Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Skinny Texas Cheese Fries


Let's be honest- cheese fries are delicious. Every time I see them on a menu, I'm tempted, but this recipe from skinnytaste.com is probably better (and healthier) than what you'll get at your local pub.

What You'll Need:
2 potatoes, washed and dried (skin on)
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cumin
Sprinkle of kosher salt and black pepper
1-2 slices center cut bacon, cooked and finely chopped or crumbled
1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp diced scallions
2 Tbsp pickled jalapeño slices

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and spray it with cooking spray.
  2. Cut the potatoes into french fry-size slices, then toss them with the olive oil and spices until they're well-coated.
  3. Spread the potatoes on the baking sheet and bake them for 25 minutes or until crisp. Make sure to flip them once during cooking, and if they're not crispy after 25 minutes, let them go a little longer!
  4. Remove the fries from the oven and smother them with the cheese, bacon, scallions and jalepeno slices (Note: if you prefer, you can transfer them to a smaller oven-safe dish before covering them with cheese... this makes presentation easier if you're sharing!). Return the pan to the oven for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt and bubble. 
  5. Serve the fries with low fat buttermilk ranch or a side of reduced-fat sour cream. Enjoy!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fun with Photos

My Bedroom "Gallery"
I love photos, but it's often tricky to find a way to display all of your favorites without turning your walls into dorm-esque bulletin boards. As we started decorating our new place in Austin, I went straight to Pinterest for a little photo inspiration. If you're looking to create a contemporary gallery wall for your favorite prints, try leaning your frames instead of hanging them.

bhg.com via Pinterest
lonny.com via Pinterest

Don't have a mantle or a cool spot for your snapshots, hang a couple of shelves and create a ledge. You can find an inexpensive option at IKEA, but Hobby Lobby and Michael's also sell them near the frame section.
apieceoftoastblog.com via Pinterest
mommo-design.blogspot.com via Pinterest
A tip if you decide to recreate one of these looks: buy some sticky tack. Frames aren't really meant to lean, so they often slide and fall. A tiny dot of sticky tack from your favorite craft or teacher store won't hurt your furniture and it will keep those frames perfectly in place!

Not sure about the leaning frame look? Check out some of these other cute photo projects from Martha Stewart.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weekend Fun


It's Friday, and after a long week I could not be more excited for some fun weekend activities. If you haven't made plans yet, here are some fun ideas:
  1. Play a round of mini golf.  I'm looking forward to a late afternoon adult beverage and a fun-filled round at Peter Pan Mini Golf with some new friends on Saturday. 
  2. Take a stroll through the Arboretum. Every city I've lived in has had an arboretum. Some are forest-y, some are full of flowers, but either way it's a great way to enjoy some fresh air and take in some beautiful scenery. Can't get to an arboretum? Try a local park or even the zoo!
  3. Visit an art gallery. This is a perfect rainy day activity, but it's also just nice to zone out and focus on your inner art critic. I love the idea of saturday brunch, a visit to a local gallery or art museum, and perhaps a little shopping downtown. 
  4. Enjoy a progressive dinner. This activity takes a bit of planning and foresight, but it's super fun! Stop for happy hour drinks at your first destination, appetizers at the next place, a main course at stop number three, then follow it up with a fourth course, dessert, after-dinner drinks... you get the idea! This would also be fun if you had a big group of friends who were each willing to host the group and serve one course. 
  5. Get crafty. A DIY activity is always fun on a lazy sunday. Need some inspiration? Shop Darby Smart's projects and supplies or troll Pinterest for a cool idea.  You'll feel accomplished when you have a finished product to show off!




Thursday, September 25, 2014

It's a Date

Image from Glamour.com
Many of my blog posts are inspired by real life, and although I'm not the one playing the field, this post is no exception. I don't consider myself to be an authority on dating, and I am sure that there's lots of other good advice out there, but I've been asked these two questions again and again:

Q: I went out on Friday with CuteWithBrownHair. We had a great time, but how do I know that he/she considers it a date?
A: My advice is that if you felt a spark, they probably did too. Did you want to linger over dessert all night and keep talking? Did he put his hand on the small of your back as he walked you to your car? There are no hard and fast rules for what classifies as a "date" these days, but if you had fun and are interested in seeing the other person again, make a move! Don't waste your energy over-analyzing the minute details of the experience, just go with it and enjoy the ride.

Q: I met a guy on InsertDatingSiteHere. On our first date, we split the bill, but it would have been more chivalrous for him to pick up the tab. Should I turn him down if he asks me out again?
A: When it's time for the bill in any scenario, things can get tricky. Often, we're quick to whip out our wallets and offer to pay. If you offered to pay or split the bill and he accepted, then don't hold it against him! Perhaps he picked up some feminist vibes and didn't want to insult your fierce independence. Or, maybe he just didn't want to argue over the bill on the first date. Again, don't waste your energy over-analyzing the minute details. If you liked him and had a great time, then say yes when he asks you out again. Next time, if you really don't feel that it's appropriate for you to pick up the tab, then don't offer in the first place.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Oktoberfest in Austin

Image from Tastingpanelmag.com
Oktoberfest is underway in Germany, but there's no need to hop on a plane to partake in great beer and delicious German fare. Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden is full of lederhosen-clad staff who will help you choose from over 100 beers on tap and several more by the bottle (note that they have a pretty huge gluten-free beer selection too).

Belly up to the bar, or sit at a long picnic table outside while you indulge in homemade (and often exotic) sausages. You can't go wrong with an Oktoberfest classic: wurst topped with sauerkraut and served with warm German potato salad. However, I highly recommend stepping out of the box and trying something new like the Currywurst (my personal favorite) or Smokey & the Boar.

Image from Weblogtheworld.com
Like most places in Austin, Banger's has live music from time to time and other fun events throughout the week.  I like Mega Mutt Monday- a happy hour for humans and dogs alike. If you don't have a furry friend, check out their website to see all of the other events taking place- there's something for everyone!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall is Here!

Source: Pinterest
Who's ready to don some cute boots and play in the leaves?! I love fall, and although it still quite warm in Austin, I'm embracing the season with Spiced Cider Doughnuts, Pumpkin Bread, and some fall decor. 

What are you favorite things about autumn? If apple-picking is on your list, then you'll  love this adorable idea from Lauren at Lauren's Latest: An apple dipper bar! It's a fun way to use up those apples you picked, and it would be a healthy-ish addition to your next Sunday Football-watching party.

Apple Dippers from Lauren's Latest


Monday, September 22, 2014

Tortilla Espanola with Romesco Sauce


A recent girls' night out for tapas and wine left me craving tortilla espanola, so I dug up this recipe from Martha Stewart that I've been meaning to try. Although it took a little bit more work than a basic frittata or omlette, it was well worth it. Neal and I paired it with some delicious (and slightly effervescent) Portugese wine and had it for dinner, but it would also make a great appetizer for your next dinner party.

What You'll Need:
1 pound zucchini, sliced into 1/8 in. thick rounds
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into 1/8 in. thick rounds
1 large spanish onion, sliced into 1/4 in. thick rounds
10 large eggs
1 cup finely grated Parmesan 
1 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped

For the Romesco Sauce:
1/4 cup blanched almonds, toasted
1 clove garlic
1 10 oz. jar piquillo pepper, drained
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar


Directions:
  1. Toss zucchini with salt in a colander set over a bowl. Let it drain a for about 30 minutes. The salt helps to draw out the moisture from the zucchini, so don't forget this step!
  2. While the zucchini is sitting in the colander, heat 1 cup of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat until it shimmers. Add the potatoes and onion, then reduce the heat to low and allow it to cook for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally, scraping up the brown bits, until the potatoes are tender but not taking on any color.
  3. Add the zucchini to the potato mixture and cook for an additional 15 minutes. 
  4. Transfer the potato mixture to a colander and let the olive oil drain off for about 5 minutes. In the meantime, clean your skillet, wiping it clean of any stuck on potato.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, parmesan, and basil. Add the potato mixture. 
  7. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in the skillet until it begins to shimmer. Add the egg and potato mixture. 
  8. Reduce heat to low and cook the tortilla for about 10 minutes, occasionally running a flexible spatula around the edges to keep them from sticking. 
  9. Transfer the skillet to the oven for about 15 minutes. You'll know it's done when the center is set and the edges begin to turn golden brown.
  10. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the tortilla to cool for 5 minutes. 
  11. Flip the tortilla out onto a wire rack, then use another wire rack or flat surface to flip it right-side up. Continue cooking for 30 min to 1 hour.
  12. While the tortilla is cooling, pulse the toasted almonds and garlic in a food processor. Add the piquillo peppers, olive oil and sherry vinegar to create a romesco sauce. This can be stored in the fridge until you're ready to serve your dish. 
  13. Slice the cooled tortilla espanola into big wedges (or small if you're making an appetizer) and serve with a dollop of romesco sauce. 

The best part about this dish is that it's not meant to be served hot. You can make it a day in advance, store it in the fridge, and it will still be delicious!

Friday, September 19, 2014

DIY Doormat

DIY Doormat from Cupcakes & Cashmere
I've been in a DIY mood this week, so I had to share this post from Emily at Cupcakes & Cashmere. We moved recently, and I've been on the hunt for the perfect doormat, but it's harder than you think! I love the neon striped version that Emily created (although I don't think it will fly with Neal).

Tape, some neon paint, and a basic doormat (plus a touch of patience since the stripes need to dry overnight) are all you need for this do-it-yourself creation.

Here are some other doormats that I've had my eye on:

Nautical Doormat from Etsy.com
From Eurohomestyle.com
Custom Address Doormat, Etsy.com
Which one is your favorite?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Steakhouse Steak at Home

Yummy Steak at Sullivan's- One of my favorites!
I love a great steak, so when I'm cooking at home I often recreate steakhouse-style steak. I'm talking about the delicious, buttery steaks that you get at Sullivan's. It's easy and more budget-friendly than dining out.

What You'll Need:
8-12oz Grass-fed fillet (or whatever steak you choose- a ribeye would also be great)
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp butter (optional)

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place an oven-safe skillet in the oven to preheat for 5-10 min.
  2. Using oven mitts (be careful!), transfer the skillet to the stovetop and heat over medium heat. 
  3. Coat the steak liberally with oil and season with salt and pepper. Don't skimp! You're creating a delicious, peppery crust. 
  4. Place the steak onto the skillet and cook, turning once, until well-charred. This will take 3-5 minutes per side.
  5. Transfer the skillet back into the oven and cook for another 3-4 minutes. 
  6. Remove the steak and let it sit for about 5-7 minutes before serving (if it's already at your desired done-ness, remove it from the hot pan). 
  7. Top with melted butter and an additional grind of fresh pepper before serving. 
I like to serve mine with sautéed mushrooms and onions in a garlic/red wine reduction. It sounds fancy, but you simply need to sauté mushrooms and onions with a bit of garlic and red wine. Let it cook down (the "reduction" part) until the onions and mushrooms begin to caramelize. 

If you need a steakhouse-style side dish, try these crispy roasted brussels sprouts. They're healthy and amazingly delicious. If you don't like brussels sprouts, you might be converted!

p.s. When you're trying this recipe, don't forget a great glass of full-bodied red wine or a gin martini with blue cheese olives. It will help to create the steakhouse ambiance! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Texas Wine Trail


Traveling to Sonoma/Healdsburg, California has been one of my favorite vacations to-date. Neal and I sipped wines, biked through beautiful vineyards, and came home with incredible memories. Now that we're in Austin, I've been eager to explore the Texas wine country and see how it measures up.

With 42 unique wineries scattered across Hill Country and a climate the feels a bit similar to California, the Texas Wine Trail seems like a destination for novice wine-tasters and sommeliers alike. We've been sampling some Texas wines at home, and we are looking forward to an upcoming weekend of wine-tasting as we travel to Fredericksburg.

October is Texas Wine Month, so if you're looking for a fun fall getaway, come on down!

Where to Stay: 
  • Find a cute hotel that's in the heart of the action (nobody wants to drink and drive). Flat Creek Estates and many of the other vineyards have tiny bed and breakfasts that aren't advertised online, but give them a call. 
  • If you're looking for a more hotel-like experience, check out this site for lodging along the trail. 
What to Do:
  • This is obvious-sip some great wine! Several of the wineries along the trail host events, so check out this calendar and plan your route in advance.  
  • Live music is popular in Austin, but it's also making its way down the Wine Trail. Several wineries host Friday and Saturday night events with live music and great food to accompany the vino.
  • There are nearby towns that make for a fun stop when you're ready for a wine-tasting break. Greune (pronounced like "Green") is a cute little town full of fun shops to explore, and if you're there on the 3rd weekend of the month, you can shop the Old Gruene Market Days
  • New Braunfels isn't too far from the wineries you'll be exploring, and it offers a different kind of fun. On a warm day, you can tube down the Guadalupe River, or, if tubing's not your thing, check out the Natural Bridge Caverns- they're some of the largest in Texas. 
Enjoy your trip! Cheers!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

DIY Market Tote


If you're shopping in Austin, you'll quickly realize that everyone shops with their own adorable market bags and reusable totes. In 2013, the city of Austin banned all single-use bags (like the plastic bags you get at the grocery store), so carrying your own tote is more than just trendy.

My entryway closet holds an odd collection of random bags we've acquired from different retailers, but this weekend I decided to kick it up a notch and create some cute DIY totes for our future shopping trips.

Brushes, Canvas Totes, and Fabric Paint
I was quick to dive in and freehand a floral pattern while Neal took a bit more time and precision creating geometric shapes.

My Flowers
Neal's Work-in-Progress
The finished products turned out great, and I'm excited to use them on our next trip to the farmer's market or the mall. 

My Finished Product

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bedding on a Budget

Decorating a new place is fabulously fun, but moving is expensive. I recently spotted a bed that I LOVED at Loft Home in Austin, but after adding up all of the pieces, the price tag was a bit prohibitive.  I am not typically a frugal shopper, but rather than splurge, I challenged myself to recreate this look for less.

My inspiration @ Loft Home
I've been carrying around the above photo as I shop around, and I've had some great success. My first find was a blue patterned quilt on Rue La La. It's not a duvet cover like the beautiful one at Loft, but it has a similar pattern.

My Rue La La Find
I also found a great navy patterned sheet set at Target. The pattern isn't an exact match, but it looks great with the beautiful Hudson Park navy duet set that I picked up on sale at Bloomingdale's Home. Plus, the price tag was less than $50, which is a steal compared to the $455 price tag on the John Robshaw set at Loft Home.

Navy Sheets from Target
To add a pop of color and another pattern, I've been scoring Etsy.com for the perfect throw pillows. I like the look of some of these:

Navy and Coral Pillowcases on Etsy.com
The look is coming together, and it all looks great on the Nailhead Upholstered Headboard/Frame that we purchased from West Elm. Once I've completed the look, I'll post some pictures and you can let me know what you think. After the bed is complete, a bar cart is my next project!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bad Hair Day

Today is a bad hair day. We all have them, but today my tresses are in serious need of a trim. I'm looking forward to a haircut this weekend, but in the meantime, I'm trying out this easy topknot. Check out the step-by-step guide:

If your hair is fine like mine, you may need a little bit of extra "oomph" to create the messy-yet-polished look above. I recommend using a dry shampoo (for brunettes, try Detox Dry Shampoo for Brunettes)- it gives your hair a bit more texture and hold. 

Not ready for a topknot but need to revive your hair? Run a Mason Pearson Hairbrush through your lovely locks and pull your hair up into a sleek ponytail. The brush is worth the investment and it works wonders!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Perfect Poached Eggs

Poached eggs are delicious and versatile, but I've never been able to get them quite right. My solution: order them at restaurants but do not attempt at home. In retrospect, this was a silly way to sidestep the issue- poached eggs are actually simple and this short video de-mystifies the process for cooking them perfectly each time:


After perfecting this new technique, I whipped up a delicious spinach salad topped with a poached egg for dinner. With spicy chorizo and some hearty potatoes, it's a savory take on breakfast for dinner.

What You'll Need:
White Vinegar (see video above... this is for cooking the eggs)
4 eggs
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 fingerling potatoes, sliced (these are the tiny ones)
5 ounces baby spinach
2 chorizo links, sliced into 1/2 in. slices
2 Tbsp minced shallots
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:
  1. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, sautéing the potatoes until cooked (they should be golden on both sides).
  2. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl using a slotted spoon and add the spinach.
  3. Add the additional 1 Tbsp olive oil to the skillet and cook the chorizo. Remove the sausage from the pan using a slotted spoon.
  4. Remove the skillet from heat and add the minced shallots, allowing them to cook for a bout 30 seconds before swirling in the sherry vinegar.
  5. Pour the dressing into the bowl of salad and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Poach the eggs (see video above).
  7. Divide the salad amongst four plates and top each with one egg. Bon appetit!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sushi Etiquette

Sushi Bar @ Uchiko
Sushi is one of my favorite foods, but it's easy to make a faux pas while finagling chopsticks. Jason Kessler of Bon Appetit writes in detail about sushi etiquette, but here are a five quick tips:

  1. The rice is just as important as the fish in sushi. Don't remove the fish from the rice, even if you're trying to be polite and take smaller bites. 
  2. Eat each piece in one bite. Sushi is not meant to be cut up. It IS meant to be a finger food, so feel free to use your digits instead of chopsticks if you choose.
  3. Avoid mixing wasabi into your soy sauce. Fresh wasabi is carefully prepared, so don't dilute it with soy!
  4. When you dip your sushi into soy sauce, dip carefully from the fish side. Rice is absorbent, so dunking it will simply overwhelm your bite with salt and you won't get the full experience of the fish. 
  5. Ginger is meant to be a palette cleanser, not a garnish for your spicy tuna roll. Do not put ginger on top of your bite of sushi. 
Ready to test out your sushi skills? Head over to Uchiko or belly up to a sushi bar in your neck of the woods. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cinnamon Streusel Pumpkin Bread


As I stocked our new pantry this weekend, I couldn't help but purchase a few cans of pumpkin. It still feels like summer in Austin, but I'm getting into an autumn state of mind. On Sunday I whipped up a couple loaves of this INCREDIBLE vegan cinnamon streusel pumpkin bread. It took every ounce of willpower that I have not to eat it all at once!

What You'll Need:
3 3/4 cups GF flour
2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cinnamon
15 oz. canned pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup honey (or maple syrup if you're vegan)

For the topping:
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup GF flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
Pinch of coarse salt

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease two loaf pans (or 6-8 mini loaf pans).
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. 
  3. Mix the pumpkin puree together with 1 cup vegetable oil, 1/3 cup water, and 1/3 cup of honey.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans. 
  6. In a small bowl, mix the ingredients for the topping together. You can do this with a fork, but I find it's easier to do it with clean hands (as long as you can handle messy fingers!).
  7. Evenly divide the topping amongst the loaf pans. 
  8. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (note that baking time will be less if you're using mini loaf pans).
  9. Allow the loaves to cool for about 20 minutes before removing them from the pan. 
  10. Serve with coffee for breakfast, as a snack, as dessert... the possibilities are endless!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Vino Vino


I love wine, so after a long week of settling into our new city, Neal and I checked out a local wine bar called Vino Vino. We dined on soft cheese and roasted grapes from Cowgirl Creamery and then indulged in delicious seared pork chops with sunchokes and a bacon-corn succotash. Paired with a couple of very affordable glasses of wine, it was a perfect start to a fun Friday night.

If you're in the Austin area, Vino Vino is worth a visit. The dark, cellar-like ambiance would make a romantic setting for a casual date, or gather a group and enjoy a few bottles together.  

If you're not in Austin, come visit! But in the meantime, you can re-create the wine bar experience with some wine and food pairings at home or at your favorite restaurant. If you need help making selections, get up to speed with Kevin Zraly's 60 Second Wine Expert series. His short YouTube clips are informative and cover topics ranging from smelling wine to using "wine words." Below is one of my favorites- a quick introduction to wine tasting:

Friday, September 5, 2014

Capsule Wardrobe

Painting by Inslee Haynes, Pinterest
Capsule wardrobes have been a hot topic amongst my group of friends lately. Here are the basics: You keep a small selection of high-quality, interchangeable pieces that express your personal style and allow you to pull together beautiful outfits with minimal effort. A simple Google search will yield   hundreds of capsule wardrobe how-tos, but I really like this post on Into Mind.

Rather than mimicking someone else's capsule collection, Into Mind's post goes through the basics and provides guidance that you can use as you put your own personal spin on the concept.  If you're looking for a quicker summary, check out this post from Caroline at Unfancy. Her post breaks it down into five simple steps:

Neal and I are going to embrace this minimalist approach as we fill the closets in our new space. I'll keep you posted on our progress!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Stock Up: Pantry Essentials

A perfectly organized pantry, courtesy of the Container Store
If you've moved recently, you know that the first trip to the grocery store is usually a big one. It's important to restock your pantry thoughtfully so that you'll have exactly what you need when you're ready to whip up a quick dinner or satisfy your sweet tooth with a batch of homemade cookies.  Here are the essentials that I keep in my house:

Pantry
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Confectioner's sugar
  • Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour (I like the Cup 4 Cup brand)
  • Corn masa flour
  • Yellow cornmeal
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder
  • Vanilla extract
  • Almond extract
  • Iodized salt
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black peppercorns
  • Dried parsley
  • Dried oregano
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground cumin
  • Chilli powder
  • Crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • Canned tomato paste
  • Chicken stock
  • Chocolate chips
  • Peanut butter chips
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Canola oil
  • Canned coconut milk
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Dried pasts (I like Tinkyada for GF noodles)
  • Old fashioned oats
  • Molasses
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Garlic
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Onion
Fridge
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Green apples
  • Milk
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Tamari soy sauce
  • Sriracha 
  • BBQ sauce
  • Mayonnaise
  • Whole grain mustard
  • Apricot jam (or your favorite variety)
  • Chicken breasts- freeze them for more longevity
  • Mixed greens
I also like to have beer and wine on hand, but that's personal preference. Start with these basics and then add from there! Happy Re-Stocking...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Take Note

If you've read my blog before, you know that I love handwritten notes and cards. There's something so personal about receiving mail, rather than email. Personalized stationery is the perfect accompaniment to your hand written notes, but it doesn't have to be boring! I've rounded up some fun options:
PaperSource.com
TinyPrints.com
PaperSource.com
TinyPrints.com
PaperSource.com
TinyPrints.com




Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Beat the Heat

Birchbox Magazine
Although fall temps may be on the way up north, it's still hot down here in Austin. Check out these great tips from Birchbox on how to beat the heat and cool down:

  1. Incorporate Malin+Goetz peppermint body scrub into your daily routine. Real peppermint makes skin feel tingy and cool, mimicking the effects of a cold shower. 
  2. Soothe skin with an after-sun balm like Coola Environmental Repair Plus Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion. Bonus tip: Stock up on Coola's Sport Continuous Spray sunscreen. The luxurious scent  make time in the sun even more enjoyable. 
  3. Banish smelly feet! In warm weather, sweat and closed-toed shoes can reek havoc on your feet. Jasmine Seven Fresh Feet Wipes for Kids zap odor-causing bacteria.
  4. Tame your tresses with a cute headband or hair ties. Getting hair off of your neck and out of your face will help you feel cooler, plus your hair will look sleek and polished in the humidity. 
  5. When I'm running around outside, my cheeks instantly turn hot and red. Enter derma e Hydrating Mist. This all-natural product soothes, cools, and refreshes skin, plus it can be applied over makeup!
  6. Choose the right cosmetics on hot days. Keep your look light (you don't want to look like you're melting!) and choose products with cooling ingredients like Laura Geller's Beauty Cool Lids Cream Eyeshadow

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Salt Lick

Image from CulinaryCara.com
BBQ is big in Texas, so it's only fitting that this post about delicious grilled meat be my first official Austin blog. That's right readers, I've officially moved from Boston to Austin. We're busy getting settled and moving in, but we're definitely going to take a break for a trip to The Salt Lick in Driftwood, TX.

Saddle up to a big wooden table outside, or beat the heat indoors, but either way, try the brisket! The Salt Lick's BBQ Brisket Sandwich with jalapenos is chef Bobby Flay's favorite sandwich, and once you taste it, you'll know why. If you're like me and skip the bread, you won't go hungry- each plate is served with generous portions of coleslaw, potato salad, beans and pickles. Make sure to get some extra sauce too- it's SO yummy.

Driftwood, TX is a bit of a drive, and you can find delicious BBQ in the city, but it's worth the trek if you're willing. See you there!