Perhaps selfishly, thanksgiving has always been my favorite. My birthday is the same time of year, so often the celebrations are one in the same. This year, as I hit the last year of my 20s, I felt like I should start a new tradition that I've skipped over in years past, despite it's all too basic nature: expressing just what it is I'm thankful for, and acting more appreciative on a daily basis.

thanksgiving chili

Who doesn't love Thanksgiving leftovers? After friendsgiving, we had more than enough tryptophan to last us a few days. However, since we kicked sandwiches to the curb in our attempt to remain grain-free, I needed to find something else to do with all of that leftover turkey.


A few years ago, my friends and I started the tradition of girls' night: Thanksgiving {now coined friendsgiving}.  This year was my turn to host, which gave me an opportunity to (finally) bust out our wedding china.  

an easy thanksgiving appetizer

If you're cooking the meal this year, I find that having appetizers (and booze) on hand actually keeps you a bit happier, since you're not stressing about people getting hangry if your meal takes longer than planned {or if something goes wrong}. Rather than the standard cheese and crackers, these bite-sized meatballs are a delicious, healthy alternative.

the main event: thanksgiving bird

Confession: I have never made a turkey until this one.

thanksgiving staple: cranberry sauce

There are certain items automatically associated with Thanksgiving. I have no idea where the tradition started, but cranberry sauce is always on the table even though it’s often one of the items that gets passed around the table with few, if any, takers. I’m quick to blame the canned version for that. If you enjoy cranberry juice but wonder wtf happened to make cranberry sauce so strange {I must confess, I have NEVER tried the canned version because it creeps me out}, try this recipe.

gift guide: for the girl on the go

It's hard to believe the holidays are upon us already. I'm not sure where 2013 went, but I'm looking forward to spending the end of the year celebrating with family and friends. If you've got a frequent traveler on your list, here are some must-haves (from pocket friendly to splurge worthy) for your favorite travelista

cherish every moment.

After reading Madonna Badger's story yesterday (thanks to the Skimm for directing me to it), I felt a strong urge to call everyone I love and let them know it. Life is too short to wish it away. It's a habit I have, and think my New Year's resolution will be to stop (or at least cut back on) doing that. 

In case you missed it:

  • J. Crew's sale is on sale (code: STYLETIME).
  • The Koch brothers threw a kegger to "educate" people about the new health care law.
  • Lily Allen released a new video that has everyone hot and bothered. Lena Dunham's fans took it up on twitter.
  • The Philippines are in desperate need of help.
  • Isabel Marant for H&M happened yesterday. If you're just now finding out, you're not going to get any of it.
  • The guidelines on statins changed this week, which is likely to put more Americans on meds. But at whose benefit? Maybe we should consider changing the standard diet guidelines first.

beef, spinach and mushroom crust-free quiche

Brunch is one of my favorite weekend past-times. I love brunching out, lingering over mimosas and chatting about everything and nothing until well past the noon hour. On the other hand, I also love waking up, lounging around with a latte, and then leisurely making a bite to eat {mimosas are still included}. Frittatas are one of my favorite dishes, in part because you can basically throw in whatever ingredients you have on hand.

spicy roasted beets

With the holidays approaching, I've been trying to figure out what I'll make for various celebrations with family, friends, and at work. This beet recipe is so simple, and the taste is a bit unexpected. If you're mom (like mine) hates beets (because she was forced to consume the scary canned version as a child), you may be able to convert her with this dish.

afternoon tea baby shower for mia

A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor of co-hosting a baby shower for my sister-in-law in the Smith Room at Oxford Exchange. Since the room is fairly industrial, we went girly to shower little miss Mia. This little piggy forgot her memory card for her good camera, so most of these gems are from my iPhone. 

{invitation: tinyprints >> tea favor: idea chic}

My amazing best friend made this beautiful banner for the mama {she's going to use it in the nursery}. And that cake? Best ever.

MMD Events provided amazing decor... I am obsessed with these chair covers.

No baby shower is complete without a diaper cake from The Honest Company. SO cute.

With the ladies of the family {including the newest member who will be here soon}. I'm wearing an Alice & Olivia dress, asos belt, and Alice & Olivia shoes {not pictured}.

We are beyond excited to welcome baby Mia to the family... 
just a couple more weeks! Based on her mama and what I've seen so far, she's going to be fabulous.

You may have noticed I switched up my blog name...It is now {follow on bloglovin here}. More changes coming soon!

change your perspective

Growing up in Florida, going to Disney and SeaWorld are practically rights of passage. I haven't been to SeaWorld in years, and I can officially confirm I won't return. After I {finally} watched Blackfish last night, my heart hurt for these beautiful creatures that are ripped from their mothers {literally} to spend their lives in a cage. Given my line of work, the corporate blame-game that went on after the trainer was killed did not surprise me whatsoever. I implore you to rent this enthralling movie next week when it comes out on iTunes {due to my nonexistent levels of patience, I now own Blackfish, and may have a viewing party soon to justify the purchase}.

hitting reset: greens juice

This was a pretty hectic weekend full of events and celebrations. On Thursday, we went down the street to Cru Cellars for an amazing wine tasting to benefit The Moffitt Cancer Center. Then Friday night, we went to an event to benefit The Pediatric Cancer Foundation. Saturday I hosted a baby shower for my sister-in-law, followed by dinner and dancing to celebrate my bestie's birth. To top it all off, we headed to brunch on Sunday to celebrate another friend's dirty 30. Needless to say, I fell off the clean-eating wagon.

honey sesame wild salmon

As you may have noticed from previous fish recipes, I have no problem eating sea kittens {in case you are losing sleep over the consumption of fish, PETA started a wildly unpopular campaign back in 2009 to save the fish by calling them sea kittens}. I do, however, require the fish to be wild. Back in 2003, the University of Albany published research which confirmed concentrations of contaminants were significantly higher in farmed salmon in comparison to wild salmon. Recent studies have not quelled my aversion to farmed fish, so I buy wild or stick to land dwellers.

steamed stone crab claws with basil-garlic ghee

As a condolence for losing daylight this weekend, we decided to grab a few stone crab claws from our local market. Although usually served chilled, I enjoy warm food over cold, especially when it starts getting a bit chilly {it was 73 when I drove home yesterday... I spotted several winter sweaters as a result}. 

This was just over a pound of giant claws. I steamed them for about 6 minutes {they're already cooked when you buy them} just to heat them up thoroughly. While that was happening, I heated about 4 tablespoons of ghee on low {be careful not to brown it}. Using the single serve on the Ninja, I processed 6 fresh basil leaves and a large clove of garlic until finely chopped. As the ghee melted, I added the garlic + basil mixture. 

So good. Stone crabs are fairly expensive for the amount of meat you get, but so worth it.