Halloween Fun

My girl Chanel threw the best pre-Halloween party! Literally thought of everything, including the most fabulous throne chair for us to pose in front of. The decorations were amazing and we did a potluck style food and drink table. Her candy charcuterie board blew us all away!

Did someone say happy hour plus sweet treats?

But… what about the costumes..Also, playing dress up at 36 is just as fun as it is at 5 😉

Which outfit was your favorite? Mine is clearly the blue Greek Goddess outfit, but my black top and silver pants with the pink skull is pretty fantastic too! AND I will say I NEVER wear horizontal stripes, but hello, this dress looks aMAZing on me. Let me know in the comments what you liked best!!

Coffee • PS I love you

Well obviously. I love coffee! I like it black. It’s the best way to judge a coffee shop honestly. Order their coffee black and sip. Do this at every coffee shop you go to. The reality is, if you cover up your coffee/espresso with a ton of sugar and creme/milk (regular, almond or oat) then that is what it will taste like (with a bit of meh if the base isn’t good). So, try it black, you may come to love it as much as me. The point, bad coffee is noticeable, so try it from the base before covering up the flavor.

So, how do you pose with your coffee for that perfect Instagramable shot? See below and then I’ll explain more.

So what do we have here? The almost sipping my coffee to sipping my coffee. The smoldering look off, the laugh at yourself for the last photo (LOL), the classic blogger look down (it’s cute but I’m not a huge fan), the real smile, another “Imma sip dis” and then the I’m putting it down, stop taking photos but I’m happy shot!

If you have read my other posts about taking photos, then you know my thoughts. Take a lot of photos continuously as you move about with your ‘prop’, which in this case is the coffee.Then you have so many images to choose from (and laugh at!!). But also, check the cute workout gear I’m in! Highish waisted heather blue yoga pants and a long sleeve black criss-cross crop top!

Devils Backbone

Tis’ the season, am I right? Devils Backbone is a brewery out of Virginia, who recently launched a canned cocktail line. To smooth the transition from summer to fall they sent me everything (literally) that I needed for the perfect picnic! Check out this amazing picnic blanket and all the ingredients for an adult s’mores pairing.

So what all did they send me for the perfect picnic (that you can easily put together too):


Picnic Blanket
Orange mini cooler (like the old playmate ones we all have)
A mini grill to roast my marshmallows over (plus the goods to make a flame)
Skewers for the marshmallows
Chocolate bars (classic Hershey’s & a dark chocolate with orange peel)
Graham crackers
Marshmallows (classic Jet-Puff plus a pre-roasted pack of vanilla marshmallows)
Glasses for my cocktails
A mini cutting board + knife
Orange and limes
Cute hats that say “ready to drink” (the theme of these CANNED cocktails)
Mason jar tea-lights (mini string of lights that are solar powered)
Straws
AND THE MAIN EVENT: the canned cocktails!
Orange Smash (which is my current favorite), vodka, orange and other citrus juices. It’s 10% ABV, so be careful!
Vodka Mule – yep, you guessed it, vodka, natural ginger & elderflower (7.5% ABV)

Ok, so you can see that they clearly thought about every detail to properly launch this cocktail and give me the best picnic experience! The weather is perfect for picnics right now and I highly recommend you check out their ready to drink canned cocktails. I brought them over to my girlfriends place last night for Wine Wednesday (we made pizza and it was actually Tuesday, lol). After we ate we went across the street to build a fire. We ate s’mores and drank the cocktails, and if you read all the above then you know I was sipping on the Orange Smash, my girlfriend Nellie was loving the Vodka Mule! Give them a try and let me know in the comments what you thought!

smoked meatballs

Smoked Meatballs

You really can smoke anything these days. I’m showing you two versions of smoked meatballs. Meatballs for carnivores and for vegans. 

What you see below: ingredients for each type of meatball (vegan and then carnivore), what it looks like when they’re mixed up, individual meatballs, on the rack and in the smoker and the last shot is the smoked meatballs in pans with sauce ready to be put back on the smoker again.

Ingredients:
Vegan:
Impossible meat
Beyond meat spicy sausage
Egg substitute: 1:3 ground flax seed & water
Nutritional yeast
Almond flour
Dried basil & Italian herbs
Pepper
Red pepper flakes
Garlic

Carnivore:
1 pound ground chuck
0.5 pound Hot Italian sausage 
0.5 pound Veal
2 Eggs
Italian bread crumbs
Parmesan 
Ricotta
Dried basil & Italian herbs
Pepper
Red pepper flakes
Garlic

For both:
Mix all ingredients in bowl.
Form balls with about 1.5 tablespoons of meat.
Space them out on a greased wire rack.
Heat your smoker up to 275*

Smoke the meatballs for 35-45 minutes or until the internal temperature is about 160 (for both meatball versions)

Pull the meatballs off and place them into a small pan and cover them with marinara sauce. Place them uncovered back onto the smoker for about 15 minutes.

Then cover the meatballs with foil and smoke for an additional 30-40 minutes.

Final product, plus the smoke ring on the carnivore meatballs. I was so tired and hungry by the time we plated these that I accidentally grated parmesan on my vegan meal – lol! I served my vegan meatballs over quinoa and my hubby’s meatballs over handmade, local angel hair pasta.

We make double the batch so we can freeze the extras for quick meals. We just leave them in the bags and put them in a pot of water on the stove at medium to medium high temperature.

Serving Suggestions:

Dinner:
Top the meatballs on top of angel hair pasta and more marinara. Sprinkle Parmesan (or nutritional yeast) on top with some fresh basil.

Lunch:
Toast a French baguette 🥖 about half way. Slice it down the middle & lay in your meatballs. Top with marinara and provolone cheese. Broil at 400* for 10-15 minutes.

Pull it when the cheese is nice and melted and slightly brown.

Original recipe that we tweaked to our likening above:  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TFvEWBxjsQo Malcom Reed is a great source for smoked meats! We love his YouTube channel for smoked recipe inspiration. 

Tag me in your posts on Instagram when you make these (@salutin@salutinthecity)

Omakase at District M

The Japanese word Omakase literally translates to “I will leave you to it” i.e. giving the chef the choice to choose your entire meal. It’s a great way to try dishes you wouldn’t normally order. It’s also great because you don’t have to make any decisions about what you eat and that’s always the hardest part. LOL!

For this meal experience you need to sit at the sushi bar as the chef makes everything in front of you. They’ll make a piece of nigiri sushi and place it right in front of you to eat. This goes on for at least an hour. Along with the sushi the chef will serve other otsumami (small bites).

Oyster Cheers!

We started the meal off with oysters
on the half shell, topped with uni and caviar.
Naturally we had to cheers with them.

We followed the oysters with tuna tartar topped with uni on toast with caviar, a sashimi platter and A5 Wagyu beef (the best beef in the world). The Wagyu was seared on a hot stone and literally melted in our mouths.

Hot Stone Prep

They prepped the hot stone
by greasing it with Wagyu fat

Next up we enjoyed a few rounds of sashimi.

Every piece of nigiri was fresh and melted in my mouth! This isn’t all of the nigiri we ate but a good portion of it.
We couldn’t finish the night off without a little dessert too. We enjoyed the matcha creme brulee and chocolate mousse (I’m a sucker for anything chocolate).

This omakase meal is hands down in the top five best meals I’ve ever had. I encourage you to try this in your city. It’s pricey but well worth the money.

Not pictured: Japanese cocktails and Japanese whiskey

Hot Cocktail Spots | ATL

Fun, low light spots to grab sexy cocktails with your people!

Clermont Hotel Lounge

Seedy past & seedy future.. The Clermont hotel lounge is on the main level when you walk in. They also have a beautiful rooftop bar and a classic Atlanta strip club in the basement. It’s one of those, you have to go at least once, spots in Atlanta. The lounge though, where you can grab this cocktail is a 50’s moody vibe with vintage Playboy’s laid around the bar. Go!

Bar Margot | Four Seasons Hotel

Swanky decor, sexy cocktails, and the perfect location to grab cocktails with your crew.

Little Trouble

Follow the neon lights. Originally meant to have a speakeasy vibe, the entrance guides you in with a large red & blue neon sign with their logo. Blade runner vibes & low lights make this spot one of my favorites for a cocktail (or more).

Little Spirit

This is all I’ll say, fun cocktails, the sex panther (IYKYK), tupac and biggie.

Ticonderoga Club

This spot is tucked away in one of our (Atlanta’s) best food halls, Krog Street Market. It’s small and dark moody decor make for the perfect spot to shy away and grab a few drinks.

Each one of these spots is sexy and low light. The cocktails are on point and you can easily sneak away into a corner if you don’t want to be seen. 😉
Where are you going first?

White after Labor Day

Umm, yes please. Don’t tell me what your fashion rules are. ‘Don’t wear white after Labor Day’ is one of those, ‘but why’ style rules. Labor day weekend is the ‘end of summer’ traditionally. Well, I’m a summer baby and my birthday isn’t until September 19th. It’s one of the last few days of summer (the Autumn Equinox is 9/22), so why shouldn’t you wear white during the last few summer days.. or Fall & Winter for that matter.

Take a look at these outfits: White jeans from the amazing Atlanta Local Sara Blakely who created Spanx, paired with this cute tank filled with fall colors and some of her famous faux leather leggings with a white tank. Perfect for wearing white no matter when and handling the warm southern Fall nights. And who can’t resist a crop top (in white duh) with a fun black tutu and leopard heels.

Which outfit do you prefer? I’m also curious as to what “fashion” rules you’ve heard that are completely out of date. I’ve always thought of fashion as what is trending and true style is your personality and how you pair pieces to it. Do you agree?

Atlanta Healthy Eats

I live by the 80/20 rule (err 60/40 lol). I believe in eating and I believe in eating what you enjoy. Everything in moderation, and sometimes a little more than you probably should, but that’s life. I’ve done the restrictive diet thing and will never again. Personally I’d much rather run my ass off (literally) and be able to eat what I want. With that… I do enjoy healthy eats, here are some of my favorite spots to grab a clean eat!

Upbeet

The Aloha bowl is my absolute favorite healthy eat in Atlanta. The bamboo rice is so tasty, it’s topped with arugula, mango, raw tuna, jalapeños and macadamia nuts.

pro tip: I get mine with half bamboo rice & half arugula because I can’t eat the whole thing if it’s all rice lol, (I mean I want to, but..)

O’ku

Poke bowl & a cocktail (because, balance) from my favorite sushi bar!

Poke Burri

Sushi burrito, you get your burrito fix but in the healthiest way possible. Hello omega-3’s! Look at how amazing this is!

Serpas

Smoked salmon chips with capers and red onion. OK, the chip might not seem healthy but it’s a mute point of the meal, it’s more like the plate holding the smoked salmon and veggies but you also get to eat it! lol

Sukoshi

Ahi Tuna bowl over brown rice with edamame, sesame seeds and mango! You can’t go wrong & they’re the sister restaurant of O’ku!

Clean Juice

The green 14 bowl, it has (as you probably already guessed) 14 types of greens, plus goji berries, avocado and walnuts!

AIX TinTin

Fall inspired shrimp salad with cauliflower, olives and butternut squash.

Like I said, healthy eats are good and it’s all about balance. Do you have some you’d recommend?

posing 101 – With coffee

Have you been trying to figure out how to get the perfect shot with your coffee or of your coffee? It’s not always easy and as I’m writing this I’m sitting outside of my favorite coffee shop drinking black coffee (my go-to).

When its just about the coffee you need to show the logo or if it’s a latte you have to show the art on top. If you’re shooting yourself with the coffee remember to interact with your ‘prop’, gaze off in the distance, sip the coffee, focus on your hands around the cup and try fun new ideas like my shoes + coffee shot!

Look at your surroundings. Is the interior space worth shooing in? Is there a wall (like the metal or blue one below) to use as a better background? If there’s a patio, are there trees that you can use to help frame your shot?

See below for some inspo!

COFFEE AND PEOPLE

COFFEE MUGS AND TO-GO CUPS

Posing 101:

To recap, here are some of my best tips for posing with coffee!

  • Interact with your cup | hold it close, drink out of it, gaze down at it, smell the aromas
  • Hold the cup & look else where | when you drink your morning cup and enjoy that peaceful moment of quiet before you start your day, that is what others want to see
  • Take a photo of the cup | make sure your nails are nice, if there’s a logo, show it, shoot it in front of their sign, or in front of their branding
  • Drinking espresso? | Show the milk art on top, is it unique, is it a classic heart?
  • Look around at your environment | is there a unique wall or landscape that you can use as a background or to frame your image?

I hope these tips help your next coffee shoot! Let me know if you have any questions below.

Which shot was your favorite? Do you have another posing idea that I need to try? Let me know in the comments.

How to Style Flowy Printed Pants

Some of my favorite pants are these thick cotton, navy blue and cream colored, printed pants. They’re a little long on me, which I love because I can easily pair them with heels, and fit my body so well. They hug every curve without being too tight and they flair out nicely at the bottom (hello 70’s vibes).

How do you style a flowy pant?

I always style them with a bodysuit. I prefer something tighter on top in contrast to the flowy pant. If you wear something longer or baggier then you risk looking larger than you are. Also the eye doesn’t know where to look. The print catches your eye but the darker color of the top will give the eye a resting place and then allow it to travel down to see the rest of the outfit.

Tell me, which do you prefer? The blue or the olive green bodysuit? Let me know in the comments.

How about all of my facial expressions, lol!

While we’re at it, did you have a pose that you loved the most? I love my ‘ugh, right’ face in the first blue bodysuit photo and my flowy hair with sunglasses in the green bodysuit. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and then head over to my Instagram to see what my followers thought too!

Movement

Never

Stop

Moving

I love still photography more than anything…but, taking still images (shot in continuous mode) and streaming them together into a video that looks a bit choppy may take the cake. It tells a story, invites you in to the movement and makes you want to dance along. I also think it stops people from scrolling to fast part your image and draws them in. So, never stop moving. Regardless if you want to create a video from the images or not, shooting in continuous mood gives you the perfect opportunity to get THE perfect shot (or shots). A flowy tulle skirt really helps with the movement too.


I load my images into a stack into Photoshop and then create frames from the layers (it’s so EASY). I export them as a GIF (I say it’s ‘gif’ not ‘jiff’ lol) and then convert them into a .mov for Instagram (because they don’t like GIF’s for whatever reason). Great for your feed, stories and the new popular reels!


Look at the three videos above and tell me which is your favorite and why (tell me in the comments below).