Friday, March 28, 2008

From Wikipedia:

The Brandi Doll was an 18 inch (460 mm) fashion doll introduced by Ideal Toy Corporation in the year 1972. Advertised as “Crissy’s Beautiful Friend” like the Crissy Doll, Brandi had a "growing hair" feature. Brandi could wear the many fashions that were created for Crissy and her companion dolls like the Kerry doll.

Brandi came dressed in a burnt orange swimsuit with shiny orange clog shoes with elastic ties. The Brandi Doll had tanned skin, blonde hair and painted blue eyes. Brandi was only released with a Posin’ body style, meaning the doll had a swivel waist that had limited movement in both the horizontal and vertical planes so the doll could strike various poses for the child at play.

I wish my name was Barbie. Maybe this doll was a trend setter. Someone who shall not be named seems to date a girl that has something in common with this doll. That is all I am going to say about that.

(god awful photo from antiques & collectible exchange)
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Party at My Dream House - Bring Skipper!

Two years ago, I read about a party that Lara Shriftman & Elizabeth Harrison created for Barbie (which happens to be one of my company’s clients). The party was for some really cool chick’s birthday – no, I don’t really know her, but this party idea was totally kick a$$.

The theme was Barbie & Ken.

The invitations were basic, but inside, each guest was given a list of existing Barbie or Ken dolls to use as their inspiration for their attire. Included were Glitter Barbie, Malibu Barbie or Ken, GI Joe Ken, Tennis Barbie, etc. If I was hosting this party with no budget, I would totally send each guest a different Barbie doll that they had to dress like.

Not to go off subject, but one time I was shopping in the Big Lots in Morgantown, W.Va., in college and low and behold in the toy aisle was a fake Barbie named…BRANDI. I was so p*ssed off.
Back to the party.

The venue was draped in pink to imitate Barbie’s Dream House. Pink M&M’s, lollipops and candy lipstick were spread around the room. Because this party was obvisiouly posh, the servers were all dressed like Malibu Barbie’s with blonde wigs.

I love a good theme party and I love this theme. I feel that when you have a theme party, people don’t participate because they often don’t feel like being creative. By sending their exact attire, you are giving some direction and there is more of a chance people will play along.

Shot of Brandi* readers, I challenge one of you to have this party! And please invite me. I want to be the Barbie to the above– Fashion Fever Teresa. I am so super hip that, “I don’t follow trends, I create them.”
(source: “Fete accompli! The Ultimate Guide to Creative Entertaining” and photos from people.com randomhouse.com, Barbie.com )
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Tip, Tips, Tips

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I have my entertaining guru hat (aka party hat) on today and need to make a curriculum for some bartender to teach a class of women how to be a better at home bartender. Here are some of the tips we are including in the plan.

* I LOVE theme parties. If I wasn’t going to Pittsburgh, I had all intentions of planning a Kentucky Derby party just so I could get a big hat. Well, a tip if you are hosting a theme party. Make sure it lasts all night long so that guests don’t’ have to go out after in their silly outfits. College is over. People don't want to see you at a bar dressed like a schoolgirl

* Spills will happen! Keep an “accident bucket” close with paper towels, stain removing pens, carpet cleaner and air freshner. This also makes a cute hostess gift
* There is nothing better than walking into a great smelling home. I like those that smell normal - not like crazy scents. If you are using multiple candles, make sure they are all the same scent or they complement each other. Select a candle scent everyone will like, such as a simple vanilla. Keep the scented candles away from the food table! Don’t forget to do a sweep of your home before the night is over to make sure all candles are blown out.
Also, I was once at a candle party in which the host had a really good tip. Keep candles away from the back seat of the toilet. You don’t want girls with long hair to lay their mane in the flame
* If you are like me, most parties you attend are co-ed, there is a lot of beer or BYOB. If you are hosing a party, consider having a “house drink” as the dude’s version of a signature cocktail. It also helps make a woman created party much more male user friendly. Serving classic spirits like a Manhattan, CC & Seven or a plata tequila for shots will really help you score points with the guys
* When the Bonkowski Family entertains at home, we do it in a bi-level house. To help with clean up, its best to keep a plastic bin on hand to put dirty dishes in to avoid unnecessary trips up and down the steps.

By the way, we paid some lady over $30K to act as the onscreen face of a program in which my work-wife and I created all the tips for. Please keep that in mind when you say how much you love Preston Bailey and Mindy Weiss. Sometimes they are just the face.
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I shouldn’t complain.

I’ve lived in Chicago long enough to know that just because it’s past the start of spring that doesn’t mean its going to be warm. Or even stop snowing.

Today, I went through 11 outfit changes before I decided what to wear to work. Brady and my Anthropoligie girls can attest that I am not lacking an empty closet(s), rather I am just so sick of winter clothes. I want to wear flip flops and dresses. Not all black, Uggs and a down coat.

Physically I’ve started channeling spring. Last week I wore some baby blue and some ballet flats with out socks. But then when Pete Sack (my trusty meteorologist) told me that it was going to hit the upper 50’s I adorned a skirt to work with no tights and Uggs (for the commute). What Pete didn’t mention was the 40 mph winds that made it really feel like it was in the 20’s. Let’s just say I am happy I made it home with two legs. I thought I needed to stop with and get treated for hypotherma at Northwestern.

J Bo and I were discussing what to wear to an outdoor wedding in May, so I’ve decided to channel spring today with dresses I wish I could wear right now.

I love this Saffron Step Dress (above) from Anthropologie. At a price point of $138, it’s a little lower than most of the non-sale dresses at Anthro. This dress needs spring because it’s a little too bright when everyone around you is wearing black.

Department stores and I have been at a war for years. I don’t’ know why, but I just never find what I want, the sales people are old and the store is always messy. However, this dress by To The Max (right) sold in Nordstrom is very cute and a steal at $118. I would totally rock this with my gladiator flats!

BCBG is a go-to source for cute dresses. I love this Taffeta Dress (left) because it screams spring. There are flowers, pastels and a short hem line. While the price point is high ($340) you can always get good sales!

If I didn’t work in PR and say I was a trader, I would totally rock Phillip Lim 3.1 during all weekend outings. I love his line of cocktail dresses each season. My favorite right now is this yellow number (left), BUT in pale green (I couldn’t find the image). However, I could pay my full rent for a month or have this dress. So sad.

(Photos from Anthropologie.com, BGBC.com, nordstrom.com net-a-porter.com)
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Junk in the Trunk

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The K-dash a$$ lived up to the hype.

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Dating is like…

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Today my friend … let’s just call him/her “B” (I love a good “Gossip Girl” episode) was talking to me about their problems dating. B goes to the bar, meets a nice person, gets all excited and then by the third date, B finds out that the person sucks.

So in today’s therapy session, I told B that dating to me is like picking a salad dressing. I guess I really can’t compare dating to dating because I haven’t been on a date with someone other than Brady or my gay friend Brian in almost five years. So, I compare dating to shopping for salad dressing.

I love to eat salads. But I am uber picky when it comes to the dressing. I stand in the extensive salad dressing aisle spending a long time trying to pick the right one. I am not afraid to try a new one, so I check out, take it home and lick it.

See – exactly like dating.

You are uber picky, but you are at the bar (as in club, not salad bar). You scope the room where there is a plethora of people to eye f*ck. You spend a long time trying to make a connection and it works. You decide which one you are going to try, check out (pay your bill), take he/she home and lick it.

If you are ever in my apartment, take a look at my salad dressing rack. I have a ton of bottles that are pretty unused. Exactly like dating. You have to try out a lot of bottles before you find the right one – especially if you are trying to meet someone at a club/grocery store aisle. Don’t give up. I’ve heard both have worked

Please Note: This blog isn’t turning into relationship advice. I posted this on the request of B.

(photo from sks-bottle.com)
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You Can’t Drink All Day if You Don’t Start in the Morning

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

So I survived another Chicago St. Patrick’s Day.

This year outdid the last with the addition of Brady’s friends from New Jersey and what could be Dana’s last weekend out before hitting up the Cirque Lodge in Utah. Oh and Speiler - Miley Cyrus called. She wants her peace sign back.

If I had to recap what I remember from the weekend, I think it would be summed up best by the following list.

Top Five Moments from St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago 2008:

5. Geek Chic. On Friday night, Dana, Lindsey, Brian and myself out drank the Jersey Boys by heading to our fifth drinking establishment of the night – Rockit. Brian and I grabbed a beer at the downstairs bar, while Dana and Lindsey went pee. Speaking of which, I remember going to the ladies room myself and there was no TP. Why have a bathroom attendant where they don’t’ do their job. Anyways, Brian and I proceed upstairs where we find Dana and Lindsey in this small, private area I didn’t know existed. Brian then said “Why does Dana come to Chicago for 5 minutes and she is cooler than us?” She may be cooler, but I would kick her *ss (see #3).

4. The Bonkowski’s: We Pre-Game like you Party. So it’s no lie my parents like to drink. While they went home a little early on Friday, they made up for it by beating us all to kegs and eggs on Saturday morning. Sue was also fixing up some cocktails while they wanted to go to the dying of the river AND carried a bottle of Effen in her purse all day. The best quote came when my mom was feeling a little tired and said, “I think I need a Diet Coke…or some Jaeger Bombs.” She proceeded to order the later of the two. Stay tuned for a video of my dad dancing.

3. Brandi vs. Dana. So I have these new habits that no one noticed where I obsessively squint my eyes and overly use the word like. Dana feels the need to obsessively call me out on these things and after too many green beers I threaten her. It went a little something like this: “Dana, if you don’t shut the f*uck up, I am going to rip out your fake hair and hand it from that disco ball.” That shut her up. I would also like to say Dana almost fought a women’s softball team.

2. Gettin’ Lucky (blind item). While this weekend wasn’t Girls’ Gone Wild, someone out of our group managed to get some. After at least six Jaeger Bombs courtsey of my mother. AND the two were even seen swapping spit in public!

1. Consuming alcohol for 28+ hours. So I counted the amount of time we spent drinking and it hit a high. It wasn’t just green beer. There were Apple-tini’s, Effen Black Cherry, Patron shots, Jaeger Bombs, Crown Royal on the rocks, Red Headed Sluts, Washington Apples…the list goes on.

Who’s coming next year?!

(photos from Brandi*)
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Green Beer Makes You Pee Green

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bubba likes to play evil tricks on me all the time. From convincing me that his former roommate Matt was a hairstylist in the Army to putting my name in the fish bowl to sing explicit karaoke songs at the Back Door, I’ve been very embarrassed over the last 20 years.
My sophomore year at WVU, Bubba had me fooled into believing that you urinated green from drinking green beer. He even went as far as to call me from the bathroom to tell me how green his flow was. So during the week’s festivities, I proceeded to ask a stranger in the girl’s bathroom at Bent Willy’s if she was peeing green (upon seeing green beer in her hand). Needless to say, she gave me a strange look and immediately left the lavatory.

Seven years later, I totally understand that you don’t pee green from green beer. However, after last year’s festivities I learned you can get green dye stuck on your hands for days.

To avoid all that mess, here are three green drink concoctions that are already green and won’t leave you with a discolored tongue, hand or pee.

There are a number of variations of this drink – I think this one is the best
2 parts Vodka

1/2 part Sour Apple Pucker
1/2 part Apple Juice or Cider
Pour all ingredients into a shaker and strain into a martini glass
* You can also garnish the glass with caramel syrup before you pour the drink
Sour Apple Drop
1 part Sour Apple Schnapps
1 part ABSOLUT Vodka
Chill and serve

St. Paddy Appletini
1 part Sour Apple Schnapps
1 part ABSOLUT PEARS Vodka
Slash of sweet and sour Mix
Pour all ingredients into a shaker and strain into a martini glass
* I like the idea of garnishing this with a sour apple blow pop

(Photos from my work computer)
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That's Ferrrrr-osch

Monday, March 10, 2008

One of my biggest obsessions is watching episodes of Project Runway over and over again. I don't know what it is, but I can sit in front of a television and watch the same episode multiple times.

This season, Christian totally grew on me. Never in my life could I pull off one of his fashions, BUT I loved to watch him zip through his designs. Such talent.

If winning Project Runway wasn't enough, this past Saturday Christian arrived in pop culture history. Amy Poehler did a parody of Christian on Saturday Night Live and I must say it was pretty fierce.
Here is a link to that video: http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/video/#mea=227155

My personal favorite Christian line of the year was during the WWE challenge. The designers had to create a wearable outfit for the women of WWE and the designers were talking about what kind of persona they would have if they were a wrestler. Christian said, “Furocia Coutura and her power is... she sprays girls in their eyes with hairspray!”

Coming in a close second was during the finale when he said to his models, "Be fabulous. Be really skinny. Don't eat."

To own a wearable Christian Siriano design, go to bravotv.com (I said that in my best Heidi Klum voice). Here is the link: (photo from Bravotv.com)


Someone out there put together this awesome video of Christian's "Ferr-osch" highlights from the past season. For your viewing pleasure:

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Go Green

Thursday, March 06, 2008

St. Patrick’s-paloza is coming up in eight days! Now that my Vegas trip is over, I am in full planning mode. I will share with you a sneak preview of what I have up my sleeve and some great resources.

I searched the web looking for a place where I could design my own shirt. There are a TON of sites, but not all of them have green shirts available (no, I don’t want mint). I used the super cheesy
www.CustomizedGirl.com to make some surprise shirts for my guests. Check back to see the finished product!

Amazon.com has uber-cute Grow Your Own 4-Leaf Clover sets. I remember searching my grass as a kid for one
(photo from Amazon.com). http://www.amazon.com/Four-Leaf-Clover-Mega-Mini-Kits/dp/0762414731

For a house party, I love the idea of these etch-a-sketch cups. My grandma always warned me about drinking from other people’s cups! While you are on the site, check out all the trendy entertaining items they have. I love this site.

My obsession with cupcakes is stronger than ever. While my birthday treat came right back up, this recipe, topped with Andes Mintes, from howtoeatacupcake.blogspot.com sounds like it would take the cake. (photo from howtoeatacupcake.blogspot.com)

Chocolate Mint Chip Cupcakes (makes 18-20)

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup (2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped, melted

2 large eggs, at room temperature1 teaspoon peppermint extract

1/2 cup chocolate milk

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup (6 ounces) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan.

2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat the melted chocolate into the butter mixture. Add the eggs, peppermint extract, and chocolate milk. Beat until creamy.

3. In a separate medium-sized bowl combine the flour and baking soda.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and beat until well blended (DO NOT OVER BEAT). With a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.

5. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3-3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pan.

Mint Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe adapted from marthastewart.com)

Makes about 3 cups

3 egg whites

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

1. Put egg whites and sugar in a double boiler over simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees).

2. Pour heated egg mixture into a clean bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes (It's very important to beat it for the whole 6 minutes).

3. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears soupy or separated after all butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.)

4. Beat in peppermint extract. Reduce speed to low; beat 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth.

While we are on the recipe subject, there is a good one on e-vite (of all places) for a make your own Shamrock Shake. This is right up my alley, so I don’t have to step foot in a McDonalds (yes, I am still bitter about the 2003 Root Beer Float episode). Here is the DIY recipe from e-vite:

Shamrock Shake
3 cups vanilla ice cream
1 cup whole milk
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
10 drops green food coloring
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

More St. Patty’s information to come : )
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