessert. No fork, spoon, or campfire needed for these s’mores!
1 cup of graham cracker crumbs (finely chopped)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 chocolate bars, divided*
12 large marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix together graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and melted butter in a bowl. Spoon crumb mixture into each cup or cupcake liner. Press crumbs to form bottom layer. Bake 4-5 minutes, or until edges are bubbling. While graham cracker base is baking, break your chocolate bars into rectangles and depending on the size of your cupcake pan, cut in half. Remove pan from oven; place one piece of chocolate into each cup.
Cut marshmallows in half and place one marshmallow half, cut-side down, into each cup. Return to oven for an additional 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows look fluffy. Cool for about 10-15 minutes and enjoy!
*I mixed up my chocolate bar choices this year. Instead of milk chocolate, I used a dark chocolate bar and a Symphony bar with almonds and toffee chips in it. You’re welcome to be traditional or adventurous, it’ll be delicious whatever your choice! (Also, you can drizzle chocolate over the marshmallow if you want extra chocolate!!)
And for all of you bakers out there William-Sonoma just kicked off their Friends & Family sale! (code: FRIENDS) Get up to 20% off cookware and tools to help make your holiday cooking and baking just a tad bit easier! And for those of you who don’t like baking, lucky for you too! All Holiday candy at William-Sonoma is 25% off! I am definitely swinging by to pick up these adorable gingerbread men to hang on mugs and these to stir my spiked eggnog! Can’t resist!
Winter is here. Snow is in this week’s forecast. I’m definitely a Fall and Summer lover… to me, winter is too long and spring too rainy, so do I resent it or just embrace it!? In the spirit of the holiday season, I’m thinking finding all the good in winter – like the joy when I see the boxwood wreath on my front door welcoming me home, and the pine scented candle that I burn every chance I get. And since we’re living in the Capitol Hill I’ve curated a list of things for J and I to do this season…
Take a walk to the Capitol to view the Christmas Tree (which was lit Dec. 6) and then over to Union Station to view the 30 foot tree donated by the Embassy of Norway
Finally make it to Shaw’s Christmas Bar for some festive libations this year regardless of how long the line may be
We’ve actually crossed this off our list so I’m suggesting it to you all since it’s adorable – make the trek out to Lucketts and visit The Old Luckett’s Store. It’s about an hour outside of the city, but will put you in the holiday spirit faster than Santa can scarf down a cookie!
Send out our first holiday card as Mr. & Mrs. – Paper Culture plants a tree with every order!
Whip up a round of this yummy looking Campfire Cocktail treat (picture above)
Make my favorite meal from France, beef bourguignon
We spent our honeymoon in Italy exploring Rome, Ortigia, and Catania. It wasn’t the honeymoon I envisioned as a little girl sipping frozen drinks out of coconuts, but I am so happy that we decided to spend our two week post-wedding in Italy then on a rainy beach in November. The history, food, and sights were all breathtakingly beautifuland it truly was a trip that we’ll cherish and remember forever, not only because it was our first trip as Mr. & Mrs.
Tucked away on an alley off of an alley, we quickly knew our first dinner in Rome was going to be a favorite dinner of the trip. A small, two level family owned restaurant made you feel like you were apart of their family. The server was there when you needed something, never pushy, and definitely didn’t disappoint in his recommendations. We had the freshest mozzarella I have ever tasted, gnocchi, Gorgonzola ravioli, and more. Great selection of wines and their chocolate mint mousse was a great way to end the night.
J and I love finding cocktail clubs in the places we travel. One of our favorite memories from our trip to Paris was a speakeasy, so I knew that was going to be something we had to do in Italy! Rome made it a little bit more difficult to find a speakeasy but we are so glad that we found Jerry Thomas. Off a back alley, not marked, and password protected (you can find the password on their website) we sipped 3 delicious cocktails (each!) ranging from traditional to Jerry Thomas originals.
This restaurant was recommended to us and we are so glad that it was. According to locals, as trends have come through Felice a Testaccio has remained steady in cooking traditional Italian cuisine not worrying about decor or modernizing but creating delicious meals. Since it had this “traditional” reputation we had Rome’s famous Pepe e Cacio here. So. Good. (And I’m 99.9% sure the meatballs were the best I have ever had.)
Our Ortigia hotel recommended Macalle for our first night in Sicily. A husband and wife team, Macalle is a contemporary bistrot cooking with authentic sicilian ingredients and recipes. The owner even said that many of his recipes were his grandmother’s. The food was delicious and the plating I give an A+ – really beautiful looking and tasting meals. (And you have to finish off with their house made limoncello!)
We went here on our last night in Ortigia. We were sad to leave this charming little island so we decided on a place that we had passed many times on our stroll. A small, one room Sicilian-French bistrot with smells that drew us in immediately. The chef/owner studied culinary in Paris and moved back to his home fusing the Sicilian ingredients with French techniques and flavors. This was maybe the best steak I have ever had. There was a pepper sauce that had peppercorns that just exploded flavor in your mouth. I will go back to Ortigia one day, and this restaurant is at the top of my list to revisit.
Pizzeria and Restaurant, J and I agreed that this was the best pizza we had our whole trip! The ingredients at this particular restaurant tasted so fresh and like many of the other restaurants I’ve favorited, the plating was beautifully done. This restaurant is tucked off an alley so don’t miss it!
We only stayed for a couple of cocktails (we were so stuffed from Il Sale Art Cafe) but if we ever make it back to Catania this would be a stop. Just steps down from Il Sale Art Cafe we stumbled upon a very plain, almost cave like linear room with a neon sign that read “OFF.” There were tables for folks to gather, sip and enjoy themselves and everyone there was definitely enjoying themselves!
Located right on the historic center of Rome, in Via Nazionale, one of the oldest and most vibrant streets of Rome and right next to a delicious gelateria that’s open pretty late! The hotel was recently renovated and the details are wonderful. The rooms are a good size, and modern, and the staff were great at remembering and accommodating our requests!
My favorite hotel of all the places we stayed. It was so charming, looked authentic, and each room was decorated a little bit different. It’s also located right on the water so the views are stunning and just steps from everything – Ortigia is small, so everything is walkable!
Since we flew back into Rome for just one night we wanted to find a hotel that wasn’t too far from the airport and was relaxing. QC Terme Roma is a former bathhouse in a protected Roman archaeological site, the Oasis of Porto. We started off our stay by changing into their dress code- Robes and slippers – and made our way to happy hour outside near a heated pool with beautiful marble fountains. We then made our way down for a massage and ended our night walking through the underground Roman baths where there were saunas, Turkish baths, and more.
Just a quick train ride outside of Rome took you to a whole other world. Olive trees and grape vines adorned the rolling hills overlooking Rome. Dominique and Paola took us around the vineyard and into the caves under Paola’s family’s farmhouse. I kid you not, the views are out of a movie. And the amount of history that we learned and witnessed while on this small group tour was astonishing. Since their families have been on the vineyard for generations and generations we heard stories from times of war and even got to hold a lead pipe from the Ancient Roman times, 2000 years ago! We left full of wine and pasta but mostly full of awe for this little town.
So funny story. Wedding planning pretty much took over my life. I was doing pretty good there for awhile but then it went in high gear. There’s no other way of explaining it, and when I did have a little break from planning, I finally got around to updating and renewing my domain via my host site. So here’s where the not so funny part comes in… in the process of renewing this lil ol blog of mine I completely lost ALL of my blog. Every. Single. Post. that I have ever written. Just gone. Shame on me for not back it up, but also what the heck GoDaddy! Ugh. Wasn’t so funny at the time, but I had too much going on to do anything about it. (Mind you this was also right around the time where we found out our wedding venue was not going to be built so it was venue search take 2, we had to re-ordering wedding invites because of the venue switch, and the list went on.) So in between huffs and eye rolls (and maybe a few panic tears) I let my blog go on the back burner. Actually, more like the neighbor’s back burner because I just couldn’t tackle it. Fast forward to today. The wedding is over, the planning is done, and I have the wedding blues. I am dying to have something (other then my full-time job) to do so I’m going to look at this positively- new last name, new blog, new content for the almost new year.
So here we are the first day of December. A full 25 days until the coziest holiday of them all!
I thought I’d start off by linking some fun little stocking stuffers for Him & Her!