Tweet, Tat, Twitter

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Shot of Brandi* is on Twitter.

My Twitter name is ShotOfBrandi.
This thing is like aim away messages for the 21st century or Facebook status messages on crack. I'm still trying to figure out how this deal works, but it's fun to follow Martha, Snoop and Coach Stew.

I promise there will eventually be some Dweets up there (aka Drunk Tweets). Don't worry reader, I'll help you out with some Twitter lingo soon.

(picture via twitter)
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Kennywood's Open!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I am SO excited this weekend to go see Adventureland. Not only is Ryan Renyolds is a total hottie, BUT the movie was filmed at….KENNYWOOD.

Reader Brian has heard me gush over Kennywood for years. Brady has even heard my numerous stories about Kennywood food, matching outfits and making out on the rides ; )

So what is Kennywood? (Yeah, this post is gonna bore you Pittsburghers).

Kennywood is an amusement park located just outside of Pittsburgh that opened in 1989. This old school park keeps kicking today with high-flying rides for all ages.

Before you see Adventureland, here are some things you just MUST know about the movie's backdrop - Kennywood…

• Picnicking is an important park of Kennywood’s heritage. Before the park was developed, people came to the Kenny family’s property to picnic at the area because it overlooked the river.

• Throw your diet out the door when you visit the park. The Potato Patch fresh cut fries are unbelievable. There is also a candy store located right by the park's exit. They make the best fudge. Oh and Kennywood is alcohol free, but that hasn't stopped Sue Bonkowski from sneaking in some vodka in water bottles.

• Kennywood is one of only two amusement parks on the National Register of Historic Places.
• During the early 1900’s the park became popular for combining thrill rides with recreation venues like swimming pools and dance halls.

• If you are from the Pittsburgh area, people will often tell you that “Kennywood’s Open” if your fly is down. Oh and if you are wearing the same outfit as another person, a Pittsburgh person may ask, "Are you going to Kennywood?" That's because back in the 70's and 80's, it was tradition to wear the same outfit as your riding partner. Going shopping for Kennywood outfits was a big deal!

• If you go to Kennywood today, you will notices the nostalgic atmosphere with contemporary rides and roller coasters.

• Some of Kennywood’s most popular rides include…
o Three wooden coasters – The Racer, Jack Rabbit and Thunderbolt - all built in the 1920’s.
o Exterminator: An indoor roller coaster build in the last 1990’s.
o Phantom’s Revenge: A super-fast roller coaster that once held the record for the fastest in the world and the largest drop. This ride typically has the longest line.
o Three “wet” rides: The Log Jammer, Pittsburgh Plunge and Raging Rapids. True story – I was once on the Rapids when the ride “broke down.” Thankfully our raft was about to pull in, so we were able to quickly get out.

• For the little kids, there is “Kiddieland” which is full of rides for those under 8ish.

• Each of the schools in the Pittsburgh area have a “school picnic” where the whole community goes to Kennywood on that day. My school’s day typically fell on the second week of June – right after graduation.

• Adventureland won’t be Kennywood’s first time in the spotlight. Kennywood was featured in an episode of CSI and in the pilot of Disney’s Even Stevens.

I’ve read that the names of the rides and games are changed for the movie, but you Pittsburghers will be able to spot the changes.

I could go on and on about Kennywood Memories for hours, but I think these are some good highlights. If you ever meet someone from Pittsburgh, tell them you’ve heard Kennywood is a good time. You will have a friend for life.

(sources: wikipedia,, Photos:,
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Cookie Couture

Monday, March 23, 2009

For the last four years, I’ve been trying to perfect my sugar cookie. I don’t want to sound too confident, but I think 2009 is my year. I’ve got some adorable cookie cutters, a Kitchen Aid and a splendid apron and I’m ready to rock.

Here’s my inspiration for my upcoming baking day…


What A Cookie

Some Rando on Flickr

Custom Cookies (AMAZING!)

Rosie’s Cookie Couture

This reminds me. If you like baking the cookies, but hate decorating them, invite a few friends over to help. Provide the icing and cookie glitz (i.e. sprinkles, food coloring, etc) and put your best gal pals to work.

Regardless if Brady likes it or not, I plan to kick my baking into gear during my fifth days. Now I just need some volunteers to test my goodies!

(All pictures are from their respective sites)
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Spring Cleaning

Friday was the official first day of spring, which means SPRING CLEANING TIME! Whoo Hoo!

I’ve never been found of cleaning – I mean who is? But I nothing makes me happier than the end result. I love a clean apartment!

Here are some of my favorite small spring cleaning tips.

* I once read you wear 20 percent of your clothes 80 percent of the time. To that point, I like the rule that if you don’t wear something for a full year - toss it (or donate!). My exceptions are cocktail dresses, coats and suits. Oh and any item you just know that will come back in style. I still wear my Express leggings from the mid-90’s.
* Clean up your computer. Organize your files and photos and don’t forget to back up your information. You don’t want to lose your files and especially your music!

* Toss your old makeup. Foundation, concealer, blush, bronzer and eye shadow should only be kept for up to a year. Mascara should be tossed after six month. Wash your brushes weekly.

* If you have any old cell phones laying around, donate them to The Wireless Foundation (, which refurbishes old phones for domestic violence survivors.

* Give your appliances some TLC. Clean the inside of your dishwasher by washing down the walls and then sprinkling some baking soda inside and running it on the light cycle.

* When packing your sweaters and winter coats away, place some dryer sheets in between your garments to keep them smelling fresh.

* Still have your holiday cards lingering around the house? Send them to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children ( Kids cut off the front of the card, glue them on to new cards, resell them for a profit for abused and neglected youth.

(Sources: The book “Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?” via a magazine article, Cosmopolitan Mag, Martha Stewart Living; Photos:
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Shot of Brandi* Bracketology

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ahhh the first day of Spring. While spending my fifth day doing some cleaning (digital and apartment) and laundry, I watched some hoops.

Yeah, Mental Floss covered the best mascots, which was a super fun idea. A number of publications did the own bracketology – best type of booze, pizza, tv shows, etc. Well here at Shot of Brandi*, we are going to feature the best player names.

Best Holiday Spirit
Dionte Christmas (Temple). Honorable Mention: Justin Holiday (Washington)

I wonder where were you conceived?
Orlando Allen (Oklahoma)
Dallas Rutherford (Northridge)
London Warren (Dayton)
Austin Thornton (Michigan State)

I should have went to another school
Xavier Crawford (Northridge)

Mom named me after my favorite toy
Truck Bryant (West Virginia)

Future Basken Robbins EmployeeScoop Jardine (Syracuse)

What’s the Difference?
Ivory White (Alabama State)

Sorry you grew up with a girl’s name
Courtney Pigram (E. Tennessee State)
Kim English (Missouri)
Korie Lucious (Michigan State)

March goes in like a lion and out like a…
John Lamb (Morehead State)

Bracketology is a MAZE to me
Maze Stallworth (Morehead State)

And the Best Named Person in the Tournament is…
Chief Kickingstallionsims (Alabama State)

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I (barely) Survived St. Pat's 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Green Beer. Patron on Ice.

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Gettin' Lucky Around the Globe

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Like a long list of international holidays like Cinco de Mayo, Christmas, New Years Eve and others, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in unique ways across the globe.

As promised, here’s how people celebrate St. Pat’s Day across the world…

* In Ireland there are huge parades in Dublin, Belefast, Cork, Armagh and Limerick. Before hitting the parade route, some people head to mass in the morning and then straight to the local pub.

* Canadians have a love for St. Pat. In fact, from 1919 to 1927 the Toronto Maple Leafs changed their name to The Toronto St. Patricks and wore green jerseys. In 1999, the Maple Leafs played a game on St. Pat’s day and donned their throw back jerseys.

* The UK claims to be the host of the third largest parade in the world – behind Dublin and New York – in the city of Birmingham. The two-mile route goes through the city center. Manchester also represents with a two-week festival prior to March 17th, that includes an Irish Market and cultural events.

* In Great Britain, the Queen Mother would fly in bowls of shamrock from Ireland to members of the Irish Guards. The Trafalgar Square fountains are even dyed green.
“Fresta Irlandese” is a ten-day party in Italy, where the people chow down on traditional Irish foods with an Italian twist.

In the United States, a number of cities have getting-wasted-on-green-beer traditions…

* According to Wikipedia, the largest unofficial party in the U.S. is in Savannah, GA, with 750,000 people gathering in 2006. People travel through the city’s park district and then dye all of the fountain water green. The city does not have an open container law.

* I personally love what the people of small-town Hot Springs, AK do. Somewhat mocking other U.S. cities parades, the city hosts the “Worlds Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” that moves across Bridge Street. Ripley’s Believe It or Not once designated this street the shortest in the world. Recently, the city of Boulder, Colo., is trying to rival this celebration with a parade that is less than a city block.
* The Scranton, PA, parade and celebration are said to be so popular that the TV show “The Office” was rumored to be taping and episode capturing the party. Scranton hosts the third largest parade in the U.S. with 150,000 people attending.

As you all know, here in Chi-town, we dye the Chicago River green, have two big parades and drink green beers until we pass in out in bars like “O’Brien’s, Butch McGuire’s, Finn McCools, etc.” Stay tuned for a recap.

(Sources: Wikipedia. Photos: l.spieler 2008)
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The OG Sham-RockStar

Monday, March 09, 2009

Tracing my roots, as far as I know, I am not Irish. I’m about every other nationality out there, but no relatives from Ireland. In fact, according to the 2006 census, only 12 percent of American citizens consider themselves Irish.

Regardless of their heritage, a lot of people plan to get wasted in March to honor St. Patrick. In the U.S. most cities have a parade and bars offer early drinking specials that include green beer. But why do we really celebrate St. Pat’s Day? Here’s a little history lesson…

* St. Patrick’s Day is the national holiday of Ireland that pays tribute to one of Christianity’s most widely known figures.

* According to, little is really known about St. Pat – most of the stories that are out there about the holy rockstar are not true. The poor dude’s life is now summed up by a number of drunk, exaggerated, barfly storytelling.

* We party on the 17th of March because that is the day P-diddy is believed to have passed away.

* Pat, Pat, Rat-ta-ta-tat, was kidnapped from his homeland of Britain at age 16 by a group of Irish raiders and taken to Ireland. There, he spent six years in captivity where he worked as a shepherd. The outdoors were lonely, so Pat passed time by becoming a devout Christian.

* After those six years, Pat received a calling that he needed to help convert the Irish into Christians. P-diddy was successful, the Catholics named him a saint and the Irish gave him a national holiday.

* In the early part of the 17th century the day became a Roman Catholic day of obligation in Ireland. However, if the 17th falls of a Friday of Lent, catholic people cannot eat meat. Sometimes the date is even moved. For example, in 2008 it was observed on March 15th to avoid Palm Sunday.

*Blue was typically the color associated with the Saint himself, but the people of Ireland traded blue for the country’s trademark green. I guess when you invent a holiday for some dude you make the rules. The reasoning is that the color green and shamrocks are signs of Irish nationalism. This tradition began around the 1750’s.

* The first U.S. St. Pat’s parade was held in Boston in 1737 and organized by the Irish Society of Boston.

Think you have the biggest St. P party? Tomorrow Shot of Brandi* will touch on ways cities around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and where some of the largest keggers take place.


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Pi Day

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

As they say, March comes in like the lion and out like a lamb. But in between – there are a lot of nonsense holidays that give simple people like me reason to party!

One of my favorite nonsense holidays is Pi Day.

Now I was never a math student (ask Mr. Hilka), but I do remember learning about Pi.

According to, Pi is…

"Pi, Greek letter (blogger wouldn't insert it, but it's in the pie above), is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi = 3.1415926535... Pi Day is celebrated by math enthusiasts around the world on March 14th."

Um, yeah, so as I said. I’m not a math girl.

Therefore, I suggest celebrating this holiday with a nice piece of Pie!

Last year I read that Pies are poised to become the new cupcakes. While I still think those delicious cakes are #1 on the dessert list, I’m starting to see pies gain some ground.

For instance, here in Chicago…okay hold the press. I went to add in a link to the Pie (an adorable bakery) Web site and BAM, I’m hit with a message that Pie Chicago closed. Crap. Well anyways, Chicago did have a bakery devoted to pies.

Screw a cute pie place. We’re in a recession. Make your own.
Pi Day falls on a Saturday this year. I’ll be entertaining guests for the Chicago St. Pat’s celebration, but if you aren’t into 18 hour drink fests, you could host a kick ass pie party.

* Start the dinner party off with mini quiches pies.

* Sticking with the theme, offer guests apple pie martini's. Keep beer on hand for the guys…maybe even some tequila. I’m sure they will be thrilled to attend your Pi Party.

* Dive right in to the main course of Sheppard’s Pie, Chicken Pot Pie and for those poor guys a pizza pie.

* Ask all of your friends to bring a pie for dessert. Bonus points if they are homemade. Supply the vanilla ice cream and cut thin slices so your friends can try a few.

**Be sure to take fun pictures of you and your friends in front of the oven pulling out the pie like you slaved all day making it with an apron on dressed like a lady on Mad Men. Trust me - you will love those later and you'll have a new Facebook pic.

Cheers to mathletes : )

(Sources:, Images Via: (retro pies cover) and via
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101 in 1001

Sunday, March 01, 2009

If you haven’t noticed, New Year’s has come and gone. Both U.S. and Chinese.

I typically don’t like to create a list of resolutions because they are always over-ambitious and I never follow them. Although there was that one time I gave up an ex-boyfriend for Lent and I really stuck to it.

Well readers, now that I am a mature 28-year-old, I am going to try something different. Last year, I read about some a blogger trend of 101 in 1001. The concept is that you have 1001 days to complete 101 things. The number of days was obliviously set to be catchy, but the program was designed to give people a realistic timeline to achieve their goals.

While I feel a little bit like Jason Lee on “My Name is Earl,” I like the idea of longer period of time so that I can set my goals higher. I was going to be ambitious and try to accomplish all of these things in 365 days, but I don’t want to set myself up for failure.

Below you will see my list of 101 things I hope to accomplish in 1001 days, or by November 28, 2011.

I felt a little hesitant about posting my 101 on Shot of Brandi* at first. Am I taking social networking surveys to the max? Is it weird for people to read this? Is this too personal? Is this like that horrible “25 things about me” thing on crack?!

Ultimately, I decided to proceed with this post because I want you, my dozen of loyal readers, to help me complete my 101. I’ve read that if you share your resolutions, or goals, with friends you are most likely to stick to completing the task. After reading this, I also encourage you all to create your very own 101 list!

Brandi*’s 101 in 1001

Shot of Brandi
1. Give Shot of Brandi* a makeover. I really want some blog flair!
2. Hit 150 unique blog readers
3. Post a vlog4. Record a successful lip dub
5. Hit 500 posts

Back to School6. Take a cooking class
7. Attend a wine tasting
8. Mix things up with a cocktail class
9. Register for a craft class
10. Learn another language (other than English or Spanish)

Food Yummmm
11. Go on a Chicago and/or New York Cupcake Crawl
12. Eat at Table 52 Chicago
13. Bake a pie
14. Make a turkey dinner
15. Bake Christmas cookies

Throwin’ it Back16. Write 10 handwritten letters
17. Subscribe to a newspaper
18. Find a pen pal
19. Ride a bike
20. Create my family tree
21. Visit my elementary school

Globe Trottin’
22. Travel to Napa
23. Explore Europe
24. Visit New Orleans
25. Sleep outside – aka go camping
26. Go to Disney
27. Get a passport

Crafty McCrafterson
28. Complete 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 scrapbooks (I’m slacking)
29. Finish a painting
30. Create a book of family recipes
31. Make jewelry
32. Really learn to crochet
33. Take a flower arranging class

Rockstar34. Sing live band karaoke
35. Try out for a reality show
36. Complete my “secret project” with reader Amy
37. Meet someone famous
38. Attend a concert of Brady’s choosing

Giving Back
39. Find one charity and contribute to it
40. Adopt an animal from the Lincoln Park Zoo
41. Donate 100 things to charity
42. Babysit someone’s kids
43. Complete the 29 Gifts challenge
44. Sign up for a local political party group
45. Send a letter to a troop (or troops!)

Let’s Get Physical
46. Run a race
47. Go fishing
48. Play wirlleyball
49. Go surfing, skiing or snowboarding (that’s for you, Brady)
50. Buy a bike

51. Go to a jazz club
52. Visit the botanical gardens
53. Go sailing
54. Go on a history bar crawl55. Visit Ravinia

Day Trippin’
56. Go to Milwaukee
57. Visit Michigan wine country58. Tour the Wisconsin Dells59. See the suburbs
60. Walk around Evanstown

The Arts 61. Read a book
62. Attend a play or musical
63. Watch 5 Academy Award-winning movies
64. Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago)
65. Go to a Renegade Craft Fair

Relaxin’66. Take a family vacation
67. Go on a picnic
68. Spend the day at a spa
69. Sign up for yoga classes
70. Get nails done quarterly (surprisingly I get them done like twice a year)

Treehugger71. Recycle
72. Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products
73. Keep a plant alive
74. Plant a tree
75. Upgrade my homeless cart
76. Use recyclable grocery bags

Gettin’ Wasted 77. Play in a beer pong tournament
78. Taste Absinthe
79. Visit the Miller Brewing Factory80. Dine at Goose Island Brew Pub
81. Attend a bourbon tasting

82. Fly a kit
83. Build a sandcastle
84. Drive a convertible
85. Go to an amusement park

Let’s Get Digital
86. Sell something on ebay
87. Post a video to YouTube
88. Buy a video camera
89. Make an edited video
90. Meet Julia Allison

Hostess with Mostess91. Host game night
92. Have a party in my apt.
93. Attend/host a theme party
94. Read the Emily Post etiquette book

Personal 95. Get married : )
96. Start a journal after my wedding for my kids/grandkids
97. Find a new job
98. Meet a new friend
99. Find a church
100. Call my grandparents monthly (if I don’t see them)

101. Donate $1 to charity for every item not complete in time
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