Saturday, January 21, 2017

You're The Pun For Me: Kid's Valentines Day Ideas

If you’ve been following this little blog for awhile, you know that I have a thing for paper goods. So I’ve been browsing around for customized Valentine's for my daughter’s day care party for the last months. Yes. I’m crazy.

While searching the Tiny Prints website, I kept thinking - this card would be perfect paired with a treat. So I bring you this blog post of ideas! Note that it is in no way sponsored by Tiny Prints - just some free publicity from yours truly.




Credits:



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Gift Ideas: Frosty The Snowman

So I did a little research and it turns out that Frosty the Snowman was recorded in 1950 after the success of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

My friends at Wikipedia actually point out that Frosty the Snowman is regarded as a Christmas song when in fact the song doesn’t mention Christmas (or the holidays) at all!

Anyways, let’s have some fun with this song. I gotta say that there are some really great items that people will use on this list.



“Frosty The Snowman”
We’ve only had a touch of snow and as a parent I know that it’s important to have A LOT of activity options on hand during a storm. One fun thing to give or buy for your kits - a snowman kit! Because who keeps carrots for a nose on hand anyways!?

“It must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found”
A silk hat would be a little aggressive - especially if you plan to wear it during snow or rain. This cute floppy hat would be great for your bestie or sibling. I may need to add it to my list...

“Thumpety thump thump, over the hills of snow”
If you are climbing hills of snow, you need some boots. I visited good ole West Virginia University earlier this month and thank god I put Bean Boots on my Christmas list this year because that is all everyone is wearing now a days.

“Frosty The Snowman, knew the sun was hot that day”
Okay, so there is a lot of snow, but the sun is hot? Sounds like wacky Pittsburgh weather. For those days that start out super cold, but turn out hot, how about this North Face coat. It features a fleece liner that unzips from the outer coat. Bonus - it’s currently on sale at Macy’s.

“Let’s run and we’ll have some fun”

Just like the boots, you really can’t run unless you have the proper footwear. And who really likes running? Well, I may if I had these metallic Nikes. They look a little frozen, right!?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Gift Ideas: Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is one of those classic songs that was turned into a television special...or was it the other way around? Regardless, this song inspired some fun gift ideas. 




“You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, you know Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen”
1. To keep track of all of these people you “know,” it sounds like you need an address book. I love this one from Rifle Paper Co!

“The most famous reindeer of all”
2. I was trying to think of who, in my opinion, was the most famous person in the world. The only name that jumped out was a celebrity who shall not be named on this blog (K family has E! Reality show), so I went to Google. It told me that the most famous person is Marilyn Monroe. And that’s how I ended up on this Marilyn Monroe Warhol! Call me crazy, but a little over $1,000 is lower than I expected for an authentic Warhol!

“Had a very shiny nose. And if you ever saw it. You would even say it glows.”
3. I know, I know. Gifting someone an exercise class can come across offensive, but for the yogi in your life (in Pittsburgh) Amazing Yoga has an upcoming “Glow With The Flow” class that combines techno music, yoga, heat and a blacklight!

“All of the other reindeer. Used to laugh and call him names.”
4. Sounds like you need a book about bullying. I’m going to recommend this book called “Pushing Isn’t Funny” because I may need this (or DO NOT BITE YOUR FRIENDS) version for my 16-month-old and her “friends.”

“They never let poor Rudolph. Join in any reindeer games.”
5. Rudolph needs to take things into his own hands with some new games. I love adding a board game to my list because honestly wine, snacks, beer and a board game are totally my ideal Saturday night. I’ve got my eye on Trivial Pursuit Harry Potter edition, Trivial Pursuit 2000s, and the Oregon Trail card game.

“As they shouted out with glee, Rudolph the red-nose Reindeer. You'll go down in history”
6. I do love to give someone the gift of a book (not on an e-reader). Typically history
books are boring, but this year Hamilton is rather “hot,” so how about the book Alexander Hamilton.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Gift Ideas: Jingle Bell Rock

The theme of this year’s Shot of Brandi* Holiday Gift Guide is Christmas songs!

Jingle Bell Rock” is like regular “Jingle Bells” cooler cousin. It has similar lyrics, but with a more upbeat spin. While the song has been covered by a lot of artists, I think my favorite pop culture moment with this song is the famous Christmas pageant scene in Mean Girls.



“Jingle bell swing and jingle bells ring”
1. It’s very festive if you have those bells ringing from your door. Make that happen with this jingle bell wreath from Williams-Sonoma.

“Snowing and blowing up bushels of fun”
2. Sometimes snow is fun. You look at it coming down and laying a beautiful blanket of white fluff on your lawn. A sled is necessary to play in the snow! There are a lot of sled options out there, but I’m going to pick this one from L.L. Bean based purely on the fact it’s cute.

“Dancing and prancing in jingle bell square”
3. I don’t know where jingle bell square is, but if you are going to be dancing you need some dancing shoes. Let me suggest these bedazzled beauties from Kate Spade.

“What a bright time, it's the right time”
4. If it is a bright time, you need some new sunglasses. All of the bloggers that I follow are always posting their Quay shades, so they must be “in.” They are reasonably priced a little over $50. Finally something fashion bloggers over post that’s under $500!

“Jingle bell time is a swell time. To go riding in a one-horse sleigh.”
5. You don’t even need a horse to ride in this most amazingly awesome motorized Disney Princess Carriage. This is totally one of those “why didn’t they make that when I was a kid” moments.

“Jingle around the clock”
6. This one was almost too easy. How about a clock! This gear clock is pretty rad!

Monday, November 14, 2016

2016 Shot of Brandi* Gift Guide: The Songs of Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Shot of Brandi* Holiday Gift Guide!

When late November rolls around, I turn off my Drake radio and put on the Christmas tunes until December 26! Fun Fact: For the last 10+ years I’ve been making my friends Christmas CD’s and handing them out around the holidays!

When thinking about a theme for this year’s Shot of Brandi* Holiday Gift Guide, I decided to turn to those popular holiday songs for shopping inspiration! I’m starting this a little earlier and plan to post once a week until around December 15th. If you are like me than you get your shopping done early!

While finding time to blog while juggling being a mom, having a job and well...life, I always look forward to brainstorming a holiday gift guide. It allows me to explore gift options for family and friends and also add a few things to my list! I hope you’ll enjoy following along!

Let’s kick things off with one of my favorite songs to brainstorm - “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

I remember singing “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” in our elementary school holiday show. Looking back, perhaps the lyrics were a little risque / confusing for a say nine-year-old! I mean isn’t the song basically saying that mom was cheating on dad with Santa? Or maybe the lyrics were just ahead of our time and mom and dad weren’t together but still living in the same house? Regardless, this song provided some fun gift ideas!



“I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus.”
1. Mommy needs to make sure her lips are looking hot, so I’d suggest some lipstick. I’m a big fan of Marc Jacobs makeup and love the holiday gift sets like these lipsticks.

“Underneath the mistletoe last night.”
2. I’m actually in the market for a mistletoe. This one from Kohl’s is a good, glittery option!  

“She thought I was tucked up in my bedroom fast asleep.”
3. West Elm has been my go-to for bedding. A new comforter is a somewhat odd gift, so let me recommend this Ugg throw. I’m a big blanket person and I’ve had my eyes on this one for awhile now!

“Then I saw mommy tickle Santa Claus. Underneath his bear so snowy white.”
4. After researching ideas for this lyric, I did NOT realize how many Beard-related products were out there! From oils to powders to trimmers, there are a lot of products to keep your man’s beard looking fly. I’m going to recommend a shaving kit and beard wash from the Art of Shaving because...well, it looks cool lol.

“Oh, what a laugh it would have been. If daddy had only seen.”

4. Sounds like Dad could use some new glasses or binoculars. Or a hidden camera spy system. I’ve been a fan of Warby Parker for my last two glasses purchase. They have affordable styles and their customer service is amazing. For a man, I’m digging the Durand frames.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Shell Yeah: DIY Mermaid Costume

If you read this blog, you know I have a problem. It really should have a fancy name other than “I can make that.”

You see, whenever I see certain crafty items, jewelry or apparel, I’m all like “I can make that.” This is especially true during Halloween.

This year I decided to DIY a mermaid costume for my daughter. After gathering the necessary supplies, this was SO EASY. Here is how I did it.

1. Buy Fabric - I bought stretchy fleece and a sequin fabric to use as an overlay. I thought about cutting out scales, but this route was way easier. The fleece was to provide a little warmth in the event of a cold Halloween. I'm sure you could make the tail even longer - like a stroller blanket!

2. Order Bodysuit - Thanks to Leotard Boutique for selling a nude, toddler leotard! They have other amazing options if you are DIYing a costume!

3. Make Mermaid Tail - So true confession here - I work at an advertising agency so I had a designer sketch the tail based off of a pair of my daughter’s pants. I then cut out two pieces of fleece and one piece of sequin overlay. I sewed the fleece together at the top and then added the sequins, but a more talented sewer could probably do this in one step.




4. Shell Bra (The Sea Cups!) - Originally I painted two clam shells and hot glued pins to the back, but baby girl was trying to rip them off, SO the night before her Halloween Parade, I went a different route. I’m a huge fan of Circut paper and thankfully I had some in pink at home. I found a shell pattern online, traced it, cut two shells and ironed them onto the leotard. I’m sure I could have burned the leotard, but was a risk and worked!

5. Headband - I had nothing when it came to a hair accessory (i.e. ran out of time). THANK GOD I had this star headband already in our collection. I'm sure you could do better!

And ta da! Here is the final result! I honestly couldn't be more happier with this DIY!



Friday, October 07, 2016

I Love Halloween: Costume Ideas for 2016

I LOVE HALLOWEEN.

I also love this annual blog post of mine - Halloween Costume Suggestions.

If you want to look back on my past ideas, here is easy access:

Okay, now on to 2016.

The best costume ideas are inspired by pop culture. Indeed the most talked about thing right now is the election, so we’ll likely see a lot of Hilarys, Trumps, Deplorables, Bills and probably some Weiners.



Beyonce’s Lemonade provides a number of costume ideas. My favorite, and most simple, is “Becky with the good hair.” Get a blow out and wear this shirt. OR be Queen B herself - either don a glam yellow gown a la this photo OR just dress up as a bee with a crown.




This summer it seemed like everyone was obsessed with Pokemon Go. Well everyone under 30. I’d imagine the explorers or Pokemon will be spotted out. Oh, also love this Pokestop!






(source)

From TV shows I’d recommend some kids from Stranger Things (Barb, Eleven, Dustin), Chanel’s from Scream Queens or Game of Thrones.


(source)

Alexander Hamilton is having a major moment. I’d love to see a toddler with a white wig!

A LOT of celebrities passed away this year. Especially those that could inspire costumes like Prince, David Bowie and even Arnold Palmer (a spiked AP in hand is a must have!).

If you go the Olympic route, there are of course the gymnasts and synchronized swimmers. If you decide to be Ryan Locthe, just don’t get arrested.



(source)

Since the 90’s are totally back, I’d recommend Cher from Clueless. Bonus points if you have a Dione.

Some easy options could be inspired by social media - think Emojis (dancing girls) or Snapchat filters like the rainbow vomit, flower crown, gold butterflies or the popular dogs (my kid actually *thinks* she is the dog).

Speaking of social media, memes are always popular costumes. One option is Harambe the Gorilla. I won’t even try to explain how this is a meme, but if you are interested I’ll let Time Magazine fill you in.

This is SO CREEPY, but the easy clown costume could be popular this year with the string of creepy clown sightings across the US.

Me? I’ve got a few DIY costumes coming. One is a family DIY (who knows if Brady will participate) and the other is a DIY for Lennon! More details coming soon!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Reader Mailbag: Places to Order A Cake From In Pittsburgh

Sometimes Reader Amy Wrote (a few months ago)…

My usual baker broke her wrist. Name some good cake designers.

First of all, Amy reader status is my fault because I haven’t had time to blog. Also, don’t worry - I got back to Amy! I just didn’t post this yet!

Now, back to the cake.

If there is one thing that I’m passionate about, it’s cake. Pittsburgh is overflowing with delicious bakeries. Here are some of my favorite options broken down into three categories: Presentation, Taste and BOTH!

BOTH





Prantals - Hands down my favorite bakery in Pittsburgh. The icing is some of the best I’ve ever tasted. And the cake is always pillow-y and fresh! The cherry on the top of Prantals is that they have FANTASTIC prices. I tapped Prantals to create a flamingo first birthday cake and with little direction they churned out this awesomeness. Oh and while we are talking cake, Prantals you must add this bakery’s burnt almond torte to your food bucket list like NOW.



Bethel Bakery - Living on the west side of Pittsburgh, I wasn’t exposed to this South Hills favorite a lot growing up. Flash forward to my wedding in 2010 when Bethel was the preferred vendor. Oh my goodness, the cake is delicious and the icing is also to die for. I worked with them to create a custom shower cake for a friend and they brought my beach vision to life perfectly!

Taste
  • Giant Eagle - Yep. My number one in taste only goes to our local supermarket chain Giant Eagle. Their icing is probably right behind Prantals in my book. When I was pregnant I craved their yellow cake with chocolate icing (and now I’m craving it again). Their cupcakes, sheet cake and other pastry prices are super reasonable. Giant Eagles icing rose game is on point, but when it comes to fancy cake shapes they lack some skills. They also have typically bakery theme cakes with plastic figures (hello Disney characters).
  • Oakmont Bakery - I’ve had a number of sweets from this shop, but actually haven’t set foot into the bakery...yet. From the looks of their website, I’m missing out - the storefront is adorable! Back to the cake. It’s good. Oakmont also looks like they dip into some fancy design as well!
  • Ultimate Pastry - This bakery made my taste section purely because I haven’t witnessed their custom cake abilities, but I’ve always had a delicious treat from this Sewickley spot.

Presentation
  • Vanilla Pastry Studio - Okay, so Vanilla used to be my go-to for all of my sweet needs, but on recent orders I’ve found the cake to be a bit stale. Their icing is nice a fluffy, but not an overall great dessert. HOWEVER, Vanilla has done some of the most amazing custom cake designs. I’m talking crazy cake shapes and awesome fondant detail. This is your place.

Others to Consider
  • Gigi’s Cupcakes - An alternative to a custom cake this chain cupcake retailer is a bit newer to Pittsburgh (McCandless Crossing). I’m still testing the waters here, but the white wedding cupcakes are great!




  • Gaby Et Jules - (above) A French bakery located in Squirrel Hill (and some sweets in Market Square), they are known for their delicious and adorable macarons, but I’ve had some cake here and IT IS SO GOOD. Some of the more delicious decadent chocolate in the city.

Places I Want To Try