Sting Like a Bee

Thursday, May 28, 2009

If you are cheering on Tim Ruiter in the National Spelling Bee tonight like me, your probably thinking the same thing…I need a cocktail.

To go along with the alcoholic spelling bee theme from last week, I found some appropriate cocktails to enjoy chug while you realize you suck at spelling and rely on spell check.

Happy Honey Cocktail2 parts Brandy
1 part fresh grapefruit juice
½ part honey syrup
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a small martini glass
Honey Bee Cocktail
2 parts Jamaican dark rum
¼ part honey
½ part lemon juice
Pour the rum, honey and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake well, strain into a cocktail glass and serve.

Oh and Tim...If you're not first, you're last.

(Source:, Photo:
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Cheap Date

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day unofficially kicks off the summer entertaining season. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve told you, the media’s told you, your employer’s told you…times are tough. That doesn’t mean the party’s got to stop. Just get drunk at home.

In order to entertain at home on a budget, here are some simple tips.

* Don’t waste money on stamps. Send friends an email or free evite. If times are really tough and you don’t have access to a computer, call your friends (after 9 and on weekends when it’s free!).

* Plan your party after dinner. This way, guests won’t expect to eat a full meal and apps can be purchased for a low-cost. If you really must provide dinner, go for an Italian, Mexican or Asian theme. Pizza/spaghetti, stir fry and tacos are cost-effective meals that can be made in large quantities.

* If possible, plan early. If your birthday is in August and you want to have people over, make your supply list now. When you see things like cups, plates, beer, wine, alcohol, etc. on sale, stock up! If your super stingy, save plastic forks, spoons and knifes from take out food or pick up some extras when bringing dinner at home.

* Become your own ice machine. Water is free (well, kinda). Rather then buy a ton of ice, starting making it a few weeks ahead. Yes, this tip is extremo el chepo, but you might save yourself like 10 bucks overall.

* If you plan to serve liquor-based drinks, mix up a few pitches of popular drinks ahead of time. This way, you can control how much alcohol is being used. If you set up a bar with bottles, people have a tendency to over pour, which sucks up all of the alcohol. Some ideas for pre-made drinks can include Captain & Cokes, Cosmopolitans, Sangria, Mojitos, Seven & Seven and Manhattan’s.

If you really want to play up a Recession-theme, here are some tips that will make your friends chuckle:

* Create two ingredient cocktails like Fago (generic) pop and vodka. Give your drinks names like the “Stimilus Package” or the “Bailout.” Buy a case of Keystone for the boys.

* Friends will love your recession menu. Head to the local McDonald’s and attack the $1 menu. Fries, nuggets and burgers will make for a happy meal.

* Air FoxNews and drink each time the broadcaster says an economic buzz word.

* Send friends home with $1 store gifts as favors. Or if the party if for your birthday, tell guests you are only accepting gifts purchased at The Dollar Store. In college, we had a white trash Christmas bash where there was a $1 Store giftexchange. It was awesome.

(Sources:; Photo: and
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Get Buzzed with Boozy Spelling Bee

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Not to hype up today’s post, but I’ve been waiting to write about this subject for three years.

As I mentioned before, back in 2005, I would come in to work at 7:00 a.m. and read stories about alcohol for two hours a day. That’s when I ran across this bar that was hosting an alcohol-themed spelling bee. Since that day, I’ve been waiting to host my own!

With the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee only five days a way, host a drunken spelling bee! This is an awesome game to add to a rained-out Memorial Day Party.

Ways to Host a Buzz-worthy Spelling Bee
* Prior to the party, make name tags for the contestants. Don’t forget to include a number, the guests name, a newspaper sponsor and the Bee logo. Print each name tag on 8x10 paper and then paste it on to a thicker poster board. Punch two holes in to the top of the paper and add a string lanyard. Make a few extras for last minute guests.

* Gather as many alcohol words as you can find. I’ve started a list of some good ones below. Bundle the words together with the easiest ones first.

* Assign one person, preferably the host of the party, to be the moderator for the night.
Have people pick numbers out of a hat to determine who will go first.

* Just like grade school, each guest will come to the front of the room and attempt to spell a word. Once a person misspells a word, they are out of the competition. For the official rules, click here

* For some added excitement, print out a list of the real 2009 Scripps Howard contestants and have friends bet on who will take home the cup in ’09. For a full list of participants, visit the roster here. My money is on #39 Emilio James-Craig Lachaine-Robertson from The Chronicle Journal, Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada. I’m sure he learned killer spelling skills learning his own five word name.

Potential Buzzed Spelling Bee Words
You’re a Dumbass if you Miss These
- Beer
- Rum
- Drink
- Martini
- Cocktail
- Wine

Super Easy
- Jim Beam
- Crown Royal
- Canadian Club
- Jack Daniel’s
- Scotch
- Bourbon
- Tequila
- Vodka
- Spirits

- Alcohol
- Martini
- Bacardi
- Guinness
- Cuervo
- Whiskey or Whisky
- Sauza
- George Dickle (Whisky)
- Smithwick’s (beer)
- Absolut
- Skyy
- Patron
- Beefeater (gin)
- Dewar’s
- Seagram’s
- Hendrick’s (gin)
- Baileys
- Budweiser
- Labatt

- Cognac
- Liqueur
- Smirnoff
- Svedka
- Tanqueray
- Hennessy
- Champagne
- Dom Perignon
- Moey & Chandon
- DeKuyper
- Finlandia
- Prosecco
- Bulleit (bourbon)
- Ciroc (vodka)
- Rumple Minze
- Cristall
- Diageo (Manufacturer of spirits, beer and wine)
- Pernod Ricard (International owner of spirits and wine brands)
- Kahlua
- Bombay Sapphire
- Sobieski (vodka)
- Stella Artois
- Belvedere (vodka)
- Chivas Regal
- Cruzan
- Finlandia (vodka)
- Glenlivet (scotch whiskey)
- Michelob

Difficult- Cointreau
- Goldschlager
- Oronoco (rum)
- Frangelico
- Alize
- Hpnotiq
- Yuengling

Really Difficult- Stolichnaya (aka Stoli)
- Kalashnikov (vodka)
- Jagermeister
- Drambuie (whisky)
- Courvoisier

The Preliminary and Semifinal rounds of the Scripps Howard Bee are on ESPN next Wednesday (May 27th) and Thursday (May 28th) with the Finals on ABC Thursday, May 28th. Watching the Bee at the gym in 2007 was the inspiration behind my Spelling Bee Contestant Halloween Costume.

(Sources:,,; Photos: me,,,,,
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Rub a Dub Lip Dub

Monday, May 18, 2009

Today I’m starting a new feature – Tech Tuesday. For these posts, I’ll feature a new online tool, gadget or Web site.

For this first post, I’m showcasing a trend I’m dying to recreate – The Lip Dub.

What is a Lip Dub?

According to Wikipedia, a Lip Dub is a type of video that combines lip synching and audio dubbing to make it a music video. It is made by filming individuals or a group of people lip synching while listening to a song or any recorded audio then dubbing over it in post editing with the original audio of the song. For the full description, click here

One of the first and most famous Lip Dub’s is by a company called Connected Ventures. See below for their take on “Flagpole Sitter.”

Lip Dub - Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger from amandalynferri on Vimeo.

This weekend, I came across a very cool couple who engaged their wedding party and guests in a Lip Dup. Of course there is room for improvement on this video, but there’s a lot to love here.

So this friend is today’s lesson in Lip Dubs. I would love to post a reader submitted Dub, so I encourage you all to make me proud this summer!

(Sources:, and
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Savvy Shopping

I’m not going to say the R or E words that are mentioned every morning on the news, but let’s face it – things suck right now. Everyone is cutting back and spending money a little differently. But every gal (and sometimes guy) loves a new shirt or dress every once and awhile, right?

The news is filled with “ways to save money” tips that are rather lame, but here are a few reccessionista shopping tips that I thought were interesting.

Accessorize: Buy some new trendy faux jewels from Forever 21 or H&M to give add some flair to a simple tee. Fun shows can also change a look instantly. (I just bought a necklace for triple the price of this Forever 21 steal to the left!)

Smart Sales: Anthropoligie is my favorite store. Brady can tell you that my weekend ritual is visiting the Anthro a block away from my apartment. I almost always buy everything on sale there because I get so peeved when I pay full price just for the item to go on sale the next weekend. Well last week at Savvy Sugar, I read about stores that will refund customers if you purchase an item and within 14 days it goes on sale. Click here for a list of stores that will honor this deal.

The Extras: Take advantages of stores “free” services. Retailers like J.Crew, Banana Republic, Norsdstrom and Club Monaco offer free alterations on regular priced items. This is awesome for jeans!

Would You Like a Sample: You know those annoying people that try to spray you with perfume at the mall? Next time ask them if they have a free sample. Try it with the makeup ladies too! Beauty sites like and allow you to pick our some free sample goodies with every purchase too!

Label Whore: If you are craving designer goods, consider adding a “mini” luxury good to your collection. For instance, there are a number of luxe goods for less than $100. Try a Burberry headband, Tiffany & Co. heart earrings or pendant (left), or a Prada credit card case for an extra $15.

(Sources:, People Style Watch,, Photos: Forever 21 and )
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Gimmie Gimmie S'more

Monday, May 11, 2009

For a little gathering this past weekend, I made the easiest dessert that I must share with my reader - S'mores on a Stick!

Here's what you need to do...

- Buy some chocolate, marshmallows, graham crackers and sticks

- Melt the chocolate. I used a fondue pot

- Crumble up the graham crackers

- Dip the marshmallow into the chocolate and then roll it around in the graham crackers

- Freeze your pops

- Before serving, thaw for about 15 minutes

If you have some extra candy on hand, you can dip your chocolate-covered marshmallows into a variety of candy like Butterfingers, Peanut Butter Cups, sprinkles...the possibilities are endless!
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I Heart Mom

Friday, May 08, 2009

I always have a tough time coming up with gift ideas for my mom and dad. They have everything they need and the things they want are way out of my price range (ah hem new kitchen).

For today’s topic, I decided to include a number of last-minute gift ideas for Mother’s Day that don’t cost a lot, but your mom will use and appreciate. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Under $25
Foot Spa: Is your mom on her feet a lot? Give her a Dr. Schools home foot spa!

Pitcher: Does your mom make a killer tea or lemonade? Buy her the Zazz Pitcher from Crate & Barrel. If your mom is clueless in the kitchen, attach the recipe for a punch or some instant brew packs.

Under $20
Mani: What mom wouldn’t like a nice manicure! Okay, this isn’t very original, but it will do! Cost: $12 – 18

Personal Coffee Maker: If mom is the only one in the house that likes a cup of Joe, get her a personal coffee maker. Cost: $19.99

Make Her Brunch: Reader Megan introduced me to the Serious Eats blog and they have some awesome

Under $15

Wine Carrier: Is mom a wine-o? Well then this gift is right up her alley. If you want to spend a few more dollars add some two buck Chuck or re-gift a bottle of red from your apartment.

Snuggie: Yeah, I know. This is cheesy, but seriously. How many times have you wished your blanket had sleeves? I know one Shot of Brandi* readers’ mom has two of these!

Under $10

Earrings: I love, love, love these options from Manic Trout. It’s a funny name, but the outlet has super cute and cheap jewelry. My pick are the colorful flower earrings.

DIY Recipe Book: If your mom or grandma isn’t very computer savvy, print off a number of recipes you think she would enjoy from sites like Food Network, Food & Wine, Rachel Ray and a grandma favorite Paula Deen. Bind the recipes and add your own personal flair to a cover page. If your mom is a savvy, trendy owner of an ipod, download a fun app like Pocket Cocktails ($5) or 101Cookbooks (free!) Cost: $5-10

Telegram: If you are only sticking to a card this Mom’s Day, throw things back a little more with a telegram. Cost: $4.70
(Photo Sources: Crate & Barrel, Manic Trout,, tattoo via flickr)
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Show Me Your Grillz

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of Grilling Season, but here in the Midwest, this past weekend we got a little tease of summer weather. And the grills…well they were a grillin’.

No matter your location, or living situation, there is a grill option for you. Here are some of my picks.

If you live in an apartment with no balcony: Then you are like me! I’ve always had a great relationship with George…Mr. Foreman that is. The Next Generation Grill looks pretty awesome and it's under $100.

If you live in an apartment or townhouse with a balcony/yard: Just under $200 dollars (pre-tax), the Brinkmann 4-Bruner Stainless Steel Grill appears to be a great option. It’s a smaller size, but still has a generous cooking area. Customers on the Home Depot web site said that it was easy to put together too – always a plus!

If you own a house: Congrats! This means you need a kick ass grill. I mean grills are like status symbols in suburbia. Guys flock to each others houses to comment on a new grill purchase. It’s like a new car. I recommend you go balls to the wall and get a Lexus of grills like the Weber S-450 (above). While this isn’t the most expensive Weber on the market, it has a ton of cool bells and whistles. You can truly be a foodieista with this grill because it comes with a smoker box that can give your BBQ a smoky flavor. Don’t forget to buy a lock to keep this grill secure.

If you like to tailgate: Who doesn’t love a good tailgate? One of the coolest tailgating or camping grills is the Coleman Road Trip (left). This thing is compact, folds down and you can wheel it around the parking lot.

If you like to Picnic: I obsess over picnics. Crate & Barrel has the cutest bucket grill that is compact, easy to store and an awesome price.

(Sources:,,,, Photos:,
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