very rainy days.... {vanilla bean lemonade + happy mail}

cloudy, rainy, cozy, relaxing.... This weather isn't making it easy to stop lounging around on my couch. A 100% chance of rain was predicted for most of this past weekend; tropical storm Debby isn't messing around. I wanted so badly to do something active today.
Lemons took over my afternoon instead. Curtains were open, rain drops were making their way down the window, cats were curled up by the sill, and old black & white movies filled the television screen for hours. Then there was me, in my comfiest of pajamas, snuggling with the dogs, and eating a watermelon & feta salad. Pure bliss.
And it only got better.
Because then there were lemons. Oh my beloved lemons. I'm infatuated with them, if you didn't know. Piled up high on the kitchen cart, with just enough light coming through the window to make them glow.
That's when I knew today was perfect for fresh lemonade. If I couldn't enjoy the yellow sun, I could at least enjoy yellow lemonade.
But this is not your average lemonade. You see, because today (and the past couple of days) have been such a gloom, I yearned for something exciting. Although that's not to say that I don't adore rainy days, because I truly, truly do. They may just be one of my favorite things ever.
But when you're going on day 3 of the wrath of Debby, you need to change things up a bit from your usual sweatpants, big socks, loose tee, and Lucky Charms.
Which is why this now becomes vanilla bean lemonade.
It's such a summertime beverage.  
hints of vanilla
It goes perfectly with my cozy pj's, a comfy couch, and watching the rain trickle down the petals of my sunflowers.  

Yield: ~ 4 servings

adapted from Kelsey Nixon 

  • 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (~4 or 5 lemons)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 3/4 cup of simple syrup*
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • lemon slices for garnish
*Simple Syrup: 3/4 cup of water, 3/4 cup granulated sugar


Prepare the simple syrup. Slice each vanilla bean in half and gently scrape out the vanilla bean "caviar" using the back of your knife. In a small sauce pan bring the sugar, water, vanilla bean "caviar," and vanilla beans to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain to remove the vanilla beans.

Add the lemon juice and simple syrup to a large pitcher and stir until mixed well. Then add 4 cups of cold water to the pitcher and stir to combine. You can add more water if you feel it is too sweet or too sour. For me, this was just right.

Pour into glasses and garnish with lemon slices.... sweet lemony goodness

this is before the sugar has been dissolved

does this look like film or digital? I was playing around with photoshop to give it a film-looking effect
you might be wondering why the ends of some of the lemons are cut off. I thought it would be a unique idea to make "lemon cups" and use them to pour the lemonade in. It worked on a few, but either I couldn't get some of the lemons to stand upright, or I cut too far and made a hole. I think this would be a really cool idea for parties though if you could cut it just right :)
a lemon cup that worked!
Things that usually come in the mail:
bills, VS catalogs, UO catalogs, Lucky Mag, and the occasional online shopping package.
Today was not the usual mail though,
because today my package from LazaFlair arrived and I couldn't have been more excited to open it!!

Eileen is a very good friend of mine who I love so much! Her etsy shop has the most fabulous handmade paper-goods such as journals, coasters, postcards, and her newest addition:
a totally awesome recipe book!
{She also included a surprise, which turned out to be personalized recipe cards that I simply adore!!}

Immediately after I saw her post about this gem, I knew I had to have it.
I had also just been thinking about how I needed to buy myself a new recipe journal, and coincidentally Eileen comes up with something perfect. Not to mention, it's my favorite color.

I thought this was a really great idea! Plus you all know how I love mason jars.

beautiful packaging of her items

Thank you again Laza!! I love, love, love my gifts! You are talented, generous, hilarious, and I am so grateful to have been your health student, yearbook student, and friend over the years. I'm so proud of your success! Can't wait to see what you come up with next!



  1. Ashley,

    What a wonderful post. I'm the one who's grateful! You're the freakin' best nena. Hugs and kisses!!


  2. I absolutely LIVE off vanilla bean lemonade in the summer. So refreshing! And I love the recipe cards. so Cute!

    1. I had never tried it until recently. I'm in love!! Definitely a summer staple :)

  3. I can imagine the sweet flavor generously given by vanilla bean to this wonderful drink. It will be a happy summer with this lemonade. Your recipe cards are so cute.

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