Living a tasteful life

Thursday, March 31, 2016

50 Shades | Sunglasses for Summer

Sunglasses, we all own a pair and chances are we've all lost a pair as well. That's why I think it's important to own more than one pair. One nice pair for special occasions and a cheap pair that you won't cry over if you lose them. And maybe a few others just because. If your in the market for some new ones, I've got 50 options for you in all price ranges. 

Splurge: on these designer sunglasses. 

Save: on these that are just as cute but no worries if you lose them. They are all under $50.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Currently Loving

I like to do this type of post from time to time, sharing some of my current interests. I always enjoy reading posts from other bloggers with their current favorites. Whether the focus is fashion, food or beauty products, it's a nice way to discover new things. Here are a few things I'm currently loving, and it's quite the mixture of items. 

This perfume by Jimmy Choo is so refreshing. I've always picked out my own perfume, never leaving the decision to anyone else. However, I received this as a Christmas gift and have been using it ever since. 

These Cello Parmesan Cheese Crisps are so addicting, like I've spent an embarrassing amount of time obsessing over them. These are perfect for soups, salads, appetizers, you name it. If you haven't tried these yet, you're really missing out!

The spring/summer collection from Produce Candles, mint in particular! And on that note, check out the sweet cupcake recipe inspired by this candle!

This ginger and sesame dressing is so delicious! We bought it specifically to put on salmon, but now I want to put it on everything! Well, maybe not everything, but vegetables and salads are both great options. 

I love the finished look of this matte top coat from Essie. It's a great way to add some newness to your existing nail polish collection. 


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes + Produce Candle Giveaway

Some of the best recipes are created from a simple source of inspiration. Which is why I was so thrilled when Produce Candles approached me to develop a recipe inspired by their spring/summer seasonal line. Scent and soil come together in these natural soy wax candles, inspired by the seasonal harvest. There are several clean, fresh scents to choose from. I chose mint! You can shop the entire collection here or find a retailer near you. 

After taking a whiff of this refreshing candle, my first instinct was to make a salad that incorporated mint leaves. However, I knew I wanted to make something different, something sweet that would cleanse the palate after a flavorful meal. Cupcakes seemed like the perfect choice! I mean, you can't go wrong with a cupcake. They're the dessert that can be decorated to your liking and each person can have their own. I thought these chocolate cupcakes with mint cream cheese frosting were the perfect way to welcome spring!
I will admit, baking isn't my strong suit, hence the reason I chose to make cupcakes. I figured those were simple enough, but could be made special through the frosting. 
Plus, decorating cupcakes is always fun. 
Picture a late afternoon dinner party, outdoors, just before the sun begins to fade away, surrounded by the best of friends, fresh flowers blowing in the breeze, a glowing Produce Candle on the table, a light spring dinner, followed by these sweet minty cupcakes and a cold glass of milk or champagne (whichever you prefer). I can't think of a better way to celebrate spring!
One of the great things about this recipe is the short amount of time it takes to prepare it. I cheated and used box cake mix because, like I said, I'm not a baker. While the cupcakes are baking the frosting can be made, making good use of your cooking time.

Thanks, Produce Candles, for the fragrant inspiration! 

Be sure to head over to Instagram to enter for a chance to win a Produce Candle from their spring line!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Cream Cheese Frosting
(Makes 20 cupcakes)
1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist Milk Chocolate Cake Mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons mint extract
1 bag Andes Crème de Menthe Baking Chips, divided
1.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.       Using a cupcake tin, bake cupcakes according to package directions, adding 1 cup of baking chips to the batter.
3.       While the cupcakes are baking, begin making the frosting.
4.        Mix together cream cheese and butter
5.       Slowly add in powdered sugar and mix well until light and fluffy.
6.       Remove cupcakes from the oven once finished baking. Let them cool before frosting. *I placed mine in the refrigerator for a few minutes to speed up the process.
7.       Frost the cupcakes to your liking and top with more baking chips.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Spring Favorites

I'm thrilled to welcome Spring, although it's a bit confusing here in South Carolina. Last week the temps were in the 80's and yesterday we were hardly pushing 60 degrees. Either way, Spring is here and I'm sure it won't be long before the temperatures follow. I couldn't resist sharing some of these beautiful spring pieces to get you ready for the warmer weather.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Dixie Southern Vodka | A Taste of the South

Crafted in Charleston, South Carolina, Dixie is an all-American craft vodka, created by using some of the best sources throughout the Southeast. I was recently introduced to this southern-born spirit and couldn't wait to mix something up. I've always preferred vodka over any other type of liquor. When I'm out socializing, I typically keep my mixed drinks simple, with vodka, water and a splash of cranberry. However, I do enjoy a more involved mixed drink when I'm sitting down to a nice dinner. A few months ago I mentioned a cocktail I had previously ordered from the Obstinate Daughter, called The King's Honey. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and was determined to recreate it at home. So, I did. 

Before I jump into the recipe, I have to point out the look of this bottle. I will admit, I often buy alcohol based on its packaging. I know that sounds silly, but there are some really eye-catching wine bottles out there. The labeling on this vodka drew my eyes right in. The label has a detailed design on the inside that can be seen through the bottle. The amusing scenes on each bottle take place each in their own Southern setting, allowing the consumer to discover more and more with each glance. This "Where's Waldo" concept turns the product into more than just a bottle of vodka, creating quite the little discovery piece. If you can read Latin, you may notice some of the phrases camouflaged within the label.

As you can see from the label, Dixie strives to represent all of the best the South has to offer and embraces a way of living that thrives on food, outdoors, music and craftsmanship.

Dixie Vodka offers a product that embodies both quality and affordability, allowing food and drink enthusiasts, like myself, to create signature cocktails that fit perfectly with the Southern lifestyle. In addition to the regular vodka, they also offer two other flavors including, Mint and Black Pepper.  

I can't wait to mix something up using these!

The King’s Honey
Serves 1
2 oz of Dixie Southern Vodka
3/4 oz of St. Germain
1/2 cup of Cannonborough Honey Basil Soda
1 lemon
1.       Pour the vodka, St. Gremain and honey basil soda into a cocktail shaker, shake well and pour over a large ice cube. Top with fresh squeezed lemon juice. 

*This product was given to me by Dixie Vodka. All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Baby Shower Fun

A few weekends ago, two girlfriends and I hosted a baby shower for our dear friend Megan, who is expecting a baby boy in April. We had such a great time socializing with everyone and oohing and awing over the sweet little baby gifts she received. Here are a few photos from the shower. 
On the menu: Brunch
How cute is this little bow tie cake?!
Of course it was 70 degrees the day we decided to have a hot chocolate bar. 
Diaper Thoughts...

We can't wait to meet this little one!


Monday, March 14, 2016

Free Standing Bathtubs

I remember visiting my grandparents as a child and dreading bath time. I think it was a combination of knowing that this meant I was heading down the path to bedtime and also not wanting to stop what I was doing. They had a large free standing, white tub with claw feet. It took forever to fill it up and the warm water didn't seem to stay warm very long sitting stagnant against the cold porcelain. I may not have seen the beauty in it then, but I sure would love to have one of my own. 

Since bathroom renovations aren't in our near future, nor are they really necessary, I will just file away these beautiful photos for inspiration should I need it one day. How beautiful are these bathtubs?!
Source Unknown


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Going Green | St. Patrick's Day Essentials

St. Patrick's Day is just a week away, and in order to avoid the cliche pinching, I'm providing you with a few green options. And on a side note, if you've never been to Savannah, GA for the big event, you should go at least once. From Irish ceremonies, to the famous parade and celebrations on historic River Street, it's definitely an experience. 

Shop my picks below!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Charleston Wine + Food Festival 2016

A weekend full of the most delicious food, fabulous cocktails, and good company, all in the heart of downtown Charleston, I'm talking about the Charleston Wine + Food Festival! There were tons of events that took place during the festival, however my weekend was well spent at the Culinary Village, and I have no complaints. There was an Artisan Market for a one-stop-taste-and-shop, a hands on kitchen, there were earth, air, land, and sea booths with amazing bites from some of the finest chefs around, a rose garden with sophisticated sips accompanied by snacks straight off the grill, a cigar lounge for those who needed a smoke break, and a beer garden satisfying all of your craft beer needs. I spent two days exploring the Culinary Village and I still wasn't able to sample it all. 
I sampled a selection of dry aged delicacies from Volpi. This meat board was just begging to sit alongside a few hunks of cheese and a glass of wine. I returned to this booth multiple times.
Twisted Pretzel Wheat, one of my new favorite special edition beers from Shocktop, and they dipped the rim in chocolate...enough said!
Creamy and sweet on the inside, with a semi-soft outside, and a splash of sprinkles, I wish you could taste this strawberry-pistahio macaron! I will be spending the next few days trying to figure out where and how I can get another one of these sweet treats!
Another one of my favorite samplings from the festival was this Carolina Bison Carpaccio from Chef Duane Fernandes of Isa's Bistro, in Asheville, NC. Packed full of flavor with hints of garlic and seat salt, this carpaccio was seriously one of the best ones I've ever had. 
How adorable are these mini ice cream cones?! They were filled with creamy goodness from Republic Ice Cream. I went with the chocolate, chocolate chip!


The grilling situation outside was pretty impressive. 
And for a little peak at what was taking place inside the Artisan Market...
Part of my time was also spent supporting our booth!
After an awesome day embracing all that the Culinary Village had to offer, the gates began to close, and we decided to continue the festivities.  
Until next year! 


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