Friday, August 26, 2016

Recipe: Caprese Burgers

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I am obsessed with caprese salads all summer long and even have my own basil plant that is currently in full bloom. When I stumbled upon this recipe in the Allrecipes magazine, I knew I needed to try this one out for my family. Plus it was a great way to use up some of my basil that was looking so ready to eat!

Ingredients: 

4 tomatoes, each cut into 4 thick slices
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 2/3 pounds grass fed beef
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, plus 16-24 whole leaves for garnish
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 8 rounds
8 buns, toasted
4 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon siracha (optional)

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Directions:

1) Arrange tomato slices in a single layer on a platter. Whisk together vinegar, oil, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Pour over tomato slices. Let stand 15 minutes to 1 hour. 
2) Meanwhile, preheat an outdoor grill (or a ban on your stove top) to med heat. Put beef, tomato paste, chopped basil, Parmesan, garlic, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl and mix together with your hands. Divide into 8 equal portions and pat into patties. 
3) Grill burgers 6 minutes per side. Top each with a slice of mozzarella, then continue grilling, covered, until cheese melts...1-2 minutes more. 
4) Serve on buns with marinated tomato slices and whole basil leaves. 

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This turned out so good! I only made 1/2 the recipe because 8 burgers seemed like too much for my family of 4 and then we added some steamed veggies as the side. We will for sure be trying this one again! 

Have you ever tried a caprese burger? What is your favorite burger recipe?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Rocked it & Swapped it: Laser Cut Saddle Bag

 A laser cut design is such a unique way to elevate a simple handbag. We saw this trend on the runway a while back but it's simple enough to remain classic and current. You know that saying, "it's all in the details?" It applies to most everything in life including personal style. This Sole Society bag would be beautiful if were just simple, white leather but the rare shapes make it interesting and a statement piece all on its own. 


Clearly, we both feel it pairs well with florals...be it a long maxi skirt or a midi dress, it accentuates both patterns really nicely, keeping with our respective boho/free spirit themes.

Laser cut bags keep the Summer vibes going into Fall...
Click to shop some of our favorite styles:



Thoughts on laser cut details? Love it or leave it?



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Florals for Fall


When I saw this floral midi dress in the store, I wasn’t 100% sold – It looked like it had the potential to be a better fit for my Grandmother’s closet but then I imagined how I would style it for Fall: Booties (slash lace up sandals in late August), a wool floppy hat and a dark lip and suddenly I got excited about the possibilities. You really can’t make a purchase based on how it presents itself on the hanger in the store...you have to think about your style and how you would make it your own. Fast forward and not only did this dress make it home with me but it’s made it into my permanent rotation for the Summer-Fall transition.


On a similar note, I’ve said it before and I'm sticking to it – One of the best parts about fashion is being able to embody different people (per se) depending on your mood and your outfit of choice. Let me explain: While taking these photos, it’s almost like I got to be somebody else, if just for a few minutes – maybe it was the light coming through the trees or being surrounded by the Wisconsin woods…but most definitely, it was due in part to the boho chic look as a whole that allowed me to step outside of my “all American/girl next door” norm. Personal style requires no definition. I love that I can dress like a wood nymph one day and J. Crew mascot the next with no explanation required. I'd rather experience it all...fashion is too full of adventure to typecast yourself.






Do you have a strict personal style or do you tend to mix it up?

Wearing:

Dress: Old Navy
Shoes: Target
Bag: c/o Sole Society (Sold out but similar here under $30!)
Hat: Target (Similar)
Sunnies: H&M
Necklace: c/o Park Lane Jewelry

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Classic Summer Style

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We have (just under) two weeks left until Labor Day, so I am all about soaking up every last bit of summer sun. My kids don't have their first day of school until after Labor day, so we are cramming in as much summer fun as possible. This summer has been wonderful so far...We have checked off all of our "summer bucket list" items including water parks, boat rides, beach days, zoo play dates, more pool days then I can count, and more!

This past weekend, we headed up to our lake house for a few days of relaxing and swimming.  Our first day up, I wore what has become my summer go-to outfit. Print shorts, a ribbed tank, and a great cardigan are classic summer style staples that we all have in our wardrobes. I find these shorts in particular are in heavy rotation and this cardigan has been going strong for three years now. If it's not broken, don't fix it. ;)

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Wearing:
Cardigan: H&M (similar) // Tank: Target (similar) // Shorts: Banana Republic (similar) // Bag: c/o Sole Society // Shoes: Gap // Sunglasses: Coach (similar & under $20)
Bracelet, Ring, & Necklace: c/o Park Lane Jewelry // Watch: Movado

Are you still in summer mode? 
What are some memorable things you did this summer?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Steak & Date Night


“Infused with fresh Hawaiian gold pineapples...” 

Have you ever heard a more beautiful combination of words? Turns out, it tastes just as fantastic as it sounds…This form of liquid heaven is actually titled “The Knockout,” an award-winning signature drink at Sullivan’s Steakhouse. I was hesitant to try it at first, as I figured it would be overly sweet but with the reassurance from our (amazing) server Rebecca, I was more than pleasantly surprised. You know things are getting serious when I order one right after another...the whole list of cocktails looked enticing but this one had me at hello.




That said, this was a fantastic start to our date night. We were graciously invited to test out the Summer menu at Sullivan's and being from around the area, I had been previously but many years ago (before I was legal) so needless to say, this was a superior experience from the start. We were seated at a cozy booth in the dining room which was oozing with ambiance thanks to the just-right lighting, a floor to ceiling wine room and sounds of the Rat Pack flowing through the speakers. Rebecca made us feel welcome from the start, going out of her way to share her favorite items on the menu and answer any questions we had (and we had many -- we're THOSE people who can't make ordering decisions without analyzing every detail).



3(ish) courses later, I can officially say, there was not a poor food selection made. We warmed up our stomachs with the Crispy Shanghai Calamari (those red peppers, though)...This pretty much made every other kind of calamari look sad in comparison. I liked it so much, I would go back just to order this (well, and a pineapple martini). 

From there, I had an amazing Filet Mingon cooked to perfection, topped with a bourbon peppercorn sauce and finished off with Gorgonzola garlic butter. Is that not the best mishmash of flavors you could imagine? I had a peppercorn steak once and never looked back...for me, it's the only way to go. My husband had the summer trio which consisted of lobster, crab cake & and 6 oz. filet. When he claimed, “this is the best crab cake I’ve ever had,” I knew this place had automatically been added into our rotation of date night destinations. 
'
The main course was amazing – one of our favorites ever, we might say. But then we had dessert and if you know me, you know this is how to get to my heart. It wasn’t a matter of if we had room – It was about WHICH kind we were ordering and HOW MANY. 

Because I know this much to be true...Dessert is never a question.
Please scroll & excuse the drool once you get there...





Seriously. SERIOUSLY?

Black velvet cake with a cream cheese layer in the middle and warm chocolate ganache on top. I don’t need to describe this for you…it’s self-explanatory. So was the look I gave my husband after that first spoonful of ganache – He just looked at me and said, “Yep. You're obsessed.” 

Can you blame me?




P.S. The dessert was heavenly but it's even better when you share it with someone special. Even though he may have made a few Instagram Husband quips while having his photo taken, I can't help but think, hey...he's pretty cute :) 


P.P.S. We can't leave home without the Apple watch. How would we complete any tasks in our daily lives without Siri? (He makes IG jokes, I mock the watch -- It's only fair!)


Everything about our evening made it memorable – I'm serious when I say it was one of the most fun outings we'd had all Summer which ended with a lovely stroll along the River walk. You guys already know how I feel about the food here but the service was far and away the most impressive component of our visit. Every single person played a role in making us feel not only welcome but like we were the only ones in the restaurant. I’d like to give one more shout out to our server Rebecca who was so pleasant to talk to and endlessly helpful.


We also spent some time talking to the General Manager, Chris Pieters, who sincerely wanted to ensure our needs were being met. If you’re ever looking to host a gathering or just make a special reservation in the Naperville area, I’m confident he and the team at Sullivan's would do a wonderful job. 


Have you been to Sullivan's Steakhouse before?
What is your favorite date night spot?

Wearing:

Dress: Forever 21 -Super similar
Shoes: DV via Target (Under $35!) 
Bag:  c/o Sole Society - Sold out but very similar here
Sunnies: H&M
Bracelet: Forever 21 - Similar under $25
Earrings: Forever 21 - Similar

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Rocked it & Swapped it


As fashion bloggers, there are brands that we have worked with over the years that we truly respect and stand behind their products. Sole Society is one of those brands! Lets be honest, we were shopping their items long before we were gifted them and we will continue to style and shop this brand for years to come. What's not to love about stylish items that are also great quality? 

When it comes to everyday style (or a date night for that matter) a cross body bag is always a great idea. They are cute to look at plus the smaller size is ideal for those on-the-go moments. We are both loving this neutral colored one Kaitlyn picked up a few months back. When she styled it for a Sunday out in Lake Geneva, it was the perfect accessory for her palm print dress. When I styled it for a family dinner night out, this gray bag was just the thing to tie my outfit together. 


Are you a fan of a great neutral cross body bag? I think we all need a few of these in our lives. ;)

Want to do some shopping? I've pulled some of my favorite small-medium sized bags from Sole Society below! 





Wednesday, August 17, 2016

This Dress Was made for Twirling

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I have a few items from Spell Designs and they all make me want to dance around like a woodland fairy. Seriously. (Have you seen this skirt? I mean....how do you not twirl?!) When I saw this floral print dress, I knew I needed to have it. It's one of those "wear it weekly because you can and it is just that good" kind of pieces. Yes, their items tend to be a bit pricey, but the quality is amazing and the styles are very unique (not to mention they sell out fast). The ladies behind Spell Design just know what ladies want to wear! 

On this GNO, I dressed up my Jagger dress with lace-up heels and great gold wrist jewelry. To finish the outfit off, I added this great gray crossbody bag. This bag is perfect for nights you don't want to bring your "big bag" out, plus the color is amazing to carry me into the Fall/Winter months. Loose waves and a bright lip were the finishing touches on my style for dinner and drinks with an old friend in Chicago. 

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Dress: Spell Designs // Bag: c/o Sole Society // Shoes: Just Fab // Feather Cuff: Coach (similar) Watch: Fossil // Ring: c/o Park Lane Jewelry

Do you own any clothing that you have to twirl in as soon as you put it on?
Shouldn't we all? ;)