Summer Pairing with Rueda Verdejo

August 14, 2017

One of the things I love most about enjoying a bottle of wine is pairing it with some food. Snacking while sipping - it's one of my all time favorite activities. Lucky for me, I have some lovely friends and family that enjoy delicious food as much as they enjoy great wine and this activity is one I get to enjoy more often than not. And while there are various libations I like to drink during the summer, a chilled and crisp white wine seems to be the biggest crowd-pleaser and universally loved. After sampling a smattering of white wine varietals this summer I can say with certainty that I'm drawn to those with more of a acidic taste (versus the oak-aged or very sweet). Another thing I've come to find is that if a white wine was a Rueda Verdejo  - no matter which specific vineyard or year - it was always a winner in my book.

For anyone unfamiliar (and I was up until recently) Rueda Verdejo is a top selling white wine from Spain that's known for pairing well with just about anything...both foods and occasions! Similar in taste to a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, Verdejo from Rueda is a vibrant and complex white that has just the right amount of fruit, a hint of spice, and a crisp refreshing finish. In a few words: it's incredibly easy to drink. Even more pleasing than it's taste profile is its pricing - most Verdejo from Rueda bottles are under $20! 


Inspired by my frequent sipping of Rueda Verdejo I wanted to do a little offering of appetizers that pair well with white wine. As I mentioned earlier, snacking while sipping…it’s something I’m serious about. Of course Verdejo wine goes well along side just about any food – and sometimes I get lazy with my snacking choices (fact: popcorn, string cheese, and peanut butter cups do in fact go well with Rueda Verdejo) – but I wanted to educate myself on “true” white wine pairings. And I’m glad I did, because the three pairings below were next-level delicious with Verdejo!

Here’s what I put together:

  • Avocado + lime crostinis: lime is one of the dominant acidic flavors of Rueda Verdejo wines and because both the wine and limes pair so well with buttery avocado, this was a super satisfying “veggie” appetizer option. I just mashed one fresh avocado, added the juice from half a lime, spread on toasted baguette slices, and topped with a little lime zest and kosher salt. Kind of like a bite-sized version of avocado toast but super fresh tasting with the addition of lime.
  • Manchego cheese + serrano ham crackers: ohhemgee meat and cheese is my all time fave appetizer, especially with wine. I did a little research into specific cheese that pair best with Rueda Verdejo and manchego was one of them. And because serrano ham is a staple in Spanish cuisine and often served alongside manchego cheese as a tapa this seemed like an easy peasy app! I sliced up the manchego and folded some serrano ham slices on top of some thin crackers that were the perfect size and pain in flavor so as to not compete with the meat and cheese.
  • Mango + pecorino cheese bites: I think we all know that grapes are the easy out when it comes to building an appetizer board for wines. But in my aforementioned Rueda Verdejo cheese pairing research I found that pecorino cheese was also recommended. And what goes well with a salty cheese but a naturally sweet fruit. Verdejo’s dominant fruit flavors – in addition to lime – are green melon, grapefruit pith and white peach. Peaches would be the most natural go-to for me but I wanted to go outside my comfort zone and do fresh mango. After slicing bite-sized chunks of mango and cutting small pieces of pecorino cheese I skewered one of each together and the pairing was perfect.

Thirsty for some Rueda Verdejo wine and hungry for some complimentary appetizers? I’m not sure how you couldn’t be given this summer spread. Come over any time and I’ll treat you to a repeat. Or pick up your own bottle of Rueda Verdejo – just look for the Rueda logo when visiting your local store or find a great selection on – and get creative with pairings that sound delicious to you! AND, if you’re ordering Rueda via, use code “RUEDA” at checkout for 10% off!!

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Outdoor Living with Frontgate

August 11, 2017

It was always my hope (or dream, if you will) that my husband and I would eventually live in a place that included a backyard area that could have an outdoor furniture set up. After living in San Francisco - he was there for three years, I joined him for the last two years - one of the things we were most excited about with our move to Dallas was having a yard for our pups and getting a private space of our own. Don't get me wrong, the mild and typically chilly weather in San Fran makes being outside year-round an actual thing...Dallas might be warmer (ok, a lot warmer and borderline boiling in the summer) but having access to more housing options (especially ones with outdoor space) along with several other factors made it somewhat easy to leave the city we grew to love. After being in Dallas for a year and moving three times - not a joke and yes, it nearly killed me - we're renting a home that we loooove and one of our favorite parts about it is the backyard set up. It might not have a pool or an acre of grass but it's perfect for our pups to romp around in, has a great garage set up, and it has a covered patio area that's the perfect size for an outdoor living situation!

Before we even moved I was so excited about the prospect of potential outdoor furniture, it was all I could talk about. Molly (and my mom, and my husband) all told me to cool my jets and get through the move, birth of my baby (he came two days after our move in day, yes it was crazy), get settled then jump on outdoor furniture. Well, Frontgate must have heard my frantic thoughts of making an outside gathering space become a reality because they reached out and generously offered to help us find pieces that fit our vision and lifestyle. To say that we're loving our simple, comfy set up is an understatement!


If you already known of Frontgate, then you know that they’re a one-stop-shop for all things home and that they especially excel in their outdoor furniture and outdoor living offerings. There’s an abundance of styles – from ornate and traditional to sleek and modern – and they truly have something for everyone no matter what your aesthetic. I enlisted the help of my mom to hone in on what pieces would be the best fit for us and our outdoor space.

The first place we started was the seating. The main thing I wanted was something comfortable and clean looking that wouldn’t be a nightmare to take care of. Given that I’m not super traditional I determined that the aluminum pieces, while absolutely beautiful, weren’t going to be for me. And because I’m all about durability and ease I also knew that upholstered items (also insanely beautiful) wouldn’t be a good fit. After going back and forth between various wicker and teak options I became convinced that teak furniture would be the best fit. Teak is a hardwood that’s naturally resistant to moisture and fairly low maintenance compared to other types of outdoor wood due to the natural oil it produces. It’s a really pretty honey color and left untreated or sealed it develops this weathered, silver grey hue over time.

I fell in love with the low profile and simplistic design of the Harbor Seating set and liked that the pieces looked very sturdy but not so heavy or dense that we couldn’t move them around or re-configure the set-up whenever we wanted. I figured that the couch and two chairs would be just what our space needed and I was definitely right. And of course, the comfy-looking seat and back cushions fit my “comfy” criteria. The cushions are available in a really pretty pale blue and white stripe fabric but I went with the “salt” color to keep things clean and neutral.

Speaking of neutral, when looking at the options for an accent table and rug I wanted them both to compliment the couch and chairs while not looking super matchy-matchy. My mom’s the one who suggested the Ensoleille Coffee Table and at first I was unsure about it looking too modern…but she assured me that it would anchor the whole set up with it’s weighted look and she was completely right. When it first arrived I was so scared that it was solid stone or concrete and that I wouldn’t be able to lift it! But it’s made of “monolithic crushed stone” and while not light as a feather, it is easy to move and not nearly as heavy as it looks to be. It’s also incredibly easy to wipe down and the perfect size for holding food and drinks – the bigger diameter means that it’s not as easy for our dogs to snag snacks! My family jokes that I’m an absolute freak when it comes to rugs. I’m honestly so obsessive about keeping the ones I have inside clean and constantly scolding our pups for tracking in mud or shedding all over them. The one thing I wanted for our outdoor rug was for it to be something that looked great and could withstand the elements (and dogs) so I wouldn’t freak out over it all the time. The Avoca Braided Rug was just the right amount of “pattern” – the contrasting camel colors in two sizes of braids make it have a subtle stripe – and it promises to be exceptionally durable and able to stand up well to high-traffic areas with strength and endurance. Maybe I need one of them inside my house! I love that the tones of the rug compliment the teak hue now but will also still look good when the furniture eventually gets a patina.

Last but not least, I couldn’t say no to a couple of throw pillows. Frontgate has just the right amount of options when it comes to their pillows…great styles and color combinations to choose from and no cheesy patterns. Who knew weather resistant pillows could look so good?! To add some color without going over the top, I picked the Scalamandre Oasis Sky Pillows. I’m always a sucker for anything Scalamandre (so classic, amIright?) and the blue and yellow were the perfect happy addition to the set up.

Like I said, it’s a pretty simple look but the un-fussy and relaxed vibe is exactly what I was wanting and after wanting an outdoor living space for so long it feels like a “pinch me” moment to have such beautiful pieces from Frontgate. Even better is how much we’ve used it in the past months! We can’t wait for fall to hit so that we can spend even more time alfresco.

P.S. My MacKenzie-Childs butterfly pieces were another summer addition and I specifically picked them out for the purpose of using them for all our outdoor dining and entertaining (the pitcher, serving platter, and dinner plates are hopefully just the start to my collection). They might be hand-wash only but the enamelware is ideal for using outside!

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Current Vibes

August 9, 2017

This isn't one of my vibes today, but I just finished reading "Eligible" by Curtis Sittenfeld and love, loved it. It's a "modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice" which, I'm embarrassed to say, I've never read. But I just might have to the beloved Jane Austen tale after loving Sittenfeld's retelling so much. Aside from the never-ending family drama (five sisters, so much happening) it was very fun that nearly the whole story took place in Cincinnati - a city I'm fairly familiar with thanks to my college days in Ohio. Even more crazy that "Hillbilly Elegy" (the non-fiction book that was part of my Current Vibes two weeks ago) takes place in Middletown, Ohio. Very interesting to read one right after the other and note the socioeconomic differences. Highly recommend both! (if you didn't realize, I just gave you a bonus vibe. Now keep reading for the others)

1. SOFA SHOPPING // INTERIOR DEFINE: I love my dogs, sometimes in an unhealthy way. They sleep in bed with me and have free range of all the furniture in my place. Including my sectional sofa. This said sofa has had a good seven year run with me and I love it for that. But it’s sustained a lot of puppy love (re: too much) and given that it was a generous family hand-me-down that Sally and I slipcovered yearssss ago, I think I’m ready for an upgrade. Sally and her husband got a sectional from Interior Define when they moved to San Francisco about four years ago and I’ve always been really jealous of it. Besides the fact that Interior Define has incredible sofa style options that are both superior in quality and affordability, they offer a whole range of fabric options that are pet and kid friendly. Cue angels singing. I’m moving to a new place at the end of the month (for anyone counting, this is my eighth move in seven years) and I’m thinking that a new sectional (I can’t part with the L-shape – it really is the best) might be a joint housewarming and birthday gift to myself. I turn 30 in October…nothing says “adult” or celebrates a milestone birthday quite like a new sofa, am I right? About to order myself a set of free swatches from Interior Define to narrow down the fabric while I still deliberate on style.

2. WONDERING // WOWDER: It’s hard to miss it when Glossier announces a new product – they have the marketing and hype down. They also have such a tight assortment that you know each new addition is something that’s been very well thought about. The latest offering is part of their makeup category: Wowder. I’ve been experimenting with “face makeup” formulas for the past year (powders, tinted moisturizers, liquid foundations, stick foundations, etc.) so I was very intrigued to hear what this powder would be be like. It doesn’t sound like it’s a foundation powder and Glossier says that it’s in fact not powder (hence the name). Said to “cut shine, blur the appearance of pores, set makeup, look like skin.” To me it sounds more like a tinted setting formula than one with coverage – the promise of it not caking into fine line or flatting skin’s texture reaffirms my suspicions. I’m always looking for some sort of coverage so I’m not totally positive this is for me, but I do love the thought that Glossier put into the design (trampoline mesh!) and that they created a non-sheding brush specifically for application. But does anyone else think that the name and graphic adorning the top of the packaging look more like Benefit (known for their puns and cheeky designs) than Glossier (known for their sleek minimalism)?

3. PERFUMING // BYREDO KABUKI: Don’t spray it, brush it. Perfume that is. And only Byredo. The beautiful fragrance company known for its stark branding and curated selection of scents has launched a revolutionary way to apply perfume with a kabuki brush that dispenses micro-fine translucent powder is housed in a sleek black tube. As someone who also feels like scents disappear from my skin (not sure if I have some sort of internal chemical repellent thing happening) I wonder if this powder perfume would linger longer than the liquid variety. Alas, I haven’t found any of the sites offering the new Byredo Kabuki to acknowledge or address this suspicion. I guess I’ll just have to track down a tester in Dallas (luckily, Forty Five Ten carries the product!) and try it for myself. The Kabuki is offered in Byredo’s famed Gypsy Water (Violet Grey touts that “the aroma evokes fresh soil, deep forests, and campfires”), Bal d’Afrique and Blanche.

4. WRAPPING // ACLER MARENE TOP: It might still be super hot in Texas but the constant blast of ice-cold air conditioning means that styling long sleeves with shorts is possible. My latest long sleeve top crush is the Marene wraparound number by Acler. Like a traditional button down but with a nice twist (pun intended), I love the stripes, longer length and the fact that it can be worn more off-the-shoulder if wanted (see how it’s styled here). This may be a buy-now-wear-now-then-wear-like-a-uniform-come-fall piece for me! But I mean…should I get it in the white version to add to my white shirt collection?!

5. BOOTING // MIRON CROSBY: Beautiful, unique, and creative cowboy/cowgirl boots are not an infrequent site in Texas but getting your hands on a pair can be quite the process. It typically involves going to a custom-boot place (and there’s not as many as you might think), picking from a dizzying amount of options (from toe shape, stitch-style, motifs, leathers and more), then waiting for like, ever, for them to be handmade and ready for wear. Recognizing the beauty that are handmade artisanal boots – and having quite to collection of custom pairs themselves – sisters Lizzie Means Duplantis and Sarah Means have introduced Miron Crosby. What makes Miron Crosby unique are their not-so-typical designs in ready-to-wear styles and the option to create a custom bespoke pair to your own specifications via a concierge design service. Also special, these boots are a blend of western sensibilities and fashion-forward aesthetics. In a sea of boots that all tend to start looking the same, Miron Crosby’s hand-lasted boots (done in Texas by the legendary Rios of Mercedes, I might add) are creative kicks destined to become heirlooms. Live in Dallas? Visit their studio in Highland Park Village! Live anywhere else? Shop the styles for men and women online! To say I’m wanting a pair for myself an understatement…

6. LOVING // MIRTH’S INDIAN-STYLE PICNIC: More sisters! Y’all should know by now that my love for Mirth Caftans and the women behind the brand runs pretty deep. If you can catch me on a summer day when I’ve showered and taken myself out of workout clothes I’m most likely wearing one of their breezy, elevated caftans. While reading and viewing the entertaining feature they did with Camille Styles I had the goofiest grin on my face…it just makes me so happy to see all their pretty styles being worn and them sharing aspects of the Indian culture and traditions they’ve picked up from their frequent trips to and from for their handmade manufacturing process. Total eye candy. And fun to learn even more about them!

7. WANTING // RICE BEADS: I’ve been seeing Charleston Rice Beads adorning some of most stylish friends for years. Confused why the strands look like actual pieces of rice and how they’re unique to Charleston? Well, being the nerd I am, I can answer your curiosity! The story dates back to the 1690s, when a Madagascar ship en route to England got off course due to a storm and landed in the colony of Charleston. After receiving a friendly and kind welcome, the ship’s captain gave the governor a handful of rough rice grains. From this handful, Charleston colonists used the grain for seed and enough rice was produced to supply South Carolina and other colonies. Cool, right? I’m really working to plan a trip to Charleston this fall and hope to bring back some rice beads as a souvenir. After all, Candy Shop Vintage (a local Charleston shop with a great selection of rice bead pieces) has proclaimed that rice beads are “the new pearls.”

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Current Vibes

August 2, 2017

Upon first coming home from our vacation I felt a surge of energy - wanting to do all the laundry and unpack as quickly as possible. I even went as far as washing all four dog beds in our house - a task that I generally despise. When I get this kind of motivation, I feel as if I have to take full advantage as it can be fleeting!  On the flip side, today is a rainy day around here, which makes it hard to want to do anything other than read a good book or catch up on recorded tv...trying to stay motivated and knock out errands while the this burst of energy lasts! (andddd read on for my vibes this week)

1. COLLECTION COVETING // CARBON38 PASSPORT: Since my wardrobe these days mostly consists of some version of activewear, I am constantly on the lookout for new pieces. While browsing Carbon38 I cam across their Passport Collection and fell in love. The ready-to-wear collection is comprised of fit and flare silhouettes and flounced hems making it perfectly feminine, yet also practical with performance-inspired fabrics. This means that everything is machine washable and wrinkle free – win, win. I’ve been wanting/needing a white tank to tuck into my jean shorts and this one from the Passport Collection looks pretty perfect. The ruffle trim is right up my alley. It would also look pretty cute tucked into some of my favorite skirts, too! Also, I can’t forget my love for all sweatshirts – especially this guy with its pretty full, pintucked sleeves. Perfect to wear with my usual leggings come fall. Or jeans if I’m feeling fancy – ha.

2. MAKING // A SUMMER STEAKHOUSE SALAD: Cooking dinner with a newborn is a challenge to say the very least! Dinner time is generally either the witching hour or I am preoccupied with nursing. Despite this, we are making a real effort around here to do more cooking and less takeout. Takeout leftovers always seem to be thrown out in our house making me feel wasteful which I hate! This is much less likely to happen when we’re cooking just enough for us. When I saw this recipe on Waiting on Martha, I knew that it was something we would love in our house. You can’t go wrong with roasted cherry tomatoes, steak, grilled corn, and blue cheese. The steak also means that the salad would be filling enough to be a meal in itself, which is easy and ideal!

3. USING // NOOK NICHE FEEDING PILLOW: Two of our favorite and most used baby products with baby H are both made by an amazing company called NookNook’s products are all created with the highest standards of quality: health, safety, breathability, quality, and beauty. Each product is made with the safest ingredients, many of which are organic. We use the Niche Feeding Pillow Since I am strictly nursing – we spend a lot of time doing this throughout the day. My back was starting to take a serious toll because I didn’t have any sort of pillow made for feeding. The Niche has been a complete game-changer and made these constant feedings so much more comfortable for both of us. The pillow is also great for tummy time, too! Before we know it, we’ll be using the Niche to help with extra support while learning to sit up. Another product that we have been using and loving from Nook is the LilyPad Playmat. We use this for tummy time and also under our Land of Nod play gym to give baby H a soft surface to lay on. It folds up easily to move from room to room, which I love. It will also be great to take to the park or in our backyard once it cools down around here. I found myself really wishing we had this on our trip last week to have a clean space to hang out on the floor – note to self for our next trip!

4. LUSTING // HEIMAT ATLANTICA: It’s no style secret that the basket bag has made quite the name for itself as of late. I have yet to jump on the train, but after dsicovering Heimat Atlantica, I’m jumping on – and fast. The bags are all handcrafted in Spain using unique elements from the Atlantic Coast including Sargadelos porcelain, traditional handwoven reed Portuguese basket and handmade, Spanish leather. The creations feature different porcelain charms – all of which have their own symbolism and meaning. My personal favorite is the Liebe Mini Biser, which is embellished with a porcelain Biser charm that helps those who are seeking love. Pretty cool, right?

5. READING // “THE LIGHT WE LOST”: I decided that podcasts while nursing were far too tricky to keep up with. I was getting distracted and pausing the podcast during breaks from feeding was just one more thing to deal with when juggling baby, burp cloth, spit up, etc, etc. But I was still determined not to waste away the many minutes I spend feeding baby H by scrolling though social media. I’ve found that the best way to do this has been by reading books on my Kindle. I can easily set the Kindle down and it saves my place without my having to do anything. If I have an engaging book, I am much more inclined to pick up my Kindle than my phone so its perfect. I just finished “The Light We Lost” at the recommendation of a friend and absolutely loved it. The love story by Jill Santopolo was completely enchanting and I really enjoyed the way in which it was written. If you like love stories it’s a must read.

6. WAITING // ZARA DOCUMENTARY: I am fascinated by the way Zara works and how quickly they are able to go from conception to putting a product on their floors. Its crazy fast! And definitely how they are able to stay on top of the trends. Apparently, Zara invented this so-called “fast fashion” and can create a product in less than 15 days. I found this Refinery29 write up on the “Ten Crazy Things You Didn’t Know About Zara” to be super interesting. I also learned that a documentary on the inner workings of Zara and its founder is coming out this fall, which is bound to be good.

7. APPRECIATING // 9 CANS OF LACROIX: San Francisco based Street artist, fnnch, created “9 Cans of LaCroix” as a tribute to the sparkling water that most of us know and love. The artist is a self proclaimed “Warhol fan boy” who painted the images on the same sized canvases and from the same vantage point as Warhol’s famous Campbells Soup Cans, dubbing LaCroix the “the soup cans for millenials”. He compares LaCroix to Campbells Soup in that they both are cheap, widely distributed, and seem to transcend socio-economic status. Touché fnnch, touche. The collection features LaCroix’s nine original  flavors and you can commission any one (or more) of your favorites.

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Perfect Size for 1 Treats + Toppings

August 1, 2017

Not many people know this about me, but I love to bake. Back when this blog was a baby I would make one baked good a week as a selfish way to satisfy my sweet tooth and share with friends and coworkers. After a while I started to question my baking hobby. Mostly because I'm a person who loves leftovers and hates waste and I constantly felt the need to eat every last crumb of whatever I had made, even if I didn't want to. As great as that first slice of cake or square of brownie was I didn't necessarily want to keep indulging day after day. My sweet tooth needed a vacation and now my baking passion comes out for birthdays or when I'm delegated to bring dessert to a party. That's all fine and good but my cravings haven't gone away. There are days when all I think about is being able to enjoy a warm baked good from my own kitchen and I have to trample my temptations in lieu of going to the store for ingredients, getting all my baking equipment dirty, and making a huge cake I can't finish just because I wanted one serving in the moment.

Duncan Hines® Perfect Size for 1® has answered my sweet tooth dreams while solving my woes of baking for myself and having leftovers with their cakes and muffins. The cakes and muffins come in a variety of flavors - from chocolate brownies to cinnamon coffee cake and strawberry shortcake - and just one serving per pouch allows you to mix up a personal-sized warm treat that can be ready in about a minute. How perfect is that? So perfect that I had to get my friends and family in on the goodness with a "pick your cake, pick your toppings" themed cake dessert bar.


Each Perfect Size for 1 flavor is delicious on their own but when I was choosing between the options at my local Kroger I started thinking, “How good would it be to add some fresh berries, ice cream, or whipped cream to make the perfect little cake next-level delicious?” Minutes later I was adding toppings to my cart and making dinner plans with friends where I would be taking care of the dessert. The only thing better than a personalized sized cake is getting to dress it up with your favorite toppings!

Because it’s summer I picked Perfect Size for 1 flavors that are perfect for the season: Strawberry Shortcake (the obvious), Lemon Cake (so fresh), and Confetti Cake (a nostalgic classic I couldn’t pass up). For toppings I went with: fresh strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, home made whipped cream, vanilla bean ice cream, mini chocolate chips, and rainbow sprinkles. Baking a Perfect Size for 1 is as easy as grabbing a mug, emptying a pouch of mix, and stirring in 3 tablespoons of water. Then a minute and ten seconds in the microwave and it’s ready to be topped and enjoyed!

To say that my friends loved getting to pick a Perfect Size for 1 and dress it up to their own specifications is an understatement. People got creative – some started mixing the fruit into the batter before microwaving or substituting the water for milk – but everyone had similar reactions of, “This is the perfect portion,” and “The warm, fresh-baked cake I always want but never get.” Below are examples of flavor and topping pairings that happened:

Cake is by far my favorite baked good and I love that now I can indulge in a personalized-size serving whenever I want and not wait for a special occasion to bake a whole cake! So easy and so satisfying. And of course, I’m going to be trying out some of the Perfect Size for 1 muffin varieties…blueberry muffin, banana bread and cinnamon coffee cake all sound too perfect for a warm breakfast treat.

Next time you’re in Kroger I highly suggest getting a box (or two, or three) of Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 from the baking aisle and indulging in the warm, delicious goodness. You can thank me later.

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