Thursday, March 31

Best Dressed Guest

The annual Carolina Cup runs this Saturday and with it, the official start of the Spring season. Springdale Race Course in Camden, South Carolina hosts gentlemen and ladies dressed in their very finest and at the Cup, it's all about the dress. I love this watercolor print from the fine folks at Anthropologie {Gathered Hemlock Dress in "Orange"}. It's different from the sea of Lilly normally spotted around Springdale and "different " isn't exactly a bad thing. Since the Cup is an all day affair, make sure to wear stylish, yet comfortable, shoes. You wouldn't want your heels sinking in the grass, so I always opt for a cute pair of flats {"Brisk Pixie" by Clarks}. Also, make sure to grab a cute clutch to carry your essentials. I love this wicker version with light gold hardware from Kate Spade {Eastward Avenue Kayla}. Always optimistic for bright, sunny weather, don't forget your sunhat and a cute pair of shades {MMJ178-S by Marc Jacobs}and never, ever forget your pearls.

Saturday, March 26

A Sip of Southern

Happy 100th Birthday, Tennessee Williams! Oh what I wouldn't give to be able to sit down and share a cocktail with that man. The stories he would tell! No doubt we'd be sipping on his signature drink: the Ramos  Gin Fizz. This creamy, floral but tart concoction slips on like silk and keeps you cool as you savor Mr. Williams' steamy, Southern written word. I'll drink to that, y'all!

Ramos Gin Fizz
2 ounces Gin
1 ounce Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 Egg White
1 ounce Simple Syrup*
1 ounce Rose Water
1 ounce Half and Half
Club Soda
Garnish with an Orange Wheel

Pour the gin, lemon juice, egg white, simple syrup, rose water and half and half into a cocktail shaker full of ice; shake for a minute. Strain into a pilsner glass or other tall, slim glass filled with ice; top with club soda and stir. Add garnish.

*Simple Syrup
1 cup Water
1 cup Sugar

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat to a boil while stirring. Reduce the heat and continue to stir until the sugar dissolves. Cool to room temperature. Using a funnel, pour the syrup into a clean container and store in the refrigerator indefinitely. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Tuesday, March 22

Best Dressed Guest

The pleasure of your company has been requested. Now what? Each week, I style an outfit to make you the best dressed guest for any occasion. 
Bachelorette parties are so much fun, especially when the beach is involved. I love the idea of a girls getaway to sexy, sultry South Beach! Get in the mood for cocktails and dancing with this gorgeous maxi dress from Lotta Stensson and a pair of fun flats to keep comfy through the night {Paiige by Steve Madden}. With the warm weather, keep hair simple with beachy waves  or fancy with a fish-tail braid to show off some amazing earrings. {MAWI}. Grab a sparkly clutch {I love that this one from Anya Hindmarch is big enough for a wallet, smartphone and lipstick}and don't forget a pre-bachelorette mani/pedi {Big Spender by Essie is a personal favorite}. Cheers, Ladies! {Invitation by French Blue}.

Sunday, March 20

Sunday Supper

It's the first day of Spring and we're officially ready. We've fired up the Big Green Egg for the first barbeque of the season. On the menu? Parker's special recipe for Baby Back Ribs, my yummy {and super easy} Garlic Mashed Potatoes and a new recipe for White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal cookies. Pass the plates, y'all!
Barbequed Baby Back Ribs
1 Slab of Ribs
Dry Rub Mixture*
1 Cup of Barbeque Sauce

Heat grill to 225 - 275 degrees F. Take the rack of ribs and cut in half. Wash and then pat dry. Lay the half slabs on aluminum foil and rub each with the mixture of seasoning to taste. Wrap separately in the aluminum foil and place on the grill for 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours and 15 minutes depending on the heat of your grill. Unwrap aluminum foil packets and place cooked ribs bone side down on the grill. Baste with barbeque sauce and cook another 10 to 20 minutes or until desired amount of sauce is applied. Pull from grill and let meat rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

*Parker and I prefer a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic salt and an added dash of this and that.

Barbeque Sauce
3/4 cup Ketchup
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed Dark Brown Sugar
3 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
2 tablespoons Minced Onion
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon Louisiana Hot Sauce or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

In a bowl, whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, onion, mustard, hot sauce and pepper. Can be covered and refrigerated for up to one week.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold, Red or Russet Potatoes
1 cup Milk
1 tablespoon Chopped Garlic
6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt, plus additional to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the potatoes until tender {about 25 minutes}. Drain well. Combine the milk and garlic in a saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, mash the potatoes, milk mixture, butter, salt and pepper to the desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Serve immediately.

Steamed Broccoli
2 Heads of Broccoli
1 teaspoon Butter
Salt & Pepper to taste

Chop broccoli to desired size. Put a colander over a medium sized pot 1/4 full of water. Bring water to a rolling boil, add broccoli to colander and cover with a lid. Steam broccoli to for a few minutes to thoroughly cook but retain crispness {usually 5 minutes}.

White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar1/2 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats {not instant}
3/4 cup dried cranberries
6 ounces white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl using an electric mixer combine the sugar, brown sugar and butter; mix well to cream together. Add in egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Add the cinnamon, baking soda, salt and flour and mix well. Fold in the oatmeal, dried cranberries and white chocolate chips- making sure that all ingredients are evenly distributed. Drop dough into 1-inch balls and place 3 inches apart onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes, just until the edges are lightly golden.Remove from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer cookies to cooling rack.

Sweet Snapshot Sunday


Thursday, March 17

Keep Calm

Parker is in Savannah for St. Patrick's Day and a bachelor party. Whomever thought that was a good idea is certifiably insane. I sincerely hope he's having a good time, but we're all secretly worried that the level of debauchery could reach "Hangover" status. In honor of P and St. Pat's, I texted him this little piece of advice reminding him stay in the moment, be safe and of course have a traveler pint of his preferred beer. Slainte!

Wednesday, March 16

Creme de Menthe Brownies

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and I'm excited to celebrate! Savannah has a wonderful St. Patty's Day tradition and is the home of Paula Deen who has a wonderful recipe for these brownies which tie into St. Patty's Day only because they're mint and if you squint really hard {or drink enough green beer}, mint can look a tee-tiny bit like a shamrock. Got that? Nevertheless, these delicious treats with a hint o' mint will put  you in a festive mood and that's no blarney, y'all.

4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour 

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons green creme de menthe (or use green food coloring plus a dash of peppermint extract) 

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips 
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions: {Prep time: 30 minutes, Total time: 55 minutes}
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mist 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray.

Prepare brownies: In double boiler, melt baking chocolate and 1 cup butter over simmering water; cool slightly. In medium mixing bowl, beat eggs with a whisk until blended, then add the 2 cups granulated sugar and continue whisking until mixture is light and fluffy. Add cooled chocolate mixture, salt, vanilla and flour. Keep whisking until thoroughly blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave brownies to cool in pan.

Make filling: Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the 1/2 cup butter and confectioners' sugar together until well blended. Stir in the creme de menthe and blend well. Spread over cooled brownies. Refrigerate in original baking pan until filling is firm.

Make icing: Melt the chocolate chips and 6 T butter in the top of a double boiler, stirring until smooth. (You can do this in the microwave, just monitor closely and stir a few times.). Pour the warm glaze over the filling and tilt pan to distribute the icing evenly. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens. To cut, allow brownies to come to room temperature in the pan so chocolate doesn't crack.

Tuesday, March 15

Best Dressed Guest

The pleasure of your company has been requested. Now what? Each week, I style an outfit to make you the best dressed guest for any occasion.
I am obsessed with the "Caroline" maxi dress from Milly. Obsessed! Chevron stripes are one of my favorite preppy patterns and are just perfect for a poolside soiree at the club. The unexpected color combination of Hermes orange and nautical navy will make your tan pop and the rattan espadrille and clutch keep this look summertime specific. Hot trend this season? Match your lipstick to your outfit and you'll be in with the ladies-who-lunch crowd before you can perfect your backhand.

Thursday, March 10

Style Board

Call me old-fashioned or rather "Granny Chic", but I love, love a doily. The intricate designs and the often hand-tatted lace is hard to resist. I'm using them in an upcoming project and couldn't be more pleased with the outcome. Not just for the back of your Grandmama's chair, doilies are a vintagey element that can be added to a host of designs including fashion and decor. I'm particularly enamored with the idea of adding one to a t-shirt or paper goods. Such a sweet detail! Now go raid Granny's linen closet.

All images via Pinterest

Tuesday, March 8

Best Dressed Guest

The pleasure of your company has been requested. Now what? Each week, I style an outfit to make you the best dressed guest for any occasion.  

Dancing under the stars, plenty of candlelight, soft colors, the promise of romance. And as a true romantic, why don't you dress the part? I'm not talking "theme". I'm suggesting to dress to compliment the bride's vision for her special day. This dress from ModCloth is super-romantic. The blush hue, the fabric and folds and ruffles, oh my!  As much as I love high heels, I hardly want to be dancing the night away in them. This comfortable, yet stylish, option from Clarks gives you a cushy insole that will keep you on the dancefloor and a chunky heel that won't have you sinking in the grass. Add the sweet bow earrings, rose-gold sequined bag and Chanel lips {who doesn't feel more glamorous in even a touch of Chanel?} and you're all set. Best dressed guest!

Sources: {1} Hello Lucky; {2} Plush Silk, Indigo by Clarks; {3} Metal Bow Studs, Marc Jacobs; {4} Halston Heritage; {5} Bunches of Love, ModCloth; {6} Coco Rouge, Chanel

Saturday, March 5

A Sip of Southern

The Bee's Knees sure is a honey of a drink. With bright notes of lemon and honey, it's like liquid sunshine. Originally a cocktail from the 1920's, the Bee's Knees has found sort of a resurgence and I must say, I am besotted. I picked up some Orange Blossom honey from my recent trip to Florida which adds another note of depth. Be sure to use a good gin, y'all, as it elevates the drink to a whole new level. One sip and it'll have you doing the Charleston. Cheers!

The Bee's Knees
4 ounces Gin {I prefer Bombay Sapphire}
1 1/2 ounces Honey Syrup
1 ounce Freshly Squeezed Lemon
Optional Garnishes: Lemon Curls or Rosemary Sprig

Honey Syrup:
1 1/2 cups Honey
1/2 Water
1/4 cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Grated Lemon Zest

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat to a boil while stirring. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced by one-fourth. Set aside until cool. Using a funnel, pour into a clean container and store in the refrigerator. Keeps for several months. Yields about 1 3/4 cups.

Friday, March 4

Happy Weekend

I'm headed to Charlotte this weekend to style a shoot with Leslie {unless the weather tells me otherwise}. Excited to highlight a cute couple in the Queen City.

Thursday, March 3

Love the Look

Inspiration for this week's Love the Look comes from one of my all time favorite movies, Love Actually. The wedding scene in the beginning{ish} of the movie is adorable! The seemingly impromtu, yet totally planned, performance of All You Need is Love brings an instant good mood and Keira Knightly looks devine in her halo of ostrich feathers and unconventional wedding attire. I love her casual look with the cute white tee and skirt combo and a cardigan overlay. To get the effect, I paired this Marc Jacobs cardigan with the tee/skirt combo from JCrew. I added this pearl engagement ring riffing off of Keira's character in the movie as well as the pearl studs. I topped the look off with the champagne ostrich feather and crystal clutch and the Vivienne Westwood Anglomania pumps. Perfect for a casual wedding across the pond!

Sources: {No.1} Marc by Marc Jacobs; {No.2}Clutch, Bag Borrow or Steal; {No.3} Padget skirt, JCrew; {No.4} Pearl Studs; {No.5} Vivienne Westwood for Melissa {no longer available, but check out the other fabulous options}; {No.6} Love is Around ring, Artisan Impact

Wednesday, March 2

Sun in My Eyes

 via pinterest
I'm still shaking the sand out of my shoes after a fabulous weekend with the girls. Pardon my absence but my mind is still drifting to a nice breeze, sandy beaches and sunny weather. I'll be back tomorrow with some fun inspiration and regular features.