Friday, February 16, 2018

{guilt-free lime basil margarita}

I've found a secret cocktail mixer and I can't keep it to myself anymore. I've been holding on to this little gem for a couple of months now and figured it was time to share... it has ZERO sugar, guilt, calories, or preservatives!

When I first heard about Be Mixed I didn't believe the hype. "It has to taste horrible" I thought, "there's no way a mixer can have no calories and have a lot of flavor." Y'all I was so wrong! I've been creating different concoctions and haven't felt like I'm taking steps backward in my diet (you can make mocktails too). It's as simple as adding 1 shot to a 4 oz bottle - that's it - instant cocktail! However, I wanted to take it a step further, and I happened to have a pretty impressive basil plant growing in my kitchen (that is no longer doing so hot since I used all the leaves for this shoot ha). Keep reading to grab the recipe below!

We all know Margaritas to be one of two things: high in sugar and calories or watered down and tasting like tequila. My goal was to start with your simple Be Mixed Margarita (a Margarita cocktail mixer + tequila) and jazz it up to be loaded with flavor. The best part about this mixer is that you can't screw it up... add raspberries, strawberries, jalapenos, mango, apple, agave, cinnamon, orange, etc... and you've made your own custom Margarita. Their website has tons of recipes and Margarita ideas, but I didn't see any with basil! So I was determined to create something with this fragrant, delicious herb.

Obviously, it was easy to come up with. Limes are a no-brainer in Margs and I wanted to amp up the citrus with lemon. When I added the basil it created a totally new flavor - perfect for any season! The only thing missing from my life when I mixed this up was a big bowl of white queso... YUM!


You'll need:
1 shot Tequila
1/2 shot Triple Sec
4-5 leaves of Basil, chopped
1/2 Lime, juiced
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1 Be Mixed Margarita (4 oz.)

1. Muddle basil, lime juice, and lemon juice.
2. Add in Tequila, Triple Sec, and Be Mixed.
3. Shake well and pour over ice.
4. Garnish with a basil leaf and lime or lemon wedges.
5. Serve and enjoy!

If you're wondering where you can find some Be Mixed Cocktail mixers for yourself, you can purchase them from their online store (I recommend getting the variety pack to start) or use their location finder to shop in person!

Gold Stemless Glasses // Living Threads Co. Napkins c/o // Blue & White Tray, old from Target // Marble Cutting Board c/o Wayfair, similar // Coffee Table // Rug // Sofa // J.Crew Coasters, old //
Paper Straws, similar // Be Mixed 4 oz Mixers c/o

Love Always,

Thursday, February 15, 2018

{how i'm staying optimistic and recovering}

Staying optimistic has always been a strength of mine, I’m able to put on a smile and make myself feel better by finding the silver lining in things. I attempt to see the good in people and believe laughter can cure anything.

Recently, pushing the pain out of the front of my brain has been an active struggle. When I lost my dad I was suddenly under a pretty dark cloud – random things would make me cry and so much reminded me of him. I wanted so desperately to stop thinking about everything so that I could move on with my life. But that wasn’t realistic…

So many people asked me how I was doing in the immediate days and weeks following my dad’s death and then memorial service. It was so touching and sincere but my usual answer was “taking it day by day.” It was almost a canned response because I wasn’t actually processing it and I wasn’t handling myself well. The sweet friends that continued to reach out to me made me realize this because I felt insincere saying that to them week after week. So I decided to come up with a list that I could refer to when I was feeling helpless. Something that would help guide me back to where I was before.

We all go through dark times, it’s part of being human. In light of “self love” continuing after Valentine’s Day I wanted to share with y’all what I’ve been doing for myself. I have to proactively, every day, remind myself to be optimistic and to keep my chin up and stay strong!


1. Write 3 things that make you smile every morning // I’ve been doing this for months and it starts my day off on a positive note. Sometimes it’s as simple as “fresh flowers” and other days it’s something more specific. I repeat myself every now and then but it’s a great way to remind myself that I’m lucky and loved.

2. Staying active // Walking home from work, attending a workout class, being outdoors… anything that helps my wellbeing.

3. Focusing on my health // After seeing what the body goes through when you’re sick with cancer I am now determined to get myself to the healthiest point possible. This means cutting back on dairy, limiting my alcohol, and making better choices!

4. Cutting out triggers // I had to learn this lesson the hard way. I’ve had to stop myself from watching shows like This Is Us (I will hopefully be able to catch up in a month or two), reading sad books about death or loss, changing a song quickly if it hits a nerve, and sometimes not watching the news. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s a bit of self-preservation. At this moment, my wounds have barely healed so I’m attempting to keep the band-aid on still.

5. Sticky notes with quotations // I’m always jotting down lyrics, phrases, quotes and sticking them on my mirror or computer screen. It’s a nice reminder to reread the words that spoke to me in a moment. This helped me get through my last breakup and reading certain words over and over really drills it in your brain what you need to remember. Currently my sticky note reads “to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever” –Albus Dumbledore

6. Planning time with friends // This is self-explanatory. Keeping myself in isolation and holing up was only detrimental to my recovery. I’m so lucky that tons of my best friends live so close to me!

7. Looking at photos // It didn’t make sense to try and forget so I try to remind myself of the happy memories and look back and laugh at the times we had together.

...when those things don’t work, and I can’t make myself smile, I’ve learned other ways to cope:

8. Let yourself remember and feel // Feel everything in that moment. Let it take over completely. When you allow yourself to recognize that emotion you gain a sense of freedom.

9. Taking time to be still // Staying busy with friends and exercising is great but sometimes you need to be alone, quiet, and just sit on your sofa or take a nap… just not for too long.

10. Embrace reality so you can allow yourself to move on // I constantly have moments of pure frustration where I can’t understand why I’m feeling the way I do. I have to step back and tell myself that I just went through a rough time (and I’m still in it honestly). I have to let myself accept that things have changed and that it’s normal to be feeling confused like this.

So how am I doing? Well… I’m taking it day by day J except this time I actually am and I’m learning how to walk through my new normal! If any of y’all found this helpful or have additional tips you’d like to add please let me know! Thank you for reading!

Love Always,

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

{valentine's day | wish list}

Happy Valentine's day my lovelies! I have been internet "window shopping" for awhile now and noticed that I started having a trend of red, pink and white... think the day of love has been on my mind? I've been wearing my red sweaters since Christmas and gradually adding in softer pinks because I'm ready for spring! The weather here has been so hot and cold (literally) and I'm ready to transition into another season. I get tired of my cold weather clothes after a while. Anyone else?

Psst - this board is shoppable! Just click on the item you want to shop!

While I know some people think of Valentine's Day as a "hallmark holiday" I personally love it :) Any excuse to share a little extra love with the people I care about the most! I made handmade cards for everyone this year (big crafter here!) and sent them out early last week. My mom and grandma couldn't wait and already opened theirs haha.

Kyle and I are choosing to stay in together again this year. Last year we agreed that the day is simply about being together so he cooked for me at his house and we had a romantic night sitting on the floor, eating Italian food, and laughing together. It was so cute because he had the coffee table set with candles, a table cloth, placemats, flowers, and wine glasses! I am a total sucker for anything romantic so I melted when I walked through the front door. Who doesn't love to be surprised like that?!

I also love this holiday because it's a time to talk about self love too! When I'm home alone there's nothing I love more than trying a new face mask, taking a long bath, or watching a reality tv show (cough cough Siesta Key). The past month I've made sure to fill my time with things that make ME happy. At the start of every new year I create a list of things that bring me happiness: red wine, fresh flowers, manicures, dancing, girl talk, etc. When I've had a bad day or need a pick me up this is the list I refer to! So if you don't have a "Valentine" then give yourself the love you deserve - pick at least one thing that makes you happy and treat yourself to it. You deserve it! Oh, and calories don't count on the 14th... everyone knows that!!

Love Always,

Thursday, December 28, 2017

{velvet cami for new years eve}

In past years for NYE I have always done some kind of sparkly dress. It's festive, it's fun, it feels like New Years... but you only wear it once! Nowadays, that's just not how I like to spend my money (but I also don't have a big fancy party to go to this year and nothing really jumped out at me). I found this velvet camisole during some Black Friday excursions and fell in loooove with it! The color and ruffle detail just really  make a statement. I was texting one of my best friends about which color to get after I instagrammed it the other day and we both agreed it was hard to pick just one! There are 6 colors - I'm wearing the burgundy color but the color storm is my second fave! I paired it with some simple black pants (I have three pairs of these and wear them alllll the time) and my favorite olive green pumps. My purse picks up the burgundy tone in my shirt with its cute little scarf. I have carried it everywhere since the day I found it at Target - it goes with everything and surprisingly holds a lot! 

What is everyone doing for NYE? I must admit, I don't even know what my girlfriends are doing this year! In the past we've had a big party with all of our friends in DC; open bar, mexican food, music, dancing, the whole shebang! This year, Kyle and I have focused our holidays around family. I'm still not sure if we're going to be with my parents in Baltimore or with his in OBX... I know, a little late to decide haha. We're focusing on saving a bit more money this coming year and it's starting with NYE :) wherever we are it will be centered around spending time with family and (obviously) having a bottle of wine!

Happy New Year, friends! Thanks for reading my blog this year and joining me in life's ups and downs. Looking forward to 2018 :)

Love Always,

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

{my christmas day outfit}

Velvet Leggings // White Sweater // Plaid Scarf (on sale for $18) // Red Bow Earrings // J Necklace // Monogrammed Clutch // Black Heels, old (similar) // It Cosmetics Lipstick in "it girl"

Velvet leggings, a big sweater, and my favorite plaid holiday scarf! This is the outfit I'll be wearing on Christmas day - sans the heels ;) The basics are simple but adding a bit of velvet creates a luxe look and the accessories help this pop. I found these leggings on a whim over Thanksgiving and can't stop wearing them - they don't stretch out in the knees either! Velvet is all the rage this season and I couldn't help but jump on the trend!

Let's talk blanket scarves too... I've been a fan since college and love wearing them to add an extra something something to my outfit. It's also the easiest way to stay warm (duh) since they're so big and can be wrapped around your shoulders! I love that this plaid adds some holiday spirit too. I'm not sure why plaid feels festive but it just goes with everything!

My family always wears their pajamas while we open our stockings in the morning and then we clean up and put on some comfy, festive clothes! It gives us time to cook some food and make our signature family drink while we FaceTime/call the rest of the family :) then we all sit down and open presents together. I love that we do it this way because we really take the time to spend the entire day together. Everyone puts such thought into each present for each other so we open presents one by one (not sure how this worked when we were kids haha). My sister, her boyfriend Mark, their two dogs, and Kyle will be with us for Christmas and a couple of days after so we have lots of bonding ahead!!

This Christmas is going to be very different because of my dad's declining health - so taking the time to soak up each moment and memory is going to be even more special. I find myself holding on to each second harder. 2017 has been the best and the worst year (don't we all say that every year though?) so ending on time spent with family only seems fitting.

Love Always,
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