Make Banana Pancakes, Pretend Like It's The Weekend Now

I met my second little niece this weekend! Friday, after being subjected to an abysmal salad at a restaurant I don't even like, I drove 3 1/2 hours to a sleepy little town at the hem of the Blue Ridge Mountains. My brother and his family live here in a little tan house with a little white porch. His wife gave birth to their second daughter on Monday. Little Piper has joined her big sister, Ellie, in a family that is so full of love and laughter and I can't wait to see her get old enough to have a personality. For now she is full of cries that sound (appropriately) like a baby seabird's. Once I got my fill of baby snuggles, I got to devote the rest of my time and attention to Ellie (2) who was full of dramatic ideals of running away and/or hiding in her play tunnel come bed time. We opted to make banana pancakes instead. Because when the world is rainy, or it's a Monday, or you've gone from only child to big sister and your daddy sprains his "twinkle" (twisted + ankle = twinkle), stirring up some banana pancakes with your doting and very cool and totally single-and-available aunt is precisely what the doctor orders.

Cook To This - The Songs I Kitchen With

The absolute best music to play while cooking is almost as subjective a topic as what the absolute best kind of cake is, or where the absolute best place to vacation is. In fact, I doubt that any opinion on the matter of music, cake, or vacationing could be accurately referred to as "absolute," being that "absolute" means inarguable and these things leave themselves wide open to argument. That aside, we all have our opinions are are entitled to them. Joy at Joy The Baker spends a considerable amount of time on Instagram cooking along to rock music or piping Drake on Cake. Other bloggers go full-on indie with their music, some oldies, some Broadway. I love music and I love cooking to music so it was only natural that I'd try to get you on board with the songs I love. My taste in music skips all over the place but when it comes time to get in the kitchen, I can be depended on to settle into music that could casually fall under the "easy listening" headline. I like melodies and lyrics that can be listened to on their own or provide a gentle background for conversation that is going on in the kitchen. You know sometimes music is going and playing and you're jamming out and then somebody comes in in the middle of a Twenty-One Pilots song and there's nothing for it but to pause  the music so you can carry on a conversation? That isn't the direction I like to take when cooking because for me, there is almost ALWAYS somebody in the kitchen with me. I like music that carries you along and sweeps you away and makes you feel like you're in the montage sequence of a Europe-based rom-com. You know? People always end up asking about the music behind my cooking stories on Instagram instead of paying attention to the food (kidding, kidding). I've decided to answer the question once and for all and put together an official "Cook To This" playlist. It's about an hour and a half long - just right for tackling your latest Great British Baking Show challenge or making a recipe off your favorite cooking blog!

That loud, conversation-trouncing kind of music that we just discussed is what this playlist is not. The songs I've thrown together here are just as pleasant at a low volume as they are when you have the kitchen all to yourself. The list isn't curated to be played in any specific order so those of you who don't have Spotify premium? I got your back - just hit "shuffle" and let the algorithm sort itself out! Of course, if you do want to play the playlist all the way through, I've rigged it so you've got a little bit of Jack Johnson and Sara Bareilles and The Afters all mixed in with Ella Fitzgerald and Harry Connick Jr. so you'll still be surprised. All set? Here you go. Enjoy, and tag me in your Instagram stories if you happen to cook while listening so I can enjoy it along side you!

“Give me book, fruit, French wine, and fine weather and a little music out of doors played by someone I do not know.” - John Keats

Power Couples: My Favorite Love-Stories And Their Snack-Baes

I've always loved to read, My mom would limit me and my siblings to 15 books (each) per library trip and would discipline me by taking away reading rights. Books, stories, and the way they draw people together in life are some of my truest loves. I thought it would be fun to set up some of my favorite romantic books on dates with some of my favorite snacks. You know, a sort of power-couple speed-dating event? We all know that books pair best with a drink or food and that a cozy evening in isn't complete without one or the other to accompany your favorite story. For this post I chose books that, while well-known, aren't exactly over-read. That way you aren't sitting here with yet another suggestion to read Pride & Prejudice, as much as you might love it. Each book suggestion comes with a snack suggestion, so scroll through and swipe right if you like what you see. ;) Happy Valentine's Day!

When "I'm Tired of Being Single" Means So Incredibly Much More

No, this post isn't about food or about Valentine's Day, really at all. Though Lipstick & Gelato is a food-blog, it is also about the heart of matters. About your heart, and mine, and the way it all comes out in the food we make. So in that vein I'm serving up some honest-to-goodness vulnerability. Some real talk. Some "this is what took up all my heart-space this week." It isn't a feel-good post, but it's an honest one and I hope that it hits someone like an embrace. XOXO

"I'm so tired of being single.
I don't think I even knew everything that I meant when I sent that text. Despite my greatest efforts to get over myself and find joy in my freaking-awesome single stage, despite my gratefulness for the community I get to do life with, despite taking care of my body better than ever, getting plenty of sleep, having a jam-packed social life and anticipating the birth of my second niece, in these baby months of 2018 I just can't seem to kick the longing for more than a week or two. So I sent that text to more than one friend and spent that day feeling the kind of aloneness that only comes to a heart-sore extrovert on-shift by herself on a slow day with approximately two sales transactions to break the monotony. These bouts of longing come now and then but I am usually good at sprinting through them, whether by

Golden Mango Immune-Boosting Smoothie

Here in coastal Virginia, winter is trying to die. We've had a few days of brilliant sunshine which have reminded some of us that there's this really huge star called the Sun that sometimes does this cool thing where it kisses us with immune-boosting vitamin D. Other times, though, it seems like summertime and sunshine and fresh produce and not having to worry about getting the flu every time another human looks in your direction is but a dream.

Lavender London Fog Layer Cake

Fun fact: I'm going to Florida soon. Other fun fact: when I first visited Florida and passed a highway exit labeled "Tropicana Field" I 100% thought it was the place where the orange groves are located and got super excited and then basically melted of embarrassment when I was told it had something to do with sports. Other fun fact: it's Super Bowl Sunday. Again. And instead of a Super Bowl snack recipe, we've got a Valentine's Day recipe. Why? Because I un-apologetically care more about love than I do about which terrifyingly massive football player has hold of the ball.