1.27.2015

Caramelized Bacon Wrapped Smokies

This is probably the easiest and tastiest appetizer recipe you will ever find. I mean what is better than bacon + cocktail smokies + and dark brown sugar?! The only thing better of course is that it's super simple to make.

I've made this appetizer for numerous parties. Let's just say it won me a few cooking contests back in college and won over many frat boys back in my day. I've also made it for quite a few football parties and events since then. The one thing people say every single time they try one, aside from wondering how many calories are in each one, is "how can I make these? I need the recipe!" So that everyone can partake in these delicious caramelized creations, I decided to share the recipe with you all just in time for Super Bowl Sunday.



Caramelized Bacon Wrapped Smokies

What you'll need:
  • 1 package of cocktail wienies
  • 1 package of Oscar Mayer Hardwood Smoked Bacon (thin cut)
  • 1 box of dark brown sugar
Take the entire package of bacon and cut the slices into thirds. Take 1/3 of a slice of bacon and wrap around a cocktail wienie. Place on a baking sheet that's covered in nonstick aluminum foil. Continue till all wienies are covered with bacon. Heavily coat the wienies with dark brown sugar. Using dark brown sugar is key to getting the caramelizing effect. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or till the bacon is thoroughly cooked. Serve immediately. 

This appetizer is perfect for any party and will make a great impression on all your guests. I plan on making these for Super Bowl Sunday! 

A few things to note... make sure you serve immediately after they are cooked and cooled. They can harden pretty quick. Also, make sure you soak and clean any plates very soon after use. The sugar can harden quickly and not be the easiest to get off a glass plate or baking sheet. 

kristyn
Don't forget to follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter!

1.16.2015

Chambray + Gold for a One Year Bloggerversary







365 days... that's how long it has been since my little ole blog and first post went LIVE. Crazy how quickly time flies. Yesterday's post was all about what I've learned over the past year. But today? Today is about celebrating all I've accomplished by sharing a brand new outfit post + thanking the many wonderful people who've helped me reach my ONE YEAR BLOGGERVERSARY!!!

First, the outfit. The holidays may have come and gone, but I sure as heck wasn't ready to pack up all my holiday sparkle. To tone things down, and make my favorite skirt more post holiday appropriate, I added a chambray shirt and cropped sweater. To make this ensemble work appropriate, I chose a pair of thick tights (necessary during the cold winter walks to work) and nice black booties. What do y'all think?

Skirt // Chambray Shirt (similar) // Sweater // Tights // Boots // Watch // Ring (old, H&M) // Coat (old, Banana Republic)

Now for the thank yous!! I'm not going to go into a long explanation for each person, as I'm sure they know why they're on this list :) Special thanks to my parents, brother (for taking outfit pics when he absolutely didn't want to), close friends, roommate Liz (for also taking outfit pics when she didn't want to), Meaghan (for all your help and advice + awesome friendship), Brittney (for all your advice prior to me starting my blog), Brooke (for the many opportunities to work with you and BrandLinkDC), Ashton (for always asking how things are going and being so supportive), Tammy (for designing this killer new site), Julien (for teaching me how to white balance my camera and take wayy better photos), and the countless others that I know I'm forgetting here. I truly cannot thank everyone enough for all the constant love, support, encouragement, advice, and friendship. 

Oh, and the most important thank you goes to YOU, my readers!!! If it wasn't for you all, this little space on the Internet wouldn't exist. Thank you for the sweet comments, social media shout outs, emails, and in-person run-ins. Primp & Proper wouldn't even be here without y'all, so THANK YOU!!! I cannot wait to see what the next 365 days hold! Now, for some more outfit pics... (photos by Julien).













kristyn
Don't forget to follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter!

1.15.2015

Thursday's 10 Thoughts: First Year of Blogging

WOW! I seriously cannot believe that tomorrow marks my one year of blogging!! It's crazy, right?! That's 365 days, 170 posts, 2 blog names, more than 100K page views, a site redesign, many nights spent by the computer, lots of stress and panic moments, and countless new friendships... all since I began this journey last January.

I never in a MILLION years thought I'd ever make it this long. It's not that I didn't believe in myself, but more so I never imagined I'd enjoy blogging as much as I have. I've mentioned it several times before, but I never started blogging to expand into a business. It was merely an outlet for me to share my life here in DC. It grew to be so much more than that!

I've learned a lot along the way too. Looking back, there were many things I wish I had known or researched before I started a blog. The biggest challenge I faced was figuring out how to keep up with writing posts, and at the same time learn how to even use half the tools out there to expand my blog. So I wanted to share a few tips I learned over the past year for those of you new to the blogging world or simply tossing around the idea of creating one. *Image via

  • Educate Yourself // This is extremely important in both expanding your blog and protecting yourself online. Learn how to use the various resources out there. Whether that's simply taking a photography class, all the way to learning how to properly attribute photos or text. 
  • Be realistic // Set achievable goals. You're not going to be that blogger who has 30K followers overnight and spending her weekends in Paris, staying at a lavish hotel for free. It takes hard work to get there. Set small goals at first, and work towards the bigger benefits. 
  • Ask // You'll never get what you don't ask for. I also want to bring in the "be realistic" point. When you're first starting out, reach out to smaller brands and new businesses. If there's a brand you want to work with, send them ideas of how you wish to collaborate. A brand is more willing to say yes if you do the work for them.
  • You will have naysayers // Not everyone is going to agree with you or like that outfit post you did. It happens. Do what you feel is best, and the amount of supporters will FAR exceed the naysayers.
  • Network, Network, Network // This is super important. Attend events in your area, connect with local businesses and bloggers and then keep up with those connections. You never know where one conversation will lead. 
  • Participate in giveaways and linkups // These are the easiest and quickest ways to grow your viewership. Who doesn't love the opportunity to win something?!
  • Listen to your gut // If your gut tells you something is sketchy or feels wrong, odds are it is. Just be careful and do your research about a company when they reach out to you.
  • Be positive // Nobody likes a Negative Nancy. This goes for in person and on social media. Don't be that girl that lashes out at her ex-boyfriend through Twitter or trashes fellow bloggers. It will keep future brands from wanting to work with you.
  • It's okay to say NO // When I first started blogging, I wanted to say YES to everything! Yes to you, yes to that guy, yes to this brand... EVERYBODY GETS A YESSSSS (in my best Oprah voice). You're one person and only human. You can't do it all. Prioritize what is important and fill in around that. 
  • Real life comes first // This took me the longest to figure out. I've always been a dive in head first kind of gal. I don't do anything half way. So when it came to blogging I wanted to seize every opportunity. After awhile, I got worn out. Blogging should never come before things going on in your real life. It's all about organization and prioritizing. Make time for you, your friends and having fun.

There are MANY more thoughts I have and things I learned throughout my first year of blogging that I'd love to share. Do you have specific questions? Always wondered something about blogging? Email me! I'd love to grab coffee if you're in the DC area or happy to chat over email if you're not. I'm always happy to help however I can!!

Stop back by the blog tomorrow for a brand NEW outfit post and help me celebrate ONE YEAR OF BLOGGING!!!!!

XOXO,

kristyn
Don't forget to follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter!

1.13.2015

Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week

If y'all know me, then you probably know how much I love food. Not just eating to eat, but I have a great love for good cuisine. I couldn't have ended up in a better city, because Washington D.C. has some of the world's most renowned chefs who've chosen to open restaurants here in the District. Like Richard Sandoval, Mike Isabella, José Andrés and more!

While I've eaten at my fair share of places in this city, I haven't even come close to making a dent in all that DC has to offer. One of my favorite times to get out and try new places is the Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week. This seven day event is held twice a year, in January and August. More than 100 or so area restaurants offer a prix-fixe lunch ($20.15) and/or dinner ($35.15) menu, showcasing some of their more popular items from their full menu.

I absolutely love this week because you get the opportunity to try more food for your money. For this winter's restaurant week, I already have reservations lined up to try Ambar, Zengo, Lincoln DC and more! *Image via



If you've never participated in the Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week, there are a few things you need to know...
  • Make your reservations now. This is the most popular week of the year for diners, especially since it's during the winter and people don't have anything better to do than eat out. 
    • Even if you aren't sure you are going somewhere, go ahead and reserve a spot through Open Table. Just make sure you read the restaurant's cancellation policy and cancel in enough time to not get charged.
  • For restaurants that feature small plates or four courses, I recommend going with a smaller group of people. That way you can share your plates, and get to try even more items on the menu.
  • When it comes to tipping your servers, tip based on what the meal actually would have cost. At some restaurants your meal would ordinarily cost twice what you end up paying. For most places, 18% is the customary tip amount (you can't tell that I was a server once, can you?! ha!)
  • Try places out of your comfort zone. Restaurant Week is a great time to try places that you normally wouldn't go. You can always hit up your favorite restaurant any other week of the year!
  • It's a great week to go on a date! You can get whatever you want that's featured on the menu and don't have to worry about ordering something too expensive. 
Now for a few restaurants that I highly recommend. I've been to all of these places during restaurant week, and I feel they are some of the best options for several reasons (I'll explain below).

Policy // Probably one of my favorite restaurants in this city, Policy gets my vote for the best "bang for your buck" during Restaurant Week. I went here this past August for my birthday dinner, and barely touched the dessert! They say "small plates" but the portion sizes are anything but! I didn't have a single thing I didn't like. They offer a very extensive menu to choose from during restaurant week, where as most restaurants have a very limited, prix-fixe menu. *Image via



Floriana // I fully admit that I've eaten here more than 5 times. I can't get enough of their homemade pastas, mouthwatering mussels and some of the best Brussels sprouts I've had in the city. Based on the deal they offered up last year, you get one appetizer + one entree + one dessert for the $35.15. Also, I believe Wednesday's are half price wine night... need I say more?!

Lincoln DC // I love their twist on American cuisine. I tried four times to get into this restaurant and let me tell you, it's worth the wait. It's that good. The Brussels sprouts and mac&cheese are to die for. I highly recommend this place for lunch or dinner.

Bandolero // Looking for a fun take on Mexican cuisine? Try Bandolero in Georgetown. One of my favorite places in DC, I recommend the crazy corn or alambres! *Image via



Oya Restaurant and Lounge // This place gets my vote for "best date environment." Now, I admit... I've been on two dates here, both times with different guys #awkward. Unfortunately it didn't work out with either guy, but the atmosphere of Oya definitely made this one of my favorite places for a romantic night out. From the chic all white furniture, to the crystal chandeliers, and cozy rock fire wall, it's the perfect place to impress your date! *Image via



There are a few other places I've eaten at on the list, but I feel the ones mentioned above are the must try places, as well as the restaurants you really get your money's worth. Oh, and for a few others I should definitely mention, but forewarning haven't tried...

America Eats Tavern, DBGB Kitchen and Bar, Fiola Mare, G by Mike Isabella, Graffiato, Jaleo, Lavagna, Second State, and Zaytina.

kristyn
Don't forget to follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter!

1.09.2015

Blackwatch Plaid

One of my favorite patterns for the fall/winter is blackwatch plaid. Okay, so I'm from the South and I love a good plaid print, ha! But the buffalo plaid or more brightly colored patterns can be a little much once the holidays are over. Thus I turn to a more subtle approach to one of this season's biggest trends.

There are two brands that have really brought out the blackwatch plaid this season... Brooks Brothers and J.Crew. My favorite dress in my closet right now is this Brooks Brothers below. Unfortunately it's no longer in stock, but not to fret!! I featured a few other great picks in this wonderful print below the photo...





Blackwatch Plaid

kristyn
Don't forget to follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter!

1.07.2015

"Let's go listen to the night train"





Jacket // Tuxedo Shirt // Jeans // Boots // Necklace // Watch (old, similar)

One of my favorite memories growing up in East Tennessee was laying in bed and listening to the sounds of the night train put me to sleep. I didn't live far from the tracks, and every night at the same time you'd hear the horns of the coming train. Many people would find this extremely annoying and others would hate the rumbling shakes of the train waking them up. For me, I loved it! It was the sound of home!

So when I went home for the holidays, I wanted to head down to one of my favorite places to checkout the lake views and breath in that sweet Tennessee air. I promise I'm not that lame, but when you live in a large city like DC, it's good to get back to the basics of home sometimes.

Speaking of basics, now that the holidays are behind us, I've packed up my holiday themed outfits and sparkly numbers and headed back to the basics... good ole denim, boots and a button down. Everyone needs a good tuxedo button up and that perfect pair of jeans. This is definitely the type of outfit you'll find me in, all winter! By adding a good quality jacket and fun statement necklace, the whole look is perfect for a casual day of shopping or running errands!




Oh and special thanks to my little brother for taking these fab pics!! I tested out the camera settings on him before he took my pics and what do y'all think? He could be a blogger too, haha! Love you Zack!!



kristyn
Don't forget to follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter!