May’s Amazon Haul & Dyson Airwrap Review

I feel like I’ve been totally missing out on the jackpot. I’ve definitely shopped Amazon for household items such as coffee pods (hello life saving subscription!) but I never thought to search for clothes. Like real clothes. Like the exact same clothes that I buy on Shopbop. I must just never have paid attention to that top little tagline at the top reading “Free Shipping and Free Returns with Amazon Prime.” Say what!?

1 – Valencia & Vine Dress | 2 – Rattan Earrings | 3 – Revlon Dryer

4 – Parrot Earrings | 5 – Likely Top | 6 – Toma’s Sunless Tanning

So here I am now even more addicted to the e-commerce giant and finding some seriously adorable things. Like the rattan earrings (#2) I can.not.stop.wearing. They’re light-weight, on trend and SUPER affordable. And this dress (#1) – it had me at the leopard print but the smocked bodice -which I’m loving right now – completely sold me. The parrot earrings (#4) haven’t arrived yet, but I can’t wait to pair them with some bright maxi dresses and this top by Likely. They too were under $10 and made from sequins so I’m hoping they’re as adorable in person as they were online!

And let’s talk about this Revlon Volumizing Dryer. I waited months and months, stalking different sites for the Dyson Airwrap Hair Kit to come back in stock. And it did. And I purchased it immediately! As soon as it arrived I whipped out all the attachments and couldn’t wait to try it out. I must have been doing something wrong because I wasn’t blown away. So I watched different YouTube video tutorials and I followed everything step by step and yet, I still wasn’t impressed. I’m not sure if it’s because I have longer, wavy hair but the curls fell almost instantly and I didn’t feel like the brush attachments were de-frizzing at all. Plus I still had to separate my hair into sections which I didn’t find to speed up my normal routine. Now the blowdryer did speed up the time a little bit, but considering the $550 price tag, I wanted to love all the attachments, and I didn’t. I was super bummed. This one YouTube tutorial compared the Dyson brush attachment to this Revlon Volumizing Dryer and after she was done, I had to admit that I liked the Revlon side better! But to make sure I wasn’t about to be double bummed, I ordered the Revlon before I returned the Dyson and gave it a try. I LOVED it. It left my hair feeling so smooth, without much frizz at all. I was able to get to my root so there were no weird kinks with my wavy hair, and it saved me time since it was a dryer & volumizer in one! Plus my hair felt light which is huge for me! I highly recommend this product – especially if you have long, wavy, or thick hair!

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Aficionado

I feel like everytime I go to the grocery store I grab a pack or two of fresh herbs. Thyme, sage, rosemary, mint…. you can’t go wrong. They freshen up your meals and are perfect for cocktails! But luckily it’s that time of the year where I no longer have to go to the store to get herbs, I get to just reach out my backdoor and pluck a few sprigs from my herb ‘garden’. And when I say garden I mean my hangings pots – which I freaking love the look of!

I’ve played around with a lot of herbs and liquor combos and I think I’ve narrowed it down to Rosemary and Bourbon, Thyme and Gin, and you’re going to think I’m going a little nutso over here, but Cilantro and Mezcal. The Aficionado uses thyme and gin and it’s the perfect cocktail to give a very warm (long-awaited) hello to Summer.

Aficionado | makes 1 cocktail


1 large, juicy lemon
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tablespoon honey (I used a thyme infused honey)
2 ounces good gin (I used Hendricks)
1 ounce Dry Vermouth
  1. Juice the lemon through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl or juicer. Stir honey into lemon juice until dissolved.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in lemon juice mixture, gin, thyme sprig and Vermouth. Shake well until the ice has begun to break apart. Place a few ice cubes into a single old fashioned glass and pour drink into glass.
  3. Smack or rub the thyme sprig together in your hands to bring out the flavors a bit more before garnishing your cocktail with it.

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Charleston Dreaming

In about a month’s time I will be waking up in one of my absolute favorite cities, Charleston. I haven’t been to Charleston in a couple years but we talk and dream about it often. We’re also super lucky that my brother owns a house there, so our visit frequency is sure to increase!

But one of the most fun parts about a trip to me is the packing — and before the packing comes the shopping! I have been super drawn to flowy, comfortable sundresses, fun patterns, and the texture of rattan. Rattan has been popping up everywhere from bags all the way to earrings. I just ordered these cute rattan earrings, that are such a steal, and raved via Instagram about how much I love these rattan mules!

Another random hunt that I’m on is for all the kaftan like dresses. There’s something super chic and simple about a kaftan and some slides. I joked about only wearing kaftans last summer but as soon as this one arrived, I’ve been on the hunt for more! (SALE ALERT!) How chic would this kaftan be to run errands in… I say we give those yoga pants a rest and be equally as comfy! Here’s a few of my favorites ones out there right now…

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Monday Mockup – Blues

I joke with J that I’m going to start collecting all things blue and white for our the little weekend getaway house that we dream about. It’s a joke for now but the love affair I have with the color combo is real and Ginger Jars are where I really have to remind myself that this little dream getaway doesn’t exist… yet.

Now this blue and white combo is way more glam that what I imagine styling a cottage in, but there was something so old hollywood glamour about this shade of blue velvet that paired perfectly with the wood gold and acrylic nesting tables. Even just looking at it I want to touch it!

I would style a built-in bookshelf with fun ginger jars and white marble busts, books and scattered treasures like this branch. To add dimension I’d keep within the color family but add different prints and materials. Imagine curtains in this fun Kathmandu Porcelain print fabric, a leather wrapped sconce hanging over the table, and a sofa or bench in the ivory tweed. And we can’t forget that pillow. The geometric lines add a fun pop of color which is just enough for the room.

Do you ever dream of having a weekend getaway home? Would it be in the mountains or by a beach?! Casual or fancy?! Near or far?! Let me know if you too have searches set up on Zillow or if I’m just crazy!

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Chair, Article | Decorative Pillow, Bob Mitchell Gold Bob Williams

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Ramos Gin Fizz

About a year ago I started researching all things Mardi Gras; recipes, cocktails, history, and more. See I was hosting a Mardi Gras dinner party and I don’t mess around when it comes to parties… or cocktails.

Everyone has heard of a Sazerac, and no one actually wants to drink a Hurricane so the search was on for a cocktail that originated in NOLA, was sophisticated yet fun, and interesting enough to start the night off or take us all the way through.

Originally called the ‘New Orleans Fizz’, it became so popular after being served at the Imperial Cabinet Bar in 1888 that the name changed to honor it’s originator – Henry C. Ramos. Mr. Ramos eventually opened up another bar – The Stag, where his drink’s reputation blew up. Rumor has it that 20 bartenders had to be working on this cocktail alone per night. After shaking up a handful of these over the year I can actually see why it would take 20, 25, 30 bartenders to keep up with the Mardi Gras demand. This cocktail is good, but it requires a lot of shaking to really do the fizz justice.

Now, Mr. Ramos held his cocktail recipe close lipped and the verdict is still out if he ever did end up sharing the secret. So either he let it slip after one too many fizzes, or someone came darn close to replicating the concoction because the Ramos Gin Fizz has been solidified as an iconic NOLA and quite honestly one of my favorite cocktails of all time.

Gin haters, relax. You can’t even taste the juniper berries in this drink. It’s a light, refreshing, easy to drink-but-you-better-keep-track-of-how-many-you’re-drinking kind of cocktails.

Ramos Gin Fizz | Makes one cocktail

2 oz. Gin (I use Hendricks or Tanqueray)
1 dash orange blossom water
1 large egg white
1 tbsp half-half
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp simple syrup
1 cup of ice cubes
Sparkling water

Add all the ingredients to a shaker, minus the ice and sparkling water, and shake hard. And shake some more. (This is called dry shaking and a super important step to do!) Open the shaker and add ice just about above the liquid line. Shake and then shake some more. Maybe a little more just for a good faith effort. Strain into a highball glass. Pour a tad of sparkling water into the shaker and swirl to get the cocktail residue and slowly pour the sparking water into the highball glass.

Mardi Gras is next week so rest your arms up and celebrate by whipping up this delicious drink. After all, Mardi Gras is about being a little over the top!

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Monday Mockup – Olive Dining Room

If you remember a few posts back I was searching for dining chairs and landed on the windsor style. Well thank goodness I finally found the ‘one’ but in the process I came across so many amazing dining chairs. And although I didn’t want to mismatch the chairs in my dining room, I love the look of two different chairs and it’s even better when they’re complete opposites. Plus I love navy blue and dark green… especially in leather so when I saw these dining chairs I instantly wanted to mockup a dining room for them to live.

I’m going to try and mock up some rooms every so often – preferably on Mondays to keep the ‘Monday Mockup’ theme going – so I can get my design juices flowing and hopefully inspire a few of you who are looking to redo a room or make some one off updates in the future!

Simple, clean, and natural. The boxy table has an unexpected twist with alternating leg directions, and the shade is a creamy dream. I played on the color with the black cane chairs from DWR while adding contrast, and pulled out more natural shades by going with an olive green leather wrapped chair. (Mouth watering.) To give an airy view, I’d place the cane chairs on either end and the wrapped leather chairs on the sides. A muted cowhide rug will add additional texture and an eye catching shape to the room full of rectangles. I love love the whimsical look of an olive tree so tuck that in a corner and let the fluted chandelier shine in all it’s simplistic glory.

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Before & After – Kitchen Addition

Remember when our kitchen looked like this?

Yeah… I mean A for effort for trying to make it cute, right?! Ok, B+. After a year of living with it and really figuring out our pain points – like the non-existent counter space. We met with a few different contractors to begin figuring out how we could transform this peach galley into a dream kitchen and despite it taking longer than ‘promised’ (surprise, surprise) I could not be happier with the outcome. Looking at these before pictures have me pinching myself all over again. I can’t believe that from my current view there was a wall and instead I see pretty clean lines and the dreamest of dreamy countertops and a one slab backsplash. Our house just feels so much bigger despite not adding any actual space.

We saved nothing. Well I take that back, we kept the hardwood floors, but every cabinet and appliance and tile that was used for the countertop was tossed and I was singing hallelujah in the background.

Day by day, little by little it was re built. Black matte cabinets on the bottom, white up top. Quartz countertops. New [matching] stainless steel appliances. And a relocated gas lines and plumbing, to be more efficient. So without further adieu, here’s the finished product…

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Holiday Cheer

Before I start sharing the deets of this festive little cocktail, I want to say a quick thank you to everyone who reached out about my post below. It’s amazing to me that people I haven’t spoke to in years reached out and shared their journey – it really meant a lot.

Ok! Now back to our regularly scheduled programming… holiday cocktails!

The week before Thanksgiving I started testing out cocktails and it’s kind of a two-birds-one-stone situation since Thanksgiving and December holidays are so close. The Blackberry pear smash won Thanksgiving (recipe coming soon!) but this little cranberry peppercorn number might slide into first for our Christmas cocktail. 

I have been so intrigued to make a cocktail using pink peppercorns. Pink peppercorns are a dried berry of the shrub Schinus molle, commonly known as the Peruvian peppertree but they don’t have as harsh of a “pepper” taste as say black peppercorns. Turns out, pink peppercorns aren’t even peppers at all! It’s lighter, brighter, and a little pop of spice. 

To begin I made a cranberry “compote” using sugar, fresh cranberries, peppercorns and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat and let it simmer down into more of a thick liquid consistency. Remove from heat, and cool. Add 1.5 oz. of the mixture, 2 oz. of Gin (or you can substitute with Vodka) shake, pour and top with your favorite sparkling water!

It’s surprisingly a refreshing, light drink which is a great alternative to everyone’s favorite – spiked nog. Which I didn’t try to make my own, but I’m tempted this season to give it a shot!

 Pink Peppercorn Cranberry Cheer

                                                                    Gin based | makes one cocktail 

  • 1.5 oz of Cranberry Compote Mixture
  • 2 oz  of Gin (I used Hendricks)
  • Top with sparkling water

 

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Meet Florence Puppingale

Life has changed a little bit over the last month and despite a few less hours of sleep, my heart is filled with a little bit more love. To give a little bit of a back story, over the past three years about every three to four months J would mention how great it would be to have a dog. We’d be cooking dinner and he’d say, wouldn’t it be fun to have a dog just laying in the back room keeping us company? Or if we’d go out to a vineyard or any place with open land he’d make a similar sentiment. I always had an excuse. We had some trip coming up or I wanted to enjoy our new furniture without teeth marks or scratches. And although those were legitimate concerns of mine, there was also another big reason and that reason was that we had decided to start trying to expand our family. (A puppy and a baby is a lot to handle.) But the fact is we’ve been trying to expand our family for well over a year… over a year without success. 

It’s been a long year + of ups and down and feelings of hope and hopelessness. We’ve both been poked and prodded and yet none of the doctors we’ve met with can explain why we’re having difficulty. It’s been exhausting. And even more exhausting that for some reason it feels embarrassing, it’s a topic that no one discusses, and when you do bring it up, I hear “well at least you’ve got time on your side.”

We’ve tried to stay positive and distract ourselves with vacations, work, a kitchen renovation, and even a deployment– but every month we’re reminded and every month the house seemed to get a little quieter.  

So it finally seemed like there was no better time to expand our family and hearts in a different way. After reaching out to a few different breeders, we came across Florence. Florence not only had the cutest little face, her name  was on our “list” anyway since it’s J’s hometown, so it seemed like it was meant to be.  

We traveled up to meet her, and when her siblings went off to play in the yard, Florence came over to meet us. She’s brought in a little bit more noise to our house, a lot more joy, and one day– hopefully in the not too distant future– she’ll make a great big [fur] sister.

So meet Florence. (Also known as Flo, Flor, Flo-Flo, munchkin, babes,.. and the list of names go on.) She’s a red mini-goldendoodle (F1B) who loves nothing more than to cuddle and chew on the corners of anything she can find. We’re expecting her to be about 25-30 lbs and a medium sized dog, but for now we’re loving her puppy stage and soaking in every puppy kiss she gives!

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Changing Colors

Changing Colors | makes two drinks

  • 3 shots bourbon
  • 2 shots apple cider syrup (see first line of recipe below)
  • 1 shot fresh lemon juice
  • 2 strips of orange zest (for the apple cider syrup &/or to garnish)
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 1 clove, optional

Add the bourbon, apple cider syrup, and lemon juice to the shaker.

Boil the apple cider, 1 cinnamon stick, and orange zest over high heat until reduced. (I boiled two cups down to 3/4 cup). Set aside to chill. Break cinnamon stick in half. Add the bourbon, apple cider syrup, additional cinnamon stick pieces, and lemon juice to the shaker.  Add ice above the level of the liquid and shake. Pour over ice and garnish with your choice of a clove, cinnamon stick, or orange peel! Cheers!

 

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