August 24th, 2015 · Print
With two working parents and a mere twenty-four hours in the day, it probably doesn’t shock you one bit that I’m all about easy entertaining. I love having friends over and planning get-togethers, but unfortunately, it’s pretty much impossible to find the time to prepare dishes from scratch every time you want to have guests. Here are three tips I rely on to make me look like an effortless hostess (even when I’m really not)!
Dress Up Pre-Prepared Dishes
My favorite entertaining trick is to outsource in the easiest way possible! That means that I’m best friends with the prepared foods section at our local gourmet market. Yes — it’s expensive. But when you’re strapped for time, it’s a luxury that’s well worth the investment! I’m never try to hide the fact that anything I serve is store bought — why bother? I think it’s nicer to share your go-to spots for delicious take-out than to pretend that you spent all day in the kitchen whipping up snacks! However, even when I’m buying prepared food, I go the extra mile to remove it from its containers and put in our own servingware. The difference in presentation makes it a little more special and personal.
Take Advantage of Pin-spiration
Pinterest is insanely addictive (I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent looking at wedding inspiration… and I’m already married)! But it’s also a great resource. One of my favorite tricks is to search for “make ahead” appetizers — and it’s a trip when I find my own recipes that others have pinned! Just this week, I realized that The Today Show had pinned my recipe for Parmesan Cones, which could easily be filled with a store-bought dip! Or this salad-on-a-stick recipe is an easy, beautiful snack.
In Lieu of a Cheese Platter, Try a Spread!
Last, I have a new secret that I just discovered – Alouette Le Bon Dip! It’s a soft cheese blend with chunky veggies. It’s also made with a touch of yogurt so it still tastes rich and delish but is actually healthy. (No artificial flavors or colors either!) It’s perfect to serve to kids (Bear loves it!) or grown-up guests. Pair it with some fresh-cut veggies or cheese straws, like I did!
What are your favorite tips for easy entertaining?
Disclosure: I partnered with Alouette to bring you this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Photo Credit: Kate Robinson
Tags: food · sponsored
August 18th, 2015 · Print
This post was sponsored by Dove but all opinions are my own.
I grew up in New England, so I’ve gone through my fair share of freezing winters! But truthfully, I’m a summer girl at heart. Give me a sunny day and a spot on the beach, and I’ll happily stay put for as long as I possibly can!
But sunny summer days can take a toll on your skin, even more than in the chilly winter months. During the winter, I’m always careful to be sure that I moisturize and keep my skin hydrated, but during the summer when I’m running around outdoors, it can be harder to remember.
So I was incredibly excited to try new Dove Limited Edition Summer Care Beauty Bar and Body Wash! These new products are specifically formulated for summer skin care needs, with gentle exfoliating beads that leave skin smooth and naturally glowing. It’s important to reevaluate your beauty routine every season to make sure that you’re doing everything that you can to keep your skin healthy and gorgeous. After all, you’re probably showing it off more in the summer, so it’s extra important to make sure it’s smooth and glowing!
I’ve been a big fan of Dove products for a long time, and one of the biggest reasons is their NutriumMoisture technology. It sounds like a mouthful, but I’ve found that Dove Body Washes and Beauty Bars really leave my skin smooth and refreshed without feeling heavy or greasy. That’s especially important during the summer when hot days call for crisp, clean products, but it’s also important year-round, no matter what climate you’re in!
Dove Summer Care Body Wash features a rejuvenating fragrance combination of energizing citrus, a rich floral bouquet and voluptuous vanilla and amber, which is perfect for starting a summer day fresh and clean. I love the scent so much that I actually use it as bubble bath, in addition to body wash!
Aside from switching up my skincare routine for the summer months, I make it a point to take extra special care of my skin all summer long! I also load up on SPF (SPF40 is my minimum when I’m spending time outdoors!) and I try to always carry a water bottle to keep hydrated during the day. Also, during the summer, I often set an earlier alarm to take advantage of the longer daylight hours!
What are your favorite summer skincare tips? And if you give Dove Summer Care a try, I’d love to know what you think!
August 11th, 2015 · Print
I can’t believe it’s August already! This summer has absolutely flown by, and I can’t quite wrap my mind around the fact that it’s almost over. I’m wrapped up in my seasonal debate of whether to head to New York for Fashion Week — I haven’t been since B was born, and I’m really tempted to go this season. It’s so fun! But also such a long trip and really difficult to leave Bear behind, even for a few days. I can’t decide!
I have a whopping two weeks to make up my mind and exactly zero travel arrangements (or outfits!) planned, so it’s going to be a game-time decision! If I go, I’m planning to forgo the usual frantic, packed schedule, and focus on a few shows for designers I truly love, and make an effort to see friends and family while I’m in the city. Sometimes these trips get so packed that I run from event to show to after-party (ha! not really. I tend to go to bed at, like, 9 p.m. and have made it to, like, maybe two after-parties in my entire fashion blogging career) and barely have time to see my friends from the seven years I spent in NYC.
I always build in brunch with my parents, but still — if I’m going to travel halfway across the country, I want to make sure I get some facetime in with as many friends as possible. Which means… probably this season I’ll spend a lot less time planning my outfits and a lot more time planning coffees, brunches, and museum outings with my friends and colleagues from our time in NY. Some of them have kids who I’ve never met, and it sort of breaks my heart to type those words!
One of my goals for 2015 was to streamline my life a little bit, and this is one of the ways I’m trying to do it. It’s ok if there’s one fewer street style photo of me in a fashion magazine next season (ha! I still sort of can’t believe there was ever a photo of me in a fashion magazine, so this doesn’t feel like a big concession)! Especially if it means an extra afternoon of ice cream with a good friend.
What else? Oh, I should probably tell you about my outfit, huh? It’s actually a dress I’ve had for a while, that I picked up while hosting an event with Macy’s earlier this year. The dress is from GUESS and it was insanely reasonably priced (under $100), so I had to snap it up! I paired it with hot pink heels (obviously!) and a stack of bracelets and called it a day. If I don’t have time to buy something new, this may well be one of my picks for NYFW in September!
Photo Credit: Kate Robinson