Friday Happy Hour: The Basil-Mint Mojito

Nole and I had some basil-mint syrup left over from those boozy snow cones we just made. That stuff is seriously good, so I did the natural thing and put it in a different cocktail. This one is, unsurprisingly, also really good: the Basil-Mint Mojito. There’s still some time left in summer, so go knock yourself out. – Andrew

Basil Mint Mojito Cocktail Recipe OSBP 60 Friday Happy Hour: The Basil Mint Mojito

Basil Mint Mojito Recipe Card Shauna Lynn Illustration OSBP Friday Happy Hour: The Basil Mint Mojito

Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper

The Basil-Mint Mojito 2 oz Silver Rum 1 oz Lime Juice 1 oz Basil-Mint Syrup Soda Water To make the basil-mint syrup: combine a cup of fresh basil leaves and a cup of fresh mint leaves. Blanch them in boiling water for 15 seconds, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the leaves to a bowl of ice water to cool. Combine a cup of water and a cup of white sugar in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring frequently, until the sugar is melted. Combine the leaves and simple syrup in a blender and puree the leaves. Strain the mixture well. The basil-mint syrup will keep in the refrigerator for a week or two. Basil Mint Mojito Cocktail Recipe OSBP 6 Friday Happy Hour: The Basil Mint Mojito To make the Mojito: combine the rum, lime juice, and basil-mint syrup in a highball glass filled with crushed ice. Top with chilled soda water and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Enjoy!

Basil Mint Mojito Cocktail Recipe OSBP 24 Friday Happy Hour: The Basil Mint MojitoBasil Mint Mojito Cocktail Recipe OSBP 51 Friday Happy Hour: The Basil Mint Mojito

So here’s the deal: it’s nearly impossible to beat a Mojito made with muddled mint and fresh lime. But that same Mojito is a lot of work, with all that muddling and building in the glass, and you’re probably not going to have fresh ingredients for a Mojito every time you want one. So having an herb syrup like this on hand lets you cheat a little and capture those same flavors without all the same work. It’s also much easier to make more than one Mojito like this. Making a round of Mojitos for a party’s worth of guests is a mountain that none of us want to climb. But scaling this recipe up and making a pitcher of Mojitos is easily within reach.

Basil Mint Mojito Cocktail Recipe OSBP 32 Friday Happy Hour: The Basil Mint Mojito

Plus, look at that gorgeous green color. It’s a lot of fun to pour a drink with such ridiculously vibrant color and know that it doesn’t come from a factory. Photos by Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Happy Weekend + August Break!

Happy Friday everyone! Summer is starting to wind down and, between the Congressional recess and absence of a billion college kids, DC is feeling sooooo quiet these days – which I love! Next week, we’ll be taking our own little recess in the form of our annual August break to recharge and enjoy these last few days of summer. We’ll be back with new posts on Tuesday, September 2 after the Labor Day weekend! But in the meantime…

OSBP Dahlia Instagram Happy Weekend + August Break!

Photo by me via Instagram (dahlias from my garden!)

…a few links for your weekend:

This week on Oh So Beautiful Paper:

Check back soon for this week’s cocktail! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you back here in September! xoxo

Preparing for Baby No. 2, Part 1

We only have a few weeks left before this baby arrives, and the closer I get to my due date, the harder it is to concentrate on anything non-baby-related. Some things are starting to feel urgent – like making sure our hospital bags are packed! – but I’m also trying to make a conscious effort to slow things down and prepare for my eventual maternity leave, including gathering some awesome guest bloggers to help fill in here while I’m away! Today I thought I’d share some of the things weighing on my mind as we prepare to welcome a new family member – and share a few photos from a trip to a little beach along the Potomac River last weekend.

OSBP Day at the Beach 11 Preparing for Baby No. 2,  Part 1

This won’t be news to any of you more experienced mamas out there, but second pregnancies are a funny thing. Yes, there’s all the physical stuff that I’d heard about ahead of time – feeling tired all the time thanks to your rambunctious toddler, showing earlier, etc. – but, at least for me, I’ve been surprised to find that this pregnancy feels just as surreal this time around as it did when I was pregnant with Sophie. Perhaps it’s because our lives are already so full with Sophie, but it has been difficult to wrap my head around the fact that there is going to be another (brand new!) tiny human living with us. Which seems ironic since we know exactly what’s headed our way in just a few short weeks, but it still just feels kind of abstract.

OSBP Day at the Beach 15 Preparing for Baby No. 2,  Part 1

But having been through the experience once before already, I’m less focused on some of the things from my first pregnancy – like making sure we have all the necessary baby gear and signing up for birth classes – but I have more specific concerns this time around.

So here’s what we’ve done so far: switched from our previous OB to a midwife practice, hired our doula, and started both weekly chiropractor appointments and weekly acupuncture appointments. The decision to switch to the midwife practice was really easy; we’ll still be able to deliver at our preferred hospital, but without a million interns, residents, and attending physicians coming in to poke at me every hour or so while I’m in labor. The weekly chiropractor and acupuncture appointments were actually both recommendations of our midwives.

OSBP Day at the Beach 16 Preparing for Baby No. 2,  Part 1

I love this photo for so many reasons – but you can tell from Sophie’s expression that she was not thrilled to be near the water. My sweet girl is definitely proving not to be a water baby so far!

OSBP Day at the Beach 5 Preparing for Baby No. 2,  Part 1OSBP Day at the Beach 7 Preparing for Baby No. 2,  Part 1

At this point during my pregnancy with Sophie, I was diagnosed with a condition called cholestasis – a rare late term pregnancy complication that affects the liver and gallbladder. Last time, cholestasis came as a complete shock: I don’t fall into either of the ethnic groups for which the condition is most common, and to my knowledge there is no history of cholestasis in my family. But my liver levels skyrocketed and our OB was concerned about the risk of liver failure or stillbirth – so I had to be induced for labor at 37 weeks. That experience was really tough on both me and Sophie (more on that coming in a separate post soon), so this time around I’m doing everything I can to avoid a repeat experience, from acupuncture to diet changes. Cholestasis carries a recurrence rate of 45-75%, so fingers crossed that these things do the trick.

OSBP Day at the Beach 20 Preparing for Baby No. 2,  Part 1

Aside from cholestasis, my biggest concerns revolve around Sophie: making sure we have a plan for her when we’re in the hospital, carving out special time for her after the new baby arrives, etc. Caring for Sophie while we’re at the hospital and the first couple of weeks postpartum is probably my biggest concern right now. We don’t have a lot of family near by, and since we don’t know exactly when the baby will arrive (especially since I wasn’t able to go into labor naturally the last time around) it has been difficult to make plans for grandparents to come down and help. This has been a big source of anxiety for me. The grandparents are all willing to come down and help, which is great, but we’ll need to have short term plans for Sophie during labor and until family can get here – and we’re still not quite sure how to handle all of that.

So… more experienced mamas out there – how did you care for your older children during labor (especially if you don’t have family close by)? Any advice or tips to share? I’m all ears!!

All photos by me from my Canon DSLR

Calligraphy Inspiration: Meghan Kay Sadler

This month’s dose of calligraphy inspiration is an absolute triple threat; she’s a Los Angeles based photographer who also offers services in calligraphy and design. Meghan Kay Sadler‘s portfolio is filled with visual goodness. From stunning portraits to beautifully executed hand lettering, she’s the total package. Being such a visual creature, you can’t really be surprised at the level of her work. – Julie

MKS 1 Calligraphy Inspiration: Meghan Kay Sadler

MKS 2 Calligraphy Inspiration: Meghan Kay Sadler

MKS 3 Calligraphy Inspiration: Meghan Kay Sadler

Light as a feather, Meghan’s calligraphy seems to be floating on air, or the paper in this case. Very delicate but it certainly makes an impact!
MKS 5 Calligraphy Inspiration: Meghan Kay Sadler

MKS 4 Calligraphy Inspiration: Meghan Kay Sadler

Fanciful flourishes and embellishments fill the space in such a wonderful way. You can tell that Meghan has an eye for details.
MKS 6 Calligraphy Inspiration: Meghan Kay Sadler

You can see more of Meghan’s calligraphy here. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to view her photography and design work as well!

Photo Credits: M. K. Sadler

Lauren + Jeff’s Lace and Kraft Paper Wedding Invitations

White foil and kraft paper is one of my all time favorite combinations – so classic! Megan from Ruby the Fox dressed up these rustic wedding invitations with beautiful lace details, blush pink letterpress (in addition to the white foil on kraft!), ribbon, and a custom wax seal. So romantic!

Kraft Paper Lace Wedding Invitations Ruby the Fox OSBP Lauren + Jeffs Lace and Kraft Paper Wedding Invitations

From Megan: When Lauren, a friend from college, told me that she was getting married and wanted Ruby the Fox to do her wedding stationery, let’s just say I was a little bit excited! After talking about the vibe for her wedding weekend, there is only one word to sum it up: rustic.

Kraft Paper Lace Wedding Invitations Ruby the Fox OSBP3 Lauren + Jeffs Lace and Kraft Paper Wedding Invitations

Kraft Paper Lace Wedding Invitations Ruby the Fox OSBP2 Lauren + Jeffs Lace and Kraft Paper Wedding Invitations

We played with a soft and super feminine palette of blush, white, and kraft, and used lots of lace elements throughout. The wedding invitation suite was foil and letterpress printed on a number of different paper stocks, and we pulled in ribbon, twine, and a custom wax seal to tie it all together!

Kraft Paper Lace Wedding Invitations Ruby the Fox OSBP4 Lauren + Jeffs Lace and Kraft Paper Wedding Invitations

Kraft Paper Lace Wedding Invitations Ruby the Fox OSBP5 Lauren + Jeffs Lace and Kraft Paper Wedding Invitations

Thanks Megan!

Design: Ruby the Fox

Ruby the Fox is a member of the Designer Rolodex – you can see more of their beautiful work right here or visit the real invi­ta­tions gallery for more wedding invitation ideas!

Photo Credits: Mary Kate McKenna Photography