Grad Weekend Recap

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Better late than never right? In May, we were lucky enough to take a break from our post-grad lives and return to Williamsburg for a few days. We were both graduating so it was a weekend full of pomp and circumstance, but we also found some time to revisit our favorite college spots. It was amazing how even after a few months away, Williamsburg still felt like home. Below are some of our favorite moments from Graduation weekend! IMG_8770IMG_8648IMG_8654IMG_8691IMG_8694IMG_8773

Irish Coffee Chocolate Cupcakes

Posted by Sara

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I first had an Irish coffee at the Jameson Distillery in Dublin when I was there on a family trip a few years ago. It was such an amazing vacation overall that the classic Irish coffee (brown sugar, coffee, Jameson, and some whipped cream) became one of my favorite drinks to have in cooler weather. As I was thinking about my St. Paddy’s Day plans, I was inspired to make an Irish coffee dessert as one way to celebrate (hopefully I’ll also be able to indulge in real thing). I adapted this cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart and used 1 1/3 cups of flour and 2/3 cups of unsweetened cocoa rather than the 2 full cups of flour Martha suggests (I wanted these to be chocolate cupcakes). I also left out a bit of the coffee in the liquid mixture and poured some Jameson in instead to try and replicate the flavor of Irish coffee. I used this frosting recipe and because these cupcakes are quite dense, I liked that a lighter frosting kept them from being too heavy. If you are a fan of Irish coffee, you will love these cupcakes!

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DIY Dragonfly Garland

DIY Dragonfly Garland // Candid StatementI recently moved in with my sister and we’re in the process of decorating our house. We have some artwork hanging that our parents passed onto us, but I’ve always loved the idea of DIY decorating- not only is it fun and creative, but it also tends to be very budget friendly. My sister loves dragonflies and  I came up with this garland as a way to decorate our mantle and add some pops of color. I had some old Lilly Pulitzer agendas I had saved for crafts (I love the bright patterns), but using scrapbook paper from a craft store is also a great option.

This garland was incredibly simple to make. I printed out my desired shapes (I did two sizes of dragonfly) onto card-stock and then cut them out to have a sort of outline to trace onto my paper (I used pencil so that I could erase any marks that ended up on the final product). I did thirteen big dragonflies and twelve smaller ones and hot-glued them six inches apart onto some thin white ribbon I bought from Michael’s. This project only took an afternoon to complete- the most tedious part was cutting out the dragonflies. You could easily switch this out for another shape (I got my  image by googling ‘dragonfly clip art’) and the patterned paper makes it striking enough that I think it would be cute in any variety of crafts!

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Galentine’s Day Cocktail

Posted by Sara

Galentine's Day Cocktail // Candid Statement

It may be sappy but I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Valentine’s Day. As someone who loves pink, glitter, and candy, this Hallmark Holiday was made for me. Valentine’s Day became even more meaningful in college, when my friends and I established our girls night “Galentine’s” tradition. We’d load up on snacks, rent movies that made us glad we didn’t have a date, and usually laugh (errr, cackle) at the silly antics we got up to.

I first saw this cocktail recipe a few years ago around Thanksgiving.  I forgot about the recipe until recently and decided it would be perfect for a Galentines get-together. It’s only three ingredients, which means it’s very easy to make (and re-make when you’re ready for a refill). I misread the recipe and bought cranberry juice, instead of concentrate. Because of this, I used less Cointreau when I made it than suggested. It’s easily customized, so you can adjust the Cointreau or the cranberry to suit your tastes. Once it’s  mixed, it’s a beautiful rose color that’s perfect for a Galentine’s (or Valentine’s, if that’s your sort of thing) celebration. If you really want to make it fancy, chill the flutes and garnish with a cranberry before serving!

For each drink:
1. Put one teaspoon of cointreau in each glass
2. Add three tablespoons of cranberry juice.
3. Top with Prosecco and enjoy!

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Taste of Morocco

Posted by Sara

Taste of Morocco // Candid Statement

Years ago, my mother bought a tagine, intrigued by the slow-cooking process and the promise of flavorful and aromatic stews. We used it once, made a marginal chicken dish, and put it in the pantry to collect dust for the next few years. After my sister and I recently took a techniques class at our local cooking school, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to take the Taste of Morocco class and finally learn how to put the tagine to use.

The class began with a short demonstration and then we broke up into small groups to begin cooking our meal. We made mrouzia (lamb tagine with raisins, almonds, and honey)  Moroccan couscous, a red pepper salad, and for dessert- walnut almond macaroons! Cooking classes are always fun in my opinion, but this one was particularly interesting because I was using ingredients and flavor combinations I don’t often work with. Surprisingly, apart from a few specialty spices, the ingredients list for all the recipes was not too long or exotic (something that’s usually intimidating about global cuisine). The most interesting ingredient was preserved lemon- we diced it and added it to our pepper salad; it added some really lovely acid and citrus to the dish.

Now that we better understand how to use our tagine, my mother and I will definitely be adding some Moroccan food into our cooking routine ( in fact, just the other night we made the lamb stew and couscous for dinner with some relatives). None of the recipes were overly complicated and every dish we made had such wonderful flavors. We finished our class by eating the meal we had prepared and enjoying a glass of wine. Taste of Morocco // Candid StatementTaste of Morocco // Candid StatementTaste of Morocco // Candid StatementIMG_8058Taste of Morocco // Candid Statement

Scenes from the Road

Posted by Sara

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A few weeks ago, my mother and I embarked on a cross-country road-trip to move me back West after my graduation from William and Mary. Driving across the country was no small undertaking but it gave me a chance to reflect upon my college experience and mentally prepare for the first steps into adult life before the craziness of the holidays. Condensing four years worth of stuff into the back of my car was not easy- in fact, the car was packed in such a way that my mother and I couldn’t even adjust our seats. The hours on I-40 were dreary, to say the least, but we hit a few spots along the way that made the trip worth it. We spent a few hours on the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopped at the Biltmore Estate (beautifully decorated for Christmas) in Asheville, North Carolina, and had some amazing barbecue in Amarillo, Texas. My favorite stop, however, was at Monroe’s in Albuquerque, New Mexico where I had some of the best enchiladas of my life. I’ve included pictures of some of my favorites sites from the road.

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Christmas Night Fondue

Posted by Sara

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This year, my family, who tend to be major sticklers for tradition, tried something new for the holidays. A desire to simplify and an early Christmas present meant that we decided to opt out of our traditional beef tenderloin Christmas Night dinner in favor of a fondue party. We were pleasantly surprised by how much fun it was and fondue may become our new Christmas tradition.

To keep it easy, I bought some fondue cheese mix from Trader Joes (I did add some kirschwasser to the mix) and then cooked some broccoli, potatoes, bell peppers, and mushrooms and made homemade pretzel bites. For the chocolate, we melted some dark semisweet morsels with some half and half (then added some Bailey’s for a festive kick). We knew we wanted to keep it light (as light as it can be when you’re eating mostly cheese and chocolate), so we  mostly dipped fruit in the chocolate. Overall, my family and I loved how fun and easy this was- fondue would be great for a casual night-in with friends or family. IMG_6576IMG_6579

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What We’re Watching: Christmas Edition

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With exams finally over and Christmas fast approaching, we’ve been taking some much-needed R&R. In our opinion, the best way to relax this time of year is with some cheesy holiday movies and a mug of spiked hot chocolate in hand. Here are our 4 favorite holiday films:

  1. Love Actually
  2. Elf
  3. The Santa Clause
  4. The Muppet Christmas Carol

We’d love to know- what are some of your favorite holiday movies?

Rocksbox

Posted by Caroline

imageLast Christmas my sister, Alissa, gave me one of the coolest presents I’ve ever gotten. She gave me a subscription to Rocksbox, a jewelry subscription that sends you 3 pieces to try for as long as you want, with the option to buy the pieces or send them back and get a new set. I’ve loved getting Rocksbox because it allows me to try out new jewelry trends, without any commitment. Some sets I just wear for a week and send back, while others I find pieces I absolutely love and end up purchasing. I also appreciate their attention to detail- with personalized notes in every box, how can you not?!

If you’re interested in trying Rocksbox for yourself, use the code carolinebff20 for a free month!

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A Slice of Williamsburg

Posted by Caroline

Jamestown Pie Company // Candid Statement

In between two of the main historical tourist attractions we have here – Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown Settlement – is  Jamestown Pie Company. It could be easily missed if you’re not looking for it, but believe me, you’ll want to stop and check it out. They offer a variety of dessert pies that you can buy as a slice or a whole pie. Pictured is one of my favorites – the bumbleberry pie. I would also highly recommend the chocolate pecan pie. On our most recent trip to JPC, Sara tried the pizza and said it’s some of the best she’s had in Williamsburg. Basically, you can’t go wrong, any way you slice it.

Jamestown Pie Company // Candid Statement