The Writing's on the Bottle

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Some of the best advice my parents taught me was to never visit a friend’s house empty handed. Because of this life lesson, I’m always looking for good host/hostess gifts.

How cute are these Modern House Wines from Swanson Vineyards. With these adorable messages, you don’t need a card to go along with this vino!

I LOVE the “Expensive Christmas Wine” for a holiday party!

One tip – it’s good to stock up on small gifts for those impromptu holiday stops! With some of these bottles, it may be good to keep on hand to toast those holiday engagements!

(Photos from Swanson Vineyards)
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Important Update: Shot of Brandi Email!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Did you know that Shot of Brandi* was available to be delivered to your inbox? Well for years I've had a little app on the side that allows you to subscribe to Shot of Brandi by submitting your email address.

If you've known about this - thanks for subscribing! If you haven't, well, you learn something new everyday!


I've upgraded the link, so if you do subscribe, you'll need to re-enter you info!

Sorry for the inconvience! Just working to make your reading experience the best it can be!
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Fashion Friday: Best Dressed Walls

Friday, November 19, 2010

For the last year, I’ve been straight up obsessing over illustrations. Specifically, fashion drawings and sketches.

I’m totally head over heels in love with Caitlin McGauley, Dallas Shaw and Jenny Bowers, but today I wanted to focus someone else: Kristina Hultkrantz.

I kept toying with the idea of a custom, fashionable illustration for a gift – I would request it in a jpeg so that the recipient could get it made into stationary, a frame-able print, etc. Thoughts?
I also love the idea of buying a few of the prints and staggering them in a room or even bathroom.

There are tons of illustrators out there, but here are some of my favs.

I think my number one illustrator crush would need to go to Caitlin McGauley. I just don’t want to feature her so much today because I think I already wrote about her goodness. Look and drool.

I must mention Jenny Bowers who does beautiful work for Kate Spade

Dallas Shaw is an illustrator who does work for a number of people in the fashion industry, Dallas also sells prints on her Etsy page. She also writes an awesome blog.

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Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Translation: "The new Beaujolais has arrived!"

In honor of Thanksgiving, I planned to do a little wine feature today on what to pair with your feast, but reader Trish diverted me to a somewhat similar but different subject: Beaujolais Nouveau.

Trish is from central West Virginia, not central France, but she learned about Beaujolais Nouveau from some co-workers. Beaujolais is a region of France – which is a historical province and wine-producing region.

The third Thursday of November (today) is “Beaujolais Day.” A big marketing and publicity campaign, Beaujolais Nouveau is encouraged to be consumed on Thanksgiving, since the holiday falls a week after the wine is released.

According to wikipedia, Beaujolais Nouveau is a purple-pink wine that is particularly lightweight and dominated by fruity, ester flavors of bananas, figs and pear drops. The wine is recommended to be served chilled.

Beaujolais Nouveau is intended for immediate drinking and should not be kept for more than a year. Because of its short shelf life, Beaujolais Nouveau is often criticized for being simple or immature - just like I like my wine (and how I typically get after drinking a lot of it)!

(Sources: wikipedia; Photo from some website)
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Hostess Gifts from Shot of Mom

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

This spring, my mom found this adorable idea in a magazine – ribbon bedazzled wine bottles. It’s such a cute, personalized idea for a typical bottle of wine and a lot more festive than the bags they sell at Hallmark.

For my wedding this past June, my mom made bottles of champagne decked out in ribbons (above) with corresponding wedding colors for the bridesmaids and special attendees.

This holiday season, Sue is at it again with holiday bottles. These make awesome hostess gifts and a solution for those awkward moments when someone gets you a gift and you didn’t buy them anything!

Here’s a sample of Sue’s holiday collection!

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Sweet Stand

Monday, November 15, 2010

We’ve all been there. You’re at an event and there is a cupcake table. You are dying to try one, but you don’t want to feel like a heffer as you run over to get your sugar fix.

Hello Hanna has the solution.

I present to you – the cupcake stand.

This nifty little invention allows a single cupcake to stand on a pedestal. You can totally set these at everyone’s seat to help prohibit the walk of shame to the sweets buffet.

(Photo Source: Hello Hanna)
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Banner Season

Friday, November 12, 2010

Vintage, kitschy décor is making a comeback in the entertaining world. One pieces of this trend that I am loving is banners. Whether it is “Happy Birthday” or “Congrats” there are a number of cute signs out there that you can DIY or buy direct.

These banners are also called bunting banners. I really wasn’t sure why they called it this (sorry if you already know), but basically according to, bunting is:
· “A course, open fabric of worsted or cotton for flags, signals, etc.
· Patriotic and festive decorations made from such cloth, or from paper, usually in the form of draperies, wide streamers, etc.

Here are a few of my favorite banners or buntings from Etsy.

A traditional triangle banner from Simple Whimsey is great and reusable for birthday parties. And in the world of wedding thank you signs 2.0 comes the thank you banner. You can hang this near the card table or hold the sign for a thank you photo.

With Thanksgiving coming up in less than two weeks, I LOVE these banners from Tweet Memories and Holly Licari . I think I’m finally getting over my hatred for turkeys!

Of course I love this “Happy” sign from Romp Store. It includes one of the ingredients in my recipe for fun things - glitter. How adorable are these baby banners from Parker Prints on Etsy. They make non-gender prints and Congrats signs – which are perfect for a sip and see! I love the way Etsy seller Bella Baby Toppings adds tulle to her banner in this Minnie Mouse –themed happy birthday sign.
And these banners from Kristee65 and Greatest View were just too cute for me not to include.

While technically not banners, these garlands are also just too cute from For the Home and Love Monkey. One is made from paper, while the other from felt.

All photos cited in links.

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Jason Lee: Putting Mall Photography to Shame

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

(photo source)

I started this out as one nice little obsessions post and then I realized this needs its own feature. These photos are a super splendid mash-up of two things I love: photography and Asian babies (blame it on the Gosselin’s).

I’m beyond obsessed with a man by the name Jason Lee. He just may be one of the most imaginative photographers that I’ve ever seen and the world’s most creative dad.

A photographer by trade, Jason keeps a blog full of pictures of his two daughters Kristin and Kayla. If they weren’t some of the most adorable girl’s on the planet, Jason stages them in the cutest scenes and photoshops them into charming shots.
These put your childhood Sears shots to shame.
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Writing on the Wall

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Have you ever felt the urge to just graffiti something? I’m not talking spray paint to a bridge, but just leaving your mark on say wet concrete?

Well, event planners are officially bringing a technology to parties that allows your to let your presence be known. Let me introduce you to digital graffiti.

I first spotted this gem at a Chanel fashion week event via Biz Bash. A number of oversized screens were placed around the room. Graffiti artists were on hand to work with guests to create original artwork using Chanel-branded paint cans that interacted with the screens.

The digital graffiti at the event was managed by a Tangible Interaction – a Canadian company that “works to create a full-on sensory experience in the everyday world.”

I love this idea of using something interactive to keep guests engaged with your event and making the night more memorable.

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Shot of Man

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Man Week is going pretty good. I’ve drove Brian into women’s clothing – making him the laughing stock of his office for an afternoon and I’ve had a request to guest blog. Maybe they even themselves out? Regardless, it’s getting the readers talkin’.

For Thirsty Thursday, I wanted to include the manliest cocktails. So I consulted Google. A few top ten lists came up, so here are some of the number one selections.

Ask Men names the All-Irish Black and Tan the number one drink for men. And with two parts beer, that’s pretty manly.

1/2 pint Smithwick's Ale
1/2 pint Guinness Draught

How to prepare it: Add the Smithwick's Ale to a pint glass, and then add the Guinness by pouring it over the back of a spoon. suggests that the manliest drink is Scotch Laphroaig. I’ve tried this one and immediately grew a beard and started talking like Barry White. I’ll write more about this brand one day, but basically Laphroaig its nickname is “The King of Smoke,” and its considered one of the strongest flavored scotch whiskies.

Finally, the Hipster’s Handbook calls for a Gin Martini or The Manhattan.

The Shot of Brandi recommendation? Go with the Manhattan. Heck, the drink says MAN in it. Or some hard spirits, like vodka, gin, whiskey, brandy, etc., on the rocks.
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Man Week: Lessons on Being a Man from My Man

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Not only is it day two of Shot of Brandi Man Week, but it’s also the 30th birthday of my man – Mr. Brady Smith.

When you think of the word “man,” Brady totally comes to mind. So if you are looking for tips to think more like a dude or ways to “man up,” take this advice I’ve created by looking at my better-half.

1. Watch Sports. Watch a lot of sports. Read about sports.· When you want to talk coaching decisions, the college top 25 or fantasy draft picks – Brady is your man. He eat, drinks and breaths sports. BUT one thing that makes him stand out over the rest in sports talk at the bar is that he understands the business of sports. Like the business effects of conference realignment.

2. Play recreational sports.· Brady dominates the world of adult intramurals. Join a league and have beers with the guys after. And girls – let you guy play alone. It’s nice to have “girl time” while the guy is playing dude sports. While you may get mad at his late night bar trips with the team, this a good time for secret shopping trips, long baths and marathon phone calls with gal pals.

3. Tell your woman that she is right. Don’t pick fights. Befriend your woman’s friends.· This is a no brainer. Other halfs like it when you tell them that they are right.
· Brady is a lover – not a fighter. He doesn’t like to let a fight last 24 hours. Resolve fights right away. Man up when you are wrong.
· Don’t start battles with your significant other’s best friends. You may not win. Befriend them. It makes things easier.

4. Watch cheesy TV and listen to pop music.
· Not only will it score you brownie points for watching “Glee” and “Teen Mom” with your wifey, but letting her listen to her radio station or mix CD helps too. As my sister said “happy wife, happy marriage,” but watching these things with your lady helps you stay current on pop culture trends – which totally helps at the water cooler.

5. Dance your pants off.· Just because you are all man doesn’t mean you need to hang out at the bar while others are getting down on the dance floor. While Brady is all man, he knows how to bust a move.

6. Love bands before they get cool.· A sometimes guitar player, Brady enjoys reading about music and listening to new bands. This is why he loves him some Lollapalozza. This tip allows you to say in the future "I was a fan of them before they got cool."

7. Drink beer or a COCKtail.· No martinis for Brady. He sticks to the drink of champions – beer. He’s a fan of dabbling in specialty brews or less common bottles too. If he is feeling fancy, Brady turns to whisky (it puts more hair on the chest).

8. Don’t join the bandwagon.· Pick a sports team and stick to it. The Redskins suck, but Brady’s still always been a fan. Same with the Phillies and the Flyers.

9. Grow facial hair.· Nothing says man more than facial hair – or any body hair for that matter.

10. Get a hot wife.· Sorry – I had to : )

Happy Birthday, Brady!!
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Guy's Guide to Style

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Reader Brian expressed concerns that Shot of Brandi has become a bit too “girly.” I love hearing feedback from my readers (yes, there are more than one of you now), so I’m making this MAN WEEK.

Today, reader Brian and I were discussing the episode of Seinfeld where they discuss wearing the same clothes over and over again when you are older. A clothing rut if you will.

Brian is in a bit of a clothing rut right now. He has mastered the art of the track jacket, plain t, hoodie and the standard polo and button down. He is looking for some new pieces to add to his wardrobe, so I thought I would share my suggestions for the male Shot of Brandi readers.

· Try a blazer or a cardigan – yep, I said cardigan. You can make the Mr. Rogers look hip.
· Explore new colors – it’s okay to wear pink, red, purple, orange, etc.
· Play with prints – plaid is so in right now, so are patterns. Just please: no Ed Hardy.
· Accessorize – while it’s not for every dude out there, a scarf, hat or tie can work.
· Try a new store - Always shop at the Gap or J. Crew? Try a new store or even shopping online.
· Shoes make the man – invest in a good pair of casual black, brown and upscale sneakers.
· Trust the MANnequins – pay attention to how the store styles its mannequins, windows and online shops. This is an easy way to see how to pair things together or

Brian’s new scarf is from Urban Outfitters, shoes from Club Monaco and I didn't save the link to where I found the hat - sorry!!
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