Since first announcing way back in February that we’re getting married, I have updated you precisely zero times on the details. In short that’s simply because we changed our minds approximately 427 times over the last several months about what we’re doing, how large our guest list is going to be and how everything is going to play out. Budget is a major factor (since we have a kids who always come first and a house we’re constantly working on), and stress is also a major player, too. Between my time as an event planner and helping friends and family with their weddings, I’ve planned and executed something like 100 weddings. So while I’m certainly no novice at organizing the details, I also know how stressful big lavish affairs can be and I just don’t want any of that excess emotion and pressure clouding the experience for us. So we’re skipping the formal dinner in lieu of an extended cocktail hour followed by a pub crawl. (More details on that soon!) We’re planning a ceremony that will be really, deeply personal and probably a tear jerker. And it all starts with the perfect invitations!
We had a whirlwind of a weekend, hosting two parties and inviting a combined total of over 60 people through the house over the last two days. This morning it is dark and stormy, and I rolled out of bed a solid hour later than usual. I guess 48 hours of intense back-to-back entertaining will do that to you! When we’re throwing parties my rule of thumb is to keep the food simple, but also a touch unexpected and fun. It makes people feel special and gets them really excited to try something new. This strawberry feta bruschetta recipe perfectly fits that bill! It’s a departure from the tomato-based classic, but it’s equally, if not more, delicious. Plus, strawberries and feta always taste amazing together. In terms of prep, it’s also very easy! If you can dice up berries, you can feel confident serving this bruschetta at your next get together.
A few years ago Bob and I made our maiden voyage to Key West, which sparked a completely unexpected love affair with the Keys. I’ve been back since and have only fall more in love with the carefree, Cuban meets Caribbean vibe each time I go. This frozen tropical cocktail is entirely inspired by that same salt air in your hair, Jimmy Buffet music playing in the background experience that makes you never want to leave the Keys. In essence, this cocktail is a vacation in a glass. Because it’s sweetened with Truvia Nectar, it’s also a reduced sugar alternative to the typical sugar laden frozen drinks that seem to make the rounds ad nauseum in the summer months. Take it next level with a garnish of fresh pineapple and you’re ready for vacation mode.
Over the weekend I made a whirlwind 62 hour trip to Round Top, Texas and back. I’ve been working on a couple of really huge projects behind the scenes, I haven’t washed my hair in at least three days (dry shampoo, I love you), and my feet are still slightly swollen from traveling and lack of sleep over the last week. All of this to say, these peanut butter and jelly ice cream sandwiches are delicious and exactly what you need when you’re exhausted and missing a few of the usually prominent bones on the tops of your feet. An instant pick-me-up! To keep things simple, you can use a cookie mix here. To keep things delicious, I highly suggest making the strawberry jam homemade. Then just smash cookies and ice cream together and eat them right away, or wrap them and stash them in the freezer where they’ll keep for a few days.
I remember on my inaugural trip to Europe as a young teenager being completely confused by Europeans and their penchant for room temperature beverages. Or rather, being confused by their confusion with our love for icy cold beverages. I have a serious love affair with ice. The frostier the drink the better! The fancy ice cube craze running wild these days? I am so completely into it. Not only does it look so incredibly pretty, but you’re also left with a million or more flavor combinations for taking your summer lemonade and your favorite fruity cocktails to the next level. I personally like my ice cubes with fruit and herbs for even just sipping water throughout the day, but latte ice cubes and flower ice cubes and anything else you can freeze into a cube sounds pretty amazing, too! Here are 10 ideas to get you started…
Because I’ve already mentioned to excess that the 4th of July is one of my favorite days of the year, I’m going to be cutting out for the next few days. I’ll be here on Wednesday following a long holiday weekend where I hope there are copious fireworks and champagne in my future, in addition to a bunch of work I need to tackle behind the scenes for some big upcoming projects I can’t wait to share with you. Have you been following along on my Instagram Stories? We put in a new back patio this week and I’ve been sharing updates on the progress there. I’ll be sharing more over the weekend so you can see how it’s coming together since I know so many of you love these home renovation sneak peeks. In the meantime, here’s wishing you a beautiful 4th of July weekend for those of you here in the States! I’ll leave you with some of my favorite things from the week.
This easy sugar cookie fruit pizza makes a simple and delicious 4th of July dessert or the perfect addition to any summer party menu! Easily change the flavors by changing out the berries for any other combination you prefer.
When we bought our house last spring, we realized soon after that there was an old flag carefully rolled up in the foyer closet. The first morning that we woke up in the house after moving in following three insane weeks of renovations, the flag came out. We opened up the big double doors onto the front porch, slid the flag pole into place, and with that one simple action we felt completely at home. I’ve become really sentimental about that flag in the months since and it’s actually one of my favorite things about the entire house. Knowing the little old lady who lived here before us put that same flag out on the front porch for however many years gets me every time I think about it. Maybe I’m alone in this, but a well placed flag can bring on the best kind of nostalgia for me, which is why I believe everything should be star spangled and colored red, white and blue this time of year. Bring on these homemade star printed napkins! They’re one of the easiest 4th of July crafts you’ll ever make, but they’ll have such a huge visual impact on your festivities.
After Christmas, my favorite holiday is easily the 4th of July. There’s just nothing more festive to me than fireworks and the general summer-inspired glee that comes along with celebrating the 4th. Even now as an adult, the grand finale of any fireworks display makes me clap with excitement, because basically I am a five year old kid on the inside. This year I’m excited about hanging red, white and blue bunting along our front porch for the first time, and I’m also excited about these ice cream cones. Nothing is quite as American as red, white and blue sprinkle dipped 4th of July ice cream cones, am I right? These are such a fun way to serve up even just a simple scoop or two of vanilla ice cream, and you can prep the cones the day before. All you need are sugar cones, white chocolate and all the cool sprinkles you can find. Stay tuned for more fun 4th of July ideas! It’s about to get mighty patriotic about these parts.
When I was in high school there was a little coffee shop in town where many of the kids in my class would gather in the evenings on the weekends. At the time I wasn’t much of a coffee aficionado, but they made the most delicious Italian sodas so those quickly became my regular. Now, every time I have one I am transported back to my last months and weeks of high school, so the timing seemed perfect to share my homemade version. A handful of our favorite teenagers are all graduating in the next several days and our calendar is about to fill up with graduation parties galore. From there we’re zipping right into the lead up into the 4th of July, so naturally I had to make sure my Italian sodas had a little patriotic spirit going on since they’d also make a perfectly festive drink at your Independence Day celebrations, too. They’re made with homemade berry syrups and they’re insanely delicious.
When we moved into our neighborhood a year ago we were thrilled to discover that we had unknowingly bought a house on the coolest block in town. Our neighbors have become incredible friends and we love that they all have kids, and that they also share our family-centric yet fun-loving ways. This time of year the afternoons mean nearly a dozen kids running up and down the street riding bikes, throwing lacrosse balls and chasing down the ice cream truck. When JOLLY TIME asked if I wanted to host a fun summer party for our neighborhood crew, there wasn’t a chance I’d turn that down.