Happy 2017 & Festively Aggressive


We're ringing in the New Year with a good old goals talk, and of course a cocktail...

Winter Wassail
2 cups Winter Wassail drink (from Trader Joe's or elsewhere)
3 oz bourbon
2 oz brandy
2 cinnamon sticks
slices of fresh lemon
Combine all ingredients in a stovetop pan and heat until hot and nearly steaming. Split into two mugs and enjoy!
Erica's word for 2017 is FORWARD, and Kelsey's is CHOOSE. We talk about what those words mean to us and how we're setting some goals and action steps around those intentions.
This year, Erica's using the Inkwell Press Livewell planner and Meal Planner. Kelsey uses the Get To Work Book and a daily goal tracker (available for subscribers of the Elise Joy newsletter).
Kelsey's is Apple Pay for traveling light while grocery shopping, Erica's is The OA on Netflix and Storyworth.

2016 Review & Christmas Swamp

 This episode is all about looking back at 2016 - the good, the bad, and the ugly. This calls for a cocktail...


Cinnamon Rosemary Old Fashioned

From Salted Plains


  • Cinnamon Rosemary Simple Syrup:
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup water
  • 6 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • For the cocktail:
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon rosemary simple syrup
  • 3 dashes angostura bitters
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 orange peel
  • rosemary sprig for garnish, optional


  1. To make simple syrup combine honey, water, rosemary sprigs, and cinnamon sticks over medium heat in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently until honey has dissolved into water. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Once cool, remove rosemary and cinnamon sticks and transfer to an airtight container.
  2. To make cocktail, add 4 teaspoons of the cinnamon rosemary simple syrup and 3 dashes of bitters to an Old Fashioned glass. Swirl syrup and bitters around in glass. Add bourbon, ice, orange peel, and stir. Store extra simple syrup in airtight container in refrigerator.
In 2016 Erica focused on the word PEACE and Kelsey focused on THE YEAR OF KELSEY.
Kelsey's favorite pieces that she added to her capsule wardrobe include:
LOFT blazer (this link is for the red but Kelsey has it in black)
And she's written a little bit about her capsule skin care and makeup routine on her blog. 
Erica has a great interview on The Mom Hour about her adoption story. Her girls are officially adopted and she couldn't be happier!
What we're celebrating this year:
Our newsletter.
Kelsey hired a sleep coach and all the Whartons are getting more sleep.

Gift Guide & Anti Pajamas

Happy Holidays! This episode is all about gift ideas for those unique recipients. Hope it's helpful, and it's gauranteed to make you laugh with this boozy deliciousness... 


    Gingerbread Egg Nog White Russian (from Delish)

    (Serves 2)

  • cinnamon sugar for rimming glasses
  • 4 oz egg nog
  • 4 oz vodka
  • 4 oz Kahlua
  • 3 t molasses
  • 1/8 t ginger
  • whipped cream for topping
  • molasses drizzle for topping

    Wet rims of each glass and dip them in cinnamon sugar. In a cocktail shaker filled     with ice,     combine egg nog, vodka, Kahlua, molasses, and ginger. Shake to combine.     Pour into glasses and     top with whipped cream, and then add molasses drizzle. 

for the traveler:

for the foodie:

for the minimalist:

  • Something very good quality or consumable
  • Trader Joes 3 in 1 shampoo, conditioner and body wash 

for the reader:

for the person who has everything:

for friends/family who live far away:

  • In a cold climate - bag of fat wood from LL Bean to start their fires
  • Something from a local artist where you live, or local brewery
  • Family gift including family game, fun snacks, gift card
  • Airline tickets or gift card towards trip to visit

for the new mom/dad:

  • Frame a favorite picture of the new little family
  • Freezer breakfast burritos
  • Ornament with "Our First Christmas"
  • Photo session
  • cleaning/lawn service
Holiday tipping logistics:
The Girls Next Door holiday tipping rule: "If they touch your body, or your diapers, they get a tip."
For daycare teachers:
  • Dish towel, Mrs. Meyers soap and a hand-written thank you note
  • Starbucks gift card, small candle, and a hand-written thank you note
  • Can you tell the "hand-written thank you note" is the important part?
In current obsessions, Kelsey's obsessed with this lovely white noise machine and Erica is dreaming of a white Christmas, literally.
In neighborhood news, find out how the holiday light situation is coming along, and which neighbor is inexplicably against pajamas. 

Fall Test Kitchen & Crunch Top

We asked for recipes, and you guys delivered! We cooked up a storm in our GND test kitchen and want to share our favorites while sipping on a cocktail. (Also make sure you are signed up for our newsletter to get a pdf of all the recipes shared!)


Americano (inspired by Kelsey's trip to Essex)

  • equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth
  • topped with soda
  • served over ice and garnished with an orange slice

Erica made maple puff muffins, cranberry salsa, warm potato salad with goat cheese, and crunch top sweet potato souffle. Kelsey tried pumpkin soup (great with the book Pumpkin Soup), peanut butter spice apple dip, Mushroom crostini, pumpkin cheesecake pie with gingersnap crust.

We thought we'd share this salsa recipe right here in case you need a last minute appetizer for Thanksgiving tomorrow. It's also great on a leftover turkey sandwich. Thanks Nichole!

Quick Cranberry Salsa

  • 1 bag cranberries
  • 1 bunch green onions (trimmed)
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 seeded jalapeño
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Just throw your ingredients together and blend til you get a desirable texture. Leave in the fridge overnight for the tartness to mellow. Enjoy with some colorful corn chips!

Other yummy stuff we're making:

Erica - The Nightingale and Westworld
Kelsey - her new round mirror

Cooking With Kids & Vampire Children


This episode, we're talking all about kids in the kitchen! We are sharing a little bit about how we include kids in the kitchen, our favorite things to make with them, and how we’re teaching them about food, encouraging independence and the logistics of little cooks in the kitchen.


But first, a cocktail…

Plundering Pumpkin (from Captain Morgan himself)

  • Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
  • pumpkin beer (we used New Belgium's Pumpkick)
  • ginger beer

            Combine in equal parts in a tall glass over ice

We mentioned:
Kelsey is obsessed with Trader Joe's Meatless Meatballs
Erica is obsessed with Kelsey's new business venture Copper Quail Style

Neighborly Advice!

Neighborly Advice audio classes from The Girl Next Door Podcast

Hey, friends! We're excited to bring you Neighborly Advice, a new audio class offering for purchase from your favorite girls next door. 

Each Neighborly Advice class brings you practical how-tos, tips, and tricks on a specific topic in The Girl Next Door conversational style that you love and can laugh along with. It’s like a cross between getting great advice from a girl friend and taking a class - but with no homework. Listen while you’re folding laundry, commuting to work or at the gym, and let us teach you something. 

Check out Neighborly Advice!

Book Club 8: Better Than Before

This episode we discuss Gretchen Rubin's popular book Better Than Before! The book anchors on the four habit tendencies Gretchen lays out. Erica is a REBEL with a minor in OBLIGER. Kelsey is an UPHOLDER with a minor in QUESTIONER - we have all four tendencies represented! We both suspect our husbands are Questioners - interesting!

Pumpkin Pie Bourbon and Pear Cocktail
adapted from Honestly Yum
  • MAKE AHEAD: To make pumpkin pie spiced bourbon, add 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice for each cup of bourbon and let sit overnight.
  • Pear syrup: roughly chop one ripe pear and heat in a small pan with 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water and one teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Cook until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool. Then strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer.
  • For each cocktail: Combine equal parts pumpkin pie spice syrup and pear syrup (about 1 1/2 ounces each) with 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice. Pour over ice in cocktail glass and top with sparkling water of club soda.

We discussed what we liked and didn't like about the book, and habits we’re cultivating in our lives and talk about whether any of the tactics mentioned are things we use or are going to use after reading this.


Fall Extravaganza & Fall Ladies


We had a flight of pumpkin beers to sip on while we celebrated fall. We sampled...

  • Leinenkugel Harvest Patch Shandy
  • New Belgium Pumpkick
  • Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
  • Breckenridge Nitro Pumpkin Spice Latte Stout
Erica's girls are going to be witch princesses with either wand or broomstick accessories. Kelsey plans to make dinosaur costumes for her boys using this dino hoodie tutorial and this dino tail tutorial
Falliday (the holiday that Kelsey made up) is just around the corner!
Pumpkin spice coffee golden ratio: substitute just one or two scoops of pumpkin spice coffee for your regular coffee when making a pot.
Kelsey's obsessed with her skin care routine, which includes: Paula's Choice tonerexfoliatordaily moisturizer with spf 50 and Trader Joe's Nourish Antioxidant moisturizer at night. Erica's obsessed with her new high tops for Zumba.
As our Falliday gift to listeners, our sponsor Sudio Sweden is giving you 15% off any earbuds with the code "thegirlnextdoor" 

Creating Happiness & Beast Slash

We're talking all about creating happiness and making ourselves responsible for our own joy. 
Cocktails make us happy so here goes...
Hard Cider Spritz (with a twist of pouch)
  • Angry Orchard Hard Cider
  • Applesauce pouch
  • Apple juice
  • whiskey
  • Campari
  • lemon juice
  • club soda
We chat about what generally contributes to our individual happiness, conversely what tends to detract from our happiness, and what makes us happiest at home, in parenting, at work, in friendships, and even when using social media.
In current obsessions, Erica loves Trader Joe's turkey summer sausage and we talk way too long about workout pants. Kelsey loves the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast.
In neighborhood news, there is an update on Kelsey's yellow door.
Honorable mention: 
Our episode about friendship: Friendship Landscapes & Pick Up Lines

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