Perk Up Your Picnic

There is nothing more enjoyable that spreading out on a grassy knoll and throwing your own little party at an outdoor festival or event.  Summertime is bustling with activities to draw you and your crew outdoors for a little fun and Vitamin D.  However, I always find it difficult to know what to take on such an excursion.  If you struggle with the same, I have a great checklist of items that are sure to satisfy all your needs and desires as you enjoy an afternoon out in the open air.

This weekend on July 12, Atlanta is hosting the annual Atlanta Street Food Festival.  This awesome event featuring food trucks from all over the southeast is full of fun and activities and is a perfect outing for you and your friends.  With amazing food and drinks, live music, and even activities for the children, it’s the perfect event for you to try out your picnic checklist.  Gather up your best buds and these awesome items below and let the good times roll.  Piedmont Park is a great backdrop for your picnic, and you’ll be lounging in style with unique and fun items that are sure to please.  While you’re stretched out on the lawn, take a look around…you might just see The Stylish Steed there!

Picnic Spread

1.  Rid Rite Pest Repellents – Bed, Bath and Beyond, $19 (set of 3)
These are such a lifesaver!  No need to swat the mosquitoes and gnats all day.  Place these around your party pad and you’ll be pest free!  I wonder if they have these for people too?

2.  Throw – West Elm, $34.99
If you are going to lounge, then you might as well lounge in style.  This great color blocked picnic throw adds personality and color to your picnic area, while providing you a functional sitting area.

3.  Portable Round Cheese Board – Brookstone, $27.20
These pivoting cheese board has all your tools conveniently stored inside.  Bring along some nice, crusty bread and an assortment of meat, cheese, and fruit and you have a light afternoon snack to enjoy while basking in the rays.

4.  Plastic Picnic Tumblers – Amazon, $9.35 (set of 12)
Why waste money buying disposable cups?  These bright and sturdy tumblers are the perfect fit for your lawn party.  Toss them in your cooler (#7) when you are finished and they are ready to wash and reuse.

5.  Melamine Dinner Plates – Target, $14.99
Another reusable item, these durable and colorful plates capitalize on both fancy and function.

6.  Cloth Napkins – Target, $19.99 (set of 4)
A little more expensive than paper napkins, but you save in the end because you can toss these in washer and they are ready to roll again.  These simple cotton napkins have a fun detail that accents the tribal look of your plates.

7.  Ice Master Cooler Basket – The Grommet, $54
Keep everything cool and contained in this unique cooler.  The appearance of a picnic basket, this cooler is functional and spacious and is sure to accommodate all your picnic packings.

8.  Disposable Wooden Cutlery – Joanne Hudson, $4.99 (set of 24)
These disposable forks, knives, and spoons are the perfect addition to your picnic spread.  Constructed of bamboo, these conversation pieces will be a hit with your entire group.

In addition to your picnic spread, you can’t forget the fun in the sun games.  Wide open grassy spaces are the perfect playing field for some yard games.  Three of my favorites are Yard Dice, The Washer Game, and Croquet.  All three games are portable and can be enjoyed by both young at heart and small in stature.  Plus, a little competition never hurt anyone.

Picnic Games

So whether you’re headed to an outdoor festival or creating your own event with a picnic in the park, you can pack with confidence, knowing that The Stylish Steed has you covered!  With beautiful, summer weather and lots of wonderful people in your life, a group outing and picnic is the perfect way to stay stylish!

Hot Dog, It’s A Holiday!

I love summer holidays for one reason!

HOT DOGS!!!!!

As a hot dog connoisseur, it thrills me that July is National Hot Dog Month .  What better time to enjoy a staple, American food than during the 4th of July weekend!

With favorites like the slaw dog, chili dog, junkyard dog, or even regional selections like the Chicago or New York Dogs, it very easy to find your true love.  However, it’s time to venture out and explore nontraditional creations for your summer dog!

In my opinion, the best way to begin your journey to Hot Dog Heaven is with the preparation of the all beef frank!

The Drunk Dog

Asked for by name at the home of The Stylish Steed, my friends expect this drunkard to make an appearance at least twice during the summer.  Purchased at a local butcher shop, these bun length beauties can really hit the spot.  I prefer charcoal grilling over gas, however, the cooking method is only half the battle.  Victory is secured in the pre-grilling ceremonies and in the dressing room!

After securing your favorite frank foundation (the weenie), belly up to the bar with your beefy bud and buy him a beer.  After piercing the hot dog with a fork several times, let him party overnight in a beer bath.  Any beer will help to achieve this amazing flavor, but I would stray away from flavored beers.  A simple domestic beer will do the trick.

When party time arrives, grill the hot dogs over indirect heat to maintain maximum juiciness.

The Bun
I am a big fan of the top sliced hot dog bun.  These are easy to find and create an excellent base for your grilled greatness.  The integrity of the bun is important as well.  Consider placing the bun on the top grill to toast it or in a steamer to soften them.

*The Drunk Dog and Top Sliced Bun will be the foundation for all three varieties showcased below.


Dressing your Dog

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Dog 1 – The Cream Cheese Rhapsody
This first dressing option will blow your mind.  I know you will be hesitant, but I assure you that it will not disappoint.  Push away the ketchup and mustard and dress your dog with a smear of cream cheese and some raspberry jelly.  Top it with some chopped jalapenos and you will never look at a hot dog the same.  I know you are skeptical right now, but trust me!

Dog 2 -The Posh Squash Dog

A huge perk of summers in the south is the abundance of fresh vegetables.  Everyone and their momma plants a garden and it’s never difficult to find a basket of homegrown goodness.  A great friend and local beautician here in Centre capitalizes on her homegrown produce by creating Squash Relish.  Pam’s sweet and spicy relish is amazing with anything from pintos to tortilla chips, but it really shines atop a juicy drunk dog.  The simple preparation of a little mayo and the relish is all you need.  The tangy flavors, subtle heat, and the crunch of the squash make this creation something to relish!
(Local folks – Pam is at Hi-Fashion Beauty Salon if you’re interested in purchasing some.  You can thank me later!)

Dog 3 – The Kevin Bacon Dog

Named for the bacon, of course, and the fact that Kev-o can be a little a cheesy at times, this homemade Punched-Up Pimento Cheese and crumbled bacon topped dog is sure to deliver the flavor and impact you are looking for.

Punched Up Pimento

8 oz. Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
4 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
Minced Onion, 1/2 of a large sweet onion
Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Seasoning, to taste
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, liberal amount
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon
4 Tablespoons of Mayonnaise
8 oz. Pimentos, diced

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate to allow flavors to marry.

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And now for dessert!

Give Me S’More Pizza

Smores Pizza Ingredients

With simple ingredients and minimal preparation, this dessert is reminiscent of a camp fire cookout, but kicked up just a touch.

For the Give Me S’more Pizza you’ll need:

1 Package of Pre-Made Sugar Cookie Dough
Nutella
Graham Crackers (3), crumbled
3 cups of Mini Marshmallows

On a greased baking sheet, form the entire package of sugar cookie dough into a pizza pie shape.  Bake the dough as directed on the package.  When dough is completely cooked, spread a generous layer of Nutella, leaving room around the edge for the “crust.”  Cover the Nutella with the graham crackers and marshmallows.  Return to the oven long enough to make the marshmallows gooey.  I even suggest turning on the broiler for a moment to add the ultimate “toasting.”

Smores Pizza Slice

Your guest will be asking for S’more of this sinfully sweet pie!

The 4th of July is a great time to celebrate with close friends and family.  As you enjoy your spread of decked out dogs and super simple sweets, remember the brave men and women who have fought and continue to fight for the freedoms that we hold dear.

We salute you for your sacrifice and service!  Keeping us the land of the free and the home of the brave is an act we can never repay!

Stay Stylish!

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Bump Up Your Style…Style Up Your Bump

Knocked Up, Prego, Bun in the Oven, With Child, Preggers….call it what you want, but it’s everywhere!  When you find yourself in a family way, it is such an exciting time in the lives of many.  There is bedding and nursery colors to choose, finding the perfect name for the bundle of joy, getting stocked up with diapers and wipes, and….oh yeah, taking care of yourself!!!  Future mothers oftentimes push their own needs to the back burner during their trimesters, but The Stylish Steed has some great tips for your wardrobe while you wait for your special delivery.

I look around and so many of my friends and family are expecting.  With much prodding from some stylish moms-to-be, we are going to look at some chic ways to bump up the style of my pregnantistas.

There is absolutely no reason for my blossoming beauties to live in the land of leggings.  This a time when you should feel most beautiful and feminine…maximize on that!
1. Keep It Simple
While you are prepping your wardrobe for your growing midsection, remember to keep things simple.  There is no need to inhabit the BLACK forest in jersey knit, but there are a few things I would suggest straying away from:
A.)  Bright Colors – You don’t want to draw unnecessary attention to certain areas.
B.)  Satin Fabrics – The most unforgiving of fabrics, satin is perfect for your pillow case, but not for your wardrobe.
C.)  Loud Prints – Be very cautious of loud prints.  These prints can easily create illusions and cause you to look disproportionate.

2.  Go With The Flow
Flowing Maxi Dresses are a pregnancy must!  Especially during this unbearable summer heat, a lightweight, flowy maxi is the perfect item.  Maxi Dresses are perfect during your pre-delivery days because they help to conceal heaviness on your bottom half.  I suggest something in a solid color that is complementary to your skin tone.  This brilliant blue maxi from Pink Blush is becoming on any skin tones, and flows gently down the body creating a great line.

Maternity Blue Maxi

 

This maxi is a great cut, color, and cost.  At only $36, you quickly become a stylish and thrifty mom-to-be.
Don’t forget your accessories as you don this great dress!
Pregnancy Look Accessories

A long strand necklace with hanging earrings is a great addition to this maxi with the open
shoulders and neckline.
Pregnant in Heels maybe be a great show, but let’s face it…it’s not realistic.  You can, however,
sport a sensible wedge or kitten heel that isn’t too high, but will give you some height throughout the day.
Last but not least, rock a bright colored clutch to add the ultimate personality to your look.
This faux leather clutch in magenta adds just the pop of color that this outfit needs.

3.  Short & Sassy
Take your femininity to the max with a short and sassy look that is sure to make you the envy of
the other expectant mothers.   Whether tall or fun size, showcasing a short flirty dress will make you a little bit taller.  The best silhouette for this look is a swing dress, or baby doll dress.

short and sassy pregnancy dress

This fun and flirty swing dress opens up the neck and shoulders (one of the few areas that
remains slim) and flows nicely down the body concealing the baby bump.

A bonus with this dress is you can pair it with heels after you have the baby and rock this look
even while you work on shedding that baby weight.  Pair this with a nice hanging earring and
your look is pregnancy perfection.

4.   Elongate Your Frame
In our pursuit for style, there are days when we really don’t feel like trying.  You’re bloated, your
feet are swollen, and why is your nose continuing to get wider?!?!?  On those days when you
decide on a simple black tank and jeans, easily add some pizazz and elongate your frame to create a longer, leaner line.  With some confidence, creativity, and a whole lot of accessories, you can
breeze through any fetus fiasco with ease….except maybe morning sickness.

Dress up a simple outfit with a long necklace that draws the eye down.  A single long chain or layers of long necklaces add to your total look and make you appear taller.  Add a great
hanging earring to this and your look is complete.  Don’t be a dud with a pair of studs.  Opt for
a large hoop or chandelier style to bring the focus to your neck and shoulders.

Consider these great accessories with your black tank and jeans!

Elongate LookThis long necklace with gold metal ovals hangs long and dramatic for the perfect look
to your simple outfit.  Pair with a chunky ring, hoop earrings, and a funky bracelet to really round out the accessories.  Add another layer of drama by pairing a scarf to bring a luxe look to your
outfit.  Simply drape it over your shoulders and you’ll be looking lean in no time.

And don’t forget about the bag.  The bigger the better, because a big bag makes your butt look smaller!

So don’t comprise your own personal style, my pregnant pretties.  Choose wisely to make yourself a lean, mean, baby making machine!  Showcase your feminine side and bask in that natural glow.  You already have the attention when you walk in the room…make it so they can’t stop looking!  Even with a baby bump, it’s never difficult to stay stylish!

It’s In The Bag – 5 Must Have Bags

Remember Mary Poppins?
She was unstoppable with her spoon full of sugar!  Her secret?

Mary Poppins bag
The bag!

If those Banks children needed anything, she had it on hand!  Therefore, it is a scientific fact that the right bag can completely change your life.  Women are already fully convinced of this, but the men folk are a little hesitant to sport one in everyday life because, heaven forbid, someone refer to your “Man Purse.”  Get over it, guys!

You can thank me later when you are completely in love with the
5 Must Have Bags!
1. The Tote
TSS Tote
This everyday bag is the perfect addition to your life.  Whether you’re commuting to the office, working from your computer at a bistro, or headed seaside, the tote is a great inclusion into your everyday life.  Normally a canvas construction, there are many varieties that are both stylish and functional.  This canvas tote by ASOS has thoughtful details of leather that add a rustic feel.  Throw your paperwork and laptop inside, or use it for a catch-all when heading out to the farmers market after brunch.  However you choose to utilize it, it will be a great addition to your busy life.

2.  The Duffle
TSS Duffle
Not just for the gym anymore, designers have revamped this classic to be more functional than ever. This is the perfect bag for traveling. With tons of styles and colors available, this bag will replace that old battered Samsonite you’ve been lugging through the terminal. This one from Hershel Supply Co. is complete with a compartment for shoes and enough space inside to pack for your week long trip to mountains or even that dreaded work conference in Kansas City.

3. The Weekender
TSS Weekender
Stylish and compact, yet spacious and feasible, this handheld bag with optional shoulder strap is perfect for that short trip back home to visit the parental units. With enough interior space to house a couple of outfits and a pair of shoes, you can stylishly arrive without that cumbersome pull-along in tow.  This wonderful piece from Jack Threads is under $40, but looks likes a million bucks.

4. The Backpack
TSS Backpack
A familiar item from our days in elementary school, the backpack has become a go-to companion for any man about town. Suitable for the office and even appropriate for a typical tourist event, this bag is functional with space and compartments for all your gadgets.  Jack Wills offers this throw back style with a nautical look.

5. The Briefcase
TSS Briefcase
A more pricey item than the others, this soft shell leather carrier is perfect for the dapper gentleman in the office. Unlike it’s hard case counterparts, this piece becomes even more beautiful with wear and tear. It’s completely justifiable to spend a little more for an item like this because it will never wear out.  With space for your documents and laptop, this sleek design by WILL Leather Goods will definitely serve you well into your retirement years.

So whether you’re a weekend cruiser on a constant road trip or a corner office crusader in the concrete jungle, there is a bag for you to add style and function to your life.  Push aside your misconceptions of the man purse and add one or more of these bags to your life.  Traveling, commuting, touring, or visiting….all your desires are in the bag when you need to stay stylish!

Growing Up Stylish!

When I was a glorious middle school student, pleasant and adorable…

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my very old and out of touch parents were the same age that I am now.
Apparently they weren’t that old and out of touch because I am reminded tonight, on the eve of my birthday, that 32 IS NOT OLD!

In high school, we are told that those are the best days of our life.  In college, we are encouraged to live it up because the reality of adulthood is quickly approaching.  In our twenties, life couldn’t be better (so we’re told) as we begin the journey to discover ourselves and find our place in the world.  And now,well into my thirties, I am told that these are amazing years.  You are finally established and life is great.

How I don’t disagree that life is great, I do find it interesting that we make each decade of our journey “the best” of the journey.  I’m guessing if I were to chat with a 43 year old, they would tell me, without hesitation, that your forties are undoubtedly the best years of your life.

Regardless of the opinion of others, I’m pretty pleased with the third decade of my life.  In this past year alone, I have had the opportunity to venture out and create The Stylish Steed blog and online boutique, I traveled to LA to be with my great friend, Rebekah Faulk, as she made her national television debut on ABC’s The Taste, and I had an appearance on The Dr. Oz Show with Rebekah.  I’m thinking that’s not too shabby for a little Alabama boy in a bowtie!

Regardless, as I examine my life I have a few observations:

  1. I can no longer pretend that was just a random, stray, gray hair.  They are now everywhere.
  2. My life is never going to be like the cast of Friend’s.
    friends
  3. I now begin comments with, “Young people these days…”
  4. I feel like I could pass for someone 25…until I’m actually around someone who is 25.
  5. I cringe when I look at pictures of myself in high school.  Who thought frosted tips was a good idea?!?!
    photo 1
  6. I have ointments and pills for pain.  That alone is slightly depressing.
  7. I secretly get excited when I get carded.
  8. It upsets me when younger individuals don’t understand the importance of walking in spiderwebs, or not chasing waterfalls.  Nor do they even remember No Doubt or TLC.
    no-doubt-tragic-kingdom-coverTLCCrazySexyCool
  9. When I refer to something from 10 years ago, I am thinking about the 90′s.
  10. I have become that man that I once despised, who actually says (on a more regular basis than I wish to tell), “When I was in high school…”

Growing up isn’t quite the curse that I once thought it to be.  Life is such an exciting and exhilarating journey filled with so many emotions.  Even now, at almost 32, I am amazed at the people I have met and the friends that I have made.  I look around and am astonished at all the goodness in my life.  That’s really the best accessory for a stylish life….and cake!  Cake is a really nice accessory too!

Speaking of cake, I received a beautiful lemon cake with raspberry filling at work today from one of my awesome co-workers.  It’s friends like that who make you smile because of their thoughtfulness and help you to see the wonderful details in your life.

The Stylish Steed is so stylish that he requires the most stylish of cakes!

Cake 1

cake 7

This cake is sooooo Chad Steed! A bright blazer and a bow tie?!?! I couldn’t contain my excitement when I first saw it!

cake 3

And it tasted as good as it looked!

Have you been growing up stylish?  If you haven’t lived a stylish life, then I suggest you invest in some awesome accessories to embellish your life.  Friends and family are the perfect addition to create the ultimately stylish life.  Pinstripes or pearls, linen or lace, regardless your look, being surrounded by amazing and supportive people is the best way to stay stylish!