Tuesday, September 1, 2015

College Football Kick-Off Party: Must-Have Items

Who else is super excited for college football season is to officially kick off this weekend?! If you had told me a year ago that this would be something I knew or cared about, I would have thought you were nuts but ever since T entered my life, so has college football - specifically, an undying allegiance to one particular team...


Yes, we are an Alabama household! T went to the university and has been a lifelong fan, so I am happy to adopt his team as my own. While I may not have a natural love of football, I am definitely a major fan of the sport's theme party-friendly nature! Armed with only a very basic knowledge of the game (thank you, high school cheerleading days) and an Amazon Prime account, I've been prepping for Saturday's big game by tracking down these must-have items.


Party Supplies


party fridge / ice tray / Jell-O  mold kit  / plates / banner / snack helmet / napkins / houndstooth baking cups / cupsballoons / beer buckets  /streamers 

When I started searching on Amazon, I was seriously floored to see how many adorable team-themed items are available with just the click of a button! There is something much more festive about watching the game when you're surrounded by items that show your team spirit. I snapped up some banners and pennants to decorate the apartment, plates and napkins for those super important game day snacks, and I mean, come on...there was no way that I was going to say no to that Jell-O mold! I can't wait to turn our home into a red, white, and houndstooth cheering section!


Team Attire
Image source

I may not know the entire Alabama football history (though T is doing his best to cram the essentials into my head), but I can certainly look the part! While I normally love dressing up, I'm all about comfort on game day so I was in the market for a cute tank. I love that this tank top proclaims Alabama's "Roll Tide" battle cry, but my very favorite part is the "Y'all" - it has the official Alabama A, and the Ls are two little cowboy boots! Adorable! (Plus my Yankee ears just always get such a kick out of hearing "y'all"!)


Game Day Food

Whether you're a fellow Alabama fan, you root for...(deep breath)...Auburn (boo! hiss!), or you just have no interest in any sports whatsoever, I think we can all agree on one thing...the best part of any college football viewing party is the FOOD! Here are just a few of our game day favorites:

Skinny Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip


Best Guacamole Ever


7-Layer Taco Dip


Drunken Turkey Chili


Slow Cooker Beer Pulled Pork



Game Day Cocktails

After all that yummy food, you need something equally delicious to wash it all down. While an ice cold beer is always a welcome addition to any tailgate, we also like to mix up some of those crowd-pleasing cocktails:

Watermelon Shandy


Low Calorie Raspberry Lemonade


Pineapple Lime Summer Sangria


Vanilla Pear Cocktail


Are there any other Alabama fans out there? And no matter who you root for, I would love to hear about your college football must-have items!

Linking up with Kristin, and Jessica and Katie!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Five on Friday: {August 27th, 2015}


Happy Friday Gals and happy last weekend of August! I can't believe that summer is almost over but luckily my weekend doesn't have any obligations whatsoever for pretty much the first time all summer, so I'm planning to take advantage of it and spend it out in the sun. To kick off the weekend, I'm sharing my five favorites of the week!


Cracked iPhone

An image I hope no one has to endure in real life!!
Ok, so this obviously is NOT a favorite moment that happened this week, BUT it does have a happy ending! On Monday I accidentally dropped my iPhone on tile floor (as I've done a million times before) but it just so happened to fall in just the right spot, causing the screen to shatter and completely mess up the LCD display.


Naturally I hauled it to the Apple store to see if it could be fixed and after an initial consultation from the genius bar, the outlook was hopeful with the diagnosis being that I needed a new screen, and to come back in an hour and it would be fixed. Well turns out I really did do a number on it, and it could not be fixed, and I needed a whole new phone. But because they had initially quoted me just cost of a screen repair, they honored that cost and all I was charged was $109 for a brand new iPhone 6.


How amazing is that?! And this is why I will be an Apple customer for life - you cannot beat that amazing customer service!!


New iPhone Case

And speaking of new phones.. after getting my new phone I promptly marched over to Nordstrom and picked up a new case because yeah... it was naked when I dropped and broke it #lessonlearned.  Luckily my gal Kate Spade makes such adorable cases that don't take away from the sleekness of the phone.


 Dinnerware Winner!

Last week I posted that I was on the hunt for new everyday dinnerware and I've finally decided on a winner! Thank you to everyone who gave feedback and as usual, you guys are the best and I totally agreed with the consensus that all white was the way to go! It's timeless and can mix and match with pretty much any and every style. I decided to go for this specific set from West Elm because I love how there is a mix of patterns and textures which keeps it a little interesting while still being totally classic.

Rescue Beauty Lounge Sale Haul

Clockwise from top: Scrangie 2.0, All About Yves, Oliveto, Gondoliere, Pretty Gritty
Another week, another nail polish haul - I know, I know.. I *may* have a problem. BUT when your favorite brand offers 50% off... you stock up! I've been a long time Rescue Beauty Lounge fan because not only do they make amazing colors, but the formula is always perfection. I can't wait to play with these babies this week - I'm thinking that bright blue needs to be the first mani I do!


Song of the Week


And lastly, I'll leave you with this song that has been on constant repeat all week for me. I mean is this not such a fun and catchy song?! Plus, Adam Levine...

Hope everyone enjoys this last weekend before Labor Day.  What's everyone up to?!

Cheers to April, AmandaJennieKarliClare, Rebecca, Katie, Heather, and Tif for hosting today's link-ups!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Cotton Candy Girls' Night Out


Just before my recent move, there was another big move that affected my group of close girlfriends...our dear friend Sarah accepted an awesome job in San Francisco and had to leave New York in only a few short weeks! Of course, we had to give her a proper city send-off and even though my apartment was pretty much a major disaster thanks to my moving prep, I decided to host the bon voyage gathering on my patio for old time's sake. 


One of my favorite parts about hosting a girls' night is that you can go a little crazier with the colors and decor, so I dug into my party bin and pulled out all things pink and animal print...hey, go big or go home, right? I also came up with an...interesting flavor combination for our signature Welcome Shots (in my defense, I was trying to use up all of my almost-empty bottles before the move...my apologies to the ladies who experienced some frat party flashbacks with 99 Bananas!).


I picked up these cocktail napkins on our girls' trip to Vegas last summer, so it was only appropriate to bust them out for this last hurrah.



And now for my favorite part...the signature cocktail! Is there anything more whimsical, sweet, and girly than cotton candy? I took a mixed tub of pink and blue cotton candy and created sugar clouds to top our champagne flutes. Simply pour some prosecco over them for the ultimate girls' night out cocktail!


While this gathering wasn't nearly as elaborate as my typical events, it was wonderful to have our group all together before scattering across the county (ok, only Sarah was going cross-country, but we had some outer borough travelers and even a few from - gasp - New Jersey!). The cotton candy created a pretty, photogenic effect that came together with limited time and effort, so we could focus on the more important things like food and girl talk!


After all, there's nothing better than being with friends who can make you laugh!


Cheers to Sarah, and all of my ladies...until we're reunited again!


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hatch Chile Cheeseburger Recipe


Hey Gals! There's nothing I love better than a good burger so today I'm sharing my latest favorite cheeseburger recipe that we recently made! This recipe comes courtesy of my local grocery store, Wegmans. They often spotlight seasonal produce, and recently they had an in-store event, featuring Hatch chiles. If you're not familiar with Hatch chiles (which I was not until the event!), they get their name because they originate from Hatch, New Mexico and come in four main varieties ranging in flavor from mild to smoky/spicy.

After sampling a bunch of recipes around the store, featuring these delicious chiles, GG and I grabbed a couple of the hot variety and decided to try and recreate our favorite recipe that we sampled - the Hatch Chile Cheeseburgers.


If you like spicy, this is definitely a must try! The chile flavor mellows out a bit once it's cooked, but you still get that delicious burst of heat. We paired this with my favorite guac recipe, made this time with the remaining Hatch chiles - yum! Instead of topping with the chiles and cheese, we decided to chop them both up so they'd be incorporated throughout the burger.


Recipe adapted from Wegmans (makes 2 half pound burgers):

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb of 80/20 ground beef
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 Hatch chile
  • 1 tbs. seasoned olive oil.
  • 2 buns
  • Garnishes of choice
Directions:
  • Preheat grill to High and roast your Hatch chile until completely blackened - about 15-20 minutes.
  • Place your chile in a sealed bag for about 15 minutes, then peel off the blackened skin once cooled and finely chop your chile. **Be sure to either wear gloves or wash your hands with alcohol after chopping - those chile oils will remain on your hand otherwise, and burn!
  • Combine beef, shredded cheese and diced chiles and form into patties. Sprinkle patties with remaining seasoning and drizzle with remaining oil. Place on grill; cook until desired doneness.
  • Top with cooked patties your garnish of choice - we opted for some fresh sliced tomatoes and a little ketchup and mayo.
This recipe came together so easily and was so, so delicious! Anyone else a Hatch chile fan?! If you like spicy and burgers, then I definitely recommend giving this recipe a try!

Linking up today with EmilyJennifer JuniperKaryn, KristenEmilyMandyMaryJessicaMandySusanLisaPamKristin, and Natasha!
uthentic New Mexican Hatch Chiles are a favorite Southwestern Chile. These chiles are named after the original growing area in Hatch, New Mexico. No other chile is prized more than this variety which grows in the Mesilla Valley, just north of Las Cruces. Chefs say that the intense sunlight and cool nights in this valley result in a uniquely flavored chile. The valley, which stretches along the Rio Grande’s southern-most bend before crossing into Texas and Mexico, is covered with row after row of these green leafy chile plants for most of the summer. Hatch Chiles have a meaty flesh and mild-medium heat making them ideal for use in Chile Con Queso, Chile Rellenos, and Chile Verde. But, don't stop there...try roasting and using them in salads, soups, stews, dips, and sandwiches - See more at: http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10052&catalogId=10002&langId=-1&partNumber=EVENT_6766#sthash.KmmanMDH.dpuf
uthentic New Mexican Hatch Chiles are a favorite Southwestern Chile. These chiles are named after the original growing area in Hatch, New Mexico. No other chile is prized more than this variety which grows in the Mesilla Valley, just north of Las Cruces. Chefs say that the intense sunlight and cool nights in this valley result in a uniquely flavored chile. The valley, which stretches along the Rio Grande’s southern-most bend before crossing into Texas and Mexico, is covered with row after row of these green leafy chile plants for most of the summer. Hatch Chiles have a meaty flesh and mild-medium heat making them ideal for use in Chile Con Queso, Chile Rellenos, and Chile Verde. But, don't stop there...try roasting and using them in salads, soups, stews, dips, and sandwiches - See more at: http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10052&catalogId=10002&langId=-1&partNumber=EVENT_6766#sthash.KmmanMDH.dpuf
Hatch Chile peppers are grown in Hatch, New Mexico (the chile capital of the world!) and are very popular in southwestern cooking. Compared to an Anaheim Chile, Hatch Chiles have thicker walls, which hold up nicely in many recipes.
They are only harvested 4 weeks out of the year, from Mid-August to Mid-September and we only carry them for the weekend of our event. So their arrival is much anticipated!
- See more at: http://www.wegmans.com/blog/2011/08/hatch-chile-season-is-here/#sthash.S53Gbdot.dpuf
Hatch Chile peppers are grown in Hatch, New Mexico (the chile capital of the world!) and are very popular in southwestern cooking. Compared to an Anaheim Chile, Hatch Chiles have thicker walls, which hold up nicely in many recipes.
They are only harvested 4 weeks out of the year, from Mid-August to Mid-September and we only carry them for the weekend of our event. So their arrival is much anticipated!
- See more at: http://www.wegmans.com/blog/2011/08/hatch-chile-season-is-here/#sthash.S53Gbdot.dpuf
Hatch Chile peppers are grown in Hatch, New Mexico (the chile capital of the world!) and are very popular in southwestern cooking. Compared to an Anaheim Chile, Hatch Chiles have thicker walls, which hold up nicely in many recipes.
They are only harvested 4 weeks out of the year, from Mid-August to Mid-September and we only carry them for the weekend of our event. So their arrival is much anticipated!
- See more at: http://www.wegmans.com/blog/2011/08/hatch-chile-season-is-here/#sthash.S53Gbdot.dpuf
Hatch Chile peppers are grown in Hatch, New Mexico (the chile capital of the world!) and are very popular in southwestern cooking. Compared to an Anaheim Chile, Hatch Chiles have thicker walls, which hold up nicely in many recipes.
They are only harvested 4 weeks out of the year, from Mid-August to Mid-September and we only carry them for the weekend of our event. So their arrival is much anticipated!
- See more at: http://www.wegmans.com/blog/2011/08/hatch-chile-season-is-here/#sthash.S53Gbdot.dpuf
Hatch Chile peppers are grown in Hatch, New Mexico (the chile capital of the world!) and are very popular in southwestern cooking. Compared to an Anaheim Chile, Hatch Chiles have thicker walls, which hold up nicely in many recipes.
They are only harvested 4 weeks out of the year, from Mid-August to Mid-September and we only carry them for the weekend of our event. So their arrival is much anticipated!
- See more at: http://www.wegmans.com/blog/2011/08/hatch-chile-season-is-here/#sthash.S53Gbdot.dpuf

Friday, August 21, 2015

Five on Friday {August 21, 2015}

Image via Chorus Photography

TGIF! This is a particularly exciting Friday for me, as my long-awaited Punta Cana vacation is finally here! I'm super excited for my week in the sun, and can't wait to spend lots of relaxing time on the beach with T (and to consume everything that our all-inclusive resort has to offer). I'm more than ready to fully jump into vacay-mode but before I fly away, here's 5 things I'm loving this week!

 
InStyle blogger event


Earlier this week, I added the Summer Social hosted by InStyle magazine, where I got to mix and mingle with some representatives from incredible brands! It was a lovely night of sipping, sampling, and learning about some hot new products. As a bonus, I got to catch up with some fabulous ladies...

Megan, me, and Pam
In addition to discovering some new companies and products, we also got to revisit some old favorites such as Gardein (which Pam blogged about after we added the InStyle holiday event). Naturally, there was no way I was passing up posing with an oversized bag of chicken:


I'm still digging through my swag bag but when I'm back in town, I'll be sure to fill you in on some of my favorite discoveries from this event!


Meal planner notebook


Call me old fashioned but when it comes to list-making and planning, there's nothing better than actually putting pen to paper. A friend recently showed me her May Designs customized meal planner notebook, and I simply HAD to have one of my own. While all of the pattern options for the cover are simply adorable, I immediately knew that I would be selecting the sweet little golden pineapples since our kitchen is pineapple-themed. It's only been in my possession for a week but it's already been incredibly helpful with grocery shopping and shaping our weekly menu! In addition to buying the prettiest paper planner you can find, what are your best tips for meal planning?


Light painting photography 

Image via Chorus Photography

Have you seen these gorgeous photos created by moving lights that spell out words and make shapes? I am obsessed with all of them (and definitely want to try out some of my own with sparklers). My very favorites are by my friend Brian of Chorus Photography - these images are simply stunning, and I love the tranquil background that really allows the words to pop. So pretty! They're definitely inspiring me to figure out a way to incorporate them into our apartment decor.


A is revealed!


Technically this happened last week, but I'm still not over the shocking reveal made in the Pretty Little Liars finale (and PLEASE tell me I'm not the only 30something who is obsessed with this teen soap opera!). After years of being strung along by red herrings, the show FINALLY gave us some answers! For any other fans out there - what did you think of the big reveal? All I know is, it's going to be incredibly difficult to wait until 2016 for new episodes (and don't even get me started on that time jump!).

VACATION


Ok ok ok, I know I'm going on and on about Punta Cana, but I've been looking forward to this trip for sooooo long and I'm just giddy that it's finally time to start this journey! I'm off to do some last-minute packing (oops)...have a wonderful weekend, and I look forward to sharing some vacation stories and snaps when I'm back in town!


Cheers to April, AmandaJennieKarliClare, Rebecca, Katie, Heather, and Tif for hosting today's link-ups!
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