Beach in a Glass

Beach in a Glass Cocktails from The Big Reveal

About a year ago, my friend, Jen, introduced me to Joia all natural sodas.  Joia is not too syrupy sweet and has a range of really interesting flavors, like Pineapple, Coconut and Nutmeg or Grapefruit, Chamomile, and Cardamom.  The sodas on their own are delicious, but Jen planted a little seed about a year ago that they probably would be super tasty as cocktails.  I tested a few out, but it wasn’t until I found Far North Spirits that I had that eureka moment.  I put the two together and it was like the clouds parted and angels started singing (do they do that over cocktails?)  In any event, the taste is full on magical beach in a glass deliciousness.

They are easy to make for one or two cocktails and also super easy to throw together for a party.  First, I put my sodas on ice.

Joia Sodas on Ice

The awesome thing about Joia is they are a soda that is unique enough to peak the interest of adults, but not so unique that kids won’t want to drink them.  So, really all in all, the perfect party beverage, because they can appeal to a wide audience. 

At a separate station, I added my two favorite spirits, Solveig Gin and Alander Spiced Rum from Far North Spirits.  

Solveig and Alander Bar Setup

If you’ve been following along on TBR, you know I have a deep love for Far North Spirits.  They aren’t a sponsor, just my absolute favorite. 

I ended up making two cocktails, though the possibilities of combinations with the Joia are probably endless.  The first was a Pineapple and Coconut Rum Punch.  It literally makes you feel like you are on a beach.  It is tropical and lush and oh so delicious. (Oh, and ridiculously simple to make.)

Coconut and Pineapple Rum Punch from The Big Reveal

First, the ingredients…

Joia Coconut Pineapple and Solveig Cocktail

Ready for how easy this is?  Add 1 to 1 and half ounces of Alander to a glass with ice and top with half of a Joia Pineapple, Coconut, and Nutmeg soda.

Pineapple and Coconut Alander Cocktail

If you want to get über fancy like me (snort!), top it with a pineapple slice.  It is not essential, but when all chilled down, taking a bite after your drink adds to the tropical feel and is a little blast of vitamin C. And, as I always say friends keeping friends from getting scurvy is the best type of friendship…

Pineapple Wedge 

And, that’s it.  Seriously.  All it takes to make a drink that is outrageously beachy.  Now, I’m not a mixologist by trade and I can’t tell you exactly what it is that makes this work so darn well other than you put two delicious tasty beverages in one glass and you get a taste explosion.  It’s kinda that simple.

While I was at it, I decided to make something a little breezy and light that would be a favorite for the gin enjoying folks.  I made a Lime Hibiscus Gin Breeze.

Lime Hibiscus Gin Breeze from The Big Reveal 

Once again, the world’s simplest cocktail.  First, I gathered my supplies.

Joia Lime Hibiscus Solveig Ingredients

Next, I added 1 to 1 and a half ounces of Solveig gin (depending on your taste level) to a glass with ice.  I like my ice crushed and happen to find this a good use for our snow cone maker, so I went for it.  Then I topped it off with about half of a Lime, Hibiscus and Clove Joia.  Once again, it’s just that simple.

Joia Lime Hibiscus Solveig Coctail

This one is crisp, light, and refreshing. The Solveig is the perfect compliment, because it isn’t the least bit bitter and doesn’t have that bite that many gins do. It is smooth and together with the Joia, so bright and cheery.

Since each Joia makes two cocktails, it really is perfect for a couple of drinks with the husband or friends. And, since they are so darn easy to make, they are great for parties, because guests can assemble them and make to their taste.  Joia and Far North Spirits are also available online and have their local retailers listed as well, so all in all, just about as easy to find as they are to make.

I hope you enjoy these two beach in a glass cocktails (responsibly, of course.) And, if you haven’t gotten a chance to get to the beach yet this year, these will transport you there. Trust me.  In the meantime, here’s a little visual inspiration, to get you started.

Caymans Beach View 

I hope you enjoy your weekend! 

Till Monday,


The Poisoned Apple

Food Poisoning by The Big Reveal

First I have to apologize for the missed post on Monday…let me explain.  As you may know, Nate and I brought Lulu on a little Disney adventure.  The weekend started off on a rocky note with Nate hurting his foot and Lulu having an allergic reaction, but they leveled out quickly and we had a truly magical time.  After 4 days at Disney, we were wrapping things up and preparing for the work part of my trip when something truly awful happened…

I ate a poisoned apple.

Ok, not really, but I did get food poisoning.  For those of you who have never had the pleasure of having food poisoning, it is a condition in which your insides end up on your outsides and you wish you could crawl into a dark corner and die.  In the wee hours of Monday morning, I awoke to the above havoc-reeking-intestine-destroying-death-begging affliction and there was not even a remote consideration of posting.  I apologize.  Heartily.

Today, I am back on fluids.  Intaking fluids that is.  Yay!  Small victories. By Friday’s post, I am praying I will be fully operational and we can get back to TBR bloggy biz.

Thanks for being patient and understanding. See you all back here on Friday!

Till Friday,


Up in the Clouds

Clouds from my plane

The view from our plane…


If you follow along on my Instagram account, you may already know that yesterday we hopped a plane to Disney World!  I already had a work trip planned to Florida and we decided we would tack a few extra days on to hit Disney.  We got into Florida midday and holy humidity, batman!  My hair nearly quadrupled in size. It was impressive.

I had another post planned for you for today, but after hiccup after hiccup (ranging from problems with rental cars, sadsies wifi, the hubs hurting his foot, the daughter having an allergic reaction), I gave in to what the universe was clearly telling me…let it go.

So, I will be back on Monday with all of our regularly scheduled programming. I’ve got some fun things in store for us.  Lulu and I actually planned a post together and shot the pictures…ON A PLANE! (Talk about a photography challenge!) In the meantime, let’s all take a deep breath together and get a little relaxation in this weekend.

Till Monday,


Currently Crushing: Calligraphy

Currently Crushing: Calligraphy

As you guys know, I love my Too Legit calligraphy print from A Fabulous Fete.  That Lauren Saylor is one talented chica.  I’ve been talking with her about putting together a little something special for you all, so stay tuned for that!  In the meantime, I have gotten a crazy fixation on calligraphy of all types.  Anyone else know what I’m talking about?

When it comes to penmanship, I think I may have missed that day in grade school, because mine is woeful. Woeful, I tell you.  And, it is at such odds with my love for handwritten letters. Oh, the injustice! (Insert dramatic sigh…) It often holds me back from things I want to do, like just recently when I sent the Tess + Tricia necklace to the giveaway winner. In my perfect blogger montage, I hand lettered a beautiful thank you card to accompany the necklace (on my all white desk with a vase of peonies obvi).  Instead she got a thoughtfully handcrafted email

When I saw Lauren’s post on her favorite calligraphy tools, I got wicked inspired to learn myself and I am guessing there are a few of you out there that want to, too!  I wish Lauren would teach a class, but till she does, here are a few other resources that I’m thinking about:

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The Great Closet Purge and an Organizational Challenge

The Great Closet Purge from The Big Reveal

It has been a long time in coming.  I told you all that I wanted to start my fashion forward journey with a clean slate and I finally did it.  It was time to do the great purge.  So, I set aside a couple of hours and I got my team together (and by team I mean my husband and daughter to give me a little moral support and alternately heckle my poor fashion choices for some much needed comic relief.)

Before I could even think about adding to my closet and starting to really curate a collection of things I could heart fully, I had to let go of the things that were weighing me down and take an inventory of what I have. 

In addition to having all these clothes that needed to be kicked to the curb (aka passed on to a loving home), my closet was also a full on hot mess.  Now, I don’t know if the kids are saying “hot mess” anymore these days, but it just seems apropos.  A little outdated, like my wardrobe.

Here’s the hot mess I started with…

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Rosy Rhubarb Lemonade Cocktail (and An Epic Fail!)

Rosy Rhubarb Lemonade Cocktail from The Big Reveal

Sometimes I get these bursts of creative energy that we jokingly term “brain blasts”  in our house.  I see something or hear something that makes my brain just explode with ideas that I have to write down or do ASAP.  I am never without a notepad…even in the shower (true and moderately embarrassing story.)

As you may know, I am obsessed with rhubarb.  I think about it for months before summer finally arrives and when I finally see those ruby pink stalks in the produce section, I have been known to actually gasp…out loud (also true and somewhat more embarrassing story.)

Recently when I discovered Art in the Age of Spirits makes a rhubarb tea liquor, my brain had a near meltdown at the possibilities.  The first idea I had seemed oh so good in theory, but the second, infinitely easier option ended up being the hands down winner.  Let’s start with the winner and don’t worry, in the spirit of keeping it real, I’ll tell you all about the fail that earned a resounding “Non-Hollah!” from my husband.

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Garden Party Girl’s Room

Garden Party Girl's Room from The Big Reveal

I had no sooner hit publish on my post for July 4th when I heard my daughter’s footsteps run down the hall and a plaintiff wail of “Mommy!”  Someone was sick which threw out all our grandiose plans for the holiday. Because we ended up stuck in the house for the whole day, we decided to tackle a project that has been taunting us for a while. We cleaned out Lulu’s closet.  So, what does that have to do with a Garden Party Girl’s Room?  Let me explain.

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A Classic Wrap Dress: Two Ways

I’ve sworn off buying anything new until I have a chance to go through my closet and decide what pieces I truly need, but broke my own rule when our dog jumped up on my favorite trusty wrap dress and her giant paws caught the fabric leaving a trail of mini tears in her wake.  

This weekend I happened to find this replacement wrap dress on sale at Banana Republic. Hollah! You can never really go wrong with a simple wrap dress, so I snatched this one up! They also have it in some fun jewel tone colors, so I may have to go back for more than one.  A wrap dress is probably THE most versatile piece of women’s clothing and I wanted to take mine from a more formal work look to something a little more casual.

Let’s start with the classic work look.  If you work in a traditional environment like I do, this look is a nice balance of simple with a tiny bit of edge.

Wrap Dress Styled for Work from The Big Reveal

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Long Weekend Bliss


This beauty is from National Geographic!

This year the 4th of July just happens to fall on a Friday which means most of us get a long weekend.  Hollah!  Nothing is quite as joyful as buying yourself an extra day with the family.  I know I am going to do my best to enjoy it.  I hope you do, too!

We are going to a parade, a little carnival and definitely fireworks!  I’ve been thinking about how on earth one takes firework pictures and have pulled together a few resources in case you’re wondering, too.

  1. National Geographic
  2. Digital Photography School
  3. Photography BB

If you aren’t celebrating the 4th, here are a few other fun things to check out:

Whatever you are doing, I hope you have a happy, healthy and safe weekend!

Till Monday,


Potting Bench and a Mini Container Garden

Potting Bench and a Mini Container Garden from The Big Reveal

I have been wanting to put together a container garden for a while.  I promised my little Lulu that we could grow real plants this year which she didn’t realize is asking quite a lot from her mother.  I am more of a plant killer than a green thumb.  But, when your baby girl asks, you try, try anyway.

I rounded up some of my favorite container garden ideas with the idea that we would turn our backyard into a bountiful harvest of fruits and vegetables.  The local farmers markets would come to me and marvel over my gardening prowess.  And, then I woke up, and realized as a harbinger of plant death I should probably set my sights just a wee bit lower.  I had these nightmare visions of a backyard filled with plants in various states of decay and a severely disappointed and disillusioned 5 year old. 

So, I decided to start small and have a manageable goal of just a potting bench and a few small plants.  If we can take care of these plants successfully, then next summer we might tackle full scale gardening.  But, of course given my personality, I couldn’t let it be that simple.That isn’t how I roll.  I set my sights on having the. perfect. potting bench.  

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