Cocktail Hour: Mint & St. Germain Margarita

A Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - St. Germain Mint Margarita

Hello from the beach! The kids and I escaped the heat of DC for a few weeks with my parents at the beach. It’s been a nice break so far with lots of sandcastle building, wave surfing and shell collecting. And, of course, some nice summery cocktails for me!

It’s fun having my parents around to test some cocktails that I’ve been wanting to try and this margarita is a big winner in my book. With its strong mint flavor, it’s almost more of a hybrid mojito/margarita. Not only do you muddle some mint when making the drink, I also infused my simple syrup with some mint. And speaking of simple syrup, I tried a new method of making my syrup with no heat (after reading this article on Food52) and I’m sold. It was quick, effective and there was not waiting for it to cool. Perfect!

A Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - St. Germain Mint MargaritaA Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - St. Germain Mint MargaritaA Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - St. Germain Mint Margarita

St. Germain Mint Margarita (from Waiting on Martha)


1.5 oz. Silver Patron Tequila
1 oz. St. Germain
1 oz. fresh lime juice + more for garnish
1/2 cup club soda
Splash of simple syrup (using the cold method mentioned above infused with a mint leaf)
2-4 mint sprigs + more for garnish
salt (optional)


In a cocktail shaker add mint leaves and muddle. Add ice, tequila, St. Germain, and lime juice. Shake and test, if sour add simple syrup. Take one lime slice and run it around the rim of your glass then immediately dip glass into salt and twist. Fill glass with ice and pour margarita mixture, add club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig and lime.



Hello From… Vieques, Puerto Rico

A Feteful Life: Hello From Vieques, Puerto Rico

My husband and I were was looooong overdue for a vacation sans kiddos. We decided a few months ago to carve out some time for one and lined up care for our kids (THANKS Nona and D-rock), but we dilly-dallied a bit about where we’d go. Mostly because I think both of us were of the mind that a vacation by ourselves would be fabulous no matter where we went. And that was completely true, but we couldn’t have planned for a more ridiculously relaxing, beautiful, laid-back vacaye spot than where we ended up: Vieques, Puerto Rico.

I honestly almost don’t want to share all the Vieques goodness with you all because we plan to go back and I kind of want to keep it a secret. BUT it was just too wonderful to keep it to myself. Vieques is an island-municipality of Puerto Rico about 8 miles east of the Puerto Rican mainland and has the most amazing beaches I’ve ever seen. In the past, our beach-type vacations have involved planting ourselves at at resort and not moving much for the duration. But that is not how to do Vieques. We spent very little time at our hotel and a lot of time 4X4’ing our way around the island to discover ridiculous beach after ridiculous beach — each one seemingly more paradise-like than the last. Add in an incredibly low-key island vibe, great local brew, and some really fantastic restaurants, and we were in love. We’ve already picked out a house to rent next summer. I highly, highly recommend making the trip (with or without kids — the island is very kid-friendly) — here are my favorites and things I plan to hit up next time!


A Feteful Life: Vieques Sun Bay

1. Sun Bay (Sombre) Beach – {Beach} — it’s almost not fair to pick a favorite beach. I truly loved something about every single one we visited. It was probably the most popular one we visited, but I think Sun Beach is the most accessible place to start. It has a gorgeous curved shoreline, wide beach, lots and lots of picturesque palms, is easy to get to (you can even walk from Esperanza), and has public bathrooms and a bar (which serves drinks inside freshly chopped coconuts). There is a $2 fee to enter, but they’re not always there to take your money, and the facilities make it worthwhile. Plus, wild horses visited us there.

A Feteful Life: Vieques Sugar Plantation

2. Playa Grande Sugar Plantation Ruins – {Off-Beach Activity} — get your Tomb Raider on and explore these abandoned historical sugar plantation ruins. We heard it might be difficult to find, and the Vieques Historical Conservation and Trust does tours only during certain seasons, but we had no problem. We hiked around for a bit and had the whole place to ourselves. Little lizards crawled down vines as the late afternoon sun streamed through ruins. It was gorgeous.

A Feteful Life: Vieques' Buen Provecho

3. Buen Provecho – {Lunch} — at what is essentially the “Whole Foods” of the island (located in Isabel II, one of two main towns) we had delicious organic sandwiches, yummy cocktails, and even picked up decent coffee one morning as well. Buen Provecho carries mainland deli favorites you won’t find elsewhere (lunch meat, good cheeses, deli salads such as cottage cheese) and lots of organic pantry staples. Sit at the bar to have your sandwich or get it to go.

A Feteful Life: Vieques' Tin Box Restaurant

4. Tin Box – {Dinner} — a wonderful break from the abundance of fried food, Tin Box is perched above the forest and boasts the only raw bar on the island and draft beer. The salad made from greens grown out back was SO delicious and the drinks were fabulous (see our Tin Box-inspired Painkiller here). Hands down, it was the best meal we had on our vacation … except that the brunch we returned to have right before our departure was equally delicious.

A Feteful Life: Vieques' La Nasa

5. La Nasa – {Night Spot} — the music at this great open-air spot along the Malecon in Esperanza has different music every night and cheap, cheap drinks. We lucked out and hit the live reggae band on Thursday night (Latin dance music night was just kind of “eh” the next evening). Grab dinner in Esperanza and walk across the street to La Nasa for dancing.

Want More? Here’s My “Get ‘Em Next Time” Spots

1. Green (Punta Arenas) Beach – {Beach} — we’d been warned that it’s best to avoid this beach in the late afternoon when it gets buggy, and we just were never able to make it work. The Caribbean and Atlantic meet up there and there’s supposed to be great snorkeling.

2. Bioluminescent Bay {Off-Beach Activity} — perhaps Vieques’ biggest attraction (besides the phenomenal beaches), is its  bioluminescent bay. Our visit was on the heels of a particularly long “cold spell” for the island, which apparently caused quite the decrease in organisms. The more reputable tour companies were not taking people out, so we decided not to go this trip. I hope the bay returns to health and we can go next time!

3. El Guyacan – {Lunch} — this newer restaurant in Esperanza is where all the locals told us to go for “legit local food.” We popped our head in to the no-frills location and it looked delicious.

4. Noche – {Dinner} — also owned by Hugh Duffy, Noche is purportedly one step up from our favorite Tin Box (it’s also located right next door). We picked somewhere else for our “finer dining” evening, but Noche is definitely first up on our return visit.

5. Chez Shack – {Night Spot}  this is Duffy’s little spot up in the forest and has reggae on Monday nights. We weren’t in Vieques on a Monday, otherwise we’d have been there for sure.

A Feteful Life: Hello from Vieques

What’s In My: Beach Bag

If you follow us at all on Instagram, you might have noticed that I just spent an insanely happy and much needed almost 5-day vacation with my hubby in Vieques, Puerto Rico. The vacation was all about relaxation and, for both of us, that meant LOTS of beach time. And that gave me a good jump start on prepping my beach bag for the season, which I thought I’d share in hopes of willing warmer weather to arrive here. I’m of the mind that since my beach gear gets a lot of wear and tear (we spend a significant portion of our summer at various beaches too), I’m not willing to invest a lot of money in it. I generally buy things that will last me for an entire season, but that aren’t so expensive that I get upset if they don’t. So, here’s what’s in my beach bag this year! What’s in yours?

A Feteful Life: What's In My Beach Bag


1.  If I’m headed to the beach sans kiddos, I prefer to carry a medium-sized bag — more like a tote bag. If it’s too big, I will fill it and find myself schlepping around an unnecessarily heavy bag. I picked this one up on our trip from some local screen printer artists. I love that I can carry it all season and think of our trip, but I think this one is pretty cute, too.

2. I usually start out wearing my nice sunglasses, but found that I like having a second inexpensive pair to wear in the ocean. I picked up these mint babies from Target and they were perfect.

3. My general Bobbi Brown lip balm with 15 spf obsession escalates during beach season when I make sure I slather it on to keep the sun at bay.

4. We go through a serious amount of sunscreen in my fair skinned family and this has been my favorite recently — it’s reasonably priced, easy to put on, not greasy, and comes in a small enough size to carry on. I usually start out with a higher spf and then move to 30 once I get a little base color.

5. Even with frequently reapplied sunscreen, my face still has a tendency to burn so I’m a big fan of a beach hat and I love a good fedora. There are plenty of pricey options out there, but I always stick with the inexpensive ones because mine inevitably gets crushed. I love this one from Forever21.

6. + 7. To help keep the sun off the rest of me at times, I make sure to have a lightweight Tshirt with good coverage and an oversized light scarf. I picked up this Old Navy tee this season and used it when I wanted to keep the sun off my chest, but not cover up my arms completely. I have a large skull print scarf I got at London’s Portobello Road Market years ago, but this one from Etsy is pretty fab, too. I use it as a coverup, head wrap, and even to lay on when a beach towel feels too hot.