#7 Super Bowl Dip Recipes, Valentine's Day Gift Guide, Non-Alcoholic Spirits
Laurel Miss Travel Guide
The latest edition of the newsletter includes my favorite dip recipes for the Super Bowl and some fabulous cake recipes for Valentine’s Day plus a gift guide. There's even a travel guide for Laurel, Mississippi. If you have an opportunity to visit Laurel, it's a fun day trip.
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TO DO LIST
Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan: A charming, hopeful book for a cold winter day, and it will be perfect for the beach, too. It’s a romantic comedy with depth and dignity for its protagonist.
Make Something Good Today by Ben & Erin Napier: If you are a fan of HGTV’s “Home Town,” this is an enjoyable memoir. The book follows Ben and Erin Napier's lives from childhood to the present.
The Flower Chef: A Modern Guide to Do-It-Yourself Floral Arrangements by Carly Cylinder: Carly’s book lays out each step in the flower recipe and includes icons indicating difficulty and cost levels. For more tutorials, check out her YouTube videos. Carly also teaches workshops.
A few more links to check out:
A step by step guide for flower arranging.
How to use a rose stripper.
“Ozark” (Netflix): Ozark's fourth and final season is here. The crime drama series will arrive in two halves of seven episodes each, with the first seven now live on the streaming service.
“The Afterparty” (Apple TV+): Tiffany Haddish investigates a murder that takes place at the afterparty of a high school reunion. Each episode tracks a different attendee's perspective.
“Cobra Kai” (Netflix): Decades after the tournament that changed their lives, the rivalry between Johnny and Daniel reignites in this sequel to the "Karate Kid" films.
Carrie Underwood performed a cover of Survivor's “The Moment Of The Truth,” a song in the 1984 film, The Karate Kid, on Season 4, Episode 9.
Life Span Podcast The Science of Looking Younger, Longer Ep. 6: Dr. Sinclair discusses cosmetic aging, how to improve skin, nails, and hair and the latest science behind various beautifying therapies such as low-level laser therapy and platelet-rich plasma injections.
Michelle recommends the F45 workout. They have two trainers in the class who will correct your form if you need it.
F45 Challenge is a Free App that includes on-demand workouts to suit all fitness levels.
My Sweat Lab Olga Dolynina ($21/month): She does everything from yoga, pilates, strength training, cardio, and meditation.
HOTWORX ($59/month unlimited sessions): This is a virtually instructed exercise program created for users to experience the many benefits of infrared heat absorption while completing a 30-minute Isometric workout or 15-minute HIIT session.
Steve recommends Beachbody on Demand ($99/annually $19.95/month).
Thanks for sharing your recommendations!
Suerte: Suerte is an award-winning restaurant bringing together traditional Mexican cooking techniques with local Texas ingredients to create a unique and exciting dining experience. The bar offers some of Mexico's most unique agave and succulent spirits state-side, as well as highlighting a rotating selection of natural wines and craft cocktails. *GF
1800 East 6th Street
Two-Person Coffee is my favorite coffee shop in Philly.
Bok Building, 821 Dudley Street
Spruced is a destination shop in center city Philadelphia with curated skincare lines, botanicals, gifts, and conversation pieces. It is located near the Sheraton hotel downtown.
200 N. 16th Street, Suite D
Oven-Bird Bakery is located in Little Italy. Visit this bakery for fresh baked artisan bread.
300 South Exeter Street
Super Bowl Dip Recipes:
Spinach Artichoke Dip is the perfect hot dip accompaniment for watching a game. I recommend using Duke’s Mayonnaise. I also like this non-dairy Spinach Artichoke Dip Recipe.
BLT Dip combines the perfect pairing: bacon and mayonnaise. I recommend using Duke’s Mayonnaise. It’s the one the chefs use.
Texas Cowboy Caviar is a crowd pleaser. It’s a salsa-meets-black-eyed pea combination that feels a bit like salad. You can use any canned beans, but black-eyed peas are the correct bean.
French Onion Dip is a classic game day recipe that tastes much better if you caramelize fresh onions and construct your own dip in the food processor. For dipping, I prefer a ruffled potato chip. My favorite brand is Boulder Canyon Avocado Oil Ridge Cut Potato Chips.
More Super Bowl Snacks:
Spicy Chicken Wings: This is the Anchor Bar recipe. Or, buy them from the deli or your favorite restaurant.
What’s your go-to Super Bowl recipe? Share in the comments.
Here's a roundup of Valentine's Day gift ideas for your best friend, family, main squeeze, or even something you might like for yourself.
Michele Watch is a stunning investment piece. They have many different bands, including one for the Apple Watch.
Passenger Coffee gift subscription is a great way to enjoy coffee at home all year round. I also like Temple, Panther, Vigilante, and Tandem coffee roasters.
Champagne, Brut Premier Cru by Aubry NV is a smoky, floral, vibrant, and citrusy Champagne, a delicious alternative to the big brand names. It's an impressive entry-level that retails for about $45.
See's Candy has something for everyone, including this heart filled with milk chocolates. I also love the chocolate walnut squares for gifts.
Eliza Page Jewelry is one of my favorite jewelry designers. The flagship store is located in Austin, Texas. I also love the fine jewelry collection from Gorjana, and Sidney Evan. For charms, I recommend James Avery.
Venus ET Fleur Eternity Roses are luxury roses that can last more than a year with proper care.
Outsider Black Flag Hat is perfect for the outdoorsman.
Cook the Book by Molly Baz is a modern guide to becoming a better, faster, more creative cook, featuring fun, flavorful recipes anyone can make.
Satin Serenity's Silk Pillowcase provides anti-aging, skin, and hair benefits. Lake Pajamas and these slippers are also great gift ideas.
Franklin BBQ by Aaron Franklin is a complete meat and brisket-cooking education from the country's most celebrated pitmaster and owner of the wildly popular Franklin BBQ in Austin, Texas.
Brooklyn Candle Company Love Potion Candle is an exotic blend of jasmine blossoms, calming lavender, and bright mandarin reminiscent of a freshly picked bouquet of wildflowers.
Yeti Rambler Mug is my favorite travel mug. It's the perfect gift for everyone on your list.
Gucci Marmont Mini Bag is a great investment piece.
Canon Portable Printer allows you to print images directly from your phone. The Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 is a fun camera for creating instant memories if you are looking for an instant camera.
Inku Cocktail Glasses by Sergio Herman for Serax are delicate, tulip-shaped glasses. They are so popular and sell out fast.
Sprinkles cupcakes can be shipped nationwide. The Red Velvet cupcakes are the most popular.
Solo Stove Outdoor Fire Pit is easy to light with an almost smoke-free burn.
A few more ideas:
Theragun Mini ($199) is perfect for tight muscles. It’s lightweight and fits in the palm of your hand.
OURA Ring is a fitness tracker you wear on a finger. The third-generation Oura ring adds SpO2 blood oxygenation readings. These are taken through the night, not during the day. If you are looking to improve your sleep habits, this is a great tool. It’s also an activity tracker.
Dessert Recipes for Valentine’s Day
Pink Champagne Cake is a gorgeous cake for Valentine’s Day.
Red Velvet Cake is another great cake choice for Valentine’s Day. It does take the entire bottle of red food coloring to make the cake really red.
Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcakes are super moist, and has a mild cocoa flavor, with a bright red color. This is the original recipe from Sprinkles Cupcakes.
Sprinkles Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cupcakes are delicious. This is the original recipe; I use Cup 4 Cup GF Flour or Auntie’s Gluten Free Flour.
Ted Lasso's Shortbread Biscuits: If you watch “Ted Lasso,” you know Ted makes his boss, Rebecca, shortbread biscuits every day. Here’s a shortbread recipe that taste better than the show’s version.
Alcohol Free Spirits
No and Low’s Alcohol-Free Chardonnay
New London Light
St. Agrestis’ Phony Negroni
Athletic Brewing Co.
KL Wine Speciality St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
Old Sugar Distillery Queen Jennie Whiskey
Dry Farm Wines
Frankly Organic Vodka
An excellent guide to non-alcoholic wine.
The best florists in every city.
The granola bark from Liz Pruitt’s Tartine All Day is a rich slab of oats, coconut, seeds, and nuts that emerges from the oven bronzed and toasty. The smaller pieces are great with yogurt, while larger chunks make for excellent snacking.
How to set up your medical ID on your iPhone.
Get the most out of your fancy smartphone camera.
The best true crime documentaries on Netflix.
Why peptides may be the secret to brighter and tighter-looking skin.
When all your friends have kids.
A delicious low carb grain-free lasagna.
Here’s everything we know about Neck Care 101.
These flight booking tips are helpful.
How to run your small group ministry online.
Do you know the right way to sew a button?
Understanding Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
Some fantastic educational resources for online learning.
Things to do in Kauai.
Read these tips on how to encourage others.
The best places to eat in Tallahassee, Florida.
Ten things that make a woman threatening to other women.
Some practical steps to conquering the "comparison monster" once and for all.
The Five Love Languages: Gary Chapman
The Five Love Languages Singles Edition: Gary Chapman
The Five Love Languages of Children: Gary Chapman
Love for a Lifetime: Dr. James Dobson
Boundaries When to Say Yes and When to Say No to Take Control of Your LIfe: Henry Cloud
Clarity and Connection: Yung Pueblo
Love and Respect: Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
The Gifts of Imperfection: Brene Brown
Date Night In: More than 120 recipes to Nourish Your Relationship: This cookbook is a great idea for couples to set aside one evening a week and enjoy cooking dinner together. The author is Ashley Rodriquez who writes the popular blog, Not Without Salt. Ashley shares personal stories about her marriage and delicious recipes for celebrating a date night at home.
Dessert For Two: Small Batch Cookies, Brownies, Pies, and Cakes: Dessert for Two takes well-loved desserts and scales them down to make only two servings. Cakes are baked in small pans and ramekins. Pies are baked in small pie pans or muffin cups. Cookie recipes are scaled down to make 1 dozen or fewer. Your favorite bars—brownies, blondies, and marshmallow–rice cereal treats—are baked in a loaf pan, which easily serves two when cut across the middle. This is a great gift for singles and young couples. The author is food blogger, Christina Lane. Visit her blog here.
Hand Made Baking: Recipes to Warm the Heart: I love the idea of giving homemade fudge and other candy as gifts. Kamran Siddiqi, the talented blogger behind the Sophisticated Gourmet, shares his favorite homemade sweets. Here’s a link to the peanut butter fudge recipe.
My Favorite Floral Supplies
Crowning Glory: Keeps flowers fresh and prevents wilting.
Clear Vase Tape: My #1 tool to make a grid.
Rose Stripper: Removes leaves and thorns in one swoop.
Rustic Wire: Mainly used for flower crowns, but can be used for a variety of DIY crafts too.
Bind Wire: Mainly used to attach flowers to rustic wire for flower crowns and wreaths. It can be used to secure bouquets, garlands, and installations.
Grapevine Wreath: An easy way to make a wreath.
Mini Wreaths: Makes excellent gifts and is useful for activities.
Straight Clippers: These are my favorite clippers to use because they’re super sturdy, and I like that they aren’t too pointy.
Pruner Clippers: These are super strong for cutting woody stems, and most florists use these.
Strong Hooks: I use these instead of Command hooks, and they work so much better.
Laurel, Mississippi Travel Notes
Laurel is home to Ben and Erin Napier, stars of the HGTV series “Home Town,” where they renovate historic homes in Laurel, Mississippi. If you are a fan of the show, I recommend taking a trip to Laurel, Mississippi.
Start your day with an early morning hike at the DeSoto National Forest. Located here are two National Recreation Trails, the Black Creek and the Tuxachanie, which offer more than 60 miles for novice and expert hikers to explore pinewoods. Other trails include:
Bethel and Rattlesnake Bay ATV trails.
Big Foot horse trail.
Leaf hiking trail.
Bethel bicycle trail.
One of the best ways to explore Laurel is to find all the murals for a quick photo opportunity. Here are the top murals to look for as you explore during your day trip to Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi.
Laurel Looks Good on You
Welcome to Laurel
Loyal as a Book
The City Beautiful
Scotsman Co. Woodshop
Greetings from Laurel
Butterfly at Magnolia State Bank
The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art
Veterans Memorial Museum
Take a drive through Laurel's historic neighborhoods.
Laurel Mercantile Co.
Ben and Erin are co-owners of Laurel Mercantile Co. which sells Ben’s reclaimed furniture along with American-made clothes and décor items.
Scotsman General Store
Ben and Erin own this general store which claims to have the largest selection of bottled sodas in the South. You can also watch The Scotsman Co. woodworking team hard at work. If you stick around long enough, you might get to see Ben and his team filming the next season of Home Town.
Guild and Gentry
Laurel’s finest menswares and home of Ben’s favorite Barber.
This shop features housewares, gifts, and antiques.
For the vintage shopper, this antique and vintage market is a must-see.
The Remnant is a consignment shop.
The Cotton Boll
LollyBells Children’s Boutique and Gifts
The Plaid Pecan Consignment & Boutique
If you are just visiting for the day, I recommend getting coffee at Bird Dog Cafe then go for a walk or drive around the historic neighborhood. For breakfast, the tacos at Bird Dog Cafe are delicious. Enjoy lunch at Pearl’s Diner.
Bird Dog Café
As seen on “Home Town,” the Bird Dog Café is run by the Bell Brothers, Elliot, and Connor.
As seen on Home Town, Pearl’s is a classic blue plate lunch diner.
More places to eat in Laurel:
Cafe la Fleur
Blue Crab Grill in Laurel
Vic’s Biscuits and Burger
Estelle’s Southern Cuisine
The Smokehouse of Laurel
Texas Pitmaster in Laurel
320 Fifth Street
Texas Pitmaster in Laurel
Bird Dog Café is the best coffee shop in town.
Sweet Somethings Bakery
Sullivan & Sons General Store
Shug’s Cookie Dough & Candy Bar
There are homes all over Laurel to be rented on Airbnb. You can even stay in one of the homes renovated on “Home Town.”
*recently updated Austin and New York City
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