Mother’s Day Gift Guide via Etsy

mothersdaygiftguideIf there is one person that I love to celebrate in this world it’s my Mom. My encouraging, fun, honest, supportive, stylish, talented, loving, tender hearted and kind Mom. She’s the kind of mother you can’t wait to introduce to your friends so they finally understand why you are the way you are; she’s the kind of mother who is up for any adventure or new restaurant; she’s the kind of mother you want to call for absolutely no reason at all except to make her laugh; she’s my mother, and she’s my best friend. (She’s also already in the middle of a mom-sob by this point so if you’d like to email her a tissue I’ll leave a link at the bottom. Love you, Glen).

I think the best gift to give to a mom is a thoughtful one. One that you know they’ll use and cherish and that will remind them of you when they see it. Etsy is chock full of unique gift ideas that are affordable, and often customizable. Here are the links to some of the ideas I had from above:

• Get her a piece of jewelry that will go with everything, and then get yourself one to match. It’s kind of like you’re with her all the time, and she with you. I really loved this minimal, beaded gold bracelet by Flakes New York.

• I always hear my mom talking about wanting to grow herbs at home, but never having the time to buy the tools to make it happen. Create an herb gardening kit for your mom: select a few seeds (Cilantro, Parsley, and Rosemary are a good place to start), choose your pots (I opted for these vintage tea tins here and here), and pick up some potting soil. Now all she has to do is give them a little water and watch them grow.

• A new weekender bag. Giving mom a more fashionable carry on is a good way to ween her off of that rolling suitcase that she found at the garage sale. Next, you bring up the trip you’ve been wanting the two of you to take together…

• Wine stoppers are a great way to keep wine fresh for that extra day, especially when the cork is presenting problems. These are customizable stoppers that are accented with the map of your choosing. Pick a place that means a lot to the two of you and I guarantee you it will be a frequent reminder of the memories.

• Lastly, a blanket that’s fit for spring. I know that my mom loves to wrap up in a blanket while she’s watching her newest Netflix obsession or catching up on SNL; her go-to-blanket is a cream colored microfleece, but with the summer heat I thought a lighter version might be a good idea. The Turkish towel product selection is made up of towels, shawls, blankets, etc; turkish blankets are lightweight and super soft, and I know from experience that they are a breathable and comfortable option for lounging on the couch on a warm, rainy day. There are a lot of color and pattern options available here.

 

Mother’s day is on Sunday. No matter if you give them anything, reach out to your mom and to other important ladies in your life, and let them know they are appreciated.

 

Speak to you all soon!

 

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Vineyard Afternoons + Wine Tasting Dos / Donts

promowine6wine4wine8wine1wine14wine5wine2wine13wine3wine12wine9wine11bI think having an affinity for wine is something most regions of the world can relate to. While my favorite bottles come from places like Argentina and France, an afternoon at a vineyard in Tennessee was a great way to escape from the dizziness of everyday obligations.

About 45 minutes out of Nashville, there is a slice of southern paradise called Arrington Vineyards. The drive out weaves between rustic family farms and flower filled fields. It’s far enough from the highway to feel solitude but close enough that making a visit more than once a season isn’t hard to do. The vineyard offers free tastings (up to nine wines), music on warm weekend nights and plenty of picnic tables. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend a sunny day.

Vineyards can be found all over the place, it just takes a little looking to know where to find them. Next time you have a free day gather some friends (1 or 20) and road trip to one around you. It will result in a memorable day that’s an escape from every day life. While you’re there, take advantage of the opportunity to taste the wines the vineyard offers! You never know what new tastes you may discover and love from then on.

I put together a little guide to help you on your next wine tasting adventure. The biggest thing is just to learn a little something, relax and have fun!

Wine Tastings Dos + Do Nots | Via Red Lips + Tortilla ChipsSpeak to you soon!

 

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Spring Drink | Champagne Lemonade

FIRSTChampagne Lemonade-733It is finally the season of brunching on patios and spending the afternoons in sunrooms. Light drinks, like wines, sangrias, and spritzers, are typically what I lean towards on those kinds of days, and last summer my friend Lauren showed me a great recipe that is a winning combo of all of those things: Champagne Lemonade.

This recipe is super affordable, easy to throw together, and results in super refreshing and slightly carbonated sips all around.

You will need:
• Fruit of your choosing (We used lemons, strawberries, black, berries, and lime)
• Herbs of your choosing (Rosemary adds a great herbal flavor, but I’m also excited to try mint, basil, lavender, and ginger with this recipe)
• Lemonade (Newman’s Own Organic Virgin Lemonade is a great choice, there are no unexpected ingredients or processed sugars)
• Champagne (You can’t really go wrong on this part)

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Step One: 
Prepare your fruit: wash, slice, remove the seeds, etc. Combine and put aside.

TOAST

Step Two: 
Pop your Champagne! Now you feel like you’re celebrating.

Remember: Popping a bottle does not have to be a near death experience. First, carefully remove the cage from the cork (Note: The cork is not going to shoot out of the top without a little bit of effort on your part). Breathe, you’re halfway there. Grab a dishtowel and place on top of the cork, stand near the sink, tilt the bottle at a 45 degree angle, breathe once again and slowly remove the cork from the bottle. The cork will POP and it may startle you, but you probably won’t experience death by carbonation.

Just remember to go slow and to store your Champagne in a stationary place. The less you move it the less pressure that will build.

 

Step 3
Decide how much you want to make. Once you decide, you will need the final result to amount to around 2/3 Champagne and 1/3 Lemonade. If you want to make 6 cups worth, which is a good amount for a get together, then you will need to measure out 4 cups of champagne and 2 cups of lemonade. These numbers aren’t concrete–just mix and taste until it tastes delicious to you! (a little more champagne never hurts, right?)

 

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Step 4
Add the fruit you prepared to the mix, as well as your herbs, then, put it in the fridge and let it chill for an hour so; all of the flavors will begin to extract and mingle together. Right before your friends arrive get it out; this is so you look really prepared. T3Champagne Lemonade-730

Serve your drinks with an herb garnish, and maybe try to get some actual fruit in the glass as well. I can tell you already: your drink is going to be a hit.

 

Hope you guys enjoyed this!

 

Speak to you soon!

 

 

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*photos and graphics by Lauren Cunningham*

TBT | Italy Travels (+ITALY GUIDE)

italypromo IMG_1975 IMG_4896 IMG_1972IMG_4653IMG_2202 IMG_4687 IMG_5231IMG_2074 IMG_2421IMG_2462 IMG_5269 IMG_4886 IMG_5424 IMG_2582  IMG_2402 IMG_2429 IMG_2444IMG_3280 IMG_5411The first time I traveled outside of the U.S. was when I was 20. The college I attended offered a class where you would jet abroad and then learn about the art, architecture and culture of a place across the globe. The destination of my trip was Italy.

We landed and immediately where chauffeured in a coach bus through the stylish city of Milan. Just from watching the aged buildings whiz by I was almost immediately entranced by the beauty and antiquity of it all. That trip took us all over the Northern half of the country: Milan, Vicenza, Verona, Venice, Tuscany, Florence, Siena, and Rome. By the end of our 14 day journey I was sure of a couple of things; one of those was that I suddenly understood the term “wanderlust,” and I had it bad; the second was that I would be returning to Italy. My heart had started to beat for the patina on the walls and the piazzas; for the silent, spiritual moments spent in ornate churches in small cities; for the way the Italian people spoke in a sing-song language I couldn’t understand but wanted desperately to. I wanted to go back, so I did.

The next summer I was moved into an apartment in Florence with my best friend. I had acquired a summer internship with a small men’s fashion label (Borgo28) and she was to teach English to children. Our landlord, Vincent, placed us in a second floor unit overlooking Via De Neri, the street right behind the world-renowned Uffizi Gallery. Our evenings were spent strolling across the Arno river to our favorite place for Apertivo, purchasing a 2 euro bottle of wine from the market across the street and people watching from our window, and dreaming of a life where we never had to leave. We spent the weekends adventuring with our newfound Italian friends (or just having dinner parties), or taking the train somewhere we hadn’t been before. It was the most exciting 3 months of my life, and the gateway to the person and dreams that I have now.

italy guide

YOU SHOULD GO:

•Make your way to Cinque Terre, It’s my favorite place in Italy so far. Find a bed and breakfast (they’re a little cheaper outside of the town centers and often offer a shuttle service), and make sure to spend some time in each city because they are all super special (there is a train that links them all). Start in la Spezia and adventure your way across to Monterosso al Mare. Hike the trail,  if it’s a nice day, to Riomaggiore where you’ll get your first glimpse of the Mediterranean color scheme that paints the cities of the region;   fall in love with the charming, colorful hillside buildings of Manarola (my favorite); stroll the Via dell’Amore near Vernazza; find a restaurant overlooking the sea and order some risotto con funghi in Corniglia, and don’t forget to block out some time to spend on the beautiful, hill secluded beach in Monterosso.

•Visit a winery in Chianti. Go on a tour of the grounds, and treat yourself to a tasting. If they produce olive oil, make sure you try some because it there is nothing quite like fresh, authentic Italian Olive oil. Not only will you learn a lot, but the views of the Tuscan country side from the hilltops are unreal.

•Siena is the most quintessentially Italian town I’ve ever gone to. The Siena Cathedral is one of the most beautiful that I’ve seen during my travels there (Also on that list are the Milan Cathedral and the Duomo in Florence).

•If you have to choose between Rome and Florence, I’d choose Florence. Though it is tourist heavy, there is more of a small town feel than the over-saturated tourist hub of Rome (but also go to Rome because it has some of the most beautiful architecture I’ve ever seen).

•Renaissance monuments. Examples: The David, the masterpieces in the Uffizi Gallery (they have SO MANY Botticelli paintings. And I love Botticelli), the Duomo (and all of Brunelleschi’s other works in Florence), the Palace of the Medici’s (and the Boboli Gardens), etc. Also, if in Rome the Vatican is breath taking and the Colosseum and the Forum ARE worth seeing. Strolling the streets in most of the towns will give you a glimpse of the renaissance architecture; it is what makes up the building blocks of the country.

YOU SHOULD EAT:

•Spaghetti alla Scoglio – Spaghetti with clams is my all time favorite Italian Dish.
•Apertivo – An Italian pre-dinner ritual that is similar to Spanish tapas. You order a minimum of one drink (traditionally you order a Spritz) and are given a small plate to fill with the smorgasbord of food on display in the restaurant. Apertivo outings were one of my favorite parts of living in Italy. (If you’re in Florence there is an apertivo restaurant called Moyo and it is GOOD.)
•Gelato (I hope this is a given).
•Also try: Prosciutto con Melone, Authentic pizza/calzones, A panini with melanzane (GO TO PINO’S), and crostini. All of the crostini.

YOU SHOULD DRINK:
•Limoncello – Lemon flavored liquor that is often served as a dessert.
• Grappa – a brandy-esque Italian grape based beverage. Another after dinner drink that I would highly reccommend. Prepare your palette, because it’s different than anything I’ve ever tasted.
• A bottle of Chianti. In Chianti.

& I’VE YET TO SEE (BUT WANT TO ):
• Lake Como
•The Amalfi Coast (Capri, Positano, Sorrento, etc)
•Sardinia
•Milan (I did vist, but only for an afternoon)
•More of the country side, because what better way to see the true beauty of a country than that.

 

Speak to you all soon!

 

 

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