Why Didn't I Think of That

Friday, April 25, 2008

So if you've had the privilege of chatting with me in the last 24-hours (that includes David and Bridget - my friends from the Bridges Hotel Bar at the New York Hilton), then you are probably expecting me to pen an open letter to Bethany Frankel from that stupid housewife show.


I am not going to relive that nightmare.

Instead, I am going to share with you some three ideas that I wish I could have come up with so that I could quit dealing with stupid people.

1. Magnificent Milestones: This place is my dream job/company. They have an uber-cute, trendy space in Chicago where they host birthday parties, showers, gatherings - you name it. I love the invitation making party idea, however I would totally have this around Christmas! During the day, they sell small things, like stationary, invitations and small goods. Reader Amy, her mom and I will some day own a place like this, but ours will have its own unique things that I am not going to reveal for fear of one of my 8 readers stealing the idea. http://www.magnificentmilestones.com/

2. Cupcake Bar: My obsession is getting out of hand. So these two chicks in Austin, TX came up with this super cute concept. The supply you with plain cupcakes and you let your guests do the decorating/personalization. There are a plethora of splendid toppings like Pop Rocks, Gummies, sugar, malt balls...the list goes on. http://www.thecupcakebaraustin.com/

With people owning the whole "bar" idea, it further proves my theory that any party can have a DIY bar. This will be a future post, but just think about the endless possibilities. Taco Bar, Make-Your-Own Pizza Bar, Popcorn Bar, Candy Bar, Nacho Bar, Ice Cream Sundae Bar...

3. Mentos Explosion: While I've never tried this myself, I would have loved to be part of this "science experiment." In the UK, 1,500 kids got together and tried to break the record for the biggest coke/mentos explosion.

(sources & photos: thecupcakebaraustin.com, telegraph.co.uk)
Read More

Sweet Escape

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I started drafting my current obsessions and noticed that they have a sweet theme – enjoy!

I would love to try one of these Fat Daddy Cupcakes in a Jar (left). While I am not sure they should really still be classified as a cupcake. I think they are creating a new category in baked goods. http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5235881 FYI - I just found out today that due to trademarking, they are changing their name to Bangerang Bake Shop.

Like any people watcher, I love a good “Mom Jeans” sighting. From Chicago Magazine’s “Sales Check:” Bring in a pair of “mom” jeans to donate and receive 20 percent off the evening’s purchases at the Mommy and Martini Night Out, hosted by Ciao Bella Chicago (3829 N Southport; 773-388-2201) on April 16th from 7 to 9 p.m. Learn how to update your look, receive an airbrush tan by Celebrity Skin Couture Air Tan (call to book and appointment), and get a makeup and hair makeover. Call to RSVP. (Oh and reader Brian – NO, I can’t participate with my pair of mom jeans. I sent them to the Salvation Army for your information.

Um remember in February when I mentioned that I loved Eleni’s Cookies? Well I found a place called Flour Pot Cookies (right) in good ole Pennsylvania who designs cookies just as cute for almost HALF the price. They have a super cute name too – get it…Flour Pot. I don’t know about either of the tastes, but these would make a cute gift! http://www.flourpotcookies.com/

I really wish I was on the guest list for Beyonce and Jay-Z’s wedding, so that I could wear a white dress (I would be invited because I would be the first white female rapper…kinda like a girl Eminem). So if my name was on the VIP list, I would totally rock this dress by Phoebe (left) from Nordstrom. I mean if I was on the list, a $300 dress would be pennies.

I LOVE Chocolate covered strawberries. I especially love the really hard to find ones that are fully dipped in chocolate with a special liquid inside. On Sunday, I came across these delicious treasures from Emily’s Chocolates (left). http://www.emilyschocolates.com/
(sources: Chicago Magazine, Fat Daddy/Etsy.com, flourpotcookies.com, Nordstrom.com, emilyschocolates.com)
Read More

It Ain't Easy Being Green

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

As I mentioned yesterday, Going Green is the Chic thing to do. Here are the baby steps I am taking to become more eco-friendly.

1. Walking to Work: For the last three weeks, I’ve rode the bus about 3 times MAX. Dude - I like barley even have a carbon footprint (see - I am gettin' down with the green lingo!)

2. My Ride (left): In addition to all of my walking, my car, I mean CARt is very eco-friendly. On the way back from Whole Foods on Sunday, a Ferarri wanted to race. No lie, ask Brady. The owner was revving up his engine. He wanted a piece of the homeless cart.

3. Do Not Mail Lists: I’ve registered my name on a Do Not Mail list http://www.directmail.com/ and also signed up for this site that says they will not send those stupid credit card mailings: https://www.optoutprescreen.com

4. Paper, NOT Plastic: I try to get paper bags (or none!) if possible at the store.

5. Buying Local: Hello Division Street Farmer’s Market! I can’t wait until this summer and I can purchase my annual goods on the street. I love the fresh lettuce, watermelon, flowers and Pasta by Sue!

Happy Earth Day!
(Photo from: ME and zakairan.com)
Read More

Cupid Kills Soulja Boy

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Although I spotted people doing this dance in Las Vegas back in the fall, the Cupid Shuffle hit the iTunes top 100 this weekend. Does that mean this is the dance craze of 2008? I think so. It's more similar to the Electric Slide than Soulja Boy.

Read More


Friday, April 18, 2008

As I walked to work this week, I officially started to see signs of spring in Chicago. The dogs are out, sidewalks being washed, flowers planted and the homeless have emerged.

When I think of spring, I think of the preppy look. I am not talking Zack Morris preppy, but rather plaids and pastels – that country club chic look.

So in honor of spring’s arrival, here are my preppy picks.

First, I must start out with some preppy apparel. Northing screams prep more than Lacoste. While they are notorious for their polos, this dress is adorable. http://shopapparel.lacoste.com/index.html

While real preps drive around in a Benz or a BMW, I want something else that begins with a B…a BIKE. Ever since I saw an episode of Newport Harbor where the one main chick was riding a retro bike, I’ve wanted one. No, not just because she had one, but because I don’t like those manly mountain bikes. This Schwinn Cruiser is totally more me. http://www.schwinnbike.com/products/bikes_detail.php?id=1022

I am OBSESSED with picnics. While my boyfriend refuses to picnic with me (come on Brady, we have a beach in our backyard!), I saw this Martha Stewart basket at Macy’s and almost splurged. Now that this is on sale, it will find a way to 65 E. Scott very soon.

“Prep” – this book from Curtis Sittenfeld is an easy, adorable read. Its about a small town girl who gets the opportunity to go to a East Coast prep school. It goes through high school stereotypes in a much cooler way than “High School Musical.” I believe I heard they are trying to make it a movie as well, so read it before they ruin it with a lead character like Hilary Duff.

(photos from lacoste.com, amazon.com, schwinnbike.com, macys.com)
Read More

Thirsty Thursday

Thursday, April 17, 2008

From radio stations to newspapers, Thursday is always referenced to as “Thirsty Thursday.” I’d like to make an attempt to bring that to A Shot of Brandi*.

Let’s pop a bottle of champagne like we won the championship game and start this Thursday off with a lesson in Prosecco.

Last Saturday, the girls and I went to a BYOB restaurant in The ‘Burgh for some dinner and drinks on the eve of Amy’s bridal shower. We all brought some bottles for the road and I brought with me some Prosecco. I couldn’t really sell this in with the girls’ because I’ve just had it before and liked it.

Well Prosecco has been around for years. After doing some research on the ever trusty Wikipedia, I discovered that Prosecco is a variety of white grape grown in the Veneto region of Italy and gives its name to the sparkling wine made from the grape.

It goes on to mention, like other sparkling wines, Prosecco is served chilled (good thing we let it sit in that ice bucket!). While it is commonly sipped on its own, Prosecco is the main ingredient in the Bellini (one of my morning favs!). It can also replace champagne in Mimosa.

While I agree – Prosecco is awesome to drink chilled, here is a recipe for a Strawberry Bellini courtesy of the Food Network!

Strawberry Bellini
- 1 bottle prosecco*

- 2 cups pureed and strained fresh strawberries

Special equipment: Blender, strainer, iced champagne flutes, pitcher and tall "swizzle stirrer" (for the pitcher)

Place 8 Champagne flutes in the freezer for 20 minutes. Open the prosecco and let it stand in an ice bucket for 5 minutes.
Into a pitcher, pour the 2 cups pureed strawberries. Gently pour in the bottle of prosecco and stir gently to combine. Divide among Champagne flutes and serve

(sources: wikipedia, travelblog.org, foodnetwork.com)
Read More

Makin' it Rain Presents - An April Shower Recap

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending reader Amy's Bridal Shower.

Non-reader Melissa did a really wonderful job planning this shower with an underlying wine theme. I've included some DYI pictures below for those of you planning to host a shower. For my male readers, this is what a shower looks like.

The placecards were hand-made using a printer. Purple card were glued on to a grey cardstock. Note: use Ross Rubber Cement - NOT Elmer's. Once the cards were dryed, they were hot guled to wine corks. I bought them from a whole sale company that sells tools for making wine at home.

Gerber Daisies were placed into a variety of wine bottles that Melissa has been saving since December. Melly likes wine.

Rather than regular votives, small wine glasses contained non-scented candles.

Gift basekts with a wine theme were raffled off throughout the shower. Baskets included themes such as Sangria, Pittsburgh, I love New York, Chocolate and Italian. Win or lose, each guests walked away with a silver heart wine stopper.

My mom and sister also attended a shower on Sunday for my cousin Jennifer. This party had a butterfly theme (I guess she likes them) and the favors were butterfly cookie cutters. Look for an upcoming post where I use these with my new mixer.

Jennifer's Wedding is May 31st, while Amy's is June 14th.
Read More

Sacks & the City

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

This weekend, Brady and I are hosting Shot of Brandi* reader Jason Sacks. He is coming to Chicago for a glorious 3 night, 4 day stay at Chateau de Scott (aka 65 E. Scott).

Brady thinks I go a little overboard when guests come to make sure the place is in tip, top shape. Little does he know, I could go way further.

In honor of Sacks’ arrival, I posted some tips below for entertaining out-of-town guests. Sorry for those who have visited without me pulling out these stops!

Create a Welcome Basket: When I was hosting a representative from Guinness World Records in Vegas on behalf of my client, I put together the best city-specific welcome bag. Inside was welcome note on a Las Vegas postcard, bottled water, Advil, band-aids, playing cards, cookies, crackers, and Visa gift cards. I recommend doing this for guests that arrive for trips where there is a lot of walking or drinking.

Plan, Plan, Plan: Find out in advance what your guests want to do. If they are really indecisive, then send over five dinner options and the web site links and have them pick! Do the same with local attractions.

Banish Clutter: There is nothing I hate more than piles of clutter. Right now, I admit that I have magazine piles out, but that is because I am reading them one last time before I toss them. One of my biggest peeves is piles of stupid mail. Just toss the dumb credit card applications right away rather than let them sit on the kitchen table for ages.

Reminders: Some neighborhoods or apartments have little quarks. Don’t forget to tell your guests about these. For example, the garbage company comes to my building at 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. So annoying, but it is nice to give guests a heads up that they will hear this loud noise. It is also good to mention if the sun shines in the room or if the temperature changes drastically.

Snacks: Okay, I usually hate the word “snacks.” It’s on my list of horrible words with “ranch” and “roast beef.” But when you have guest coming, make sure you have some popcorn, chips and most of all breakfast items like bagels, cereal and milk.

Extra Bonuses! Think of all of the things hotel rooms have now…alarm clocks, hair dryers, reading material, luggage racks/hangers, etc. Before your guests come, remind them of the items that you have that they don’t need to pack. I hate schlepping a hair dryer around. You will also be the hostess with the mostess if you keep an extra tooth brush handy!

Of course there are more tips, but these are a few of my favorite ones! Oh and Sacks - you aren't getting a welcome basket. Sorry!

Feel free to book your trip to my lovely two-room apartment ASAP!

(photo from 65 E. Scott)
Read More

Celebrity Skin

Monday, April 07, 2008

On Saturday night, I accompanied my friend Brian to a birthday party. In addition to wonderful ice cream and snacks, the goal of the party was to play the game “Celebrity.” Brian gave me a quick low down on the game, but little did I know how much fun it would be.

Here’s how you play…

Pick Teams. I started having flashbacks to elementary school where one kid is left standing as the last one picked for dodge ball. But in this game, all participants’ names are put into a hat. The first three names picked were captains. Next, names were selected and added to each team.

Write Names. Each person was given five strips of paper. The goal was to jot down five celebrities – living, dead or cartoon. Once you had your list, the names are put into a bowl. My choices included some of my favs – Miley Cyrus, Heidi Klum, Charles Barkley, Lauren Conrad and a crowd pleaser – Miss Teen South Carolina 2007. One tip for this round. Because you are picking names out of the bowl for each round, be sure to do a double fold and only a double fold on the paper strip. This makes it easier to open.

Begin Round One! The captain begins by drawing names out of the hat and describing the person without saying their name, something in their name or “sounds like.” The team needs to guess the person and you are given one point for each correct answer. Each team is given one minute to get through as many names as possible. You keep going through teams and names until the bowl is empty.

Round Two: All names are put back into the bowl. In this round, you must describe the celebrity by only using three words. I of course bombed this round because I got up and said “Okay, this person’s name has three words.” Obliviously that was seven words. Again, you go through the bowl until all of the names are gone. In this round, you only get 45 seconds.

Round Three: The names are put back into the bowl for the final and most difficult round. You must act out the person’s name without speaking. Again, you have 45 seconds.

My team, which included Brian and his friend Curt (from the Basic 8) totally won the game. I must say that I was the weakest player on the team, but when you are in a room full of people who all graduated improv classes, you are bound to suck. Not to make excuses, but there were some tough names in that bowl. I mean you try and act out Millard Fillmore or J. Robert Oppenheimer.

(photo seeing-stars.com)
Read More

Pimp my Pad

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I hate blank walls.

For me it's a waste of creative space. Today, my 8 readers (on a good day), here are some solutions for bare walls.

What a fun idea...This site offers wall graffiti. http://secure.wonderfulgraffiti.com/. While you might not like writing on the wall, browse their gallery for some inspiration like the three pics to the right.

In the bedroom, rather than use a headboard, they add a quote.

I would be the coolest kid on the block if I had this Princess-like mirror to the left in my room. All I had was troll dolls and sunflowers.

Here are some others I love…

At your home bar: Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. -Ernest

The bedroom (or where the magic happens): There is time for work. And time for love. That leaves no other time. - Coco Chanel

Daily Candy alerted me to this next awesome find. The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) has these super cute giant sticky note pages with blue frames (left). You can doodle away on them and then display your art. The price is really worth it. Giant sticky pads that we use at work are like $20 at Office Max or Staples.

While they are totally fun just to have, you could use these to have an art contest between your friends. Invite people over, supply crayons, markers, glitter, etc. and then judge the creations!

Side Note: My parents used to whip out a dry erase board and some Pictionary at parties. It’s really fun to play – especially when you have been drinking!
(photos from momastore.org and wonderfulgraffiti.com)
Read More

Lion vs. Lamb

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

March has been a bad month. Okay, I am dramatizing it. It could have been a lot worse. I know that there are horrible things that go on in this world like war, starvation, death, etc. But in my world of bunnies and rainbows, March has been all Lion and no Lamb.

Let’s recap…* March 1 started off with a bang. I spent an evening in the ER because I was puking for the five days prior. My wonderful boyfriend sat there for three hours with me until I could get two delicious bags of IV which sent me to the hallway bathroom with a hospital gown – no back

* Got too drunk and missed Easter

* Andy Roddick got engaged to some 20-year-old bimbo. Okay, I don’t know her, but I am sure she sucks

* I boycotted laundry. I almost made it through March without doing a single load

Of course it wasn’t a dreadful month. There were some highlights…
* Shot of Brandi* hit 8 unique readers! Watch out

* Friends visited the Windy City! Hooray!

* I got a big girl mixer. Let us eat Cupcakes!

* Yesterday, I just received my very own official copy of the Guinness World Record Certificate for the event I helped execute

Heading in to April I am planning some minor changes to the blog. For one, I am going to use a bigger font. I know, this is so silly. Secondly, I will be changing my labels to better organize the content. Look for these changes soon.

(photos from some cupcake site, people.com, amazon.com)
Read More