It’s finally Friday. And thank goodness. If your week was anything like mine, you’re going to need a cocktail or two to toast to the end the week! Might I recommend this Peach Tea Old-Fashioned? I created this cocktail for my friend Jacque’s blog, 5 O’Clock Fashionistas.
I was excited when Jacque asked me to work on a North Carolina-themed cocktail. We drink so much sweet tea down here, I didn’t think it would be fair to leave it out. For the Peach Tea Old-Fashioned cocktail, you’ll infuse tea bags right into the whiskey for a strong tea flavor. You’ll also need to muddle in a few slices of ripe peach for an extra summery libation! (Yes, peaches, sweet tea AND whiskey. Could I get any more Southern?!) You’ll need to head to 5 O’Clock Fashionistas for the recipe. Cheers y’all! // susannah
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas? If that’s true, then Esther & Jacob Julee’s Las Vegas travel guide would be very short. So excited to have the Local Adventurers themselves here to share their favorite Las Vegas hidden gems!
During our 15 month stint in Las Vegas, we always heard the same question over and over – “What’s it like living in Vegas?”. Most people think of the strip, but after exploring the city for a year, we really got to know a different side of Las Vegas. For the most part, we lived and stayed in Henderson, which is like any other suburban area. We lived right next to a Target!
It’s interesting to see how a city that revolves around so much tourism develops outside of the tourist areas. These are some gems we’re so glad we found and places that we’ll continue to visit when we’re back.
Click through to see more of the Las Vegas hidden gems!
Before you judge me, I ask, ‘How is it any different from eating fresh, sliced peaches with Greek yogurt and honey for breakfast?’
That’s right. It’s not! They’re sweet and creamy and fruity and cold and perfect. If you’ve got a bushel of late-summer farmers market peaches, a tub of Greek yogurt and a bit of honey, sugar and cream, I urge you to mix these up immediately. (Technically you’ll need a popsicle mold and sticks too, but if you’re a popsicle fiend like me you probably already have both.) Get the recipe here. // susannah
Writing letters is a hobby of mine that I absolutely adore. Because half of my family lives overseas, letters were imperative to my childhood. Before email, my grandparents would send aerogrammes or postcards every week, and my parents encouraged my siblings and I to write them back. On top of general correspondence, my mom also insisted we write thank you notes for any gifts or kindnesses, and that’s a habit I’ll always thank her for. Notes are just nice.
Now I write letters or cards whenever I have a spare second. When my computer freezes while rendering images for a design project, I’ll take that time to write a few thank you notes or a long letter to my sister. Each month, I try to send heartfelt birthday cards to all of my friends. And when I travel, I pack stamps and my address book so I can send postcards to my friends and grandma. I do everything I can to keep the postal service in business and to keep mail from becoming a lost art. Letter-writing is a must for me, and if you’re just getting started with it or are wanting to make it a habit, I recommend getting these pen pal essentials for yourself. Write, write, write! // susannah
P.S. Need a cocktail to go with it? I’d recommend the Airmail, of course.
After months of battery woes, I finally got a new phone last week. (To everyone who’s hung out with me lately and heard my complaints, I’m sorry and you’re welcome.) I spent the weekend poring through the App Store in search of new apps to try.
The kitchen totally changed for me when I discovered recipes online years ago. Cooking got even better when I could look up recipes right from my phone or tablet and carry it around the kitchen with me. Though I still love recipe cards for my No. 1 recipes, apps are now undisputedly a huge part of my cooking process, from brainstorming meals to perfecting a technique to saving recipes for later. These 8 must-have cooking apps are just a few of my favorites. // susannah
Handpick — Not sure what to cook? Handpick will sort it out for you. Plug in the ingredients you want to use, and it gives you suggestions for what to make with them. It pulls the dishes from around the web, including Instagram, food blogs and recipe sites. Download: iPhone | Android
Instacart — Though Instacart isn’t available in North Carolina yet, I am dying to try it. You tell the app what you’d like to get at the grocery store, and it delivers it to you in less than an hour. With shops like Whole Foods Market, Petco or Costco already on board, I think this has the potential to be the Uber of grocery shopping! Click here to see if it’s in your neighborhood yet. Download: iPhone | Android
Highball — Recall your favorite cocktail recipes with this app. Sexy and sophisticated, Highball is absolutely the kind of app you need at your side when you’re mixing drinks at your home bar. Download: iPhone
Kitchen Stories — Not sure where to begin in the kitchen? Kitchen Stories has lots of (free!) video tutorials and step-by-step instructions on every kind of recipe from popsicles and pasta to grilling and gluten-free. Download: iPhone | Android
NYT Cooking — Bring the joy of cooking from The New York Times into your kitchen. Browse, search and save their 17,000+ recipes and let them guide you into making some classics. Download: iPhone
Yummly — Put more recipes at your fingertips with this huge, free recipe box. You can save your favorites and even get personalized recommendations based on your diet and the recipes you love. Download: iPhone | Android
Amount — Picked up a cookbook from another country? It’s no problem to convert measurements when you have Amount at your side. Plug in the number of grams or cups and translate it into the measurement you need. Download: iPhone
Boiled Egg Timer — Even an expert egg cooker needs a timer to help them remember to check on their eggs. This one is great because it tells you how long to let your eggs boil depending on how you like them. Download: iPhone
I’ve had ice cream, milkshakes and popsicles on the brain lately. Have you noticed a theme over here? I’m not sorry. And I’m not sorry that I’m not sorry. (July is National Ice Cream Month, after all.)
Today I’m teaming up with Brie of the blog Like the Cheese. Brie makes the cutest ever straws, stir sticks and other fun party DIYS, and I thought it would be fun to collaborate on a summer DIY and cocktail combo. She sent me a box of these adorable beach ball straws to use in this Boozy & Minty Poolside Milkshake. (Which you can totally make without the booze. Just sayin’.)
And, can I just say, she made them with ping pong balls, some paint and a drill? So awesome. You can get Brie’s DIY right here.
I’ll admit, I’m not usually one for minty things. My mom once ruined mint chocolate chip ice cream for me by telling me it reminded her of toothpaste. I’ve never not thought about that since!
However, every once in a while, I can talk myself into eating a bit of grasshopper pie or a mint chocolate chip sundae. This week was one of those weeks, especially since Brie’s cute straws totally belong with a blue-green, pool-colored cocktail.
Cool and minty, this Boozy & Minty Poolside Milkshake is your deck chair companion on a hot July day. To make it, you’ll need green mint chocolate chip ice cream, milk and vodka. For bonus points, a bit of creme du menthe for flavor and a few drops each of green and blue food color intensify the coloring and make the milkshake look pool blue, a perfect home for those beach balls! // susannah
It dawned on me the other day that my Hidden Gems series has hit a milestone! As of yesterday, my travel guide series has been going on for SIX months. I have a bunch more awesome places lined up for the rest of the year, but I thought I’d take today to do a little re-cap of where we’ve been so far.
During the last six months, 23 of my blogger friends have taken us to 26 cities around the world. We’ve been to three continents and 14 states. Each guide features original photos and a list of places to eat + drink, shop, explore and road trip at each spot. I’ve learned a lot about the places my friends want to show off: Some cities are well-known and full of hole-in-the-wall jewels, while other cities themselves are the hidden gems, places that might normally be overlooked.
Missed a few? Planning a trip? Catch up on the Hidden Gems travel guides by clicking on the gems below. (Plus, aren’t they just lovely all lined up like that?!)
Many thanks to my awesome contributors for all their hard work on helping me build an arsenal of amazing travel guides to make wanderlust and trip-planning easier.
The other day I had a conversation with my dad about how his backyard fire pit has gone unused all summer. There is a giant pile of logs and sticks right next to it, just waiting to be lit on fire. I asked him why he hadn’t had friends over for hot dogs and s’mores yet this summer, and he replied, half-jokingly “It’s way too hot for a fire!”
I can’t say I fully agree with him. I happen to think summertime bonfires are the best, regardless of the temperature, but especially when it’s a bit cooler in the evenings. However, I have to agree it has been outrageously hot so far this summer. And I’ll stay inside, thank you.
But no fires also means my s’more intake has been down, which is terrible news. I love s’mores so much I have been known to make them in the toaster oven in the wintertime. (You can thank me later.)
Enter these No-Bake S’mores Cookies. Any kind of cookie you don’t have to bake is a winner in my book. They’re quick, they’re delicious and they’ll keep that oven from overheating the whole house. These are so nice for rainy-day or scorcher-night s’mores cravings, or a quick treat to whip up for guests and kids. They look a little messy, but who’s ever eaten a s’more without a little mess? No one, that’s who. // susannah
I’ve always loved jewelry that’s unconventional, especially if it tells a story. Finding a new piece to love is always a little victory for me. In 2013, I took a trip to South Africa to visit my family. While I was there, my cousin Margie (who knows my taste!) took me to a gallery complex in Cape Town where I discovered a new jewelry love: Beloved Beadwork. Each piece is unique, intricate and made by hand from teeny, tiny, colorful beads. It’s true wearable art — a contemporary twist on a traditional African handcraft. I own several Beloved pieces now and I adore them.
I can’t even tell you how excited I am to introduce Beloved Beadwork’s founder, owner and designer Anna Richerby as today’s Dream Job interviewee. (It can be totally worth it to reach out to someone you really look up to. Just sayin’.) I don’t often write about fashion and jewelry on Feast + West, but I’m not ruling it out as a subject of the Dream Job series, which is all about people in pursuit of their own creative careers. Anna tells us about her passion for beadwork, her struggles with finding direction in her career and her battle with breast cancer. This Q&A with Anna Richerby is inspiring and thought-provoking, and I hope you enjoy it! // susannah
1. How would you describe Beloved Beadwork?
We’re a small company of 16 people, who hand weave intricate and beautiful pieces of jewellery and art. We use fine glass seed beads from Japan, sterling silver and gold, and a thread and needle to create our pieces, which sell in our own two shops in Cape Town, as well as in other shops in South Africa and the rest of the world. Around half of our work is exported, currently to the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and to the United States. Our latest shipment went to the Art Institute of Chicago. In fact, it should be arriving today!
2. What were you doing before Beloved Beadwork? What inspired you to change paths?
I’ve always been fascinated by beads, for as long as I can remember. In fact, I’m not sure ‘fascinated’ is the right word. They have just been a big part of my life since childhood. In some South African communities that would be seen as a sign of a calling to become a traditional healer, but being British and rather too boring, I decided to take it at face value and get seriously into beading instead. As a teenager my mum would have to drive me to nearby cities to find beads that I couldn’t find in my own. I didn’t anticipate making it a career though, and went off to Glasgow University to study anthropology and economics. Before university I came to Cape Town for a ‘gap year,’ and lived above the city’s most famous bead shop. I could scour that place for hours every Saturday morning. I spent my third year of university in Vancouver at University of British Columbia, and the bead shops there were out of this world! That’s when I started to learn to weave with beads properly.
After university I moved to Cape Town to work for the Anglican (Episcopal) church. News spread among community organisations that I could teach beadwork, and there’s a sense in which one thing naturally lead to another. I was working with an amazing group of women from Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to whom I was trying to teach a hobby, but who had other ideas themselves. They could see a potential that I could not, and pushed me towards commercialising what we were doing. I think, in truth, they could also see how lost I was at that point in my life, and they were eager to help me find direction. At the same time, I was becoming frustrated that none of the organisations I was working with were willing or able to invest in really good quality beads, as I could see that there was a cultural need out there for very intricate and high end beadwork that wasn’t being met. So I began designing the kind of beadwork that I would want to buy. That was six years ago now!
Click through to read the whole Q&A with Anna Richerby!
I’m excited to welcome my pal Amanda Fisher from EDIA Maps. We share a love for craft cocktails and I invited her back to the blog to talk about her home bar menu.
I started building my home bar when I co-hosted a 1960s-themed cocktail party with my friend and roommate at the time, Sarah. We had been listening to a lot of Sam Cooke, The Mar-Keys and Barney Kessel. After re-watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s, we were set on creating our own interpretation of the legendary party scene (minus the smoking hat!). We spent that winter researching more music and cocktails of the time, and finally we set up what was my first home bar at our “Cool Cats Club” party. A group of our friends rotated through to bartend, mixing up Manhattans, Grasshoppers and Slow Gin Fizzes from our cocktail menu. After that I was hooked.
Since then, I’ve had a cocktail menu at many parties and so has she. But this spring, my partner, Paul, and I decided to take it to a new level and develop a seasonal house menu that would be available anytime. We wanted something that could be a go-to when a friend dropped by and also an easy reference for ourselves, so when we wanted a drink, we wouldn’t have to flip through recipes, figuring out what we could make based on the ingredients we had in the house. We’d also noticed that when we made a round of the same drink for all our friends, we’d find out too late that one of them didn’t like gin… or whiskey, with their glass still full at the end of the night. We wanted everyone to have choices and to be comfortable asking for something they’d like.
We gave ourselves a few goals for this menu:
Select a handful of favorite drinks that we loved enough to drink regularly,
Include at least one cocktail featuring each of the basic liquors: whiskey, gin, rum and vodka,
Use ingredients we could easily keep on-hand or prep every week or two,
Pick drinks to go with the season.
We had just as much fun making the menu as we’ve had drinking from it. We used this assignment as a way to get creative with the home bar we had been building for years and ended up going well beyond the piles of cocktail recipes we had already collected or created. We mixed up new concoctions over a few weeks to “workshop” our ideas, infusing liquors and syrups; making spice, sugar and salt blends for rimmers, stockpiling all forms of ice, including crushed and infused; and juicing things we never thought we’d juice.
Both our spring and summer menus have been huge hits with our friends and have even inspired some of them to make their own menus. Really, what’s cooler than having your own cocktail bar right in your kitchen?!
Click through to see Amanda’s tips on crafting a home cocktail menu!