Don’t let those columns in the background fool you, this photo wasn’t taken in DC but in Buffalo! My hometown has quite a few surprises up its sleeve and let me say it upfront: Buffalo is NOT as cold as everyone says. Actually, when we were taking these photos, it was downright HOT and HUMID and by the end of taking photos, I felt like a limp noodle (As evidenced by my hair).
I’m excited to share one of my favorite parts of the city with you today: The Rose Garden across from the Albright-Knox Gallery. While I grew up in a suburb of Buffalo, I went to high school in Buffalo proper, taking a bus and then another bus to get to school every morning. I loved going by the Albright-Knox and seeing their funky art installations outside (My favorite is pictured here on the left), it was always one of my favorite bus routes to take. That, and going by the General Mills Factory because I kid you not, it smells like Cheerios when you’re near GM. I even have a tshirt that says “My city smells like Cheerios.” I would inevitably fall asleep on the early morning bus ride (that and the fact that I always nod off on car rides) and would wake up to the smell of heavenly Cheerios and knew that I had about 10 minutes more to snooze. Despite what Michael Scott says, this is the best way to wake up in the morning.
I get off-topic easily when talking about home.
The Rose Garden was beautiful as always but after a pretty dry summer, the roses weren’t quite at their best. And with the hot sun beating down, my mom and I were ready to turn this rose garden into a (chilled) rosé garden. With a side of wings because when in Buffalo…
You want to know my absolutely 100% favorite thing to eat in the summer? And I’m not being dramatic or hyperbolic (SAT words FTW) when I say I could live off this meal easily. It’s the perfect combination of summer with just the right dose of nostalgia. I bite into this dish and suddenly I’m about 7 years old still in my swimsuit from spending the entire day swimming. Or 15 years old sweaty and dirty from a softball game. Ready? Are you on the edge of your seat?
Tomato Sandwiches. If you think this is anticlimactic, then you’ve never had a tomato sandwich. Two slices of perfectly toasted wheat bread, a light schmear of mayo (One of the few times I like this condiment), a thick, juicy slice of tomato fresh from the farmer’s stand near my house and topped with a little salt and pepper. Yes, it sounds like a BLT sandwich minus the B and L but let me tell you, you won’t miss either. And I don’t say that lightly about bacon. A couple of weeks ago, my summertime craving for a tomato sandwich became extremely vocal and I decided to give my childhood favorite a grown-up twist. The result? A packed summer vegetable grilled sandwich with a dairy-free basil cashew aioli. Adulting sometimes has its benefits.
For this sandwich situation, I started with the crustiest bread possible: Ciabatta rolls. Grilled to add some extra chewy crunch and a bit of a smoky flavor, the ciabatta rolls are housing some of the best produce summer has to offer: Mixed greens (Be sure to add arugula for some peppery zip), zucchini, tomato (duh) and some creamy avocado (Leftover from last week’s creamy avocado sauce). Instead of the mayo spread, I used up the last of my fresh basil leaves and a cup of cashews to whip up a vegan basil cashew aioli that’ll have you going, “Mayo who?”
Really, I just am looking for any and every excuse to whip out my mini food processor.
Head to your farmer’s market and stock up on all the best veggies to create this summer vegetable grilled sandwich. Hellooo, sassy desk lunch/couch dinner!
4 cups mixed greens (Try to get arugula for some peppery zip)
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 large zucchini, sliced into thick slices
Vegan Basil Cashew Aioli
¼ cup cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour
2 tbsp almond milk
½ lemon, juiced
½ cup basil leaves
Salt + pepper
Heat grill (or grill pan) until hot. Brush each ciabatta roll half with about a tablespoon of olive oil and place each half oil-side down on the grill. Heat until grill marks appear, about 7- 10 minutes.
Build your sandwich with mixed greens, tomato and zucchini.
Soak the cashews for an hour and drain and rinse.
In a food processor, pulse all ingredients until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. You can store in the fridge covered for up to 5 days.
Mondays are always easier when you’re still on vacation! I flew back home to Buffalo to celebrate my brother’s graduation with a big party. It was his day in every sense of the word and he’s still on a high from all the love and cake. Sunday also happened to be our family’s annual picnic reunion, which meant even more family time, chicken BBQ and mac ‘n cheese. With all the activities, it’s been a whirlwind and I felt like my parents and I didn’t stop moving until after we arrived home from the picnic. My mom and Tommy immediately went upstairs for a nap while my dad and I chatted on the couch for about 5 minutes…until we both nodded off mid-sentence.
But let’s chat about this non-set matching set. Sounds crazy, right? It’s crazy enough that it just might work. I keep seeing really cute matching sets pop up all over Instagram and blogs, it’s one of the few trends I could get on board with. But I’m a girl on a budget and always looking for new ways to mix ‘n match pieces I already own to create new styles. Enter this navy non-set matching set!
I purchased these J.Crew Factory Boardwalk Shorts early this summer and I love them. They’re so easy to just pull on and pair with a white tee and a baseball hat for a quick farmer’s market run – a more grown-up version of my childhood summer uniform: gym shorts and a softball tee. While I’ve definitely taken the more casual route with these shorts so far, I wanted to dress them up for an outfit to wear to brunch or for a night out for drinks with friends. Comfort + style = 🔑
To build upon this non-set matching set idea, I grabbed my navy top (Last Seen Here) and voila! A DIY matching set ensemble! Being trendy AND on budget? Win-win, guys! To bring out the navy, I went with my favorite power pink accessories: Kendra Scott Rayne Necklace and my trusty Vera Bradley Chainstrap Crossbody. Because you always could use a little navy and pink in your life.
Warning: Popsicles in photo may contain booze. I just couldn’t help myself…My love for Moscow Mules has been well-documented on the blog (Exhibits A, B, C) and last weekend, I decided it had been far too long since they made an appearance. And I really wanted a Moscow Mule. Two birds, one blog post. In the spirit of making the most of my produce and not wasting groceries, I decided on a pretty delicious take on this refreshing summer drink: Strawberry Cucumber Moscow Mule Popsicles.
I’ve made boozy Popsicles before (Lookin’ at you, Mojito Popsicles) and let me tell you, it combines the best parts of childhood and adulthood together in one handheld treat. I used up the last of my strawberry simple syrup from last week’s Strawberry Mimosas and blended up fresh strawberries and sliced Persian cucumbers to create a sweet Popsicle to beat the heat. A splash of ginger beer and a healthy splash of vodka and you are SET. Well, after about 4 hours to allow the Popsicles to freeze. Whip these up for your next weekend grill-out, pool day with friends or even just to have Strawberry Cucumber Moscow Mule Popsicles on deck for when you need something sweet but with a bit of a kick!
You asked and I answered! I asked a few days ago over on Instagramwhat type of content do you want to see more of, less of, etc. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a survey but I wanted to get a read on what readers (Hi!) are looking for when they come to my blog. The response? More work style posts and to keep up the cocktails. I knew I liked you guys…😉
I’m happy to say that Wednesday is officially work style day! But I wanted to take it a step further: I’ll also post that day on a work-related topic like networking tips, interview ideas, you name it. And there’s more – and where I once again ask you for your opinion – what are your thoughts about creating this type of content as a Wednesday YouTube video series? In the past when I’ve created similar content, I worry that I’m too wordy and wonder if putting this type of content into video format would be easier for you to follow (and me to create). The idea both terrifies and excites me, I still haven’t gotten to the point of narrating my Snapchats. That’s a fear I told myself I’d conquer over the weekend so watch out for that (Lauren_Anne2989). Should I ditch the fear and start posting videos? Let me know in the comments, tweet me, email me, Snap me!
P.S. If you follow me on Instagram, I’m going to be hashtagging my work outfits as #DCGirlWorkAttire so you can easily find my posts. I’m excited to hear back from you!
The light summer dinner al fresco I really cannot get enough of and have shouted my love for from the rooftops: Zucchini Noodles with a Creamy Old Bay Avocado Sauce and Corn and Seafood. It’s PACKED with flavors while being easy on the ingredients list. There’s a solid chance you have all the fixings for this Creamy Old Bay Avocado Sauce in your pantry and vegetable drawer. And let me tell you, the Creamy Avocado Sauce is going to be your BFF.
I wouldn’t blame you one bit if you decided to just use the sauce as a dip for tortilla chips. Honestly, I’d probably be right there with you.
I whipped up this dish in about 20 minutes and promptly ate 2 big bowls of it as soon as I finished shooting the images. You see those plates? Yup, totally demolished as soon as I turned my camera off. I even had some extra langostino tails-corn-avocado sauce mixture leftover so I had it for dinner again last night. Just as “make you wanna dance” good. If you aren’t grooving after you eat up this dish, I’ve failed you.
In this dish, I used zucchini noodles as a base but I’d like to think this combo would be pretty killer as a taco. Last night, I actually considered doing that until I remembered that I’d had a bagel for breakfast and a pretty hearty veggie sandwich for lunch so figured I might want to ease up on the carbs for dinner. Next Taco Night though…it’s on.
I used Trader Joe’s Langostino Tails for this dish but really you can’t go wrong with any seafood + Old Bay. Grilled shrimp, mahi mahi, pick your favorite seafood (or none at all if you aren’t into seafood) and make this dish yours.
And this isn’t the last you’ll see of Creamy Avocado Sauce…
Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Old Bay Avocado Sauce, Corn + Seafood
1 bag Trader Joe's Langostino Tails, thawed and rinsed
Creamy Old Bay Avocado Sauce
1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted
1 clove, garlic
2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
Juice of 1 lemon
Dash of pepper
Place the spiralized zucchini in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil over medium heat and add in the corn kernels and langostino tails. Season with another dash of pepper and heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly before adding to the large bowl.
In a food processor, place the avocado, garlic clove, Old Bay, pepper and lemon juice. Pulse until creamy.
Spoon the avocado sauce into the large bowl and toss with tongs to evenly coat.
Happy Monday!! I don’t know about you but I’m feeling ready to conquer the world this week. I had an amazing weekend filled with a catch-up session with a friend at Roofer’s Union rooftop over frozen hibiscus cocktails and French fries with copious amounts of ketchup (We informed our lovely bartender that ketchup was our favorite food + she made sure we were taken care of) that I balanced with a Platform class that I’m still sore from. I also listened to episode after episode of Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, read 100 pages of Orange Is the New Black book in one sitting and honestly, enjoyed some solo time. Between the nonstop staycation and a l-o-n-g week at work, I needed some quiet time to recharge.
I’m keeping it easy + breezy with a white eyelet dress, it’s just so easy to throw on for brunch with the girls or rooftop drinks at sunset (We’ve had some stunning sunsets lately!). I styled my white eyelet dress by turning my Turkish towel into a wrap! My Turkish towel is one of my favorite items – it’s so versatile. Last year when I was in Charleston, I bought my mother a Turkish towel for her to use at the pool. When we were in Arizona over Easter weekend, I used her Turkish towel and there was no turning back – I had to get one into my life. I’ve used it as an impromptu cover-up, a regular towel and now – as a wrap. I picked mine up at Eastern Market but if you’re not in DC, I’ve linked a few options above. And because I’m a sucker for perfect matching, I paired the blue towel with my summer go-to necklace (Last styled here) and Essie’s Bikini So Teeny polish. Finishing off the look is my Factory rattan clutch and trusty gold Jacks.
Can we repeat July 4th weekend? I spent the weekend with my parents and Tommy staycationing over in Alexandria and for a staycation, we were on the go for a good part of the weekend! The highlights: a boat cruise on the Potomac in one of DC’s fireboats, a spicy jalapeño margarita (with habanero infused agave – my next culinary adventure!), outlet power shopping, watching the fireworks at the top of DAR Hall and feasting on a delicious black bean burger with a pretty generous side of tater tots with a habanero aioli. I told you “staycation” was a bit of a misnomer!
I always love when my family comes into town because we always try to go to new neighborhoods and spots and I get a jolt out of my usual routine (Even if it leaves me feeling a bit anxious once the weekend ends!). In the spirit of new adventures, I jolted myself out of my usual outfit routine thanks to this Eliza J printed popover dress and Le Tote.
A few weeks ago, Le Tote reached out to me offering to let me test out their services. I’d seen their packages in my apartment building and was curious so I figured I’d give it a whirl. I took their style questionnaire so they could determine which pieces would best fit me and started assembling my first “tote.” Without even thinking, in went the stripes and pink. But then under “Dresses,” I spotted this Eliza J printed popover dress. With its overlay, I definitely consider this dress to be more trendy than my typical style and I wasn’t sure how it would look on my figure. Nothing ventured, nothing gained though so I took a gamble and prioritized it for my first “tote.” I was eager to see how it would look so when the tote arrived, I immediately tried on the popover dress.
Guys, I don’t want to give it up! It’s so comfy and breezy, perfect for DC humidity. The popover is actually quite figure-flattering, which was 100% necessary after a weekend diet that included Chick-Fil-A and a Wegman’s sub. Today’s #desklunches have been a salad version of my Buffalo roasted chickpea wraps to balance it all out. And because I’m going to brunch tomorrow 🙈
If you’re interested in taking Le Tote for a test drive, use the code DCGIRL at checkout for a 20% discount!
What are your weekend plans? Brunch? Staycation? Truckeroo?! I’ll be there post-barre. All about balance…
What. A. Weekend! My parents and Tommy came down to DC to spend the long July 4th weekend with me and man, we were on the GO. It seemed like we were hopping all over Alexandria and DC fueled by Wegman’s subs and mini-chocolate chip cookies. We went all over by foot, by car and even by boat! Easily one of the best weekend moments (tied with watching the fireworks at DAR Hall) was cruising around the Potomac on the DC fireboat.
A perk of your dad being a fireman in addition to always winning “Parent Career Day” in elementary school.
If you’re on Snapchat (Lauren_Anne2989) you already knew about our nautical adventure but if you’re not, I’ll bring you up to speed. On Sunday, we all piled onto the John H. Glenn Jr. and set sail around the Potomac for an incredible view of DC! The Washington Monument, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials never looked better in my opinion. My dad’s friend provided a running commentary on the history of the fireboat and the other boats we passed by (the Coast Guard, Customs to name a few). I did my best to take it all in. But the absolute BEST part of the Potomac cruise? Tommy giggling the whole way (Scroll down for my new favorite picture of us) and getting a kick out of every little thing. His laughter was infectious and is largely responsible for my goofy grin that I’m pretty sure is still there.
Guys, guys, GUYS. It’s finally here – 4th of July weekend!! Bring it on, Joey Chestnut because I plan to eat my weight in hot dogs all while decked in as much red, white + blue as humanly possible. Because America. My parents and Tommy arrived yesterday and to kick off the long weekend, we’re going to the Nats game tomorrow and Saturday, my mom and I are hitting the outlets while the guys hang out at the pool. The highlight is always the fireworks on the National Mall. Seeing the fireworks next to the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial is indescribable, I have goosebumps just thinking about it! Totally worth the crowds.
I’m planning on whipping up some strawberry mimosas using the rest of the strawberry simple syrup and maybe I’ll even throw in a watermelon mojito when the humidity reaches its peak. And I’ve heard that rosé pairs nicely with a hot dog 😉
It’s going to be a fun weekend, follow along on 👻 (Lauren_Anne2989) if we aren’t SC friends already. I’ll see you back here on Monday! 🇺🇸