Union Kitchen

Union Kitchen - DC Girl in PearlsLast week, I was invited to check out the inner workings of Union Kitchen. I’d heard of Union Kitchen before from Twitter and from several DC food favorites of mine: District DoughnutTaKorean + Curbside Cupcakes. So I jumped at the chance to go into the belly of the beast, so to speak.

Union Kitchen - DC Girl in Pearls^ I could probably fit into that pot. No joke.

A short walk from Union Station, DC’s “food incubator” is actually the former home of a catering business! But I’m getting ahead of myself. Union Kitchen began as the brainchild of Jonas Singer and Cullen Gilchrist, who wanted to create a community space for local entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. The sense of community is obvious from the moment you step into the warehouse. From my tour of the kitchens, the food incubator was a-buzz with people chopping, stirring and mixing all while chatting despite it getting late into the evening! I know I’d be one sleepy kid but I didn’t see a single yawn. Or maybe they waited until I was taking pictures. Sneaky sneaky.

Most telling about Union Kitchen though was when one cook poked his head into another kitchen space to ask if they could use their sugar.Which,of course, got an immediate green light from the sugar owner. I had to giggle internally, thinking of the whole “Hey neighbor, can I borrow a cup of sugar?” bit.

All for one and one for all seems to be the unofficial motto of the warehouse so it’s no surprise that Union Kitchen has had several small businesses succeed and blossom beyond their kitchen walls.

The creativity and positive energy was addicting and I left Union Kitchen practically buzzing with creative energy. I actually started writing my Dreams + Plans post immediately when I got home. You guys, I’m kinda hooked. But it’s okay once you see the awesome foodporn below. You’ll get it.

Let’s chat about the awesome entrepreneurs + their mouth-watering treats! Seriously, I think if I worked there, I’d have to go to the gym religiously. Because I would eat everything!! My willpower is practically nonexistent when faced with these delectable culinary bites:

Popcorn Queens

Union Kitchen - DC Girl in PearlsRemember eating CrackerJax growing up? How excited you were to eat the salty peanuts and sweet, caramel popcorn to get to the treasure at the bottom? Well, Popcorn Queens Classic Peanut is like that except the treasure is the popcorn itself!

Popcorn Queens began as a mother-daughter catering small business. On a whim, they created small bags of popcorn to give to guests as a gift bag and the next day, the phone was ringing with people wanting to know where to get their hands on more popcorn! Voila!

My mouth began to water watching them mix their Classic Peanut. And your mouth is going to start watering in 3…2…1…

Union Kitchen - DC Girl in PearlsHoly sweet caramel mixture, Batman!! If I could have licked the bowl, I think I could officially declare I’ve lived a happy and fulfilled life. Watching the caramel get mixed into the popcorn was sweet, sweet torture. I could have melted right on the spot and gone to dessert heaven. But there is more to see so let’s keep the show moving.

Okay, just one more. Le sigh.

Union Kitchen - DC Girl in Pearls

The Capital Candy Jar

Union Kitchen - DC Girl in Pearls

Because I might be a masochist with a major sweet tooth, up next on the tour is the Capital Candy Jar. Get this: their founder Dave got his first sweet taste (see what I did there?) of entrepreneurship growing up when, trying to make a few extra bucks, he started up a lollipop business at school! Boy, I thought I was a rebel (shifty eye Emoji here).  

After moving to DC, he decided to take the plunge and became a full-time confectioner. Made in small batches, Capital Candy Jar’s treats are candy for grownups. I had the opportunity to sample their pineapple divinity (aptly named) and do a tasting for a confection fresh from the test kitchen: caramel apple marshmallow. 

Aside from mini-marshmallows in my hot chocolate, I’d never been big on marshmallows. I know this is blasphemy to some but I could take ‘em or leave ‘em. But now…

* Cue music playing “A Whole New World” * 

My eyes have been OPENED and I am never buying another bag of JetPuffed marshmallows. JetPuffed and I are never ever ever getting back together. These caramel apple marshmallows were out of this world delicious. Soft with just the right amount of chewiness, you tasted the apple flavor immediately and then slowly the smooth caramel joined the party. And it was totally AWESOME! 

Union Kitchen - DC Girl in Pearls

Union Kitchen - DC Girl in Pearls

Okay, before we all collapse of a sugar rush, we’re going to take a quick break and play a game of fun facts about Union Kitchen. 

About 20-30 DC small businesses apply to work with Union Kitchen every week. They have to present their business plan to Union Kitchen board members and meet certain criteria to get a thumbs up. But what if they’re a one or two person shop that doesn’t have all the nitty-gritty details quite figured out? No sweat, as long as they show promise and passion, they’re in.

I treat DC Girl in Pearls like a small business so I understand how time-consuming managing the little details can be, it can sometimes feel like you’re climbing up a mountain with no end in sight. Union Kitchen provides support for its community members with market + new media consulting among other perks. The whole community emphasis I mentioned earlier? That’s a rallying cry for members from Day 1. And new members go through an extensive orientation before they can get down to business (to defeat the Huns – I had to). 

So what if you’re a small business in DC but you aren’t working in food? Like at all? Your business is still kosher with Union Kitchen! They also house members such as Cherry Blossom Creative, whose prints I instantly recognized from Eastern Market as soon as I walked in. I loved her space and didn’t really want to leave if we’re being totally 100% honest. It was colorful and inspirational! 

Hmm here’s a thought for you lovely readers: remember when I mentioned my dream of growing DC Girl and finding a space to teach classes? Maybe Union Kitchen could be that spot! Just a thought but let me know what you think. 

Another non-foodie who calls Union Kitchen home is a small PR firm Mirepoix Media. 

Union Kitchen - DC Girl in Pearls

Okay, I think our foodporn palate is cleansed and ready for the final leg of this culinary tour. So without further ado..

PureJoy

Union Kitchen - DC Girl in Pearls

PureJoy got its start when two dads and an uncle teamed up to create healthy, locally sourced baby food for those bundles of joy. What they discovered was the joy of cooking!

I’m sure you’re probably staring at the screen thinking, “Really, Lauren? Baby food? I’m not a parent!” But just hear me out. I don’t think I’ve tried baby food since was in diapers so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I was blown away. Those babies eating PureJoy eat more healthfully than I do, I have no doubt about that. I sampled the sweet ginger and morning porridge and was instantly jealous of babies. I normally don’t gravitate towards porridge because of texture issues of mine but I will happily make an exception for PureJoy. Oh and they are looking into creating babyfood for adults! I nominate adding some bourbon to the sweet ginger and I’ll be a happy camper.

What really impressed me though about PureJoy were a) their commitment to charity and b) their upbeat attitudes.

PureJoy donates a portion of their babyfood to Martha’s Table, a DC nonprofit that offers high quality day care for low income families. PureJoy is democratizing healthy eating habits for kids one delicious spoonful at a time!

And their attitudes. PureJoy was the last stop of my tour and at that point, I’d been running around all day and was ready to hit the hay. Not these guys, they were cooking up a storm but kindly took a quick break to chat about their company. I wish I had that kind of energy at 10pm. Maybe the secret is bottled into that baby food…

Union Kitchen - DC Girl in Pearls

I had a wonderful time visiting Union Kitchen. Like I said, I left the food incubator infused with energy and creativity. The energy might have been the caramel apple marshmallow talking but the creativity was 100% Union Kitchen derived. If you are a small business in DC looking to get a leg up, I’d highly recommend reaching out to the folks at Union Kitchen.

Thanks, Aidan for the fantastic visit!

I hope you enjoyed the foodporn tour and I’m excited to feature more DC small businesses on DC Girl soon!

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Thirsty Thursday: Sauza Tequila Strawberry Sparklers

Sauza Tequila Strawberry Sparklers - DC Girl in Pearls

It’s a double shot at cocktails with Sauza Tequila (get it?!) this week on DC Girl. I hope you were able to put the margs + guac recipes to good use on Tuesday for National Guacamole Day! Or you bookmarked the page for future reference, I have an entire bookmark folder in my Google Chrome dedicated solely to my love of eating. With a subfolder for cocktails. I think I have my priorities in order on that one.

I love a good champagne cocktail but never thought of adding tequila into that equation. Perhaps because in my mind, Tequila is a stand-alone liquor who almost exclusively dates Margarita mixes, which might involve a side of nachos. And if you live in DC, an order of the Bob Armstrong dip from Tortilla Coast (life changing).

Move over, Margarita because there’s a new woman in Tequila’s life: Champagne. And it’s bringing its A-game with this Sauza Tequila Strawberry Sparkler.

The vibrant red of this cocktail is awesome and I’m already looking for parties and get togethers to throw this drink into the mix: perhaps I’ll take a leaf out of Leslie Knope’s playbook and host a Galentine’s Day. But why wait that long? I could serve this cocktail at my birthday in two months. With my favorite parts of cocktails (champagne, strawberries + tequila) joining forces, I’ll find any excuse to whip this up. Just you wait!

Ingredients

1 part Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila

½ part DeKuyper® Strawberry Liqueur

½ part (chilled) rose champagne

½ part limeade

3 strawberries

1 tbsp. sugar

1 lime wedge

Directions

Wash, stem, quarter and freeze strawberries for at least 1 hour (can be done the day ahead). Run a wedge of lime around the rim of your champagne flute and dip in a plate of sugar to coat rim. Place 3 frozen strawberries in the bottom of the prepared flute.  Pour champagne into the glass. In a shaker filled with ice, combine tequila, limeade, and strawberry liqueur. Shake and pour into glass. Add a squeeze of fresh lime if desired and serve immediately.

Mix + Match

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This post was sponsored by Sauza Tequila®.  All opinions and product sentiments are my own. 

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Chambray + Stripes for Fall

Chambray + Stripes for Fall - DC Girl in Pearls

Top: J. Crew Factory Two Pocket Chambray Shirt // Dress: Vineyard Vines Stripe Bow Dress (Similar: J.Crew Factory Stripe Ponte Dress) // Necklace: Kendra Scott Rayne Necklace in Neon Pink // Sunglasses: Ray Ban Aviator Sunglasses // Shoes: Sperry Topsider Original Metallic 2-Eye Boat Shoe 

My Vineyard Vines Stripe Bow dress was purchased in a moment of “Good job, Lauren. Here’s a retail pat on the back.” It was on sale, it was my size, it was fate. And then I never took it off again. That’s a bit of an overstatement but if I could live in this dress, I would. Over the summer, I wore it constantly (the proof is here) because it’s just too easy to pull it on and I knew I’d be comfy all day long in it. Like pajamas but ones you can wear in public without shame and judgement.

I’m not proud of it but I’d even figure out who I had seen that day to determine if I could get away with wearing it two days in a row. I normally am good about the laundry cycle but I wanted to get my wear out of it while I could! That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

DC isn’t having as much of an Indian summer as I expected and temperatures have been a bit cooler than I’d like. I had to retrain myself to check the weather and grab a jacket before leaving the house in the morning. When I woke up early on Sunday for brunch at the Argonaut on H Street NE, I wanted to wear something loose (because I knew I’d overindulge on breakfast foods) but also warm enough to hold its own against the morning chill.

I breathed new life with my favorite summer dress by layering my J.Crew chambray shirt over it and tying a knot in the front. I slipped into my Sperrys and added a funky neon pink Kendra Scott necklace to break up the blues.

I’m still not quite ready to say sayonara to this dress so hopefully in a couple of weeks I can swap the Sperrys for riding boots (have you checked out my top picks under $200?) and layer over a puffer vest to make it extra snuggly. Long story short: you will have to rip this dress from me because, to paraphrase Rick Astley, I’m never gonna give this dress up.

And in case you’re wondering, Argonaut was wonderful for brunch: They had a solid bottomless mimosa deal and a “build-your-own-Bloody” bar complete with hot sauces and garnishes that I made a mental note to check out later. I ordered the fish tacos and I’m not kidding when I said I felt full for the entire day. Great (read: strong) mimosas and generous portions make me a happy bruncher (as evidenced here)! I really need to explore H Street more during the day, any suggestions?

Thank you to all of you who participated in my survey so far! I’ve been processing the results to give you lovely readers more of what you want. If you haven’t checked out the survey, click here for the link. Or if you’re more comfortable with email, feel free to shoot me an email with ideas, suggestions and comments.

Chambray + Stripes for Fall - DC Girl in Pearls

Chambray + Stripes for Fall - DC Girl in Pearls

Chambray + Stripes for Fall - DC Girl in Pearls

Chambray + Stripes for Fall - DC Girl in Pearls

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National Guacamole Day + Margaritas

Yup, you read that title right. We’re getting boozy on a Tuesday here at DC Girl! Why the special occasion? Because for those of us who pray at the altar of avocado, today is a High Holy Day. National Guacamole Day. Because I really needed another excuse to shovel guacamole into my mouth. I used to go through 1 container of Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Guacamole and now I’m up to 2 per week. It’s bad, guys. It’s bad (my habit, not the guac).

I remember the very first time I tried guacamole. My mother used to eat it whenever my family went out for Mexican but being the picky eater and willful child I was, I never touched the stuff. Flat out refused. The color, the mushy looking texture. NO THANK YOU!

Thankfully, I can now add guacamole to the list of “Foods I Used To Fear But Now Love.” Along with brussels sprouts. But I think it wasn’t until college that guacamole became a part of my diet. So now I just have to make up for lost times. With these margaritas + complementary guacamole recipes, I have a feeling my avocado quotient will be achieved.

Spicy Sauzarita

Spicy Sauzarita - DC Girl in Pearls

Ingredients

1 part Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila

2 parts beer

1 part frozen limeade concentrate

1 part water

A dash of hot sauce

Sugar (for garnish)

Salt (for garnish)

Red pepper (for garnish)

Chili pepper (for garnish)

Directions

In a glass, combine all ingredients. Chill and serve in glasses rimmed with sugar, salt and red pepper. Garnish with a chili.

Artichoke Guacamole with Toasted Pine Nuts

Ingredients

2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro leaves

2 tsp. finely chopped white onion

2 tsp. minced jalapeño or Serrano chilies (Optional: remove seeds and membranes)

½ tsp. teaspoon Kosher salt

2  large ripe avocados, peeled and seeded

1 small plum tomato, cored, seeded, and finely chopped

2 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

Directions

  1. In a medium size bowl, use the back of a spoon to mash 1 tablespoon of the cilantro, 1 teaspoon onion, 1 teaspoon of minced chile, and ½ teaspoon salt together against the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Add the avocados and gently mash them with a fork until chunky-smooth.
  3. Add 1 cup of marinated artichoke hearts chopped with ¼ cup of toasted pine nuts and stir.
  4. Fold the remaining cilantro, onion, and chile into the mixture.
  5. Stir in tomatoes and lime juice, taste to adjust the seasonings.
  6. Serve with warm corn tortilla chips.

Marvelous Mango Margarita

Mango Margarita - DC Girl in Pearls

Ingredients

1 part Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila

½ part JDK & Sons™ O3 Premium Orange Liqueur

½ large ripe mango

2 parts fresh orange juice

⅔ part lime juice

½ part simple syrup

4 parts ice

Directions

Peel, seed and chop your mango. If you have time you can freeze your prepared mango at this point. Otherwise, put all ingredients except for the ice into your blender and blend until smooth. Then add the ice. Pour the margarita into a glass.

Chipotle-Goat Cheese Guacamole

Ingredients

2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro leaves

2 tsp. finely chopped white onion

2 tsp. minced jalapeño or Serrano chilies (Optional: remove seeds and membranes)

½ tsp. teaspoon Kosher salt

2  large ripe avocados, peeled and seeded

1 small plum tomato, cored, seeded, and finely chopped

2 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

4 oz. crumbled goat cheese

2 tbsp. chopped canned chipotle chilies

Directions

  1. In a medium size bowl, use the back of a spoon to mash 1 tablespoon of the cilantro, 1 teaspoon onion, 1 teaspoon of minced chile, and ½ teaspoon salt together against the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Add the avocados and gently mash them with a fork until chunky-smooth.
  3. Add 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese and 2 tablespoons of chopped canned chipotle chilles.
  4. Fold the remaining cilantro, onion, and chile into the mixture.
  5. Stir in tomatoes and lime juice, taste to adjust the seasonings.
  6. Serve with warm corn tortilla chips.

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This post was sponsored by Sauza Tequila®.  All opinions and product sentiments are my own. 

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Dreams + Plans + A Survey – Oh My!

White-Flower

If it’s okay with you, we’re going to start Monday off on a more serious (and longer) note. We’re going to have a chat about dreams and goals. Monday is the beginning of a new week, a fresh start and clean slate. So what better time to chat about the future of this little ol’ blog? Right off the bat, I want to say thank you so much to you for reading my piece of the great big Internet machine and for being a part of this journey with me. Your comments, emails, tweets mean the world to me and always put a big smile on my face. Thank you for being you and totally rocking at it. If you’re in a rush, here’s the link to my blog survey but I hope you’ll come back + finish reading about some ideas for DC Girl.

In 2011, I had time off between my junior year of college ending and a summer internship starting. I spent a month of downtime at home in upstate New York and realized I needed a creative outlet. While I love politics and am a total news junkie, I get a kick from cooking, putting outfits together, and DIYing the heck out of something. DC Girl in Pearls became that outlet and for the last three and a half years, the blog has grown up and evolved with me. It’s kinda mortifying looking back at some posts, think of the feeling you get when you look through your high school yearbook. Yikes!!

In the last year, I really started to buckle down. I read articles about SEO, tweaked my media kit and filled a legal pad with brainstorms of web design, branding and how I want my blog to feel and look in the coming years.

Now you’ve seen the glimpse into the thought process behind the blog, we can chat about my dreams and plans for DC Girl in Pearls.

Revamping The Blog Design

I’ve been brainstorming like ca-razy over here to make DC Girl look more polished and easy to navigate for you! I’m working my way through a coding class and WordPress design but I gave myself a deadline of end of November to have the major pieces of my web design come together. I’m writing this down so you (and I) can hold me accountable!

Constructive criticism + comments on blog design, layout are appreciated.

Stepping Up The Content

In the last few months, I’ve made a big push to plan and schedule my posts at least a couple days out. Planning out the content allows me to focus on the photography, another element I’m working to improve. Food styling is pretty darn intriguing, I gotta say. I also tossed the idea around of adding video into this little blog. What do you think?

Finding A Creative Space

Now, this is my pie-in-the-sky dream. I think it’s attainable but my other moving pieces and the stars and cosmos would all have to align for it to happen. In other words, I’m going to have to put in some serious hustle to “make it work,” to quote the warrior poet Tim Gunn.

So here’s my little secret dream: I want to have a studio just for DC Girl in Pearls. Right now I do my projects in my apartment and my dining table moonlights as a photo background. Having more space to play with backdrops and simply just spread out is very tempting.

But the big reason I want a physical creative space? To host classes! The idea of teaching people my Trader Joe’s hacks, DIYs, cocktails and maybe even subjects like personal branding IN PERSON makes my little heart soar. I’ve got a big cheesy grin on my face right now just thinking about it.

Okay if you’ve stuck through my rambling (Bless you), it’s your turn to take the wheel. I’ve loaded up a quick survey that won’t take more than 5 minutes. I pinky promise you. I want to know what YOU want to see on DC Girl, what do you like, what don’t you like and where you think this blog should go in 2014 and beyond!

Finally….what do you think about this potential new logo?

Proposed Header

Thanks for sticking through this longer post and THANK YOU for taking the time to complete my survey. I want to make DC Girl as entertaining and enjoyable for you as possible and will be using the survey results to do just that!

 

 

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Stuffed Banana Pepper Dip (+ a GIVEAWAY!)

Stuffed Banana Pepper Dip - DC Girl in Pearls

Okay, guys. I hope you’ve had your coffee or morning caffeine already because I’ve packed SO MUCH INFO into this blog post. But let’s not panic, because this info involves: a delicious recipe, all natural chips, a GIVEAWAY and for you DCists, a fun weekend activity. Are you ready?? Are you pumped?? Let’s do this! …I’ve definitely had my caffeine already.

When I go back home to Buffalo, New York, I make two lists: a list of places + people I want to see and then a second life of things I want to eat. My flights back to DC usually involve elastic waistbands.

Stuffed banana peppers are at the top of my list every time. The spicy appetizer is found in pretty much every deli in Western New York and I never imagined a life in which it would not exist. DC, get it together and introduce stuffed banana peppers to the local fare. I guarantee they’ll be a smashing success!

The banana peppers are stuffed with a blend of cheeses, crumbled crackers, banana pepper pieces and cream cheese. I mean, come on. It doesn’t get much better than that!

When Food Should Taste Good asked me to come up with a recipe, I knew I had to turn this favorite app o’ mine into another delicious appetizer. The stuffed banana pepper dip took me about 30 minutes from start to finish and paired with Olive and Multigrain chips, it was a deliciously wonderful way to break up the work week. Warm, cheesy, spicy dip + all natural chips with flavor that just doesn’t quit + wine + girl talk = best Wednesday ever.

Time for some dip foodporn and then we’ll get to the really good stuff: the recipe, weekend activity + a GIVEAWAY perfect for your Sunday football party or casual wine night with the girls. Or guys, that’s cool too. Are you a male reader? Don’t be shy, please say hi!

Stuffed Banana Pepper Dip - DC Girl in PearlsStuffed Banana Pepper Dip - DC Girl in Pearls

Ingredients

3, light cream cheese blocks (Room temperature and no, this isn’t a fire drill)

2, jars of banana pepper rings, drained (Spicy or Mild, dealer’s choice)

1/2 sleeve, crumbled Ritz crackers

1, cup of Parmesan and Provolone cheese (Plus additional for sprinkling on top)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk the room temperature blocks of cream cheese for a few minutes.

Add the banana pepper rings. Note you might want to slice the rings into bite-size pieces.

Add the cheese and crumbled Ritz crackers. Combine ingredients with a spatula.

Scoop mixture into a lightly greased pan. Sprinkle additional cheese on top to your little heart’s content.

Bake in oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese on top is golden.

Serve with Food Should Taste Good Olive and Multigrain chips!

As one of my friends exclaimed through a mouthful of dip + chips: “These Olive chips are really effing good!”

Can’t get a better testimonial than that, guys. Well, the empty dip + chip dish at the end of the night also spoke volumes.

And now the fun part where you can win all the trimmings for your own Chip Fest 2014! Would you go for a football smorgasbord or a wine night with the girls? Both? If so, I dig your style.

So what’s in the giveaway package? You’ll win:

  • 9-Piece Square Dipping Set
  • Nostalgia Electric Fondue Pot, including 6 forks
  • Stainless Steel Snack Bowl
  • $100 Visa Gift card
  • A Variety of Food Should Taste Good products

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And now the weekend activity: Food Should Taste Good will be celebrating Adams Morgan Day this weekend on Sunday from 12-7 with a 3-D chalk art from muralist Shawn McCann. You can also sample their Harvest Pumpkin, Sweet Potato and Blue Corn Tortilla Chips. If you’re planning a Friendsgiving or are hosting Thanksgiving this year (you brave soul), it’ll be a great source of inspiration + recipes. Check it out! I know I’ll be swinging by : )

Oh my goodness. We made it through all that info. I think we’ve really grown on this journey together. Hope to see you at Adams Morgan Day!

Stuffed Banana Pepper Dip - DC Girl in Pearls

Stuffed Banana Pepper Dip - DC Girl in Pearls

Cheers to the weekend!

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This post was sponsored by Food Should Taste Good Chips®.  All opinions and product sentiments are my own. 

Food Should Taste Good - DC Girl in Pearls

Thirsty Thursday: Cocktail Emoji

Cocktail Emoji - DC Girl in Pearls

I use Emojis all the time. It’s gotten to the point where I’m just as familiar with a QWERTY keyboard as I am with an Emoji one. The donut, the balloon, the okay sign, zzZZ, fist bump and the smiley face crying laughing are all repeat offenders in my Emoji game. Texting with Emojis should be considered an art form.

I’m so excited for the release of new Emojis to up the ante of my texting game!! But one Emoji has made me smile for awhile now. The fruity cocktail emoji.

It has a permanent home in my “Recently Used” column to say the least. And on more than one occasion, I’ve daydreamed about how the fruity cocktail Emoji would taste. Confession booth time, who has had a thought about how delicious this emoji would taste in real life? [Insert hand raising Emoji here]

So naturally, I had to give it the old college try to recreate it. And d*** is this cocktail good!

If I do say so myself.

Consider yourself warned.

Oh and p.s. I’m being a good blogger [Emoji pat on back] and continuing my Mix + Match addition to this series to show how to add more pineapple into your life. Because I’m pretty positive you were just wondering how you could do just that. What a coinkydink!

Thanks to Target, Forever 21 and others, you can. And on a budget! [High five Emoji]…Okay, I’ll stop now.

Cocktail Emoji - DC Girl in Pearls

Top: Lilly Pulitzer Elsa Top in Oh Cabana Boy (on eBay!) // Shorts: J.Crew Factory 3″ Chino Short // Mani: Essie Peach Daiquiri // Sandals: Jack Rogers

Cocktail Emoji - DC Girl in Pearls

Ingredients (serves 1) 

1 shot, Coconut Rum

1 can, Trader Joe’s Pineapple Juice

1 squeeze, Fresh Lime

1 splash, Grenadine

Directions

In glass, combine 1 part rum with 1 part pineapple juice. Top with fresh lime squeeze. Stir well. Add a splash of grenadine for color. Garnish with a lime wedge (optional) and add a colorful bendy straw (optional but strongly encouraged). Cocktail Emoji - DC Girl in Pearls

Cocktail Emoji - DC Girl in PearlsCocktail Emoji - DC Girl in Pearls

Cocktail Emoji - DC Girl in Pearls

 Photos by Caroline Holman

Mix + Match:

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Black, White + Pink All Over

Pink Blazer To Work - DC Girl in PearlsBlazer: H&M Pink Blazer (H&M Jacket + Pink Boyfriend Ponte Rolled Sleeves Blazer) // Top: J.Crew Jackie Shell // Skirt: Thrifted, similar: ASOS Color Block Midi Skirt in Scuba // Shoes: Ann Klein Opalize Black Heels // Lipstick: Estee Lauder Pure Color in Candy Shimmer

I’m not an all-black ensemble girl in the slightest. Nope nope nope. But when I was searching through my closet for a good outfit post, my mind considered this black midi skirt + black sweater shell. And then my brain practically cried for a pink blazer or another pop of color to break up this Addams Family reunion look (in my mind).

Black-on-black can be very chic and obviously slimming but I crave color when I get dressed. My main motivation to get out of bed in the morning isn’t a warm cup of chai tea but the excitement about adding personality to a 9-5 look. This pink blazer was the motivation I needed to make myself cute at 7 in the morning on a Tuesday. Trust me, it wasn’t pretty folks.

This look might be my thriftiest DC Girl  look yet: I scored the pink blazer from H&M on their Black Friday sale over a year ago for about $15. The black + white midi skirt was discovered at a Goodwill in Arlington and I paid less than $10 for the skirt: it’s in wonderful, like brand new condition and is so unbelievably comfortable. The piece de resistance are the Ann Klein opalize heels, which I snagged at a shoe sale for $12. Not even joking. For less than $100, a wear-to-work outfit that looks colorfully confident and just puts you in a good mood. Feeling ready to conquer the world? I thought so.

The other reason for my big smiles in these photos? Getting honked at by garbagemen + receiving blindingly white smiles from cute guys on an early morning jog. Yes, I do sometimes feel pretty silly shooting these posts but if you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re doing it wrong.

But seriously handsome joggers, call me!

Pink Blazer To Work - DC Girl in Pearls

Pink Blazer To Work - DC Girl in Pearls

Pink Blazer To Work - DC Girl in Pearls

Photos by Caroline Holman

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Everyday with Food Should Taste Good Chips

I’ve heard people are either salty or sweet snackers. While I am never one to turn down dessert, a pint of ice cream can last up to two weeks living in my freezer. A bag of chips and some dip? I give it 4 days, tops. When I need a snack, I need that satisfying crunch to feel full.

I try to make sure my chips habit is as healthy as possible. Moderation is key and I strive to make sure I’m not just mindlessly snacking on the couch working my way through my latest Netflix binge. It can be difficult but it’s important to turn the TV off when eating a meal or snack. If I’m watching The Big Bang Theory, I find I usually eat about twice what I normally would because I simply wasn’t paying attention. And then I have an uncomfortable food baby or even twins. Not a good feeling.

Thankfully, the good folks at Food Should Taste Good created a chip that is all natural and packs a seriously flavorful punch. I paired each chip flavor with a perfect complement dip. Think of them as snack BFFs. Because they are seriously made for each other.

Food Should Taste Good Chips Pairings - DC Girl in Pearls

Food Should Taste Good Chip Pairings - DC Girl in Pearls

For the olive chips, which are a blend of black, kalamata and green olives, I quickly whipped up a Mediterranean mix of sliced cherry tomatoes, feta and chopped basil. To get an extra olive kick, add kalamata olives to the mix. To be honest, olive might be my very flavor from the Food Should Taste Good assortment. But then again, I’m pretty partial to Greek cuisine. So I might be more than heavily biased.

Food Should Taste Good Chip Pairings - DC Girl in Pearls

The sweet potato flavor would do very nicely with a fruit-based salsa but I’m more of a heat gal myself. I want my salsa spicy, not fruity. I paired this chip with Trader Joe’s muy caliente serrano salsa: the sweetness of the chip tempers the zest of the dip very nicely. As a testament to this chip, when at a restaurant if given the choice between regular or sweet potato fries, I’ll choose regular 10 out of 10 times. It’s nowhere close to a Sophie’s Choice. But I actually loved the taste of this sweet potato chip and found myself thinking of ways to include it in more of my dishes. Will wonders ever cease? Apparently not. Consider this skeptical eater converted.

Food Should Taste Good Chip Pairings - DC Girl in Pearls

When I spied the guacamole chip flavor, my natural inclinations were to pair it with guacamole. Then I thought, “No way. That is just too much guacamole. It’d be overpowering.” Then I came to my senses (thank goodness) and realized that there is no such thing as too much guacamole. it’s science, people. No use fighting City Hall on this one. Though for you DC activists out there, I also sampled this chip, which has serrano pepper undertones, with Wisteria Garden’s Serrano + Ginger salsa from Eastern Market. If you can take the heat, you can definitely stay in this flavor kitchen. Woah is all I can say.

But Food Should Taste Good‘s chips are so good I couldn’t let dips have all the fun! My other tasty pairings for these feisty chips for your everyday:

Olive (pictured below) or Sweet Potato chips crushed over a healthy salad instead of croutons to add a new burst of flavor. Au revoir, #saddesklunch! Am I right?

Food Should Taste Good Chip Pairings - DC Girl in Pearls

You should also try Multigrain chips over a lovely autumn tomato bisque or minestrone soup. Really makes you wish the weather would get its sh*t together and act like fall, yes?

Come visit on Friday for a delicious dip recipe pairing the flavors of Food Should Taste Good chips with my hometown of Buffalo, New York! My city invented the chicken wing so I gotta do the Queen City proud, right? Stay tuned to see what I whip up and also, shhhh there’ll be a giveaway : )

But you didn’t hear it from me!

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This post was sponsored by Food Should Taste Good Chips®.  All opinions and product sentiments are my own. 

Food Should Taste Good - DC Girl in Pearls

Monogram Monday: Penny Cross Body Wristlet Purse

Marley Lilly Penny Cross Body Wristlet Purse - DC Girl in Pearls

 

 

Contrary to DC’s ridiculous heatwave this weekend, it’s officially fall. Because Starbucks and our overlord #PSL have declared it to be so. But I cannot emphasize enough how sweltering hot it was yesterday. I went to Eastern Market and after being outside for more than 15 minutes, I was dying and ready to attach myself to my AC for a solid three hours. Which is precisely what I did.

I am ready to break out my puffer vests and layers but DC’s temperate forecast says, “Slow down, girl. Slow down.” So in the meantime, I’m going to focus on fall pieces that won’t cause me to melt like an ice cream cone.

I’ve talked about Marley Lilly’s Cross Body Clutch before (here + here), it’s been a lifesaver on weekends. During the week, I’m a certified bag lady but on the weekends, I just carry the essentials: wallet, keys, lipstick. I feel like a liberated woman, I tell ya.

The Marley Lilly Penny Cross Body Wristlet Purse might just have to be next on my fall wish list. I love the wristlet strap for easy holding while I juggle my Trader Joe’s grocery bags onto the bus or am practically sprinting down the street because I’m late for brunch. Both situations happen more often than I’d like to admit.

P.S. Have you ordered a PSL yet? I can’t bring myself to do it just yet!

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