Second Wedding Anniversary

Second Wedding Anniversary

Hello, friends! I know I haven’t posted in a while, but the past couple of weeks have weighed heavy on my heart and I decided to take the last week to listen and learn as much as I can about the Black Lives Matter movement instead of speaking and sharing about the trivial things in my life.

In a bit of happy news, today is my second wedding anniversary. I’d like to share with you a bit about my wedding as it was one of the happiest days of my life.

My husband and I actually met seven years ago today and that is how we chose our wedding date. I’m so glad we met in June because since I was a little girl, I have always dreamed of being a “June Bride.” When I was four-years-old, my dad got a job transfer from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Salt Lake City, Utah, and for a few months, he lived alone in Salt Lake until me, my mom and sister joined him. During this time, he often stayed at this little Bed and Breakfast called the Armstrong Mansion. It was a 12-bedroom mansion in the foothills of Salt Lake and each room was dedicated to a different month, my favorite room was called the June Bride suite and all of the furniture was white and dreamy. Ever since we stayed there, I always wanted to be a June Bride.

Our save the date! I had this water color made to send out to our guests–it highlights the main attractions for the weekend.

We got married in Santa Barbara, California at the Four Seasons Biltmore Santa Barbara. We decided on Santa Barbara because I moved around so much growing up and have family all over and my husband is from New Orleans and has a lot of family in California so there wasn’t really one place that would work well for our family and friends. Because of that, we chose a place that we loved and that our family and friends would love visiting. We also knew we wanted an outdoor wedding and since Santa Barbara has a nearly perfect climate and very low chances of rain, we thought it would be the perfect spot. The hotel is also one of the most beautiful properties I’ve ever been to in my life.

But nothing is ever that easy or perfect. About six months before our wedding, major wildfires caused severe damage throughout Santa Barbara and after the fires, a devastating mudslide wreaked havoc on the area and killed 15 people. Because of the damage caused by the mudslide, our venue closed. We were told they would reopen after Easter, but April came and went and the hotel did not open. As our June wedding date creeped closer and closer, I was a nervous wreck. I had spent a year-and-a-half planning my dream wedding and it started to hit me that it might not happen. But five days before our wedding date, the hotel reopened and looked incredible.

Since we knew most of our guests were traveling a long way to attend our wedding, we wanted to make the weekend as special as possible. To kick off the celebration, my parents hosted the most incredible rehearsal dinner that also doubled as a welcome party for all wedding guests. Traditionally, rehearsal dinners are just for the wedding party and family, but since this was kind of a destination wedding, we invited all of our guests.

The party was held on the rooftop of the Canary Hotel in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. We chose this location for a few reasons… first of all, the view. This hotel has 360 degree views of Santa Barbara, the ocean and the Santa Ynez mountains and we were there for sunset so it was absolutely incredible. Our goal was to give our guests a taste of the best parts of Santa Barbara so we had events at our favorite spots around town throughout the weekend.

I chose a fiesta theme for this party because I love margaritas and Mexican food. It was also the perfect set-up for guests to meet each other in an elegant-casual setting and just enjoy themselves.

The day of the wedding was amazing. We got our hair and makeup done at the Jose Eber Salon on the Four Seasons Property and it is one of the most beautiful salons I’ve ever been to.

I chose to get ready in this Patricia’s Couture Caftan with photos of my beloved dog Emma on it! Emma was 15 at the time and the flight to California would have been too much for her so this caftan was my way of having her at the wedding with us and it was honestly one of my favorite things from the whole weekend! For my bridesmaids, I chose blue cotton robes from J.crew for them to get ready in. On my wedding day, I also wore my Grandma Bea’s topaz earrings and I cut a swatch of fabric from her bridesmaid’s dress and put in in my dress as my something blue. My grandma Bea passed away in 2016 and I wanted to honor her at my wedding. She and my two grandfathers who passed away in 2014 and 2015 were all Irish so as a nod to them, I had Belles of Ireland in the floral arrangements on the aisle and at our reception.

The wedding itself was truly a dream. Set in the resort’s Jungle Garden, we overlooked the Pacific Ocean as we took our vows. I stuck to very simple, white and green flowers for the ceremony to accentuate the stunning venue and views. We also had a string quartet playing music for the ceremony and our family friend, Marty, officiated the wedding.

Will and I are both foodies so a main focus of the reception was on the food. I’m kind of sad because our photographers didn’t capture any of the food, but it was amazing. We had a four-course meal starting with salad, then lobster bisque, a sorbet-course to cleanse the pallet and then entrees of filet mignon, halibut or a vegan bolognese. My parents, sister, grandma, Will and I hand-picked the menu because it was so important to us. We finished off the evening with a wedding cake for dessert. The cake was three layers, the bottom layer was a white almond chiffon cake and the top two were carrot cake, our favorite!

To cap off the weekend of celebrations, my mother-in-law hosted a party for us at the Santa Barbara Wine Collective in the Funk Zone–a must visit if you are in Santa Barbara. We tried wines from vineyards in the area, had pizza from Lucky Penny and had fun with our guests!

My wedding was an absolute dream and I’m happy to say, married life has been just as amazing! Our second year of marriage was packed with quite a bit–we both turned 30, we moved to Austin, TX and survived a pandemic…Lets see what year three has in store for us!

I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane with me.

XO,

Brit

Brit’s Picks

Brit’s Picks

I think quarantine-time has finally gotten to me! I actually thought yesterday was Friday, but I’m back on track today and sharing my favorite items with you.

My favorite Zara dress this season is still available and I have been wearing it non-stop. I love this dress because it is light-weight which is essential for a Texas summer, it’s feminine and machine-washable so it is super low-maintenance. On the Zara website, it is not shown with a belt, but I’ve worn it with a couple of my own belts and I really think it makes the dress more flattering. I’ve styled it here with the Loeffler Randall Penny Knot Mules in rose gold. These shoes are worth the hype and they are currently on sale at Shopbop.

1. Staud Handbag 2. Zara Midi Dress 3. Haight Swimsuit 4. Roller Rabbit Robe 5. Cinq a Sept Top 6. Valentino look-alike sandals 7. LoveShackFancy Swimsuit 8. L’AgenceDenim 9. Honig Sauvignon Blanc 10. Loeffler Randall Bow Mules 11. Homesick Candle

I’m also loving this one-pice swimsuit from Haight–it is incredible. I have it in black and will be getting the white too. Because I’m 5’8″ I ordered the medium and it fits perfectly. This Roberta Roller Rabbit robe is perfect for summer and I’m loving the color.

During the summer, most of the clothes I wear are in light colors because of how hot it gets here. I’m loving this monochromatic look with the bow-sleeved Cinq a Sept top, which is currently on a major sale at Saks, paired with the L’Agence Marguerite High-Rise Skinny jeans. I bought a pair of these jeans a few years ago and they are one of my all-time favorite jeans. They are pricey, but totally worth the investment. Speaking of Saks, this adorable LoveShackFancy swimsuit is also on sale right now and is too cute for hitting the pool or beach this summer.

If you are looking for a new white wine, look no further than this Honig Sauvignon Blanc. At $15 a bottle, this wine is crisp, light, refreshing and honestly a great value for money. I have been drinking it for the past month and really enjoying it.

What are your favorites this week? I hope you all have a safe and happy weekend!

XO,

Brit

Brit’s Father’s Day Gift Picks

Brit’s Father’s Day Gift Picks

Father’s Day is just around the corner, friends! I don’t know about you, but I am a daddy’s girl through and through. Not only do I look like my dad, but he is also my best friend. Although one day of the year is not nearly enough to celebrate my dad, I do like using this holiday to show him some love.

My parents do not really like getting gifts, I honestly think they would prefer to never get gifts and just give to others, but I insist on getting them something. In the past couple of years I have really honed in on how to buy gifts for my mom and dad and people who “don’t like getting gifts.” The trick is to watch what they buy for themselves and then get them that, with a slight elevation. For example, my dad loves golfing and golfers go through a lot of golf balls. So I bought him a set of Pro V1 golf balls and had them customized to say “Lar Bear” on the balls. This little addition does not cost much more than the golf balls would if you bought them in the store, but the sentiment goes a long way.

All of that being said, I’ve come up with a list of gifts that I think my dad and many more will love for Father’s Day this year, but I know for sure that my dad will most enjoy the card I write him. So don’t forget to add a beautiful note to your dad to remind them how much you love them!I hope you enjoy this gift guide and that you have a wonderful Father’s Day!

XO,

Brit

Brit’s Pantry Staples

Brit’s Pantry Staples

Are you one of the one in five Americans who prefer cooking at home? Even before the coronavirus pandemic caused thousands of restaurants to close and forced people around the world to stay home, a survey published in February of 2020, found that a large portion of Americans prefer cooking at home to have more control over their budget and their health.

I began cooking regularly after I moved to Houston. Although going out to dinner has always been one of my favorite things, something about the portion sizes and type of food I was eating caused me to gain 15 pounds in a two month period. After I started cooking for myself, the weight I had gained began to drop off naturally. As someone who baked a lot growing up, but never cooked much, I had a lot to learn. One of the biggest things to think about when you begin your cooking journey is to have a fully-stocked pantry.

My pantry must-haves!

When I think of my pantry, I think of it in four different categories–spices, baking, starches and sauces.

Spices: The spices you use can make or break a dish. Outside of salt and pepper, paprika is my most used spice. The items I have listed below are my go-to spices.

Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Oregano, Cayenne Pepper, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Red Pepper Flakes

Baking: I definitely have the baking bug. From brownies and blondies to chocolate cakes and scones, I love baking! It relaxes me and makes me feel so accomplished when the sweet treats I bake turn out well. Because I do bake on a regular basis, I always need to have lots of flour and sugar on hand. Outside of my baking, many of these ingredients are also needed for the savory cooking I do so I always make sure I have these items around.

Flour, Panko Bread Crumbs, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Corn Starch, Vanilla, Chocolate Chips, PB2

Starches: It’s always important to have starches stocked in your pantry. I probably use rice most often…maybe two to three times a week so I always have lots of rice in my pantry. I also keep Annie’s Mac and Cheese because my husband loves it and regular pasta on hand to complete dishes.

Rice, Pasta, Mac and Cheese, Chick Peas, Black Beans

Sauces: When I think of sauces, I’m really thinking of the ingredients I need to make sauces. These ingredients can be used for making so many different sauces and are required in many of the recipes I make.

Tomato Paste, Local Honey, Coconut Aminos, Rotel, Crystal Hot Sauce, Hatch Diced Chiles, Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, Rice Vinegar, Fish Sauce, Red Wine Vinegar, Olive Oil , Vegetable Oil, Anchovy Paste, Beef Stock, Chicken Broth

Not mentioned in my list: my aprons! I love cooking in my aprons. Many of them were gifts or something I bought on a trip so these aprons always bring back fun memories for me and keep my clothes clean when the oil in the kitchen is flying!

What are your pantry must-haves? Let me know what you think of my list and happy cooking!

XO,

Brit

Anthropologie Offers an Extra 50 Percent Off for Memorial Day Weekend

Anthropologie Offers an Extra 50 Percent Off for Memorial Day Weekend

Is there anything better than being on the lake during a long weekend?! I just got this amazing purple Ro’s Garden coverup from Anthropologie on a major sale! This Memorial Day Weekend Anthropologie is offering an extra 50 percent off of sale items leading to some great deals on beach coverups, swimsuits, clothing, furniture and more.

1. Bench 2. Tie Dye Beach Umbrella 3. One Piece Swimsuit 4. Velvet Barstool 5. Embroidered Pillow 6. Venezia Vase 7. V-neck Swimsuit
8. Zodiac Earring Set 9. Eyelet Midi Dress 10. Poplin Swing Blouse 11. Alessandra Maxi Dress 12. Sofia Tiered Cover Up Tunic 13. Smocked Midi Skirt 14. Textured Midi Skirt 15. Glenna Gingham Midi Skirt

These styles won’t last long so make sure you check them out ASAP! Let me know which ones are your favorites!

XO,

Brit

Brit’s Picks for Memorial Day Weekend

Brit’s Picks for Memorial Day Weekend

Happy Friday!! Who else is ready for this three-day weekend? I am so excited to relax a little bit this weekend, hang out with my husband and see my friends. But there are also some amazing deals happening online right now that you do not want to miss!

In addition to the major sales at Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, I’m sharing some of my favorite things this week including a dress and swimsuit that are 60 percent off at J.crew right now!!

1. USA Sweatshirt 2. Earrings 3. Tropical Dress 4. Sun hat 5. White Halter Dress 6. Rosé 7. Light Wash Denim 8. Navy Blue Swimsuit 9. Espadrille Mules

I hope you enjoy my picks this week and have a safe and fun long weekend!

XO,

Brit

Champagne Tasting to Pop-off Memorial Day Weekend Celebrations

Champagne Tasting to Pop-off Memorial Day Weekend Celebrations

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, friends! Not only is this weekend special because we get a chance to honor the heroes who have been lost in service to our country, but it is also the first holiday we can celebrate *somewhat* openly as coronavirus social-distancing restrictions begin lifting.

If you’re gathering with friends and family for the first time in a while, a blind champagne tasting just might be the perfect way to break the ice as you ease back into normalcy. Last summer, I hosted a blind tasting with our friends in Watercolor, Florida and it was such a hit! The tasting is easy to put together and the results will shock you.

HOW TO HOST A BLIND CHAMPAGNE TASTING:

  • Start by selecting your bubbles. For our tasting last summer, we had six guests and three bottles worked perfectly.  The game is played best when you choose bottles at different price points and from different regions.
  • Print or order scorecards for you and your guests to rate the selections. We found these adorable scorecards on Etsy from the SweetUnrest store.
Champagne tasting scorecards from Etsy in the SweetUnrest store.

After our tasting, I found that I preferred Prosecco to Champagne which completely shocked me. I hope you all enjoy this blind tasting and let me know which champagne selections you choose for your own tasting! Cheers and Happy Memorial Day!

XO,

Brit

The Defined Dish Black Pepper Chicken

The Defined Dish Black Pepper Chicken

Tonight I am making The Defined Dish Black Pepper Chicken for dinner. This light, asian-inspired dish is a perfect dinner to get your week off to a healthy start.

Black Pepper Chicken recipe excerpted from The Defined Dish: Healthy and Wholesome Weeknight Recipes © 2019 by Alex Snodgrass.

INGREDIENTS:

BLACK PEPPER SAUCE

¼ cup chicken broth

¼ cup coconut aminos

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon fish sauce (Red Boat)

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (see note)

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

CHICKEN

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons avocado oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving

2 tablespoons arrowroot starch

4 celery stalks, ends trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces

1 medium white onion, halved and thinly sliced (2 cups)

3 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS:

MAKE THE BLACK PEPPER SAUCE: In a small bowl, whisk together the broth, coconut aminos, vinegar, fish sauce, black pepper and ground ginger. Set aside until ready to use.

MAKE THE CHICKEN: Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and cover with parchment paper. Use a meat mallet or the bottom of a skillet to pound the chicken until it is an even ¼ inch thick. Discard the parchment, then cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes.

Place the cubed chicken in a medium bowl with 2 teaspoons of the avocado oil, salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat, then add the arrowroot and toss again.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining ¼ cup avocado oil. When the oil is very hot but not smoking, add the chicken to the skillet in a single layer (you may need to do this in two batches). Cook the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the celery and onion to the same skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, being careful not to burn, about 1 minute.

Return the chicken to the skillet with the sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thick and coats the chicken and vegetables, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and season with salt to taste. Serve as is or with cauliflower rice, and top with a sprinkle of pepper.

NOTE: Regular old ground black pepper just doesn’t work in this dish! It’s essential that you use freshly cracked black pepper.

In the cookbook, Alex suggests serving the black pepper chicken over cauliflower rice, but my husband loves white rice so I served mine tonight with Lundberg Farms Jasmine rice. If you want a little more spice, peppers would be a great addition to this dish, but it is really delicious the way it is.

I hope you love this dish! Leave me a comment and let me know what you are cooking tonight!

XO,

Brit

Brit’s Picks

Brit’s Picks

Happy Friday, loves!! It feels like these weeks have been flying by lately! Today I am sharing my favorite things from this week and y’all…you need to RUN, not walk to order this Tularosa lavender swimsuit from Revolve!! It is on a major sale right now and is so flattering!

1.“B” Necklace 2. Lemon Face Mask 3. Lavender Swimsuit 4. Flower Espadrilles 5. Flower bowls

This week I am also loving this amazing “B” necklace from Sequin and this lemon face mask from Taylor Tillman New York! Not only is it beyond adorable, but Peyton, the designer, is also donating 100 percent of the proceeds from all masks sold to charities in New York City. At $15, these masks are a great buy and go to an even better cause. Check out the website for even more amazing designs!

I’m seriously crushing on these Dolce and Gabbana espadrilles for summer. They are super feminine and will go perfectly with dresses, jeans and shorts. These flowery ice cream bowls from Target are also perfect for al fresco dining this summer. Whether you want to serve a beautiful salad in them or ice cream, they will be the perfect compliment to your tablescape!

What are your favorites this week?!

XO,

Brit

Back to Brunching

Back to Brunching

Depending on where you live, you might be able to go out to brunch this weekend! Here in Texas, restaurants started opening last week and this weekend, I am ready for brunch! I’ve already made reservations at Clark’s in Austin and I’m a little too excited about getting a frozen cosmo and oysters.

Since it has been more than two months since I last had brunch, I have already started planning my outfits for this weekend. From flowy dresses to pastel-colored shorts, I’m sharing my favorite outfit options for this weekend!

Pink Dress, Bucket Bag, Necklace, Bangle, Wedges
White Dress, Earrings, Clutch, Belt, Shoes
White Top, Pink Linen Shorts, Earrings, Pink Sunglasses, Fendi Bag, Bow Sandals

Are you brunching this weekend?! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the looks and how it is to get back into the swing of things!

XO,

Brit