Tuesday, September 29, 2020

jessie james decker’s skinny margs

I am one of those crazy, all your friends ask you why, tequila loving gals. If I’m not drinking wine, I’m drinking tequila. Tequila, club, with a lime is my usual go-to. But I love it neat, on the rocks, in a margarita…you name it, I’ll drink it. Tequila is my jam. 

Jessie James Decker has been an idol to my sister and I for years. Not only is she absolutely stunning, but she’s a country singer and clothing boutique owner (Kittenish). She is also a former reality tv star, married to one of the hottest retired NFL players in the game (Eric Decker), and a mother of 3. She is a chocolate chip cookie loving, down-to-earth, “I am who I am” kind of woman—someone worth looking up to. 

She recently released her first cookbook, “Just Feed Me,” filled with simple, delicious recipes that she makes at home with her family. I believe the book is now an Amazon #1 bestseller. Pretty cool.

Anyway, let’s get to her skinny margs— SO good and SO up my alley! In her book, she said these were inspired by a trip to Cabo with her hub. The recipe is simple, made with no bullsh*t ingredients, and just really good. 

The recipe says it makes 4 drinks, but if you’re anything like me, this would be enough for 2 (wink). 

Jessie James Decker’s Skinny Margs 

(from her book Just Feed Me) 

Coarse Salt, for the rims (optional) 


1/2 cup tequila 

Juice of 2 limes 

1 to 2 teaspoons agave 

Per her book, 

If desired, rim 4 pretty glasses with salt. In an ice-filled cocktail shaker, combine the tequila, lime juice, and agave and shake it up. Fill the glasses with ice and strain the margaritas into them. Add the squeezed lime to the glass for presentation and that extra “twist.” 

It’s never a bad day when you’re making margaritas to taste test and post on the blog. Will definitely be making and enjoying this simple recipe for my friends and family. 

You can find Jessie’s book on Amazon here.

Cheers, friends! 

Keep on keepin’ on—

XX, Laura

Thursday, September 10, 2020

tomato and burrata salad

It took me 26 years to finally try burrata—and oh my gosh, wow! For those of you who don’t know what burrata is, it’s a soft cow’s milk cheese that’s almost identical to mozzarella. It looks like a ball of mozzarella from the outside, but it’s more delicate and squishy with soft cheese and cream on the inside. It’s mouthwatering and just amazing! 

This dish is so easy to throw together and will really wow guests (or maybe just yourself). 

I started with a bed of arugula and layered tomatoes on top (threw in some cherry tomatoes for aesthetics). Then added the burrata, drizzled with truffle oil (because I was feeling fancy af), balsamic reduction, and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Lastly, threw on some fresh basil. 

This was SO good, SO fresh tasting, and SO satisfying. A must try. 

What you’ll need:
  • Arugula
  • Fresh burrata cheese 
  • Heirloom tomatoes 
  • Good quality EVOO (or truffle oil if you’re feeling fancy like me)
  • Balsamic glaze aka balsamic reduction 
  • Fresh basil leaves (a good handful or two)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper

This pairs nicely with:
  • a crisp, dry rosé (rosé)
  • sauvignon blanc (white) 
  • pinot gris (white)
  • pinot grigio (white)
  • pinot noir (red)
  • lighter styled sparking wine or champagne 

Enjoy & Cheers!! XX, Laura 

Friday, September 4, 2020

leaving 26 in the dust

My birthday was about a month ago now on August 7th. I have always loved my birthday, looked forward to it all year long, and have always celebrated the day in larger than life style… and this year, I couldn’t wait for the day to be over. It was just one of those years. 

I’ve written a post about what I’ve learned from each birthday for a few years now. And to be honest, I contemplated skipping this year because it was a less than ideal year for me. However, to not be honest, to not share what I learned...would to not be myself. 

So, here it goes:

1. Storms will come, but it never rains forever

Lord have mercy. You name the “weather,” it came my way full force this year. I had more change in my life in these past 12+ months than I’ve had in my lifetime. Everything I knew to be true, real and “safe,” was pulled from beneath me…and rather quickly. Sometimes the things that you think will never happen to you, happen to you. So what do you do when you’re caught in the middle of a never ending storm? You learn how to survive. That’s the best way I could describe this past year for me.

2. Tough times never last, tough people d

My family was the subject of some half-assed, one-sided, political-biased, uninformed news this past year. Headlined on the web, local news stations, local newspapers, and social media. Not once, not twice, but three times. The rest of my family isn’t big on social media, but I’m on and off it more than them. I did what everyone tells you not to do—I read through every comment, I looked through all the “likes,” and I looked at every profile that shared the articles (all over a 7 month span while this went on). To see people you know, people you exchange Christmas cards with, the moms of friends I went to high school with, men my brother-in-law play golf with, people in my hometown…commenting some not so nice things was disheartening to say the least. Not to mention, people talking about my parents' marriage, posting our home address, things people “think” they know about your life (which ironically, had absolutely nothing to do with the news). 

To be honest, it was a bit traumatizing. 

When the news had blown over and all was said and done…I was struggling. Imagine the feeling of questioning everyone and everything in your life. Who’s really got my back? Who really knows me? Who is actually for me? Who’s not secretly talking shit behind my back? I ended up having a conversation with my dad last fall that I’ll never forget. I called him absolutely bawling—asking him what’s the point of being a nice person if people are still going to be so mean. After a long phone call, he ended with (for lack of better words), “You have two choices, Laura—you can toughen up or you can pack your bags and move.” 

That was all I needed to hear. I’m not a weak person. I never back down to anything that I strongly believe in, and I certainly wasn’t going to let some low-life, nothing better to do, losers on the internet change that about me. 

The happy ending? I got through it and I am a better person for it.

3. Keep your circle small 

Living through what I’ve lived through, and knowing what I know now, the security and value that comes with keeping a small circle is everything. I can count on one hand the amount of people I consider real, true, trust with my life, tell-anything-to friends. Thankfully, I also have a lot of really wonderful acquaintances, which are great too. But I learned the hard way, there’s a difference, not everyone is your friend. Keep your circle right and tight. It’s been one of the most invaluable lessons of my life. 

4. Integrity is everything 

What does it mean to have integrity? According to The Random House Dictionary, “Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. The state of being whole, entire or undiminished. A sound, unimpaired or perfect condition.” With all the social issues going on in the world, this was the first time in my life that I learned I was a person of integrity. My beliefs, my values, my morals were very unpopular compared to the masses. I lost a lot of friends and a lot of followers those first few weeks when everything first went on. I was sad about it at first, but I asked myself, would I change what I believed in to be accepted or loved? Would I change my values and morals to fit in with the majority? Would I compromise who I am to keep certain people in my life? The answer was a hard no. That didn’t mean it’d be easy, but it meant that I would be living true to me. Don’t be afraid to stand alone and stand tall, no matter what you believe in. “A man is only as good as his word.” 

5. Never change who you are because of how someone treated you

I think this is pretty self-explanatory, but don’t ever let the actions, behaviors, or words of others change who you are. If you are warm and loving, don’t let the cold and bitterness of others let you lose that warm fire. 99.99% of the time, the actions and words of others have more to do with the other person than you. People who are content and secure don’t want to hurt others, even if they don’t agree with them. Stay true to you.

6. What you do everyday matters more than what you do every once in a while

Whatever you want to do or become in life, what you do everyday far out weighs whatever you do every once in a while. Such a simple concept, but so true. I tend to be really hard on myself, so this is a great reminder. 

7. Take the time to travel 

I know, you hear this all the time…but I cannot reiterate enough how travel has changed my life. Visiting new places and new countries, learning about different ways of life, spending time with people from other countries who don’t speak my language… it completely changed how I view life and the world—everything from how I spend my time, how and what I cook and eat, my conversations, enjoying the simpler things in life—like a good bottle of wine, enjoying a day in the sun, or reading a book. Travel is the best education you will ever get. 

8. The first part to understanding people is understanding that they’re not you 

One of the biggest mistakes we make is assuming that other people think the way we think. They don’t. Understand that and your life will be a lot simpler. 

9. You can’t save him. You won’t change him. 

All you can do is love them—sometimes, from afar. 

10. Choose the right partner 

Perhaps the nerdiest thing about me is that I study psychology, philosophy, the science of attraction and relationships…for fun. I’ll have to write a whole post about this someday, but for the love of God, choose the right partner like your life depends on it. Because it kind of does. Warren Buffet once said, “Who you marry, which is the ultimate partnership, is enormously important in determining the happiness in your life and your success."

11. It’s okay to not be like everyone else

This has been a struggle for me, my whole life. I grew up kind of quickly and experienced a lot at a young age. I also spent a lot of time with adults, even as a child. Not to mention, I’ve always had fun parents, so I spent a lot of time with them growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything in the world, but it certainly hasn’t helped me relate to people my own age. I’ve always kind of been down on myself about this, feeling like I don’t fit in but I’m “suppose” to be with people my own age. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned—who says? Who says I have to surround myself with twenty-somethings, just because I’m a twenty-something. Thankfully, I do have “young” people in my life that I have a great time with, but I do find myself drawn to older people…and men (lol). But I’ve learned that that’s okay. There are no rules. 

12. Learn your love language and attachment style 

This has been soooo tremendously helpful to me. Love languages are ways of expressing and receiving love. There’s a whole book written by Dr. Gary Chapman that explains it in depth, there’s also a test you can take online. Learning your love language and sharing it with the people in your life will make things a whole lot easier. 

Attachment styles are kind of how we react and form relationships in our life. For years, I have had a repeating pattern of abruptly breaking up with guys (like completely out of the blue), and I finally had an “aha” moment like hmmm…maybe this isn’t normal, maybe this is a problem. Learning my attachment style, why I have it, and doing the work to heal it, has been SO beneficial for myself moving forward. 

13. Be timeless, not trendy 

Karl Lagerfeld (who is well known for his work with Chanel), once said, “Trendy is the last stage before tacky.” I have always felt that trends are for followers (whoops, sorry if I offended you). Be yourself. Don’t try to be like somebody else. 

14. Pay attention to energy 

The more you pay attention, the more you’ll recognize how others make you feel when you’re in their presence. You’ll know when you’re vibing with someone and when you’re not. You can feel good energy reciprocation and you can also feel when it’s not there. I relate it to the feeling of not liking someone, even though you don’t know why you don’t like them. Or have you ever found yourself saying, “I just didn’t get a good vibe from them.” Yep. Follow that. That doesn’t necessarily make them bad people, but not people God has in mind for you. 

15. Never forget the people who took time to check up on you

This follows up with my #2 above. When you’re going through hard times in your life, you will never (and I mean never) forget those who took the time to check in with you. I always remind myself to be this kind of person as well. Whether it’s a quick text, a phone call, a Facebook or Instagram message…anything helps. When I was dealing with everything going on in my life, the messages from people in my life meant more than they’ll ever know. 

16. Don’t be afraid to say I love you 

Mark Sloan from Grey’s Anatomy (aka ultimate heartthrob) once said, “I want you to promise me something. If you love someone, you tell them. Even if you're scared that it's not the right thing. Even if you're scared that it will cause problems. Even if you're scared it will burn your life to the ground. You say it, and you say it loud. And then you go from there....” 

17. Unfollow anyone on social media that doesn’t make you feel good

And if they’re not nice to you, block them. 

18. Don’t take anything personally 

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: don’t take anything personally. I wish I could say this to some of the people in my own life when I’ve been distant or MIA—it had nothing to do with them, and everything to do with me. If you can look at/understand life that way and know that, what others say and do is because of them, you’ll protect yourself from a whole slew of hurt feelings. 

19. We’re all bad in someone’s story 

I’ll be the first to admit—at times, I’ve broken hearts, I’ve been a bad friend, I’ve been a bad daughter, I’ve been a bad sister. Maybe you flipped someone off in traffic this week, forgot someone’s birthday, or lied to someone you love. There’s no way on heaven’s earth that we could be good 100% of the time. We won’t always please everyone, we won’t always make the best decisions, we’ll probably hurt someone’s feelings…but that’s life. None of us are perfect. All we can do is learn and try to do better next time. 

20. We all need people 

My family has always called me a porcupine (true story). I tend to act really tough on the outside (especially when I’m hurting), but one poke and it’s all over. I melt like ice cream on a hot day. I’m little Miss Independent who can get through her days without needing anyone, but life’s a hell of a lot more enjoyable when you’re able to let people in. What is life without relationships?

21. Your parents are people too 

They’re more than just “mom” and “dad.” They’re more than just your parents. They’ve got feelings, thoughts, and lives to live, just as much as you do. 

22. Sometimes you just have to jump

There’s a lot of things in life you’re not going to ready for—college, jobs, relationships, moving, opportunities, to say what you want to say, to start that business, the list goes on. I know from experience that you can spend years standing on the edge of the diving board, wasting time while the fear continues to build…or, you can just jump. 

23. Most people never tell you how they actually feel 

My dad has always said that alcohol is a “truth serum.” And he’s right. You want to know how someone really feels about you? Go out and get drunk together. Then, you’ll know. Or wait a couple a years and then they’ll have the courage to tell you. 

24. You can never love people as much as you can miss them

25. Always give to the homeless 

I always give to the homeless. I also always talk to them. I always make sure I have money in my wallet just in case I ever come across somebody who’s homeless. I don’t do this to make myself feel better, I don’t do this for bragging rights, I don’t do it for any other reason than I want them to know that someone believes in them. I don’t know what it feels like to be homeless, but I’ve been at rock bottom. I know what it feels like to be depressed, to be hopeless, to feel desperate. People have said to me over the years, “Laura, how do you know they’re not going to use that money to buy drugs or alcohol?” I don’t. I have absolutely no idea. But even if they do, if that’s what gets them through until the next day. Then I’m okay with that. More than anything, people need to know that they’re not worthless…that they matter. That’s why it’s so important to me. 

26. Time passes quicker than you’d like

I had a friend say to me this winter while we were pregaming before going out to the bars, “I wish we could do this forever.” It was a moment for me that was like wow, she’s right. We won’t be doing this forever. Although kind of embarrassing, 26 was the first year that I realized I was getting older (lol). I have fine lines from spending too much time in the sun, most of my friends are settling down, my parents are aging, my sister had a baby and I’m officially an aunt… I mean, I always knew these days would come and I’ve been present watching them unfold, but when you actually take a moment and think, damn, they’re here. Time passes and it passes quickly. Appreciate the moments, the good days, the bad days. Appreciate good people, remember the good times…because that’s all we have. One day you’re turning 21 excited to go out to the bars, the next you’re wondering how the hell you got to 27. Enjoy every moment.

Life’s one heck of a journey, but it’s definitely worth the ride. 

Looking forward to leaving 26 in the dust and propelling into 27. 

Keep on keepin’ on—

XX, Laura