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!

Continue reading “Vegan Chocolate Orange Cupcakes”

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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…

kitchenaid-artisan-metallic-chrome-stand-mixer

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…

calphalon-contemporary-non-stick-13-deep-skillet-with-lid

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”

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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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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A Holiday Cocktail Party

When I was fourteen my big sister, Molly, decided that she was going to throw a “holiday cocktail party.” We planned for weeks and weeks for this party. This was before Pinterest, so all of our ideation sessions centered around cookbooks, the cooking channel, and good old fashioned magazines. We shopped for the perfect invitations and carefully laid out the tablescape. We plotted festive conversation topics. Molly thought of everything! 14 years later, I finally got the opportunity to recreate what my 14-year-old self considered to be the height of elegance. It was finally time for a real holiday cocktail party! Continue reading “A Holiday Cocktail Party”

Give It to a Busy Girl – Reflections on Time

“Give it to a busy girl, and she’ll get it done.”

My mother has said this to me about 6 million times in my life. The expression is self explanatory, but what my mom actually means by it goes much deeper.

You see, there is an old Chinese proverb that I love (that not surprisingly, my mother also taught me) that says “time is a created thing – to say ‘I don’t have time’ is to say ‘I don’t want to’.” While this is a very simplistic view of time and business, it is actually not untrue when you think about it. On most days, I always seem to have time to scroll through Instagram. I always have time to look through my emails and click on the enticing one from Banana Republic informing me of (another) sale. I always have time to hit the candy bowl in the office. What I don’t seem to have time to do is go to the gym everyday, get eight hours of sleep everyday, write that check for the bill in the mail. Why? Because if I’m really honest, I don’t want to. I do want to look through fun pictures on Instagram so there is always time for that. Time is a created thing. Continue reading “Give It to a Busy Girl – Reflections on Time”