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A LOVELY GIRLS RETREAT wine tasting, brunching, & gal pals!

Hello, hello my lovely little autumnal goddesses! How is your October shaping up? If you are like me, you’ve got travel on the brain. I am just itching to get the gals together and host a little girls retreat – apple picking, wine tasting, brunching – the works! Luckily our dear friends Claiborne & Lime are feeling the travel bug too and threw the most beautiful girls retreat.

Check out their weekend of fun and get inspired to host your own! Don’t have a local vineyard near you? Who cares! Do a little wine tasting in your backyard. If that gang is together, nothing else really matters 🙂
The perfect fall girls weekend via Lauren Kelp

“I wanted to escape myself. I wanted to feel overwhelmed and disrupted. I wanted something- an event- to happen to me, to sweep me up and change my life.” –Sue Miller

To us, September represents a fresh start- back to school, seasons changing, and a time for new beginnings. We decided to gather a small group of girlfriends together- all on different creative paths with the intention of escaping… Out of that came an idea- to have a retreat of sorts. A safe haven away from our lives to let go of fear and perfection. A place to brainstorm, inspire, and set goals. We didn’t need to go far, we just needed to get unstuck. So we set off to Los Olivos, in Santa Barbara wine country.

The perfect fall girls weekend via Lauren KelpFirst stop, a local vineyard for brunch. Guys… what better activity to do on a girls weekend then wine tasting?! Bring your own treats or reserve a private picnic spot overlooking the lake – you can’t go wrong! Since fancy is what we do, you know we had to create an amazing experience- complete with chocolate croissants, homemade quiche Lorraine, and a champagne bar. Lucky for you, we passed along the quiche recipe for you here!

The prefect fall girls retreat via Lauren Kelp

The perfect fall girls weekend via Lauren KelpNext up, wine tasting… Because what gets the creative juices flowing better than MORE alcohol? We sampled the sauvignon blanc, the cuvee le bec, and tasted Grenache grapes which will become a 2017 rose. We took a tour of the winery, and spent the afternoon lounging on the lawn (or passed out- whatever you wanna call it). On the ride home, we sang along (badly) to Beyonce’s Lemonade, and started planning how we would make things, collaborate and create our next adventure!

The perfect fall girls weekend via Lauren Kelp The perfect fall girls weekend via Lauren Kelp


Copy & Styling by Claiborne & Lime

BLOOD ORANGE MARGARITA

6Is it starting to warm up in your neck of the woods? Well, even if spring is getting a sleepy start, this insanely enticing blood orange margarita will put you on a beach under the sun, living large. Yep, it’s that good. Don’t believe me? Try for yourself! Promise, you’ll be sipping these puppies all season long. xoxo, LK


Elizabeth here friends! How’s your Spring starting off?! This week we had temperatures in the 60’s so naturally I went and got a bright pink manicure and started drinking a blood orange margarita to convince myself that summer was here.

Maaaaaybe I was reaching… but come on, you know the thought of putting on that maxi dress was reeeeeal appealing. Not only do margaritas remind me of warm summer patio nights but also they’re like my go to cocktail. It may be just me but I’m just not an overly sweet cocktail fan. If I’m sipping on something all night I like it to be citrusy and light and this blood orange margarita recipe is just that! Cheers! xoxo

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INGREDIENTS:

3 Ounces of blood orange juice

1 Ounce of lime juice

2 Ounces of silver tequila

2 Tablespoons of simple syrup or Agave

Kosher Salt + Sugar for rim

Crushed Ice

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. In a cocktail shaker combine juices, tequila, agave nectar and shake for 15 seconds.

2. Rim glass with a blood orange wedge and dip in a half & half salt / sugar mixture for rim. *Note salt rim will not stick to plastic ware!

3. Pour over crushed ice. Cheers!

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BITCHIN’ BASIL LEMON DROP

IMG_6877Happy Friday, friends! Have anything fun planned for the weekend? If you’ve got people over, or if you just want to treat yourself to something other than your customary glass of wine, we’ve got the perfect little cocktail for you! Meet your new pre-spring favorite, the bitchin’ Basil Lemon Drop.

This little gem is made with Crop Organic Vodka & if you feel like you’ve heard us talk about it before, it’s because we are in love. I didn’t really know the difference between organic and non-organic alcoholic beverages, but now that I’ve tried Crop, I can’t go back. Give it a try & I promise you’ll taste the difference.

Either way, it’s Friday & we think you should celebrate! Give the Basil Lemon Drop a try & let us know what you think! IMG_6843

INGREDIENTS:

– 4 fresh basil leaves (a few extra for garnish)

– 3 cups of Crop Organic Vodka

– 1.5 cups of fresh squeezed lemon juice

– 1.5 cups of simple syrup

– ice cubes

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Muddle basil leaves at the bottom of your cocktail shaker. Pour in vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, and a handful of ice.

2. Stir until nicely blended & pour. Garnish with extra basil leaves

3. Serve, sip, repeat!

* Simple Syrup: In a small saucepan combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Chill until ready to use.

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This post was sponsored by Chatham Imports. We are obsessed with their products & they are a must-have for our bar carts. Thanks for supporting the brands that help make new content possible!

SIMPLE SPRING MAKEUP so fresh & so dewy

IMG_1629Okay, so it might not be spring-time outside, but that doesn’t mean a girl can’t pretend. We are breaking down another super fun makeup look that is perfect for that dewy skin look that says, “I just spent a week at the spa and my skin is glowing form the inside.” Sadly, that isn’t my life right now, but a gal can dream, right?

Don’t worry, we aren’t talking about 50 shades of contouring or breaking down strobing (because who has time for that, really?) Just three simple steps and maybe a few new tricks to get gorgeous glowing skin in under 5 minutes. Now that is a makeup routine I can get behind!

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STEP ONE: The Base

Start with MAC’s Strobe Cream to add a dewiness to the skin and prep the skin for makeup. Just a little goes a long way, so don’t go overboard!

Next, apply foundation (we used Makeup Forever HD) and conceal where needed. Again, just spot treat.

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STEP TWO: Sassy Cheekbones

Next, it’s all about those fabulous cheekbones! Define your cheekbones by brushing Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder and a neutral berry blush (Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure) right under the cheekbone going upward.

To highlight, we used (and are obsessed with!) the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop on the cheekbones, brow bone, center of nose, cupid’s bow, center of forehead and center of chin. Highlighting sounds much more complicated than it really is. Don’t think contouring or strobing, just lightly dust the powder on the above areas and see play around with a look that works best!

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STEP THREE: The Finishing Touches

Last, but certainly not least, your eyes & lips!

For the eyes, we used the  Viseart Neutral Matte palette with some Champagne Pop in the center of the lids for added light. This is a soft enough color to wear during the day, but moody enough to transition to a fun afterwork activity.

For lips, Marc Jacobs New Nudes Sheer Gel Lipstick in Dusty Rose is the perfect match, as it’s sheer so it can never look too harsh on the lips!

Top it off with a simple three step Dutch braid crown & you are ready for just about anything!

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If you are like me & not very savvy with hair or makeup, I more than recommend my gal Mollie at Stylisted. It’s the most amazing service that allows stylists to come to your home & get your hair and makeup ready in no time, plus it’s insanely affordable! Trust me, you’ll love it.

So, think you’ll try it out? Let me know below!IMG_1487
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TURKEY BACON AVOCADO BREAKFAST SANDWICH because breakfast sandwiches are the best

BREAKFAST SANDWICH

Hello friends! Constance here. Hope you’re all having a wonderful week! Guys-it’s almost March. Can you believe it? I’m not quite sure how that happened. I feel like I’m just now ready for Christmas. We’re getting ready for a crazy influx of house guests over the next month. Spring training starts soon here in Phoenix, and while I like to pretend everyone’s coming in town for some good quality hang time, let’s be real….it’s all about baseball.

Regardless, I’ve been working on coming up with some foolproof recipes that don’t have me slaving away in the kitchen all hours of the day. I definitely want our guests to have a hot meal, but I also want to keep a small ounce of sanity while doing it. My solution? Recipes that you can make in bulk and freeze for later. We’ve got more of these coming your way, but to start–biscuits. My plan is to make at least a few dozen of these before our guests begin to arrive so we can all eat our weight in breakfast sandwiches. Truly, they’re just the best. You can customize to fit any and all diets, and it’s as easy as frying a few eggs and some bacon and voila!

BREAKFAST SANDWICH

INGREDIENTS:

-2 slices thick cut bacon

-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

-1 large brown egg

-1 buttermilk biscuit

-sriracha

-1-2 oz. roasted turkey

-1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

-Sriracha

INSTRUCTIONS:

-In a medium sized pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy.

-Remove bacon from pan and add olive oil. Continue to heat on medium until olive oil is hot.

-Crack egg slowly over pan, and immediately reduce heat to low.

-Cook slowly until whites are set and yolks begin to thicken but are not hard.

-Remove egg from heat, top with fresh cracked black pepper, and set aside.

-Cut biscuit in half, and spread a light layer of Sriracha on the bottom half.

-Top with turkey, bacon, avocado, egg and the other half of the biscuit.

-Cut sandwich in half and serve immediately.

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We’d love to hear your favorite combos below!  constance button

SMOKED SALMON OMELETTE perfect for breakfast in bed

5Have you ever woken up on a Saturday morning and thought to yourself, “I really want to most delicious omelette in the world?” Well, lucky for you (and me!) Food Contributor Elizabeth is sharing her breakfast magic and showing us how to dominate the perfect lazy Saturday morning omelette. 

This smoked salmon makes it fancy without breaking a sweat & the dill cream sauce is borderline addicting. Whip this puppy up for brunch, for a sweet breakfast in bed, or dinner – hey, no judgement! No matter when you eat it, you’ll be in love. Can’t wait to hear what you think! xo, -LK
4Elizabeth here, friends! I am so excited to bring to you a breakfast recipe! A nice breakfast at home is one of my favorite ways to start the day. I love throwing on my favorite robe and just being lazy on a Sunday morning. Life moves so quickly sometimes and it is so important to just pause and enjoy the little things. I usually start the morning with a nice cup of coffee from my french press and take a tour through my fridge and see what I can whip up. I’ll throw on my favorite music and just turn off my brain for a few hours, it’s great and I highly recommend it after a stressful week.23This time of year is a little funky when it comes to finding produce so I love bringing out some secret weapons that still leave you with a trip to flavor town. Smoked salmon is a secret weapon that I keep in my fridge for just this occasion. Now, I know a smoked salmon omelette may not be your typical ‘bacon and cheddar cheese’ but it’s delish and totally worth a try! The combo of smoked salmon and creamy dill sauce is a melt-in-your-mouth bite. Now pour yourself a wine sized glass mimosa and just enjoy the morning. 13

INGREDIENTS:

Smoked Salmon Omelette

2 Whole eggs + 1 Egg white

1 Tablespoon of half&half or milk

1 Teaspoon of salt + 1/2 Teaspoon of pepper

2 Ounces of smoked salmon

Thinly sliced red onions

Dill Cream Sauce

3 Tablespoons of unsalted butter

2 Heaping tablespoons of cream cheese

1 Tablespoon of fresh dill chopped

1 Tablespoon of milk

1 Tablespoon of chopped chives

1/2 Teaspoon of salt + 1/2 Teaspoon of pepper

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INSTRUCTIONS:

1. In a small bowl whisk together whole eggs, egg whites, milk, salt & pepper until light and fluffy. Spray or grease a non stick pan with butter or non stick spray.

2. On low-medium heat pour in your egg mixture. As your omelette begins to cook pick up your pan and swirl in a counter clockwise direction to cook the runny part of your omelette that rests in the center. The heat from the sides of the pan will cook your omelette evenly without burning.

3. Add in a thin layer of dill cream sauce and top with smoked salmon, red onions, and fresh dill. Flip omelette and service with more sauce + avocado (optional).

Dill Cream Sauce: In a small sauce pan melt butter on low heat until fragrant and liquid. Add in cream cheese and whisk together until melted and the butter and cream cheese have married together. Add in herbs and serve. *If sauce is too thick add in milk a tablespoon at a time to thin.

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BIG GIRL SITE someone got a fancy new makeover

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There comes a time in every website’s life when the bubble-gummed & bootstrapped, “I did it myself!” look no  longer cuts it. We had one of those moments at the end of 2015 & decided that if we were going to be taken seriously as website full of thoughtful living pieces, entertaining tips, and killer cocktails, it’s time we started looking the part!

So, like every good creative, we decided to re-create ourself. We ditched the blog-like layout, changed our color palette, revamped the home page, & swapped out our flats for a shiny new pair of gold metallic wedges.

HERE ARE SOME FUN NEW THINGS TO EXPLORE:

– Recipes to impress your Mother-in-Law

– EXPLORE categories

– Meet the team in our ABOUT section

– Easter entertaining essentials

Shout out to the web design wizards, Kelly & Andra of With Grace and Gold. They are fabulous design unicorns that dreamt up the new website look and executed it like a dream. While not only a joy to work with, these girls are freakishly talented and very well priced. If you are in the market for branding, website design, or brand strategy, I couldn’t recommend anyone else more highly!


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KISSABLE WINTER SKIN a guide to great skin in the winter

IMG_5301Winter days can be rough, especially on your skin. Since moving from Phoenix to Chicago my skin has had to seriously readjust. Between the daily weather changes and crazy temperature ranges, I am left dryer than a bone most days. And as sexy as super chapped lips are, it’s not my favorite look.

Luckily, we’ve teamed up with alligator skin saviors, Vaseline, to share our most Chicago-approved life hacks to keep your skin feeling happy & hydrated this winter.

IMG_5292DRINK WINE

Well, by wine, I mean water, but you can sneak a glass in there too. We won’t tell!

This one sounds super easy, but if you are like me & are on the go must days, drinking water throughout the day is actually kind of tricky. I pop a straw in my water bottle, throw it in my bag, and voila – hydration on-the-go at it’s finest! Keep that skin soft and smooth by staying hydrated throughout the day & treat your fabulous self with a glass (or two) of wine at night. Seems logical to me 😉

IMG_5280EXFOLIATE

Talk about the perfect excuse for an at-home spa night! Any reason to indulge in a new body scrub is a-okay in my book. Get those winter blues off by spending a little extra time in the shower and exfoliate.

Coffee scrubs are fabulous in the morning or if you are more of an evening shower gal, something soothing and lightly fragrant is wonderfully calming. Exfoliating helps kick that dry skin to the curb & let’s that new healthy (& hydrated!) skin shine.

IMG_5277LOVE THOSE LIPS

Like I said earlier, chapped lips aren’t my favorite look and, to be honest, they are a total pain. Step outside in dry, winter weather and it’s like all the moisture from you lips just disappears! I started using Vaseline’s lip tins (don’t worry, you can find them at Target) and I am a new woman. They are magic! And yes, while you might think I have to say that, but it’s true! (the part about me being obsessed with them)

They have found their way into every purse, desk drawer, and car cupholder. The tin is sneaky and small & the Rosy tint makes it look like your lips are just naturally rosy. Plus, no more gross, dry winter lips!


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WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, EAT CAKE

But let’s get real, sometimes it’s just too dang cold to go outside. So stock up on healthy snacks & sweet treats, get that humidifier next-day shipped, and snuggle up with your fabulously hydrated skin, because sometimes you just need a day off!

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lauren buttonsylvia buttonThis post was sponsored by Vaseline. I am obsessed with their lip tins & have them stashed in every bag, at my desk, and in my makeup bag. Thanks for supporting the brands that help make new content possible!

BLOOD ORANGE CAKE the perfect cake for a party

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Looking for that perfect cake to bring to a get-together, brunch, or shower? Well ladies, step aside, because Elizabeth is flexing her cake decorating skills and showing us how to master the most delicious cake known to mankind – the blood orange cake with honey mascarpone frosting. I mean, it’s pure perfection! 

It’s stunning, delicious, and a total showstopper! Get the skinny from Elizabeth below. Love what you see, tell us your thoughts below! – xoxo, LK

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INGREDIENTS:

2 1/2 Cups of cake flour

1 1/2 Cups of granulated sugar

1 Teaspoon of course salt

1 Tablespoon of baking powder

5 Large eggs, separated

1/2 Cup of blood orange juice or your favorite citrus juice

1 Tablespoon of blood orange zest

1/2 Cup of vegetable oil 

+ extra flour & non stick baking spray for cake tins

 

HONEY MASCARPONE FROSTING

1 Stick of unsalted butter at room temp

8 Oz of mascarpone cheese or cream cheese

1 1/2 Teaspoons of pure vanilla extract

1 Teaspoon of salt

3-4 Tablespoons of honey

4 Cups of powdered sugar

   *milk on an as needed base

2INSTRUCTIONS:

*For this recipe I used three 6-inch cake tins, two 8-inch will work as well. Spray cake tins with non stick spray and spread flour thinly on sides and bottom of tins, set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl sift cake flour and add in salt and baking powder and set aside.

1. In a large bowl separate egg yolks and whites into 2 large bowls, reserve the yolks. With a stand or hand mixer fitted with a wire whip, whip egg whites until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Set aside. 

2. With a stand or hand mixer combine sugar and egg yolks. Slowly pour in vegetable oil and blood orange juice and zest, mix. Add flour mixture to wet mixture in three separate segments mixing until just combined after each one. Remove from mixer and gently fold in egg whites until incorporated.

*Whisking your egg whites separately and gently folding them in will ensure a light and airy cake batter. Pour evenly into cake tins and bake for 20-25 mins. Cakes are done when a tooth pick comes out clean. Cool for 30 mins. Take a knife and make a ring around the tin sides, if any of the cake has stuck this will help release it. With a serrated knife edge cut any dome tops off your cakes. 

3. In a large mixing bowl with a stand or hand mixer beat butter, mascarpone cheese, vanilla extract, salt and honey until light and fluffy, about 3 mins. Add in 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, checking for texture after each addition. Add in one tablespoon of milk as needed to thin frosting.

*Note dryer climates may need more milk for thinning, moister climates may need less. 

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HIS & HERS VALENTINE’S COCKTAILS

IMG_1932There are always a lot of His & Her’s round ups, gift guides, and the like around Valentine’s Day, and while those never really grab my attention, this pairing is something I can absolutely get behind – His & Her’s Valentine’s Day cocktails!

Something sweet and romantic for the lady & something a bit more bold for the mister. It’s a match made in heaven! So before your VDay plans are complete, make sure you add these lovely libations to the list. Can’t wait to see what you think. xoxo, LK

IMG_1979HER COCKTAIL – THE BLUSH

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup fresh squeeze grapefruit juice (trust me, it’s better fresh!)

1 cup sparkling water

4 tablespoons vodka

3 tablespoons St. Germain

Honey or a natural sweetener

Ice

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Add a handful of ice to your cocktail shaker & add in ingredients (wait until you’ve tried your cocktail until adding in the honey or sweetener).

2. Shake until shaker is cold & pour into a fabulous glass!

3. Garnish with a thin slice of grapefruit or another citrus (we used a blood orange from the recipe below!)

4. Serve, sip, repeat!

IMG_1966 HIS COCKTAIL – THE MISTER

INGREDIENTS:

1 ½ ounces dry gin (we love Farmer’s!)
3 ounces blood orange juice (save the peel)
1 tablespoon thyme simple syrup
4 ounces tonic water
Thyme (for garnish)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. For simple syrup, bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add thyme sprigs, stir in gently. Allow to cool for 20-25 minutes and remove sprigs before serving.

2. In a low glass, fill it with a few cubes of ice, gin, blood orange juice, and thyme syrup. Top off with tonic & stir gingerly.

2. Cut off a peel from one of your used blood oranges, twist, and add in for garnish. Top cocktail off with a sprig of thyme & serve, sip, repeat!

IMG_1930So what do you say, lovebirds? Are these going to make it on your Valentine’s Day menu?! Since whipping these puppies up, I have to admit, they have been on repeat in our house. The are just so delicious! Anything with blood oranges has me weak at the knees already, but the two as a pair are out of this world.

Can’t wait to hear about your weekend & if you mix these up, let me know! 
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