My Fall Reading List

I can’t even tell you what the last book I read cover to cover was, and that, my friends, is a bit embarrassing. When I was a kid, I hated reading. These days, I love diving into a good book. In fact, I have a few good books I’ve started in the last year that I just haven’t had time (or made time) to pick up again. Hopefully that will all change this fall as I will make time to put reading back into my rotation of activities.

Jersey City Public Library

I’m thinking we need to go check out our local Jersey City Library and get some library cards. I love libraries. They smell like old books, they are calm and quiet — the perfect place to go to find some peace and take a break from it all while you get lost in a good book.

I wish I could say my fall reading list was a bit more exciting, but I think I really just want to read some women empowerment books, the ones that fall into the “self-help” for business entrepreneurs category.

Here is the list:

  1. #GIRLBOSS. I know I know, I am probably the last of the blogger people with an entrepreneurial mindset to not have read this yet… so I’m going, I’m going.
  2. You Are a Badass. I have followed a few gals that have read this and it seems like a good one to dive into, and let’s face it, I really am a badass, right?? (I think if I have to ask, the answer is probably not.)
  3. Big Magic. I am an Elizabeth Gilbert fan, one of my all time favorite books was Eat, Pray, Love, so how could I pass up her insight on “creative living beyond fear?”

What books are on your list this fall? Anything falling into the more fun fictional category? Maybe I will get to some of those too, but let’s be honest, I really would be happy if I could get to pick up and read through even one of the books on my list!

(Image Credit: NJ.com)

Labor Day Weekend Recap [And a Recipe]

We spent Labor Day weekend with my in-laws at their new place down by the Jersey Shore and what a glorious, relaxing and restful weekend it was.

I had a hectic install Friday morning that I dragged P along to help with, and then we hit the road, exhausted and ready for a long weekend. We ordered pizza for dinner from a local pizza place that had a gluten-free crust made from scratch that was so delicious!

Saturday we went crabbing (caught 3 blue claw crabs!) and made up a little appetizer on the fly–3 crabs isn’t really enough meat for more than an appetizer for 4 people to share. Then Saturday night, we went over to Seaside, played mini golf, rode the sky-lift ride with great views of the coast and the boardwalk, enjoyed my favorite summertime treat (Kohr’s Brothers frozen custard–the only flavor worth getting is the vanilla-orange swirl), we even rode some of the rides!

Sunday, we drove around Beach Haven on Long Beach Island, walked around shopping, took in a few views of the coast, explored a trail with Brantley and enjoyed the sunny weather. That evening we drove out through the marshlands to West Creek for a dinner at sunset that, between the views and the food, did not disappoint.

Monday we took it easy in the morning, stopped at the local fish market and picked up some fresh ingredients for dinner and had a quick lunch of grilled burgers and hot dogs before we went over to the pool. The pool was beautiful and so refreshing, I was so relaxed that I even fell asleep at the pool! We capped off the weekend with a Kitchen Clambake courtesy of Ina Garten’s recipe, that was probably among the top 10 best home cooked meals I’ve ever had in my life!

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend!

Recipe: Spicy Cheesy Crab Balls

-Meat from 3 crabs (Boil fresh caught crabs with Oid Bay for 10 minutes and refrigerated until cool enough to handle, before meat is removed.)

-1/3 cup cheddar cheese

-Jalapeños (seeds removed)

-2 Corn Tortillas

Rough chop the jalapenos, corn tortillas and cheese and combine ingredients into a food process. Chop until all elements are well blended and a dough is created.

Using a tablespoon, scoop out the mixture and roll into balls. Heat vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet until it bubbles. Drop balls into oil and let them cook, rotate them so that all areas cook, keep them in for a good few minutes until they brown and then remove and place them onto a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Repeat until all of the crabby cheesy goodness has been cooked, insert toothpicks and serve. Make sure to eat one for yourself as you bring them out to the masses or else you might not get any of these tasty morsels!! Enjoy!

Glamping | The Perfect Girls Getaway!

Glamping 3

When life is hectic and you are running around nonstop, sometimes all you need is a little getaway with your girls, and I’m telling you, let your men go camping, while you all go glamping.

Glamping is camping in a typically picturesque setting with real beds, mattresses and linens, charming decor, full standard bathrooms and then some of the charm of camping: campfires, s’mores, reclining in campfire chairs, etc., It’s basically all the beauty Mother Nature has to offer without interfering with your personal beauty routine.

I set up this little glamping photo shoot in the most scenic setting I know: on the same lake where P & I got married. I also included all the key ingredients to guarantee a fun girls getaway.

A cozy place to kick back, the tent provides a great shade structure to beat the heat during the day and a good place to gab and gossip while doing manis and pedis. After all, what’s a girls weekend without nail polish?

It’s important to have delicious treats, like these s’mores cupcakes, in case you and your friends aren’t the fire-starting types. They pair well with boozy camping concoctions. I like to pair the liquor of choice with something bubbly and all inclusive that adds some fizzy refreshment to the drink without having to measure and pour a laundry list of ingredients… after all, your bar cart is not included in the getaway, so keeping it simple is best. The easy margs I shared yesterday would be perfect!

Make sure you pack protein-filled snacks to keep your energy up through the days, and drink plenty of water! Adding citrus slices to your water makes it taste so much better — you might actually be able to choke the recommended eight glasses down. Prep is key to a successful camping menu. Plan out what you will be eating, stock your cooler with plenty of ice and pre-cut and mix everything before hand. I have pinned some good camping foods here for reference.

The last key ingredient to a successful glamping getaway is entertainment. You want to make sure you have things to do that are not related to your wireless devices, just in case you don’t have the best service out in the woods. Our favorite game to bring along is Cards Against Humanity, it makes for long hilarious nights. Corn hole, or just a good old-fashioned Frisbee are fun for the daylight hours, and there are plenty more ideas on my Pinterest board here.

Sources: Tent by Canvas Camp (which we will re-use as a shelter or awning when we go camping next), Quilt (gifted by my Mama), Pillows from Target (Blue Square, Blue Oblong, Coral Square similar, Coral Oblong), Weighted Table Cloths from Target (similar), Flower from Trader Joes — styled by yours truly, Mani/Pedi supplies from Target (Babe Blue, Mint Sorbet, Coral Reef) , S’mores cupcakes recipe made on the fly and will be blogged soon, travel tumblers & water pitcher from Bed Bath & Beyond.

Photography is all my own, please cite sources if you re-use any of these images! This post is not sponsored.

5 on Friday|Ready for the Weekend!

Some weeks, the weekends are just more exciting than others.

JC Project Eats

1.This weekend, if you are in New Jersey, driving/train-ride distance to Jersey City, you should stop by! Right outside the town hall there will be LOADS of food, drinks and good times, for Project Eats Food Festival.

2. My Seattle Mariners are in town this weekend playing the Yankees, so P & I are headed out to the game on Sunday and will be clad in opposing teams’ gear. I love going to ballgames, it is always such a good time!

Also this weekend is the Nordstrom Anniversary sale. (I must’ve watched their Instagram post about it on repeat for 15 minutes yesterday.) Here are my picks:

3. Fashion Accessories: What woman doesn’t love a good handbag?! I was in a car accident back in early April, and ever since I’ve been looking for a small cross body-bag is stylish but that won’t weigh me down. These three are perfect. (Left to Right: Vince Camuto “Baily” in Roebuck, Kate Spade “Cedar Street-Monday” in Rose Jade, Rebecca Minkoff “Mini 5-Zip” in Latte.)

The second row is filled with over-sized scarves that look so cozy they’re making me itch for autumn. Classy enough to wear to work, cozy enough to nap in and perfect for jet-setting. What’s not to love? (L to R: Halogen Cashmere Travel Wrap, Halogen Brushed Floral Print Wrap, BP Geo Print Poncho.)

4. For the home, I’ve selected linens & entertaining pieces.

If you have been reading DBK for any length of time, you may already know that I am a bit of a linen snob. I love lush and decadent linens. Any of these would be great to update your master bedroom or refresh a guest bedroom. The bedding on the left is a reversible duvet set, solid either navy or grey on one side, patterned on the other, perfect to get you through the whole year! The sheet sets are simple, lux and cozy. The Creamsicle colored throw is the perfect way to add in a pop of color and texture to any bed or seating. Lastly, it’s always nice to have some decorative patterned towels to mix in with the solid ones, this option comes in a variety of colors to fit perfectly with any scheme.

In addition to my love for linens, I love to entertain. Hosting friends for anything from brunch to dinner, drinks to game night should be a treat, and with the right serving pieces, you can make prepping for any gathering less of a chore. I love these mason jar style serving pitchers, and they pair perfectly with monogrammed mason jars (with straws)! It doesn’t get much easier than topping off a pitcher and letting your guests help themselves! Copper Moscow Mule mugs make the perfect vessel for everything from it’s refreshing namesake to a hot buttered rum in the Fall, no bar cart should be without them!

5. When we aren’t busy shopping, eating, or rooting for the away team, I’m going to be perusing through our new travel books, purchased on Prime Day, they should be arriving today, and if there is one thing I love more than cozy linens and a scarf made for jet-setting, it’s layering on that scarf, crawling into that bed with a glass of wine and a travel book, dreaming about destinations afar.

What are your plans this weekend? Will you be shopping or heading out to any fairs or festivals? Or maybe just grabbing a book and heading to the beach? Whatever you are doing, I hope you get your fill and enjoy the weekend!

A Weekend in Belmar

As I mentioned, last weekend we went down to the Jersey Shore, if you followed along on Instagram (#SurprisePTurns30) you likely saw a lot of our adventures. If not, get ready for photo overload, because we had a blast!

As you can see, we explored all around town, enjoyed fun and games in the sand and on the boardwalk, took full advantage of all the local seafood and the ability to grill. We walked around a TON, relaxed a ton and explored the town.

In general we just had a much needed getaway that was chock full of goodness. I hope your MDW was as good as ours or better!

This weekend, we are heading up to Connecticut to witness the marriage of two beautiful people whom we love very much. I can’t wait to celebrate their love! What are you all up to this weekend?

MDW2015

It’s official! We made it through all the snow and the indecisive weather of the spring to the unofficial start of summer-and I for one couldn’t be happier! This early summer period is better than the peak of summer if you ask me. The temperatures are perfect Goldilocks temps and people are excited for the season.

Beach Cottage

What are your holiday weekend plans? We are hitting the beach! P is turning the big 3-0 next weekend so I rented us a little beach cottage on the Jersey Shore for this weekend as a little surprise for him, I already told him we are going, but I don’t think it has hit him that we are going to be 1 blocks from sand between our toes and wading in the waves.

Our plans are that simple… drive to the shore, unload the car and commence relaxing.

Seafood Inspo from Bon Appetit!

For our meals, I have worked out a simple menu and packed only fruits, veggies, burgers, dogs and snacks. We will be hitting up the local seafood market to pick up the fresh catch for our daily dinners and I’m salivating just thinking about it. There is a grill at the cottage that will be heavily utilized.

Boardwalk

For our fun, there will be walks on the boardwalk, lounging in the sand, possible lawn games and potentially even some bike riding if I can convince P.

MDW2015 Wardrobe

Our bags are packed, the car is loaded and I just have to make it through 5 more hours of work before we hit the road! I’m not excited for the traffic, but I am excited for what awaits us on the end!

IMG_0951

What plans do you have this weekend? Follow DBK on social media to see all the fun details of our adventures!

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and if you aren’t already, follow us on bloglovin so you don’t miss a thing here either!

Making the Most of Winter {Homemade Marshmallows}

One of my most amazing friends helped in the planning of my bachelorette party last fall and for the hotel room, she made us treats! The thing that everyone loved the most was the homemade marshmallows. They were so good!

Winter Series Marshmallows

When I started thinking about this winter series and fun activities to do through the colder months, I knew I had to try my had at making marshmallows, so I scoured PInterest for a good recipe, got the ingredients and began!

I followed an awesome recipe by The Urban Poser and she even has a very helpful video tutorial to go along with it so I would definitely recommend linking over for the full recipe and post!

Here’s a peek at my process. Overall I would say it was not only a mangeable project but it was a fun way to spend some time in and hubby was very pleased with the end result. One of the things I liked about this recipe was the use of honey. You can definitely taste the honey flavor coming through instead of a traditional marshmallow flavor, but I like them nonetheless.

The other thing is that I didn’t (and still don’t) have a candy thermometer. To be honest, I’m not much of a baker, and I certainly don’t see myself getting all excited about making candies or chocolates, so for this activity I just used my freshly sanitized meat thermometer. And although it doesn’t go up high enough, I was able to figure out when the boiling honey water concoction was ready to mix in!

The marshmallows came out great! They are a delicious winter treat and perfect to dunk in your cocoa after a snow day! Have you made marshmallows? It was easier than I thought and I can guarantee your family won’t be disappointed!

Making the Most of Winter {Take a Hike!}

As I mentioned yesterday, getting outside is a surefire way to kick the winter blues. As long as you make sure you are bundled up, you might be cold, but you shouldn’t freeze! Break out those layers and get outside!

Winter Series Hike 1

The second activity to make the most of winter is to take a hike! Seriously! The winter air is crisp and refreshing and the foliage has all dropped, making for great conditions for soaking up the views without overheating.

P & I opted to take Brantley with us on our hike. A lot of trails, parks and beaches that aren’t pet friendly will allow dogs off season, so it’s the perfect time to get your pup’s energy out too!

We searched and found a trail up near the George Washington Bridge that was stated to have incredible views of the city. However, the day that we opted to hike it was insanely overcast with freezing rain. But it was all planned out so we made it happen, and even though I think we really were chilled to the bone when we hopped back in the car, we felt great! We got to check out a new trail, run down Brantley’s energy and really had a good time.

This is an activity that is completely family friendly, though I would recommend going on a day when it isn’t freezing raining. I think this could be really fun in the winter whether it is clear or snowing.

Are you an outdoorsy person? What is your favorite time of year to hike? I dare you to try it this winter and see what you think! If we could make the most of a hike in freezing rain, you can at least put it on your list 🙂

Making the Most of Winter {Downtown}

One of the easiest things you can do to kill those winter blues is get outside and soak up how pretty winter can make everything.

Winter Series, Walk Downtown 1

I suggest exploring your local downtown, whether it involves skyscrapers or little boutiques, everyone is inevitably within 30 minutes of some variation of downtown. (Cue Petula Clark’s “Downtown.”)

I made P get all bundled up with me and walk around downtown Jersey City. We explored the Newport area, where they have a beautiful waterfront walkway spanning from Jersey City to Hoboken. It is fun to take in the views of the local area, and you get a chance to see your downtown in a new light.

After wandering around the waterfront trail, it began to get a bit darker out and we headed over to the Grove Street area to check out some shops and restaurants.

Many of the shops are not pictured because I was having fun just soaking in JC at night in the winter (swoon), but I did capture a few of the places and had a bite to eat as well.

What is your local city center? Is it more urban or suburban? Have you ever tried to appreciate its beauty in the winter? I strongly recommend checking it out. From my experience, everything is a bit more sparkly. There is just something about ducking into a little shop or restaurant to get away from the cold that is so perfect.

I hope you all get bundled up in your winter gear and go check it out with your family!

Some favorite JC spots that are not pictured:

Kanibal Home

JC Made

Two Stix & A String

E Tittlemouse & Co

Word

Downtown Yogurt

Taqueria

Left Bank Burger Bar

WHOS Gluten Free

Mod Cup Coffee

Making the Most of Winter

Hey, it’s wintertime! I have heard so many people saying things like, “it is so cold out,” or “I’m ready for summer,” or any number of other choice words for this season, so I wanted to shed a little light… Last week the groundhog said we only have 6 more weeks of winter, let’s make the most of it!

Winter Series Graphic

I think what bogs us down about winter is the weather, especially if you live in a climate where it has been snowing or freezing rain – or just plain freezing – for so long. It is gray and dreary out; it gets dark so early, and it is just so damned cold! But on the bright side, in six months, we will likely all be complaining about how hot it is.

I’ve put together a list of five fun activities to make it through these last six weeks of winter in a happier fashion – with less complaining and more fun. These activities are fun for everyone, so I hope you enjoy following along this week while we gear up for a fabulous winter!

Winter Series Graphic 2

This week, we are going to explore the joy of a wintery walk in your local downtown neighborhood, take a winter hike, make our own marshmallows for the inevitable hot cocoa that we will be in need of when we come in from playing in the snow, and finally we will discuss the major benefits of taking a snow day from work and staying cozied up inside, preferably not leaving your PJs all day.

I hope you are excited to follow along with our winter fun!