Monthly Archives: March 2014

ASK BAC: Top 15 Hosting Items

I often get asked by friends and readers about, (no shock here), “hosting”, entertaining and general advice when it comes to party planning, gifts and the like. Some of the most common questions revolve around tips, must-have items that you can use over and over and of course, budgeting.

Because of this, I have decided to start posting commonly asked questions in a little “Ask BAC” format. So if you have questions – please send them my way (! I will pick frequently asked ones and post about them each month.

First up, I know that entertaining as a whole can be a little intimidating. You may not be the best chef (neither am I!), have the creative mind of a Pinterest board or have an apartment the size OF a dining room table instead of an apartment WITH one. So,  I thought I would share with you my top 15 items to have for beginners (in no particular order).

1. An Apron – This one is pretty much a no-brainer, however, if you don’t fully know why, you can read more about my adventures HERE. Below are a few I am loving.

2. Matching Set of Wine Glasses & Flutes (suggested for 8) – You will break one or two (or three if you’re me) – you should always have a set for a number you’re comfortable entertaining for plus a few extra. 8 is a good number to start.

3. Vases – Whether it be mason jars or glass ones that came with your Valentine’s Day delivery, hold on to vases. Also, don’t be afraid to get creative with it and use items that aren’t ordinarily a “vase” (glass carafes work too – see below).

4. Serving Tray or Large Dish -This is pretty self explanatory but it’s good to have one or two of these for drinks or menu items if you’re hosting a dinner. I’d also recommend investing in a custom lucite tray. I love my large one below custom from Pretty Smitten.

5. Matching Set of White Plates –  The same rule applies for these as for the glasses (although you’re probably less likely to break these).

6. A Favorite Cookbook, an app on your phone or the number of a good restaurant – Everyone needs a little guidance in the kitchen.

7. Oven Mitts – Don’t get burned (a few faves below).

8. Tealight Candles and Matches (or a lighter in my case) – I think non-scented works best for dinner tables and around the house. You can light these and put them in jars or candle holders. Also, I am afraid of matches (yep, I wish I could use cute ones like these), so I rely on a candle lighter.

9. Ice Bucket – Perfect for chilling wine, bubbly, beers or water – I have a few of these in different sizes in silver.

10. A Universal Tablecloth – Everyone needs a go-to tablecloth that can use on multiple occasions. No matter what size, be sure to have something that fits your table and goes with everything. It should also be machine washable.

11. Your Own Signature Dish – This must be your go-to when cooking for friends or serving appetizers too. Something that is your no-fail dish that’s also a hit among guests. For me, I make a mean risotto, among others.

12. A Healthy Sense of Humor – May I remind you WHY again?

13. Grace Under Pressure – As an event planner, this is also one of the most important parts of my job. It’s also something to maintain when hosting and entertaining for others. No one wants to see the person in charge flip out or in this case, the person, hosting, have a melt down.

14. A Carafe – A WHAT? A carafe is an open-topped glass flask typically used for serving wine or water. You can also use for juice bars, mimosas and yes, as a vase.  I have a few of these in my cabinets and they’re super affordable too ($4.99 at World Market).

15. Bottle of Bubbly – If all else fails, you should know how to put this one to good use. Cheers!

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When Irish Eyes are Gluten Free

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

When I was growing up, I had a strong dislike for the little Irish Blessings that scattered across my fair-skinned face…also known as freckles. In an effort to make me feel better, my dad told me they were “angel kisses”. However, there was one day a year when I LOVED my freckle face and that day was March 17th. I woke up in the morning to green milk in my cereal and green freckles on my face – a la a leprechaun, of course.

This is a family tradition that still takes place every March 17th complete with corned beef and cabbage plus my grandmother’s homemade Irish soda bread for dinner. Delish!

I, too,  keep the tradition alive now that I live on my own with green milk in our fridge  (although I think the leprechaun realizes I can’t go to work with “green freckles” so those no longer appear across my cheeks as funny as that would be).

This weekend, I celebrated a little of my Irish heritage by whipping up some new recipes. I haven’t been able to enjoy Irish soda bread in a few years (due to my gluten allergy) so I finally decided to perfect my own gluten free version. I looked at many recipes online and couldn’t quite find one I liked so I took a few, combined, substituted and made my own (fingers crossed – it worked!). I also wanted to be able to make them into muffins so I could grab and go in the morning or with dinner.

I’m the first to admit that gluten-free bread recipes are often terrible (I avoid GF breads normally at all costs because of this) but these muffins are pretty darn good and the raisins add just the perfect amount of sweetness. Serve with butter or jam and you’re all set!

BAC GF Irish Soda Muffins:


  • 2 cups of Pamela’s Gluten Free Flour/Baking Mix
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon of mayo
  • 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
  • 1 cup of raisins


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk.
  • Add in beaten eggs, oil, mayo, buttermilk and almond extract and mix (batter will be thick).
  • Stir in raisins and spoon into 12 muffin tins.
  • Bake for 21 minutes.


For dessert on Sunday evening, I also made Irish Cream Milkshakes for my roomate and I. This recipe is super easy and if you really want to get into the “Irish spirit” and kick it up a notch – add in some #boozy Bailey’s!

BAC Irish Cream Milkshakes


  • 1 cup of GREEN skim milk
  • 2 cups of light vanilla ice cream
  • few splashes of irish cream creamer
  • whipped cream
  • green sprinkles
  • festive straws & milk bottles (optional)



  • Blend together milk, ice cream and creamer.
  • Top with whipped cream and sprinkles.
  • Enjoy!

Thankfully, I’ve since learned to embrace my freckles and auburn hair that appear every summer.

spring beauty products

The official start of Spring is still a week away (March 20th to be exact), however, I thought I would share some of my latest and greatest beauty products this season.

I’ve been on the search for the perfect new “day” scent for a few months. Throughout the years, I’ve probably worn every type of Chanel perfume there is and more recently, I’ve been drawn to the strong and undoubtedly distinct scent of Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb.

I love Flowerblomb – everything about it, but I also wanted to add to my daily fragrance collection and have been testing out multiple Jo Malone scents each week.

Many samples later, I have found the beloved Wild Bluebell. Most people prefer to mix and match their Jo Malone colognes and I am playing around with that concept still (love Peony & Blush Suede too). BUT I must say that Wild Bluebell on its own is absolutely delightful. It’s light, clean, fresh and yet still floral, girly – basically, “me”.

Another spring beauty product that I am loving is Sara Happ’s Sparkling Pink Grapefruit Lip Scrub. It has kept my lips from becoming chapped in the winter and it tastes delish too (not sure that you’re supposed to “eat” it but you can’t help but taste it when scrubbing..duh).

Last but certainly not least, I would recommend Chanel’s new Rouge Double Ultra Wear Lip Color (longest name EVER). I first saw this while shopping in NYC earlier this year.  I’ve always been fond of Chanel’s make-up line but this two sided lipstick/gloss sincerely lasts. My friends and I tried on ridiculous way-too-bright-for-daytime shades and they stayed on for hours. In fact, so much so that I had to wipe it off with make-up remover later that afternoon before napping (whoops!).

What are your favorite spring products?

I’m thinking of doing a skincare post next! What do you use on a daily basis? Let me know! tuckernuck spring arrivals


Whether it’s online or in the Georgetown Pop-Up Shop, Tuckernuck is one of my favorite retailers for both ladies and gents apparel and accessories.

Today’s “Make.My.Monday” features my picks from Tuckernuck’s Spring arrivals and also, my roomate, Courtney (that’s her above)!

How gorgeous does she look and how amazing is that flamingo top?

Happy #Tuckernucking!

crushing on: spring blooms

So I must confess, I’m having a major crush lately…

I don’t want to cheat on Summer because it has a special place in my heart (white pants + cold cocktails + sun-kissed skin = a Florida girl’s heaven)..but I’m crushing on Spring.  I celebrate my birthday this season and it’s also a gentle reminder that Summer is on its way, right?


Or perhaps it’s because it’s something I can’t seem to have.. (isn’t that how it always goes?) With this cold, snow-filled winter almost behind us, there is nothing I crave more than warmer weather, the sight of spring blooms and Jack Rogers on freshly pedicured pink toes (cue: eye roll now).

It’s also not a secret that I adore fresh flowers – from my newfound obsession with UrbanStems to the fact that I can’t walk by a flower stand or go in grocery store for that matter, without leaving with bright blooms in hand.  Now, I’ve said before that I don’t really fancy red roses – I think they’re kind of cheesy (sorry). But PINK ones? Sure! Peonies? Tulips? Hydrangeas? Gerber Daisies? (list goes on…) ABSOLUTELY!

 I am also loving blue mason jars filled with blooms in shades of pink. Whether you DIY or purchase them – nothing screams SPRING more.

{SIDE NOTE: I will also be the first to say that the whole mason jar craze is on its way out or already is (unless they’re for purely drinking, sorry). I’m just a guilty as the next hostess but chevron, burlap, mason lights – they all have their season. Now this doesn’t mean I think they’re bad taste or dislike them at weddings and events, they just have been done time and time (and time) again…}

Back to BLUE ones though – I bought my large ones at World Market and have used them as vases and in Spring tablescapes. Last Spring, I hosted Easter Sunday brunch at my house for all my friends who didn’t travel for the holiday. I used blue mason jars and colorful tulips to brighten up the table (as seen below).

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I am also crushing on all these simple blue mason arrangements!

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P.S. I am taking a floral design class in early April so be sure to check back as I will share what I learn for beginners (i.e. do’s and don’ts)!

Spring – please come soon!