Category Archives: Coastal Lifestyle

Guide to Driving in the Snow

January 21st, 2018

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This post has been long overdue, I mean with the number of snow-covered roads New Englanders have already navigated this year, I feel like this post had to get published sooner than later. While I’ve been openly accepting and appreciating the beautiful snowy scenes, this winter has thrown at us, I’ll never be laissez-faire about having to drive, in the snow. I initially wanted Matt to write this post because he has a lot more experience when it comes to driving in winter conditions, but due to his busy schedule (he’s too much) I’m here to share the notes he provided me with.

Driving in the snow will always be my least favorite winter activity, I mean I would rather walk to the supermarket than drive if snow or ice hits. Yet, sometimes you have to pull on your big-boy snow boots and get in your car and go. When I was chatting with Matt about this post he shared some amazing tips and tricks on how to get you from point A to point B, in the safest way possible. So here is our guide to driving in the snow!

+ Check Your Local Conditions: First things first, Matt always urges me to check driving conditions the night before any early morning meetings when snow or below zero temperatures are on the radar. Will there be snowy roads? Icy roads, from melted snow that refroze overnight? It is important to understand the conditions you are driving in and most importantly inform others, that you are heading out in bad weather and when you think you’ll be back. It’s so easy to get stuck or skid off the road in poor conditions, so make sure to let others know where you are going and when they should expect to see you back.

+ Clear Snow Off Your Car: I mean this is an obvious one if you live in Connecticut because you can actually get a ticket for driving with snow-covered car roofs or windows. Nothing is scary than being behind a car on a day after a snow storm to see a huge chunk of snow sliding off their roof and onto the road or even worse the hood of your car. Before heading out just clear snow from the roof, car lights and windshield wipers and windows.

+ Driving Tips: It takes longer to accelerate, decelerate, turn and maneuver when driving in snow, so drive slow and give yourself plenty of time to get from point A to point B. When driving make sure to use low-beam headlights to avoid light reflecting off the snow and give at least eight seconds in following distance, between the car in front of you and yourself. Accelerate slowly, giving your tires time to grab the snowy roads and move forward with control; alongside breaking slowly and lightly overtime to stay in control and prevent spinouts due to sudden stops.

+ Don’t Stop & Won’t Stop: If there is a lot of snow on the road, stopping can become an issue. Snowy Road conditions can leave you and your tires with little to no traction on the road, which can make starting up from a full stop quite tricky. When it comes to breaking, just keep the heel of your foot on the floor and break with the ball of your foot to apply steady pressure; whatever you do resist from slamming on the gas or your breaks. Slamming on your breaks will lock up your tires, thus preventing your tires from gripping the snow and coming to a stopping point.

+ Drive With a Shovel: If you know you must go out in the snow, grab a shovel, flashlight, and a small bag of salt to place in your car in case you get stuck in a snowbank. Getting stuck in snowy road conditions is not a fun time but having a shovel to help free your tires and salt to provide traction, will make the experience a tiny bit less horrid.

+ Stay at Home: Ideally if it is snowy and winter advisories are out, I would highly recommend staying home. Driving in the snow is no joke, so if you have the choice to stay put, take that option. Work from home, stay safe and wait until the roads are safely plowed before venturing out into New England’s winter wonderland.

Okay, those are the tips Matt and I have for you all today. I would love to hear any tips you guys have below. Also, I can’t believe we’ve already had so many snow days this early in Winter, I feel like this is going to be one chilly season, anyone else agree?

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Why You Need Renters Insurance

January 17th, 2018

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Oh boy. 

It’s been a while since I’ve had time to just sit down and unload the current situation Matt and I have found ourselves in. To be honest, it feels good to hit the pause button on New England content for a second and fill you all in on what has been the craziest start to 2018. Our TCC Crew jumped head first into 2018, aka our year of travel, by booking three trips in the next three months. Remember when I talked about using our vacations days and being over-ambitious in this post; well I 100% overbooked our schedules BUT I was happy that we were finally using our vacation days and making the most of what is going to be an amazing year. 

Anyway, on January 3rd I flew back to Dallas and decided to take a ‘half-sick day’. I knew our crew had a busy three months ahead of us and after being sick through the entire holiday season, I really wanted to take a day to myself. I simply wanted to watch Christmas movies, relax and rejuvenate my mind, body, and soul. I proceeded to turn my email auto-response on, told the crew I was sick (aka playing hooky) and got back into my pajamas to watch a whole bunch of Christmas movies. I made some hot tea, curled up onto the couch, put Christmas in Connecticut on and was ready for a peaceful and tech-free day. 

The joke was on me though guys, just 10 minutes into Christmas in Connecticut, I called Matt because our fire alarm was going off. Why did I call Matt? Mostly to complain because our fire alarm goes off almost monthly for ‘testing’, but as I’m on the phone with Matt I peer out of my window to see a downpour of water coming from the unit above ours straight onto the balcony.  

As I looked up at the amount of water coming down from the above unit, all I could say was…Matt this isn’t good.

After hanging up the phone I quickly gathered Eloise (our cat) and headed outside to notify the office. Matt was on lunch break so within 15 minutes he met me outside of the apartment, to go back up and investigate. I waited with Eloise in the car only to hear a frantic Matt screaming EVERYTHING IS UNDER WATER. Our entire apartment, minus our newly furnished bedroom, which you can see here, was calf deep in water. Let’s just say this was the least relaxing sick day, I’ve ever taken.  

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Now looking back, Matt and I were extremely fortunate that I had been home for the flooding. We were able to get Eloise out of the apartment and into a dry place, whilst moving our expensive items like TVs, computers, flash drives, photos and sentimental things to a dry place (aka our bedroom). Basically, the pipes in the apartment above us broke, leading their sprinkler system to go off and flood their entire apartment, and our apartment got the aftermath as water came in from the ceiling completely destroying things like our couch, rugs, chairs, blankets etc. I mean the water was pretty nasty and ended up staining a majority of our furniture. 

Overall, Matt and I were so lucky that nothing that couldn’t be replaced got damaged and we were wise enough to have invested in renters insurance; which brings me to our post today. I honestly thought renters insurance was silly. I kept telling Matt things like: we don’t need it, I’ve lived in apartments before and nothing has ever happened, and basically every excuse in the book to talk him out of it. However Matt refused to budge on this issue and we ended up investing in renters insurance and honestly looking back, THANK GOD FOR MATT. 

With the help of our insurance company this issue has been quickly resolved and dealt with but without them, we would have been in a serious loss. So Matt’s going to take over and give you a few tips and tricks as to why you need renters insurance:  

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Why you need renters insurance: 


 

Many people like Aubrey don’t see the importance of insurance until a loss occurs like a flood, fire or car accident, and once this happens frankly it’s just too late to recover all of your damaged items. Your everyday items like your phone, laptop, clothes, and home decor values add up and you will quickly realize that after a loss. We are very thankful that we invested the $100-150 into a renters insurance policy because everything that was damaged from the loss will be paid for, providing us with the funds to repurchase the items. 

Another thing Aubrey didn’t consider when considering insurance was, where do you stay or eat when an incident does occur? Now, if you’re lucky enough to live near family, maybe you can bunk up with them, but with no immediate family in the Dallas area, Aubrey and I were out an apartment and in need of a place to stay. Again, thankfully we invested in renters insurance because they too provide us with funds to stay in a hotel and purchase meals until our apartment is habitable, which ended up being over two weeks in our circumstance. 

First and foremost, it is very important to talk to your landlord or apartment complex about their insurance policies before signing your lease, because many places only offer liability coverage within your agreement. This means that you’ll have coverage for the property itself but none of your personal items would be covered in the event of a loss. This is something that many college students including myself didn’t realize until our computers and TVs were stolen from our dorm room. It was our fault for just expecting the college to cover our personal property and not take the initiative of finding out what insurance policy we had while living at college. If your apartment complex’s insurance doesn’t cover PERSONAL PROPERTY or LOSS OF USE then invest the $100-150 into a renters insurance policy. No matter how you roll the dice, it’s not easy enduring a loss, especially if your personal and sentimental items end up damaged but having an insurance policy is a safety net that will make you rest that night knowing all of your items will be financially covered.


 

All in all, I hope this post inspires you to take a second out of your busy week to consider your insurance policy. Trust me when I say it’s literally the last thing I want to do, but looking back I’m so thankful Matt nagged me into signing the contract. On an exciting note, Matt and I are moving back to our unit today, and I can’t wait to have a kitchen again. Please leave a comment below if you’ve had a similar experience or any other insurance tips and tricks. 

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5 Reasons Why You Should Use All Your Vacation Days in 2018

January 5th, 2018

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I will always be a high-strong and slightly over ambitious person when it comes to running The Coastal Confidence. I honestly think the fact that I can admit that is a huge step in the right direction. Naturally, I’ve been known for not delegating enough out to crew members, while double-booking myself, as I desperately try to cram in as many photoshoot sessions as possible, while in New England. I often feel like I don’t want to burden others, so I just shove more and more onto my plate until my plate shatters, and boy did it fall apart over the holiday break.  

I was in New England from December 15th – January 2nd and my over-ambitious personality thought I’d be able to fit in eight video shoots and twenty-four outfit shoots within that time period. Honestly, I was just straight-up delusional. The holiday season should be a time spent with family, friends, and community; instead, I spent my holiday season jamming in photoshoots between holiday parties, NYC adventures and Vermont ski slope runs. 

I was waking up at 6:00 AM for photoshoots with my sister Tessa and editing photos until 1:00 AM; I was quite literally running myself into the ground. I over-extended myself and it left me with not only a 72-hour stomach bug (on Christmas Eve) but also a nasty cold. Overall, my ambitious habits left me sick for basically my entire trip home and I’m actually still sick writing this post now. My crammed in schedule resulting in my trip home, being the definition of a let-down. Our crew ended up only filming four videos and twelve outfit photos, which was pretty disastrous for my ego. 

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 Ending 2017 on that note was not ideal but 2018, brings a fresh start to the table and most importantly new perspective. Not being in New England 100% of the time has made my job increasingly hard, but this year instead of cramming in as much as possible, while in New England; Matt and I are going to use each and every one of our vacation days and bring you along for…let’s call it the year of travel.  

We’re going to actually use our air miles to bring you guys along to our favorite cities! Travel has always brought a cloud of anxiety for me, in terms of creating blog content, so while the written content will be true to New England, the pictures might be a little more travel-focused or out-of-the-box; and I hope you guys enjoy it. Anyway, to get to my point, if you’re a workaholic, a type A boss, or just a destructively overambitious person like me…listen up because here are 5 Reasons Why You Should Use All Your Vacation Days in 2018: 

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 # 1 Recharge – I know from firsthand experience that when you overwork yourself, you often end up causing yourself the unnecessary mental stress and often become even less productive and in my case sick. Ideally you would think that working non-stop makes you a go-getter but actually, it can reduce both your productivity and quality of work; so give yourself a break and come back to work refreshed and recharged. 

# 2 Perspective – I mean this point is reason enough to use all your vacation days. Having perspective is really important especially in the blogging industry. It is so easy to get caught up in what others are doing, why a certain image didn’t get that many likes or why you didn’t nail down a specific partnership; all of these things are completely situational but when you live, eat and breath your job; situational things can start to feel personal. So giving yourself a break can really help you see the BIG PICTURE, and focus more on the purpose of your job instead of the nitty gritty of it.  

# 3 Inspiration – Take your vacation days and go see something, someone or somewhere that will fuel your inner fire. Whether that’s visiting a new city, a friend in a foreign place or a country you’ve been dying to attend; get out there and live life. Whenever I feel like my content has gotten stagnant, I try to book a quick flight to the cheapest city nearby. Traveling really adds a breath of fresh air into my soul and my brand. 

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# 4 Mental Health – Recently I’ve gotten into the app Headspace[headspace.com], if you haven’t heard of headspace before, basically it’s an app that provides guided meditation sessions and mindfulness training to you daily. I started the app back in December and I’ve really gotten into the idea of giving your mind down time and space. In fact, after using the app for just two weeks I noticed a difference in my overall attitude and stress levels, making me realize that vacation days shouldn’t be used to just sleep and recharge your body, but also to give the mind a break. Let your mind wander, read a book, do a puzzle, see a movie; giving your brain a vacation day is key to boosting creativity and new ideas.  

# 5 Reflection – The start of a new year can be exciting and inspiring but taking your Vacation Day can be too. Use your time off to reflect on your goals, where you are in life and where you want to be. Connect with yourself and put systems in place to achieve those goals that you’ve temporarily placed on the back burner, then head back to work with a new game plan for your career and life. 

I hope this post inspired you to put ‘the grind’ in perspective. Sometimes all you need is to take a break and get outside of yourself, in order to really have a breakthrough. 

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2017 Yearly Rundown

December 31st, 2017

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Silver Dress c/o|| Leopard Faux Coat (ON SALE!) || Silver Shoes (ON SALE) || Earrings  

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018! The start of the new year is always an exciting time, as it feels like the start of something new. While I’m naturally an overly optimistic person, which often means I love looking to what’s next, I find it necessary to look back at what we’ve accomplished. With the year closing, we’ve experienced some highs and lows, along with some pretty big changes that we’d like to recap exclusively with our TCC Readers.

The Highs:


 

This Weekly Newsletter – Getting this newsletter off the ground and running has always been a HUGE GOAL of mine. However, consistency was always an issue, as I would often end up publishing the newsletter later if at all. So I have to give a special thank you to our TCC Crew Member Cecelia, our weekly newsletter would not be where it is today if it wasn’t for her.

Expanding our Crew – This year we added TWO new members to the crew! Our TCC Operations Manager Cecelia and our TCC Videographer Tessie. By adding these two new members to our crew, together we’ve finally been able to create content that would have otherwise been impossible.

Working with Dream Brands – After running this blog since 2014, exactly four years ago now, our crew has finally gotten the chance to collaborate with some of our favorite brands. Getting to creatively collaborate with brands I’ve always looked up to, as both a consumer and marketer, feels like a “pinch me” moment.

The Lows:


 

Moving – I don’t really want to say moving to Dallas was a low because Matt and I have had so much fun here, but it does mean that our crew is constantly scattered; which can make producing content that much harder. We’ve really learned to love those good old Facetime Conference sessions and I look forward to the day where we are all located in New England.

The Business Side of TCC – This year I really struggled with separating my brand content (creative) with my brand collaboration and business side. It’s hard to negotiate and determine your collaboration agreements without either feeling narcissistic or undermining your worth. This was something I really struggled with, so Matt stepped in as our TCC CFO. His role on the business side has really helped our creative crew stay focused on creating and leaves Matt to communicate with brand’s, which can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Some Pretty Big Changes:


2018: TCC Brand Expansion – This is a BIG year, let’s call it a make it or break it year for the TCC Crew. I honestly can’t say much more than that. I’m a top secret creative, I don’t like to share anything until I’m 100% sure we have the green light. So all I can say, for now, is look forward to some content that’s raw, uniquely New England, and something that hopefully will positively affect our New England community. Can’t wait to bring you guys along.

2018: Travel Time – This year is going to be a big year for us, travel wise. With three trips already planned, our crew hopes to bring some international inspiration to our readers near and far. 

2018: Moving? – In 2016 Matt and I relocated to Dallas Texas for work. Now that it is 2018, our two years relocation time period is almost up, which means this could be a big year for us with a location change. While moving can be stressful, I can’t wait to see where we might end up and whether we rent or buy, WHO KNOWS! 

 

Overall, we wanted to end the year on a grateful note! Our crew is so grateful for each and every one of you; between the kind messages you send our way, to getting to finally meet a few of you in person, our main goal for 2018 is truly connecting more authentically and in real time with all of you. Happy 2018 guys, and below I’ve recapped some of our favorite moments from 2017, wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year! xx Aubrey. 

January:invest-in-yoursel

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In January, Matt and I were starting to feel settled in Dallas. For a while I struggled with working from home in a city that I knew no one in, to be honest, it was really lonely. In January I branched out and ended up getting a part-time job at one of my favorite retailers, to meet local Texans. This change really uplifted my mood and allowed me to connect with people I’d never otherwise have met. January is the perfect time to branch out, meet new people and further invest yourself in your local community. 

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In February my parents were kind enough to help me surprise Matt with tickets to the Super Bowl! Matt has always been a football fanatic, and with the Super Bowl being in Houston on his birthday weekend, the cards just kind of fell into place and we were able to find tickets two days before the big game on Craigslist. You can read about the big surprise and our time at the Super Bowl in this blog post

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In April my family, Matt and I, went to Aruba for Easter. Both Matt and I are so fortunate to have both the time and ability to travel with ease. To be honest my job and content can feel a little stagnant, so having time to relax is key when it comes to recharging your batteries to get your creative juices back. Make sure to check out our recap of our Aruba trip here, here and here.

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June is always a jam-packed month for our TCC Crew, partically because it’s my birthday month and because New England’s lifestyle truly takes on a life of its own come summer. Matt and I packed June with Texas roadtrips like Austin, Gruene and San Antonio; before heading back up to New England to capture the coastline. 

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AUGUST: How to make long distance work -7699

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In August, Matt and I planned a last moment trip to Ireland. Visiting Ireland was actually on our 2017 Bucket List,  you can see everything we had on the bucket list in this recap post for 2016. So basically, we jumped at the opportunity to visit Ireland once the flights had dropped. You can view our Irealnd trip here, here, here and here

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OCTOBER:5 Best Corn Mazes in CT - The Coastal Confidence

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NOVEMBER: November Bucket List-8705

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Season of Giving: $400 J.Crew Gift Card Giveaway

December 20th, 2017

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In honor of Christmas being just around the corner and the season of giving being in full swing, our TCC Crew has decided to give away a $400 J.Crew Gift Card, to one of our lucky readers. Simple because…you guys deserve it! 

2017, has been a wonderful year for our crew, not only have we tackled new mediums like Youtube and Instagram stories but we grew physically, as we added two new members: Cecilia our TCC Content Coordinator and Tessie our TCC Videographer. So during this season of giving, we wanted to whip something special up to say THANK YOU, to all the TCC readers that allow our crew to get up every day and capture the best of New England living. None of this would be possible without your support and inspiration. 

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Now, we tried to keep entering requirements to the bare minimum so scroll down to the end of this post to enter! I promise it is super simple. But before entering, I wanted to get you all excited for the upcoming holiday festivities and looks you can style from J.Crew with or without the winning gift card. 

This holiday season, my siblings and I were in dire need of a holiday outfit for our Christmas card. We only had a few days left to shoot the pictures before we all headed back to college campuses and full-time jobs, but I was having the hardest time finding an item that would have that Christmas sparkle and fit all of our styles until I saw this skirt. From tulle skirts to iconic trench coats, J.Crew is always my go-to for party pieces and New England staple pieces, and really who can turn down wearing a tulle skirt. 

Anyway, I hope this giveaway motivates you to stock up on some wool sweaters for the winter we have ahead, and stay connected with us throughout 2018. Truly some of my fondest memories from 2017 have come from reading your friendly messages and running into a few of you on the streets of New England. I honestly can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for all of us, and I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday season ahead filled with gingerbread men and good times with friends and family. xx Aubrey 

$400 J.Crew Gift Card Giveaway: 


 

The giveaway ends Friday night (12/29 at 11:59 PM EST). Here’s what you need to do: 

 

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Quick & Easy Holiday Appetizers with Willow Tree

December 15th, 2017

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SHOP WILLOW TREE PREMIUM CHICKEN DIPS HERE


 I am pretty steadfast when it comes to hosting friends and family, during the holiday season. Whether we are gathering around the TV for a Christmas movie or around a massive pile of presents for our annual Yankee swaps, no party is complete without good tidings and most importantly food. This is where the hostess comes in, am I right?

Now, as I stated earlier hosting friends and family is really one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. I love seeing friendly faces walk through our front door and I yearn to eagerly settle in amongst my guests and chit chat the night away; but hostessing duties always come first, which is why I live by creating quick and easy holiday appetizers. 

I know some of you guys will want to get fancy up front, and wow your guests, but save the trills and frills for the ice cream bar, and focus on creating food that is easy to walk around with and an overall crowd pleaser. Whenever I’m contemplating my appetizers, I always reach for Willow Tree Chicken Dips; because they are filled to the brim with flavor and can easily transform an everyday appetizer into something more unique. Not to mention, I love supporting local New England businesses and not only is the Willow Tree brand located out of Massachusets, but they’ve also been operated and owned by the same family for over 60+ years!  

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Today, I’m sharing my go-to holiday appetizers with you all that will save you time, by getting you out of the kitchen and into the party. These recipes are a yearly staple at my house around the holidays, especially on Christmas Eve. If you are a New Englander then you already know that the Patriots play each year on Christmas Eve, and while Matt and his family attend the game, my family and I have our own special tradition. We usually curl up by the fire, appetizers in hand, and Christmas jammies on to watch the Patriots, ‘Do Their Job’, before heading out for Christmas Eve festivities. 

It’s usually quite chilly outside by this time of year, so my Mom and I aim to recreate my siblings’ favorite comfort food to munch on while watching the big game. It’s really important for me to spend as much time as possible with my family since I don’t get to see them that often, and that is where Willow Tree comes in. Both of the recipes below take under forty minutes to create and are easy enough for an amateur chef like me to whip up. 

First off, get a kick in your holiday taste buds with this Jalapeno Willow Tree Buffalo Chicken Dip Mac and Cheese. This recipe is for the comfort food lovers and is an easy treat for your guests to grab and go. Also, it’s basically impossible to watch a football game without incorporating Willow Tree Buffalo Chicken Dip into the mix, it’s such a classic tailgate dish.

Next up, my Mom and I usually toast some ciabatta bread and make Willow Tree Chicken Caesar Dip Bruschetta This is the perfect treat for your non-mac-and-cheese lovers, aka my brother, and also a healthier option for those looking to eat just a light snack before a massive Christmas Eve dinner. Personally, I prefer two massive Christmas Eve dinners, so I usually eat a serving of both appetizers and get some cardio in while wrapping presents later that evening. 

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Jalapeño Willow Tree Buffalo Chicken Dip Mac and Cheese
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Ingredients
  1. - 4 tbsp butter
  2. - 1/4 cup flour
  3. - 2 & 1/2 cups whole milk
  4. - 1 brick of cheddar cheese (8 oz.)
  5. - 1 brick of gruyère cheese (8 oz.)
  6. - salt and pepper to taste
  7. - 1 lb pounds of elbow macaroni
  8. - 1 & 1/2 tubs of Willow Tree Buffalo Chicken Dip
  9. - breadcrumbs for topping
  10. - jalapeño if desired
Instructions
  1. First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and boil the elbow macaroni pasta on the stove as directed. While that is boiling melt your butter in a saucepan, and once melted add flour and whisk together for three minutes over medium heat. Next, add your two and a half cups of whole milk and whisk until the mixture becomes thick.
  2. Now for the good part, adding in the cheese! Grate the two bricks of cheese and add it to the saucepan mixture until the cheese is fully melted. Next, add your one and a half tubs of Willow Tree Buffalo Chicken Dip into the mixture and let melt. Make sure to taste test and add salt and pepper to your liking.
  3. Finally, drain your pasta and add the cheese mixture to the plain pasta. Use some elbow grease and mix together well, if desired add a chopped up jalapeño to give the mac and cheese an extra kick.
  4. Put the mac and cheese into a baking dish, top with breadcrumbs and slide into the oven for half an hour. Serve in individual dishes or cups to make it easy for your holiday guests to grab and go!
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Quick & Easy Holiday Appetizers with Willow Tree-2464

Willow Tree Chicken Caesar Bruschetta
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Ingredients
  1. - 1 loaf of ciabatta bread
  2. - 1 tub of Willow Tree Chicken Caesar Dip
  3. - an assortment of olives
  4. - 1 bag of Romane lettuce
  5. - 2 garlic cloves
  6. - olive oil on hand
  7. - salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. First, slice the ciabatta bread and lightly brush with olive oil on each side. Over low heat, grill the sliced bread on top a grill pan until each side is toasted. Once toasted to your liking, remove from grill pan and carefully rub each side, with a garlic clove for seasoning.
  2. Lay out the sliced and grilled bread on a cheese board and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Next, place a piece of romaine lettuce and a small scoop of Willow Tree's Caesar Premium White Meat Dip onto the bread. Finally add as many toppings as your heart desires! You can add sliced olives, pickles, pomegranates seeds and even a think slice parmesan cheese.
The Coastal Confidence http://the-coastalconfidence.com/

 Both of these appetizers are unique and delish on their own, and if you are left with any leftover Willow Tree Chicken Dip in your fridge, I always put that out as a third option with pita crackers and chips. Okay, now that I’ve let you all in on my own Christmas Eve family traditions I’d love to hear some of yours in the comment section below. xx Aubrey 

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Thank you to Willow Tree Farms for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.

 

His & Her Stocking Stuffers

December 12th, 2017

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We are now in the thick of holiday festivities, and it’s important to check your Christmas shopping list twice. Year after year, I usually square away my big holiday shopping during online Black Friday sales, but one element of gift giving always escapes me…the stocking stuffers. Figuring out non-expensive but thoughtful trinkets to fill your significant other’s stocking can be hard, so today I’m here to help. 

I know for a fact Matt needs help finding stocking stuffers, he basically reminds me every day, so hopefully, this video will inspire him, and you, to think outside the box and score thoughtful stocking stuffers. Oh, and don’t forget to keep stocking stuffers reasonable. I usually try to spend between $50-$100 on the entire lot of trinkets, use this stuffer hunt as an excuse to challenge yourself to find name brands for below brand costs. 

I always have a few stores in mind whenever I go stocking stuffer hunting: Nordstrom Rack, J.Crew Factory, and Amazon. These stores are great places to find stocking stuffer essentials like socks, earrings, pajamas, and books all under $15.00. Anyway, I’ll break down everything I placed in the stocking below, and make sure to check out the video above for a closer look at the goodies. 

His Stocking: 

+ Spiced Apple Toddy Candle 

+ HOMEGROWN: COOKING FROM MY NEW ENGLAND ROOTS

+ Munson’s Chocolate 

+ Cat Stax Game

+ J.Crew Holiday Sock Pack

+ Bacon Shirt 

 


 

Her Stocking: 

Champagne Toast Candle

+ Munson’s Chocolate 

Sugarfina Santa Candy

+ Naked Smoky Eyeshadow Palette

+ Pom-Pom Hat 

+ Polka Dot Socks

+ TCC Connecticut Mug

+ Tula Travel Sized Products


 

Okay GIVEAWAY TIME, I’m so excited to be treating one of you lucky gals to everything showcased in the Her Stocking, along with a few extra items! The giveaway will end 12/17/2017 and the winner will be selected on 12/18 at 8AM below, make sure to follow the directions carefully and I can’t wait to ship out this box of goodies to one lucky TCC Reader. xx Aubrey 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Holiday Ice Cream Bar with Graeter’s

December 4th, 2017

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Graeter’s was even kind enough to offer TCC readers $5 off Ice Cream purchased before December 13th with code Coastal-Sweets.


Tis the season to throw dieting to the wind and indulge in your favorite tastes and sweets of the season. While candy canes and gingerbread men might be the typical go-to holiday items for your Christmas party, I prefer treating guests to a festive holiday ice cream bar for all to remember. Whenever I start preparing for my annual holiday ice cream bar, I always go out in search of my favorite ice cream brand, Graeter’s. I honestly can’t get enough of this family-owned ice cream brand, and if you haven’t heard of them before you might recognize their beautiful packaging from your recent trip to the grocery store.  

This brand stole my heart not only by incorporating vast holiday flavor options to their lineup, like peppermintmadagascar vanilla bean and cinnamon, but for remaining true to the old-fashioned French Pot Process of making ice cream. Overall Graeter’s is the essential item in putting that extra jingle jangle into your holiday ice cream bar. So when I saw that their handcrafted holiday flavors were already available for purchase, I figured, why not share some Christmas cheer, with a sneak peek into what I have planned for this year’s holiday ice cream bar. 

 

 

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I always recommend setting up your ice cream bar on an easy to clean surface, as things can get messy quickly. This year, I pulled out a wooden cutting board and some snowy pinecone garland to set the tone and create a festive space for my cousins to gather and get creative. Most importantly, make your ice cream bar a place for guests to stage their creations and snap a quick photo or two.  I had a hard time this year sticking to just three flavors for my holiday ice cream bar but in the end, I went with peppermintcinnamon and salted caramel chocolate chip for the party, and purchased a few extra flavors for myself. But if you’re utterly indecisive like Matt, and are having trouble selecting flavors Graeter’s has a holiday deluxe gift pack which includes both classic and festive flavors, to give your tastes buds a sample of everything.   Once the ice cream is squared away in the freezer, let’s turn our attention over to the toppings. This year I went with the classic holiday aesthetic of silver and gold edible glitter. Once I stocked up on glitter, I decided to get creative with additional toppings like gingerbread cookiessugar toppers and for the extra touch these peppermint spoonsHoliday Ice Cream Bar with Graeter's-2-5

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ln the end, I ended up creating three uniquely satisfying holidays sundaes. I’ve shared the details below: 

  + Seven Levels of the Candy Cane Forest – includes three scoops of peppermint ice cream, layered with jumbo red nonpareil sprinkles, a peppermint topped cookie with smashed peppermint sticks and a heavy dusting of gold glitter.  


 Visions of Cinnamon Buns –  includes three scoops of cinnamon ice cream, layered with chocolate carvings, red nonpareil sprinkles, a cinnamon stick and a hefty dusting of silver glitter to boot. To be honest, though, this sundae is paired best with warm apple pie. 


 

Salty & Sweet –  includes three scoops of salted caramel chocolate chip ice cream, layered with chocolate carvings and or chocolate syrup, a coating of silver and gold edible glitter and to top it all off crumble layers of gingerbread wafer cookies for extra texture.


 

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    All and all, being a hostess can be hard, and sometimes stressful BUT it’s important to have fun, play with flavors and embrace the spirit of this upcoming holiday season. With that being said, whether you’re planning a holiday party for work, family or friends save yourself a trip to the store and order these items via online.    If you are anything like me, I avoid grocery stores like nobody else this time of year, and yet I end up fighting for a parking space once to twice a day leading up Christmas Eve. So I saved myself one trip by ordering all of these items from the Graeter website, minus the toppings which came from Amazon. Once everything arrived at my door I had everything prepared and ready to go within 15 minutes; making this the easiest and most festive holiday dessert bar in town. 

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  Finally, I hope this has inspired you all to get creative this holiday season. Embrace the flavors, your company and the greatest gift of all…GOOD ICE CREAM! Graeter’s was even kind enough to offer TCC readers $5 off Ice Cream purchased before December 13th with code Coastal-Sweets. xx Aubrey   

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Thank you to Graeter’s for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.

Last Moment Apple Cider Sangria

November 22nd, 2017

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Pitcher || Beverage Dispenser Base || Glasses || Wine || Original Recipe Found Here

With Thanksgiving being exactly one day away, our crew wanted to step in and share a last moment sangria recipe with you all. Thanksgiving is all about coming together, sharing the delicious seasonal food and giving thanks; so I knew I wanted to incorporate a drink that would satisfy all ages while embraces the seasonal tastes of New England fall. 

At first, I was looking into maple old fashions but felt much more confident in pleasing all party guests by preparing this Last Moment Apple Cider Sangria. To be honest, anytime I get to incorporate apple cider, it’s a recipe win for me. I actually adapted the recipe below from a baking blogger I love to follow, Sally! You can check out her site and more here

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Anyway, in honor of Thanksgiving Day being tomorrow, I’m going to keep this post simple and short by summing it all up in the recipe card below. Oh, and make sure to subscribe to our Youtube Channel for an extra Black Friday Haul video going live tomorrow night. 

Overall, our crew wants to send our thanks to you guys. Thank you for reading, following along, and embracing New England lifestyle. We can’t wait to guide you through this holiday season and share our thanks in some fun creative giveaways. Wishing you all a cozy Thanksgiving with family and an adventurous Black Friday with friends. xx Aubrey 

Apple Cider Sangria
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cinnamon sticks, plus more for serving
  2. 2 medium apples, thinly sliced
  3. 1 medium pear, thinly sliced
  4. 1 medium orange, thinly sliced
  5. ⅔ cup pomegranate seeds
  6. 1 (750 ml) bottle Pinot Grigio white wine
  7. 4 cups apple cider
  8. ½ cup brandy
  9. ¼ cup orange juice
  10. 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  11. Club soda, for serving
  12. Get Ingredients Powered by Chicory
Instructions
  1. Place the cinnamon sticks and fruit into a large pitcher. Add wine, apple cider, brandy, orange juice, and lemon juice. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for 3 – 24 hours (6-8 hours is best!).
  2. Pour the sangria and fruit into glasses. Add a splash of club soda to liking.
  3. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, to add a touch of holiday glamor.
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
The Coastal Confidence http://the-coastalconfidence.com/

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7 New England Holiday Traditions

November 20th, 2017

7 New England Traditions I'm Thankful For-Floral Swing Dress || Waist Belt || Heels (old, similar linked) || Purse

 What an exciting and busy week ahead for all of us. If you follow me over on Instagram, then you already know I’m currently flying home for Thanksgiving. This week can be slightly hectic, to say the least, so I wanted to sit down and whip up a mindful blog post for you all.  

I know most of you are probably en route to friend’s or family’s houses and running around like crazy getting last minute items for your own Thanksgiving day feast. This is a jam-packed week, we have Thanksgiving Day, not to mention Thanksgiving Day football along with Black Friday shopping and traveling to boot. All in all, I wanted to take a second and write down 7 New England Holiday Traditions I’m Thankful For, before all the Black Friday content consumes. 

Okay, The Coastal Confidence is a New England lifestyle blog that aims to help you guys embrace all the charms and traditions of New England living. While this might mean different things to different people; I wanted to take time to share 7 traditions that really make New England home for me, during this holiday season. 

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1) Seasonal Inspiration – New Englanders have a way of embracing seasonal textures, colors, and tastes and allowing them to inspire decoration within and on the exterior of the home. New Englanders really go above and beyond to decorate with seasonal and local items that bring to life an ambiance like no other. Each year, usually on Black Friday, my family and I go all out with decorating our home. My Mom goes above and beyond filling the inside of the house with holiday figurines. While my dad climbs up onto the roof to deck the halls. By the end of the night our home, inside and out, is literally glowing with holiday inspiration. 

 

2) Taking our annual Christmas Photo – Each year, my Mom has my siblings and I take our annual Christmas card picture with Santa. Yup, all four of us drive to the mall, sit on Santa’s lap, and get our annual family Christmas card done. We’ve been doing this exact photo set-up since birth, and it’s my Mom’s only holiday request for us each year. I will say it’s a comical sight, seeing all of us in our twenties dressed up on Santa’s lap, maybe I’ll share this year’s card with you all over on instagram

 

3) Seeing the Holiday Pops – Are you even a New Englander if you haven’t seen the Holiday Pops from the Boston Symphony Orchestra. This show has been a New England tradition since 1973 and it’s the ideal way to cap off a visit to Boston during the holiday season.  

4) Picking Up a Munson’s Advent Calendar – I have to admit this is a newer tradition for me, but a tradition I want to keep. Matt and I started purchasing Munson Advent calendars for each other last year, and it was a hit. It’s a delicious way to support a local New England business while putting on some winter weight, I kid, I kid. 7 New England Traditions I'm Thankful For-

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5) Publick House Historic Inn at Christmas – The Publick House is one of my favorite New England restaurants to visit, during the holiday season. This wide plank-floored restaurant in Sturbridge MA brings Yankee hospitality to life. Founded in 1791, The Publick House and inn is worth the drive to visit. In fact, I’m already planning on making the drive up next week, with my sister Tessa.   

6) Bright Nights in Springfield, MA – On November 24th, This Friday to be exact, Bright Nights in Springfield MA will open for its 21st season! With that being said, visiting Bright Nights has been a holiday tradition literally for 21 years. I have pictures of myself attending the event with my cousins Allison and Katie, at five years old. Fast forward to today, I have images from Matt and I visiting the event way back in high school. This Christmas Light celebration has a special place in my heart and I really make an effort to go each year, no matter what.  

7) Sleigh Rides in New Hampshire – New England communities really go all out come Christmas. Some of the fondest traditions are brought to life, like a holiday sleigh ride. My neighborhood often got together to pitch in money to hire sleigh riders to give rides for an evening however when that ended, I found this local farm in NH that hosts 30-minute horse-drawn sleigh rides lights and holiday scenes. While I haven’t been to this specific event personally, I’m already making arrangements to attend this year. 7 New England Traditions I'm Thankful For-

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All and all this post has me overjoyed for the upcoming holiday season. Truth be told I’m watching a Hallmark Christmas movie as we speak, and can I just say those movies get better and better each year! 

Anyway, I hope this post inspired you to embrace holiday traditions and I’d love to hear of any you have below. xx Aubrey 

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