Hill Collection

Monday, June 26, 2017

'Under The Lights' Backyard Summer Party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Conagra Brands. 
All opinions are mine alone. #ServeUpSummer #CollectiveBias

Summer is the perfect time of year to transform your backyard into a charming spot for hosting your people, serving up tasty foods, and hanging out long after the fireflies have come out. I'm a huge fan of ambiance, so if I'm going to host a backyard soiree, I prefer to do it around dusk, when I can light up the night with strings of patio lights and candles. It makes the evening feel all the cozier, and that is my favorite kind of feeling. When it comes to the food, it's best to keep it simple so you spend more time hanging out than running around the kitchen. Truth be told, I'm not always the best at a simple menu, but I'm getting better and learning.

A new recipe that I recently tried out, was a twist on an American classic. Instead of a traditional bread-wrapped hotdog, I made pretzel wrapped franks, and y'all they're delicious! I headed straight to Walmart to get all of my ingredients, from Hebrew National® Beef Franks to Hunt's® Ketchup and Gulden's® Mustard. Hover over the ingredients in the photo above to click through to Walmart.com to purchase them!

Like I mentioned, keeping the menu simple is key. And using what you have around the house for d├ęcor, will have you on your way to being the hostess with the mostest ;)  After all, with tasty food + twinkle lights you can make any get-together a major success. So if you don't have a tablecloth on hand, use a sturdy throw like I did to add a little extra character to the table. Fresh flowers are always an eye-grabber for any tablescape, and sprucing up glass bowls with beautifully printed tea towels is another way to turn the ordinary into extraordinary. For even more fun, grab a wagon (maybe even a wheelbarrow!) and load it up with your drinks for the evening. 

 To make the pretzel-wrapped franks, it's simple and uncomplicated...

  • What You'll Need
    • Your favorite pretzel dough
    • Hebrew National Beef Franks
    • Hunt's Ketchup
    • Gulden's Mustard
    • Kosher Salt
  • What You'll Do
    • Make the pretzel dough according to its instructions.
    • Cut the beef franks into thirds.
    • Pinch off a small lump of pretzel dough and begin to roll it out unitl it's about 6 inches long. Then wrap the dough around the frank.
    • Put on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat this process until the baking sheet is full.
    • Sprinkle the tops of the dough with kosher salt. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until golden brown.
    • Set the pretzel-wrapped franks out with ketchup and mustard for dipping!

Walmart is your one-spot stop to grab all of your ingredients. They're easy to find, and the store has exactly what you're looking for!

For the rest of your table, add foods that are easy to pick up and munch on. I loved having popcorn, cantaloupe (or another melon), and cookies for a sweet treat. Set all of the food out just before your guests arrive so that it's at its peak freshness! And if you feel so inclined, put some soft music on for a little background noise. Light the tiki torches and candles, plug the lights in, and you're ready for evening of fun under the stars. 

Find more summer cookout inspiration HERE! Happy cookout planning!! xo

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Summer Solstice On The Lake + A VIDEO

This post is sponsored by Discover Boating, but the contents and opinions expressed here are my own.

We had a unique opportunity to hit the lake this last Wednesday, and we couldn't pass up the opportunity to celebrate the summer solstice on the water. Being on a boat is one of my favorite things, albeit I don't get to do it very often at all. The breeze, smells of summer, and sound of the boat slipping through the water are just the highlights. That's not to mention the memories your making with your people. They just can't be beat. Basically, what I'm saying is you need to book a boat now because you absolutely will not regret it!

If there was a vote for who had the most fun, Greer takes the win. This girl is obsessed with the breeze and the way it dances in her hair. She is also a huge fan of the water (bath time is her all-time favorite). Combine the two, and I'm pretty sure our girl would say she got a small taste of heaven. To top it all off, her daddy even let her drive the boat ;) 

We opted for an evening to dusk adventure, and I can't recommend this enough. While I love to go during prime tanning hours of the day (yes, I love to get soak in vitamin D for a healthy glow!), there's a whole different experience to boating as the sun goes down. It's so peaceful on the practically empty waters (thanks to a mid-week voyage), and the golden sun sparkling on the water is more beautiful than pictures will do justice.

As much as I would have loved to stay out until the sun was down, we adhere to a toddler bedtime schedule that we like not to mess with. But, that didn't keep us from having a blast, and we loved every minute on the glistening water. We'd like to say we're boat people, even if we're only on the lake once every couple of years :)

I packed us a dinner picnic to enjoy on the lake, and brought along our bathing suits on the chance that we would feel up for a dip in the water. If you're going to boat in the evening, a picnic on the lake + a anchored boat + country music on the radio, makes for a perfect combination. My suggestion is to keep dinner light and simple. We had a cold pasta salad (pasta shells, peas, grape tomatoes, bacon, and avocado), fresh fruit, and chicken poppers that I made just before we left and wrapped up to keep warm. For an extra treat, I made cheesecake brownies. 

Our family had an incredible time boating, and decided on the spot that this "boating on the summer solstice" would be a new family tradition. If you're looking to get out on the water this summer for a day, an evening, or to start your own tradition, be sure to check out all things boating HERE

And now for the video! Try not to melt at all of the toddler excitement :) 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Little Love Letters || June Edition

dear summer,
you've been really lovely so far. but i have to admit, i already have eyes for fall. i just can't help it. Pinterest isn't helping either. 

dear hilton head,
i saw a glimpse of you on the bachelorette this week. it made me that much more excited for august. i can't wait to see you in a little under two months. see you soon!

you're cute and comfy too. i'm glad i went ahead and bought you on a whim.

dear backyard rhododendron,
thank you for blooming after all. i thought you were dying, but you surprised me this week with bright pink blooms that turned into light pink/white flowers. you're lovely. 

i've got my eye on you. i think you'd be great year-round. 

dear blueberry hill,
we've discovered that visiting you in the early morning before the sun is high and hot is perfection. we will be back a whole lot more over these next couple of months.

you were just wonderful! and greer loved you even more than i did. i think we just found our summer solstice tradition.

dear family room,
i just rearranged you, and i love where we're at so far. i've got some design ideas to transform you a bit more. for a huge overall, i'd love to knock down one of your walls, but i think i need a contractor for that. who wants to come demo this room for me??

you had me at stripes, and you make the perfect companion for my chair. welcome to your new home.

cheers + xoxo's!

p.s. read more little love letters.

p.p.s. don't forget to enter the giveaway that is going on now!

**Affiliate links were used within this post. Thank you for supporting this blog!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Amongst The Flowers + A GIVEAWAY

We all know fall is my absolute favorite season. But, there is a very warm place in my heart for the warm months and all the lovely flowers. It's been a treat to discover what blooms in our new yard as we discover our home in each new season. Just this week the rhododendron bush in our backyard bloomed. I watched all of our neighbors' rhododendron bushes bloom bright fuchsia in the springtime, and my heart sank when my bushes didn't produce one flower. Then on the brink of the official start to summer, pink flowers began blooming, and my heart is swooning.

With the rain finally gone, little bit and I snuck outside for an afternoon snack yesterday. After a Target run and the grocery store, a little down time was exactly what we needed. The weather was calm, and the temperature mild, making for a snack amongst the flowers as delightful as it sounds. 

And I can't get over the cuteness of a) this pint-sized outdoor table + chairs and b) my baby with a tiny hair clip in her hair. Pair them together and it's complete cuteness overload that has me all kinds of happy. More than I love the table, Greer is just so excited about a table that is her size. It's been the perfect addition to our house, and has hosted many littles at dinners over the last several weeks. To top it off, there are sweet flowers and critters painted across the top of the table and the stools, giving the wooden set a whimsical feel. The umbrella is the icing on the cake. It's tiny, cute, and provides the needed shade for the little one sitting beneath it. 

Fun fact, Greer is wearing overalls that once belonged to a little me. I've said it once, and I'll say it forever, but it is so fun to pass things down to my daughter. Whether it's clothing or traditions, there is noting quite so special and sentimental. 

Eek, now for some exciting news! Fantasy Fields is giving away an outdoor table and chair set to one lucky reader! You heard me correctly! You could be snacking amongst the flowers with your little one at your very own tiny table. The winner will get to select either the Sunny Safari set or the Magic Garden set. All you have to do is enter the giveaway below....

The giveaway will run until Wednesday, June 28 at 11:59 PM, and the winner will be announced here on the blog! Happy first day of summer, friends!! 

This post was sponsored by Fantasy Fields. All content, photographs, and opinions are mine alone. 

**Affiliate links were used in this post. Thank you as always for supporting the blog!

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