taylor swift, hostess gifts, easy gifts, papyrus, hostess, life lessons,

Easy Hostess Gifts to Keep On Hand with PAPYRUS

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PAPYRUSxTaylorSwift #CollectiveBias

taylor swift, hostess gifts, easy gifts, papyrus, hostess, life lessons,

Have you guys ever noticed how something shifts in the air the minute the seasons start to change from summer to fall. After spending months outdoors causally hanging out with friends, a slow shift starts to happen. All of a sudden you start spending far more quality one-on-one time with your friends & family, most likely in a more intimate setting.

I always chalk up shift in entertainment to the time of the year. With the holiday season fast approaching, I tend to want to spend more time indoor with my friends and family. My calendar is quickly booking up for the rest of the year with baby showers, birthday parties, dinner parties, and so much more. It’s going to be a busy and exciting time of the year.

Over the years I’ve learned just how important it is to bring a small gift with you when visiting friends. Something simple to give to a host/ess as a token of appreciation. A hand written note on a lovely card goes a long way these days, and that’s why I always keep a stack of PAPYRUS greet cards on hand for just these types of occasions. I recently picked up a whole new set of beautifully embellished cards inspired by Taylor Swift from the exclusive line of PAPYRUS cards at Target. I love how beautiful and upbeat the cards are, making them perfect for any occasion. There are 44 designs in the collection, allowing you to have a full set to use throughout the year.

Now to the most important part – the gift! I think it’s extremely important to bring a bottle of wine/spirits/juice with you as a small gift. I usually keep a few bottles of my favorite wine on hand so that I’m always prepared for any last minute get-togethers that pop up. The key to said host/ess gift? Presentation! Even better if it’s the eco-friendly kind.

Whenever I’m at Target, I take a look at the Dollar Spot section where I can usually find a few tea towels for about a $1. I purchase a few in a variety of colors/prints and use that to wrap my bottle of wine. Both items are something your host will use and it cuts down on garbage. Simply wrap your bottle of wine with a tea towel and tie up with ribbon. Grab a matching PAPYRUS x Taylor Swift card and you are out the door!

I would love to hear of other small gifts you guys bring with you to events! I would love some more ideas to spice things up this season.

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sweet potato, sweet potato pancakes, grilled salmon, healthy dinner, shitake mushrooms,

Grilled Salmon with Sweet Potato Pancakes

sweet potato, sweet potato pancakes, grilled salmon, healthy dinner, shitake mushrooms,

This post is about to get real – like real, real. Ladies & gentlemen, I have an obsession with sweet potatoes and I’m not afraid to say it out loud. About a month ago I was looking for healthier breakfast options that would keep me full throughout my morning meetings, when I stumbled upon a simple sweet potato hash recipe that was Whole30 approved. Okay first, I’ll preface with the fact that I think that anyone who has successfully completed Whole30 deserves a medal. I attempted it, for like a day… 

Needless to say that Whole30 and I just aren’t right for each other. However, that sweet potato breakfast hash has been my go-to breakfast option 4 days out of the week as of late. Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve been incorporating sweet potatoes into almost ever single meal; I just can’t seem to get enough. Then about a week, I called my mom up for some cleaning advice when I heard her sizzling something in the background. She was making potato pancakes for dinner and an instant craving took over me. So this brings me to today’s recipe – Grilled Salmon with Sweet Potato Pancakes and Mushroom – Spinach sauté.

I won’t lie and tell you guys that this recipe came together in less than 30 minutes, however the extra time it takes to make these sweet potato cakes is well worth it in the end. Topped off with grilled salmon (lightly seasoned with butter) and good for your spinach, it’s a pretty healthy meal.

The best part, you can make your mushroom/spinach sauté on Sundays in a large batch cook and use it throughout the week. You’d be surprised just how many roll over meals you can get out of this one simple recipe, like this ramen and this risotto dish. The possibilities are endless!

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sweet potato, sweet potato pancakes, grilled salmon, healthy dinner, shitake mushrooms,
Grilled Salmon with Sweet Potato Pancakes & Mushroom - Spinach Slaw
Print Recipe
This healthy dinner is put together in less than an hour and is sure to impress your friends.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
sweet potato, sweet potato pancakes, grilled salmon, healthy dinner, shitake mushrooms,
Grilled Salmon with Sweet Potato Pancakes & Mushroom - Spinach Slaw
Print Recipe
This healthy dinner is put together in less than an hour and is sure to impress your friends.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Ingredients
Sweet Potato Pancakes
Mushroom Spinach Sauté
Grilled Salmon
Servings: people
Instructions
Sweet Potato Pancakes
  1. In a large bowl, add your coarsely grated sweet potato and gently squeeze all the water from the sweet potato. Try and get as much liquid out of the sweet potatoes for a better fry.
  2. In a large dutch skillet over medium heat, add your grape seed oil and bring to frying temperature. About 375 degrees. Once the sweet potatoes are ready, add your onion, eggs, flour, salt and pepper. Mix everything together until the mixture clumps together.
  3. Working in small batches, take handfuls of the sweet potato mixture and add to the frying pan. Each side will take about 4-5 minutes to crisp up. Once the cakes are done, set aside on a paper towel to absorb any additional oil.
Mushroom Spinach Sauté
  1. In a large skillet, heat up the olive oil over medium heat. Add your chopped mushrooms and garlic, sauté for 4-5 minutes or until mushrooms begin to soften. Once the mushrooms are soft, add the entire bag of spinach along with a pinch of salt & pepper. Stir until spinach has wilted and mixture is well mixed. Set aside.
Grilled Salmon
  1. Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat and lightly season the grates with olive oil. In a small sauce pan, melt your butter and add your herb de provence.
  2. Place your salmon on the grates, skin side down and start to baste your salmon with your herbed melted butter. Add your lemons to the grill alongside the salmon, cooking them until they become soft and fragrant. Once salmon is cooked through, place onto a platter. Take your grilled lemon and squeeze the juice over the salmon. Serve immediately with your sweet potato pancakes and mushroom/spinach slaw.
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asos suede skirt, faux suede skirt, brown suede skirt, fall trend suede skirts, fall skirts under $50

Fall Must Have Item: Brown Suede Skirt

asos suede skirt, faux suede skirt, brown suede skirt, fall trend suede skirts, fall skirts under $50

:: J.Crew Chambray Shirt | Oasis Suede Skirt | Sole Society Booties (c/o)
| Marc by Marc Jacobs Handbag | Ett:twa Sunglasses ::

Hello Autumn! While the calendar may say that fall is officially here, the weather hasn’t yet given up on the warm weather. I’m personally feeling all the feels for this Indian Summer that we’re experiencing. The funny part of all of this guys, I’m actually heading out to Iceland for a 7 day vacation; talk about a drastic shift in weather. For the next 24 hours, I’ll be enjoying the 70+ degree temperatures in the city.

While it may feel like summer temperature wise, my wardrobe has done a complete fall shift. I pulled out my favorite fall dresses and denim jackets, saying hello to fall style. This season I’ve fallen back in love with brown suede skirt. That’s right, this trend from the late 90’s is back and I forgot why I ever stopped wearing suede.

This past weekend, I paired this faux suede skirt I picked up at ASOS for under $50 with my favorite go-to top. Honestly guys, I’ve owned this J.Crew chambray shirt going on 10 years now and it’s still as soft as the day I bought it. Thankfully chambray is one of those items that never goes out of style, plus it’s 25% off at J.Crew right now!

While I may not be taking this outfit with me to Iceland (currently my wardrobe choices all revolve around fleece-lined pants), I can’t wait to wear it again once I get back. It’s the perfect apple-picking kind of look.

P.S. If anyone in the area knows of any great apple orchards not to far from Chicago – let me know!

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:: Photography by Sam Kramer ::

denim jackets, jean jacket, jcrew dress, tory burch wedges, madewell handbag, anthropologie sunglasses, fall outfit, fall style

Denim Jackets for Fall

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:: Levi’s Denim Jacket | J.Crew Dots Dress (on sale!)  | Tory Burch Wedges (similar here) | Madewell Handbag | Anthropologie Sunglasses ::

Does anyone else have an item in their closet that they wear basically to death and would be devastated if anything happened to it? It sounds like I’m talking about a pet or a child….

Well for me at least, my denim jacket is basically an extension of my right hand at this point. As someone who is basically cold all the time, even when it’s 80 degrees outside, I live in my denim jacket pretty much 75% of the year.

Over the weekend, I picked up this polka dot dress from J.Crew (it’s on sale!) and was initially bummed that it would only work for these last few days of summer like temperatures. However,  I loved the way that it looked with a light denim jacket and my favorite fall/winter tote from Madewell. I’m not giving into fall footwear just yet, the sandals are here to stay for a bit longer.

So the lesson learned? A denim jacket makes for the best fall layer piece you could ever own. The even better part? Most denim jackets are highly affordable, with most styles coming in at just under $100. Heck, I’ve had my denim jacket for 5 years are only paid $50. (score of the century). I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite denim jackets below, and I promise all of them are under $100!


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:: Photography by Samantha Kramer ::

watercolor, watercolor dress, oasis dress, j.crew pumps, anthropologie sunglasses,

Dreaming in Watercolors

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:: OASIS Watercolor Dress | J.Crew Sandals (old, similar here) | Anthropologie Sunnies ::

With the recent bought of near perfect weather, I’ve become hopeful that Chicago will be graced with an Indian Summer. A few extra long weeks of warm weather that allows me to make the most of my summer wardrobe.

I’ve mentioned a few times in past posts how a colorful wardrobe is a key component to my overall happiness. At the height of summer, hot pink dresses and bumble bee print skirts are my go-to pieces; evoking the happiness that the summer season brings about. I’m holding on to that feeling for as long as possible with a new color palette of watercolor pastels.

I picked up this lovely watercolor dress this week for baby shower I have coming up soon. The best part guys, not only is it baby shower appropriate (pink or blue, either will do!) but the dress is under $100! A total score of a dress that makes me feel like I paid $1000 for it.

So let’s hold on to the summer feeling. Fall I’m just not ready for you yet.

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:: Photography by Sam Kramer ::