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LOW-KEY MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCH and a ranch crema recipe

Well, howdy friends! Today we are talking about one of my favorite spring holidays – Mother’s Day! I love this holiday because moms are great. Whether you are a mom (fur babies totally count), soon-to-be mom, or have a mom – every gal deserves to be celebrated a little.

Often it is a holiday that slips through the cracks (sorry, moms!) but not this year. You’ve read this post, you’ve done your shopping, and your mom is going to be pleased out of this world! Favorite daughter of the year just got earned & it’s totally you.

To celebrate Mother’s Day this year, we wanted to do something relaxed & easy but still fun to give Mom the love she deserves, so we are planning on having a brunch at the house! When it comes to entertaining, we are firm believers in being simple & authentic. It’s easier, honest, and really, much more delightful. So, when it comes to entertaining Mom & the ones you love most, relax and have a little fun!

So here is our three-step plan on throwing the perfect low-key Mother’s Day brunch at home:

  1. Clean the house. Moms love (and deserve) a clean house, so spend a little time the day before & put a little extra elbow grease into high traffic areas, the bathroom, and grab some flowers to put on the tables. Flowers put everyone in a good mood & they are like a big happy bow on a freshly cleaned space.
  2. Prepare a menu! Maybe it’s because we lived in Texas for a bit or maybe it’s just because we’ve never met a taco we didn’t like, either way breakfast tacos are the main attraction on our brunch menu & everyone is excited. Easy to make & wildly delicious to eat, these roasted vegetable breakfast tacos are sure to be a crowd pleaser. Just roast up some veggies, scramble up some eggs, add in some hash browns (or lettuce if you are being carb conscious) & top if off with our super secret Hidden Valley® Orignal Ranch® crema recipe.
  3. Don’t forget the gift! This is the most important part. Whether it’s a card, a little love note, or that big gift she has been eyeing, your love & those killer breakfast tacos are more than a Mom could ask for!

INGREDIENTS:

– 1 tablespoon of Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix

– 1 tablespoon of lime juice

– ½ cup of sour cream

– Finely chopped cilantro leaves (a small handful is perfect)

– Salt & pepper to taste

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together your Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix, lime juice, sour cream, cilantro leaves, & 1 tablespoon of water until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Season with salt & pepper to taste & either spread the crema as a base on a warm tortilla (pile on your eggs & veggies, YUM!) or use it to top off your master breakfast taco.

Now for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card, tell me in the comments below, how will you spend Mother’s Day this year?

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lauren and sylvia

MAKE YOUR OWN MARGARITA TABLE always be fiesta ready with this easy DIY

IMG_4512Maybe it’s because we live in Austin & Arizona, but I have found that our house is always fiesta-ready. If we ever find ourselves needing to make margaritas for 20 friends who just happen to drop by unannounced, we are prepared! Think what you will, but as an entertaining blogger, I feel like that is a mark of success 😉

Margaritas are kind of like a cup of coffee, in the sense that everyone likes theirs a little different. Salt, no salt, extra lime, with a spicy kick, the list goes on – it’s all based on preference. That is why we are showing you how to set-up the perfect “make your own” margarita table . This is fantastic for summer get-togethers and is insanely easy to reproduce. Whether your festivities are inside or out on the porch, this little entertaining trick will get you out of the kitchen and keep you mingling like that entertaining maven that you are.
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STEP ONE: the set-up

No matter the occasion, it’s important for the bar to be easily accessible but not the center of attention. Depending on where you want your guests to spend their time (outside in the yard, on a shaded porch off the kitchen, etc.) find a little spot that will allow your guests to mix up their perfect marg with ease.

A dining table works perfectly as a DIY margarita table or if you are tight on space, an entryway table or even pushing a few end tables together to create a designated margarita area will do the trick perfectly.

diy marg oneSTEP TWO: the mixings

Margaritas are having a serious moment on the cocktail stage & we couldn’t be more excited. While we aren’t knocking the classic margarita mix angle (hey, Trader Joe’s has a great one!) we are encouraging you to let your hair down and go wild with your mixings!

Grab some fresh grapefruit juice, squeeze up some blood orange juice, or even go super nuts and try out watermelon juice! Need some inspiration? We’ve got ten (10!) of the best margarita recipes that are serious crowd-pleasers, plus (per usual) they are easy to whip up!

IMG_4543STEP THREE: the fixings

Now it’s time for the decoration! Make sure to cut up little lime wedges & have a few salt dishes out, for your pro-salt rim friends. I love adding wedges of grapefruit, jars of honey or agave, and sparkling mineral water to top things off. Maybe throw some hot sauce on the table to really spice things up! Just have fun with it. Found some stir sticks you think are fantastic – add those too!

The best part is decorating a table so your guests feel encouraged to try something new & have fun!

Writing a recipe on a card and having it sit up on the table is another fun tip. Or, for your guests who don’t like to get their hands dirty, I always have a pitcher of pre-made margarita to help ease people into the make your own concept. Above all else, have fun!

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lauren and sylvia

DOUBLE DUTCH BRAIDS from gym to the office

IMG_2742The argument for waking up a bit earlier to style and “do” my hair in the morning just has never been that compelling. Maybe because I prefer a bit for of a tousled look, or maybe just because I’ve never really known how to style my hair well, either way, I am always on the lookout for quick & easy hairstyles that will get me out the door on time and one that I don’t have to keep fixing all day.

We just started playing around with the Double Dutch Braids and I am obsessed. Remember that braided crown we did a while ago? Well, it’s the same braiding technique, but this time we are braiding straight down the back of your head instead of around. Basically, it’s half the work & you can do this on the train to work in the morning – yes, it really is that simple!

Perfect for the gym & adorable for work, we have a feeling this is going to be your favorite no muss, no fuss hairstyle this season. Still unsure about how to master the Double Dutch braids? We’ve called in one of our favorite stylists from StylistedChristina Gauthier – to show us how!

IMG_2639THE STEP BY STEP

1. Start with a clean part that extends all the way down your head. Cleanly separate the two sections and pigtail the left section on the side of your head.

2. On the right section, separate the top of your hair into three sections. Dutch braids are basically the inverse of a French braid, so instead of pulling the pieces of hair under one another, push them on top. Or, if it’s easier to think of it this way, start French braiding and then do the opposite. The right piece goes under the middle and then the left under the middle, while adding more hair from the root.

3. Work that pattern until you’ve reached the end of your hair & secure with an elastic tie. Un-pigtail the left section and repeat.

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Stylist: Christina Gauthier from Stylistedlauren and sylvia

PALOMA my favorite summer cocktail

IMG_2918Well, happy Friday, friends! I don’t know about you but I am ready for summer to make her grand entrance because these little beauties have been calling my name. Festive, delicious, and wildly easy to make, the Paloma has become a warm-weather staple in our house. I discovered this little babes when living in Austin and have happily brought them with me wherever we’ve moved.

For all my grapefruit lovers, this is for you. Love margs but hate the sugar? This is for you! Searching for the perfect “go-to” cocktail this summer – oh, yeah, this is absolutely for you! Give her a try & tell us what you think!

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INGREDIENTS:

– 1/2 cup Tequila
– 1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (Trader Joe’s & Whole Foods has some great ones!)
– 1/2 cup Topo Chico (if you can’t find that, use Club Soda)
– 1 tablespoon lime juice
– OPTIONAL: Salt or sugar for rim
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INGREDIENTS:

1. If you like a salted rim, go ahead and fill a shallow plate with salt, run a lime wedge around the rim of the glass, & rim it with salt. I like my Paloma’s without salt, but it’s totally up to you!

2. Fill two glasses with a few ice cubes & add in your ingredients. Stir gently & serve, sip, repeat!

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READY, SET, PICNIC! how to get ready for picnic season

IMG_5005Howdy, friends! It’s almost picnic season & we couldn’t be more excited! Gather up some friends, pack up some snacks, and head outside for a full day of picnicking. Worried you might forget something? Don’t be! We are arming you with a fool-proof list on what to pack, a few favorite sangria recipes, & the perfect games for a long day of outdoor fun. There will be no more Mcgyvering bottle openers or crappy snacks on any picnic of yours – we’ve got you covered! IMG_4923

PACKING THE PERFECT SUPPLIES

No matter if you are picnicking in a park downtown or alongside a lake in the country, packing the perfect supplies is essential. No one wants to Mcgyver a bottle opener or be stuck without a blanket, so running through a quick checklist before you set out is essential. Take it from someone who has forgotten many essential things (many times) on a picnic, this is a mistake you don’t want to make.

Here is our check list:

  • Food with easy clean-up: fruit, cheese, pre-made (or bought) sandwiches, grapes, nuts, olives, bread and jams, you get the idea. The easier it is to eat, the better. That way you can pack more yummy snacks instead of filling your bag with accouterment.
  • A sturdy basket & a few blankets: I can think of about a million things that are better than lugging around a heavy bag up a mountain or from your car to the park, so do yourself a favor and invest in a sturdy basket on wheels. It will save everyone a lot of stress and frustration. Pro tip: pack a few extra blankets. You never know when they will come in handy & they are perfect for shawls, make-shift pillows, towels, tents – the list goes on!
  • Pack a cutting board: If I have one piece of picnic wisdom to instill upon you, it’s to pack a cutting board. It can be small, round, plastic, whatever – just make sure you have one. Perfect to layout the food spread, cutting apples, or as a surface to rest drinks on, you really can’t go wrong to pack one.
  • The accessories: This is key! Make sure you’ve got a wine opener that doubles as a bottle opener (we always keep one in the zipper pocket of our basket), a knife with a sleeve cover, plastic cups, napkins, and plastic/disposable plates. We also like to slip a packet of wet wipes or paper towels in our bag…just in case. 

IMG_5298We love posting up all day in a park on a Saturday in the summer. Your friends can come & go as they please, the little ones (pups too!) can run around, everyone brings something to eat or drink, it’s the perfect day! We always make sure to bring a few games in our basket because it keeps the party going & is an easy way for friends (new & old) to connect.

  • Football or Soccer ball: Perfect for the guys to run around with or to amuse kids for hours. You can’t go wrong with a good ball. Who knows, you get enough friends and you could have your own pick-up game in the park.
  • Bags/Cornhole: This is my personal favorite. So easy to play & always fun – even if you have terrible aim. I think I like it because you can have a beverage in one hand & chat the whole time, which is absolutely my kind of sport 😉
  • Card games: Your regular old deck of cards, Cards Against Humanity, Apples to Apples, you name it – they are all awesome & card games are always a good idea.
  • Bocce Ball: If you aren’t a bocce fan, now is the time to start! This is a family favorite in our house & is perfect for a park. Grab a cheap set, try it out, & prepare to fall in love.

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Okay, let’s be real, it wouldn’t be a true LK approved picnic without some fun cocktails! I am a big fan of making a big batch of sangria & throwing it in the cooler. No muss, no fuss, just delicious punch that everyone can enjoy. Here are our favorite go-to summer sangria recipes & I promise, they will make an appearance more than once throughout the summer!

Stone Fruit Sangria, Mango & Blackberry Sangria, & of course, the Classic Red Sangria.

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lauren and sylvia

MAKING YOU BLUSH the best finds for any skin tone

IMG_2883I have never really been a makeup kind of gal. Truthfully, I don’t really know what I am doing. Between some moisturizer, a little mascara, & a good shade of lipstick, I feel pretty well rounded and it takes me less than 30 seconds, so you can’t really beat that. Recently, between Breann’s beauty column, our guest contributors, and the experts sharing their secrets from Stylisted, I have started to expand my daily beauty routine a bit & have found my secret weapon – blush

I know, I know this might be old news to you, but what I mean is that I actually started caring about it. By that I mean, using blush that compliments my skin tone & started applying it with an actual brush & not my fingers. So, we got our blush-guru, Christina Gauthier from Stylisted, to show us how to up our beauty game.

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Depending on your skin tone, these shades of blush will compliment your already radiant skin:

Gold/Olive undertones: Go for something with orange tones or slightly reddish pinks. They will help highlight your brightness.

Pink undertones: For a natural look, stick with light pink but for something a bit more dramatic try peach. It compliments your coloring and gives you a healthy glow.

So, for those of you (like me) who had no idea how to apply blush (think those pink circles dolls have on their cheeks), Christine says to sweep it along your cheekbones (if you don’t know where they are, suck in your cheeks & see what stands out) and extend the color up to your temples. 

Put on a little more than you think to give you a natural glow that goes more chic than “just came in from the gym.” So, what do you think? We are tucking away our bronzer for another season & getting back to our blushing basics!

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lauren and sylvia

STRAWBERRY WHISKEY COLLINS because everyone needs a little whiskey

IMG_6894You know how we love any excuse to celebrate & the end of a work-week is no exception! You’ve worked hard, kicked some corporate butt, & now it’s time to go out with the gals and celebrate the start to a good weekend. If you are in the mood for something that tastes like warmer weather, sunshine, and being outside, then this Strawberry Whiskey Collins is for you!

We had a couple of days of warmer weather last week  & it made me crave all things spring-time, so in order to curb my fix, we whipped up this beauty. She is fruity & lightly sweet but the smooth taste of the whiskey sasses her up a bit. Even if you aren’t typically a whiskey drinker, this cocktail is definitely worth a try.

IMG_6907INGREDIENTS

3/4 oz of strawberry puree
1 1/4 oz fresh lemon juice
Dash of simple syrup
2 oz Michter’s American Whiskey
Sparkling water

INSTURCTIONS

1. In a blender or food processor, grab a handful of strawberries (fresh or frozen) and blend until pureed.

2. Combine lemon juice, dash of simple syrup, whiskey, & ice, and shake until cold.

3. Pour a quarter inch of puree into the bottom of a rocks glass, add in the whiskey mixture, & top off with soda water.

4. Serve, sip, repeat!

IMG_6883So, what do you think? Delicious sounding right?! Here is a little insider tip, there are lots of whiskeys out there & if you are just getting into it (like myself), the options are fantastically overwhelming. Luckily, we did a little taste testing for you (more on that later) & found a phenomenal whiskey that will delight even the most seasoned whiskey drinker – Michter’s!

We are in love. It’s smooth, not to overwhelming, and is crazy affordable. While I haven’t graduated to the level of just straight chilling, sipping on some whiskey at the end of a day, I could definitely work up to it with this brand. If you are in the market for a new whiskey or exploring new cocktail combinations, give this a try – I promise, you’ll love it!
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lauren and sylviaThis 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!

DUTCH BRAID CROWN because everyone needs hair goals

IMG_1358The Dutch Braid Crown seems to be on everyone’s #hairgoals list – am I right? My hair doesn’t get much action outside of a pony tail these days, so when the girls from The Stylisted said they wanted to de-mysto this look, we were all in!

So, pack some extra bobby pins in that purse & duck out to the office bathroom and give this look a go. We promise, with a good mirror & a little practice, you’ll be a Dutch princess in no time! Make sure you leave a comment below telling us what you think – we can’t wait to hear.

IMG_1282STEP ONE:

The key to getting that chunky braided crown is all in the way you braid. Typically, if you are going to french braid, you’ll braid the three strands into (or over) each other. For this braid, you are going to reverse that technique, and braid the three straights outward (or under) one another. Make sense? If not, start braiding & then reverse what you normally do. If the braid is thick & stands away from the head (as opposed to that smooth french braid look) then you’ve got it!

Once you’ve got the braiding technique down, part your hair in the middle and grab a section at the nape of your neck on the left side. Start braiding (using that reverse technique you just mastered) up the side of your head, pulling in new strands with each new loop.

IMG_1319STEP TWO:

You are doing so well! Continue to braid around your head until you reach the right nape of your neck. Once you get there instead of continuing to braid around, french braid (using that same technique) at an angle.

You see how in the picture in Step One Mollie is braiding the hair out towards her but not straight out. Braiding the rest of the hair at this angle will allow you to wrap is around and tuck it under without any bumps or pockets. If you are doing this on yourself, imagine you are braiding the remainder of your hair towards the tip of your left shoulder. That should help nail the angle.

IMG_1301STEP THREE:

Once you’ve got that down, take the remaining braided hair and wrap it around (on top of the other braid) as far as it will go. Grab some sturdy bobby pins & tuck the tail under and pin away.

Spray with a good hairspray (we love Money Maker, plus it smells good!) & voila, your life as a Dutch princess awaits!

If you are like me & not very savvy with hair and 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? I would love to hear what other hair goals you’ve been coveting & maybe we can help hack them! Share below in the comments!IMG_1288

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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!

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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