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Mixing Up a Tequila Cocktail




COCKTAIL HOUR

Do you have a go to cocktail for evenings at home or hosting friends? I've been in need of an easy cocktail recipe that goes beyond my normal repertoire of whiskey and water, but I also didn't want to spend 10 minutes with a cocktail shaker or a muddle. I'm not trying to pull out a torch to set my drink on fire or add in 5 different herbs.

Luckily, I worked with Gran Centenario Tequila and Agavero Orange Liqueur to create a drink that you can throw together in under a minute, which makes it perfect for easy entertaining. You can mix up a delicious cocktail while still carrying on a conversation with guests. Plus, it doesn't hurt that this particular drink let's us hang on to those last days of summer.



Since I'm not usually a tequila drinker, I'd never even had a classic Tequila Sunrise, but I'm not sure I need to now that I've tried this delicious take on it. Orange liqueur kicks up the classic recipe and makes just a bit more special.


TEQUILA SUNRISE WITH A TWIST

1.5 oz. Gran Centenario Reposado
3/4 oz Agavero Orange Liqueur
4 oz. orange juice
Drizzle of grenadine

Combine tequila, liqueur, and orange juice. Drizzle in grenadine so that it spreads throughout the bottom of the glass, creating the sunrise effect. Cheers!


Treat Yourself to Something Sparkly

A few weekends ago, when I was in Richmond, I was strolling through Carytown and taking in just how much the street has changed through the years. It's still a vibrant, bustling part of the city. but many of the stores I remember are gone, others have morphed into something I don't even recognize (Need Supply Co...), and there are certainly more restaurant options than I recall. 

As I passed one of the antique stores that has been there forever, Anthill Antiques, I noticed that a closing sign and decided to pop in. Partly to see the end of an era, but also because I'm always in search of a good deal. My focus the past couple months has been exclusively on home purchases, but when I glanced at a case of vintage rings, one immediately caught my eye. 

A LITTLE SOMETHING SPARKLY

I've always wanted a sapphire and diamond ring — until recently I actually thought I wanted a sapphire for my future engagement ring — which is why I knew I had to have this delicate marquis cut sapphire set in yellow gold and surrounded by 6 tiny diamonds. I was feeling a bit indulgent (or maybe it was the craft beer I'd just had?), so I decided to go for it. Every girl deserves something sparkly to wear every day, and there's no reason not to buy it for yourself. 


SEARCHING FOR VINTAGE JEWELRY ONLINE

When I got home, I decided to do a quick search on Etsy to confirm I had gotten a good deal given that this antique store was offering shop closing prices. What I found was that you can actually find amazing deals on vintage jewelry online. How had I never discovered this? I don't think I'll ever buy another piece of overpriced costume jewelry again now that I know you can find gorgeous vintage pieces in gold with real gemstones on Etsy.

These pieces are all from a simple search for "vintage sapphire ring" on Etsy. Of course there's an array of prices, but you can easily narrow it down to the sub $300 pieces or wherever your budget happens to be. There are even lots of options under $200! It's a little splurge for yourself that's absolutely worth it.


Frolicking Around Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

This past weekend, we headed up to Philly for a couple days in the city of Brotherly Love. It's just 2.5 hours north of Washington, yet I'd never been there...I actually had no idea it was a. so close, and b. right up 95 North. Apparently I am (or was) completely ignorant to the geography of Pennsylvania. Now that I know, however, you can guarantee it'll be worked into my regular rotation of easy weekend trips from DC. 

We spent the weekend with family checking out Reading Terminal Market (Amish donuts), exploring history at the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, dining at Morimoto (get the rock shrimp tempura, you will not regret it), and taste testing cheesesteaks. Before leaving town, however, we decided to see what else there might be to do in Philly. 

PHILADELPHIA'S MAGIC GARDENS

I'd heard there's a great art scene, but that hadn't been on our agenda for the weekend so I hadn't looked into it prior to our visit. A quick google search turned up Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, a visionary art installation that we found expands far beyond the walls of the actual gallery space into the surrounding community. Mosaics are hiding around every corner in the South Street Neighborhood, and their home base is this sprawling art installation that will leave you wondering how on earth it all came together. Pieces of glass, ceramics, mirrors, sculpture...it's remarkable how many tiny parts make up this cohesive, if a bit crazy, Magic Garden.





THE OUTFIT

And, because this is also a style post, this leopard sweater is one of my all time favorites from J.Crew Factory. It's a three season sweater that looks awesome with white jeans, shorts, normal jeans, the list goes on. I found this vintage Coach purse in a store off South Congress in Austin, and much to my delight, it fits my camera with its giant, brand new lens. You can find similar purses on Etsy — here's one option and another. The trench cape is J.Crew from a couple years ago, but Banana Republic has a strikingly similar version this season. Or, just opt for a swingy trench.

Street Art Along the Canal in Richmond

A couple weekends ago, Adam and I took a trip to Charlottesville for a bit of rainy tailgating, and then to Richmond to pick up the second dresser for our bedroom and visit my parents. It happened to be a beautiful Sunday in RVA following the dreary day of football on Sunday, so we got up and headed downtown to get in a few steps.

THE CANAL WALK

Maybe I just didn't take advantage of Richmond when I lived there, or maybe it's because I haven't lived there since I was 18, but there is so much to do and I'm just now discovering it! The Canal Walk is a stretch downtown along the canal that's perfect for a morning power walk or an afternoon stroll.

There are several murals along one stretch of the Canal Walk that made me wish I'd planned a blog shoot! How great are these colors?


My Secret for Staying Hydrated On The Go



ARE YOU DRINKING ENOUGH WATER?

I'm a firm believer that staying hydrated is one of the best, if not the best, beauty secret. If you're drinking enough water, your skin looks glowier, your hair looks better, you have more energy, the list goes on. But, who drinks enough water during the day? I know I don’t always. When I’m at work, I’m pretty good. I have my reusable water bottle sitting out on my desk and I’m filling it up every hour. Weekends, traveling…now that’s another story. I don’t bring a reusable water bottle because I don’t want to lose it, and I end up going without a sip of liquid for hours on end.

SO, HOW CAN I STAY HYDRATED ON THE GO?

When I'm away from home or my office, that's when FIJI Water is now a lifesaver for me. I can order a case of twelve 700 ML bottles — an essential step since I don't have a car — and keep them on hand for all those days when I am not sure where the day might take me. I just grab one on my way out the door and don't think twice about taking care that my glass reusable water bottly doesn't break in my purse. Clean, crisp water on the go. It's the best thing you can do for your health (just remember to recycle when you're done!)



BUT, WHAT ABOUT THAT SHIRT?

Curious about the other items besides my FIJI Water in this shoot? The top is one of my all time favorites — this striped shirt from J.McLaughlin looks as good as the day I got it several years ago, and I wear it once a week during the warmer months. You can't beat J.Crew high rise toothpick white jeans, I have two pairs and honestly could stand to get a third. My bangle is by Halcyon Days, which I discovered through Luxor Box. Lastly, this backpack by Knomo is one of the few I could find that would fit both a 15" laptop and my camera. I would definitely recommend it for fellow commuters who are getting tired of sore shoulders.

A Weekend Getaway with the Graduate Charlottesville

Charlottesville is a place that's near and dear to my heart. I went to school there, lived there for a year after I graduated, and I try to get back to C'ville for at least one or two football games and another trip in the spring every year. Despite the news recently, it's a lovely, liberal, artsy, diverse enclave nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and I was delighted to spend a summer weekend wine tasting, dining, and staying with the Graduate Charlottesville last month. There is no better place on earth to plan a weekend getaway.

WHAT TO DO

Of course the activities in Charlottesville are plentiful; you can go hiking, explore history, check out awesome concert venues, go shopping on the Downtown Mall. But, my preferred way to spend an afternoon in C'ville is wine tasting. You can't beat the mountain view backdrop in Albemarle County, and aren't those best appreciated with a glass of rosé?

We actually decided to switch things up a bit on this trip by starting out at Castle Hill Cider, which i actually found to be a more refreshing option on a warm, slightly humid day. With a local cheese and charcuterie plate to accompany our wine flights, we had the perfect afternoon snack. I left with a bottle of cider that carried strong notes of rosemary (doesn't that sound sophisticated?).

From Castle Hill, we headed to nearby Keswick Vineyards, which has a homey, local feel. The views are wooded rather than sweeping fields, and you get the feeling the visitors relaxing with their wine and dogs on the front porch have been there more than a few times. Keswick is open later than the other vineyards, and you'll certainly want to stay a while. We opted for glasses rather than a tasting and took our time lounging outside.


WHERE TO EAT

I've dined all over Charlottesville and have a whole slew of recommendations from casual spots that have been long time favorites to finer dining occasions to places that seem quintessentially "Charlottesville." None, however, can compete with the view at Heirloom Rooftop + Bar which sits atop the Graduate Charlottesville. With sweeping views of the city nestled below the Blue Ridge Mountains, it's an escape above the bustle of Main Street below. 

We started off the evening with cocktails  — the Southern for me, and the Moonflower for Adam. The wine selection features several Virginia vineyards, but we stuck to the cocktails. I couldn't turn down a combination of whiskey and peach. We then ordered a variety of small plates, each one better than the last. I even discovered that I kind of enjoy pork rinds...always learning something new. And don't miss the Pork Loin Sliders or the Mixed Green & Grilled Shrimp — the local chevre from Caromont Farm in the salad was to die for. I can never turn down a dessert menu, so dinner ended with a jar full of banana pudding, which was devoured down to the very last crumb.


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