Thirsty Thursday: Harvest CranPear Punch

Give Thanks with Harvest CranPear Punch

Give Thanks with my Harvest CranPear Punch

A pretty punch can make a party!

A pretty punch can make a party!

I often joke that I must have an angel – who made great punch in the 1950s – living on my shoulder, when it comes time for a party.

Did the angel bring these beautiful berries?

Did the angel bring these beautiful berries?

Why so?
Because, I can come up with punch inspiration and recipes on a whim, and I have no idea where they come from. I mean, who makes punch anymore?

This girl.

This girl thinks no party is complete without a proper punch in attendance.

I guess it doesn't matter where it comes from, as long as it tastes this good.

I guess it doesn’t matter where it comes from, as long as it tastes this good.

So, I served this beautiful, tasty little harvest punch up at my Friendsgiving  last Friday, and it was a harvest hit!

Always have punch to serve and make sure that guests have punch in hand!

Always have punch to serve and make sure that guests have punch in hand!

Dawn’s Harvest CranPear Punch

1 bottle Simply Cranberry Juice Cocktail

1 bottle R.W. Knudsen Organic Pear juice

1 bottle Canada Dry Ginger Ale

1 Tbsp Almond Extract

Garnish: Cranberries & Rosemary sprigs (IF possible, marinate rosemary sprigs and cranberries in 1 c pear juice overnight – but, totally not essential)

*Optional (& highly recommended in this house): 1 bottle La Marca Prosecco

Honestly, the directions are simple. Just combine it all in your favorite punch container, and garnish with cranberries and rosemary sprigs.

My guests and I just thank my little punch fairy. May she never go away.

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Dawn

 

Friendsgiving 2015: A Very Hickory Farms Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving 2015

Friendsgiving 2015

My favorite thing on this here planet is to have people sitting around my table.

Friendsgiving 2015 with Hickory Farms and friends at my home

Friendsgiving 2015 with Hickory Farms and friends at my home

So, when Hickory Farms and I decided to team up to host a Friendsgiving luncheon to launch their Signature Party Planner Gift Box ($46) this holiday season, which benefits No Kid Hungry

Hickory Farms Signature Party Planner (only $46), and for every box sold, Hickory Farms donates $5 to No Kid Hungry, which feeds 50 kids.

Hickory Farms Signature Party Planner (only $46), and for every box sold, Hickory Farms donates $5 to No Kid Hungry, which feeds 50 kids.

we wanted to create a warm, open-hearted environment where many of the inspiring women I know could sit, dine, support one another, share their successes and proclaim their goals and gratitude.

Mismatched plates? No problem. Pick up seasonal plates at a flea market or discount store for whimsical, carefree holiday entertaining. I got these plates for $2 each!

Mismatched plates? No problem. Pick up seasonal plates at a flea market or discount store for whimsical, carefree holiday entertaining. I got these plates for $2 each! And, I served water out of mason jars (just about $1/pop)

Putting the friends in Friendsgiving

Putting the friends in Friendsgiving with Eva of Happily Eva After, Lily Diamond of Kale and Caramel, and Ellen of Hedley and Bennett.

I invited a few of the finest folks in my social media influencer life, who really appreciate the reason of the season: gratitude. 

Starting the lunch off in the right spirit by placing a "I am grateful for…" card on everyone's place setting, to get them in the mood…for gratitude, of course!

Starting the lunch off in the right spirit by placing a “I am grateful for…” card on everyone’s place setting, to get them in the mood…for gratitude, of course!

Good guests can make or break an intimate in-home gathering, and if there’s even one person who’s a weak link, simply by bringing in a bit of negative energy, the experience can be ruined for all. Well, there was no weak link at this ladies lunch. Instead, a lunch that was supposed to last 2 hours, lasted almost 4, with all of the guests staying until sundown, save a couple who had prior obligations.

As beautiful as the sunflower centerpieces  were, the real centerpiece of the lunch was gratitude

As beautiful as the sunflower centerpieces were, the real centerpiece of the lunch was gratitude

We went ’round the table, sharing our stories, listening to those of others, and brainstorming about how we can make a difference both in each other’s lives and in this world…all while drinking wine and nibbling on cheese and sausage. I watched women who had never met before leave as good friends, and knew that from this single, magical afternoon, some life-changing alliances were born.

Strangers who became friends mean my Friendsgiving was a success!

Strangers who became friends mean my Friendsgiving was a success!

As for the Friendsgiving menu? Here’s just a little of what you can get when you order from Hickory Farms this holiday season to keep everything festive, while keeping your guests fed and fueled, without you feeling overworked.

As a host, I felt no stress with my guests, thanks to the ease, convenience and deliciousness of Hickory Farms!

I actually was able to sit, eat, drink and talk!!! As a host, I felt no stress with my guests, thanks to the ease, convenience and deliciousness of Hickory Farms!

First up? Drinks, of course. Did you know that Hickory Farms sells wine? And, I mean really, really GOOD wine!! My favorite is the Flora Springs Merlot ($40). I want to buy like 6 cases of it for all of the holiday entertaining I do…and maybe just to sip while watching Scandal. Who’s with me?

Wanna get one of the best Merlots I've ever tasted? Head over to HickoryFarms.com. Seriously.

Wanna get one of the best Merlots I’ve ever tasted? Head over to HickoryFarms.com. Seriously.

An easy peasy cheese tray with Hickory Farms cheeses served as a tempting – and satisfying – appetizer.

The easiest way to entertain? An easy peasy cheese tray, thanks to Hickory Farms. Some of my lifelong faves? Smoked cheddar, jalapeño cheddar, farmhouse cheddar and port wine cheese spread.

The easiest way to entertain? An easy peasy cheese tray, thanks to Hickory Farms. Just cut into different shapes, and you’re done! Some of my lifelong faves? Smoked cheddar, Jalapeño cheddar, Farmhouse cheddar and Port wine cheese spread.

My personal FAVE is the Port Wine cheese spread. My professor parents used to be gifted with it every holiday season, and I would eat it up with a spoon before anyone else had the chance!

My personal FAVE is the Port Wine cheese spread. My professor parents used to be gifted with it every holiday season, and I would eat it up with a spoon before anyone else had the chance!

And, don’t forget the sausage! I chose to serve the Turkey Summer Sausage and the Signature Beef Summer Sausage for two tastes.

Turkey Summer Sausage and Beef Summer Sausage, served on a slab of wood for added harvest -festive feel.

A tale of two tastes: Turkey Summer Sausage and Beef Summer Sausage, served on a slab of wood for added harvest -festive feel.

A Spiral Sliced HoneyGold Ham ($75, serves 14-18 generously).

A holiday staple in my family? A Hickory Farms Spiral Sliced Ham. I serve it for both Thanksgiving AND Easter!

A holiday staple in my family? A Hickory Farms Spiral Sliced Ham. I serve it for both Thanksgiving AND Easter!

The big hit, though? The DIY Biscuit Bar!

DIY Biscuit bar, featuring Hickory Farms ham, cheeses, sausage, mustards and homemade Hickory Farms Farmhouse Cheddar Pimento cheese.

DIY Biscuit bar, featuring Hickory Farms ham, cheeses, sausage, mustards and homemade Hickory Farms Farmhouse Cheddar Pimento cheese.

But, more on that on tomorrow’s blog. I did it purely for ease and convenience, but my-oh-my, was it tasty!

My Hickory Farms-stacked biscuit was gooood

My Hickory Farms-stacked biscuit was gooood

And, who knew? Shredded Hickory Farms farmhouse cheddar cheese makes for a delicious pimento cheese spread, with my recipe, of course! (That recipe will be up on the blog tomorrow, too).

My homemade Pimento cheese, featuring Hickory Farms Farmhouse cheddar

My homemade Pimento cheese, featuring Hickory Farms Farmhouse cheddar

And, lastly, a well-stocked dessert table.

A well-stocked dessert table, thanks to Hickory Farms: (from L to R) Chocolate Lava Cakes, Red Velvet Cakes, Chocolate Decadence Trio.

A well-stocked dessert table, thanks to Hickory Farms: (from L to R) Chocolate Lava Cakes, Red Velvet Cake and Chocolate Decadence Trio.

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There are those gnome-inspired wooden cake stands again. What can I say? I like a theme.

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I'm just a girl who can't say no!!! At least, when it comes to Hickory Farms red velvet cake. Geesh!

I’m just a girl who can’t say no!!! At least, when it comes to Hickory Farms red velvet cake. Geesh!

And, a little nibble of cheddar to balance that sweetness out. How trés français of me!

A little cheese with my cake, please.

A little cheese with my cake, please.

As for the decor?

Friendsgiving decor

Friendsgiving decor

I kept it cozy and comfy with harvest-hued rugs, blankets, pillows and puffs on the ground…

Cozy on up, Friendsgiving guests!

Cozy on up, Friendsgiving guests!

my mismatched chairs around the farmhouse table…

Who says everything has to match?

Who says everything has to match?

and a chalkboard runner that my creative friends could scribble and doodle on, while sharing their gratitude. Listen, we’re all just big kids. If you give them chalk pencils, they’re gonna get busy. Trust me.

You supply the chalkboard table runner and chalk pencils, and they'll supply the creativity and gratitude

You supply the chalkboard table runner and chalk pencils, and they’ll supply the creativity and gratitude

 

As for the fun factor? Well, there’s only one person I call in for that. My dear friend, and creative powerhouse and constant source of inspiration, Courtney Collins of Little Junebugs and Max Love Project.

My creative source of inspiration: Courtney Collins of Little Junebugs and Max Love Project.

My creative source of inspiration: Courtney Collins of Little Junebugs and Max Love Project.

 

Courtney and I decided to do a “Pretty Your Pumpkin” station to entertain guests with metallic paint, sequins, studs, and…helllooooo…GLITTER(!!!!) to pump up their pumpkins. Disclaimer: This was all Courtney, as I am the least crafty person you know.

Pretty Your Pumpkn.

Pretty Your Pumpkin. *signs by the FAB Karla Magno

She's crafty!

She’s crafty!

The one high maintenance thing I did? I did ask my fashionable guests to wear shades of fall-festive autumn. Don’t judge me. And, besides, it sure did look pretty.

Fall-festive fashion sets the mood for a fall fest!

Fall-festive fashion sets the mood for a fall fest! Here, with the fall festive Eva Amurri, founder and author of the blog, Happily Eva After.

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Actress and host of Dating Naked, Amy Paffrath

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Rachel McCord of The McCord List

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Leila Lewis of Be Inspired PR and Inspired By This blog, and host, actress & producer, Diane Mizota.

As fun as the whole day was, my favorite part was when we all sat around the table for the last few hours, sharing our stories and getting to know one another, while we sipped wine and nibbled on sausage and cheese.

This was my favorite part…besides the Hickory Fams port wine cheese spread, of course.

This was my favorite part…besides the Hickory Fams port wine cheese spread, of course. Here are Eva, and Steph Eitel Farrar and Sierra French-Myerson, co-editors of the cooking and entertaining blog, French and Farrar.

Takin' it easy, as the sun said goodbye and our tummies told us we were full.

Takin’ it easy, as the sun said goodbye and our tummies told us we were full.

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With Amy Paffrath and The Modern Day Girlfriend creator & editor, Arianna Thomopoulos.

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Hugs all around! With Ellen Bennett of Hedley And Bennett.

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With all those influencers, yes, there WAS bound to be a little tweeting going on.

Old friends and new friends became all friends.

Old friends and new friends became all friends.

Thank you to every single one of you who graced my table with your grace, and thank you especially to Hickory Farms for bringing these fine women together.

Girls really do run the world, and with these women at the helm of it, I feel completely confident in our future.

Dawn Do? In sticking with the reason for the season, when it’s time to buy those host gifts this holiday season, pick up a Hickory Farms Signature Party Planner Gift Box ($46). For every box sold, Hickory Farms donates $5 to No Kid Hungry, which feeds 50 kids.

The perfect  gift that gives back: Hickory Farms Signature Party Planner, benefitting No Kid Hungry

The perfect gift that gives back: Hickory Farms Signature Party Planner, benefitting No Kid Hungry

Ellen and I with our gifts that give back…to No Kid Hungry, that is!

Ellen and I with our gifts that give back…to No Kid Hungry, that is!

That’s better – and sweeter – than any box of chocolates.

xoxo,
Dawn

Details:

Food & Wine: Hickory Farms

Photography: Molly + CO

Signage: Karla Magno

Event Production: Good Carma Studio & Dawn McCoy

 

Recipe Box: Quickie Quarterback Rowdy Reuben Beer Dip

What does the SuperBowl mean to me? Cooking. Lots of cooking – which, let’s be honest, usually means I get to my Super Bowl parties around halftime.

‘Cuz with a friend in town, a brunch date and 2 parties to attend yesterday, that doesn’t leave a girl a lot of time. Hence, I whipped up two of my #QuickieQuarterback dishes, beginning with this one. And, y’all, it was a hit with guys and girls alike!

Reuben Beer Dip with rye crackers. You heard me. Yep. Reuben sandwich in a bowl. And it was delicious. It was SO good, my friends didn’t even mind a bit that I was late to the festivities, and it even brought a little post-Halftime glee.

Dawn Do? Try putting dippers, that accompany dips, in muffin tins. Perfect for separating and showcasing dippers for impromptu entertaining!

Recipe Box: Quickie Quarterback Rowdy Reuben Beer Dip

 Quickie Quarterback Rowdy Reuben Beer Dip

1/2 lb. Shredded Corned Beef

1 8-ounce Philadelphia cream cheese, softened

1/2 c sour cream

1 1/2 c shredded Swiss cheese

1 1/4 c Sauerkraut, drained

1/2 c Kraft Thousand Island dressing

Dippers: rye crackers, toasts, tortilla chips and fresh vegetables

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place mixture in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Serve with dipper and enjoy!

p.s. How much do we love that southern dishtowel? My sweet neighbor, Hope, gave it to me for my birthday!

 

xoxo,

BF

BF Asks: What’s your favorite SuperBowl or tailgating dip recipe?

A BF Homespun Recipe: Salted Caramel Brown Sugar Dessert Dip

Hosting a party and need a quick, no-cook dessert? Have a salted caramel lover in your house? Then, look no further than my homespun recipe, Salted Caramel Brown Sugar Dessert Dip.

For those of you BF readers who don’t know, a “homespun” recipe is when you make something that’s not from scratch taste like scratch, just by spinning a few homemade-tasting ingredients in there.

For this easy dessert, it’s creamy, dreamy, and perfect when served with ginger snaps, Granny Smith Apples, strawberries and jumbo marshmallows as dippers.

BF Homespun Recipes: BeautyFrosting's Salted Caramel Brown Sugar Dip

 

 

BeautyFrosting’s Salted Caramel Brown Sugar Dessert Dip

8 oz Softened cream cheese

1 c Light Brown Sugar

1/3 c + 1 Tbsp Smucker’s Simple Delight Salted Caramel Topping

1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

Set aside 1 Tbsp of salted caramel dip. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, using a hand mixer. Transfer into serving dish, making sure to use a spatula to make the top look extra smooth and “frostingy”. Drizzle the remaining 1 Tbsp of salted caramel dip on top.

Put in center of platter and surround with dippers, including ginger snaps, Granny Smith Apples, strawberries, bananas, mini chocolate bars and jumbo marshmallows.

xoxo,

BF

 

BF Asks: What dippers do you think would go best with my salted caramel dip?

Holiday Up Your Bakery-Bought Cakes

Few things are as sweet as old friends…but this Society Bakery-bought vanilla Christmas cake came close. I didn’t have time to bake for a holiday tea party with girlfriends, as I had planned, so I just hopped by Society, bought a cake and a gingerbread man and put that little guy right on top for a little additional holiday whimsy. Really easy way to dress up your holiday cake? Christmas cookies as toppings! #ItLooksLikeHesStuckInSnow

Fast, easy way to decorate a bakery-bought cake? Christmas cookies.

 

xoxo,

BF

BF Asks: How do you “holiday up” your desserts?

Holiday Hosting: Festive, Floral Holiday Pies

Dress up your dessert.

You heard me.

What’s a super simple and cheap way to dress up your festive holiday pies? FLOWERS!!

Festive, floral holiday pies!

Here is my sour cream apple pie – not so beautiful on its own – that I topped with some holiday red gerber a daisies for Thanksgiving dinner. Instant americana beauty!

I’ve found that just buying a few extra bunches of flowers can come in handy when dressing up desserts or sad looking pies. Try it yourself this holiday season!

xoxo,
BF

 

BF Asks: What pies will you and your family bake up this holiday season? 

The Sweet Life with Dawn McCoy: A Magical Day at Magnolia Bakery

My heart belongs to Magnolia Bakery. So when I got the opportunity to visit one of my favorite places for a little frosting lesson and fun, I jumped at the chance. Find out how the frosting experts at Magnolia get that “signature swirl”, see if I can replicate it and see what other emotions their delicious treats stir up for me. A magical day at Magnolia, indeed. Join me for a taste…

 

Now, isn’t THAT the sweetest?
xoxo,
BF

Recipe Box: BeautyFrosting’s Cucumber Dill Cream Cheese Finger Sandwiches

Oh, how I love a tea party! And for me, no tea party is complete without tea sandwiches  – or finger sandwiches – as they used to be called in Dallas from which I hail.

So when I hosted a “sprinkle” tea party for a good friend a few weeks ago, I simply had to include a few dozen of my Cucumber Dill Cream Cheese Finger Sandwiches.

Recipe Box: BeautyFrosting's Cucumber Dill Cream Cheese Finger Sandwiches

Now, here’s the recipe so you can whip some up for your next tea party! And remember a tea party doesn’t have to be a formal affair! It can be as simple as inviting over a friend you haven’t caught up with in a while and sipping a cup of cream tea and enjoying a sandwich. You know me…life’s all about those daily delights

 

BeautyFrosting’s Cucumber Dill Cream Cheese Finger Sandwiches

Ingredients
8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature

4 tablespoons freshly chopped dill

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp garlic salt

Dash of salt

Dash of pepper

Approx. 1 cucumber, thinly sliced (with skin or without)

12 slices white sandwich bread (or preferred white bread)

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, lemon juice, dill, garlic salt, salt and pepper.

Prepare a sandwich work station by laying out two long strips of wax paper. I usually cover my stainless steel bar to do this. Lay out 12 slices of bread. Coat each slice of bread with the cream cheese mixture. Cover 6 slices of bread with your thinly sliced cucumbers. Top with the remaining bread. Cut off crusts and cut into quarters. I prefer triangles or rectangles depending on the shape of the other sandwiches I’m making. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve. *BF Tip: If you have to wait to serve, layer damp, wrung-out paper towels between each layer of cut sandwiches. These will keep the sandwiches moist.

Prep work...

Enjoy with your favorite cup of tea! Personally, I prefer a cream tea with sugar cubes!

xoxo,
BF

 

BF Asks: What’s your favorite finger sandwich or tea sandwich to have at a tea party?

Thirsty Thursday: BeautyFrosting’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake Champagne Cocktail

Last Thursday, I had a photo shoot here at The Cupcake Palace and, well, I wanted to socially lubricate myself a bit with a mid-day cocktail for the shoot. Don’t judge. I only had one and I must say it did make me feel a bit more photogenic.

I looked in the fridge for inspiration and inspiration found me: Dole Pineapple Juice, One Hope California Brut Sparkling Wine ($19.99) and Ole Smoky Moonshine Cherries. Add a little splash of vanilla extract (which chronic bakers like me always have on hand) and thus, this week’s Thirsty Thursday concoction was born.

So here is my little Pineapple Upside Down Cake Champagne Cocktail for you to enjoy – before a photo shoot, a fun-filled day or maybe even just while soaking in a foam-filled tub.

 

BeautyFrosting’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake Champagne Cocktail

Thirsty Thursday: Pineapple Upside Down Cake Champagne Cocktail (and I love these "Simply stunning…" napkins my Mom got me for Christmas from Homegoods - soooo fun!!)

4 ozs ONEHOPE California Brut Sparkling Wine 

4 ozs Dole Pineapple Juice

2 Ole Smoky Moonshine Cherries 

1 splash Vanilla Extract

Grab your favorite champagne flute (or, I suppose, a regular cocktail glass will do). Drop in a moonshine cherry at the bottom. Fill with 4 ozs pineapple juice and top with 4 ozs champagne. Add a splashStab a cherry with a party pic and place on top or rest on side of glass. Pineapple Upside Down Cake Champagne Cocktail in a glass.

Party for one, please.

xoxo,
BF

 

BF Asks: What was your favorite drink or punch this week? 

Cocktail Corner: The Golden Globes Moët Golden Night Cocktail by Aida Mollenkamp

Oh, how I love award season! It has filled me with glee, delight, suspense and excitement ever since I was a tiny girl! So you can bet I’ll be glued to the screen this Sunday night to see who will be taking home the coveted Golden Globes this year.

I had the pleasure of attending a Golden Globes luncheon at the Beverly Hilton this past Thursday to meet and chat with Miss Golden Globes 2014 herself, Sosie Bacon.

With Sosie Bacon, Miss Golden Globes 2014, at an intimate bloggers luncheon at the Beverly Hilton

 

The official cocktail of the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards that they served sent me over the moon.

The official cocktail of the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards: The Moët Golden Night Cocktail crafted by Aida Mollenkamp

 

Moët & Chandon were kind enough to share Aida Mollenkamp’s delicious recipe with me so I might enjoy it on Sunday while watching. And being me, I of course have to share it with you! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did on Thursday  – and be assured that I will be enjoying it again come Sunday!

To the Globes!

The Moët Golden Night Cocktail - photo courtesy of Aida Mollenkamp

MOËT GOLDEN NIGHT

Made to celebrate the glamour and glitz of the awards season, Moët Golden Night is a decidedly sophisticated cocktail of cardamom syrup, pear brandy, and Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut Champagne. Garnished with a “fan” of fresh pear slices, this cocktail is the perfect sipper to toast the festivities. 

 

Makes: 6 cocktails // Enough simple syrup mixture for 8 cocktails

Total Time: 25 minutes

Hands On Time: 5 minutes

 

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup unrefined granulated sugar

1/4 cup water

20 whole cardamom pods, crushed using the back of a knife or a mortar and pestle

1/4 cup pear brandy

1 (750 ml) chilled Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut Champagne

2 small ripe Forelle or Seckel pears, for garnish

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan, stir to dissolve the sugar, add the crushed cardamom pods and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer the simple syrup for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to steep and cool for 20 minutes.

 

Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the simple syrup, discard the seeds and pods, and place the simple syrup into a liquid measuring cup. Add the pear brandy and stir to combine. (The pear-cardamom simple syrup mixture can be made up to 2 days ahead and the Asian pears can be peeled up to 2 hours ahead.)

 

Just before serving, cut the pear off the core and slice pear lengthwise into 1/8-inch thick slices. (Separate slices into stacks of three and spread slightly to make a fan. If cutting slices ahead of serving time, coat them with a little lemon juice to prevent them from browning.)

 

To serve, add 1/2 ounce of the pear-cardamom simple syrup mixture to 6 white wine glasses or 6 Champagne coupes (this makes enough syrup for 8 cocktails). Add 4 ounces of chilled Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut Champagne to each glass, filling each glass about halfway. Garnish each glass with three pieces of fanned pear slices and serve.

 

Perfect pairing of pear, cardamom, brandy & bubbly

 

xoxo,
BF

BF Asks: What will you be snacking on & sipping come Sunday night? 


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