heirloom tomato, basil and ricotta tart

summer heirloom tomatoes heirloom tomato, basil and ricotta tart



I have big love for tomatoes. When I was growing up, I used to bite into huge beefsteak ones apple-style in my grandparent’s backyard, inevitably ending each summer afternoon wearing a tomato-soaked t-shirt.


A decade later and I’m still obsessing over the vegetable (Fruit? Tomato, tomahto), only now I’m chasing after the yellow, purple and striped varieties of tomatoes that are popping up in the end-of-summer markets here in the city. You certainly don’t need heirloom tomatoes for this recipe, but the flavor variety and varying colors definitely adds something to the final product.

fresh basil heirloom tomato, basil and ricotta tart maldon sea salt heirloom tomato, basil and ricotta tart


Two musts for this recipe? Fresh basil and really good sea salt–I swear by Maldon, which you can pick up at any Whole Foods or specialty market near you. I know you’re probably thinking, “How big of a difference can specific salt really make, lady?” but I swear to you, use this once and you’ll never go back to that other stuff.


heirloom tomato tart heirloom tomato, basil and ricotta tart



To start, you’ll need a defrosted sheet of puff pastry–Pillsbury makes a great one. Lay it out on a baking sheet thats been covered with parchment paper. Your oven should be pre-heating to 400 degrees.


In a bowl, mix together a cup of whole-milk ricotta with two tablespoons sugar. Once combined, spread the ricotta onto the puff pastry, leaving about an inch of pastry uncovered around the perimeter. Start layering on your tomatoes, sliced thin, until you’ve covered the ricotta almost completely. Finish with fresh basil, a small drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a general sprinkling of Maldon sea salt.



heirloom tomato tart with ricotta cheese and basil heirloom tomato, basil and ricotta tart


Before putting it in the oven, make an egg wash (one egg and one tablespoon of water whisked together) and paint it on the uncovered pastry edges. Pop the tart into the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and brown, and the tomatoes are shriveled (if you can, sneak a spatula under the center of it–it should be firm, not gummy and raw).


summer heirloom tomato tart with ricotta cheese and basil heirloom tomato, basil and ricotta tart


Once cooked, allow the tart to cool on the pan for 10 minutes–if you try to move it too soon, it can crack and shatter. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature and enjoy!





love, loss & dvr: my (slight) obsession with tv relationships

love loss and DVR love, loss & dvr: my (slight) obsession with tv relationships


I feel like it’s time I just come out and admit it–I’m obsessed with TV relationships. Not the, “Do you accept this rose until we both leave this romantic island and ink an US Weekly cover” type of television relationships, but the honest-to-goodness, sometimes-dramatic, took-us-seven-seasons-to-get-to-the-kiss television relationships. I’m already fangirling just thinking about it (Warning: This is a long post, but it’s all about love. So I think I get a free pass).


I’ve always been a romantic, but there is special nook and cranny section in my little romantic heart that beats extra hard for television couples. They’re just different–more special, even–than movie couples. Maybe it’s because we spend seasons and seasons getting to know them and rooting for them (or against them, in some cases) and see them struggle, shouting at our televisions, “JUST KISS HER YOU IDIOT!” (<No? Just Me?). Or maybe it’s because we find them at different times in our lives, where the right television episode can be exactly the push we need to be brave, be forgiving, get invested or get over it. Do I want emulate every television couple I fall in love with? Of course not–trust me, I would not trade places with Olivia Pope and her misfit band of lovers for anything in the world (Ok, mayyyyyybeeeeee her Prada bag collection…), but that doesn’t stop me from falling head over heels for the stories of love and loss currently taking up 98% of the available space on my DVR. For you lovers, some of my favorite duos:


pam and jim1 love, loss & dvr: my (slight) obsession with tv relationships

Jim and Pam, The Office

I’m pretty sure Jim and Pam win the award for everyone’s favorite television couple–I mean, I know we’re supposed to pretended The Office was about other things besides them, but was it reallllyyy? From long-distance high-fives across the office to angst-y time apart and a wedding in Niagara (Yes, I baked them a wedding cake for a viewing party we had with friends in college, in case you want another reason to question my mental stability), I loved watching Jim and Pam make the full-circle transition from co-workers, to best friends, to lovers, to family. They are just the best, simple as that.

Their best moment: I’m stuck between two. First, the moment Jim confesses his love for Pam during Casino Night (and of course the kiss after), because that whole love-your-best-friend thing is just so painful and relatable to practically everyone. Second, the exact moment, at the end of their wedding episode, that Jim looks at the camera and smiles. Slays. My. Heart.


liv and fitz love, loss & dvr: my (slight) obsession with tv relationships


Olivia and Fitz, Scandal

I get it, I get it–this is bound to be an unpopular choice. I know this relationship was audultary and no, I don’t condone it but, you guys–clearly Liv and Fitz have that unbreakable sort of thing (and you have to, if you’re going to be the leads in a Shonda Rhimes show…that woman likes her drama dramatic). There’s something I find so fascinating about characters, and people really, that are so magnetically drawn to each other that there’s no escaping it. Their chemistry is undeniable and their “one minute” scenes make me feel so many feelings. He could kill the Supreme Court Justice, she could rig an election–hell, they’re going to love each other anyways. Nothing is ever safe on Scandal, especially not their relationship, but I’m rooting for these two crazy kids to get their crap together next season and just go make babies and jam in Vermont already.

Their best moment: A tie again: either when Fitz tells Liv how he feels in the rose garden or when Fitz tells Liv how he feels at the hospital. It’s always Fitz talking about his feelings and never Liv.


ross and rachel love, loss & dvr: my (slight) obsession with tv relationships


Ross and Rachel, Friends

Ah, the couple that started it all. I’m sure there were TV relationships before Ross and Rachel that had millions rooting for them, but nothing was ever quite like the will-they-or-won’t-they, on-and-off special cocktail that Ross and Rachel mixed up over those ten years. A lot of my Ross and Rachel relationship appreciation has come retrospectively, because let’s be honest–I couldn’t really understand the complexities of their relationship when I was 12. I could understand the lobster though–everybody gets having a lobster.

Their best moment: Oh, so many. Maybe it’s the kiss from The One With The Prom Video , or when Ross says Rachel’s name at the alter when it’s not her next to him. But really, I’m going to have to be cliche and say it’s the final scene in The Last Oneyou know, the one with the plane? I’ve always wanted someone to wish that hard that I got off a plane–and hopefully it’s not the TSA…


mindy and danny love, loss & dvr: my (slight) obsession with tv relationships


Mindy and Danny, The Mindy Project

Mindy and Danny very rapidly became my favorite couple on television over the past two seasons–well, first they were my favorite non-couple and now, well–you get my drift. I love will-they-or-won’t-they story lines (I am a firm believer that a little drawn-out angst never hurt anyone) and Mindy and Danny’s has been the best of the best. I mean, best friends who kind of want to kill each other half the time but really are falling in love with each other the other half of the time? Who wouldn’t want to watch that–especially when Chris Messina and Mindy’s amazing wardrobe are involved. Their relationship is only made better by Kaling’s amazing writing–it’s realistic and doesn’t try too hard, but she doesn’t pretend not to love and embrace a few romantic comedy cliches. She’s said in a few interviews that she fully intends on Mindy and Danny’s relationship continuing on in this upcoming season, so YAY!

Their best moment: I mean, every moment when they’re not fighting (and even sometimes when they are). I loved when Danny tried to save Mindy’s speech at her and Josh’s Christmas party, when he danced for her at that other Christmas party and of course, when he ran through the streets of NYC to the tune of Springsteen (start the video at 18:20 for just that scene!) on the way to ESB. Kind of all my favorite things in one.


sydney and vaughn love, loss & dvr: my (slight) obsession with tv relationships


Sydney and Vaughn, Alias

Syd and Vaughn were the first couple I really got obsessed with–maybe it’s because they were spies and I wanted so badly to be a spy (seriously…) or maybe because Michael Vartan is a babe or maybe because all the odds were stacked against them (She’s undercover! Her Mom killed his Dad! He married someone else!). I worshiped Alias. Seriously, give me a still image of this show and I can tell you exactly what episode it is from, what dialogue is being said and what music is playing in the background. It’d actually be a pretty cool party trick if it wasn’t so pathetic. No matter, I never stopped rooting for them. And clearly, I know a good thing when I see it, because they lived happily ever after–or at least lived as retired spies on the beach somewhere in California with their spy-in-training kiddos. So yeah, happily ever after.

Their best moment: Pretty much any time they had to covertly meet, like the time in the train station, or when Sydney gave Vaughn a drawer. OR when they faced a firing squad, starred down death and confessed their undying love to each other to the tune of Damian Rice.


seth and summer love, loss & dvr: my (slight) obsession with tv relationships


Summer and Seth, The OC

Seth and Summer were the little high school couple that could, made even cuter by the fact that they were dating in real-life for quite some time. I’m sure they looked more normal in comparison to Ryan and Marissa, but I always thought they were a really sweet, slightly innocent portrayal of young, first love. And let’s be honest–I could stare at Adam Brody all day. He’s way too adorable.

Their best moment: Gotta be that Spiderman kiss, no? Or maybe Seth’s coffee shop cart confession. Side note: Didn’t The OC always have the best music?


tami and eric love, loss & dvr: my (slight) obsession with tv relationships

Eric and Tami, Friday Night Lights

That’s Coach and Mrs. Coach to you, thanks. Arguably the most loving, sincere example of a marriage on television any time in the last decade, I kind of want to be these two when I grow up. It’s no surprise that Coach loves Mrs. T so much–she’s smart and sweet, gives the best advice and has hair that is way too shiny and luscious to come from a human being (WHAT PRODUCTS DOES SHE USE? ANGEL TEARS?!). And he’s just perfect. I really came to respect how the writers treated their marriage throughout FNL–they worked through problems, celebrated each other’s successes, stayed madly in love and always had each other’s backs. #ClearEyesFullHeartsCan’tLose

Their best moment: Any time Coach won a game and Mrs. Coach came running onto the field for a hug. Too sweet.


blair and chuck love, loss & dvr: my (slight) obsession with tv relationships


Blair and Chuck, Gossip Girl 

I mentioned this list to a friend and she thought I was crazy for including Chuck and Blair–and it’s true, they are so nuts. But their little moments, where they stop scheming and plotting and trying to destroy each other emotionally–those were the moments that really mattered and let you see that deep down they were just two, emotionally disturbed, ridiculously rich teenagers who loved each other. Something we can all relate to, no?

Their best moment: The touching hallway moment in the hospital when Chuck’s dad died, or the train station scene in season four.



DIY clay jewelry dishes

DIY jewelry dishes DIY clay jewelry dishes



The other day, a minor home-goods tragedy struck my home: One of my favorite jewelry dishes from Anthropologie fell off my dresser and shattered into a million sad pieces. I love storing my jewelry out in the open and it was truly one of those little pieces that made me really happy every time I saw it, so I knew I needed a replacement ASAP.


I was looking for something that had the effect of gold leaf, but I couldn’t find anything at my usual go-to stores. Instead, I thought I’d try my hand at making my own jewelry dish–I mean hell, I took a pottery class in high school that produced one very ugly, retched green colored “vase”, so I could probably handle this, right? Surprisingly yes–but that’s only because it was a super easy DIY, and I guarantee you can handle it too.


sculpty clay dishes DIY clay jewelry dishes clay jewelry dish DIY DIY clay jewelry dishes


First, you’ll want to work polymer clay in your hands to get it warm and pliable–I used a brand called “Sculpty” from my local craft store, but any oven-bake brand will work fine!  Once the clay feels like it’s loosened up a bit, roll it out on a clean and dry surface until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Cut a circle of your desired diameter into the clay and remove the excess surrounding the shape.


clay jewelry dish DIY2 DIY clay jewelry dishes


Mold your clay circle around the base of a dish that will seemingly give you your desired size bowl for your jewelry dish (this may go without saying, but using wider dishes as a mold will result in jewelry dishes with less of a “lip” on them and a flatter base). Make sure whatever you choose to mold your clay over is oven safe, as you will be baking the clay on this and a tray. Cook your clay according to the package directions–most necessitate 15 minutes per 1/4 inch thickness (not how big of a piece you bake, just how thick), and mine called for an over of 275 degrees.


baking DIY jewelry dishes DIY clay jewelry dishes


Once your jewelry dishes have cooked and cooled, you can use an old nail file to smooth out the edges and eliminate any unsightly bumps or lumps. This will make a bit of a mess with the powdery clay that flakes off, so do it over a garbage!


DIY jewelry dishes from clay DIY clay jewelry dishes


Finally, the fun part–decorating! I opted to do one jewelry dish a deep midnight blue with copper leaf accents, one dish half copper leaf and one dish accented with copper leaf around the edges and in the middle (I originally was going to go for gold leaf, but the copper leaf was prettier and more rose-gold-y which I loved!). Allow the paint to dry completely before applying the copper leaf glue, and make sure to abide by the directions on the leafing packaging, otherwise it won’t stick!


diy gold leaf jewelry dishes DIY clay jewelry dishes


The end result? Pretty, eye-catching jewelry dishes that took just over an hour to make and provide a special landing spot for some of my favorite rings, necklaces and other pieces. Did they come out perfectly even and professional? Of course not–but I kind of love their unusual, untamed, natural-looking finish. These would make great handmade gift, and I’m seriously considering making them for my girlfriends for Christmas–so easy!





sometimes, staying in is better (or, why JOMO is now a thing)

Joy of missing out sometimes, staying in is better (or, why JOMO is now a thing)


I had a moment on my couch recently. It was a weekend night, and while I knew I should be out at a bar, sipping drinks and doing 25-year-old things, I was instead laying low, watching trashy television with my roommate and eating my body weight in popcorn, Olivia Pope-style. And you know what? I was freakin’ thrilled about it.


I’ve always been comfortably introverted–I enjoy spending time out with friends, but low-key, quiet nights are how I recharge. Even so, there’s always that annoying, four-letter millennial acronym hanging out in the back of my mind–FOMO. Even if I’m happy with my under-the-radar plans for the night, the strange feeling that I must be missing out on something else better is quietly there.


Up until recently, that is. Maybe it has come with age, or the realization that people’s lives are rarely as fabulous as they’re portrayed on social media (mine included, of course), but these days I’m feeling more joy of missing out than fear (ahem, JOMO, if you haven’t already heard the recently-coined term). There’s a contentment that comes with doing exactly as you please, regardless of what others are doing. Your friends are going out but all you really feel like doing is staying in and finishing your latest read? Do it. You want to see the newest Ryan Gosling rom-com by yourself on a Friday night? Get at it. There’s nothing worse than doing anything–hitting up a bar, staying late at work, signing up for a Tough Mudder–solely because you feel like you have to. Like if you don’t, you’re somehow a less interesting, less fun, less magnetic person.


The term JOMO may have gotten coined in a moment of FOMO backlash, but there’s definitely merit to the idea that sometimes, missing out is the thing that brings you the most joy. And that’s ok–it doesn’t make you a boring, dull 25-year-old (as I used to worry about myself), but rather a person who is self-aware enough to realize what is going to make you the most happy, and the most content, in that moment. My conclusion? The only right way to spend your time is exactly how you want to. If that’s bar hopping on the Lower East Side on a Thursday night, fantastic. If that’s spending Saturday night with Ben, Jerry, a very scary-looking green face mask and When Harry Met Sally, that’s equally as fantastic. Either way, you’re not missing out on anything. You do you, am I right?




image via

shelter: styling a velvet couch

style a room around a velvet couch1 shelter: styling a velvet couch



Do you ever walk away from a piece of furniture knowing you should have snatched it up when you had the chance? What if said piece of furniture was free and sitting on the sidewalk, begging you to take it for nothing (well, almost nothing–five sweaty blocks spent lugging it home are a small price to pay). If you’re nodding your head to all this, know you’re in good company–I was the silly person who walked away from an awesome velvet chair last week, only to find it gone when I raced back to get it.


I had all sorts of grand plans–deep blue velvet and a new coat of stain on the wood, but now I’m just going to have to wait until the next “right” piece comes along. Coincidentally, I spotted this amazing room on Pinterest and sourced it to Katherine Vo’s home tour on The Everygirl–how amazing is that velvet couch, paired with the Moroccan shag rug? Need. It. Now. And here’s the good news–I’ve pulled together the pieces that will help you bring it all home.

how to style a velvet couch shelter: styling a velvet couch

Majestic Sofa, Sanctuary Boutique | Kenza Moroccan Pouf, Lulu & Georgia | Reclaimed Wood Tray, West Elm | Ikat Damask Pillow, Society6 | Kenneth Cole Faux Fur Pillow, Bed Bath & Beyond | Gold Leafed Floor Lamp, Zinc Door | 2-Tier Square Coffee Table, High Fashion Home | Modern Moroccan Rug, RugsUSA | Blue Agate Knob, One Kings Lane | Linnea’s Lights Vanilla Nior Candle, ABC Carpet & Home | Untitled Abstract print by Tchmo, Society6



Start with a saturated blue velvet couch, like this one from Sanctuary Boutique and accent it with a timeless gold and glass coffee table. A shaggy Moroccan rug and faux-fur pillow add texture and warmth to the space, while a colorful print above the couch draws the eye. Finish off with chic accents like an agate lacquer box and vanilla-scented candle–then settle back into that velvet sofa and admire your handiwork.





pretty in (pale) pink

pretty in pale pink pretty in (pale) pink


It started out innocently enough; I walked by a pale pink, creamy leather bag in the Florence, Italy leather market this June and thought, “Oh, that’s so pretty.” And kept walking.


Then I walked back and asked about the price. Any sort of math is like French to me, so I had to walk away to crunch the Euro-to-dollar numbers and save myself the embarrassment of struggling it out in front of the shop owner.


Then I walked back again. The pale pink wasn’t me, but that’s what I kind of liked about it–it was soft and elegant and could be worn girlie or edged up. And it’d work for all seasons, I told myself. And so I bought it, and kicked off my next great color love affair.


how to style pale pink clothes pretty in (pale) pink

Skirt, Topshop | Elysee Flats, Kate Spade | “Romper Room” polish, Essie | Sweater, Topshop | Crossbody Bag, Rebecca Minkoff | Scarf, Nordstroms | Pave Drop Earrings, Kate Spade | Dress, Goodnight Macaroon | Idiom Bangle, Kate Spade


Now, I guess you could say pale pink and I are having a moment. Suddenly, I want it everywhere–in dresses, shoes, earrings, bags and furniture. I’ve already amassed quite the collection for myself and I can’t wait to wear it through fall and into winter. Above, some of my favorite picks I’ve found lately. Join the pink side–you know you want to.




**I’ve put a picture of the bag in question on Instagram today because I was too unorganized to photograph it in time for this post. Alas, that is life!



top image via

summer peach panzanella salad with goat cheese

fresh summer yellow peaches summer peach panzanella salad with goat cheese



One of the best things about summer has to be the fresh, flavorful produce that seems to be everywhere. I could spend countless hours (and countless dollars, if I had them) perusing the Union Square Green market, on the hunt for juicy berries, sweet peaches and colorful veggies. I try to take advantage of it as much as possible during the weekends I’m in the city, because come winter I will be a sad little hermit in Queens, dreaming of farmer’s markets to pass the time.


And although I rarely go into a farmer’s market day with an exact plan of what I want to make for a dish, I do stick to one tried-and-true rule: keep it simple. Often, the picks are so flavor-packed and fresh that it’s best to treat them very simply to let their flavor shine.


baked bread for panzanella summer peach panzanella salad with goat cheese


Take this peach panzanella salad, for example. Panzanella salads are an Italian-born traditional dish that basically pairs fresh vegetables with chunks of bread. Sounds pretty easy, no? And it is–the only thing you have to worry about “making” for this salad is the chunks of bread, and that’s as easy as cubing up a fresh loaf, tossing with tons of olive oil (truthfully, tons–double what you’d think you’d need) and sea salt and then popping it in the oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the cubes are browned and crunchy.


summer peach panzanella salad summer peach panzanella salad with goat cheese


Instead of sticking to the traditional bread-and-tomato combo for this salad, I decided to mix it up a bit and add in goat cheese, baby kale and tons of fresh peaches. It was a winning flavor combination–the bread added that desired crunch, while the combo of the peaches and goat cheese was out of this world. Finish yours off with a little bit of a balsamic drizzle and call it a meal. You’ve done the farmer’s market proud.





let’s talk: the 7 types of friends every woman should have on her roster

types of friends every girl should have lets talk: the 7 types of friends every woman should have on her roster



I’ve been having a lot of grateful friendship moments lately–you know those times where you’re almost bowled over by how lucky you feel to be surrounded by who you’re surrounded by in life? Yeah, those. I’ve always been a huge supporter of female friendships–while family and significant others are incredibly important as well, there’s just a sort of magic good girlfriends can bring to your life that is irreplaceable.


I’m truly incredibly lucky in that I’m surrounded by an amazing group of women from all different stages in my life–they each hold a special place in my heart, and role in my life. Using them as inspiration, here are the seven types of friends every woman should have on her roster:


| the confidence-booster |

You feel consistently feel like the smartest, funniest, prettiest girl in the room around her. She builds you up and threatens to slap you if you speak bad about yourself–and you almost believe she will, sometimes. She pulls the best “you” out just by being her and is constantly telling you how much you have going for you. She’s saved you from one-too-many Ben & Jerry’s pity parties, tells you your bedroom belongs on Pinterest and says that sometimes, you remind her of Jennifer Lawrence–did I mention you feel amazing around her?


| the protector |

She’ll go to bat for you no matter what. Whether you’re in the wrong or 100 percent in the right, she’s always on your team. She knows your pressure points and soft places–and how to shield you from anything that may harm them. She’ll step in when you need her, she’ll prop you up when you stand up for yourself, and she’ll say the things you can’t bring yourself to voice. You know no one would dare speak ill of you in front of her–and if they did, she’d make it well known they were not to be believed.


| the lifer |

You’ve known her for over a decade–you’ve been through braces and pep rallies and escaping into the woods after high school parties together. You’ve lied to your parents together, you’ve lied to boys together and you’ve have too many firsts to count together. There’s some part of you that she will always know best. She has her fingerprint stamped all over your formative years, and no matter how long it’s been since you’ve last seen her–weeks, months, even years–the instant you reunite it’s like no time at all has passed. She’s your foundation and as much as you both change and grow, you always remember what your lives were built upon–summer nights next to a bonfire, sleepovers in a too-small beds and belting out that song on back-country roads.


| the brain twin |

You two freak other people out–or, at least, you freak each other out. You crack the same jokes at the same time, call late at night because you sense something is wrong and have had the same baby picture, in the same frame, long before you met. She gets your obsession with listening to that song over and over again, because she does it too. If there’s a such thing as soul mates, this is it. Sure, you’re different–remarkably so, in some cases. But it’s your common ground that solidifies you–you’re so alike, so intertwined, you can’t imagine being you without her. She knows what you’re going to do before you do, knows what you’re thinking without you having to voice it. All it takes is one look and the two of you know–there’s no way want to go to that next bar, so let’s bail.


| the aspirational one |

She’s got her shit together. But not in a way that makes you envious–in a way that pushes you further. She makes you want to do more, be more, see more. You admire her confidence, her kindness, her career, her outlook. She keeps you hustling, keeps you reaching and empowers you with the confidence it takes to charge towards your dreams head on. Whatever it is that you want for yourself–however big or small, she wants that for you, too. One day, you’ll wave to each other from those big corner offices.


| the caregiver |

She’s your comfortable landing. When you need a hug, someone to answer your panicked 2 a.m. text message or just someone that will listen, she’s there. She doesn’t preach her opinion, she doesn’t press you to figure your crap out, she just nurtures you–through that break up, through that job loss, through that surgery. When you’re feeling small or unloved or just plain ol’ crappy, she’s there with your favorite TV show on DVR and a bottle of red uncorked and waiting. And even though you’re a big girl–ahem, grown woman…and even though you can take care of yourself, sometimes it’s nice to know you don’t always have to.


| the partner-in-crime |

She’s the Jay to your Bey, the Serena to your Blair, the Monica to your Rachel. You’re a package deal, and everyone knows it. Your names blend together in people’s minds, and you’ve probably earned your own nickname on more than one occasion. Whatever trouble you’re getting into, she’s right on your heels. She’s the first person you call when you need a companion and her game-for-anything attitude makes you happier, more adventurous, more fun. You’re more alive with her around. The majority of your bucket list moments, and all of your, “Oh shit.” moments have involved her. If you ever get arrested (say, for stalking Ryan Gosling), she’ll probably be buckled into the cruiser next to you.





image via

jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party]

block party 1 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party]




Hey guys–it’s been a hot second, hasn’t it?! It’s been regrettably quiet around these parts as I settle into my new job, but I’m working on drumming up new content and being more organized with my posts–an admirable goal, no? Either way, thanks for sticking around–consider the following two delicious Pinnacle vodka jello shot recipes your reward.


block party 13 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party] block party 6 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party] block party 5 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party]


For the next installment of my Pinnacle vodka collaboration, we’re throwing a little block party–packed with music, lawn games, friends, picnic food, and of course, boozy drinks.


I don’t know about you, but when I’m entertaining a large crowd, having them mix their own cocktails can get messy. It’s much easier to have pre-made vodka shots they can throw back–especially if they’re either of the cool and sweet ones that made an appearance at our block party.


block party 8 1 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party] block party 8 2 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party]



With so many flavor options, it was hard to choose what Pinnacle vodka flavor to mix into jello shots. We finally landed on two versions–a coconut lime version using Pinnacle Coconut vodka, and a Swedish fish shot, using the namesake Swedish Fish flavored vodka (they really do think of everything, don’t they?), which was the brain-child of my roommate.


block party 9 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party]


For the Swedish Fish jello shots:


These can be made for however large a group you have. This recipe is one “batch” but feel free to double everything if you’re doing it for a large group.

To start, combine one cherry jello powder pack and boiling water in a bowl, using half the recommended amount of water listed on the package. Stir in Swedish Fish vodka in equal amounts to the water you added (for instance, if your jello packets called for 2 cups water originally, you’d use one cup boiling water, one cup vodka). Stir to combine, then pour into small dixie cups or plastic shot glasses. Allow to cool in the refrigerator until fully set, about two hours. Serve chilled.


For the Coconut Lime jello shots:


Boil 2 1/4 cups water and add it to 2 packages of lime jello mix and one package of lemon jello mix. Stir to combine. Add 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 can coconut milk, and 2 cups Coconut Pinnacle Vodka. Stir to combine, then pour into small dixie cups or plastic shot glasses. Allow to cool in the refrigerator until fully set, about two hours. Serve chilled.



block party 14 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party] block party 7 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party] block party 10 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party] block party 12 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party] block party 11 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party]



Needless to say, the jello shots were the perfect addition to a great summer day–summer, stop going by so fast!


block party 2 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party]




AuthorLogo Pinnacle jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party]

Pinnacle Vodka shakes things up with unexpected experiences and delightful discoveries. Explore with other fun flavors at http://pinnaclevodka.com. Also, check us out on Facebook and Twitter, or find more fun entertaining and drink ideas on our Pinterest page.


Pinnacle® is a registered trademark of Jim Beam Brands Co. and is used with permission.  This is a sponsored partnership, with Pinnacle® Vodka, via Mode Media.  The information, comments, and ideas expressed on this website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Jim Beam Brands Co., its affiliated companies, or any of their directors or employees.

the year of 50 books: 16-20

summers must read books the year of 50 books: 16 20



I bet you guys thought I forgot about this little challenge, didn’t ya? For some inconceivable reason, it’s been over two months since my last book recap–not sure how that happened, but apparently I’ve been reading at the pace of a snail lately. Regardless, this batch of books was a good one–there are some definitely “beach reads” in here, along with a few more…ahem, eerie picks. Let’s get reading!


the last letter from your lover the year of 50 books: 16 20

The Last Letter from Your Lover, By Jojo Moyes God I am such an obnoxious Jojo Moyes lover. I’ve been reading everything I can by her lately, including a lot of her old stuff. There’s just something about her writing style I connect with–I liken her a bit to Jodi Picoult, another one of my favorites. Anyways, The Last Letter from your Lover was fairly similar to some of her other reads, in that the story spans two heroines and several decades. In one storyline, we’re introduced to Jennifer Sterling, a seemingly has-it-all privileged beauty who wakes up from a car accident to find she barely remembers much of her adult life. Her one clue? A mysterious love letter tucked into a book, signed “B”–and I’m pretty sure I don’t have to tell you this, but her husband’s name does not start with a “b.” The mirroring story follows down-on-her-luck reporter Ellie who finds her own love letter of Jennifer’s and breathlessly hunts down any clues she can find to help her figure out what happened to Jennifer and her beloved “Boot.” Typically with Moyes’ books, I always end up liking the old-fashioned character best, and this book was no exception–I really loved the character of Jennifer, and I was less drawn to Ellie (not to say I didn’t like her). I wouldn’t go as far as to classify this as chick-lit (I know how some people absolutely cringe at that phrase), but I will say if you enjoy books with romantic undertones and an actual plot, this is for you! Rating: 8 out of 10


SkinCollector the year of 50 books: 16 20

The Skin Collector by Jeffery Deaver I guess it’s about time this finally comes out–I have big love for abnormal psychology. In addition to my degree in journalism, I also have one in psychology, and I’ve been fascinated by various psychological disorders and abnormalities for as long as I can remember. I usually stick to reading non-fiction books about serial killers and psychology studies, but I had to pick up Jeffery Deaver’s new book, The Skin Collector. You may remember Deaver’s most famous novel, The Bone Collector, and the namesake movie starring Denzel Washington and saint Angelina Jolie. Well, as evidenced by the similar title, The Skin Collector is a follow-up to that. It brings back forensic detective Lincoln Rhymes to hunt NYC’s newest “thing that goes bump in the night”–a serial killer who has a habit of tattooing his victims. Another thing you should know about me: I always (always always) guess the endings of things–almost to an annoying degree where people refuse to watch things with me or read the same book at the same time as me. Well, I didn’t guess the ending of this. I’d like to say it was because it was just so blindingly brilliant that I was completely caught off guard by the ending, but I almost feel like it was because the ending didn’t make sense. In lieu of giving too much away, I’ll have to leave it at this: the ending kind of came out of left field, and not in the best way. That being said, it was still extremely well-written and suspenseful. Definitely worth reading. Rating: 7.25 out of 10 


81bP9A0oWML the year of 50 books: 16 20


Gemini: A Novel, By Carol Cassella  I gotta say: I really liked this one. It came across my desk at work one day in an advanced copy months ago–typically, the stuff I get isn’t always the best, but the cover of this caught my eye (not to mention it’s my zodiac sign, so I thought at the very least it could be 400 pages of horoscopes). Gemini, a cross between a thriller and a character-driven drama, opens on Dr. Charlotte Reese, who works in the ICU of a Seattle hospital. She gets a new charge, in the form of a Jane Doe that’s barely clinging to life. Enlisting the help of her journalist boyfriend Eric, she sets out to piece together Jane’s life in the hopes of figuring out who she is, saving her life–and saving her own drowning relationship. You can figure out on your own pretty early on who “Jane” really is, due to flashbacks that introduce a whole new set of characters and story line. It was really fun to watch all the pieces of the novel come together–to see how Jane and Charlotte and Eric and all the others I haven’t named were intertwined. And even though I guessed the ending (due to my minimal but random knowledge of Greek mythology and obsession with certain CSI episodes), it was engaging until the last page. Rating: 9 out of 10



18641982 the year of 50 books: 16 20


The Vacationers: A Novel, By Emma Straub Yeah yeah, I know…everyone and their mother is reading this this summer, right? Well, I’ve always loved me a good bandwagon. And what can I say–the hype is well-deserved. Straub’s Vacationers strikes the perfect balance by maintaining the tone of a light-hearted beach read and presenting a developed, respectable pool of characters. It follows the Post family on a trip to Mallorca–imagine your immediate and extended family in one house for three weeks in a foreign country, and you can pretty much imagine how shenanigans go down here. I loved the wry wit Straub wrote with, and the characters were equal parts sympathetic and slightly annoying–pretty much how anyone feels about their actual family. It also had a touch of Under the Tuscan Sun, in that it made me want to have a house in a foreign country completely isolated from everyone and everything. Overall, a fun read! Rating: 7.5 out of 10. 



WE WERE LIARS cover the year of 50 books: 16 20

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart If Gone Girl, Reconstructing Amelia and Gossip Girl had a baby, We Were Liars is the angsty teenager that would result from that union. It follows a group of cousins/friends that refer to themselves as “the liars”…a nickname only silly pre-teens can come up with and actually think is a good idea. The Liars spend every summer together on an idyllic island off the coast of Cape Cod, soaking in their family’s wealth, basking in the ease of adolescence and narrowly avoiding all the family drama brewing up around them over their late grandmother’s hefty estate. But during “summer 15″ (or is it summer 16? I can’t remember truthfully), a horrible accident occurs and the world the Liars know is shattered forever. Left to pick up the pieces is Cadence, who finds her memory gone and her friendships shadows of what they once were–with no explanation as to why. Lockhart maintains a sense of edge all throughout We Were Liars, and I often forgot I was reading a novel written from the perspective of a 16-year-old…it felt ages older than that. It’s a quick read that gives you a dose of mystery and a look into the lives of the upper-crust where appearances are everything. And I will just say this: you will not see the ending coming. Promise. Rating: 9 out of 10. 














top photo via make life easier