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product review

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Simply Entertaining: Cast-Iron Pizza Recipe + Kuvée Wine Review

Product Reviews, Recipes

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Once a month, my friends and I get together for Girls Night. We rotate houses each time and gather for a home-cooked meal, a terrible Lifetime movie… and copious amounts of vino! With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season upon us, I knew that I wanted to keep things simple and easy for our upcoming gathering. But as a hostess, I feel it’s my duty to accomodate everyone’s tastes and preferences as much as possible. So I decided what better way to cover all my bases than with individual cast-iron pizzas and an assortment of wines from Kuvée?!

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In case you haven’t heard. Kuvée’s Smart Wine Bottle is a clever gadget that slows down the oxidation process, allowing you to enjoy your wine for up to 30 days after opening (10 times longer than regular wine). The concept is perfect for intermittent wine drinkers like myself that fear wasting bottles after opening. And as a bonus, the bottle possesses an undeniable cool-factor that will intrigue your guests while satisfying different palates.

Here’s how it all works…

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The Kuvée system works with special plastic wine cartridges that you pop into the dispenser. There are currently 48 different selections to choose from – all from the California and Pacific Northwest regions. You can easily switch between different bottles throughout the evening with the press of a button.

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Once you insert a cartridge, the bottle automaticay recognizes the wine and gives you details about it including the type of grape and alcohol content. After you take a sip, you can also give a personal rating which makes it great for building up a catalog of your favorites and finding similar wines in the future.

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No wine, no problem! If you find yourself running low, you can easily scroll through the wi-fi connected Wine Library and order right from the bottle. The wines then arrive at your doorstep a few days later. How cool is that?!

If you’re looking to splurge a little on the perfect gift for the person who has everything, this is definitely an option worth considering. You can order Kuvée online for $199, and the set also includes 4 starter bottles (valued at $100). So all-in-all, it’s a pretty sweet deal.

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The pinot noir I’m sipping here was the perfect accompaniment to my pepperoni pizza. Speaking of pizza… you didn’t think I’d leave you hanging on the recipe did you?!

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The instructions are dead easy, but the taste is incredible. You can make your own crust ahead of time using the recipe below, or simply use a store-bought dough (or one from your favorite local pizza joint) if you’re pressed for time. Once your guests arrive, you can simply lay out the different toppings and let them choose their favorites.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce
  • 4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Toppings of your choice

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, yeast, and salt in a medium bowl
  2. Stir in cold water and combine
  3. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap
  4. Allow dough to rest on the countertop for 12 to 18 hours until it doubles in size
  5. Sprinkle the dough with 1/2 tablespoon of flour
  6. Lightly stir until dough forms into a ball
  7. Grease a 10 inch cast iron skillet with olive oil
  8. Place the dough ball in the greased skillet, spreading close to the edge
  9. Cover the pan and let rest for 1 hour
  10. Preheat oven to highest temperature. (~500-550 degrees F)
  11. Add sauce, cheese, and toppings to the risen dough
  12. Start cooking the pizza on a stove-top burner on medium high for 3 minutes
  13. Place in preheated oven and bake 12-15 minutes

Full Disclosure: 
This post is brought to you in partnership with Kuvée. I received compensation for this post, and all views and opinions expressed are my own. Thanks so much for supporting the brands that make this site possible!

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Leaf Peeping with Enterprise CarShare

Travel

This post is brought to you in partnership with Enterprise CarShare. I received compensation for this post, and all views and opinions expressed are my own. Thanks so much for supporting the brands that make this site possible!

enterprise-carshare-1{Banana Republic Blazer, Ralph Lauren Sweater, Zara Leggings, Forever 21 Fedora, J. Crew Shoes}

Growing up in the Motor City, some of my fondest memories growing up involved jumping behind the wheel, pushing pedal to the metal and heading off on an adventure at a moment’s notice. Flash forward to my life in the Big Apple over the past 15+ years, and I’m pretty sure I can count on two hands the number times I’ve actually been in the driver’s seat while in the city. Between skyhigh insurance, parking nightmares, overcrowded streets, and overzealous cab drivers, owning a car in Mahattan is not for the faint of heart (or shallow of pockets). While my monthly Metrocard and I will forever remain tight like glue, I do at times miss the call of the open road.

So when the lovely folks at Enterprise CarShare recently invited me to take a set of wheels out for a spin over the weekend, I jumped at the opportunity. If you’re unfamiliar, Enterprise CarShare is a member-based service offering automated rental vehicles by the hour, the day, or overnight. You can reserve a vehicle using their super-convenient app, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They have a great selection of cars in stock, but I made a beeline for this fun little jeep that was just perfect for a trip north to catch the tail end of the fall foliage and visit historic Hyde Park, former home to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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We could not have asked for a more perfect fall day or a more beautiful setting for our excursion. The leaves were a brilliant yellow and swirled all around us a we sped up the highway (well within the speed limit, of course). Our first stop was the Vanderbilt Mansion where we ooohed and ahhhed over the opulency and excess of a bygone era. But what most caught our eye and took our breath away were the beautiful surroundings along the Hudson Valley!

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We easily could have stayed here all day, but this part of New York is full of so many great diversions like Westpoint Academy and the Culinary Institute of Arts that we just couldn’t miss out on. After a day full of sightseeing, we finally made our way to The Would Restaurant for a cozy candlelit dinner.

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All-in-all, we thoroughly enjoyed our Enterprise CarShare experience. We’ve done traditional car rentals in the city before, but this experience had those beat hands-down. Rather than having to hoof it to some obscure location downtown, we were able to simply stroll to a nearby parking garage, flash our membership card to the attendant, and two minutes later we were behind the wheel and ready to set off. They even provide a credit card for gas purchases during your trip!

This experience has totally changed our view of renting a car in the city which always seemed like such a non-worthwhile nuisance in the past. In fact, we’re already planning another jaunt over Thanksgiving weekend to hit up the outlet malls. Trust me, once you try Enterprise CarShare, you’ll be hooked just like we are.

And because sharing is caring, I have a special offer for all you lovely readers. You can sign up for a free first-year membership and receive $20 in driving credits. Just visit http://bit.ly/Blog16-US and enter BLOG16 in the promo code box.

Safe travels!

 

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Goddess Twists Hair Tutorial + Motions Hair Care Product Review

Beauty, Product Reviews, Video

I’m pretty low-maintenance when it comes to hair care and styling, but several of you have asked how I achieve one of my favorite hairstyles as of late: Goddess Twists. When the lovely folks at Motions sent me a HUGE batch of products to test drive, I figured it would be the perfect excuse for me to get off my duff and give you a guys another hair tutorial.

This hairstyle is super quick and low-maintenance and is perfect for hot, humid summer days when you just don’t feel like doing much to your hair. The best part is that it takes zero braiding skills, since the hair is just two-strand flat-twisted. I did this style on freshly washed and blow-dried hair, and here’s a quick rundown of the products I used:

  1. Motions Enhance & Define Pre-Wash Detangling Butter
  2. Motions for Natural Textures Moisturizing Cleanser
  3. Motions for Natural Textures Smoothing Conditioner
  4. Motions for Natural Textures Heat Styled Straight Finish Sealer

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Overall, I was very pleased with these products, especially the pre-wash detangling buter and the heat styler. Those two products will most definitely be added to my regular hair care rotation as they made detangling and blow-drying my kinky/coily natural hair a breeze!

Be sure to check out the video up top for my fullw review and detailed instructions on how to achieve this hairstyle.

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