food, travel, lifestyle, and a hearty serving of motherhood

Category: Holidays (page 2 of 4)

Almond Biscotti, Three Ways

I opened the curtains this morning to find a foggy abyss staring back at me. Blah. My mood definitely changes with the weather, does yours? Dreary mornings get me in a funk. And wow, over the next couple of days, we’ll see the temperature drop quite dramatically. For example, today’s high is 72° and the forecasted high for Friday is 46°. But it’s not the cold that bothers me! In fact, I quite like bundling up and heading out into that crisp air. What gets me down are those pesky clouds that create a hazy, overcast day.

Anyways, on to happier things!


Completely on a whim, I tried my hand at homemade biscotti yesterday! With a few additions of my own, I followed this couldn’t-be-simpler recipe video via I mixed the 3/4 cup of toasted almonds into the entire batch, but then instead of making the two “logs” that Stephanie calls for, but I split my dough into three smaller logs instead. One log stayed almond-only. I added chopped dried sweetened cranberries (I used Craisins) to the second log. And for the last log, I added chopped milk chocolate chips. For the Craisins and the chocolate chips, I just pulsed them (separately, of course) in a food processor for a few seconds, super easy!

Three types

Perfect with coffee, or even just for a quick snack! For the final baking or “drying” phase, I baked mine for about 10 minutes per side. You can bake them longer, if you like super crispy biscotti… I just don’t like to break my teeth if I’m snacking on one without coffee!

Three types with coffee



As you can see, we’ve got plenty of biscotti at our house now, so stop by for a hot cup of coffee or tea. You may catch a sneak peek of our holiday decorations, which we started on last night!

Decorating early this year

We know it’s early… but with the wedding fast-approaching, we want to enjoy the magic that this time of year has to offer before the wedding / holiday / guests arriving hustle and bustle begins!

When will you begin decorating for the winter season? Do you think it’s too early? I just love how this time of year awakens my senses. Aaah, the shadows formed from flickering candles, the sounds of festive jazz tunes, the smell of almond biscotti baking in the oven, the taste of a soul-warming red wine or a chocolately porter, and the warmth of a cozy fleece-lined blanket… and the all-too-likely addition of a cat asleep on your lap.

xo Cassie

Welcoming Fall

So, I finally have a free moment to write a blog post, woo!

I’ve spent this rainy Wednesday doing some interior fall decorating. Our windows have been open for a few days now, and it’s actually gotten CHILLY inside! The kitties are starting to find warm places to curl up around the living room — blankets on the couch and fuzzy spots on their little cat trees.

It’s so cute.

I’m sure they wish we’d go ahead and close the windows, but I’ve been waiting a long time for this cool weather!

Here’s a quick photo-story of today’s decorating accomplishments.

Mini pumpkins and gourds

I love placing pumpkins and playing with my silk flower arrangements (yeah, we can’t really *DO* real flowers in our kitty-friendly home).

Top shelf

Speaking of cats, check out the little kitties on this shelf. An old cat-shaped wine bottle shares the top shelf with a beautiful, hand-painted ceramic kitty (it’s a coin bank!) that we picked up in Cozumel last month.

Pumpkin spice everything

Not the best tea, but the tin will make for a great fall decoration for years to come!

Mini pumpkins


By the door

Lovely “fairytale” pumpkins from Trader Joe’s… And likely the last time I’ll see my flip flops this year.


My favorite spot to decorate is most certainly our buffet table.

Festive arrangement

We’re throwing a Halloween / Birthday party in late October, so I’ll be adding more and more Halloween-esque decor as the weeks go on. I can’t wait — Richard’s birthday is shortly before Halloween and mine is the week after!

What is your favorite thing about early fall?

And no, I haven’t had a Pumpkin Spice Latte yet!

xo Cassie

4th of July in D.C.

When deciding what to do for the 4th of July this year, Richard and I decided against Topsail Island with my parents and sister (come on, we just got back from an epic vacation with them). We also decided against drinking IPAs poolside with my friend Rachel (yep, did exactly that for the last two years in a row).

We made plans to head up to DC to spend the long holiday weekend with my brother, Patrick.

And we had a BLAST.

In roughly 80 hours, we…

…ate/drank at approximately 11 bars and restaurants…

Scorpion Bowl

Birch & Barley

Farmers, Fishers, Bakers

Old Ebbitt

…watched the 4th of July parade (and got a tad sunburned)…


…got a little touristy around the White House and National Mall and went inside the Washington Monument, which Patrick and I hadn’t done in 6 years…

White House

White House 2


…went on a moonlight boat cruise…


…watched the DC fireworks show (see title photo)…

…and spent Sunday evening at Busch Gardens where we were able to watch ANOTHER fireworks show! Unfortunately, I didn’t snap any Busch Gardens pictures. I leave my phone in the car, as I’m always paranoid about it slipping out of my pocket on a coaster.

I loved getting spending time in DC with my brother. Richard and I are slowly learning our way around, too!

Bro Sis

Thanks for a fantastic weekend, Patrick! (See you in Busch Gardens soon!)

xo Cassie

Kara’s High School Graduation

Whew, things have been crazy lately!

A life that is both jobless AND crazy, you ask?


My sister graduated from Athens Drive High School on Saturday! The ceremony was held inside the Raleigh Convention Center — WAY more pleasant than NCSU’s Reynold’s Coliseum (where Patrick and I celebrated our high school graduations), which was severely lacking in the air conditioning department.

Richard played the role of cameraman and snapped some fantastic shots of the graduate as well as the little wildflower/herb bouquet (pictured above) that I made for Kara, courtesy of our garden!


Kara with diploma

I love the (completely unintended) placement of the two proud grandfathers, almost framing Kara and her diploma in the photo above.


And everyone’s favorite…

Peace out, high school!

We’re so proud of Kara! She graduated with honors and will be attending University of North Carolina at Wilmington in the fall. (Hooray for an excuse to go to the beach more often!) Also, as co-president of her class, she was able to give a speech introducing the class valedictorian.

Our family celebrated after the ceremony at Lucky 32, a quintessential “southern” restaurant in Cary that just celebrated their 25th anniversary!

Richard leaves for California for a business trip early tomorrow morning, so I’m spending the day getting a head-start on our cleaning/laundry/packing for the upcoming family St. John trip (we leave on Sunday). We are all SO looking forward to this tropical getaway, but I just wish Richard didn’t have a work trip thrown into the mix beforehand!

Oh well, guess it’s a good thing that I’m at home to look after the cats and get things sorted out before the big vacation!

xo Cassie

Easter Weekend

We’ve certainly been having “a bit of fun” during this long Easter weekend. With Richard’s Mum in town, we’ve made sure to spend lots of time with family — and we captured some fantastic family photos today.

I am just so excited to share these pics on the blog!

And then, between Kara and I, things got a little “cray”…

Seriously love these people.

Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend, too! More family times to come — Patrick is driving down from DC this very moment!

xo Cassie

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