Friday Favorites & Turning 30

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope the week has treated you well! What are you up to this weekend? My 30th birthday is on Sunday, and with that in mind I thought I’d mix things up a bit with this week’s roundup and share some of my favorite experiences from the last decade. (By the way, how crazy is it that I’m at the point where I’m measuring my life in decades? When everybody turned 30 on Friends, they seemed SO much older!) But I digress. Stroll down memory lane with me and relive a few of the highlights from my twenties!

Highlights from my twenties

1. My senior year of college, I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Rome as part of my Classics major. As insane as it sounds in retrospect, I wasn’t initially sure that I wanted to do it. I didn’t speak Italian, it was my last year of school and didn’t want to spend half of it away from my friends (yeah, I kind of want to go back in time and slap myself). But I was equally afraid I’d end up regretting it if I didn’t go. So I took the plunge, and guess what? It was amazing. Duh. Not only was living in Rome was one of the most exciting and enriching experiences I’ve ever had, but it really got me out of my comfort zone – something I need more of in my life. Plus, gelato! Need I say more?

2. My 21st birthday party will forever live in infamy as my favorite birthday party of all time. My roommate planned an incredibly elaborate spy-themed soirée: all the guests were assigned a mysterious alias and backstory. There were games (Mil-themed bingo!), prizes (booze, obviously), and of course, plenty of cocktails. To top it all off, my sister flew in to join the festivities. Best birthday party ever!

3. The year after graduating college, I spent months planning a trip to Mexico with a friend. But right before we were about to book it, I was laid off from my job (which happened to be my first job out of college, and my dream job to boot). I was depressed, totally broke, and in absolutely no position to spend big money on a vacation. You see where this is going, right? I went to Mexico anyway. Was it the financially responsible thing to do? Hell no. Would I do the same thing now? No way. But at the time, it was exactly what I needed. We spent ten days drinking margaritas on the beach, exploring Mayan ruins, and soaking up the sun. (And thankfully, by the time we went on the trip, I had found another job. Bullet dodged…)

4. Signing the lease on my first apartment is when I finally felt like an actual adult. No roommate, no family, just me, a legit grown-up. Nothing else before or since has given me the same sense of accomplishment and independence, probably because it was such a long time coming (I had moved back home after graduating college, and it was a few years before I was making enough money to live on my own). Leaving my childhood home behind, I found an apartment downtown, and I was so excited to be steps away from all the restaurants, cute shops, and countless happy hours. But perhaps best of all, I could finally decorate however I wanted. Sweet freedom!

5. I’m a pretty emotional person, but it takes a lot for me to cry in public. That went right out the window the day Jules got married. I can’t remember ever crying so many happy tears! My face literally hurt from smiling so much that day. I love the picture above because you can see how ridiculously happy I am to be standing up there with her. Love you, Jules!

Obviously I’m leaving a lot out, both good and bad, but I hope you enjoyed this brief (well, sort of) glimpse into my twenties. Here’s to the next decade!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

♥ Mil

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2016 Oscar Inspired Appetizers

The 2016 Oscar nominees were announced a few weeks ago and I’m getting excited for this year’s awards show. I still need to see most of the best picture nominees. I’m a procrastinator about things like that. The way this month’s schedule is panning out, I may end up just re-watching all eight trailers the night before. Whomp whomp.

Since we all can’t afford VIP tickets to Elton’s John’s Oscar party, I’ve always enjoyed planning themed appetizers and drinks for a slightly less glamorous at-home Academy Awards party. Themed parties are so much better than regular parties, am I right?
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Last year, Mil and I watched the festivities together while munching handfuls of truffle popcorn. This year, we’ll be in North Carolina, so I’m not sure how my plans will shake out. Whatever I end up doing, I can guarantee you that I’ll be going snack happy on this year’s round of Oscar inspired appetizers.
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2016 oscar party appetizer the big short movie

Bubble Bursting Meatball Bites

Serves 6-8

Ingredients
1 can flaky biscuits
10 frozen fully cooked Italian meatballs (thawed)
1/2-3/4 cup shredded Italian four cheese blend
2 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp garlic powder
1-2 cups marinara sauce to serve

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Directions:
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Separate each biscuit in half, this should be easy thanks to all those flaky layers.

Cut thawed meatballs in half. Place 1 meatball half and a pinch of four cheese blend into the center of each biscuit. Wrap dough around it and seal edges to form a ball. Depending on how generous your pinches of cheese are, you may need a little more than a 1/2 cup.

Mix the Parmesan, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder together in a cup or small bowl. Dip the tops of your biscuit balls into the seasoning mixture and place seam side down on a baking sheet. Bake 15-18 minutes or until nice and brown. Serve warm with marinara sauce.
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Recipe inspired by Joyful Scribblings

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2016 oscar party appetizer beef carpaccio recipe academy awards

Hugh’s Beef Carpaccio

Serves 3

Ingredients
1 (12-ounce) piece beef tenderloin
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups lightly packed fresh arugula
1 ounce good shaved Parmesan (none of that powdery stuff)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Optional: 1 tbsp chopped capers or kalamata olives
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Directions
Tie the beef tenderloin with kitchen twine to help it keep its shape, then freeze until frozen (this ensures that the center will stay rare when you cook it). Once frozen, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy cast-iron skillet over high heat. Remove the frozen beef from the freezer and rub all over with salt and pepper. Add beef to your hot skillet and sear on all sides, about 4 minutes total. The beef should be seared on the outside but should remain rare on the inside. Freeze the beef again until it is almost frozen, about 1 hour, to make it easier to cut into thin slices. Using a large sharp carving knife, slice the beef as thinly as possible. Arrange the arugula and Parmesan shavings on a serving platter and lay the beef slices on top. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, adding capers and/or kalamata olives for an added pop of briny flavor. Serve with panache.

Recipe inspired by Giada De Laurentiis
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2016 oscar party appetizer the martian movie matt damon academy awards

Martian Mashed Potato Puffs

Makes 24 mini puffs

Ingredients
2 cups mashed potatoes
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup diced cooked bacon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Sour cream or Ranch dip to serve
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Directions: 
Heat the oven to 400°F and lightly grease a mini-muffin tin.

Whisk together the mashed potatoes, eggs, 3/4 cup cheese, green onions, and bacon. Season with salt and pepper. If you want to go full on astronaut, use boxed mashed potatoes, otherwise make sure to prepare your potatoes ahead of time and let cool. If your mashed potatoes are too hot, the eggs will cook when you combine everything together.

Mound a spoonful of the mixture in each muffin cup. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until your potato puffs are set and are nice and brown on top. Let cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then use a knife to gently pop them out. Serve immediately with a little dollop of sour cream or Ranch dip on top.

Recipe inspired by The Kitchn.
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The connection between The Big Short and the first recipe is pretty obvious. The other two recipes are based on moments in the movies themselves, so if you haven’t seen them, get on it!
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Here’s to happy eating and happy watching during this year’s Academy Awards!  Are you hosting or attending a get together this year? Note, if you’re hosting I always recommend doing a test run of any new recipes a week before the actual party. That way you’re stress free when it really counts. Plus more appetizers for you!
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XOXO,
Jules
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For more fun Oscar themed food and drink ideas, check out last year’s recipes:

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Photo sources: 1/2/3/4/5/6

 

Halloween Recipe Roundup

Given my predilection for party planning, Julia’s love of costumes, and our shared obsession with sweets, it’s a little surprising that neither of us is actually throwing a Halloween party this weekend. But that’s not about to stop us from daydreaming about amazing Halloween-inspired treats! From the adorable to the downright gruesome, we’ve got you covered. I’m especially excited about the Bloody Red Velvet Cake (ideally served with a machete)…

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re throwing a Halloween party this year, do you have any spooky snacks planned? Or are you keeping it old school with loads of candy?

♥ Mil

P.S. Once Halloween’s over, don’t forget to put that leftover candy to good use!

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, one and all! What are you up to this weekend? Jules and I are looking forward to a delicious brunch with Asa and Tina, two of our favorite blogger buddies. Also on my to do list is a viewing of The Martian and curling up on the couch with October’s book club pick. (We’re reading The Shining in honor of Halloween – have you read it?) Anyway, I hope you enjoy these links that I’ve lovingly compiled for you from across the interwebs!

Friday Favorites // South by Northwest

1. In case The Devil Wears Prada wasn’t conclusive enough, one magazine editor is revealing exactly how traumatic it is to be interviewed by Anna Wintour: “I’ve had breakups with men I actually liked that took less out of me emotionally.” (Racked)

2. You guys. I have found a recipe for broccoli cheddar soup with fried cheese curds. I repeat: this soup has FRIED CHEESE CURDS IN IT. (Half Baked Harvest)

3. This new collaboration between NARS and fashion photographer Steven Klein looks awesome. I’ll take one of everything, please! (Refinery29)

4. My feet have been ravaged by summer frolicking (worth it), and this pedicure hack involving crushed aspirin and lemon juice sounds like a promising fix. (Byrdie)

5. These 31 reasons to throw a party for no reason are an inspiration. #23 is so Jules, and #25 is pretty much the only excuse I need! (Domaine)

Have an amazing weekend…and maybe throw an impromptu party!

♥ Mil

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