Vegan Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

The hardest part about my mom going vegan is, without a doubt, the absence of all of our favorite desserts. She is an extraordinary baker, so not getting to see cookies and brownies galore in our kitchen just feels strange! She was given the book Chloe’s Vegan Dessertsand for Merry Grace’s birthday we had the opportunity to give her Cupcake Wars winning recipe a try! There are many steps, and it does take a good deal of time, but they are worth the effort!

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Wedding Registry Must Haves

I have had quite a few friends get engaged recently. It is just wonderful, and with it comes the excitement of all of the various wedding activities. One of these, of course, is registering for gifts! James and I were overwhelmed with the generosity of our friends and family during our engagement season, and I am so grateful for all of the gifts we received. Since many of my friends are registering and have asked what were the most practical and useful things we registered for, I thought it might be fun to do a whole post on it!

If you like to meal prep…

Crate and Barrel Rectangle Storage Container

Crate and Barrel Round Storage Bowl Set


This sounds so silly, but I actually think these are my favorite items we registered for. Following the wedding I even went back and got more. The glass doesn’t take on the color of some stain-heavy foods like tomato soup or chili. Because of this, whatever you put in them is always appetizing. Seriously. You know when you get an older plastic Tupperware and you go to put watermelon in it but it’s orangey and it makes you lose your appetite? Never an issue with these!

If you are a baker…


You have to get the Kitchenaid. I wanted one for years and years. When I moved in to my first grown up apartment after college, there was a surprise knock on my door. The UPS man stood there holding a Kitchenaid box. I thought it was a joke! My big sister, whom we affectionately refer to as the “fairy godmother” had sent me a Kitchenaid as my housewarming gift! Can you imagine? I love my Kitchenaid Mixer, and I really love that it will last for decades. That said, if you don’t bake, don’t register for one! It is huge, and heavy, and takes up a great deal of space on your counter. If it is something that you will use, it’s worth it. If not, skip it!

If you like to make a lot of stir-frys…


This pan is my favorite thing. It is enormous! You know when you are making a pasta dish or a stir fry and as you start adding things in you realize that you are going to have to stir very carefully or else you are going to start spilling over? That never happens with this one! Stir with wild abandon! The whole stovetop is your oyster!

If you have a small kitchen…


One of the hardest parts about apartment life is the lack of kitchen space. I have two drawers in my kitchen. TWO. This means that often things that would get stuffed in a cabinet go front and center on the counter. Luckily, some of my wedding presents made me want to show them off! A pretty crock really doesn’t take up that much room, and if you are getting married, I recommend registering for all matching utensils. You will never in your life have an excuse to buy all brand new ones so they match, but a registry allows you to focus on the aesthetic. James and I love the Williams Sonoma Open Kitchen Utensils. Bonus? They all run between 5-15 dollars. A friend that wishes to give you a gift but can’t afford the big ticket items can easily grab a few of these and will be able to spend the amount they wish to spend!

Other things to register for:

  1. Wine Glasses – Make sure to buy ones that can be replaced one by one! Breaks happen!
  2. Quality Dishes – Our generation will never use fine china, but that doesn’t mean we can’t upgrade from our Target Threshold brand dishes!
  3. A toaster oven – My favorite thing on a hot day when I don’t want to heat up the apartment with the big oven!
  4. Any missing items in your apartment – James was the most thrilled that we finally got a really big trashcan! So simple, but so joyous!


Remember, the biggest question to ask yourself is: “Will I actually use this?” Just because you have the opportunity to make an unlimited wish list doesn’t mean you need to register for everything under the sun! Vary the price points, let yourself register for the things you really will use happily, and then just be very very grateful that you get to do this!

An Ode to the Kitchen Timer

My mom had a phrase she would use when we were growing up. It would often happen after a long weekend, when there were just a million things out of place. She would always ask, usually during dinner, if she could “set the timer for one hour.” Now, this practice was always curious, for in asking this question she was telling both a literal truth and a lie. The lie was the words “may I.” She always asked, just out of politeness. This was a lie because of course, she was mom, there was no way we would ever say no. The truth, on the other hand, was that she was literally going to set the timer for exactly 60 minutes. Continue reading “An Ode to the Kitchen Timer”

African Peanut Soup

I’ve mentioned on here before that my mother has recently gone plant-based. While the transition has been an enormous lesson, it has also been an opportunity for expanding our recipe book. We used to joke that mom only had “five famous meals” and when we sat down at the table for dinner we would playfully exclaim “Oh good! Number 4, my favorite!” To be fair, she only had five meals because there were only five meals that her picky daughters could all agree on! Since we have grown, and so, too, have our palettes, we have learned that our mother is an extraordinary and quite adventurous cook! One great example: this African Peanut Soup! Continue reading “African Peanut Soup”

Black Tie, Black Label White Meritage

It should come as no surprise that I love dressing up. Maybe it is because I loved to play dress up so much as a child. Perhaps it is because I am still holding out hope that I am about to be told I am princess of Genovia and I want to be prepared for all of the formal wear I will need to wear as sovereign. Either way, I love getting all dolled up. So when the Club Sales Director at our winery reached out and told me they would be hosting a black tie party for the release of the new black label white meritage, I couldn’t buy tickets fast enough!

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The New Girl in Town

Moving to a new city as an adult is, in my opinion, one of the greatest trials of life. While those that have never moved far from home may find this statement a wee bit dramatic, those that have started completely fresh in a new town will know exactly what I mean. Starting completely from scratch feels nearly impossible. When I moved to Oklahoma for graduate school, my mom came out with me to help get my apartment set up. The first few days in my new city I had her by my side, so I didn’t notice how lonely it was. The second I got back from dropping her off at the airport and closed my front door behind me, I realized: I was completely alone.

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Year-Round Festivities

I remember, vaguely, a time in which my wonderful old college friends and I were relaxing on a Sunday, sitting around the couch and talking about our friendship. We started going around in a circle, trying to find one word to describe each of us. While this activity was totally Seventh Heaven of us, it was actually very fun, and one of my dearest memories (despite the fact that I can’t remember when this was or why we started!) One of the words that came up to describe me was “festive.” I laughed, but boy, did they hit the nail on the head. I am incredibly festive. If I am completely honest with myself, my favorite holiday is whatever one is currently being represented by the dollar section of Target.

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