Friday, May 30, 2014

{friday cocktail: garden rosé}

Rosemary is one of my favorite cocktail ingredients because of it's versatility.  It works just as perfectly in cozy winter drinks like this as it does in more refreshing light recipes like today's cocktail.  We celebrated officially signing our lease on a place in DTLA earlier this week alongside a bottle of sparkling rosé and I since I would never let a drop of champagne go to waste I decided to use the last of the bottle in a cocktail (natch).  This cocktail has a gorgeous color and a light fizz from the rosé, but all the flavor comes from the herbal rosemary and tart lemon mixed with a little honey for balance.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

{what i loved this week}

on instagram:  Love the scale of these presentation sized envelopes from A Fabulous Fete.  Shoe closet porn via Something Navy.  I am not ashamed to admit that over this past weekend I was glued to Instagram hoping for sneak peeks from the Kimye wedding!  With our pending move to our new (old) neighborhood, I will definitely be picking up the latest issue of LA Magazine that features DTLA on the cover!

on pinterest:  Red wine granita over vanilla ice cream sounds like the perfect dessert for a hot summer night because everyone knows that booze in dessert = happiness.  I am very intrigued by the idea of DIY-ing a ping pong table- especially one with beautiful wood grain like this.   

in the magazines:  I came across this article on tips for a stress free dinner party in one of our old issues of Bon Appetit and every single point is soooo spot on!

on my kindle:  After thoroughly enjoying By Invitation Only written by the Gilt founders, I'm thinking the next two books for my kindle should be The Glitter Plan (written by the Juicy Couture founders) and Girl Boss (written by the Nasty Gal founder). 

on the blogs:  How to perfectly style a console table from The Hunter Interior- this simple arrangement seems foolproof and I'll definitely be trying it in our next place!

on my wishlist:  Wedding season is upon us so I will need this gorgeous teal halter dress, this insane Badgley Mischka sequin number and this simple black one shoulder gown in additional to this clutch in my favorite color combination and these earrings

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

{mini appetizer trio}

While shopping for some decor items for our Moroccan themed dinner party, I came across this mini tasting set for only $20 and my mini food loving heart basically stopped.  So obviously I brought that immediately and started brainstorming exactly what dishes to make for it.  Initially I thought it might be perfect used to serve a trio of desserts at the end of the meal, but it's such a fun piece I decided it would be better to greet guests with it (because who knows what anyone is going to remember once we are three bottles of wine in at the end of the dinner so it's better to lead with fun stuff!).

For the tasting spoon piece I created a rosewater cucumber gimlet jello-shot (based on the success of this recipe).  For the mini square bowl, I placed a handful of spiced cashews from Trader Joe's in the interest of saving time - I had considered the idea of a mini salad in that vessel, but I figured my time was better spent on the main dinner entrees.  For the small glass, we whipped up a big batch of spicy tomato gazpacho which turned out to be my favorite dish of the entire evening!  Our guests were absolutely delighted with this fun sampler set up for the appetizers and I am definitely planning to use this set again for future dinner parties utilizing any number of the dishes from this inspiration board. I can't wait to share the rest of the decor, recipes and photos from this entire dinner party soon!

Scroll to the bottom of the post for links and tips on these recipes:

{garnishing the jello shots with a sprinkling of sugar}

Rosewater Gimlet Jello Shot:

3/4 cup gin
1/3 cup lime juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons of rosewater
3/4 cup water
2 packets of Knox gelatin
ice cube mold

Lightly spray silicone mold with cooking spray making sure to wipe down any areas where excess oil collects.  Mix together gin, lime juice, sugar & rosewater in a bowl and set aside.  In a small saucepan, heat water to just before boiling then remove from heat.  Add knox gelatin to heated water until fully combined then immediately add to gin mixture and stir until well incorporated.  Immediately add jello mixture to desired mold or you can use a small pan and cut out whatever shape you want once the mixture is set.  Place in fridge for 2 hours or overnight.  To remove from silicone molds, it helps to run a small knife along edges of mold or run warm water along the back of the mold.  Shots will hold at room temperature for about 2 hours before they start to melt a bit so it is best to serve immediately.

Thai Lime & Chili Cashews from Trader Joe's

Tomato Gazpacho:  We used this recipe from Cooks Illustrated, but be warned that it is a very involved recipe and if I were to do it again I would omit the "finely chopped" portion of the recipe which is intended to be added to the blended gazpacho at the end of the recipe.  I would avoid this part of the recipe partly because it's time consuming, but also because I prefer a smooth gazpacho and this step makes it more of a chunky salad texture.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

{moving news: we're headed back to LA!}

I can't believe that we have been living in Chicago for almost two years now- it feels like only a few months ago I was packing up our downtown LA loft and writing this post!!  The land of moving boxes and apartment hunting is upon us again as we have already booked our flights home to California for less than a month from now.  The good news is that we have zeroed in another great loft back in downtown LA and will hopefully be finalizing a lease this week.  I promise to share all the details of our new place as soon as possible! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

{friday cocktail: la flora fizz}

With three more bottles of ginger beer taking up real estate in our fridge after last week's cocktail, I've been inspired to find other uses for the tasty soda.  Today's recipe is based off of a Floradora cocktail which I am almost positive I have ordered and enjoyed at a bar, but I cannot for the life me remember which one (hey- when you are drinking cocktails some memory loss is to be expected right?!).  To save time I chose to simply muddle the raspberries rather than make raspberry syrup and add in ginger beer in the place of soda water and ginger syrup.  This light and refreshing cocktail delivers a slightly sweet yet tart flavor alongside the gentle fizz of the ginger beer perfect for sipping on a patio while gossiping.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

{moroccan dinner party inspiration}

Ever since we returned home from our trip to Marrakech, I have been dreaming about throwing a colorful party inspired by our time there.  Our 5 days in Morocco had such a magical feeling that only comes from being in a place that is so foreign and filled with exotic discoveries at every turn.  I hope I never forget the feeling of wandering through the maze of the souks taking in all the gorgeous trinkets or the intriguing all night dinners in ancient Riads served with the unparalleled hospitality of the region.  With the weather finally warming up I figured the coming weeks would be the perfect time to host a little outdoor dinner party starting at sunset with a decidedly Moroccan theme complete with plenty of romantic lanterns, vibrant colors and a flavorful Mediterranean menu.  Here's the inspiration board I put together for the evening:

I have a few go-to playlists that I use when we have guests over for dinner (as well as a couple for bigger parties or special trips), but I've been needing to create a refreshed version and this dinner party gave me the perfect excuse to mix some classic favorites with some more interesting moroccan inspired tracks.

You can play it directly from the playlist below or subscribe to it right here!


I can't wait to reveal some of the decor I have been hunting down and share the entire dinner party including the delicious menu with you soon!

Find what speaks to you.

Compensation was provided by Pier 1 via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Pier 1.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

{easy sunday brunch + the perfect bloody mary}

There are few weekend activities I love more than brunch.  Whether it's at a swanky brunch with my girlfriends or a greasy neighborhood spot to nurse a hangover or even hosting a big group at our place, I will never turn down a brunch opportunity.  I think what makes brunch so amazing is that the sole purpose is to enjoy a leisurely Sunday meal rehashing the weekend's activities and stories alongside plenty of bloody marys!  Whenever Chris and I don't have plans on a Sunday, we love to celebrate the end of the weekend with a casual brunch in our home with my favorite layered breakfast dish and a ulta decadent bloody mary complete with an over the top garnish.  Check out below for our go-to brunch dish and the recipe we use for a perfect bloody mary including my secret ingredient!!

{this layered brunch dish has made many appearances for breakfast in our house.  It consists of a simple base of arugula tossed with a light vinaigrette and fresh cherry tomatoes.  Then we add a Belgium waffle from Trader Joe's frozen section topped with crispy bacon and a poached egg.}  

{if you love that salty/sweet combo for brunch then you can even drizzle a bit 
of maple syrup on this dish!} 

{everything that goes into the perfect bloody mary- just add vodka!}

{over the top garnishes are my favorite part of a bloody mary and this one includes cornichons, olives, lime wedges and fresh cucumber- check out the little video I made of turning up your bloody mary right here}

{my secret bloody mary ingredient is to top the finished cocktail with a few dashes of Scrappys celery bitters to really kick up the celery aroma}

The Perfect Bloody Mary Mix

mix together in a large pitcher the following ingredients:

  • 1 quart tomato juice
  • lemon juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
**I omitted horseradish from my mix because its just not my thing, but feel free to doctor up your mix however you desire! 

Place plenty of ice in a high ball glass, add 2oz Pinnacle Vodka and then top with bloody mary mix. Garnish with celery stick, garnished skewer and straw.  Place a couple dashes of celery bitters on top and enjoy!

Pinnacle Vodka shakes things up with unexpected experiences and delightful discoveries. Explore with other fun flavors at”. Also, check us out at and or find more fun 
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Monday, May 19, 2014

{iphone 5 case round up}

Last week I became the proud owner of a new iPhone 5 (an upgrade that has been waaaaay overdue).  Now the hunt is on to find the perfect case to protect it from all the times I will undoubtedly drop it such as every other time I get out of the car and forget the phone was on my lap- does everyone suffer from this issue or is it just me?

Here's a few I have been eyeing (my favorite is the white tassel case, but there's an obvious question of practicality there):

clockwise from top:  Palm & Flamingo Case  |  Tassel Case  |  Striped Case 

Friday, May 16, 2014

{friday cocktail: mezcal mule}

I was first introduced to mezcal at downtown Los Angeles' tequila-only bar, Las Perlas, and I definitely did not care for it at first- it tasted as if someone put out their cigar out in my drink.  Over the years I have tried it out in different drinks and now I even prefer it to regular tequila (this is the bottle we keep on our bar currently).   When mixed correctly, I find I appreciate the smokey taste and depth of flavor this interesting spirit adds.  I found this cocktail recipe for a Mezcal Mule in one of my favorite cocktail books that I have mentioned here and actually got the chance to meet the author at during this event.  This cocktail might just the perfect balance of spice and smoke - perfect for a hot summer night fiesta!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

{what i loved this week}

on instagram:  Love this whimsical beach print from Max Wanger.  Apparently LA is having a heat wave while Chicago is experiencing severe thunderstorms which is making me dream of the pool at The Standard in downtown LA (yes- there is another hip hotel in DTLA besides The Ace.)  Bottega Louie sweets captured by one of my favorite Paris bloggers.  My girlfriend Heather whipped up some apps this past weekend inspired by this post and I secretly like her flavor combo more than mine!

on pinterest:  OK- I clearly have some of sort of weird recent obsession with watermelon appetizers- just add these to the list.  Adorable floral menu for a summer gathering. 

on my kindle:  I have read Babe Walker's hilarious blog forever, but somehow never read her books until a friend informed me I was seriously missing out.  She was sooo right and I already finished Babe's first book White Girl Problems and have moved on to the new addition, Psychos.

on the blogs:  One of our favorite meals in Paris was a laid back night at L'as du Falafel in the Marais and my fave food blogger Claire of The Kitchy Kitchen has recreated their delicious recipe.

on the internets:  I was so excited to find out that Apartment Therapy dug out the images of our living room from our house tour in our LA loft for their "look for less" series.  

on my wishlist:  I recently discovered AHALife after seeing their gorgeous passport covers on pinterest so this week's entire wishlist consists of fabulous items from their site including these chic lace bunny ears, XL whiskey stones, the perfect chilled carafe for white wine picnics and a masculine leather laptop cover

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

{peony season}

The short lived peony season is now upon us!!!  With a full inventory after Mother's Day, I was able to pick up a few bunches of bright fuchsia peonies on sale at Whole Foods for $8 per 5-stem bunch (I had to stop myself from buying more than 2 bunches which was really an exercise in self control that I shockingly succeeded at.)   These lush fluffy flowers come in an array of colors usually shades of pinks or white and are definitely the one of the darlings of the flower world.  These blooms are generally a bit more pricey than your regular fresh bouquet and will require some special care in order to keep the fresh cut flowers thriving for as long as possible.  After buying my fair share of peony bunches and working alongside some of the most experienced floral companies in the Chicago wedding industry, I've picked up a few tips for elongating the life of these gorgeous flowers that I thought I would share with you today:

{one thing to keep in mind here is that you will want to buy peonies fully closed (see photo below) to last as long as possible.  The blooms will open within a day if you keep them in a warm room.  If you are buying peonies in the afternoon that you wish to be displayed that same evening you may want to select a bunch that has started to open already because your blooms might not open in time.}

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

{party inspiration: bocce + bro-sé}

One day back when we were in Paris, we were sitting around with a few friends of ours and one of our male friends jokingly referring to his glass of rosé wine as "bro-sé" in an attempt to make the pink liquid seem more manly.  We all thought this was hilarious and joked around about for a little bit until it occurred to me that this idea of "bro-sé" could make for a really fun party in the summer.  Since alliteration makes everything sounds better, I thought a little outdoor get together of bocce + brosé would be the perfect party to throw once the weather warms up.  Similar to the cocktails + croquet party inspiration from here this party would be a simple set up of outdoor games, small fresh bites and lots of rosé (this bottle is one of my all time favorites and you can find it at Whole Foods!)

  Ask all your guy friends to round up their most masculine bottle of rosé to share and you'll whip up a batch of these or these for guests to munch on.  Since you will be outdoors, keep the decor simple with colorful blankets and a handful of signs like this one for the game area.  Even though it's a simple outdoor party, I would still want to don a glamorous summer dress like this one!  Also this image would absolutely have to be used somewhere in relation to the party- perhaps on the invite?