If you live near one of Top Golf’s 10 U.S. locations (or one of the eight about to open), this is where you need to be spending your summer. Even for people who’ve never golfed before—that would be me, before my first visit a month ago—it’s a ridiculously fun way to spend a Saturday. Imagine a driving range that got all caught up in a one night stand after a bender night with a bowling alley.
You hit golf balls at huge targets and your score is tallied for you thanks to the micro chipped ball. You don’t ever need to leave your comfy bay (and thank goodness for that, because the beer is cold and the Craft-Beer-and-Roasted-Corn Queso is delicious).
Inspiration is like lighting. When it comes, it’s strong and bright. But you have to catch it at exactly the right moment. And hopefully funnel that inspiration into a brilliant and original project or recipe. The proverbial “lighting in a bottle.”
This is not one of those times. This time, my lighting actually came in a box. A box of Betty Crocker watermelon cupcake mix. I saw it on the shelf at Target and decided I had to make it. So I did. And it was delicious.
Before you ask, no, the Betty Crocker company has nothing to do with me writing this post. I just wanted to share my cupcake experiment to show that boxed cake can still look (and taste) impressive. Especially if you find ways to put your own spin on it. I made the cake as directed on the box, but I definitely wasn’t into the overly-artificial taste of the coordinating watermelon frosting (from a can of course). So I made a half-batch of my favorite buttercream recipe from Billy’s Bakery in NYC (leaving out the vanilla), then mixed it together in my stand mixer with the watermelon stuff.
I love how my little improvisation lightened the flavor of the frosting a bit, and made these boxed cakes my own. Plus it made the frosting go a little further (There’s never enough in one can, is there?). Friends said the frosting was the best pat of these cakes. And it totally smelled like Bubblicious watermelon bubble gum. A.K.A.: Amazing.
There’s one thing I can always count on when we get together with friends for a backyard barbecue: Beer can chicken. It’s a unique way of grilling a bird that produces the most moist and delicious chicken you’ve ever tasted.
You don’t need any tools or special ingredients, just a can of beer. Clean and season your bird as usual, but instead of throwing it on the grill, sit her down on a half-full can of beer (with a few holes poked around the top). Any brew will do, since the chicken doesn’t hang on to the flavor (or the booze–this is a kid-friendly recipe). But as the beer bubbles up on the grill, it infuses the tender chicken with moisture that rumbles together with the bird’s natural juices to create the most succulent and delicious backyard grill chicken in existence.
Here’s a recipe for beer can chicken from Real Simple with a killer spice rub, but you can substitute your favorite sauce or rub to make it your own.
A few weekends ago, while you could still feel a chill in the air at night, I got together with some friends to say hello to Spring and goodbye to a dear friend. He’s now getting settled in his new life in California, and I’m just getting around to sharing our wonderful backyard barbecue.
The party doubled as both a going away party and a housewarming party for our friends who just bought their first home–in downtown Norcross, right next door to mom (and grandma to their little one). They’re building a little family compound, and we broke it in with beer, games and a fire in the fire pit.
Oh, and beer can chicken. Lots of beer can chicken. (More on that tomorrow!)
I’m a wee bit obsessed with beer koozies. It’s my go-to souvenir to bring home from vacation, and I am known to always have one in my purse, and in my car, and in my desk drawer at work. (Hey, things happen! I like to be ready.) This is my current favorite: The Danger Zone koozie from Rowdy Gentleman.
Mar 28 / Home
I’m blaming this excruciatingly long winter as the reason why I haven’t been productive lately. I usually find Spring to be a motivating season; with projects blooming right along with the buds outside. But I’m finding it really hard to get psyched up for springtime when it’s still so frigid outside.
Until it actually feels like Spring, I wanted to make do with this framed print for my home studio. And since I suspect I’m not alone in feeling this extended freeze in productivity, here’s a printable for you, too. There’s four sizes and two versions, so you can pick what suits your space and style.
Choose the soft yellow script print or bold-lettered blue print, then download the PDF and print it at home. The first three sizes will fit on a standard letter-size piece of paper (just make sure you print at “Actual Size” or 100%, not stretch-to-fit).
Spring Into Action
Free Print-at-Home Art Prints
» Soft 4″x6″
» Bold 4″x6″
» Soft 5″x7″
» Bold 5″x7″
» Soft 8″x10″
» Bold 8″x10″
» Soft 11″x14″
» Bold 11″x14″
Vintage flower photos courtesy of Literary Spring Designs (CC BY-NC 3.0 US)
After looking fruitlessly for an affordable bar cart, I finally found the perfect piece on a routine stop at Target. This Threshold Wood and Brass Bar Cart is just the right size for our living room, and was just the right price—$130!—for us to bring it home right away. (I think we were there to spend $20 on hand soap and socks.)
With all the tools, cute accessories (like a gold-edged glass from the brewery where we’re getting married later this year), and you know… bottles that need to fit on our bar station, I needed some help. Here are a few posts that have helped me figure out how to style the gear on our new bar cart:
It’s not exactly where we want it yet. I keep moving things around on the cart every time we host a party trying to figure out the best way to display all the necessary tools and pieces (and at least some of the pretty things).