TreatsandTrendsBlog.com

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I’m currently working on transferring my blog to wordpress.org with a new domain, so if you could head over to treatsandtrendsblog.com and follow me there, I would really appreciate it :) It’s still a work in progress, but new posts will be up soon once it’s all figured out! Bloggers, if you have any tips on the best plugins, etc. let me know!

Thank you!

Friday Five

It’s definitely true that time flies when you are having fun. Some weeks I feel like Friday will never arrive, but this week I’m shocked that it’s already the weekend. In the past few days I’ve caught up with former coworkers over happy hour, attended the launch party for a local magazine and got my butt kicked at a kick boxing class. As fun as it’s been, I think the couch has my name written all over it this weekend.

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{We have hit the one year mark on our wedding countdown. Can’t wait to say “I Do” next August!}

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{Picking fresh apples, pears and cantaloupe at a local orchard.}

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{My favorite distressed denim shorts from Peridot Boutique.}

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{Wine, cheese and a blog brainstorm make for a fun, relaxing evening,}

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{Had fun catching up with friends while indulging in this chocolate biscuit at Forte.}

Happy Weekend!

DIY Gold Dipped Wine Glasses

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It may not be as exciting as Friday, but Wine Wednesday is also quite enjoyable! Before uncorking a bottle of your favorite vino, try glamming up your glasses with this simple DIY project.

“Simple” and “DIY” used in the same sentence, you ask? I’ll admit it, I’ve had numerous Pinterest fails, so I am sometimes wary of crafts that look too good to be true. However, this is not one of those projects. When my fiance came home from work and saw my made-over wine glasses sitting on the table, he was shocked at how well they turned out. He usually laughs at my silly crafts, but this is one that finally received his stamp of approval. The modern gold dipped look creates chic, sophisticated drinkwear that will add some shine to any bar cart.

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You will need:

  • Wine glasses (mine were $1 each from Dollar Tree)
  • Gold metallic spray paint (I used Krylon Short Cuts in Gold Leaf)
  • Clear acrylic sealer (I used Mod Podge)
  • Blue painter’s tape
  • Several sheets of newspaper

Begin by washing the wine glasses thoroughly. Once they are dry, tape the newspaper to the stem, covering the top of the glass and leaving the area you want to be gold exposed.

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Spray paint the exposed area, until it is evenly coated. Don’t spray too close or for too long because that will cause the paint to drip and not dry smoothly. Repeat on the other glasses and let dry for about 30 minutes. Once they are completely dry, spray one coat of the sealer; let dry for 15 minutes, then spray another coat. When it is dry to the touch, carefully peel off the tape to reveal a perfectly painted glass! Now drink up :)

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Treats and Trends Turns Two

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It’s amazing looking back at my earliest posts and seeing how much has changed, both in my personal life and the quality of my blogging. When I started Treats and Trends in 2012, I was a recent college graduate living in a Seattle townhouse with two friends and working at a clothing boutique. Since then I have moved to Las Vegas, become engaged to my dream guy (yes, that sounds so sappy, but is also so true) and have built up my resume with jobs in PR and copy editing. In the past two years I have stepped out of my comfort zone and it has allowed me to become a strong, independent person. As much as I miss my old life in Seattle, I am proud of how much I have grown and have enjoyed blogging about life’s adventures every step of the way.

IMG_1069{Throwback to the sorority days. Little did I know I would be meeting my husband-to-be in a few months and moving to Vegas a year later.}

I started this blog as a hobby because I enjoy writing and wanted to share the things I am passionate about, but it has turned into much more than that. It’s a way of documenting everything from day to day activities, like cooking and crafting, to our exciting adventures and important life events. It’s also a creative outlet and gives me an excuse to try Pinterest projects, take “artsy” photos and put together fun outfits.

IMG_1381{Cheesy picture from our trip to White Sands in New Mexico.}

One of the hardest things about blogging is the photography. I love taking pretty photos and capturing the beauty in everyday life, but I don’t have formal training or a fancy camera. Through trial and error (and by following a variety of inspirational bloggers on Instagram), I feel that my skills have greatly improved, although they are far from perfect. Looking back at my first posts, the pictures were definitely not something you would see on Pinterest! My goal is to keep learning and improving to create beautiful, engaging posts similar to those on the blogs that I follow religiously.

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Thank you to everyone for reading my blog and all of the supportive comments :) It means the world to me knowing that people enjoy it because it is something I am very proud of and enjoy writing. I’m excited to see what the upcoming years have in store!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

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With summer in full swing, I’ve been seeing a lot of ice cream recipes circulating around Pinterest. This ice cream sandwich trick has popped up a few times and I decided to give it a try after reading about Lauren Conrad’s successful attempt on her website. I used my sea salt chocolate chip cookie recipe (minus the sea salt) to make the cookies and bought a variety of mini ice cream cartons for the filling. Instead of using pints and large cookies, which other recipes called for, I decided to use the personal-sized cartons and small chocolate chip cookies to create a more manageable serving size. It was a simple, sweet treat and just the right amount!

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How to:

  1. Take the ice cream out of the freezer and use a sharp knife to make an incision at the top of the carton where the cardboard overlaps, dragging it vertically to the bottom. This will make it easier to peel off the wrapping when the ice cream is cut into discs.
  2. Next, cut horizontally to create a one-inch-thick disk of ice cream, then peel off the cardboard.
  3. Place on top of one cookie, then top with another to create the sandwich. To ensure it stays frozen, return to freezer and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  4. Repeat and enjoy :)

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It’s important to keep the ice cream in the freezer until you are ready to begin cutting, working with one carton at a time. The softer the ice cream, the harder it is to cut into disks. Also, the ice cream will naturally melt while you are working with it, so it helps to freeze the assembled sandwiches before eating them in order to keep their shape and not become a sticky mess. Overall, I would agree that this trick works, but it’s not as easy and perfect as Pinterest makes it seem.

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{Pictured above: salted caramel, vanilla bean and chocolate chip cookie dough}

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Friday Five

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Happy Friday! After an on-the-go week, I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend. A few weeks ago I started a new job as a copy editor at Caesars Entertainment, which I am loving! On Tuesday we took a work field trip to The LINQ with a plan to see Grumpy Cat at Kitson and ride the High Roller. Unfortunately the line was ridiculously long to see the cultural phenomenon that is Grumpy Cat, but I was able to ride the 550-foot-tall observation wheel. We went right at sunset and I loved seeing the amazing views of the Strip and surrounding valley. Even though it wouldn’t be my first pick of places to live, Vegas definitely does have its perks.

I’ve decided to make my “Friday Five” posts into a series, so every week I will post a few highlights from the week. Hope everyone has a great weekend :)

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{I can finally check riding the High Roller off of my Vegas bucket list}

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{Some light reading. Now that we have our date and venue, let the wedding planning begin!}

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{Loved this nice note from my coworker}

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{$1 beer night at the Las Vegas 51s game}

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{One of the many pictures my sister sends me of her dog, Gunner. Just look at those eyes!}

Quilted Florals

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Quilting is not just found on classic Chanel handbags anymore. The trendy texture is on everything this fall, from leggings and skirts to leather jackets and cardigans. This quilted crop top initially caught my eye because of the gray floral pattern with a hint of pink, but the final selling point was the fun, feminine texture.

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I love the juxtaposition of a feminine item paired with something edgy, so I balanced out the girly top with a leather skirt and caged sandals. To accessorize, I added some simple studs and basic black purse.

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Top: Nordstrom (Savvy)

Skirt: Kohl’s

Caged Sandals: DV by Dolce Vita

Brown Butter Bacon Ice Cream

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Bacon and ice cream aren’t normally associated with each other, but just like maple doughnuts topped with bacon bits, this unlikely combination of sweet and salty will definitely please your palate. We were inspired to make this indulgent dessert after devouring the bourbon fudge brownie topped with housemade brown butter bacon ice cream at Carson Kitchen in Downtown Las Vegas.

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The taste and texture of the candied bacon complements the creamy base perfectly. It brings the sweetness while the brown butter brings the salty, nutty flavor. I would advise making a few extra pieces of bacon because most likely they will not all make it to the ice cream. A few slices may or may not have been eaten before mixing the ingredients….

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Brown Butter Ice Cream with Candied Bacon

Ingredients

For the candied bacon:

  • 6 or 7 strips of bacon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

For the ice cream custard:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 3/4 cups Half & Half
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. rum

Directions

  1. To make the candied bacon, preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Top with a cooling rack and spray with coking spray. Press brown sugar onto both sides of the bacon and lay on prepared rack. Cook for 8 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 8-12 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the brown sugar is bubbly. Let cool.
  2. For the ice cream custard, melt butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until butter is a dark amber color and has a nutty smell (about 6 minutes). Pour through a fine strainer into a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Bring Half & Half to a simmer in a large saucepan, stirring occasionally.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugars and salt, until thickened and well blended. Whisk in brown butter until combined. Gradually add warm Half & Half to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking. Once tempered, return to saucepan and add the vanilla and rum. Stir over medium heat until mixture reaches 180F and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain into a large bowl. Cover with cling wrap, pressing it down directly on top of the custard to prevent a film from forming. Let cool in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  5. Once the custard is completely cool, place in ice cream machine and follow manufacturer’s directions. Add candied bacon bits when there are about 5 minutes left.
  6. Let it harden in the freezer or serve immediately. It goes great with fresh brownies!
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Hot Pink and Happy

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A simple, hot pink piece is an easy way to brighten up any outfit. I love this chiffon tee because of its versatility it can be dressed up with a black skirt and heels or worn casually with denim and flats. For a laid back look, I paired it with my go-to jeans, patterned flats and a geometric statement necklace.

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Hot pink is a fun color to play with because it can be adapted to fit a variety of personal styles. Pairing this top with leather leggings and strappy stilettos creates a sleek, sexy look with some edge. On the other side of the spectrum, wearing this hue with a stylish skater skirt and delicate sandals yields a more feminine ensemble. No matter what your clothing personality is, there is always room for this bright color in your closet!

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Jeans: Citizens of Humanity

Leopard Flats: Target

Hot Pink Tee: BP Nordstrom (Lush)

Necklace: BP Nordstrom

Bourbon Brownies

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After indulging in the brown butter bacon ice cream served with a bourbon fudge brownie at Carson Kitchen, Rob and I attempted to recreate this decadent dessert. Step one: the brownie! I’m not much of a bourbon fan, but mixed with chocolate it is delicious! The flavor is subtle and really enhances the cocoa. I like to serve these sweet treats while they are still warm and top them with ice cream (brown butter bacon recipe coming soon). Fresh brownies with melting ice cream—what’s not to love?

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Bourbon Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 large eggs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly coat 9″ x 9″ baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the bourbon to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, stirring until smooth.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine sugar and butter, mixing on medium speed until well combined. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fully incorporated.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, powder and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until combined.
  5. Spread into prepared baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test. Cool in pan on wire rack.

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Watermelon Strawberry Sangria

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Did you know that today is National Watermelon Day? Well, it is and the timing couldn’t be more perfect because this cool, healthy fruit is a summer staple. I’ve used it for several recipes this season, including a watermelon and feta salad, watermelon margaritas and watermelon ice cubes to go with homemade lemonade.

After making a batch of refreshing margaritas, I decided to use the rest of the flavorful fruit to make some thirst-quenching sangria. This simple recipe yields four to six servings and is perfect for a backyard barbecue. Summer and sangria definitely go together like peanut butter and jelly. Enjoy!

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Friday Five

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Wahoo it’s almost the weekend! I think I actually enjoy Friday more than the weekend itself because you are in a relaxed, excited mindset knowing that you have two days of freedom ahead of you. Plus, casual Friday dress codes allow for some flexibility with your fashion decisions. I love being able to wear jeans instead of a skirt or dress pants! To start off a fun-filled weekend, I decided to share five of my favorite photos from the week.

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Carson Kitchen

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For Rob’s birthday in March, I told him I would buy tickets for a concert at Brooklyn Bowl because I think he would really enjoy this new venue at The LINQ complete with food, drinks and bowling. The concert space reminds me of the Showbox in Seattle, which we saw some fun shows at, so I thought it was a great gift! However, we haven’t been able to see any of the bands we like because of his weird shift work schedule, so we did a little birthday redo. He wanted to see the Book of Mormon, so I bought him tickets to that and surprised him with dinner before the show. Carson Kitchen is a new restaurant in Downtown Las Vegas and had only been open for a day or two when we dined. Everything was on point and is now one of our favorite Vegas restaurants.

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We started with the baked brie and bacon jam, which is served alongside a toasted baguette. The flavor was amazing and definitely unique! We also shared the veal meatballs in a sherry foie gras cream sauce. These sharable plates were delicious and something you can’t find anywhere else.

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I ordered the cocoa-espresso NY strip steak with red wine demi  since I can’t say no to chocolate or espresso. Rob and I always play the “who ordered best” game and I definitely won this round. His swordfish was good, too, but it’s hard to beat this indulgent steak.

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Throughout the meal I couldn’t stop thinking about the bourbon brownie I had seen on the dessert menu. It is served with brown butter bacon ice cream, which was similar to a salted caramel flavor. The candied bacon added a little crunch and created that sweet and salty flavor that I love! We will definitely try making this with our own ice cream machine soon!

Since this first visit, I have been back for a girls’ night where we enjoyed the tempura green beans with pepper jelly cream cheese and baked truffle mac & cheese. Of course I also had to try the glazed donut bread pudding, which is made with doughnuts from the neighboring O Face Doughnuts. It was also amazing. The restaurant itself has a casual, neighborhood vibe that is enhanced with a rooftop deck adorned with festive strings of lights making it a great Downtown destination.

 

Links and Leather

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One of my favorite finds at Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale is this mixed metal necklace. I’m a sucker for statement necklaces and loved the edgy, yet feminine look of this stand-out accessory. The pastel stones soften the heavy-metal look of the chain links, creating a modern necklace that can instantly glam up an outfit.

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I wanted the mixed-media necklace to be the focus of my ensemble, so I paired it with a simple white tee. Staying with the edgy look, I finished the outfit with a leather skirt and lace-up booties. It’s a great feeling when you piece together an outfit that makes you feel confident and that is exactly what this outfit did for me.

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Watermelon Margaritas

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Happy Margarita Monday! Rough start to your week? Nothing some watermelon margaritas can’t fix! These refreshing summer sippers will get the fiesta (or siesta) started in no time. To add the watermelon flavor to a classic margarita, I used the seasonal fruit to create a flavored simple syrup and the watermelon puree. It’s a fun twist and adds just enough flavor, but does not overpower the traditional drink. This recipe yields two drinks, but next time I might try to make a larger batch to serve in a pitcher at a backyard barbecue. Hope you enjoy this tasty treat to beat the heat.

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 Watermelon Margaritas

Ingredients

For the margarita:

  • 1/4 cup watermelon simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 1/3 cup fresh watermelon puree (made from 1/2 cup watermelon chunks)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 ounces Grand Marnier
  • 3 ounces tequila
  • margarita salt
  • lime wedge

For the watermelon simple syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh watermelon chunks

How to:

  1. To make the watermelon simple syrup, place sugar, water and watermelon chunks in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes. Once sugar is fully dissolved, strain through cheesecloth into a small bowl. Chill in fridge for at least 2 hours.
  2. For the watermelon puree, add 1/2 cup of watermelon chunks to a blender and puree on high until smooth.
  3. To make the drink, combine ice, syrup, puree, lime juice and liquor in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and pour into a chilled, ice-filled glass with salted rim. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Flavorful Friday Fiesta

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TGIF! What better way to start the weekend than with a flavorful fiesta – and watermelon margarita?! Last weekend we grilled up some of our favorite eats and meats to have a fun, festive dinner. The meal was an afterthought to the watermelon margaritas I was excited to try. I wanted the cuisine to complement the refreshing concoction, so we grilled some summer staples and added a Mexican twist.

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We grilled a seasoned skirt steak, which was then topped with an avocado salsa. For a side, I spiced up classic corn on the cob by seasoning it with chili powder and sprinkling it with cotija cheese. I had tasted this traditional Mexican street corn at a restaurant here in Vegas and decided to recreate the deliciousness. The buttery, flavorful corn made for a sensational side.

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Mexican Corn on the Cob

Ingredients

  • 2 ears of corn, shucked
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated cotija cheese
  • 2 wedges of lime
  • 1 tsp. chili powder

Directions

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Grill corn until hot and lightly charred, 7 to 10 minutes. Use a basting brush to coat corn with melted butter and mayonnaise. Sprinkle with cotija cheese, lime juice and chili powder.

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Skirt Steak with Avocado Salsa

Ingredients

For the steak:

  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak or sirloin steak
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

For the salsa:

  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 sprigs of cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Mix all of the steak seasonings together and rub on the steaks about 1 hour before grilling, covering well and storing in refrigerator. Grill for about 4 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 4-6 minutes, until steak reaches desired doneness.
  2. To make the salsa, mix the salsa ingredients together in a bowl and serve on top of the steak.

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Bread and Breakfast

In honor of #TBT, I’m finally sharing this post I wrote in February, but never completely finished. I came across it in my drafts and decided to add the finishing touches because this is still one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants. We have been back multiple times since our initial visit and enjoy taking out of town guests there because all of the menu items are fresh, unique and delicious!

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It was love at first bite. I had been wanting to try Lulu’s Bread and Breakfast for a while now and decided to check it out with my parents while they were in town (Las Vegas). The country chic restaurant, open for breakfast and lunch, was beautifully decorated for Valentine’s Day, so love was already in the air before checking out the mouthwatering menu.

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We started with the cinnamon roll “appetizer.” It tastes as good as it looks. No skimping on the cream cheese frosting here! The roll itself is more of a croissant than the usual doughy cinnamon roll, which made for a nice texture.

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My Dad got the Benicio Del Porko, a unique take on Eggs Benedict made with corn bread, pulled pork, poached egg and barbecue and hollandaise sauces. The corn bread was an amazing addition! I’m glad I waited to write this post because this dish was named the “Best Benedict” in Las Vegas Weekly‘s Best of Vegas 2014 issue this week.

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I had the “New Year’s Resolution,” aptly named since it is a healthier menu item made with egg whites and a spinach tortilla. Since this first visit we have tried the S.O.B (egg sandwich with chicken chorizo, green chiles, avocado and cotija cheese), grilled cheese made with brie and apricot preserve, sweet potato hash and Captain America (egg sandwich with sausage, ham and white cheddar), which were all delicious.

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In addition to the great food, I also love the decorations and casual atmosphere. Instead of a boring table number, they give you a unique card (we got “nest”) to put in the Coca-Cola holder. It added a fun, quirky touch. We enjoy sitting outside on the patio, which you can do most of the year being in Vegas. Definitely a restaurant worth trying next time you are in town!

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National Hot Dog Day

hot dog 2 CollageI think it’s fitting that National Hot Dog Day falls in July. Whether they are enjoyed at the ball park or around a camp fire, these popular eats seem like the epitome of summer (in addition to ice cream and s’mores, of course). Even though hot dogs seem like a seasonal dish, when I was little they were a year-round staple. I remember Thanksgiving dinners as a kid when my mom would bring hot dogs for my sister and I because we were such picky eaters. I don’t know what happened because now I am very adventurous and enjoy trying new cuisines. Who would have thought that the kid chowing down on microwaved hot dogs would have tried (and liked!) calamari and carpaccio?!

Back then I stuck to ketchup (not even mustard!) as a classic condiment, but now these unique creations make my mouth water! I can’t wait to spice up our next backyard barbecue with these tasty treats.

hot dog 7{Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper Hot Dog from Shared Appetite}

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{Corn Dog Mini Muffins from Damn Delicious}

hot dog 1{Tex Mex Hot Dogs from Country Cleaver}

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{BLT Hot Dogs with Caraway Remoulade from Food & Wine}

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{Sweet Pork & Tomatillo Ranch Hot Dogs from Creme de la Crumb}

Closet Cleanse

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After checking out the new styles at the Nordstrom sale, I was inspired to clean out my closet to get ready for the new season. I have so many pieces that I never wear anymore, but have been holding on to just in case. Instead of keeping these mediocre items, I decided to give my closet (and mind) a nice cleanse. Hopefully these tips well help you create a clutter-free closet that portrays the best version of yourself :)

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Unleash the real you. Your closet expresses who you are, so I want it to present who I am right now and who I dream of being. I feel like I have matured in the last year and I want my wardrobe to reflect that. It felt great to shed pieces that no longer fit with my inner self. Goodbye college party wardrobe!

Ask yourself the below questions about each garment and if they answer is “yes” to all four, then it’s a keeper!

  1. Do I love it?
  2. Does it look my age?
  3. Is it flattering?
  4. Is it the image I want to project – sophisticated, strong, sexy, etc.?

One issue I noticed was that I would hang on to pieces because it fit the dress code for work, but I didn’t actually like it anymore. I decided to get rid of these so that I wouldn’t be lazy and throw them on in the morning. This will force me to look my best every day.

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Define your style – preppy, edgy, trendy, bohemian? Once you establish the look you are going for, it’s easy to toss pieces that don’t fit into your wardrobe anymore. Try looking at Pinterest for inspiration and make a list of the key pieces that will help you build your desired wardrobe. While looking at items you already own, ask yourself if it is in line with the style you are trying to achieve. If not, then it’s time for it to go.

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Be honest with yourself. Do you really wear it or does it just hang in your closet day after day? If you haven’t worn a piece of clothing in more than a year, chances are you won’t miss it.

Another problem I have come across is that I have an item I like, but nothing else in my closet matches it. I have a pair of patterned, high-waisted shorts that I like the style of, but when I put them on they just never look right with any of my tops. I’d rather sell them and make money to buy something new instead of having them sit unworn in my closet.

Now that you’ve completed your closet purge, what should you do with the giveaway items? I’ve had good luck with Plato’s Closet and recently signed up for Poshmark, an app that allows you to share Instagram-style photos of the items and sell them to other users.

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{Clothing photos are from Peridot Boutique}