Welcome to Our Old House

Buying a house with @cydconverse | Old house renovation ideas and home improvement inspiration

To say that this post today has been a long time in coming would be a complete understatement. On so many levels. To sit down to share these photos and this experience with you is nearly impossible to capture in words. It feels pretty monumental, if I’m perfectly honest. So I’m just going to say it as simply as possible. WE OWN A HOUSE! All caps and probably far more exclamation points are absolutely required. On Monday morning, we woke up early, danced a little jig over our morning coffee, visited the bank for a big cashier’s check and went off to our closing with more than a few butterflies in both of our stomachs. By noon we were the very emotional, very proud owners of one very old, very beautiful home. Today I want to share the first of many photos to come with you, complete with the soon-to-be evicted forty year old blue carpet. Later this afternoon (probably around 2 or 3pm east coast time) I am going to do a live tour on Snapchat if you want to join in for that! You can follow me there with username cydconverse if you want to get a feel of the space and the current condition with an actual walk-through. In the meantime, click through for loads of photos so you can see what we’re working with! We will be making updates for years to come, I’m sure, and honestly, I could not be more thrilled to own a whole lot of ugly carpet and one awesomely dated kitchen, last renovated in 1960. This is actually my dream house on every level and I am overcome with a lot of sappy emotions knowing our family will be living here soon.

Keep reading…

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Grapefruit Moscow Mule

Grapefruit Moscow Mule Recipe | Cocktail recipes, party ideas and entertaining tips from @cydconverse - Repin to save or click through for the recipe!

A few weeks ago, Bob and I were able to sneak off for a little getaway in Lake Placid while the baby had a weekend play date at Grandma and Papa’s house. (Yes, it was my first time leaving her. Yes, it was both difficult and amazing. So there’s that.) If you aren’t familiar with Lake Placid, it’s a little village in the Adirondack mountains and home to both the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympic games. Perhaps this is why the entire town seems to be obsessed with Moscow mules? I’m guessing they made their appearance during the Sochi games when they seemed to be popping up everywhere and considering Lake Placid is the ultimate weekend destination for any Olympic enthusiast, I’m not in the least surprised that the mule is living strong in that little mountain town.

Grapefruit Moscow Mule Recipe | Cocktail recipes, party ideas and entertaining tips from @cydconverse - Repin to save or click through for the recipe!

Grapefruit Moscow Mule Recipe | Cocktail recipes, party ideas and entertaining tips from @cydconverse - Repin to save or click through for the recipe!

All of that said, we encountered all varieties of mules that weekend, Bob’s first foray into mule sipping, and when we got home I wanted to try my hand at recreating one of our favorites – the grapefruit Moscow mule! The basis here is simple. You need grapefruit vodka, ginger beer and fresh grapefruit, with the addition of a little simple syrup if you prefer a sweeter drink. That’s it, friends. If you can, take things up a notch with a really high quality ginger beer (I prefer the bite of Fever Tree) and a super flavorful vodka (the Deep Eddy Ruby Red is insanely good.) From there, it’s all about loads of ice and those copper mugs if you have them (which makes things extra icy cold), or a pretty glass if you don’t. (TJMaxx and Marshall’s always carry mugs these days if you want to snag a couple!)

Grapefruit Moscow Mule Recipe | Cocktail recipes, party ideas and entertaining tips from @cydconverse - Repin to save or click through for the recipe!

Grapefruit Moscow Mule
Makes 1 serving

  • 2 oz grapefruit vodka
  • 4 oz ginger beer
  • fresh grapefruit
  • simple syrup to taste (optional)

Muddle a slice of grapefruit in the bottom of a mug or glass. If you prefer a sweeter drink, add simple syrup to taste before muddling. Fill the mug with crushed ice, then add the grapefruit vodka and ginger beer, stirring gently before sipping. Garnish with an extra wedge of grapefruit and enjoy!

Grapefruit Moscow Mule Recipe | Cocktail recipes, party ideas and entertaining tips from @cydconverse - Repin to save or click through for the recipe!

Grapefruit Moscow Mule Recipe | Cocktail recipes, party ideas and entertaining tips from @cydconverse - Repin to save or click through for the recipe!

Grapefruit Moscow Mule Recipe | Cocktail recipes, party ideas and entertaining tips from @cydconverse - Repin to save or click through for the recipe!

I love a good Moscow mule because they are simple, very unfussy to mix, but taste so amazingly refreshing. They’re made for summer sipping if you ask me! The copper mug, while not strictly necessary, really does lend something extra special to the drink because (a) they look cool, and (b) they keep everything frosty cold, which is perfect for a hot, sunny day. We have every intention of packing our mule mugs with us when we go on our big annual camping trip this year. Don’t judge.

Grapefruit Moscow Mule Recipe | Cocktail recipes, party ideas and entertaining tips from @cydconverse - Repin to save or click through for the recipe!

Grapefruit Moscow Mule Recipe | Cocktail recipes, party ideas and entertaining tips from @cydconverse - Repin to save or click through for the recipe!

Grapefruit Moscow Mule Recipe | Cocktail recipes, party ideas and entertaining tips from @cydconverse - Repin to save or click through for the recipe!

Grapefruit Moscow Mule Recipe | Cocktail recipes, party ideas and entertaining tips from @cydconverse - Repin to save or click through for the recipe!

Grapefruit Moscow Mule Recipe | Cocktail recipes, party ideas and entertaining tips from @cydconverse - Repin to save or click through for the recipe!

If you want to serve up a bunch at a party, I think this grapefruit mule is a perfect pitcher drink! You can mix up a huge batch right before guests show up and let them self serve with mugs and an ice bucket at the ready. They’re perfect for drinking at a backyard barbecue or kicking off happy hour on a sunny day. Basically, all the mules, all the time. Please and thank you.

Grapefruit Moscow Mule Recipe | Cocktail recipes, party ideas and entertaining tips from @cydconverse - Repin to save or click through for the recipe!

Grapefruit Moscow Mule Recipe | Cocktail recipes, party ideas and entertaining tips from @cydconverse - Repin to save or click through for the recipe!

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[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

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10 Perfect Summer Salads to Eat for Dinner

Candied Walnut and Pear Salad with Poppyseed Dressing | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

I’ve been eating a lot of salads lately. Way more than average. (You know, trying to be fit and healthy and all that jazz.) And even though I have a serious love affair with salads, I think I’ve officially burned myself right out on the standard varietal. So today I’m on the hunt for the ultimate salad inspiration and I wanted to share a handful of recipes with you, in case you need to shake up your veggie consumption game, too. Here we’re talking about 10 perfect summer salads that are worthy of entree status. Salad for dinner is one of my favorite weeknight meals, but these salads are anything but ordinary. Get to pinning, friends!

p.s. We bought a house yesterday! Stay tuned later in the week for all of the before photos (which I’m shooting later today), and all of the details now that we are officially homeowners. Hooray!

1. Candied walnut and pear salad with poppyseed dressing [above]

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Salad with Tahini Sauce | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

2. Roasted carrot and lentil salad with radishes and tahini sauce

Vegetarian Taco Salad | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

3. Vegetarian taco salad

Kale Arugula Reggiano Salad | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

4. Arugula kale reggiano salad

Kale Caesar Pasta Salad | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

5. Kale caesar pasta salad

Green Goddess Quinoa Summer Salad | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

6. Green goddess quinoa summer salad

Kale Salad Bowl | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

7. Kale salad bowl with sweet potatoes

Cajun Shrimp Po Boy Salad | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

8. Cajun shrimp po boy salad with avocado tarter sauce

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Goat Cheese | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

9. Zucchini and squash ribbons salad with tomatoes, peas, corn and goat cheese

Crunchy Taco Kale Salad | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

10. Crunchy taco kale salad

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Dreamy Backyard Inspiration

Dreamy Backyard Ideas | Patio decor and backyard design ideas from @cydconverse

[Studio Zerbey]

Now that we’re getting so very close to officially being homeowners, Bob and I can’t stop talking about everything we want to do to the house to really polish her up and make her shine. May in upstate New York is hands down one of the most amazing times of year. Trees start budding, flowers start blooming, lawn mowing becomes the official pastime of homeowners everywhere and the smell of dinner cooking on the grill fills the neighborhood on the nightly. So now that we know we are closing on the house on MONDAY, we’re naturally talking and thinking nonstop about all the ways we want to make our new backyard into a serious entertaining and lounging oasis. Denial that the interior of the house needs many many many gallons of paint and that there’s a lot of stained blue carpet awaiting its eviction notice? Yup, probably. (Seriously. You’re going to see the interior photos and wonder why I’m even talking about the yard.) But we honestly just can’t wait to hang out in a big backyard with our name on the deed and host BBQs. This is my current backyard inspiration! Some kind of great lounging space, a big table for outdoor dinners, a fire pit, string lights, a collection of Adirondack chairs, all the good stuff. Our backyard budget this year? About zero dollars! But I am having fun daydreaming anyway. Soon, guys. So damn soon.

Dreamy Backyard Ideas | Patio decor and backyard design ideas from @cydconverse

[Show Home via The Everygirl]

Dreamy Backyard Ideas | Patio decor and backyard design ideas from @cydconverse

[Aubrie Pick for Rue]

Dreamy Backyard Ideas | Patio decor and backyard design ideas from @cydconverse

[Lily Glass for SF Girl by Bay]

Dreamy Backyard Ideas | Patio decor and backyard design ideas from @cydconverse

[Homestyle via Decorist]

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Strawberry Balsamic Margarita with Black Pepper Shortcake

Fresh Strawberry Margarita Recipe | Cinco de Mayo ideas and margarita recipes from @cydconverse | Repin to save or click through for more party ideas and recipes!

With berry season just around the corner (or in full swing depending on where you live) and Cinco de Mayo coming up in just a couple of days, it only seemed appropriate to share this incredible fresh strawberry margarita recipe today! Make no mistake though, this is not your average strawberry margarita. This one is balanced out with a splash of balsamic vinegar and served up alongside the most incredible strawberry shortcake made with black pepper biscuits. Inspired by a day spent strawberry picking, these recipes make the most of spring’s most delicious berry bounty. Considering that strawberries are absolutely my favorite fruit by far, I fully intend to make a couple of these margaritas myself this week. Many thanks to Andrea Harper of Gray Harper Event Maker, Jade of Jade + Matthew Take Pictures and Samantha Huba for sharing!

Fresh Strawberry Margarita Recipe | Cinco de Mayo ideas and margarita recipes from @cydconverse | Repin to save or click through for more party ideas and recipes!

Best Strawberry Shortcake Recipe | Cinco de Mayo ideas and margarita recipes from @cydconverse | Repin to save or click through for more party ideas and recipes!

Strawberry Basil Balsamic Margarita

  • 4 – 6 fresh strawberries
  • 1 – 2 oz tequila
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 basil leaves and sprig for garnish
  • 4 cubes ice
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • Lime wedge to garnish

Combine strawberries, tequila, ice, balsamic, and basil in a blender and blend until smooth. Meanwhile, mix together sea salt and ground black pepper in a small dish and use the mixture to coat the rim of your glass. Pour drink mixture into glass and garnish with lime wedge and basil sprig. Enjoy!

Best Strawberry Shortcake Recipe | Cinco de Mayo ideas and margarita recipes from @cydconverse | Repin to save or click through for more party ideas and recipes!

Best Strawberry Shortcake Recipe | Cinco de Mayo ideas and margarita recipes from @cydconverse | Repin to save or click through for more party ideas and recipes!

Black Pepper Biscuits

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1-1/2 cups cold buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees . Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a food processor. Pulse twice to distribute the ingredients evenly. Scatter the butter over the top of the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and pulse until the mixture just begins to come together.

Scrape dough onto a lightly floured counter (you may need to work in some flour if the mixture is  too wet). Pat the dough into a 10 by 12 inch rectangle about 3/4″ thick. Use a 3″ round cutter to make biscuits, pressing together scraps of dough and repeating the process until you’ve used it all. Place the biscuits on 2 parchment lined baking sheets. Brush tops with cream and sprinkle with black pepper. Bake the biscuits for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and brush the tops with melted butter.

Best Strawberry Shortcake Recipe | Cinco de Mayo ideas and margarita recipes from @cydconverse | Repin to save or click through for more party ideas and recipes!

Best Strawberry Shortcake Recipe | Cinco de Mayo ideas and margarita recipes from @cydconverse | Repin to save or click through for more party ideas and recipes!

Lavender-Balsamic Strawberry Sauce

  • 1 pound {about 2 cups} chopped and hulled strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (we used a lavender balsamic, but you can use any)

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook all ingredients for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You’ll know it’s finished when the strawberries are soft and sauce coats the back of the spoon. Let cool –  it can be served hot, cold, or room temperature. Spoon the sauce over a warm biscuit, and top with homemade whipped cream. For an extra kick, add a touch of black pepper to the whipped cream and crack a bit over top. Enjoy!

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[Cocktail recipe + styling by Gray Harper Event Maker | Strawberry shortcake recipe by Samantha Huba | Photos by Jade + Matthew Take Pictures.]

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