Amazon has become such a staple in my life over the past year. From coffee to clothes, I buy so much more than I ever thought I would from the online superstore because it is just SO easy, cheap and cute. Every few months I do a refresh and lately, I’m loving all things green, blue and white.
I used to think it was really important to buy designer sunglasses, but now I think that is crazy. These Celine dupe sunglasses look amazing and it’s ok if you misplace them or something happens to them because you can get two for $20! Such a steal and a great staple for spring. Another must have accessory is this layered initial necklace. I bought mine last month and have been wearing it non-stop and have gotten a ton of compliments on it.
If you’re looking to update your spring shoe collection, you don’t want to miss out on these tan bow flip flops or these Amina Muadi look-alikes. I got a pair of the bow flip flops last fall and have been wearing them every chance I get. They are perfect for the beach, running around and could even be shower shoes for the gym or dorm room as they are entirely waterproof.
If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ll know that I gave up coffee a few years ago to help ease my acid reflux. But over the last year, I have been treating myself to an occasional Blue Bottle iced coffee. I usually buy these little cans at Central Market, but you can also get them at Whole Foods or on Amazon. They are just the best. I serve mine with whole milk and over ice in this BPA-free tumbler and then usually head out for a long walk with Charlie.
To get organized this year, I ordered this Van Gogh Starry Night inspired Planner. It’s a little kooky, but I actually really love it! I love the binder size and the layout is perfect for me. I’ve also been slightly perturbed by the prices of planners lately like Erin Condren and Bando. It should not cost $50 or $100 to get organized. This planner is just $7!! Another life-hack tool I’m loving right now is the Üllo wine purifier. I am allergic to sulfates so wine can be dangerous for me because it is traditionally packed with sulfates for preservation. The Üllo wine purifier is said to filter out all of the sulfates so I’m really hoping it does!
What are your favorite things on Amazon?! Leave me a comment and let me know!!
Wow! After the coldest two weeks I’ve ever experienced in Texas, we escaped the frozen state for the sunshine of Arizona to see my parents. After weeks of wearing layers of leggings and sweats, I could not wait to bust out a few of my favorite dresses and soak up the heat. All of my styles for the trip were under $100 and perfect for Spring!
I have been living in this oversized sweatshirt dress during this trip. I’ve mostly paired it with my favorite Veja’s, but as the weather warms up a bit, it will be so cute with sandals too. The sage green color is so flattering and the silhouette is very forgiving. Whether you’re lounging at home, running to the store or out to lunch, this is a great piece to have and under $30.
Another favorite for the trip was definitely this green midi dress from the Australian online retailer, Petal and Pup. I cannot tell you how many compliments I got on this dress and it was a steal at $70. During the trip I wore it with tennis shoes and sandals and it looks great both ways. I got this dress in an Australian size 6 and wish I would have gotten an 8 (I wear a US size 2 normally) so I would recommend sizing up with this brand. Scoop this one up before it’s sold out!
Are you wearing your spring clothes yet? I hope you all love these styles and that you’re getting some sunshine wherever you are!
Mardi Gras celebrations around the country have been cancelled or scaled back this year because of coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate safely at home. Since I’m married to a New Orleans boy, we will keep the good times rolling by bringing Mardi Gras and quintessential New Orleans treats to our home. From King Cake to beads and balconies, we will have it all here.
In lieu of Mardi Gras floats this year in New Orleans, many people are decorating their homes instead. My in-laws have been sending us the coolest pictures from the homes in Uptown and it has been great to see the spirit of the city living on even though one of their main events has been cancelled.
For our celebration at home, I’m focusing mostly on the food. I’ll be making red beans and rice and I ordered a King Cake for dessert. One of my husband’s favorite meals is red beans and rice and since he was born and raised in New Orleans, I had to do a ton of research to get the recipe right. The consistency was tricky to achieve, but after a few tries, I finally got it and I am so proud. To add a fun little twist, I served our red beans and rice in miniature bread bowls.
Brit’s Red Beans and Rice
2 ham hocks
10 cups water
2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. Crystal Hot Sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire
1 lb. red beans (soaked overnight and drained)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves minced garlic
3 tbsp. olive oil
¼ lb. hot sausage, sliced
¼ smoked sausage, sliced
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
Place ham hocks, water, garlic, salt, Crystal hot sauce, Worcestershire and beans in a large Dutch oven and cook uncovered on low heat.
In a separate pan, sauté celery, onion and garlic in olive oil.
In another pan, cook sausage.
Add sautéed vegetables and cooked sausage to the red bean mixture.
Add bay leaves, salt and pepper to the mixture. Cook over a medium-low flame for four hours.
Remove ham hocks and bay leaves.
Serve over white rice.
I don’t think it’s possible to have a Mardi Gras party without a King Cake. Our absolute favorite is from Haydel’s Bakery, but if you’re not in New Orleans and ran out of time to get a cake shipped, Whole Foods actually makes a pretty good King Cake.
While I didn’t bring the house float trend to Austin, I did build a balloon arch inside! This arch was so easy to assemble and I think it turned out really well. Call me crazy, but I’m still throwing beads off of my stairs and pretending I’m on Bourbon.
How will you be celebrating Mardi Gras this year? However you do, I hope you are all safe, happy and healthy and as they say in New Orleans, Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Tom Brady, the Chiefs and The Weeknd…could I ask for a better Super Bowl lineup? I have had a crush on Tom Brady since middle school and the Chiefs are my favorite team in the NFL so I will be cheering for both teams this Sunday and eagerly anticipating The Weeknd’s performance. Since we’ll be celebrating from home, I’m making my favorite chili, guacamole and buffalo chicken wings for me and my husband to snack on for the big game.
To start off our Super Bowl celebrations, I will be whipping up a big bowl of my favorite guacamole. I stumbled upon this creation one day when I was out of red onion and tomato so instead I used white onion and no tomato and it ended up being the best guacamole I’ve ever made.
Because of the cooler weather, I think Chili is perfect to cook for Super Bowl Sunday. For whatever reason, I prefer to use pinto beans for my chili so it’s a little bit different, but I love it. You can warm up some tortillas or biscuits for dipping and top the chili with sour cream, cheese and green onions. We also love buffalo chicken wings in our household. I get the pre-marinated buffalo chicken wings from Central Market and cook them at 450 degrees and 20 minutes on each side. I know this sounds a little aggressive, but they get so crispy and delicious.
I love how all of these foods are great for snacking on throughout the day and they are exactly unhealthy. What are you cooking this weekend for the Super Bowl and who are you cheering for?
Happy February, loves!! I absolutely love the month of February because its filled with all things pink and just has such a romantic feeling. To help get you all in the spirit for Valentine’s Day, I’m sharing my favorite looks that will keep you looking gorgeous whether you’re going out for a picnic with your SO or for a nice dinner.
Valentine’s Day is a special day to celebrate the ones you love in your life. Whether that is a significant other, your parents, your children, a pet or even yourself, remember to add a little extra love to your day. Here are a few of my favorite things as Valentine’s Day approaches.
Keep an eye out for a *very* special giveaway I’ll be doing for Valentine’s Day with one of my favorite gal pals! What are your plans for this Valentine’s Day? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Chicken Night has become a staple in the McAshan household during quarantine. I originally got the idea from our country club in Houston–every Thursday night, the club had “Chicken Night” where they would have a buffet of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, Mac and cheese, fried okra and gravy. When we moved to Austin at the beginning of quarantine, I decided to make a *somewhat* healthier version of Chicken Night at home.
I make two versions of chicken for our Chicken Nights–Honey Chipotle Chicken and Honey Garlic Chicken. I serve both our favorite salad from HEB. When I make the Honey Chipotle Chicken, I serve it with Mac and cheese and when I make the Honey Garlic Chicken, I serve it with Basmati rice.
Although these aren’t the healthiest meals ever, they are comfort foods that my husband enjoys and having a staple each week for dinner makes my meal planning a lot easier.
The chicken recipes are pretty much the same other than the flour mixtures and sauces. To prep my tenders, I set up an assembly line starting with the pounded tenders, buttered sheet pan and three bowls for dipping the chicken in–starting with the flour mixture, the lightly beaten eggs and finally the panko.
Happy cooking friends, I hope you enjoy Chicken Night as much as we do!
Known for its stunning Art Deco architecture, sunny beaches and impossibly fun vibe, it was an easy choice for us to make Miami our first trip of the year. After spending a long weekend with my husband and pup in the beachside haven and scouring the city from South Beach to Little Havana, I’m sharing my travel guide for Miami with all of you.
I hadn’t been to Miami in more than a decade and the lure of 80 degree weather in January was just too enticing to pass up on. Because of recent COVID outbreaks around the country, we were a bit hesitant to actually go on our trip, but we were able to get flights on Southwest for next to nothing and got a great deal on our hotel room.
When looking for a hotel in Miami, it’s important to know which part of town you want to be in. If you’re interested in South Beach, I’d recommend the Faena or the Miami Beach Edition. When we booked our original trip, we found a deal on the Betsy Hotel and jumped on it. Although the Betsy photographs well and has a wonderful staff, I would not recommend staying here. The building is dated and the crowd that hangs out around the hotel is rough to put it lightly. We were very uncomfortable the one night we did stay there because the room smelled, we could hear noise from the street outside all night and the room just did not feel clean. The Betsy claims to have beach access, but it is not done through the hotel, it is done through a third party and you have beach access with a lot of other people.
After one night at the Betsy, we quickly switched over to the Four Seasons Miami which is located in the heart of Brickell, the city’s financial center. Although we had to give up the beach, we were so thrilled with our move. The Four Seasons Miami offers impeccable service, a stunning pool, an outdoor area that worked so well for our dog and clean and comfortable rooms (although a bit dated.) If you’re looking for a Four Seasons property on the beach, I’d highly recommend the Four Seasons Surfside. Unfortunately, this gorgeous hotel was a bit out of our price range and further away from most of the things we wanted to do so we decided to stay at the Four Seasons Miami. Another bay-side gem is the Biltmore Coral Gables. When we would go to Miami when I was younger, I would always tell my parents that if I lived in Miami, I would live in Coral Gables and I stand by that today.
If you’re looking to party, South Beach and Miami Beach will be perfect for you. From buzzy clubs and restaurants to partying on the beach, you’ll be happiest here. Brickell also offers a pretty cool night life scene with great restaurants and hotspots like Komodo. Keep in mind that Miami is currently observing an 11 p.m. curfew, but clubs are still open.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed vibe, Bal Harbour/Surfside and Coral Gables/Coconut Grove will be the place for you. Bal Harbour and Surfside offer beach access, luxury shopping, fine dining and several celeb sightings while Coral Gables and Coconut Grove are a bit more laid back and not on the beach.
For fabulous shopping, museums and excellent dining, look no further than the Miami Design District. From public art installations to the famed Institute of Contemporary Art, you will leave this creative neighborhood feeling inspired and ready to take on the rest of Miami. If you’re looking for a bit of history or you have a cigar lover in your group, Little Havana should be on your list. Walking through this neighborhood just minutes from downtown, you feel as if you have been transported to 1965.
We LOVED the food scene in Miami, so much so that I actually ranked our meals from the trip and wrote a full review on them. We originally had reservations at Makoto, but had to cancel them because it would have taken us too long to get up there. If you’re staying in the Bal Harbour/Surfside area, definitely make reservations there one night.
Casa Tua, Mandolin and La Mar are not to be missed if you’re in Miami and if you’re looking for a classic Cuban sandwich while in town, look no further than Sanguich de Miami in the heart of Little Havana.
All four of the Southwest flights we were on for this trip were completely packed. Miami was packed. Although everyone wore face masks, I did not feel safe in many situations during this trip. Although I am very thankful we were able to go on this trip, had we known about the massive crowds we would encounter on the trip, we would have definitely reconsidered. I wish airlines would do their part and go back to keeping middle seats reserved for flights, it’s not responsible to have that many people in a confined space during a pandemic.
When we were planning our trip to Miami, I had high expectations for the weather and beaches, but wasn’t thinking much about the food. After living in Houston for six years, I became quite spoiled by the *highly* underrated food scene and am usually disappointed by the food in other cities when I travel now. But I was not disappointed by the Miami food scene at all, in fact, I was quite blown away.
To share my culinary adventures with all of you, I’m ranking the seven restaurants we ate at during our trip. We barely scratched the surface when it comes to Miami dining so this is in no way a ranking of all Miami restaurants, only the ones we ate at during our three-and-a-half-day stay.
Our best meal in Miami was at Casa Tua. The vibe was unlike anything we’ve ever experienced and the food was excellent. We ordered a fish carpaccio, octopus (the best dish we had on our entire trip), the Mushroom Fettuccine (which they are apparently known for), the Red Snapper and finished off our meal with the Italian Casa Tua Doughnuts.
No matter where you are seated for dinner at Casa Tua, you will have the most enjoyable time. Each dining area is unique and oozes sophisticated European charm. COVID guidelines were well respected here and we will definitely be back.
A very close second for our dining experience in Miami is Mandolin. This mediterranean bistro is a true gem and should not be missed when visiting Miami. Set in the lush gardens behind Miami’s famed design district, the striking blues and whites that make up this restaurant make you feel like you’ve been transported to Greece.
For lunch, we ordered the Cheese Saganaki, the Ali Nazak, Greek Salad, the octopus and French Fries with Greek Yogurt. We ate every bite and wish we could have tried more, but we were so full. In addition to the lovely setting and insanely good food, the service was excellent and the restaurant felt clean and respectful of COVID guidelines.
We also loved La Mar. This hip Peruvian restaurant is located in the Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key. The food was outstanding and we had the sweetest waiter. We ordered the Roll Anticuchero, the octopus, the Arroz con Mariscos and the whole fish which was de-boned, cut up and fried into small bites.
I will say that there were a couple of things that led to La Mar not being my top restaurant of the trip. First of all, I did not feel safe in regards to COVID. This place was packed and restaurant workers were constantly asking patrons to put their masks on, which was unnerving. I do think the restaurant could restrict the number of reservations they take or limit the number of people who are just standing around to alleviate this issue. Secondly, the restaurant terrace is overlooking the bay, which is lovely, but people were smoking on the pathway right beneath the tables which was awful. Third, because the restaurant sits at the base of the hotel, many people use the two entrances on the restaurant’s terrace to get into the hotel so that means random people are walking by your table all night.
We ate at the Edge at the Four Seasons twice during our stay. Once for breakfast and once for lunch and we really enjoyed both meals. I noticed the adherence to COVID guidelines the most here compared to any of the other restaurants we ate at. The tables were well spaced and very clean, patrons and workers were required to wear masks (when not at their table) and the food was great.
For breakfast we had coffees, the baker’s basket–a butter croissant, a chocolate croissant and a croissant filled with cream cheese and jam, and the Honey Nut Granola Parfait. For lunch one day we shared a burger and fries by the pool and it was amazing.
Of course we had to go to Little Havana when we were in Miami! After a little cigar shopping, we popped into Sanguich de Miami for Cuban Sandwiches. This sandwich shop is really a hidden gem in Little Havana. All of the sandwiches are made on fresh Cuban bread and are made with high-quality meats.
Sanguich de Miami was also really good about COVID guidelines and the restaurant felt very clean and safe. There is usually a line so if you’re looking to save time or avoid the crowds, you can order ahead online seamlessly.
Mignonette… I’m still replaying this experience in my head because I had high hopes for it, but I don’t find myself wanting to go back. The food we had was good, but there were a few things that threw the experience off for me.
Located in the up-and-coming Edgewater neighborhood, Mignonette is housed in what was once a gas station. They did a fabulous job transforming this place, but upon entering, I smelled something very muggy and musty and that’s not great when you’re about to eat seafood. We also sat at the front of the restaurant which has a large window so all of the oncoming headlights were a bit much for me. Another thing that detracted from the experience was that the waiter originally helping us left unexpectedly during dinner and we were not helped again for quite some time by another staff member. I also ordered sparkling water several times that never came. All of this is to say that our dinner at Mignonette was good, but I don’t think we will be back.
LT Steak & Seafood, the main restaurant at the Betsy Hotel on South Beach was our least favorite of the trip. Since we stayed at the Betsy our first night in Miami, we had lunch there when we arrived–a burger and the Spicy Crispy Rock Shrimp roll– and then breakfast the next morning where we had oatmeal and the Betsy Breakfast. Although the service could not have been better, the food left quite a bit to be desired. With so many other options in the area, I regret having had two meals here.
Miami here we come! When I think of Miami, color is the first thing that comes to mind so I’m packing my bags to the brim with my favorite summer clothes and counting down the seconds until I’m on the beach.
I think one of the keys to an easy weekend trip is to not check any luggage. But that is a lot easier said than done. I always travel with my Away Bigger Carry-on because it gives me plenty of room to fit a complete weekend wardrobe. I’m also bringing my favorite beach bag as my smaller carry-on so I don’t waste any space in my suitcase. I bought my Naghedi bag last summer as a beach bag, but I ended up wearing it around town all the time. It is great because it is water resistant, the sand flakes right off of it and it looks so sharp.
To keep your packing concise, I recommend planning your activities and outfits in advance, packing outfits in a similar color palate so you only have to bring one pair of going out shoes and one evening bag. Since we’re going to Miami, I’m packing colorful outfits that work well with neutral accessories. For this trip I’m bringing my favorite Bottega dupe from Amazon and the Castañer lace-up wedges. These shoes seamlessly transition from day to night and are the perfect accent to all of the clothes I packed.
What are your favorite things to do in Miami?! Leave me a comment and let me know!