It's My Party...

Friday, February 29, 2008

Just incase you missed my birthday, you can make it up by purchasing me one of these. I'd rather have the electric to save on gas prices.

Available at:
(Photo from
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Wanted - Dead or Alive

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Possibly the best thing to come out of New Jersey (it's a tie with my wonderful boyfriend)
Live with my new camera in Chicago
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Super Sweet 26-teen

Friday, February 22, 2008

As we approach Brandi* Day, I wanted to reminisce on last year’s joyous Super Sweet 26-teen party.

It was an all out drunk fest at Rolands in a snow storm. Attendance was down due to weather, but overall alcohol consumption was up.

Super Sweet 26-teen Before Picture

Let’s pretend for a second that I am Ivanka Trump. If I was going to celebrate my Super Sweet 26-teen I would have done things a little differently. Here is how I would have executed the party with an endless budget.

Super Sweet 26-teen AFTER

Location, Location, Location: What place is more perfect for a Super Sweet 26-teen than Dylan’s Candy Bar? I mean the title of the place alone has too of the best words in Webster’s Dictionary – CANDY and BAR.

How Many Licks? The invitations for this are simple. I would use Dylan’s giant lollipops with little invites attached. People will be sucking on these from the time they arrive, until the party starts.

Hold the Tiara. Unless you are Queen Elizabeth or Miss America, you shouldn’t be wearing a cheesy tiara at any time (well, maybe New Year’s Eve). I am sorry if that statement offended anyone, but my Super Sweet 26-teen attire would not include a tiara – unless I was Miss America. For my attire, I wouldn’t need to fly off to a crazy place, rather walk less than 10 blocks to BCBG – they make the best party dresses. This event calls for a bold color and I love yellow dresses and right now I am OBSESSED with rosettes.

Candy Coated Carpet. Rather than a red carpet, I would request that candy be placed in a plexi-glass floor so that guest would walk in on gumballs and colorful candies.

Let Them Cake. No candy party would be complete without a candy buffet. There would be special booth set up for guests to make their own cotton candy, a chocolate fountain and DYI ice cream booth.

Liquid Candy. There are a TON of colored cordials that were created because adults desire the candy flavors. Therefore, the colorful liquids would be flowin’. Here is a sample (from drinksmixer):

Jolly Rancher
2 parts vodka
1 part melon liqueur
Cranberry juice
Pour vodka and melon liqueur into a cocktail shaker, and fill with cranberry juice. Shake, pour over ice in a highball glass, and serve.

Liquid Snickers1 part Dark Creme de Cacao
1/2 part Irish cream
1/2 part Frangelico
1/2 part Light cream
Pour Creme de cacao, Irish cream and Frangelico liqueur over ice cubes in an old-fashioned glass. Top with light cream, stir and serve.

Surprise Guest. This is a tough call. I love so many artists – Bon Jovi, Snoop, Pearl Jam…I think I would actually surprise a lot of people and go with Miley Cyrus. I wouldn’t want her to play a lot of songs, but most of her music is upbeat and fun. I hope Billy Ray won’t mind that there is going to be a lot of alcohol at this shin dig.

Daddy! I want a carrrrrrrrr. Of course my dad would get me the black Range Rover I’ve been drooling over. Elmer would roll over in his grave.

Gift Bags. While the gift bags received huge publicity because of the massive things given away at award shows, I am going to bring it back to old school birthday parties and give guests a gift in a water bottle. Inside they will get a spinning toothbrush (from all the sweets), candy, maybe some Candies shoes (if they have any cute ones) and cute Juicy underwear in the shape of a lollipop.

A girl can dream.

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You Know You're From Pittsburgh When...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

your "family portrait" looks something like this:

Jillian and I LOVE posing for pictures. Watch out for the Bonkowski family Christmas card.

Speaking of Pittsburgh, for hours of fun visit:
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Friday, February 15, 2008

This year I decided to wait until the Chinese New Year (year of the Rat) to determine my 2008 resolutions. There is just something about Jan. 1st that makes it hard to commit. Maybe it’s the holiday hangover or the cliché resolution stories.

So here are my 2008 resolutions. I’ve made 8 to be realistic (and cute).

1. Run a Race. This has been a goal of mine for the last three years. I have never been a runner, but am learning. I have never been a runner. As a matter of fact, I used to just about die during the high school mile. Last year I was totally on track to run a 5K, but then I broke my finger. I know you are probably thinking this is a lame excuse, but until you spend 8 weeks in finger rehab, don’t judge. Also – it was the right ring finger which has pulse points. So when I would go out in run, my finger would out of control throb.

Goal is simple: run the Great Race in Pittsburgh. I am taking applicants to join me : )

2. Save Money. Here is the cliché resolution. But for the last month, I’ve started to not spend $1. This is something I learned from my potentially gay ex-cop boyfriend (in addition to not always trusting breathalyzers because sometimes the battery is dead). I’ve not spent change for the last three years, but I am upping the ante with $1. I am up to like $60 some dollars already. That is big for a girl who rarely spends cash too.

3. Connect with One Friend a Month. Outside my circle of five, I need to make sure I am calling college, high school and family more. I set this low because I know sometimes it is hard to connect.

4. Volunteer More. My goal is to clock in 50 hours of time. And yes, bar happy hours benefiting a cause count.

6. Take a Vacation. Like any late 20’s gal, trips these days are for an occasion like a wedding or bachelorette party. This year, I would love to just take a vacation for no reason. Maybe even a week! (vacation mode to the right)

7. Write One Letter a Week. "Ayo. I'm tired of using technology" This kinda connects to number three. I preach all the time how sick of technology I am. Nothing peeves me more than when Jillian texts someone that she is picking up that she is outside of their house. PICK UP THE PHONE. Back to my resolution…with email, we forget about good old-fashioned letter writing. Well I am bringing it back like Justin brought Sexy.

8. Cook Dinner Once a Week. Brady and I aren’t restaurant whores, but when I work late it is so easy just to pick up food or meet for dinner. Last night, I was able to whip up a fantastic four course meal in 35 minutes – so this can be done.

Update on these will be provided in December.

(photo from
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I Heart This

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Due to my lack of interest surrounding Valentine's Day, I wasn't going to post anything today.

Until I saw this gem from Martha.

Behold, this adorable centerpiece that is tres chic and inexpensive. The ranunculus flowers are placed into tiny vases to make a colorful heart. You can buy these vases from Crate & Barrel for under $3.00. We used them for an event. (photo from

V-day still sucks.
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Hello Today Show

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Are you reading A Shot of Brandi*?
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Bling Bling

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I am the queen of DIY. Okay, maybe not the queen, but I am a member of the court. I am always looking at things saying “I can make that.”

Like a typical girl, my eyes light up when I see bling. So one day I saw Mariska Hargitay’s wedding cake on some VH1 extreme wedding show and was glued to her cake topper. Striking my eyes were glorious initials with colorful sparkle. (photo from

So today I see on some blog that you too can own a crystal initial cake topper from the wedding authority – The Knot. For just under $200 you can have ONE bedazzled letter that will “Make your wedding cake unforgettable.” (photo from

Enter DIY Brandi*
You don’t have to be a bride to want your initial to sparkle. Follow these steps.

1. Go to a craft-mega center like JoAnn Fabrics and Michael’s. The JoAnn’s in Robinson has a whole aisle dedicated to letters. I’ve pondered what creative craftiness I could get into with these things and FINALLY this is something. Check it out to the left - $1.51! (photo from

2. Purchase paint. Again, craft stores sell it for $1.00. If you are like me, you can pull from your craft box!

3. Now you need to bring on the bling. Buy acrylic jewels in bulk. Glue them to the wood with some Elmer’s Glue. (photo from

4. Woolah – your initial is sparklicious.

If you add that up, you will probably spend less than $10. You could always enhance your bling with some Swarovski like the initial from The Knot, but I think acrylic looks just as good.

In the end, who remembers what is on top of the cake. What matters more is the taste!
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5 dresses

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I have yet to see the movie "27 Dresses," and I really don't care if I do. I am the owner of five dresses, so I sorta know how that whole 'maid thing goes down.
Regardless if the film sucks, the public relations department behind the movie “27 Dresses” gets two thumbs up from me. I’ve read so many stories across the country that spawned from this movie…the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Houston Chronicle, etc. All asked local women how many weddings they have been part of (or as they say in Chicago “stood up in”), show off their horrible dresses and enlisted trend experts to discuss new dress styles for 2008.

The story in the Chicago Tribune made me chuckle. They created 27 things you can do with an old bridesmaid dress.

Here are the top eight things:

1. Table runner
2. Pillow
3. Lamp shade
4. Apron
5. Coasters
6. Eye pillow
7. Cover of photo album
8. Quilt

I love the whole “trash the dress” trend that is on the upswing. If you aren’t familiar, brides, bridesmaids and even high school prom goers are donning their formal attire one more time. But this repeat performance involves rolling around in mud, jumping in pools or fountains and even food fights. Check out this site for some super cool pictures:

Of course these are some pro photographers, but you can totally do this with your own diggy.
One more solution for old dresses involves my favorite television obsession – Project Runway. I sit here and watch countless marathons of the show and each episode I find myself thinking, “I could so make that.” Why not invite former bridesmaids over and challenge them to make their best runway ready outfit from a former dress. Purchase sequins, gems and paints from a craft store. Or to really spice things up, give guests some time to sketch and then take a field trip to your local version of Mood.

If none of these ideas above entice you, there is always a local charity that accepts bridemaid dresses to help girls who are attending prom. I've coulenteered for The Fairy Godmother Foundation in Chicago and I totally recommend it. Check your local listings!

(photos by Brandi*)
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