halloween ideas!

In keeping the upcoming holiday weekend in mind {remember this post from last week?}, I thought it would be fun to share some food and decor ideas for Halloween! It’s such a festive occasion, and with it being on an actual weekend this year, just that much more reason to go slightly above and beyond our usual plans. Here are some inspiring images, articles & the like – and please, do share any of your favorite ideas and ways to celebrate! 

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Decor & Details

 Our 55 Favorite Halloween Decorating Ideas 

11 Fun Halloween Decorating Ideas

Homemade Halloween Decorating Ideas  

40 Easy to Make DIY Halloween Decor Ideas

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Inspiring Imagery 

Image result for decorating ideas for halloween

Image result for decorating ideas for halloween

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Spooky Snacks & Festive Foods 

Fun & Frightful Halloween Recipes

20 Halloween Party Appetizers & Drink Ideas

Adult Halloween Party Ideas

21 Gross Recipes: Halloween Party Food

29 Spooktacular Halloween Recipes for Kids  

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! ! ! ! h A p P y  H a L l O w E e N ! ! ! !

catching up over coffee

Good morning, friends. I thought today that maybe we could catch up over a bit of coffee…chat a little bit, and see how everyone is doing?

Because the first thing that I have to say is…


I’d be lying if I said that the past weeks months haven’t been a whirlwind. I’m sure you’ve noticed as well, from the overabundance of my “lately” posts that have been popping up over here. Don’t get me wrong; I’m certainly not complaining! It’s been a lovely, fun and wonderful summer but…I’m ready for things to SLOW.DOWN.


in about 6 weeks, the hubs and I will get just that! Doesn’t that sound crazy?! Shoot, even just saying that we still have that much left on our calendar is a tad mind-blowing. Two weddings. Anniversary celebration. Trips out of town. Visitors in town. It’s quite the life we lead, eh?

But before I continue my barrage of words on schedules and trips, let me ask – what do you have coming up? Any fall weddings on your agenda? What about birthday celebrations, or family gatherings? OR! {and I’ll be quite jealous if your answer is ‘yes’} do you have any football travelling planned? The hubs and I are big fans {both college and NFL} and love that we get to spend parts of the week soaking up all the glory that is football. It is, quite simply, awesome. < 3

Lest you think I neglect the topic, let me assure you that I haven’t slowed down on my home cooking! Yes, it’s taken a bit of a backseat lately, which is why there has been a slight lessening of recipes here. I’m raising my hand and admitting that I’ve fallen back into scheduling our easy weekly meals; ones that I can cook basically with my eyes closed, and one hand tied behind my back. Still delicious and soul-warming, but not so exciting that I would deem them worthy of sharing. I have a list about 100 recipes deep that I am yearning to whip up, but just waiting for the right time {aka a more manageable calendar – ha!}. I miss cooking and sharing with you all! Nothing makes me happier than doing just that; and trust me, if I could figure out a way to pass food through the computer screen for y’all to try, you betcha I would be all over that.

What tasty dishes and treats have you whipped up lately? Are you just basking in the glory that is fall weather? This is my favorite time of year. Not only does it signify that our wedding anniversary is just around the corner, but I adore all things fall – cozy clothes, crackling fires, and the FOOD. Oh yes…soups and stews, casseroles, hearty grains, and the reappearance of my beloved crockpot. It makes my heart sing, all of this.

I’m so glad we got to sit down and catch up! In typical Alicia fashion, I have to run – another busy day ahead. Let me know how you’re doing too, I’d love to hear from you!


happy birthday, dad!


…who never missed a game, a meet, or anything in between

…who will always be the calm to any storm

…to my favorite storyteller

…to the best running partner, and marathon buddy, a girl could ask for

…to the giver of sage advice, no matter what time it is {via phone, email or mail!}

…to a guy who appreciates good beer, and good wine!

…to my fellow PACKERS fan : )

…to the best “dadman” out there


I love you, Dad!


your favorite first-born

planning our summer fun with eventbrite!

I recently found out about Eventbrite and their ‘Summer Food Bucket List’ campaign, so naturally, I decided to join in! Eventbrite is an amazing technology platform that allows users to find events going on in their area, as well as gives users the ability to promote and manage their own events, too!


Image result for eventbrite


Pretty cool, am I right?!

You guys already know that the hubs and I spend A LOT of time travelling, and this summer is no different! While it won’t be as crazy as last year’s {read: here, here, and here to a fun little refresher!}, we still have a lot of fun things planned. And of course, it wouldn’t be an “Alicia” trip if we didn’t have a lot of our “wining & dining” experiences already planned out.

Let’s take a look and see what’s on the agenda, shall we?

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One of our all-time favorite events is, hands-down, the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival. This is the festival of all festivals – great food, great drinks, and great entertainment. The hubs and I have gone for at least the past 4 years, and we certainly don’t plan on missing it anytime soon! We decided to step up our game last year and order the ‘VIP’ tickets; best idea ever! You receive an extra two hours at the festival and “special” experiences {cooking demonstrations, whole hog picking}, not to mention a variety of exclusive bourbons and beers on the VIP holders get to take! Clearly, that was a big enough selling point for us — > you know how the hubs and I appreciate good bourbon! On my tasting list: lots of BBQ, specialty food items from local vendors {mustard, jams & jellies, and spirits, to name a few}, and of course, bourbon! All the liquor vendors do a great job of mixing up cocktails specifically for the event, so I’m excited to try those as well!

Being the wine lovers that we are, and the fact that we live so close to our favorite local winery, we’ve got several events of theirs on our radar, too! The one that I am most excited about is their Cheesy Dinner, held in July – course after course of delicious, cheesy-filled meals paired with their spectacular wines. They do a great job of souring locally, too, so it’s one to look forward to, for sure! And besides, with a cheese-centered meal, what could not be perfect about that?

Lastly, the hubs and I have our annual week-long trip planned. We’ll be strolling the coast of South Carolina for a few days to kick off our week! At the recommendation of my sister: a 5-course meal set up at R.Kitchen, cocktails at The Warehouse {their bourbon drinks are off the charts amazing!}, as well as some brewery and distillery tours {here, here, and here!}. I’m super excited about the meal at R.Kitchen – the chefs their plan their menus daily, so it’s an adventure every time!

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…so you can see, we’ve got our plates full! no pun intended, haha. And you know that I’ll be reporting back after each trip with my “lately” posts, so be sure to keep an eye out for those too!

Happy summer, and happy eating, y’all!

Happy Easter!

Image result for happy easter banner clip art

…wishing everyone a joyous Easter celebration. Enjoy the day spent with family, friends, & loved ones!

-Alicia xoxo 

challenge accepted! creating the perfect grilling package

For many, the passing of Labor Day signifies the end of summer and with that – the end of grilling season. In our household, however, we prefer to live on the edge and keep the grill going for as long as we can! Cooler temperatures and slightly crisper breezes, in my opinion, only make the allure of grilling even more fun!

So today, on this wonderful Sunday, we’re talking grilling. And not just any grilling, but our must-haves for outdoor cooking. The super cool company that is Man Crates│Gifts for Men has presented me with the opportunity to put together my box of essentials for grilling, and to that I say – “challenge accepted!”.

Before we dive in, let’s talk for a minute about their manifesto and what they offer, shall we? If you visit their website, you’re first and foremost greeted with their manifesto, which I happen to adore. Stated simply, it reads:

“We say ‘no’ to ugly neckties, cologne samplers and executive trinkets. We don’t save wrapping paper, we don’t do ribbons. We ship bragworthy gifts for guys. Gifts that you can’t wait to arrive because you know the recipient will love opening them. Gifts that people gather round at the office, people following the sounds of wood being torn from wood by the included, laser-engraved crowbar. We are Man Crates, and we deliver awesome gifts for men.”

Talk about awesome, right? It didn’t take too much thought or pondering over here, because this is such a fun challenge! And like I said, we spend a good amount of time outside on the back porch, grilling and chilling, so I decided to go in the direction of what could only further heighten the already epic event that is grilling. So let’s go on ahead and crack open my perfect crate, shall we?

1. Fun Coozies – we collect coozies in our house, so I’d love to be surprised in my crate with funky, offbeat ones. The goofier the saying, the better!

2. Cards Against Humanity – the ultimate crowd pleasing game. And after a cocktail or two, it gets even more fun!

3. Sensational Grillables – local meats and veggies, perhaps some stone fruit to top with soft cheese for after the main course….heavenly.

4. Craft drinks – this is a must. The hubs prefers his craft beers, while I lean more towards the wine and spirits side. So my crate would have both! When everyone is happy, everyone wins!

5. A football and other lawn games – what festivity would be complete without some games? Tossing around a football is pretty classic and never gets old {duh}, but it’s fun to mix it up with a little bocce ball, corn hole, perhaps some redneck golf, and maybe even horseshoe!

6. Assorted magazines – for when us ladies need a break from running around with the guys. We’re entitled to a little gossip every now and then, no?

7. Upbeat tunes – every good grilling sesh needs the appropriate music to set the tone for the day! I am a huge fan of all sorts of music {give me anything with a good beat!}, but I tend to gravitate towards more country music than anything else when working over the grill top.

8. Custom grilling tools – I’d love to have a beautiful set of stainless steel utensils {tongs, flipper, trays in assorted sizes, and pots and pans to use solely outside}. Not only are they functional, but I like to think of them as working art!

9. Mountable TV – a girl can dream, right? Because we’re right at the start of football season, this would make for the ultimate Sunday afternoon game experience.

10. Festive candles/torches/lights – it’s all about ambiance, am I right? I love to have an assortment of outdoor lighting when we’re posting up outside, as I really think it helps to set the vibe of the evening. Being able to choose based on your event would make it even more fun!

Thanks so much to the team over at Man Crates for the challenge!

Let’s Discuss: what would YOU put in your dream Man Crates?! Check  out their spot – I’d love to know! 

lately: annapolis!

Labor Day weekend was a weekend full of fun, adventure, and ANNAPOLIS! We were lucky enough to spend time with one of my closest friends – and in true form, it far exceeded any sort of expectations we could have set. From crab cakes to cocktails, water taxis to rickshaws, explorations to excitement, it was a trip for the books.

Friday night was a drive through of the city, touring gorgeous homes and of course…starting the weekend with some seafood!

Saturday saw an early morning exercise session, followed by brunch and exploring. A boat tour {on the  yacht from Wedding Crashers!} was a fabulous 2 hours spent. ‘Twisted History’ was the majority of the evening – think scandalous history lessons told table side at historic bars – it was so neat!

Sunday led us to bottomless mimosas at brunch, followed by a bar hop of some of the coolest spots we could have hoped to experience.

Here’s a peak at some of the shenanigans…enjoy!


crab dip baked into a brioche roll started us off at dinner Friday night


gazpacho topped with crab and drizzled with finishing oil and fresh herbs…with a side of amazing blue cheese coleslaw


a power breakfast omelet after an early Saturday morning workout


signs at the Boatyard Saturday morning…and $2 mimosas before 10am!


the hubs and Rick, tour guide and party planner extraordinaire


sharing a smooch on the yacht Saturday afternoon


future magazine cover, am i right?


some of the brunch spread at Blackwall Hitch on Sunday morning


could not get enough of the decor at Blackwall


nautical details abound


specialty cocktails at Level – one of our Sunday bar hop stops


stopping in for some whisky and bourbon at Dry 85…another Sunday stop


Dry 85


Red Red Wine {bar}


painkillers at PUSSER’S!


the hubs is making the best face. ever.


keeping the fun rolling on the yacht!


1/2 lb. crabcake at Chick & Ruth’s on Sunday morning…so amazingly tasty


champagne, yacht style!



a view into the kitchen at Chick & Ruth’s…talk about a well-oiled machine!


how amazing is this view!?

lately: beer & bourbon festival


Ross and I at the beginning of the festival, showing off our glasses!


…because sometimes Kelly and I make goofy faces.


Cortez Cigars make an appearance every summer and it’s always so neat to see them hand rolled.


This was a find! We got to sample our namesake bourbon, and it was H.E.A.V.E.N.L.Y. …if only we could have taken some home!


Watching them pull pork – it was so cool! I was like a kid in a candy store.



Ross and Chris after tasting some delicious beers.


One of the many local food trucks posted up under tents!


A little cornhole action, showcasing the theme of the festival.



Cloudy skies and rain couldn’t deter our fun!


Over 40 types of bourbon and more beers than we could count. Pulled pork and good ol’ Southern food for days.

This was the third summer in a row we’ve ventured down to Cary, N.C. for the annual “Beer Bourbon & BBQ Festival” and, true to form, it was a winning time. We sampled a good amount of tasty brews and beverages, but the best part? Spending time and catching up with friends we don’t get to see nearly as often as we’d like. I feel so lucky we were able to make the trip, and we are already counting down to next summer’s shindig!

lately: our beach trip!

The hubs and I spent an amazing week {just the two of us!} living large on the shores of Carolina Beach. Blessed with absolutely perfect weather, plenty of activities, and within walking distance to just about every amazing restaurant/bar in town, we made sure to live up this trip! Take a peak into how we spent the week.


one of the many beer flights we sampled during the week {this was on our way out, at the Flying Saucer in Raleigh}


the view from our balcony


a rosemary-infused cocktail that the bartender created just for us! {we basically closed it down and hung out with the staff, it was so fun}


rare grilled tuna with an arugula salad, grilled peaches and jalepeno foam


oyster back {oyster on the half shell eaten after enjoying the cocktail of gin/pickled onion/cilantro}


one of the things on our “beach bucket list” was to make a sandcastle – we blew this one out of the water!


at the Shuckin’ Shack {another item on our list was to do an oyster shooter every day – again, we rocked that!}


bringing home with us – Attimo Wine enjoyed, porch sitting style, after an amazing day on the sand


home for the week – 3rd floor of the Marriott


great wave riding this week!


walking along the pier after dinner on Tuesday evening


we made sure to document our presence when we were at the Fat Pelican!


sunshine and tan lines



cocktail night!


we found the hidden bookcase entrance to the Green Light Bar{!!} in Raleigh

vacay recap: sonoma county!

The last few days of our trip out West were spent winery hopping with Lisa, my awesome sister-in-law. We visited 4 wineries throughout the weekend, and ended up shipping an entire case back to our sweet little east coast abode. Truth be told, the wines we tasted were probably some of the best I’ve had, and not to mention the absolutely gorgeous wineries all along the area. Talk about breath-taking! Here are a few shots of our weekend; enjoy!


Lisa enjoying her wine – and the view – at Bella!


Ridge Winery – our first stop!


barrel room at Ridge – stop #3 on their wine tasting tour!


Preston Winery


crisp white wine to sip on at Preston Winery – we sat right outside their herb garden!


wall art at the Dry Creek General Store


gorgeous, locally crafted stoneware for sale at the Dry Creek General Store {I wanted to take all of it home!}



crate of wine on display at Bella



food bites at Bella are handed out before entering the tasting room


the entrance to Bella’s tasting room is located underneath the hillside of their winery!



down the hallway to Bella’s tasting counter



starting our Sunday off with some amazing Zinfandel






Let’s Discuss: Have you ever been out to Sonoma County? What are your favorite wineries?