Tonight Brandon and I are headed to my ten year high school reunion. Ten years! I was definitely one of the ones that left town after graduation and kind of never looked back. I went to school with roughly the same 100 kids since the age of five, so yeah, come age 18, I was itching for a change. And while I enjoyed high school, I wouldn’t say I loved it. It wasn’t my time, you know? College and beyond- totally my time. But in high school I was still pretty timid, at times bordering on shy. Yep this girl here, with a full on blog for the entire world to see! While I go home often to see my family, I’ve always kind of shied away from the “town” crowd.  That said, I made a lot of good friendships (though I’ve only kept up two or three…eek), and am really looking forward to seeing some faces I haven’t seen in literally ages.

Needless to say, I’m planning on a cocktail or two to help take the edge off and these Lemony Gin + Ginger coolers totally fit the bill. This is a not to miss CC bevy. It’s light, irresistibly fizzy, and packs a great lemony zing. And don’t they dress up nicely in these Ball Heritage Collection Blue Pint Jars? I’m so excited to use them all summer long. Reunion or not, you need to make this cocktail. On that note though, high school, did you love it? Was it “your time”? I’d so love to know. Get back to me and happy weekending! xx

Lemony Gin + Ginger Coolers

Makes 2 drinks

  • 1 1/2 cups club soda
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 oz (or more) gin
  • sliced lemons for garnish

Make the Ginger Syrup (recipe from Martha Stewart)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 piece (about 10 inches long and 4 ounces; or use several small pieces) fresh ginger, peeled and cut into very thin rounds

Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add ginger; bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, and let steep 30 minutes. Pour syrup through a fine sieve into an airtight container; discard ginger. Cool completely.

Make the soda: Mix together the club soda, lemon juice, and six tablespoons of chilled ginger syrup. This soda will serve as your base for two cocktails. They’ll be plenty of syrup leftover, so you can make many more.
Make the cocktail: Fill two mason jars or tumblers with ice, pour in 1.5 oz gin into each glass (or more than one shot if you prefer). Divide the soda mixture between the two glasses. Stir, garnish with lemon, and serve immediately.
Thank you Ball for the beautiful set of blue Ball® Heritage Collection pint jars!

Morning friends! A few weeks back I hopped a plane to Texas and spent a brief 24 hours in Dallas to partner with Real Simple Offers on a fun project. I was headed there to get my closet organizing skills on.

Bright and early Saturday morning, we headed to the sweet home of Anna Stratton, armed with a boatload of closet organizing supplies. After a quick meet and greet, Anna was whisked away by a J.Jill styling team to get an entirely new wardrobe. I know, kind of the best gift ever, right? Meanwhile, myself and the Real Simple team got to work overhauling Anna’s closet. Oooh was I in my happy place!

Here’s our before picture. We were kind of in a state of organized chaos- everything had its home (sort of), but it was all very visible. It was missing that polished look.

I seriously had waaay too much fun. I started by re-working all the items from the top shelf, then moved on to switching everything over to Real Simple’s Slimline Hangers in black (love these), and then dealt with all the accessories, shoes, and miscellaneous clothing stored around the closet.

Uniform hangers and organizing items by color does wonders for any closet. I’m also a huge fan of pant and skirt hangers that hold multiple pairs, minimizing the amount of space these items take up and creating a much cleaner look. Also, see those shoes lining the top? Anna had all the shoes stored underneath her clothes. While there was a shelf there, it didn’t provide enough room and she couldn’t really see what pairs she had to work with. We moved the in season spring/summer shoes up to the shelf above her clothing, which freed up space underneath so she could sufficiently store all her winter shoes below. Now it kind of feels like she gets to go “shopping” in her own closet!

I’m a huge fan of closet organizers in all forms to help organize accessories and store folded pieces of clothing. Throw in a spot for a label, and well, it doesn’t get much better than that! I’m particularly fond of this shoe organizer because you can store multiple pairs of shoes in each cubby up top, and boots below. Full on boots!

We wrapped things up with a few more gifts for Anna. This was just moments before the big reveal. Thankfully, she was ecstatic with the results! Head on over to the Real Simple Offers  page to see more pics, additional organizing tips, and more!

I’m a huge fan of Nicole Franzen’s photography, and her recent collaboration with Kinfolk and Amy Merrick is too good not to share. The theme was a flower potluck, where each guest contributed their favorite blooms. They were subsequently turned into bouquets for the table, and even ivy crowns, which guests wore in their hair. Brilliant, right? I love how untamed the arrangements turned out — and the whole setting looks magical.

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This reminded me how amazing potlucks can be, although I think they’re too often forgotten in favor of more formal dinner parties. I would recommend picking your favorite course to cook - that’s dessert for me - and then asking your guests to bring the remaining courses. Putting out a quick appetizer will ensure that no one arrives to an empty table. It’s effortless entertaining at its best.

Recipes: spring crostini / almond buttermilk cake / homemade ice cream

Happy long weekend! How will you be spending your well-earned time off? Shopping? Barbecuing? Wishing it were a tiny bit warmer…?

I’ll be doing some of each, but no matter what, we all need to eat at some point. I’ve dove into the CC archives, and pulled a few favorite recipes that would be right at home on any Memorial Day table. Hamburgers (or veggie burgers!) are a bit of a given, but the appetizers, sides, and desserts are what will make your party really stand out. And don’t forget my favorite — the pickles!

Bright Citrus Salad
Spicy Feta and Red Pepper Dip
Sweet and Salty Brownies
Mint Limeade
Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter & Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies
Buttermilk Ranch Green Salad
Coffee Coconut Milk Ice Cream & Hot Fudge Sundaes
Lentil and Roasted Tomato Salad

Happy Friday, friends! I’m mixing up today’s Life Lately post a bit as Sunday marks a big date on the calendar. Brandon and I will be ringing in six whole years! Six years?!? Where does the time go? This whole 20s period- yeah, too fast, people. TOO FAST.

The calendar aside, I thought I’d take a moment today to share some of my biggest lessons learned over the past six years, when it comes to being in a relationship. The two of us have come to make quite a team, and I really have to remind myself daily of how lucky I am! Of course, I also tell Brandon all the time how lucky he is to have me, naturally. That said, relationships don’t come without their ups and downs, and we’ve definitely had our fair share. The good news is that the longer we’re together, the easier it becomes to recognize those moments as opportunities that ultimately bring us closer together. So…. here goes!

Maintain Perspective A good friend of mine once said, “Don’t end a relationship over a sink of dirty dishes.” In other words, learn not to sweat the small stuff. Ok yes, dirty dishes should be a shared duty, but you get where I’m going with this. It’s so important to maintain perspective when it comes to the big picture of your relationship and learn to let go of the little things that don’t really matter in the long run. I’m a total work in progress here!

Truly Accept Each Other Like truly. I’ve found it’s really easy to gloss over this one. It’s so easy to be like yeah yeah we accept each other! And then constantly nitpick over the little things. The aha moment for me was realizing there are always going to be these little things for both of us. We’ve gotten really good at making fun of each other for our silly (aka annoying) habits and just moving on!

Maintain Your Independence Last year due to a combo of work and vacation travel, Brandon and I were apart for a whole month. I remember telling people this and getting the response, “How will you survive?!?!” I was so perplexed! Sure we’d miss each other, but I’m a firm believer that it’s a good thing to miss each other now and then in a relationship. And to maintain your independence. Along with doing things together, I think it’s also important for the health of  a relationship to go out with friends from time to time on your own, engage in separate activities, and so forth.

Laugh. As much as you can. Admittedly a little corny, but truly, the more you can laugh, the easier it will be to weather the occasional storm. How’s that for a relationship metaphor. 

And lastly, get yourself some good sounding boards! My go tos are my mom and a handful of friends in their mid 30s (<- those people are gold).

Any big relationship tips you guys have? I’d love to hear! Also, check back in tomorrow for a roundup of CC Memorial Day recipes to get you all prepped for the holiday weekend. Hope yours is a good one! xx