My Favorite Holiday Cocktail – Santa Rita

We made it! It’s the holiday season and my favorite time of year to entertain. This year we are hosting friends and family for the holidays so I wanted to treat them to one of my favorite festive cocktails – The Santa Rita! #ad

You can make this a punch if you’re hosting several people, too. For my main ingredient, tequila, I like to use Lobos 1707. If you live in the Chicago area you can find it at Mariano’s.

A few reasons why I love the award-winning Lobos 1707 tequila besides its smooth elevated taste is Lobos 1707 itself is minority-owned and female-led. For all my basketball fans, Lobos 1707 is backed by cultural icon and basketball legend Lebron James. How cool is that?!

Okay, back to my Santa Rita which is a holiday spin on a classic margarita. What you’ll need for this festive cocktail:

  • 2 oz. of Lobos 1707 Tequila
  • 3 ounces Cranberry Juice (You can mix red & white cranberry juice for color)
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • 1 tbsp of Simple Syrup
  • 1 oz Grand Marnier
  • Garnish with lime slice, orange slice, cranberries, rosemary
  • If you want a fizz – add a splash or two of tonic or soda water


  • Add tequila, cranberry juice, lime juice, simple syrup, and Grand Marnier to a shaker over ice.
  • Shake vigorously for 3-5 seconds.
  • Rim your glass with salt OR sugar and add ice.
  • Pour mixture into the glass over ice.
  • Garnish with a lime slice, an orange slice, a few cranberries, and a stick of rosemary.

Not only does it look pretty but it tastes delicious, too! I know you’ll love this holiday favorite just as much as we do. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

“Pick up a bottle at your local Mariano’s or you can purchase online. Cheers!

2020 Holiday Gift Guide – Women’s Edition

I hope you enjoyed my Gift Guide – Kid’s Edition. Now, we are moving on to the ladies in our lives. Ladies, this is for you too in case you want to treat yo’ self! You deserve it! This guide features local spots, big box finds, virtual small businesses, and some incredible Etsy shops. Be sure to scroll all the way down.

I’m starting off with some local Chicago places that offer the best experiences. I don’t know about you, but nothing is better than a spa day or some pampering! Here are a few of my favorite places to check out.

Dvida Spa – Old Town Sign up for their email list to get all the latest specials on services. I love Dvida Spa because they use a combination of science, technology, and dedication to ensure the satisfaction of each client. Ask for Olga!

Fenner Plastic Surgery & Spa – Kenilworth Fenner combines pampering spa treatments with medical-grade skincare treatments that provide visible results. I recently had Emsculpt on my stomach area and am SO impressed with the results. Nikki, their esthetician, is offering 20% off treatments currently. If you’re looking for injectables, Shannon is your gal!

Flutter Lash Studio – Lincoln Park This was a recommendation from a friend. If your gal is into lash extensions, this place is the best lash studio! E-gift cards are available on their site. If you’re into natural lashes, I’m your girl for Lash Boost. I’m offering 30% off site-wide all Black Friday – Cyber Monday weekend!

Mojo Spa – Wicker Park  One of my favorite mani and pedi places in the city. Get a mani while I sip champs? Yes, please! While the spa services are on hold for now, they will be back soon. In the meantime, stop in for their handmade and crafted beauty products ranging from balms to candles to serums! My favorite is the Zero F**ks balm. Put this on your wrists and back of your neck and feel calmer in seconds! Be sure to check out all their holiday deals too!

Chicago Cryospa – Lincoln Park Another fave of mine! I’ve had several treatments done here including a Cyro facial and a fascial message and they were heaven! From now until Friday they are offering a 3 pack of cryo t-shock from $500, which is over 50% off. It’s a fat freeze to tighten and tone those stubborn areas. Yes, please!

Okay, now let’s move on to a few of my fave virtual boutiques and small businesses (local and online) for some amazing gift ideas.

Fox Trot A local staple. They offer the best curated gift bundles in all budgets.

The Always Pan Legit, the best pan in my kitchen! I waited for months to purchase as I didn’t want to spend over $100 and now it’s $50 off! Use code: SUPERSALE at check out. They sell out fast, some colors are already on back order so I would order soon!

Kitsch I’ve been obsessed with this virtual store all of 2020! I have these, The Eco-friendly Hair Towel, The Microfiber Towel Scrunchie, and the Satin Pillow Case (a must to help prevent face wrinkles!) plus some other items and the quality is outstanding. Right now they have 30% off sitewide too!

Recycled Modern  A local urban vintage, upcycled & handcrafted furniture and home decor shop in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. Check out their gift guide on their website.

The Chic Shirt Shop A fun chic streetwear/lounge wear shop! My fave is the hoodie that says “Girls just want to have funds” and the shirt that reads, “Fly Girl”.

TiffDailyBeat A wildly talented local make-up artist who has her own branded cosmetics! The lip gloss is clutch! Another favorite lip gloss is Lipsense brand as it’s long lasting and they have a wide variety of colors. If you’re interested, contact my girl Megan!

SNOB Wine Who doesn’t love wine!?

SmallFlower Apothecary Great gift selection all for under $25.

Origami Owl Jewelry. My girl Katie will take great care of you!

Now for some Etsy shops to support.

Sugar Stitches Quilt Co My friend Ledine makes the cutest hand quilted gifts & pillows. You have to check her shop out!

Posh Poeny Boutique Fun decor and trinkets.

Next up, some great finds from small vendors on Amazon!

Crate & Barrel always delivers, too.

Lastly, my Target finds.

Phew! What a selection! I hope this helps you find some special gifts for the ladies in your life. Ladies, feel free to pass this on to your spouses. If you have any more small businesses you’d like to add, be sure to leave them in the comment section for all to see.

Next post – gifts for all the special men in our lives.

Disclaimer – some links posted are commissionable.

Vodka Cocktails You’re Sure To Love For Summer

We are approaching Summer and one of my favorite things to do in the summertime is to entertain friends. This summer will be even more meaningful after being in quarantine for months. I can see it now – barbeques, sun and signature cocktails!

Lucky for me, I recently came across Spirit Hub, (intended for a 21+ audience) an online craft spirits retailer that delivers straight to your door in Illinois! You read that right, high-quality craft spirits from independently-owned distilleries that you CAN’T find in stores delivered to your home! And that’s not all, you get FREE shipping when you enter the code: SHIPHOLLY at check out as I am a #spirithubaffiliate. You can thank me later.

Through Spirit Hub’s unique platform you can choose between a wide variety of craft spirits and get full access to the story behind every craft spirit distillery they’ve partnered with along with signature drink recipes, tasting notes and more.

The first up for me was Wheel House Sacramento Vodka, which is award-winning for its sweet and malty savory taste. I combined this with lemonade, lemon juice, and LaCroix Lime to switch up one of my favorite summertime vodka cocktails to showcase first.

Recipe: Summer Vodka Lemonade

  • 2 oz. Wheel House Sacramento Vodka
  • 1.5 oz. Lemonade
  • .5 oz. LaCroix Lime (or Key Lime)
  • Mix and serve over ice with a lemon slice – Cheers!

Next up, we have the very tasty Aperol Cosmo.

  • 2 oz. Wheel House Vodka
  • .5 oz Lime Juice
  • 1 oz Aperol
  • Splash of soda (or Lime LaCroix)
  • Shake vigorously with ice then pour in a martini glass
  • A lime twist for garnish

Lastly, my new favorite: The Sparkling Mint

  • 1.5 ounces Wheel House Vodka
  • .75 ounces Triple Sec
  • .75 ounces lemon juice
  • 2 mint sprigs
  • Add vodka, triple sec, lemon juice and mint into a mixing glass and muddle. Shake over ice then strain in a champagne glass
  • Top off with Prosecco

Spirit Hub is hosting virtual Happy Hours every Tuesday and Thursday with different distiller partners via Zoom. You can find more information by following them on Instagram

Enjoy these fun cocktails and I’ll be back sharing more with my next delivery from Spirit Hub!

Living Your Best Life In Miami Beach

Miami is a favorite warm-weather destination for my family. My husband went to college there (Go Canes!) and it’s the perfect escape from these horrendous Chicago winters.

Typically we take our boys with us everywhere – but this time, we went sans kids. First vacation without them in eight years. I know, we were way overdue!

As a foodie, I was most excited about hitting up some amazing restaurants and having a meal and conversation without being rushed or interrupted. Parents, share this post if you know what I mean!

I also wanted to spend plenty of time lounging by the pool with a book and possibly an adult beverage. Such activities require picking the right hotel. Having worked in luxury hotels for many years, I’ve stayed at so many amazing properties. I tend to stick with Starwood/Marriott properties because you always know you’re going to get great service and a great product – but this time we went with the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Resort. I went through VRBO and got a sweet deal on an owner’s unit in the Sorrento Tower. This is nice little travel hack – if you want a room with more space for less money!

The perks of staying at the Fontainebleau Resort include the amazing on-property restaurants, the great lobby bar, onsite shops, a gelato bar (ummmm…. this makes it worth it alone!), the resort location directly on the beach, and it’s on the north end of Miami Beach. If you don’t know, South Beach can get a little crazy – at least for this not-a-20-something-anymore gal.

Also, the pool area is huge with several different options. Some are adults only, which makes it nice when you travel alone. Some pools are kid-friendly, which is great if you wish to be with other families who won’t get annoyed when your kids start acting a fool. Win-win. There are also 100s upon 100s of chairs, which means you don’t have to run down at 8 am to save your spot. They also have options for loungers and cabanas which range in price. While there, we got a deal on one of the cabanas for the day because the TV and speaker system weren’t working. Who cares about the TV when you’ve got that beautiful view and pool vibe! Further, each cabana comes with water bottles and a fruit plate. Parents – they have a kids club there with half-day or full-day options. Rejoice!

I could have spent the whole four days at the pool or beach (they have similar lounge offers and a food delivery service via an app to beach goers) and been just fine. However, we decided to venture out to check out some of the local Miami sites.

First stop was the Vizcaya Museum. Talk about breathtaking! The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, previously known as Villa Vizcaya, is the former villa and estate of businessman James Deering on Biscayne Bay in the present day Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, Florida. The early 20th century Vizcaya estate also includes extensive Italian Renaissance gardens; native woodland landscape; and a historic village outbuildings compound. You can tour the entire property, check out the beautiful views, landscape and even tour inside the mansion.

Next, we headed over to the Wynwood Art District to check out Wynwood Doors. Known for its many colorful murals, Wynwood is one of the city’s most happening districts. Wynwood Walls is an outdoor museum showcasing large-scale works by some of the world’s best-known street artists. The surrounding streets have converted warehouses housing craft breweries and funky art galleries. A hip young crowd frequents the neighborhood’s chic clothing boutiques, stylish bistros, and late-night bars. Such a cool place to walk around and check out all the art. Even the sidewalks had fun little messages and art on them.

Last, we headed over to Coconut Grove. My husband went to”The U” so we had to go buy some swag for our boys. We’ve spent a lot of time here in the past and headed over to one of our fav lunch spots, Lulu In The Grove.

Now back to Miami beach and what we were most excited about – the food!

Here are the places I highly recommend:

Baoli Miami – I think this was our most favorite out of all the places we went. It looks like a magical scene out of an enchanted garden. Inside, the service was perfect, and the food was insanely good.

Katsuya South Beach – Located inside the beautiful SLS South Beach hotel, Katsuya masters the art of Japanese cuisine. The food was stellar and the service was great. Bonus, their cozy and swanky hotel bar is right outside the restaurant so you can have a pre- or post-dinner cocktail.

Mr Chow – A staple. I’d been to their location in Los Angelas years ago, and was excited to dine here again. It is very high end as far as service goes. The space itself is beautiful to look at and the food will not disappoint. It also helps that it’s located inside one of Miami’s best hotels – The W South Beach.

Larios on South Beach – I know there are a lot of great Cuban restaurants in Miami and I wish we could have hit up a few more but we decided on revisiting an old favorite – Larios. They have Cuban classic dishes, a great ambiance and a patio that makes for great people watching. Oh, and some great cocktails!

Below are some recommendations from friends we were unable to get to:

Caja Caliente, Mandolin, Soho House, St Roch Market.

We’ve been home for a week now and already can’t wait to return! Miami was just what we needed.


As a kid, all we want to do is grow up and live the life we dream about. Little did we know that it is harder than we think. Getting a degree and then a job is hard, but what is harder is to know that you live for once and you earn for yourself but you still realize the fact that you have to spend your money wisely. See some reviews here.

When I first started earning and saw the bills I questioned so much about why do we even live as we do, a house in the woods can b a better option than this one but we are costumed to the modern world now and to earn, eat and repeat with occasional fun is the answer to our questions.

Now what the question arises is, how to have a balance in our finances? Meaning, how to be financially responsible? Following are the seven ways in which you could reduce your monthly expenses.


Our life is busy, almost robotic but does that mean that we should impose some unnecessary payments on ourselves? Why pay for the mobile data you are not using? Why pay for the Wi-Fi that was plugged in even when you were not in the house and many more. Below is the list of things we spend on unnecessarily.

  • Checking for credit score
  • Buying new just to avoid used goods
  • Television cable
  • Cell phone data
  • Landline
  • Late Fees
  • Extra warranties
  • Bottled water   



We love to have a car and driving it to work or school but keep in mind the expenses you have to bear just to keep this luxury and think of all the money you will be saving in


Almost every one of us has a gym or club membership that we have never used, but it costs us a fortune. This is a major expense, it seems huge, and it is huge. Nobody likes throwing money down the drain but, nobody wants to take out some time and go talk to the administration about canceling the registration.


Habits like smoking and drinking are extremely bad for our health and can leave us in a hospital bed easily. Keeping the cost of the hospital bills aside, accumulate the annual amount you put in to buy these things, and you will know what am I talking about. Sure, have an occasional drink, have the fun you deserve but know to live in the balance.


Eating outside is the new trend but please do not follow it for your own sake. Eating at your house and cooking your meal helps to reduce your cost of food to 50% and that is huge and again, eating outside is not very good for your health.


Gardening can prove to be good as a hobby. It could bring color to your eyes, enhance beauty to your house and can grow some fresh ingredients for your food. Planting some herbs, mints, and pepper can save you a good amount of money.


I know life is hard already and with all these precautions it could be even harder, but please be good on yourself. Set yourself some monthly allowance and use it at the end of the month to keep you motivated to stick to your budget.