Sunshine State Summer

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Summertime in Florida can be brutal. You have to occupy yourself with things that involve AC otherwise the sweltering heat can ruin your summer days. There’s only so much time you can spend at the beach so I’ve been discovering new local spots for brunch and dessert (the two most important meals of the day). With a stop in Palm Beach, night strolls along the beach at sunset, gelato at the Italian market, rooftop pool parties, and even more vacations to look forward to..I’d say it’s been a pretty successful summer.

IMG_3479^^The colorful ride at Mazzaro’s Italian Market. The most incredible spot…gelato bar, pastries, homemade pasta, and a wine & cheese room.

IMG_3753^^Indulging in a Nutella-filled eclair after our French-inspired brunch at Piquant.

IMG_2717^^A weekend trip to a Palm Beach palace.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset^^Macarons galore at Chocolate Pi inside the new Epicurean Hotel in Tampa.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset^^Orange creamsicle beers on a sunny day at 7venth Sun Brewery.IMG_2718

IMG_2456^^Old fashioned cocktails served on an antique door at Mandarin Hide.

IMG_2947^^Incredibly delicious spicy Asian tacos at Oxford Exchange.

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A Day in the Life

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1. The sunflower booth at the Saturday Morning Market always has a line wrapped around the block. // 2. Homemade salted caramel brownie cookie sandwiches; the cousin to my famous red velvet cookies. // 3. Root beer floats under twinkling lights at Urban Brew & BBQ. // 4. Colorful cocktails overlooking Beach Drive at The Canopy. // 5. Checking out Scarlet Johansson’s newest indie flick “Under the Skin” at the enchanting Tampa Theater. // 6. Ridiculously delicious Nutella banana waffles at Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe. // 7. Lady Gaga in Ft. Lauderdale kicking off the first night of her artRave world tour! // 8. Quiet afternoon underneath the wall of lamps at Mandarin Hide. // 9. French macarons and blood orange mimosas for brunch at Birch + Vine.

Beach Chic

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The first question I usually get living in Florida is “do you go to the beach all the time?” The next question is “why are you so pale?” Hah, but seriously, I get that a lot. Honestly, I’ve never been a big beach person. I’m not a huge fan of baking under the sweltering sun, burning to a crisp, and tracking mass amounts of sand into my car. I spent the day at Postcard Inn on St. Pete Beach for my birthday last month and I could really get used to this type of “beach day.” This old time motel was built in 1957 and later turned into a swanky vacation spot complete with beachfront hammocks, colorful books lining the lobby shelves, fish netting dangling from the ceiling, and sunset murals adorning the walls. Talk about the perfect place for a little rest and relaxation.

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Watermelon Feta Salad

As summer comes to an end in most parts of the country, your food can still reflect sunny days and breezy nights. Although I’m a sucker for autumn, Florida’s summer lasts much longer than anywhere else; therefore I refuse to give up my summer recipes quite yet. This watermelon feta salad is light, refreshing and best enjoyed while sitting by a pool…preferably with a fruity cocktail in hand.

In a large bowl mix together diced watermelon, chopped mint leaves, sliced cherry tomatoes (yellow tomatoes are a great contrast amongst the red watermelon), feta cheese, and drizzle with a hint of balsamic vinegar. I love sticking the whole salad into the fridge for a few minutes so it’s ice cold when I serve it.

A Day in the Life

1. Spent the day by the pool with cold drinks + homemade guacamole. // 2. The wall of Pantone colors at Lowe’s. One of these days I’m going to paint stripes on my walls. // 3. My first cronut + cold brew coffee from Dough. // 4. Betsey Johnson at the HSN studios kicking off her new collection. // 5. A frosted mug filled with root beer at Woody’s Root Beer Stand in Ohio. // 6. Lena Dunham made the front page of the Tampa Bay Times for her comment about how all of the artsy people are leaving NYC for Tampa. // 7. The most amazing spinach salad + caprese sandwich at Alesia in St. Pete. // 8. My new autumn scent: Trish McEvoy’s Sexy No. 9 // 9. A massive raspberry mousse-filled macaron from Dough to celebrate Pretty Little Liars night.

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A Day in the Life

1. Thanks to Glitter Guide for the homemade doughnut idea. // 2. The sweetest greeting cards at Anthropologie. // 3. Missoni-inspired tile at the Ca’ d’Zan Mansion in Sarasota. // 4. Pink halls at the Ringling Museum of Art. // 5. A table full of delicious tapas at Tryst Gastro Lounge. // 6. The shape of these buildings reminded me of Santorini. // 7. Watermelon feta salad. // 8. Mimosas + brunch at Cassis American Brasserie. // 9. Chocolate pancakes at Oxford Exchange.

For more updates follow me on Instagram {username: lifeisaredcarpet} or become a fan on Facebook.

Mimosa Monday

Is there any better way to spend a Monday than at the sweetest Parisian cafe, sitting on the street under colorful umbrellas, indulging in mimosas, stuffed French toast, and a plate of macarons? Summer is officially here and there is something so wonderful about introducing friends to new restaurants, spending your afternoon sipping cocktails on a rooftop, and overlooking the beautiful city that you call home.

Happy July!

Avocado Toast

Before the daily afternoon thunderstorms, spending time out on my porch is one of my favorite things about summer. As the grey clouds build overhead, I love smelling the rain roll in and watching the sun slowly move out of sight. I had just picked up a fresh loaf of bread from the bakery and decided to create a little smorgasbord of toppings for my homemade Avocado Toast.

To create the toast- slice the bread, brush on a mixture of butter and olive oil, and toast on a grill pan. In a small bowl, mash up an avocado and mix with sea salt and lemon juice. Spread the avocado mixture onto one side of the bread and top with arugula, grilled peaches, salami, and a dash of balsamic vinegar (or whatever other toppings you fancy). The creaminess of the avocado and the smokiness of the bread make for a pretty amazing combination.

Flower Power

Back in April I received an invite to a DIY party hosted by Urban Outfitters in Tampa. Since music festival season is in full swing, the project that month was to create colorful flower crowns. It was such a fun night with the DJ spinning in the store, perusing the sale racks in between crafting, and ending the night with lovely handmade flower crowns. Now if only I could hop on a plane to Coachella…

We stopped for some treats at a new bakery in town called Dough. They have everything from Nutella lattes to macarons to bacon doughnuts. The red chandeliers, purple booths, and black and white striped awning make this the trendiest place in town to pick up dessert. I got a mini box of macarons and a root beer float doughnut complete with a sugary glaze and striped paper straw.

Fiesta Time

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Last year my best friend hosted a rooftop “Cuatro de Mayo” party at her apartment in NYC and I figured we needed something to soak up the tequila so I brought this Margarita Cake. The salty pretzel crust mixed with the tartness of the lime made for the most perfect combination.

I have been obsessing over these adorable Piñata Cookies. One of these days, I’m going to dedicate an afternoon to creating these little treats. Good thing they have Halloween-themed Piñata Cookies because I may not muster up the courage to make them until October!

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Image^^Colorful peppers at the Saturday Market in downtown St. Pete.

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Image^^My favorite tacos at Burrito Boarder.

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