Friday, June 28, 2013

{what i loved this week}

on instagram:  I posted my first video with Instagram's new video feature!  I am still not sure if I like the launch of video, but I guess time will tell.   Ali from A Dash of Details captured this great shot of me on the set of our Sauza video shoot which I cannot wait to share with you once the final video is done!  Black and white stripes in outdoor furniture get me every. single. time.

on pinterest: A few weeks ago I shared a booze-filled pinata and this week I came across this adorable wedding cake pinata!  I would love to create one of these for a bridal shower and fill it with fun girly goodies like lipsticks.  This painted picnic table looks like a really easy project that adds some interest to a boring wood table- plus if you got sick of it you could always re-paint it!

on the blogs:  If you are a fan of my friday cocktail post here, you absolutely must go check out the gorgeous illustrated cocktail recipes from Oh So Beautiful Paper!

in the magazines:  I read the "#unplug" article in the current issue of Fast Company on my flight home from New York.  It was such an interesting take on how connected we are to social media and what it really takes to fully disconnect!

in real life:  This is a sneak peek at some custom paper goods I am creating for Ashlee's upcoming wedding.  I promise to share the whole suite- just as soon as the real guests receive them!

on my wishlist:  While I can't really imagine anything better than my favorite pool toy, this huge floating love seat is a very close second!   After I finally checked a nude leather jacket off my wishlist, I have been on the hunt for a good nude leather bag (not to wear together)- this one from  J. Crew is the perfect shade and a great classic shape.  I like earrings that you can dress up or down- these ones from BaubleBar feel like they would go equally perfect with jeans as they would with a cocktail dress.   I don't think I would get much wear out of this drop waist dress from Asos this summer, but I just know it would be perfect with a great belt for the Fall.

{friday cocktail: summerside}

This friday's cocktail reminds me of the smell of driving down PCH highway along the beach on a summer night with the smell of evening bonfires travelling into the window.   This recipe is inspired from a mix of a classic caipirinha and a southside, but with a smokey twist from the mezcal.   It's the perfect refreshing recipe for an outdoor get together this summer. 


Thursday, June 27, 2013

{fresh herb saving tip}

I'm going to be completely honest and tell you that we throw away a lot of food in our house.  Not because we are being particularly wasteful on purpose, but because while we do love to cook a lot of meals at home we are also also really busy with our weird work schedules.  Those two conditions come together to leave us with leftover ingredients that don't get used in time before they spoil- especially fresh herbs.  This is a problem since I could probably eat cilantro or basil on practically any dish and feel like I am constantly buying a fresh bunch of it for use in recipes.   When I saw a tip for saving fresh herbs on The Chew I knew I had to at least try it.  Carla on The Chew claims that this saving method could make fresh herbs last weeks which means having fresh herbs for recipes and then still having fresh herbs a few days later for cocktails!!

About a month or so ago I randomly caught the show, The Chew, while working from home one day. I have never been a big talk show fan or even a big cooking show fan (thats what I have pinterest & food blogs for!), but this show is so much fun to watch that I got hooked after one episode!  The banter between the hosts makes you feel like you are just sitting around entertaining them in your own home and Maraio Batali cracks me up constantly.  The recipes and entertaining tips on the program are actually really interesting while still being approachable.

 Here's the clip featuring the tip I mentioned earlier about saving fresh herbs:

Check out The Chew's past full episodes right here.

Tune in: Fresh Daily. 1e|12p|c on ABC

The Chew celebrates and explores life through food - from cooking to food trends, restaurants, holidays and more all aimed at making life better, fuller and more fun. Featuring celebrity chefs Mario Batali, Michael Symon, and Carla Hall, lifestyle expert Clinton Kelly and fresh face of healthy living Daphne Oz, “The Chew” is a leap forward into a delicious new kind of talk show.

Watch The Chew Weekdays at 1e|12p|c on ABC!

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by ABC via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of ABC.

{4th of july party inspiration}

While I am excited to get the chance to spend another year in Huntington Beach for the 4th, I am a little sad to be missing the all out celebrations that Chicago and the midwest have for the holiday (I hear it's huge!).   In anticipation of a great day of bloody marys, bike rides, pool lounging and firework watching, I thought it would be fun to put together a little inspiration board for next week's holiday!

the attire: I love these breezy dress options from J. Crew (solid blue) & Indah (printed).  I will obviously be pairing it with my patriotic flower crown from last year (see a diy tutorial here), but if I didn't have that as an accessory I would definitely opt for the understated red/white/blue statement necklace from BaubleBar

the spread: I would definitely start the day out with our doctored up bloody marys and glasses of champagne from Chandon's seasonally designed bottle (although I liked last year's design better!) and in the afternoon I would serve blueberry and blackberry caipirinhas.  In addition to the normal grilling fare of hamburgers and sausages, I think Joy the Baker's pretzel dogs would make for a fun snack.  Berries make it so easy to create a patriotic themed dessert like these mini trifles, but if I didn't have time or energy to whip those up I would just stick a sparkler in some ice cream and call it a day!

the activities:  The fourth is definitely not one of those type of holidays to be overly planned.  Our day will most consist of lounging poolside and then watching the fireworks on the beach at night, but we might venture out on bikes to see the parade in our hometown. 

Hope you all have wonderful plans in store for next week's holiday!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

{easy appetizer: mini toasts with boursin, tomato & mango}

I had never eaten Boursin cheese until I happened across the recipe I used to make these cucumber bites for our last birthday party, but ever since then I have been hooked.  I love to keep cheese and crackers on hand in our fridge/pantry for unexpected guests and Boursin is particularly perfect for this since it keeps for so long.  This appetizer has only four ingredients that require so little prepartion you could whip up this recipe at a moment's notice and delight your guests who will think it took you considerably longer.  The mixture of mango and tomato topping make the whole thing feel decidedly fresh and summery. Recipe at the bottom of this post!

what you need:

  • one pack of garlic & fine herb Boursin cheese
  • one tomato
  • one fresh mango or one can of sliced mangos*
  • one pack of mini toasts or cracker of choice
  • a few tablespoons of cream, half & half or whole milk
*I used canned mango because it tastes the same and I am lazy. I guess if you really want to put zero effort into this you could also used canned diced tomatoes! :)
  1. Mix Boursin with a few tablespoons of cream until you get a consistency that allows you to "pipe" the cheese.
  2. Place Boursin into a piping bag with simple round attachment.  If you dont have a piping bag, simply place the cheese mixture into a large ziploc bag and cut a tiny whole in the corner!
  3. Chop mango and tomato slices into small quarter inch sized squares. Toss together in a bowl and set aside. 
  4. Pipe Boursin directly onto the border of each mini toast- essentially creating a cage for the tomato/mango topping to sit inside. 
  5. Place a small spoonful of tomato/mango topping onto each toast. 
  6. Lightly salt & pepper if desired. Then serve immediately! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

{gold + glass coffee table}

We had our previous Ikea coffee table for almost 5 years, it followed us from our first place in Silverlake all the way to our loft in downtown Los Angeles.  When we moved it to the loft, we actually bought a second one of the exact same table and pushed them together to make one massive table.  It wasn't even a coffee table, it was technically a tv stand and it worked really well for a long time....right up until it didn't.  After making a few small purchases for our living room like this art, these ottomans and these pillows, I suddenly realized just how long we had owned this crappy $40 table.  It was definitely time for an upgrade and given our smaller space I definitely wanted something that would make the space feel more open while still providing ample space for our guest's cocktails. 

We decided on looking for a two tiered gold and glass coffee table inspired by images like this and this.  I figured we could easily find a table like this at a vintage store or estate sale- even if it wasn't the right color I was more than willing to spray paint it.  My mom actually spotted this guy at an estate sale in California- took apart the frame, shipped it to us and I had two new pieces of glass cut for it. 

I really love how open this table makes the center of the room look plus the ability to actually see the items on the lower level is really welcome change from the previous table. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

{cape cod}

Wow! Sorry for the unannounced lack of posting this week!  Between recovering from another amazing Palm Springs weekend and spending Father's Day in Orange County, I have been working like crazy on work projects as well as some personal projects soon to be unveiled here.  

In addition to all that, I feel incredibly lucky to say that only one weekend after Palm Springs I am headed out tonight to Cape Cod (for the first time ever!) to spend a weekend here. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

{what i loved this week}

on instagram: I discovered this launch of Bliss & Bone's wedding paper goods concept via Instagram recently and I am obsessed with their entire site.  Can someone please tell me if they know of a roller rink in the Chicago area- I got so excited with I saw Corri (a chi-town lady) was at a rink, but then I discovered she was in NYC :(   Loving all the paper goods I picked up for Palm Springs at Target & Ikea. 

on pinterest:  Not sure about the logistics of this or how it affects the pool filter, but balloons filled with water to look like pool confetti would be amazing for any outdoor party!  Love the idea of serving tiny salads at our next party-sometimes guests want something a little lighter. 

in real life:  We are out in Palm Springs this weekend with friends listening to this playlist.

on the blogs:  If you want to get a peak at the amazing studio where I get to work during the week, we just posted a little tour over on the Bliss Blog.  Lauren has such amazing ideas- how great are these hand made floral envelopes with contrasting floral liners?!?!

on my wishlist:  After buying this Zara skirt and wearing it to death over the past couple weeks, I think I should definitely add another dark floral pattern to my closet in the form of this ASOS dress.  Summer is here and I would love to invest in some proper copper mugs for Moscow Mules.  Even Muji has needs- this chic dog bowl would be a nice upgrade to his current dishes. 

{friday cocktail: lavender 75}

As promised from the post about our cali-persian dinner party earlier this week, I have a fabulous lavender sparkling cocktail for you today.  This one is basically a little update on a classic French 75, but substitues the floral lavender simple syrup and a dash of lavender bitters in the place of regular simple syrup!  Its just as refreshing as the recipe it's modeled after, but this one has a pretty purple hue and more garden inspired flavor.  It would be absolutely perfect as the signature cocktail at a bridal shower.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

{palm springs essentials}

This afternoon we are headed out to Palm Springs for what has become an annual group trip with our friends to stay the weekend at Chris' parent's vacation home.  Other than a night out at one of Palm Spring's downtown restaurant's (usually this one), we generally don't leave the house in favor of a day lounging by the pool drinking refreshing cocktails and playing lawn games.  I thought it would be fun to share some of the essentials I packed and a little peak into our usual weekend itinerary which will without a doubt be including my favorite palm springs friends- these swans.

All photos are from our trip last year follow along with this trip on my instagram right here.

sunscreen (ocean potion will seriously change your life) |  swimsuit (similar)  |  kaftan (similar here)
 j crew blouson dress (similar here)  | beach bag  |  sandals  |  towel  |  cocktail stirrers

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

{party inspiration: craft beer tasting party}

Girly party themes are so to come up with (sequins anyone?), but thinking of a fun party theme that is also masculine is a real challenge.  I decided to put a little party inspiration board for a craft beer tasting party I thought up after seeing these great (and affordable!) beer tasting sets at Target.  If anyone has any great masculine party theme ideas out there, I would LOVE to hear them!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

{cali-persian dinner party menu}

{dress from here}

Remember a few weeks back when I said I really wanted to recreate the entire "Cali-Persian" menu in Bon Appetit?  Well this past Sunday night we had some friends over for a little dinner party and we did just that!  The dishes in the article are not only super colorful and photogenic, but also bursting with flavor.  The best part of these recipes is while some of the preparation uses some foreign cooking methods (especially the rice), there are no hard to find or odd ingredients that will have you running all over town.

We opted to switch out the main lamb entree for a pork loin in the favor of mass appeal for our guests and you can see the recipe for the pork at the bottom of this post.  Overall this menu came out perfect for a warm summer evening- the food was refreshing yet satisfying and filled with interesting herbal flavor combinations.

Our menu for the evening was as follows:

  • simple cheese plate and snacks
  • lavender & lemon champagne cocktail (recipe coming on Friday!)

**our dinner guests insisted on bringing dessert, but had they not offered this was the dessert I would have made to accompany the meal. 

Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin

what you need:
  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoon of chopped rosemary 
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  1. For Brine: Combine orange juice, salt, chopped rosemary and 1/2 cup of water in bowl and stir to dissolve salt.  
  2. Place the tenderloin in a ziplock bag and add brine.  Brine for 6-12 hours
  3. Remove pork from brine and pat dry.  Brush with olive oil.
  4. Sear pork loin on high heat in a grill pan or cast iron skillet until nicely browned.
  5. Finish in a 400 degree oven until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. (approximately 10-15 minutes)
  6. Rest for 10 minutes and then slice on the bias into 12 pieces.  Top with chopped parsley.  

Friday, June 7, 2013

{what i loved this week}

Since I gave you no less than SIX cocktail recipes yesterday in the recap from the charity cocktail class we hosted at our house, I decided to skip the Friday cocktail today and go straight into what I loved this week....

on instagram:  Creative bar menus always bring something special for guests and I love this one that has a line up of cocktails named after all the different public transit lines in Chicago!  This credenza is styled so perfectly.  It is so amazing when readers send me their versions of DIY projects from this blog!

on pinterest:  A pinata filled with mini alcohol bottles and candy for a bachelorette is such a fun idea (just make sure you use plastic bottles!!).   This huge simply framed photo makes such an impact in a space and I imagine if you source it right then you could create this without spending a ton (do i feel a future diy post coming?!?!).

on the internets: I realize this is probably not new to a lot of people, but it is new to me and it had me laughing all afternoon on Wednesday- Thug Kitchen.  Best blog food blog I have ever seen. 

on my wishlist:  This swan is everything.   These cocktail glass coasters would make a great housewarming or engagement gift along with a nice bottle of whiskey or gin.  You you SEE these champagne cork side tables? I need them and then I need to host a champagne themed party.

on the blogs:  Sprouted Kitchen makes eating healthy look soooo good, I am definitely adding this one to the list of things to cook this summer- especially since I am trying to incorporate more fish in my diet.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

{charity cocktail class video + printables}

A few months ago, I helped out on the committee for Kellogg's annual Charity Auction Ball which is the annual charity formal that Chris' MBA program puts on (check us out at the event here, here, & here).  This year they raised over 70K for three different local charities through silent auctions.  The auctions are made up of typical items like sports tickets and vacations as well as the very popular "student donations" where students "donate" social events or outings that fellow students can bid on.  Chris and Josh donated a cocktail class in our home for 6 lucky students to enjoy.  We hosted the lucky winners a few weeks ago and had such a great time (although it didn't feel too terribly different than a regular Saturday night around our place!)

Chris and Josh created a menu of 6 different cocktails for our guests including classic recipes (like this one), a fabulous punch, and one original recipe the guys came up with.  I designed a small booklet for each of the guests to take home with all of the recipes from the evening because quite honestly after 6 cocktails, I dont expect anyone to remember cocktail recipe proportions!  Inspired by this amazing wedding program, I placed the recipe instructions on top of fun summer-inspired images that I altered into almost transparent backgrounds.  I then printed the recipes four up on a regular letter sized page, cut them out and assembled them together with a simple gold brad in the corner.  You can download the full files for these cocktail recipes at the bottom of this post!

After having so much fun creating the video from our anniversary weekend, I decided to try out making a short video from the cocktail class and I am equally pleased with how this one turned out!  I hope you enjoy taking part in the evening through this video as much as I do.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

{new additions}

This past week, I brought home lots of fun things and somehow all of them are metallic gold or silver! Here are few snapshots of some new additions around our place (and my closet!):

 {the Nate Berkus collection at Target is really great, but most of the stuff doesn't quite fit in with our decor- until I spotted this gold dipped bowl which is perfect for storing our remotes}

 {if you wanna be sneaky you can see a peek at our new gold coffee table in this photo which 
I promise to share just as soon as I get a piece of glass for the bottom}

 {I have been hunting for a vintage trophy champagne bucket forever.  Obviously these exist everywhere, but I really wanted to find a vintage one to give it that old school charm.  My aunts actually spotted this one at a vintage store in California and shipped it to me. Thanks aunties!}

{two sequin dresses to add to my collection: the one on the left is by Parker and the other one is vintage.  Both were purchased on Ebay for $50 each! Spring and summertime is the absolute best time to search around on Ebay and Etsy for great sequin party dresses for the upcoming holiday season.  While most people are thinking about bikinis and sundresses, you can be scooping up some jems for all those social gatherings that need a little glitz}

{mmmmm sequins.}

{victoria hudgins DIY video - brought to you by Pledge}

Today I have a little DIY video from Victoria Hudgins of theblog A Subtle Revelry.  I have been reading Victoria’s blog since before I even started blogging and she was actually the very first blogger to ever feature and link to my blog with this post.

Victoria created this series of videos in partnership with Pledge to not only showcase DIY projects, but also the clean –up aftermath that goes along with them.  My house is no stranger to lingering effects of some DIY projects- especially glitter as you can see here!


Pledge® Multi Surface Everyday Cleaner dusts AND cleans at the same time. Clean up multiple messes on multiple surfaces, all while removing up to 90% of the allergens found in dust and leaving the finish of your surfaces unharmed. See how you can dust better and clean more at

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Pledge via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Pledge.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

{summer travel essentials}

Over the next three months, I have an insane amount of travelling on my calender including trips to Palm Springs, Orange County, Cape Cod, New York, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, and Los Angeles.  Whew- just looking at that list gives me mild anxiety!!  I have always loved when people share their travel essentials (almost as much as I love those magazine articles when people dump out the contents of their purse and share every last piece!) so I thought I would put together a little round up of some things that are going to be in my travel bag regardless of where I am headed!

1. Since I refuse to buy one of those puffy u-shaped neck pillows (even though they do look incredibly comfortable!), I like to bring along a huge infinity scarf which can double as a pillow or a blanket. 

2. Bags on bags on bags.  My huge purse doesn't have any interior pockets so it is filled with tons of different zippered bags.

3. Ipad- enough said here, but I would be really depressed if I ever didn't bring it on a flight.  Although, I hate to read books on it so I usually load it with TV shows for long flights. 

4.  This adorable passport holder.  Stripes + gold text....this was obviously getting purchased by me. 

5.  Ever since I scored this awesome vintage Louis Vuitton garment bag at the Rose Bowl last year, I like to store any important outfits (like bridesmaids dresses) and use it as a carry on since I have an irrational fear of airlines losing my luggage. 

6.  Aveda Hand Relief was actually given to me when winter started in Chicago and it is a complete life saver.  This lavender scented hand sanitizer is available at Whole Foods and has the best scent of any hand sanitizer out there hands down! (pun intended?)

7. Kind bars.  They sell them at Starbucks so I know I can always find them in airports! 

8. I have always loved the Chanel Double Perfection compact since it is an amazing make up, but one of the best parts of it is the adorable travel case it comes in.

9.  I picked up Bond Girl, Girls in White Dresses & Revenge Wears Prada after seeing them on almost every summer reading list I have encountered.  I tend to get distracted on airplanes (by the bar cart) so I can't read anything too serious.