Filed In: Eats

Thanksgiving Recipes

Two hobbies of mine are cooking & spending time on Pinterest. That being said, finding new recipes on Pinterest and trying them out the kitchen is hands-down one of my favorite things to do. Pinterest is such a great source for recipes. We’ve pinned quite a few on our ‘To Cook’ board, but wanted to share some recipes today that are totally perfect for Thanksgiving. If you need to bring a dish to Thanksgiving (or to Friendsgiving) consider making one of these. Happy pinning & happy cooking! -M

1. The Best Fall Salad & Dressing

Fall Salad- The Pioneer Woman

 2. Roasted Mushrooms

Roasted Mushrooms

3. Garlic Lemon Green Beans

Garlic lemon green beans

4. Parmesan & Rosemary Potatoes

Oven roasted parmesan rosemary potatoes

5. Mandarin Pasta Spinach Salad

Thanksgiving Recipes

6. Brussels, Butternut Squash, Pecans, & Cranberries

Thanksgiving Recipes

7. Rosemary Chicken Noodle Soup

Thanksgiving Recipes

8. Zuchini & Wild Rice Gratin 

Thanksgiving Recipes

9. Tomato & Roasted Lemon Salad

Thanksgiving Recipes

10. Apple, Brie, & Honey Bruschetta 

Thanksgiving Recipes

10 tips for hosting Friendsgiving

10 tips when hosting Friendsgiving

Image via Better Home & Gardens

Hi everyone! I am so excited for my first post on LOLO Mag. Today I’m sharing 10 bits of advice to consider when hosting Friendsgiving. My boyfriend & I are hosting a Friendsgiving gathering at his farm this coming Sunday for about 35 people. The below tips are all things that I have tried to consider when planning the party, plus bits of wisdom that I am determined to keep in mind as the day gets closer. -Melissa

1. Get it on the calendar. This time of year is very hectic, so picking a date ahead of time is so important. It might seem crazy, but planning it in September is really not that unrealistic. Pick a day and mark it on the calendar!

2. The more the merrier. Now it’s time to make the guest list. If you think there is someone you want to invite, do it! Don’t worry about the number, because some people won’t be able to come. Also, this time of the year is all about bringing people together and enjoying one another.

3. Make the e-vite & send. Paperless post is the way to go! The site makes it so easy to design the cutest card + send it to your guests via email. Then your guests can easily RSVP yes or no. The event page is also a great place for people to post on the comment wall.

4. Group effort. For our upcoming Friendsgiving, I asked everyone to bring a dish to share and I am so happy that I did! It is so fun for everyone to bring their favorite dish, and it saves the host so much time, energy, and stress. It is way too much for one person or even two people to make everything. Ask for help and welcome it with open arms.

5. Keep it casual… Keeping it casual will make it a stress-free gathering. From food to the seating situation, keep it simple, easy, and laid-back

6. ..but cozy! Just because it is casual doesn’t mean you can’t make it cozy. Thanksgiving is the time to feel warm and welcomed, so don’t hesitate to make your home seem comfortable and very ‘fall’. I’m not encouraging going overboard with the decorating, but fall blooms, candles, table runners, and wreaths can really set the tone.

7. Buy ahead. Being prepared & ready-to-go will make the day-of go smoothly and allow you to enjoy yourself more. Make a list of things you need and buy it a few weeks before. Then a few days before and the morning of, allow plenty of time for set-up.

8. Disposable plates + glasses. When you are having a lot of guests over your home and it is a casual party, having disposable plates, glasses, utensils, and napkins is essential. No one wants to be doing dishes for hours at the end of the night! For our upcoming party, I ordered products from Posh Party– the plates and everything look great, and now clean-up will be pretty simple.

 9. Imperfection is the best. This is quite possibly the most important thing on this list! Do not worry about everything being perfect. In fact, don’t even hope that everything is perfect. It is an unrealistic goal, but more importantly imperfection at a house party is one of the things that makes it real, genuine, and home-y. If something is overcooked, who cares! If someone spills wine, it can be cleaned up. And if someone comes in with dirty shoes, well that’s life. Enjoy the imperfections, and go with the flow.

10. Enjoy. The guests aren’t the only ones that are supposed to have fun- the hosts are too! Once the party starts, let the fun begin- be welcoming, enjoy the together time, and have fun!

Be a Brain Warrior.

7-ways-to-boost-brain-power-612x815You guys. I am the last person that has interest in watching an hour video; I hardly have the attention span for a full snapchat {yikes}, but this video on brain health is one of the best things I have ever listened to. I suggest listening to it while you are cooking or getting ready for the day- that always engages my focus.

We hardly think about our brain health because we can’t see it. We are more focused on the wrinkles on our face or losing ten pounds. Brain health, though, is one of the core sources of our health. Keep reading for seven ways you can boost your brain power every day!

Here are 7 Ways To Boost Your Brainpower Every Day

1. Silence: Decreases anxiety & allows your mind to think and process
2. Exercise: Enhance your mood & boost energy, a strong body translates to a strong mind
3. Cook for Yourself: Understand the foods you’re putting in your body, experiment with different ingredients & flavors. P.S. Have you seen the book Bread & Wine? It talks about the importance of the table and the fun art of experimenting with recipes! I can’t put it down.
4. Eat More Greens: Alkaline the body by balancing pH, aids in digestive health & brain functionality
5. Journal: Write down thoughts, feelings & ideas, exercise creativity while boosting emotional health
6. Board Games: Stimulate the right & left sides of the brain, may prevent memory loss as we age
7. Sleep More! Sleep helps the mind organize information overload, essential for a day of focus & productivity

Steps and photo source: becauseimaddicted

sterling vineyards


If you follow me on instagram, you probably saw that I got the opportunity a week ago to take the trip of a lifetime to Sterling Vineyards in Napa. Words cannot describe how beautiful this vineyard is, and it was hands down the best wine I have ever tasted in my life. I wanted to recap my experience for ya’ll today!

Before I go through the amazing tour we had – I wanted to share a bit about Sterling – so you can fully comprehend how amazing it is (and so if you’re ever in Napa, you’ll know why you need to visit Sterling)! Sterling Vineyards is one of the  most iconic and celebrated wineries of Napa Valley. The winery itself is an architectural icon – it sits 300 feet above the valley floor and provides the most stunning views of Napa Valley. Sterling Vineyards was also the first winery ever built with the visitor in mind, and the only winery in the world with an aerial tram! (You have to take a gondola up to see the view!)

We started our tour with a private viewing of sorting at Reserve Winery with the winemaker. We got to see the grapes being “de-stemmed”, the process of punching grapes, and so much more. It was so cool to see this process – and everything smelled amazing!




After taking the gondola up to the top of the winery (which was the most beautiful gondola ride I’ve ever taken), we got to see the winery behind the scenes: see the tank pump overs, sample wine from the tank, and learn all about the process. We also spent a good amount of time in the barrel room and learned how different types of wood/barrels can give wine different flavors.











We enjoyed the most beautiful lunch and tasted 3 different wines with our meal: platinum chardonnay, platinum proprietary white, and platinum cabernet. They were all amazing but my favorite was the Chardonnay – it was so refreshing on such a hot day!sterling-vineyards

sterling-vineyardsNext we took the gondola back down for grape stomping! It felt very “I love Lucy”, and I loved it!





After the grape stomping, we spent the afternoon and evening at the Rutherford House. If you’re ever in Napa, I highly recommend visiting this house. One of the most beautiful houses and properties I have ever experienced!


sterling-vineyardsSide note – this is my friend Courtney from A Thoughtful Place – definitely check out her blog! She is amazing! One of the highlights of this trip for me was getting to meet her and get to know her.

We had the most equisite dinner you could ever imagine at The Rutherford House. We got to do an interactive dinner prep with Chef Joey Altman which was so much fun! With dinner we tried 3 different wines – a 2012 Reserve Chardonnay, a 2012 Sterling Carneros Pinot noir, and a 2009 Platinum Cabernet. The cabernet was my favorite hand’s down. It had such an intense fruit taste with well-integrated oak.


sterling-vineyardsStay tuned for more posts featuring Sterling Vineyards’ wines and inspiration from them! I highly recommend this winery to anyone planning a trip to Napa. It’s definitely a “bucket list” trip in my book!

Shop my outfit from the wine tour!:

Photos by: Julia Szendrei

I am working in partnership with Sterling Wines and I am being compensated for my participation in this campaign. All thoughts/opinions are 100% my own. Wine is intended for those whom alcohol is legal and appropriate. Please Drink Responsibly!

dallas favorites

Whether you’ve lived in Dallas your whole life, or you’re brand new here, finding your “regular” spots in a city can be a struggle. I want to share with ya’ll today some of my absolutely favorite spots in Dallas (or what I think are some of the best spots in Dallas – specifically for food, hair, nails, and lashes. you know – the important things in life!)

Speaking from personal experience here: I’ve lived in Dallas my whole life but it wasn’t until recently when I finally found my “regulars”, and honestly, they are just too good to not share with ya’ll! So, if you’re like me and have forever been searching for the perfect hair stylists, or nail salon, look no further.




best-spots-in-dallasDress c/o Splendid | Clutch c/o Clare V | Earrings c/o Kendra Scott | Bracelets | Sunnies (endless eyewear subscription! use code “laurenkaysims” to get first month free!)


  1. Hair salon – Charleigh at FORM salon does my balayage color and she has been my hair hero! Going from dark brunette to “bronde” (brown/blonde) was a process but she has been amazing at really listening to and giving me exactly what I want! I personally think FORM is the best hair salon in Dallas, because of Charleigh, because of the location, and because I’m super happy with my hair everytime I leave there!
  2. Nail salon – Bellacures Dallas is the first nail salon I have ever been a “regular” at. The location is super convenient (in Preston center) and the people who work there are all so nice and friendly! Everything is super clean (and cute!) on the inside. They have tons of color options and they always do the best job with my mani/pedi. Lasts me 3 weeks at least! In my opinion, Bellacures is the best nail salon in Dallas.
  3. Lash extensions – Okay, I know what you’re thinking. This is not something that would be on most people’s “must” lists. I thought the same thing until I found Amanda at Southern Belle Lash in Plano. I first got lash extensions before going on a girls beach trip to Mexico. The lashes were amazing and I didn’t have to wear eye make-up the whole trip. After realizing how long they stayed on and how low maintenace they were, I decided I wanted them all the time! You basically wake up and go to the gym looking like you have full eye-make up on when you’re wearing none.

Now for the food. This dress was shot last night at R+D Kitchen in Dallas. Absolutely in my top 3 favorite restaurants in Dallas.

best-spots-in-dallas best-spots-in-dallas best-spots-in-dallas best-spots-in-dallas best-spots-in-dallas best-spots-in-dallas best-spots-in-dallas best-spots-in-dallasI’ll be real with ya’ll – I’m a foodie, and I’m pretty picky when it comes to food. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat anything but I really, really enjoy good food. R+D Kitchen has been my favorite for a while for a few reasons:

  1. Ambiance – it’s not too casual but it’s not too fancy. It’s the perfect date night spot, but could also be the perfect “mom’s in town, let’s go to brunch” spot. You can dress up if you want, or jeans would also be just fine!
  2. Service – I’ve never had a bad waiter at R+D. They are all so kind and helpful, but not in a way that interrupts your meal. They make the best recommendations and always take such good care of us
  3. The food, duh. If you can’t tell by these pictures, their food is OUT of this world. They have a smaller menu, but everything on it is a 10 on a 10. (My favorite is the Thai Tuna roll!)

I hope this guide helps you find some new favorite spots in Dallas and enjoy this city even more! Comment with any questions you might have, or let me know some of your favorite Dallas spots!

Shop the post:

Homemade Egg McMuffin.

My husband and I had an early trip back from Atlanta this past week, and his temptation for the random fast food splurge looked extra good even though we live on kale from our garden, cauliflower rice, and turkey burgers. One of my favorite things to do is figure out a way to make an unhealthy food option homemade and even more delicious than a breakfast goodie stuffed in a McDonald’s bag. This is Jason’s new favorite breakfast — keep scrolling for the recipe!Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 10.41.01 AM

Ingredients (all purchased at Whole Foods)
*Rudi’s Organic Whole Wheat English Muffins
*Applegate Naturals Cheddar Cheese Strips
*Uncured Turkey Bacon
*Brown Eggs
*Coconut Oil
*Salt and Pepper

Directions (makes one):
1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees.
2. Get out a small pan (I used a circular cake pan). Line the pan with foil.
3. Cut an english muffin in half and place both open ends of the english muffin on foil.
4. Spread coconut oil on each side of the english muffin like you would with butter.
5. Place a sheet of cheddar cheese on one open side of english muffin to prepare for the final bake.
6. Now put two strips of turkey bacon on a skillet. Put temperature on medium. I like to pepper the bacon. Cook desired amount (I like it extra crispy).
7. Place the cooked turkey bacon on top of the cheddar cheese side of the english muffin.
8. In the same skillet, spray coconut spray to prepare surface.
9. Scramble two eggs. Add salt and pepper to add flavor.
10. Place the finished eggs on top of the bacon.
11. Put the pan with all prepared items into the oven for about 7-10 minutes.
12. Serve and enjoy!