Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday Pick Six: 4/28/17

Here's what we're loving and living for this week!

1.  Our friends (and yours) the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge celebrate their 6th anniversary tomorrow.  We remember their gorgeous wedding like it was yesterday!  Yes, we got up early to watch and you'd better believe we had champagne and a cake.  If you want to relive the fabulousness, check out this classic post from Go Fug Yourself with all the royal fashion and romance you can stand.  Speaking of which, if you haven't read their book, The Royal We, it's a perfect beach read!  Finally, if you have three hours to spare, pop some champagne and watch the Royal Wedding in its entirety and thank us later!

2.  If you're looking for something to watch this weekend, the new season of Catastrophe returns to Amazon today.  This show is about an American guy and British gal who find themselves who started off their relationship with a positive pregnancy test after a one-night-stand.  Stars Sharon Hogan and Rob Delany are charming, funny and sad all in the same episode.  Binge-watch the first two seasons to get caught up first!

3.  Now that spring is finally here, it's Rose' season around these parts.  We love to drink this summertime staple as is, but we are looking forward to trying it FROZEN (or Froze'...get it?) this summer.  This recipe looks fool-proof!  We will definitely be drinking this on the deck or by the (baby) pool this summer.

4. Do you guys know about Millennial Pink?  Apparently, it's the name for the popular tone of pink (think blush) that's been so popular in fashion lately.  We love it, but it can be a tricky color to wear in large doses.  This article gives some great tips on how to sport it, even if you weren't born in the 90's. We love incorporating it with beauty products, like this great nail polish.

5.  I've been looking for comfortable capris for running that don't slip down while I'm on a jog.  I think I've finally found them in the Go-Dry High Rise Compression Crops from Old Navy.  They do have a fair amount of compression (sort of a Spanx-like feel) but I liked that support while I was running.  The high-waist gives me nice coverage while moving around with no slippage.  Lucky for us, they also come in a variety of patterns and colors, although I went classic with this subtle black dot pattern.--J

6.  We are totally digging Cold Brew Coffee these days.  Now that the weather is warmer, we need an alternative to our usual latte and these always hit the spot.  Our favorite is the Vanilla Sweet Cream  Cold Brew at Starbucks!  It's just as delicious as it looks!

What are you loving this week?  Let us know in the comments and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

At-Home Happy Hour

One of our favorite things to do is to have Happy Hour on Fridays.  We love catching up after the long work week and celebrating the weekend.  We used to go to Happy Hour at our favorite local bar each week, but that became a little harder after Jess had a kiddo.  We decided that sticking around home while enjoying cocktails and snacks was not only easier, but much more cost-effective.  Here are our favorite Happy Hour hosting tips!

  • Keep the guest list low key:  One of the best things about Happy Hour is that it's a great way to reconnect with friends after the work week.  The best way to do this is to keep things small and intimate.  This isn't a time to host your entire office or everyone from your Pure Barre class.  Keep the list small (maximum 10 people) so that you can mix and mingle with everyone.  Also, no formal invitations are required.  Group text or Evites are sufficient for something this laid-back.
  • Pick a signature cocktail:  Sure, your favorite bar has an extensive collection of cocktail specials, but you don't need a full-bar to have fun at home.  One great option is to mix up a six-pack of beer (or two) at your favorite grocery store.  Many stores sell single bottles that you can add to your own six-pack, so you can offer several different kinds to your guests.  You can also just grab a few bottles of your favorite rose (ours is Charles and Charles) or pick a signature themed cocktail and mix up a batch ahead of time in a big pitcher.  Try this skinny margarita recipe or an old school classic like the Manhattan.  This way, you don't need a giant liquor selection, you're just focusing in on one or two quality bottles of booze.  Your guests will be happy and it's easier on your pocketbook, too.
  • Presentation matters: Since you're hosting at home, you want to take a minute to make things a little bit special.  A fast floral decoration tip is to grab one kind of flower or flowers all in the same color (Thanks, Barefoot Contessa) and display it in a simple container.  You can even use a jar or wine glass if you don't have a vase handy.  Also, who wants do dishes after a party?  Hit Target and grab some cute paper plates and plastic cups.  Stick to finger foods so you won't need to worry about utensils.  Also, you can keep a supply of cute or kitchy cocktail napkins on hand so you don't have to run out each time you host.
  • Shop and serve smartly: No one wants to come home after a long work week and spend hours slaving away at the stove.  You want to pick a menu that's a combination of things you're going to make and store-bought favorites.  We like incorporating a few heated dishes and a couple of dip/chip/veggie combinations.  Trader Joe's has so many options for appetizers that just need to be heated and served and dips galore.  Anything miniature-sized (mini quiche, mini hot dogs, etc) is always easy to eat while you have a drink in your hand.  Store-bought dip or hummus with pita chips and cut veggies is effort free and a crowd pleaser.  You can easily buy store bought salsa, guacamole and tortilla chips, too (Although we have the best and easiest guacamole recipe ever).  Cheese and crackers are always a hit--try adding sliced pepperoni with some chunks of parmesan for an Italian twist!  
  • Don't forget a little something sweet: Even though most folks won't stay too late at a Happy Hour, you might want to have something sweet on hand to finish off the evening.  Again, keeping it as simple as possible, stop by the bakery in your grocery store and grab a few items. Whole Foods always has amazing baked goods that are sold by the slice.  Grab a couple of different things (cheesecake, fruit tart, chocolate mousse cake) and slice them into bited-sized pieces on a pretty serving tray.  Also, who doesn't love a chocolate chip cookie?  No one can tell the difference between homemade and break-and-bake so pick up some pre-made dough and throw them into the oven.  Your kitchen will smell amazing, too!
Do you have any plans to host a Happy Hour at home?  Let us know if you try out any of our tips!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Twins Take on the Holiday: Mother's Day Gift Guide

If your mom is anything like ours, sometime around January, she starts mentioning what she'd like for Mother's Day since it's "coming soon".  As a result, we usually have her present ideas locked up pretty early on.  (Mom, we know you're reading, so NO HINTS!)  We thought we'd do a little gift guide, so that you could start to think about the special lady in your life.  Don't know what to get your mom?  Read on!

For the Fit Mama:

A mom who loves fitness will love some gifts to help her maintain her healthy lifestyle.  Great gifts would be this adorable sweatshirt to throw on before Barre class or some new kicks.  Another great option is a gift card at her favorite gym or studio.

For the New Mommy:


A first Mother's Day is a wonderful time for a sentimental, personalized gift.  Jewelry is a nice way to mark this occasion because it can serve as a daily reminder of how special it is to be a mom.  You can also represent her children with names or birthstones, too.  There are so many great personalization options at Three Sisters Jewelry.  Fun fact--Jess wears one of their necklaces daily that was a new mom gift from Ry!  Birthstone jewelry is also a great idea and has been updated a lot since those outdated rings that our Grandmas used to wear.  We love simple rings from Jennifer Meyer and Helen Ficalora that can be worn alone or stacked together (We wear both).

For the Foodie Mom:

If your mom loves to cook, grab a new kitchen gadget or cookbook. We bought our mom a Keurig coffeemaker a few years back and she still uses it everyday!  How great is this one in Jess's favorite color?  We both have this cookbook from the fantastic Deb at Smitten Kitchen and the photos and recipes are to die for!

For the Fashion Forward Mama: 

Splurging on a beautiful bag or some sassy shoes will make this mom smile.  One of Jess's favorite bags is this Longchamp tote.  There's a reason everyone and her mother carries it around.  It's lightweight, washable, holds basically everything and is much chicer than the average diaper bag.  It's a great everyday bag, but we also think a cute cross-body is perfect for a mom-on-the-go.  These go-with-everything sandals are also a great splurge she'll enjoy all summer long!

For Any Mother on Your List:

All moms appreciate a gift that helps them take a little time out for themselves.  We love these cozy pajama sets that come in lots of color options.  Our favorite comfy slippers are currently sold out, but these are awesome, too.

What are you getting for your mom this Mother's Day?  If you're a mom, what are you hoping your kiddos will get for you?  Let us know in the comments below!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Pick-Six: 4/21/17

Here's what we are loving and living for this week!

1.  We've already professed our love of podcasts, but this week's favorite is the Best of Friends podcast.  Friends Krista, Erin and Jamie are super fans of the classic show, Friends (as are we) and they offer their insight and input on each episode.  Listening to this hilarious show reminded us about how great Friends really was!  Could we BE loving this show any more?

2.  Deb from Smitten Kitchen has one of our favorite blogs and Instagram accounts.  She recently featured a photo of these Chocolate Chip Meringues and we decided we need to make them immediately!

3.  One of our weekly-watched shows is Quantico.  This week, we couldn't help but notice the amazing one piece swimsuit worn by the show's gorgeous star, Priyanka Chopra.  Luckily for us (and you), Popsugar sourced it here!  We're not saying this suit will turn you into a supermodel/actress, but you never know...

4.  Are you guys watching Nate and Jeremiah By Design on TLC?  Husbands and interior designers Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent help out homeowners who are over their heads with their home improvement plans.  We are alternatively horrified and amazed by the transformations Nate and Jeremiah pull off.  Gentlemen, if you're listening, I think Jess has a basement you can work on.

5.  It seems like we are always talking about another great Clinique product, but they really do kill it when it comes to skin care.  My latest fave is the Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser.  Its mousse-like texture wasn't harsh yet removed my makeup easily.  Love!--J

6.  If Heaven does exist, we like to think it's a lot like the Target Dollar Spot.  We are always finding the cutest little toys or adorable holiday decorations there!  This week, Ry hit the jackpot with these festive summer finds!  Run, don't walk to Target and thank us later!

What are you loving this week?  Give us your picks in the comments below!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spring Sugar Cookies

Hi friends, it's me, Jess.  One of my favorite things to do on a rainy day is bake cookies.  Recently, I decided to make sugar cookies with my little gal when it was too stormy to go outside.  We usually do this only around Christmas time, because sugar cookies require a little more effort than good old Chocolate Chips.  However, I forgot how fun it can be cutting and decorating cookies!  It's not too complicated and creative and you can make seasonal or holiday themed treats!

To get started, you'll want to gather your recipe and ingredients.  There are a lot of great sugar cookie recipes out there, but my favorite one comes from Martha Stewart.  Whatever you choose, you'll want to make sure the recipe does not say "soft sugar cookies" as that dough most likely won't hold its shape enough to roll and cut.
Use real vanilla!  It makes a difference!

After you mix up your dough, make sure you chill it according to the recipe.  This also allows the dough to become firm enough to hold its shape while you cut and bake.  When I'm baking with my kiddo, I usually try to get the dough made up before her nap and then let it chill during nap time.  It's usually plenty of time and gives her something to look forward to post-nap.  

Once you're chilled, it's time to roll that dough out.  I personally prefer a French-style rolling pin without the handles, because it gives you more control.  I have this one and use it all the time.  I also like to roll on a long cutting board instead of my counter because I've found that cookie cutters have scratched my countertop. By all means, if you have a fancier counter than I do, you can skip this.

Now, it's time to cut!  This is where you can get seasonal or holiday themed.  There are so many adorable cookie cutters out there these days available anywhere from Etsy to your local grocery store.    We used these spring theme cutters. In the fall, I use footballs or leaves.  In the winter, of course, it's trees, wreaths and stockings.  Whatever fits your season or mood!

Time for decorating!  When I want something a little fancier, I will bake the cookies as is, and then add a tinted royal icing.  This makes for a pretty, shiny finish and a little added flavor.  However, I have found that toddlers and piping bags don't mix well!  When I'm working with kids, I stick to the basics, so we just use a variety of sprinkles.  If you're sprinkling, do it BEFORE baking. I have found that with a little one, it works best to pour sprinkles into small bowls and distribute them with a small spoon.  This helps get the sprinkles actually onto the cookies, not just on your cookie sheet (and counter, and get the idea...).

Bake them on a sheet tray (I prefer non-stick), cool and enjoy! 

How easy was that? In a matter of hours, you have delicious, cheerful cookies and you kept your child busy on a rainy day.  That's a #momwin if I ever had one.  Do you like sugar cookies?  Let us know if you give this recipe a try!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring Beauty Picks

Since we gave you our Winter Beauty Guide, we thought we would bring you some of the things we love for spring.

1.  Clinique "Chubby Lash" Fattening Mascara: Now, usually, fattening isn't a good thing, but when it comes to our lashes, we'll take it.  If you follow us on Instagram (and you SHOULD, we are @twinstakeon), you may have seen me rocking this on a recent date night.  I received it as a free sample in a Clinique bonus pack and was very impressed.  My lashes are long, but can look a little thin with the wrong mascara.  (Who wants spider eyes?) This gave my lashes volume without getting clumpy or heavy.  I have the "Jumbo Jet" black color but how cool are the teal or navy?--J

2.  True Blue Spa Efferfecent Foot Soak: No matter how well we moisturize, it seems that our feet get dry and cracked over the winter.  This foot soak softens dry skin and smells fantastic.  This stuff dissolves in warm water for a great first step in a spring pedicure.  Soak for a while, scrub off any dry bits, moisturize and you're ready for polish and sandal weather!  This is an old favorite that we think might be getting phased out, so stock up now!

3.  Yes to Coconut Cleansing Wipes: Picture it, you've finished a workout and you need to meet a friend for coffee or pick up your kiddo without time to hit the showers.  If you're anything like us, you find yourself in this type of situation more than you'd like to admit.  We've looked far and wide for a cleansing wipe that helps you clean and smell fresh quickly so you can be on your way (and hopefully hit the shower later!)  These definitely do the trick!  These wipes are paraben-free and compostable!  They are made with real coconut water to cleanse dirt and smell like the best suntan lotion ever.

4.  Essie Gel Couture in Lace Me Up: At the risk of repeating ourselves (again), we have to profess our love for Essie's latest gel couture line.  The colors are perfect for spring and the polish has great staying power.  We are really feeling pastels this year, and this the lightest, brightest pink around.

5.  Philosophy SeƱorita Margarita Shampoo, Conditioner and Body Wash: We love a good margarita, so why would a beauty product that smells like a margarita be any different?  We have used these Philosophy "3 in 1" products for years as shower gel and always love the moisture and subtle scents they provide.

6.  Benefit Eye Bright: With everything I have going on (work, family, catching up on Housewives), I rarely get enough sleep.  Lucky for me, this product helps us look as though I've had my beauty rest and then some.  It's a pencil like product that you use in your inner eye and brow bone to make everything a little brighter and lifted looking.  It takes a little finesse to blend properly (check YouTube for some tutorials) but once you have the hang of it, you'll look great!--J

What beauty products do you have your eyes on this spring?  Let us know in the comments below!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday Pick-Six: 4/14/17

Here's what we're loving and living for this week!

1.  You guys, Veep is coming back for Season 6 on Sunday and we couldn't be more excited!  We've been Julia Louis-Dreyfuss fans since Seinfeld and she's so funny as Selina Meyer, a clueless politician.  Check out the trailer here and tune in on Sunday, April 16th at 10:30 on HBO.

2.  We've loved John and Sherry at Young House Love forever and how adorable (and easy) is their DIY Easter Egg Tree!  If Ryan's cats and Jess's kid wouldn't knock this baby over, we'd be making this in a heartbeat!

3.  Recently, we were lucky enough to attend a book talk/signing with Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, author of the wildly popular The Nest.  Cynthia was funny and engaging in person and our evening reminded us of how much we loved this book!  If you haven't read it yet, it's a story about the complicated, dysfunctional relationships between the adult children of the Plumb family.  We also heard that it's been optioned for a movie, which we wholeheartedly support (We even have our own casting ideas!) It's out on paperback now, so check it out!

4.  We might be late to the party, but we finally saw Beauty and the Beast last week!  We especially enjoyed the costumes and sets, which stayed really true to the original cartoon.  The movie was at its best in the musical numbers and we enjoyed old favorite songs.  Also, how handsome is Gaston?  

5.  We have been fans of Bolthouse Farms Juices for quite a while, but recently our mom recommended their yogurt based creamy salad dressings.  They're surprisingly low in calories and don't use high fructose corn syrup.  I just got the Creamy Caesar today and can't wait to try it out for dinner.  

6.  Much like one of our favorite tv characters, Olivia Pope, we LOVE popcorn.  However, until recently, we have found making stove top popcorn kind of a pain.  That is, until we found the Great Northern Popcorn Popper.  All you do is dump the popcorn in, add a little bit of oil, turn the knob for about 5 minutes and you have delicious freshly popped popcorn!  We are pretty sure even Liv would approve!