Since moving into our cute little house two months ago, we've remembered how much we love to entertain.
Before moving to the mountains we had dinner parties almost every weekend, with really great food, big laughs, and lots (and lots) of wine.
Now that we're out of the mountains, and in digs that are fab for entertaining, specifically our really great backyard, we're back in the spirit of entertaining. As much as possible.
One of the things we've been looking forward to the absolute most has been having a Smash Party, or, more poetically named, a Smash Bash.
And so, as soon as it got warm enough to have a Smash Bash we put one on the books. Which is exactly what we did this past Friday.
We invited some of our closest, and in some cases newest, friends to our Bash. And, looking around, I realized most of them came to us, or at least flourished with us, through Indie Spaces. The Space (as I usually call it) has become a catalyst that has brought us together with some of the most fantastic people. Fantastic, smart, driven, and really effing awesome people.
And each of our little events, whether they be centered around Indie Spaces, or personal gatherings like the Smash Bash, are all collaborations. They're all joint ventures that end in the most fantastic products.
I knew I wanted our guests to create their own smashes. I laid out a tray of fruits and homegrown herbs, asked some of the guests to bring bottles of liquors, and finished it off with simple syrup and agave nectar. We got some of that good crunchy ice from Sonic. You know the kind.
Dinner parties are best when the food is exceptional, and though I like to think I'm a pretty fine cook, there's nothing I love more than handing over the cooking to an actual chef. Which is exactly what I did.
Our friend/neighbor/indie Arron is a fantastic foodmaker/brewer/vintner (and in the process of opening a brewery), and as soon as I mentioned wanting to throw a Smash Bash he immediately offered to make the grub, along with our woodworker friend Ben who has spent quite a bit of time in the kitchens. Our friend Heather from Bohemian Bop also brought a couple of appetizers.
On the menu for our Smash Bash:
Garden Dip (we call it crack, because you can't stop eating it)
Grilled Marinated Pork Chops with Apple-Jalapeño Compote
Grilled Corn with Parsley-Garlic Compound Butter (which we also call crack)
Sweet Potato Biscuits
For dessert, we had more smashes.
We set the table up in our back yard, put on the food, and had at it. The weather was perfect, the food was exceptional, and the bar has been set high. I'm pretty sure it was the best dinner party in all of dinner party history. Our Indie Smash Bash was a success.
All hale the Smash Bash.
So, I have a little problem. An addiction. To green smoothies.
David bought me a juicer two Christmases ago, and we've been pretty avid juicers ever since. They're so yummy and refreshing and kinda super rock my world.
For the past two months we've really gotten into juicing again, juicing daily. We're having a juice every day for breakfast, and sometimes I'll have any leftovers for lunch. So yummy.
Our favorite juice is kale, beet, apple, carrot, just in case you're wondering. No secret formula, just throw it all in there.
Then, about 3 weeks ago, I decided to give the green smoothie thing a try. The problem was that juicing makes me huuuungry. Hungrier than usual. David, too. But, with David's metabolism, he can stand to eat a couple extra snacks a day. Me: not so much.
So, I made a smoothie. I took a couple of different ideas for my first smoothie from around the web, and right off made a smoothie I'm pretty much having an affair with multiple times a week. It's ok; David's fine with it.
Since adding smoothies to my diet I feel like I've become a whole new person. I honestly crave the things. And my body is loving it.
(Weird story: A couple of weeks ago I woke up on a Saturday morning feeling a bit hungover, and instead of going straight to the phone to order a greasy pizza, which is what my mind and/or body usually craves, all I wanted was a smoothie. A big, fat, green smoothie. Fixed me right up.)
Our skin is looking amazing.
I was one of those bitch-teenagers who had wonderful skin. I know, everyone hated me. BUT, I got payback, because when I turned 25 my skin exploded. The past year and a half have been torture, but, finally, my skin is clearing. I'm sure juicing contributed, but adding smoothies has finalized it. Clear skin, again!
AND, those little wrinklies under my eyes are smoothing out. David's noticing changes, too. Yay, proper nutrients and hydration!
My joints. My happy joints.
When I was 15 I was told I was getting arthritis. When I was 15. I've always had an odd amount of joint pain. Rarely enough to really inhibit me, but almost always enough that I notice it. Not now. My bad knees are happier, my lower back isn't bothering me, and I'm smiling. Big.
Super healthy. Not even allergies.
I have been a really lucky mom in that Cute Kid never gets sick. She's a little over 5 and we've only ever had to take her to the doctor once outside of regular checkups. She was a bitty baby with an ear infection. Not once since. However, she does get allergies when the seasons change. As do I.
But, this spring, even with it's insane amount of pollen, neither of us had even a moment of allergy issues. We're good to go.
So, yea, we're smoothie junkies now. A bunch of freakin' hippies. Hanging out in downward dog and talking about dirt, and stuff. It's fun.
Raw cacao nibs
Ground flax seed
1 T Coconut oil
Handful of blueberries
1/2 cup greek yogurt
Warning: I don't really measure out anything.
Fill your blender with spinach. Don't really pack it, just fill it up. Pour in coconut water until it's at about a 1/3 mark. Blend.
Add a handful of coconut flakes, a bit of cacao nibs, and some ground flax. Add the coconut oil. Blend.
Add the berries. Blend.
Add banana, avocado, and greek yogurt. Blend.
Eat it. I like to put it in a bowl and eat with a spoon. Yum.
Makes 3-ish servings.
This is the time of year when giving is on the mind. I'm all ears when Lily asks for something, marking it down for later. I'm thinking about my clients and giving them a little something to help their growth in the new year. And, I'm thinking of my readers, and how I can thank you for being so doggone awesome-sauce.
So, I'm hosting three giveaways, sharing some of my favorite things with you. This is the second.
When people ask me what my favorite part of working for myself is, I usually try to come up with a quick answer regarding helping others and making the world beautiful. You know, world peace.
And though this is very true, as I certainly do love helping creatives and designing great things, and world peace, I also really love not having set-in-stone structure. I can take a walk in the middle of a work session. I can bake some cookies. I can blog about making cocktails.
What I love is the possibilities.
And occasionally drinking on the job.
Today's giveaway is all about Cocktail Hour, be it during your 3-hour unstructured work/lunch break, or during happy hour with the rest of the corporate (and/or responsible) world.
This week I'm giving away a couple of really fun things:
Every think you need to have your own cocktail hour, except for maybe some good bourbon, mint, and ice. Mint Juleps, anyone?!
Sign up for my newsletter: If you're already signed up, sign up again. You won't get more than one email, but I can log it as an entry.
Like me on Facebook and leave a comment: Sometimes things get sassy over there. If you already like me (thanks, I like you too!) then just leave a comment. The comment's what counts.
The giveaway will close on Sunday, December 16 at 11:59pm. I will announce the winner at random on Monday morning. See you then, and good luck!
*This post is in no way, shape, or form sponsored or affiliated with Crate and Barrel. Just some great things that I like and picked up for you.
Back in August I visited my pal La in Chattanooga, where I had the best Dark & Stormy of my life.
If you ever make it to Chattanooga, hit up The Social. It's a nice mix of hipster and yuppy, with really great cocktails. On a mission to get away from gin, I tried their dark & stormy, after the bartender told me it was made from ginger beer they make in-house.
It didn't disappoint.
Finding a good ginger beer to match your particular tastes is like searching for the holy grail. Or a unicorn. Sometimes I feel it's a myth.
Ginger beer is nothing like ginger ale. It's much more akin to root beer,and is likewise not alcoholic. Upon finish, it can have quite a bite. I like little bites. Not big ones. Personally, I prefer Barritt's ginger beer, but can't seem to find it around these parts. Try a few and find what you like.
(I even tried to make my own ginger beer recently and it still had much more a bite than I'd like. Someone send me some Barritt's, please.)
For the rum, make sure you get something spiced and dark. I used Captain Morgan's Black this time around. Yum.
Making a Dark & Stormy is easy peasy. And they are sure pretty.
Pour ginger beer over ice, leaving room at the top.
Slowly pour on a double shot of rum. (If you pour slowly you'll maintain that "dark cloud on top" look.) Squeeze in a bit of lime, and garnish with more.
Sip it up.
I have a confession to make: until a few weeks ago you couldn't pay me to drink beer.
I love wine. I love cocktails. I hate beer. That's just how it's been for as long as I've been a drinker.
However, since falling in love with gin, which I also used to hate, I've been mulling it over in my head that I need to give beer another chance.
Back in August I went to Chattanooga to hang out with La, and one night we went to Brewhaus. I did something crazy: I drank a pint of beer.
I will admit that I did it because I didn't want to be the only idiot in there drinking wine. I succumbed to the pressure to be just like everyone else.
And it wasn't bad.
Since then I've enjoyed a couple of specialty beers from our local wine shop, and I think I'm finally becoming David's dream girl.
Then, this past weekend, we were at a sad attempt of an Oktoberfest, sitting in the "beer garden," when I tried a locally brewed beer, Truck Stop Honey.
And it was actually really, really good.
So, a locally-made beer, with a cool design, a decent website, that I actually enjoy. Yea, I'll be stocking my fridge with it, for sure.
And so, I guess I'm officially a beer drinker.
I don't expect that I'll be downing Guinness anytime soon, but maybe someday.