Thursday, November 30, 2017

Shot of Brandi Gift Guide: Home Alone

Blame it on millennials, but after celebrating its 27th anniversary Home Alone is and its famous lines are currently trending.



1. The film starts by showing viewers family members running around a huge house in the suburbs of Chicago as they pack for a holiday trip to Paris. While clearly the biggest gift you could give would be a trip to Paris (or the McMansion the McCallister family lives in), a more affordable gift could be new luggage. This marble-patterned carry on is super cute.

2. A power outage causes the family to sleep in. They to the airport and fail to realize they left behind their eight-year-old son - Kevin McCallister. This is where the whole “Home Alone” part comes in. At first Kevin thinks it’s cool to have the house to himself. Then he becomes frightened of his scary neighbor and two burglars that are looking to prey on his house. If you or a family member are worried about unwanted guests, how about a Nest security camera.

3. Kevin creates a number of booby traps around the house to trick the burglars. One of the is putting toy cars on the ground, which somehow causes the men to fall to the ground. These Star Wars cars are cool for the Jedi on your list.

4. The booby traps are basically like one big obstacle course. And with an unlimited budget, you can get some lucky kids this inflatable bounce house. A more realistic gift is this DIY course from Target.

5 & 6. Like I mentioned earlier, some of the famous lines from the movie are trending on apparel. One of them is from a faux gangster movie that Kevin watches that says “Merry Christmas You Filthy Animal.” Another one revolves around Kevin’s brother’s girlfriend. When Kevin sees a pic of her, he says “Buzz, your girlfriend...Woof.” Both of these are perfect for an ugly sweater party!

And if you are looking to catch up on this flick, you can buy the movie here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Shot of Brandi Gift Guide: A Christmas Story

This classic story needs no introduction. And if you haven't’ seen this one, TBS plays it for 24 hours on Christmas. I’m talking about A Christmas Story.


1. The movie centers around the main character Ralphie’s wish to receive a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. **Spoiler Alert** while he eventually receives the gun, there are a few other iconic and somewhat unwanted gifts he receives, like a bunny pajamas from his aunt. This bunny onesie would be perfect for Christmas bar crawl or ugly sweater party!

2. Ralphie’s dad wins a “major award” in a contest, but he doesn’t know what it is until the item arrives. Turns out that it’s a leg lamp - which Wikipedia tells me was the logo of a soft drink company. Bed, Bath & Beyond sells a 20-inch replica of the lamp - perfect for a white elephant gift exchange!

3. During the movie, Ralphie slips and says a swear word to his father. As punishment, his mom puts a bar of soap in his mouth. Luxury soaps can be great to keep on hand for last minute hostess gifts that you can keep if needed! I like these from Jo Malone or these plain bars that you can add cute ribbons and labor to!

4. While this item doesn’t appear in the classic, A Christmas Story is filmed in Cleveland, which is the home of the awesome Great Lakes Brewery. The Christmas Ale is one of my favs and is a fantastic item to take to a party!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Shot of Brandi Gift Guide: Elf

Boy do I love a good Will Ferrell movie and Elf is no exception. There are so many amazing quotes from this movie, I was able to base my gift suggestions off of the famous one-liners.



1. “Son of a Nutcracker” - While there are a lot of beautiful nutcrackers out there, I love this decorative musical snow globe.

2. “Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?” - As an adult, I still LOVE a good ole box of new crayons. The mini packs are also one of my go-to classroom gifts!

3. “You did it! Congratulations! "World's Best Cup of Coffee."Great job, everybody. It's great to meet you.” - I’m totally obsessed with my cold brew coffee system. Bonus? It’s under $20!

4. “I thought maybe we could make ginger bread houses, and eat cookie dough, and go ice skating, and maybe even hold hands.” - Sugarfina has the most adorably packaged candies. Stock up on a few boxes for hostess gifts or for co-workers! This holiday package, made in partnership with Milly, includes Gingerbread Cookies, Reindeer Noses, and Sugar Cookies.

5. “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear,” - Karaoke machines have come along way and this bluetooth microphone is super fun and compatible with a number of sing-along apps. Perfect for adults or kids who love making music videos.

It was totally hard to narrow down all of the amazing quotes! If you’d like to purchase the movie Elf, you can do so here.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Shot Of Brandi Gift Guide: Miracle On 34th Street

I love a good theme and my annual holiday gift guide is no exception.

Taking a look back on my last eight years of gift guides, one theme I didn’t tackle - popular holiday movies. So sit back, grab some popcorn and check back over the next five days for the Shot of Brandi* Holiday Gift Guide!

I must start with this classic. You see, my parents received a phone call from my kindergarten teacher letting them know that I told the whole class that Santa wasn’t real. So my parents sat me down and told me that I had to watch Miracle On 34th Street on repeat until I said I believed. It couldn’t have taken more than two viewings.

In researching this post, I learned that the original Miracle On 24th Street won numerous Academy Awards back in back in the late 1940’s. The film was re-made a few times with the most recent version in 1994.

This classic movie, set in New York has inspires a few gift ideas.


  1. The film starts out with a drunk Santa. What do you buy the favorite drunk or drunks on your list? Alcohol! Let me recommend the Rabbit Electric Wine Opener. No more fidgeting with those other openers.

2. The movie revolves around the Santa that works at Macy’s in New York. Aside from the obvious Macy’s gift card, the iconic department store sells a number of branded items - most focusing on the Thanksgiving Day Parade. I’m loving these NYC-themed cookie cutters and wine stoppers.

3. In the movie, Santa ends up in court. I know, you just have to watch this for yourself. First a Santa is drunk and then the real one is on trial. A big scene in court is when people bring letters addressed to Santa into the room. For someone with little kids, this Bed, Bath & Beyond has this cute decorative holiday mailbox. Kids can submit letters during the whole month of December - way better than communicating with an elf!

4. The kid in this movie wishes for a pretty big gift - a new home. Like real house. This is 2017, not the 1940’s and Santa is on a budget. So perhaps a playhouse is like this is a bit more realistic.

If you like to buy this movie on DVD, you can find it here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Seven Halloween Ideas for 2017

Is the most wonderful time of the year…

No, I’m not pushing Christmas stuff on you all yet.

I’m talking Halloween!

I keep my eye out all year for Halloween costume ideas, so here are my top seven suggestions for 2017.

  • Hugh Hefner and a Playboy Bunny: RIP Hugh. After living close to the original bunny house and going to the doctors inside the Playboy headquarters while in Chicago, I’ve always held a soft spot in my heart for good ole Hugh. I followed him on Twitter and also loved that he spent his Saturday’s scrapbooking and looking through old memory books. Anyways, enough about that. Given the recent passing of this legend, I’m sure his ironic red robe will be a popular costume this year.


(image via The Telegraph)

  • Netflix: No, I’m not suggesting you dress as Netflix, but the subscription service provides a ton of inspiration for costumes. Last year, I suggested the cast of Stranger Things (which given this year’s season release date, I’m sure these characters will be popular again!). If you are looking for a girl group costume, let me recommend the cast of GLOW - featuring your best 80’s workout gear. Other popular shows could include characters from Full House, Gossip Girl (which I’m re-binge watching), Orange is the New Black (prison garb),

  • Queen Elizabeth: Okay, this is another Netflix one, but she turned 91 this year and The Queen is one of the top shows so why not dress as Her Royal Highness. This was one of my top ideas for my toddler this year! Bonus points for carrying a Corgi dog balloon!



  • Beyonce: B seems to make my list every year, but if you are rocking a baby bump, and are willing to walk around in your undies, then B’s pregnancy announcement is a bold move that will sure to be memorable!

  • Pregnant Kardashains: It pains me to include the word Kardashian on this blog, but another idea if you are expecting (or willing to pretend to be). Get a group together and all go as pregnant Kardashains. Added accessory - include the already born tots like North and Saint.



(image from Mashable)

  • This is Us: The breakout show of the last year, for my Pittsburgh friends this one could be easy if you are looking for a couple costume. Don your favorite 70’s Steelers gear, feather your hair, have your dude wear a stash, hold three babies and go as Rebecca & Jack.


(image via Racked)

  • Taylor Swift Group Costume: Another group idea, get your best gal pals together to go as the many phases of Taylor Swift. The end of her latest video is perfect inspiration create this look!

Do yourself a favor and stay away from anything that involves a confederate flag, wall, or imitating someone of another race.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Tea for TWO!

To celebrate my daughter’s second birthday we recently hosted a Tea for TWO “pa-tea” for a small group of family and friends!

I love a good theme party, but didn’t want to over-do it for a second birthday so I tried to keep things as simple as possible.  


Birthday Girl in a Tea Cup dress from Lassie Girl via Etsy!



While planning the party I searched the internet for tea party activities for both boys and girls (and under the age of like 6) and had a hard time finding a central location for ideas, so I thought I would share a few activities I planned here in case anyone else is looking for ideas!




Decorate A Cup
I purchased these plastic cups from a local craft store (Pat Catan’s) and then grabbed Crayons, colored pencils and markers. To prevent messes, I purchased a roll of pink paper to cover the table. You could also print out some tea cup/pot coloring pages and activities for the table!



Make a Hat / Tie
Hats are so symbolic of a tea party and I knew that activity would go over well with the little ladies, but not so much for the boys. I decided to cut out foam ties for the boys to personalize. Here’s a little secret - I bought the hats and most of the foam decorating supplies from the Dollar Store!





Candy Necklace Station
Another activity for the kids to “get fancy” was the candy necklace station. The Dollar Store again came to the rescue with gummy Lifesavers and peach/raspberry rings. My mom also found some hard-candy necklace kits to add to the table. I had some plastic string on hand that I pre-cut for the kids to make a necklace!



Pin the Cup on the Saucer
A variation of the popular “pin the tail on the donkey,” my sister-in-law hand-lettered the kids names on to cups for this game that I just made with some poster board!


For food, our venue supplied a waffle bar, which was a hit with both the kids and adults! Speaking of the over 21 crowd, we had a “Tipsy Tea” station with some alcoholic tea and wine - because no kids party is complete without that, amiright!?







  

For those living in the Pittsburgh area, we held the party at Carnegie Coffee Company and the location was perfect! I highly recommend working with Ashley and Sue to host an event in their super cool space!

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Gimmie, Gimmie More Mac & Mia!

Life with a toddler in our house means some pre-bed snuggle sessishs. Toddler unwinds with some Seasme Street, while I unwind browsing Instagram, Anthro, Nordstrom and Amazon. I always bookmark and save so many cute kids' clothing brands and stores, but never have time to go back, browse and buy.

Enter Mac & Mia

When I heard Molly became a stylist for this kids brand, I knew the clothes had to be good. Not only does Molly have impeccable style, but her tots are always totally dressed on trend. 

While I waited in the car for long delay in a takeout order from our favorite Thai restaurant (Nicky's Kitchen), I signed up for Mac & Mia via my phone. My registration was done before our crab wantons were ready! 



My Mac & Mia box arrived in a timely manor. Let's talk about the box for a second. It's so cute! I'm big on packaging and love the dotted cardboard lol. I saved the box to store my tots' art supplies. 




When I opened the packaging I GASPED at the pineapple romper. That was a keeper (see below). 



All of the items would have stayed with us, but one item was similar to something I had just purchased (Molly knew my taste so well) and the pair of white denim Seven jorts (who knew Seven made kids jeans!?) had to go back as they wouldn't have made it one meal with my kid. Inside the box there is a simple pre-labeled bag to ship items back inside. SO EASY! 



The hubs is super map obsessed, so probably will wish I would have kept this dress once he stumbles upon this post! 

There are so many things that I loved about Mac & Mia, but one of the biggest is that there were options - dresses, separates and accessories. The shipment even included paper dolls and stickers for Lennon! As the kids say, "so extra." 


In addition to the pineapple romper, we kept the coral cross back tank...because...I mean....that COULD NOT GO BACK! 



Here's a shot of Lennon in her pineapple romper. It's a little big, but that was the plan. We want this thing to last ALL SUMMER LONG! 



Here is a link to get $20 off your first box if you'd like to try Mac & Mia! It's highly likely that I'll order another box in the late summer for some fall goodies! 

Thanks, Molly! 

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Old Navy - New Items.

I’m a really annoying person (in general), but especially at a craft show, fair, festival...whatever you want to call it. Everything I see, I either verbally or mentally say “I can make that.”

Sometimes I really can. Other times I fail miserably. There are also times where i buy the “ingredients” but just never make the final product.

Recently I’ve re-imagined two pieces of clothing for my mini me using Old Navy items as a base. You may remember that I did that in the past here, here, here and here.

This time, my projects included an on-trend embellished jean jacket and WVU dress utilizing Circuit paper.

The embellished jean jacket trend has me reminiscing about the time that i begged my parents for a LA Gear jean jacket for at least two months. I saved up allowance, did extra chores and finally earned that jacket. With the help of some iron on patches from Hobby Lobby and Target, Lennon now has her very own embellished jean jacket!




This craft is so simple: Buy patches. Iron on.







I was going to buy some from Amazon, but local craft stores came through with some options! I was going to add some enamel pins, but i didn’t want to injure my child.

Next up was the WVU dress. When I saw the blue and white striped dress at Old Navy, I thought - I can turn that into a Mountaineer dress. And I did just that.

I don’t have a fancy Circuit machine, so I printed out the flying WV and cut it out from the gold paper. Then, ironed it on to the dress.



I’m pretty jazzed at how these turned out and can’t wait to create some more DIY Old Navy items!