Creating an MVP Charcuterie Board

Once upon a time, I did not like cheese… WHAT?! I know, right. I thought the extent of cheese was American or Colby Jack, boy was I wrong. Me discovering the possibility of cheese was much like Jon discovering he likes mustard… (photo below) we just can’t get enough!

Cheese boards have become a weekend staple in this house and a go- to for girl’s nights and party hosting. If you want your cheese board to be anything but boring, variety is a must. I made mediocre cheese boards before I went to Italy, trust me, they showed me how it’s done! I’m not sure if my taste buds have changed or if my preferences have matured with age. Or it could be the wine. Yeah, probably all of the wine.

Follow this fool proof guide to curating the perfect cheese board by choosing one, several or all types from each category below.







Coastal Cheddar





Parmagano Reggiano

*Pro Tip: sometimes I like to include two of the same type of cheese- one aged for added flavor




Smoked Salmon


Other Cured Meats


Water Crackers

Melba Toast

Flavored Crackers








Vegetables- miscellaneous

Grapes or Berries

Jam/ Honey

Hummus Spread

If you really want to take your cheese board to the next level, try adding baked goods such as baked Brie with jam and pecans, spring rolls or flatbreads.

As always, let me know what you think! I am always looking for suggestions!


‘Tis the Season for Eggnog (Bonus Recipe for “Nutella” Eggnog)

There’s something about celebrating the holiday season with a festive drink, sometimes a glass of wine just won’t do. When I think of the days leading up to Christmas, I think of decorating the tree, stringing up the lights and baking cookies- all accompanied with a glass of eggnog. I’ve tried a few recipes over the past three years and I finally have a sound one which I will share below. But the real gem in this article is my own concoction I decided to explore this year… wait for it… NUTELLA EGGNOG. Yes, you read that right, chocolate- hazelnut eggnog is everything you can ever want in a delicious holiday favorite.


Traditional Eggnog



1 c. Heavy Cream

2 c. Milk

1/2 c. Sugar

6 Egg Whites

1 Tbs. Vanilla

Alcohol- 2 c. Amaretto, 1 c. Bourbon

Garnish with cinnamon and nutmeg


Mix egg whites and sugar separately. Over medium heat, mix all other wet ingredients in a sauce pan. Carefully spoon in heated mixture (while continuously mixing the egg whites) small amounts at a time so the eggs don’t curdle. Add alcohol and garnish. Refrigerate. Enjoy! It’s that simple!



There is a slight adjustment in the ingredients, all will be prepared the same way I have listed above for traditional eggnog.


1 c. Heavy Cream

2 c. Chocolate Milk

1/2 c. Sugar

6 Egg Whites

1 Tbs. Vanilla

Alcohol- 2 c. Frangelico, 1 c. Dark Rum

Garnish with cinnamon and nutmeg OR Chocolate syrup

Eggnog is easier to prepare than it sounds. Let me know what you think! Cheers!

It’s the Holiday Season: ATX Edition

Austin might be lacking in cold weather and snow (thank god) but it is in no way lacking Holiday cheer. Christmas in Austin is one of my favorite times of the year (second to full on 100+ degree summers). The holiday spirit is everywhere, some of my favorite places transform into winter wonderlands for the season. It’s the best of both worlds- a touch of my northeastern home without the actual snow and cold weather!

Here is a compilation of just a few of my favorite things to do in Austin during the holidays, I end up going out every night and lacking sleep all just to see and experience the holiday transformations before they’re over until next year.

Trail of Lights (December 10- December 23): walk through the pretty Christmas lit trail at Zilker Park

COTA Winter Wonderland (thru December 30): not as great as trail of lights, but they do have a petting zoo!

Mozart’s Coffee: Three holiday songs synced with Christmas lights, playing every fifteen minutes (opposed to last year’s schedule of once at the top of every  hour)

See the life size Gingerbread House at the Westin!

Santa’s Ranch (College Station, very popular)

Texas Stars Hockey Game!

Decorate (and clean up) your own Christmas tree on 360

Ice Skating at Whole Foods

Johnson City Lights

The Roosevelt Room transforms into Miracle on 5th Street

LaLa’s Little Nugget (a bar that looks like it threw up Christmas year round)

37th Street Lights

Tree Lightings- my favorites are The Driskill and The Hotel Granduca

So many small, local businesses participate in various ‘Sip & Shops’ throughout the city

Grab your friends, make some eggnog and listen to Pandora’s Christmas Radio. Get in the holiday spirit and spread some Christmas cheer!!

Nashville: Music City

I’ve been to Nashville several times, each time is better than the last. Much like Austin, Nashville is constantly growing, changing and adding things to the ever so long list of things to do. However, one of the things I love most about Nashville is its consistent spirit- even with their constant adjustments to today’s city and tourism expectations, they never lose sight of whats important: the music and the traditions. It’s truly admirable and charming.Nashville has several neighborhoods, for planning purposes I organized our activities by neighborhood so we weren’t constantly wasting time hopping from one to the other and wasting money on ubers to get back and forth.

  • Broadway
  • Germantown
  • The Gulch
  • East Nashville
  • Midtown

I could tell you all about my latest trip, yes we were THOSE people who flew to Nashville for a bachelorette party, instead I’ll just leave you with a laundry list of places to eat, things to do and where to go to unwind with a drink. In true Gmoney fashion, my favorites are starred*


  • Jack’s BBQ (Lower Broadway)
  • Rippy’s (Lower Broadway)
  • Chocolate Co. (East Nashville)*
  • Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant (5th Ave.)
  • Hattie B’s (Fried Chicken)*
  • Pancake Pantry (Brunch)*
  • Blue Bird Cafe (Purchase tickets online for dinner & show)
  • Vegan Vee Bakery
  • Maggie Moo’sIce Cream
  • Hog Heaven (BBQ)*
  • Loveless Cafe
  • The Pharmacy (East Nashville)
  • The Farmhouse
  • Monell’s (Down home cooking)
  • Sky Blue (Brunch)
  • Acme Feed and Seed*
  • The Grilled Cheeserie*
  • Watermark (Gulch)
  • Pinewood Social (East Nashville)
  • Tavern
  • The Southern


  • Anything on Lower Broadway (just pick one, you can’t go wrong!)
  • L27 (Rooftop @ Westin)*
  • Rare Bird (Rooftop @ Noelle’s)*
  • Acme Feed and Seed (1st & Broadway)*
  • Tootsies (Lower Broadway, you just might see someone famous)*
  • Bar Love (Gulch)
  • Old Glory
  • Bar 308 (East Nashville)
  • Honky Tonk Central (Broadway)*
  • Tree House
  • Play Tribe, Wild Horse (great for dancing)
  • Anthem
  • 3 Crow, Red Door (Dive bars)
  • Crazytown (Broadway)*
  • FGL House (skyline views)
  • Nashville Underground (Broadway)
  • Whisky Row (Broadway)*
  • Crying Wolf (East Nashville)
  • Mad Donna’s (East Nashville)
  • Lipstick Lounge (East Nashville)
  • Wild Beaver (Karaoke, ride the mechanical bull!)
  •  George Jones (Rooftop)*
  • Printer’s Alley (Live Jazz)*
  • Winners & Losers*
  • Attaboy (speakeasy)
  • Crema (speakeasy)


  • Johnny Cash Museum
  • Country Music Hall of Fame*
  • Walk of Fame*
  • The Grand Ole Opry*
  • Flea Market @ Fairground
  • 12 South*
  • The Ryman Auditorium*
  • Parthenon
  • Centennial Park
  • Murals (Gulch, 11th, 12th)*
  • Pedal tavern (beware of cardio)
  • Pinewood Social*
  • The Listening Room (Featured above)
  • Serenity Salt Cave


  • Black Abbey
  • E. Nashville
  • Fat Bottom
  • Mantra Artisan
  • Music City
  • New Heights
  • Rock Bottom
  • TN Brewworks
  • Jackalope
  • Little Harpeth
  • Mill Creek
  • Yazoo


  • Arrington
  • Belle Meade*
  • City
  • Diskin Cidery
  • Grinders Switch
  • Natchez Hills


  • Cascade Hollow
  • Corsair
  • Jack Daniels*
  • Nashville Craft
  • Nelson’s Green Brier
  • Speakeasy- Beechtree, Collier, McKeel
  • Prichards*

There it is, there’s my list. Whatever happens in Nashville, gets posted on Instagram. #basic

Big Bend National Park

This past Fall, we made the seven hour drive from Austin out to Big Bend National Park- and it was worth every minute. Seriously- the pictures don’t do it justice. Typically when we take a vacation, we take off work for a week and travel back home to see friends and family, so for this trip we only had one weekend. Yes; seven hours in the car, one way for two days… and I would do it again in a heart beat. Because our time was limited, we tried to see as much as daylight would allow in the park. We woke up at 3:00 AM Saturday morning to arrive at Big Bend’s gates around 10:00 AM. With only one day in the park, we chose to explore the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. Below you will find the trail we followed and the amazing canyons we experienced along the way!

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

  • Old Sam Nail Ranch (short path about .5 mi. to an abandoned old ranch along Cottonwood Creek)
  • Blue Creek Ranch (a house made out of native rock near the Blue Creek Canyon)
  • Sotol Vista * The best view of the park!
  • Burro Mesa Pour- off (a .5 mi. trail leads to a high pour off inside of a canyon)
  • Tuff Canyon- you can hike down into this canyon!
  • Castolon Historic District- buildings from the 1900’s featuring a cotton gin and old equipment
  • Santa Elena Canyon *My favorite part of this trip! We walked down to the Rio Grande that separates the US from Mexico. Absolutely stunning.

Since we were already seven hours away from home, we had to stop at Big Bend Brewing Co. for some refreshments. Coincidentally it was their anniversary party! We loved the quaint little town of Alpine, TX- we will definitely be back just so we can stay here! For this trip, we decided to go glamping (glamorous camping) at El Cosmico in Marfa, TX- also an awesome little town I’d love more time to explore. Since we only had one day to explore Big Bend National Park, we decided to camp elsewhere. Honestly, the “Beware of bears, mountain lions and rattlesnakes” signs were enough for me to say, ‘nahhhh.’

El Cosmico was incredible, sitting on the outskirts of Marfa, when everyone turns out their lights for the night- the stars come alive. It was breathtaking, really. Jon woke me up when everyone else in the campground went to bed so I could go outside, sit on the deck and look up.

For such small towns, there are quite a few things to do during your stay. We found several options near Alpine and Marfa, we definitely didn’t have enough time with that seven hour drive ahead of us on Sunday.


  • 12 Gauge Restaurant
  • Big Bend Brewing Co.
  • The Big Bend Coffee Roasters
  • The French Grocer
  • Fort Davis Drug Store and Hotel


  • Pizza Foundation
  • Squeeze Marfa- breakfast and lunch
  • Do Your Thing Coffee (we got coffee and breakfast to go)
  • FRAMA Coffee
  • Chinati Foundation- art instillation
  • Prada Marfa- art instillation
  • Marfa Lights (when you see it, you’ll know)
  • Lost Horse Saloon
  • Planet Marfa (Beer Garden)

Yes, this trip was super short, but it was also super AMAZING. I have no idea when in my life I will ever get the opportunity to go back, but I certainly would love to share it with every one I know!

Austin, Texas Y’all

My home away from home is the eccentric Austin, Texas. This is much less of a blog post and more of a suggestion on where to go, where to eat & what to do. I’ve created this list because Austin is becoming an ever-so popular vacation spot, friends and family are constantly asking me for recommendations and I’ve learned to keep a running list. (P.s. my absolute favorite places in each category are starred*).


  • Sawyer’s
  • Shady Grove
  • Hopdoddy’s * a must!
  • No. 28 * my second favorite restaurant in this whole city, authentic Italian pizza
  • Second Bar and Kitchen *
  • Lambert’s
  • Valentina’s Tex Mex
  • Bangerz
  • Cane Rosso * awesome crafty pizzas! (fruity pebbles waffles for brunch!!)
  • Hillside Farmacy * cute restaurant in an old pharmacy with original fixtures
  • Annie’s
  • Burger Bar
  • Lucy’s Fried Chicken
  • The Local Post Pub
  • Cenote *
  • Juan in a Million
  • True Food Kitchen *
  • Bonhomie
  • Olive and June
  • El Alma *
  • Contigo
  • Dry Creek Cafe
  • The Grove
  • Moonshine Patio Bar and Grill *
  • East Side Tavern
  • CRU Wine Bar * the real MVP on second street right here
  • Corner Star- their burnt ends are extremely underrated
  • Boudlin Creek Cafe
  • Irene’s *
  • Central Standard
  • Ernie’s on the Lake *
  • Mattie’s * cute place to grab dinner with the girls
  • Sushi Bang Bang * all you can eat sushi on Wednesdays!
  • Abel’s on the Lake *
  • Hula Hut * they have just about everything on their menu with a great view of the lake
  • Deckhands
  • Fareground * many restaurants all in one convenient location downtown
  • Cedar Door
  • The Launderette
  • Altas Cafe
  • Mandola’s * great Italian food!
  • Flower Child *
  • Ranch 616
  • Capital Grill
  • Perry’s * 1/2 Price Pork Chops on Fridays for lunch
  • Eberly
  • Geraldine’s * fancy!
  • Salty Sow *literally THE BEST restaurant in Austin, challenge me.
  • Cafe No Se
  • Home Slice- amazing NY style pizza that tastes just like it smells
  • Toss *
  • Guerro’s
  • Torchy’s Tacos *the craftiest and yummiest tacos (queso is a must)
  • Nightcap
  • TNT
  • Gino’s Vino * authentic Italian food
  • Vinaigrette
  • Arlo’s


  • Counter Culture
  • Boudlin Creek Cafe
  • Vegan Nom
  • Bangerz
  • The Beer Plant
  • Veg Heaven
  • True Food* my favorite place for lunch downtown
  • Flower Child


  • Halycon * build your own smore’s platter!
  • Jo’s * congress (i love you so much mural) or second street
  • Blenders & Bowls * smoothies!
  • Antonelli’s * cheeeeeeeeeese lovers unite (also in fareground)
  • Zhi Tea
  • Easy Tiger
  • Seventh Flag Coffee Co.
  • Mozart’s Coffee * beautful place to go sit by the lake
  • Tom’s *
  • Batch
  • Forthright
  • Brew & Brew
  • Cafe Medici
  • Sa-Ten
  • Nate’s
  • Better Half


  • Cow Tipping Creamery *
  • Gordough’s * literally everything served on a donut, even a burger…
  • Cafe Creme
  • Prohibition Creamery * yes, it’s alcoholic ice cream
  • Dolce Neve
  • Couldron Ice Cream
  • Roll With It
  • Cold Cookie Co. *
  • Churro Co. *
  • Teo Gelato
  • The Baked Bear


  • Sawyer’s* classic brunch options
  • Second Bar and Kitchen
  • Hillside Farmacy* fancy brunch options
  • Snooze*
  • The Russian Room
  • East Side Tavern
  • Moonshine* classic restaurant fare
  • Olivia
  • East Side Cafe
  • South Congress Cafe
  • Juan in a Million* there’s a line out the door for these breakfast tacos, order for pick up!
  • Gloria’s* amazing Latin brunch
  • Max’s Wine Dive* start the day with a carafe of grapefruit mimosas!
  • Emmer & Rye* classy brunch
  • Javalina* not so classy brunch $5 pint glass mimosas, grab some breakfast tacos too
  • Picnik


  • Franklin’s* skip the line and order 5lbs for pickup
  • Salt Lick* the driftwood location is beautiful
  • Big Cat
  • Black’s*
  • Schmitt’s
  • Ironworks* great options for everyone
  • Cooper’s* the best bbq downtown
  • Old 300
  • County Line
  • Slab BBQ & Beer
  • Texas Ranch
  • Micklethwait
  • Brown’s


  • West 6th Street* pick a bar, any bar
  • Dirty 6th Street* bar hop all night
  •  East 6th Street* hispter bars
  • Colorado Street* a lot of rooftop bars
  • Rainey Street* small, old houses turned into bars
  • Hangar Bar
  • Ten Oak Bourbon Room
  • Mort Subite* amazing beer selection
  • Azul* the best sunset view of the Austin skyline
  • The Russian Room
  • Craftsman
  • Speakeasies- Midnight Cowboy, Firehouse Lounge, Vinyl, Red Headed Step Child, Green Light Social*
  • The Driskill* thebest place in Austin, hands down
  • Haymaker* $2 margarita specials on Friday night
  • Black Sheep Lodge
  • Moontower* outdoor ranch type bar with live music and food trucks
  • The BrokenSpoke-Austin’s authentic honky tonk
  • Dance Across Texas* learn to two- step!
  • The Domain* another street of bars, you cant go wrong with whatever one you choose
  • Punch Bowl Social* all ages until 10:00 pm, drink and play games like bowling, jenga, foosball, cornhole, etc
  • The Goodnight
  • Draught House Pub
  • Spider House
  • Vigilante Game Bar
  • Gibson’s*
  • Whistler’s* Fun on the East Side!
  • Geraldine’s* awesome place to grab a fancy drink on Rainey Street
  • Brew & Brew
  • Hotel Granduca* their courtyard is the most beautiful place to have a glass of wine
  • Mezcaleria Tobala* Tequila bar, need I say more?
  • School House Pub*


  • Oasis* the most breathtaking view of Lake Travis
  • Uncle Billy’s* super convenient and chill place
  • Adelberts
  • Jester King* one of my favorite places to grab a beer… and pizza!
  • Last Stand
  • Treaty Oak* also a distilling ranch, must see!
  • Zilker
  • South Austin
  • Hops & Grains
  • Real Ale
  • Austin Beer Works
  • Austin Beer Garden
  • Blue Owl
  • Circle
  • Twisted X* a small, ranch feel
  • 512
  • Revolution Spirits
  • Deep Eddy* an awesome place to grab a unique drink during the day
  • Iron Wolf
  • St Elmo* I’m afraid to tell anyone about this spot in fear of it becoming more crowded


  • Spicewood
  • The Austin Winery- great location at The Yard
  • Fall Creek* My Favorite vibez (both locations)
  • Driftwood Estates
  • Wimberly  Valley
  • Texas Hills
  • Solaro* voted Best Texas Winery
  • Los Olivos


  • Mueller* my absolute favorite way to spend a sunday morning
  • Barton Creek
  • Sunset Valley
  • Springdale
  • Green Gate
  • Johnson’s Backyard Garden


  • Greenbelt*
  • Mt. Bonnell* hike the 360 bridge
  • Lake Travis* you wont want to miss this
  • Barton Springs Pool*
  • Paddle Boarding* always fun on Lake Austin, some awesome views along the way!
  • Austin Ghost Tours
  • Bullock Texas State History Museum* free admission every first Sunday of the month
  • Picnic in the park
  • Movies in the Park- check the website during the summer for show times
  • Austin Public Library- amazing views!
  • Pub Crawler- beware of the cardio
  • K1 Speed*- there’s also go-carting at COTA
  • Esters Follies- good for a laugh
  • So Far Sounds
  • Trampoline Park
  • Longhorn Cavern State Park* beautiful rainy day activity
  • Wanderin’ Stars Farm (you can rent a cabin for some glamping)
  • Top Golf*
  • Volente Beach
  •  NLand Surf


  • Paddle Boarding at Lady Bird Lake*
  • Tubing
  • 27 free pools
  • 12 free splash pads
  • Hamilton Pool* a beautiful, small “beach”
  • Greenbelt* enjoy a small “hike” and reward yourself with a small waterfall, “cliff” jumping and swimming
  • Devil’s Cove* awesome place to boat out to and swim
  • Lake Travis* there are several beautiful beaches to relax on during the day
  • Austin Party Boats* always a fun time on the lake renting a boat
  • Canyon Lake
  •  The Blue Hold
  • Jacob’s Well
  • Deep Eddy Pool
  • Barton Springs* a truly unique swimming experience


  • Georgetown- beautiful town square with shops, restaurants and lots of history
  • Fredericksburg- an overwhelming amount of wineries
  • Johnson City- small town on the way to Fredericksburg with shops and restaurants
  • Marble Falls- quaint little town with a sqaure of shops and restaurants and the infamous Blue Bonnet Cafe
  • Inner Space Caverns
  • Krause Springs
  • River Place Nature Trail
  • Wimberly- cute little town square with shops and restaurants
  • Perdanales State Park
  • Big Bend National Park- as amazing as The Grand Canyon, right here in Texas (make sure to stop at Big Bend Brewing and enjoy the little towns of Marfa and Alpine)
  • San Antonio River Walk- ahhh, the famous river walk!! (Never forget the Alamo)
  • Dallas- I’ve got separate suggestions
  • Houston- I’ve got separate suggestions

There it is, my complete guide to Austin. It can be overwhelming, I know. I’m always open to comments, questions and any other information you need!

Winter in The Big Apple

Despite moving south across the county to avoid the northeastern snow, winter is my favorite time to visit NYC. Every experience is more enchanting with the holiday lights and spirit in the air! I’ve been visiting Manhattan all my life, this year, I decided to take a trip unlike all the others. Typically during the winter my family would take a day trip to see The Big Apple Circus, The Rockettes or a show on Broadway- we would squeeze in some sight-seeing and meals before or after the main event. This trip, the main event was to see as much as daylight would allow. Trust me, you cannot see it all in one day (just ask my sister, I tried). You’ll notice throughout all of my travel guides, plans will be organized and categorized to allow the most efficient and effective trip!

There are so many neighborhoods to explore just in Manhattan, without even crossing a bridge to Brooklyn. Below is a list of neighborhoods with a small description about each so you can decide which ones to visit.

  • Chelsea: art
  • East Village: vintage shops and dive bars
  • Flatiron: architectural
  • Greenwich: NYU, Friends Apartment
  • Meatpacking District: stylish lounges (pricey)
  • Financial District: Ellis Island, World Trade Center
  • Hell’s Kitchen: Restaurant row
  • Upper East Side: Madison Avenue, The Met
  • Lower East Side: (opposite vibe of the meatpacking district)
  • Midtown East: skyscrapers, shopping on 2nd, 3rd & 5th
  • Upper West Side: Central Park
  • Midtown West: Times Square
  • West Village: Bars, shops, restaurants
  • NOHO: artsy botiques
  • SOHO: cobblestone shopping
  • Seaport: shops, coffee, restaurants (South Street)

Yes, there are a TON of neighborhoods… I might have made my family walk to as many as possible in lieu of getting a taxi (gotta get those steps in for the workweek hustle, right?!)  If I ever have the time to spend more than one day, I would choose to plan nothing and just mosy around the different neighborhoods. This last trip I made, I planned to see and eat everything possible!

Must eat FOOD: 

  • The Sugar Factory (Multiple Locations)
  • Black Tap Craft
  • Black Seed Bagels
  • Pommes Frites
  • Eataly
  • Smorgasburg
  • Jacobs Pickles

Must drink COFFEE:

  • Two Hands (Little Italy)
  • Ost Cafe (East Village)
  • Intelligentsia (Chelsea)
  • Birch (Manhattan)
  • Culture Espresso (Bryant Park)

It might not be ideal to try and visit each of these places all in one day (how much coffee is too much coffee???) I recommend picking one or two off the Must eat/drink list based on what area you’re exploring. Since we rode the bus in to the PABT, here was the plan of attack (yes, we seriously WALKED to everything)


  • Central Park: The Bethesda Fountain, Bow Bridge, Strawberry Fields, The Met
  • Jacobs Pickles


  • Waterfall Tunnel (48th @ 6th & 7th)
  • The Sugar Factory
  • Times Square
  • Rockefeller Center: Tree, Ice Skating, Observation Deck (Pro tip: take the elevator to level 65 and observe the skyline from Bar 65 @ The Rainbow Room)
  • St. Patricks Cathedral


  • Bryant Park: Winter village shops, Ice Skating, Culture Espresso
  • Cinnamon Snail: VOTED Best Food Truck in NYC (Vegan for my mommy)
  • Flat Iron Building: my favorite, you wont want to miss this beautiful building that stands out for blocks
  • Eataly: something for everyone in this Italian shop (Pro tip: divide and conquer, meet back at a table with something to share from each stand)


  • Black Tap Craft: you know those crazy milkshakes decked in candy with a piece of cake on top… yeah, you’re welcome/ I’m sorry.
  • Pommes Frites (also for my mommy, anyone else know a French Fry- aholic?)
  • Little Atlas Cafe
  • Washington Square Arch

That’s it! That’s the list! Know your audience, pick a few places you’re dying to check out AND most importantly- take the time to appreciate everything you see along the way!