Fill Up My Cup, Mazel Tov

Thursday, March 31, 2011

What’s your favorite part about attending a wedding? If you say something like the ceremony, the first dance or cutting the cake, you’re fibbing. It’s the open bar. So make your Royal Wedding party awesome with an open par with a signature drinks and DIY idea.

I’ve been intrigued by Pimm’s for a few year’s now, but I have yet to put my lips on one of these bad boys. According to my trusty friend Wikipedia, Pimm’s was created in 1823 by James Pimm, a partner and owner of an oyster bar in London. The original tonic was a gin-based drink with a secret mixture of herbs. It was originally created to aid digestion and served in a small tankard known as a “No. 1 Cup.” This is where the name Pimm’s No. 1 was born.

James Pimm set up a distillery for mass production and over the years more “cups” were made (i.e. No. 2, No.3). After some hard financial times, Pimm’s No. 2-5 were phased out in the 1970’s, but then in 2006, the brand was bought by big spirits company Diageo. Today, Pimm’s is a staple drink at Wimbledon and the Henley Royal Regatta.

So what’s in the cup? Well the Pimm’s No. 1 Cup is gin-based and tastes like a bit like spice and citrus fruit. It’s often served with lemonade, as well as a plethora of garnishes (it can also be mixed with champagne to call it a “royal cup.”

Here’s the original recipe from the Pimm’s website:

• Take a jug or long drink glass and fill it with ice.
• Mix 1 part PIMM'S No.1 with 3 parts chilled lemonade.
• Add some mint, cucumber, orange and strawberry

I once saw an idea for a DIY Pimm’s bar, but I can’t seem to find the site that I book marked. Regardless, I found out some tips to pull this off via a site called Serve Draw.

So here’s how you make this an interactive party buffet.

• Buy some Pimm’s from your local liquor store (buy a few)  

• Get some other alcoholic mixers like Gin, Whiskey, Limoncello, Applejack, St. Germain, Champagne – a splash of these can give your Pimm’s cup a different taste that can please everyone’s pallets.

• Other mixers to substitute the lemonade with can include ginger ale, pomegranate juice, orange juice and cranberry juice

• Bring in some syrups for flavor – a simple syrup, honey and ginger

• Now for the fixin’s:
o Cucumbers
o Fresh mint
o Strawberries
o Lemons & limes
o Oranges
o Fresh ginger
o Apples
o Cherries

(All images from Pimm's site)  
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AM Ales & High Tea

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So this post is gonna suck.

There are a ton of beer companies coming out with signature brews to toast the royal wedding…it’s just that none of them are for sale in the U.S.! Boo!! I thought I’d post these creative beers – they may inspire some cute cocktail names!

(All beers found via: source)

But wait, there’s more! I don’t want to leave you all sad and pissy, so here is a drink you CAN make.

From The Telegraph (yo, this shit’s from the UK, so it’s legit), here’s the perfect recipe for a morning wedding viewing – An Earl Grey Tea Cocktail.

Earl Grey Tea Cocktail (copied from the Telegraph)

Serves 8

This can be served with gin or vodka


6 Earl Grey tea bags

50g granulated sugar (about a half a cup)

crushed ice

200ml gin or vodka (about 7 ounces)

juice of 1½ lemons

a few pinches of saffron, to garnish (optional)

1 Steep the tea bags in 200ml just-boiled water for 4 minutes, adding the sugar and stirring until dissolved. Remove the tea bags
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Flair Fit for a Queen

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why do you want condoms, barf bags and nail polish at your Royal Wedding party? Well because these are some of the companies capitalizing on the regal nuptials. Call it trashy or creative, these brands are grabbing the attention of consumers and media! Some of these things may be a little fun to have on hand at your party.

Invite people to your party with some Will & Kate Stamps (via

Clean up party fouls with this regal tea towels.

Fun bathroom accessories? Royal Jewels Condoms and Barf Bags (via ivillage UK)

No More Waity Katey Nail Polish – party mani’s anyone!?

And while this last product isn’t exactly Royal Wedding related, I had to include this find. While searching Oriental Trading for Ben Franklin-like glasses for my husband, (yes, read that again – it’s real life), I found these ring shot glasses. Totally awesome.

Speaking of Oriental Trading they have a number of props to have on hand to make your party perfectly fit for a queen. I'd recommend ordering some Tiaras  and Crowns!

I thought that the Royal Wedding refrigerator, doughnuts, faux nails, were just too silly to even post a picture of. Please – for the love of god, do not buy those items.
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A Royal Affair

Monday, March 28, 2011

Did you know that Prince William is going to marry Kate Middleton in a little more than a month? I kid. Of course you know, talk of the royal wedding has been dominating the news across the globe!

I’m not gonna lie. I’m pretty excited to see what fashion plate Kate wears. I mean not only is she gorgeous, she is going to be a real-life princess!

If you are thinking about calling in sick and hosting a boozy tea for some friends while watching coverage of the fete, here are some awesome products for your stateside party.

Plum Party has a section of its site dedicated to the wedding

 Cupcake Kit

William & Kate Tea Bags

Tea Pot Centerpieces

A UK Company, Partyrama, has a plethora of party choices

Lifesize Cut Outs

Party Masks (you can probably make these!)

Favor or lunch boxes


Look out for some festive drinks and fashion later this week : )
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

As a follow up to yesterday’s post on Peeps, I wanted to share with you an awesome discovery for Thirsty Thursday – Peep Drinks.

This site is FULL of recipes that feature Peep garnishes. Here are some of my favorites.


 2oz Vodka

 1oz Cointreau

 1oz Cranberry

 splash of OJ

 splash of Rose’s Lime

 1 very sophisticated marshmallow peep

Mix as a martini, add pretense, garnish with peep.

Pear of Peeps Pair Martini

 2oz Pear-Infused Brandy

 4oz Ketel One Vodka

 1oz Dry Vermouth

 Ground Cinnamon

 2 peeps, still stuck together

Place cinnamon on a saucer. Wet the rim of the martini glass, and slide it around upside-down on the saucer to apply the cinnamon rim. Fill a large shaker with ice, and add all three ingredients. Strain into martini glass, carefully avoiding the cinnamon, and float two peeps on top as garnish.


 6oz Sauza Hornitos Tequila

 4oz Triple Sec or Cointreau

 2oz Grand Marnier

 4oz Lime juice

 2tbsp Confectioners’ sugar

 1 row of frozen peeps

 1 non-frozen peep (garnishes and other extras optional)

1. Fill a martini glass with crushed ice and cold water, to begin chilling the glass.

2. Over a small plate or cutting board, rub the whole row of peeps between your hands until the frozen and colored sugar coating rains onto the surface below. This will be a messy nuisance, getting all over your hands — just deal with it.

3. Fill a large shaker with ice cubes, add tequila and triple sec first, then lime juice and confectioners’ sugar (or substitute 2oz simple syrup).

4. Dump the icewater from the martini glass, and rub the upside-down glass in the “peep dust” to create the colored sugar rim.

5. Carefully refill the glass with crushed ice.

6. Shake the shaker, strain into martini glass over the crushed ice, and garnish as illustrated.

(all recipes and photos from PeepDrinks)

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"I’ve always admitted that I’m ruled by my passions"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

“I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I'm not afraid to look behind them,” – Elizabeth Taylor

I’d like to hold a Shot of Brandi* moment of silence for the most glamorous person to ever be born on February 27th – Elizabeth Taylor.

Not only did we share a birthday, we shared a love to sparkly things, Johnny Cash, and above all, Michael Jackson. I also adopted Elizabeth as my confirmation name. Don’t worry, I’m not crazy obsessed with her – I just think she was pretty awesome!

I think that Elizabeth’s foundation is really rad too. I just may donate today : )
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Peep Show

A sure fire sign of spring and Easter for me is seeing Peeps. Yep. When I see those gooey, marshmallowy, colorful birds chirping in the candy aisle, I know warm weather is coming!

Let’s face it. They are really super cute, but they aren’t that tasty. Well food bloggers have fixed that with some creative recipes featuring Peeps (and their cousins – the bunnies).

From Serious Eats: S’meeps! S’mores with using Peeps!

 I LOVE these chocolate dipped bunnies (or Peepcicles) from the MarshmallowPeeps Website. After dipping the bunny in chocolate, roll it in nuts, sprinkles or coconut.

Another good one from Serious Eats – Peepshi. Peep Sushi!

And for those who love fried food, let me introduce you to the Deep Fried Peep!

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Woah 4-0-0

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

You may not have noticed, but Shot of Brandi* passed two major milestones in the last two weeks. Not only did the 400th post go live (woah, right?), but I've dropped the blogspot! Welcome to...

My own URL. My how Shot of Brandi* is growing up. How far we've come from the days when I didn't have any readers and blogged about nonsense....well then, I guess we really haven't come that far. Ha.
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Paper Doll

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sometimes my mind is drawn to things that I can’t explain. Ask Brady. Without him to keep me in check, yesterday we would have ended up with a birdhouse for our apartment. I kinda hate birds, but it was cute and shiny.

Right now, a trend I’m loving is paper dolls. This is one I just cannot explain other than the pure fact that they are cute!

So how can this trend apply to your real life?

Well maybe you use a paper doll as an invite to your next bridal shower (complete with dresses!), bachelorette party (bachelorette flair) or birthday (cake!). Check out this cute invite to the spring 2011 Mulberry fashion show (pic via nitrolicious)

 A paper doll gift is an obvious choice for that little gal in your life. I love these ones from Amanda Atkins on Etsy and of course the set from Lily Pulitzer.

For your high-fashion friend, I LOVE the Paper Dolls book by Danielle Meder. She took the fall 2010 collection and created dolls inspired by seven designers from shows across the globe. At $80, this book isn’t thrifty, but then again fashion is rarely affordable!

And for the plain creepy – Just Like You paper dolls. Eeek!

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Chirp, Chirp

Sunday, March 20, 2011

How adorable are these DIY bird houses I spied on the Ruffled Blog (don’t you love that name). While they are a recommended wedding favor, I think they would be perfect for a housewarming party favor!
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Take a Dip at 7-11

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Back in college, my friend Megan taught me this easy, cheesy dip recipe. It’s called 7-11 Dip because basically you can get all of the ingredients in a 7-11! Talk about convenience!

• 1 8oz of cream cheese
• 1 large can of chili
• 1 bag of shredded cheese (American or Mexican – pickings are slim!)
• Tortilla chips

Directions• In a deep pan, layer the cream cheese, then chili, followed by the cheese
• Bake until dip is hot and cheese is melted on about 375
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Hottie Totties

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yesterday we featured MOTS, now it’s all about the tots. As in tater tots. For those that are bacon obsessed and those that do not fear heart attacks, let me introduce you to another Sue Bonkowski favorite – the cheesy, bacon tater tot.

Ingredients• 1 bag of frozen tater tots
• American cheese slices
• Bacon
• Toothpicks

Directions• Wrap the uncooked tot with a strip of cheese and then bacon
• Hold the tot together with a tooth pick
• Bake the tots until the tot and bacon are cooked on about 375
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It's Getting MOT in Here

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

(picture from reader Dana)

Doesn’t everything just taste better when it’s served on a stick? My new favorite app crush is one on a stick. I don’t know what these are called, maybe caprese salad on a stick, but let me name them a MOT on a stick – Mozzarella, Olives and Tomatoes.

Ingredients• Mozzarella balls (or mozzarella that you can cut into squares, but the balls work better)
• Grape tomatoes
• Black olives

Directions• Put all three balls (cheese, tomatoes, olives) on a tooth pick

For the final step, there are a few ways you can add seasoning to the sticks. You can add some Italian salad dressing (avoid zesty) or a little olive oil and basil. Above, readers Dana and I used an awesome Italian dressing (Red Bull Inn - not related to the energy drink, but a Pittsburgh favorite) and put the dipper on the side!
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Hot Dog, It's Easy Appetizer Week

Monday, March 14, 2011

With March Madness beginning this week, college basketball fans across the globe use the tournament as an excuse to get together and watch sports. In an effort to be more manly, I decided to feature some easy appetizer recipes that can be made in a jiff for having friends over to watch the games. Each day this week, I’ll feature a new, simple appetizer. I’m also open to featuring your favorite recipe! Just email me!

First up, a Bonkowski favorite. Teenie Weenies or Pigs in the Blanket. I feel like the Midwest folks call these Pig in a Blanket, but I reserve that name for the meat wrapped in cabbage dish my gram makes.

While I know this one off by heart - You buy Pillsbury Cresent Rolls and mini sausages and wrap the sausages in strips of the roll…here is the official recipe from Pillsbury:

- 2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
- 48 fully cooked small smoked sausage links
- Ketchup, if desired
- Prepared horseradish, if desired
- Yellow mustard, if desired

• Heat oven to 375°F.
• Separate dough into 16 triangles. Cut each triangle into thirds lengthwise. Place sausage on shortest side of each triangle. Roll up, starting at shortest side of triangle and rolling to opposite point. On ungreased cookie sheet, place rolls point side down.
• Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with ketchup, horseradish and mustard.

The crescent rolls are a bit sensitive in some ovens. Be careful that you don't burn your buns!
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Work It Girrrrllll

Sunday, March 13, 2011

(source - InStyle Newsletter)
So I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of White House, Black Market. I’ve actually never bought anything there. I guess it’s because I migrate towards loud colors and sequins.

Anyways, I got this email from them via an InStyle email list serve today and I applaud this promotion! Let me introduce you to the Work Kit – White House / Black Market’s recommendation for nine essential pieces that every woman should have for the work place. If you're like me and not a brand fan, I think that you can still look to this collection for inspiration for your own workplace attire - especially recent grads or those who just landed a new gig.


I get it – when you unpeel this promotion it’s just a creative gimmick to launch the company’s new work options, but well…it works! I’m not saying that it’s going to get me to shop there (it’s not), but I noticed!

Oh and if you are looking to purchase the whole “kit,” it’s gonna cost you…about $890 (without tax).
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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

I have an announcement to make. I am going back to college. Okay…that was dramatic. I’m taking a three-week wine appreciation class with my mom at the local community college (it was my Christmas gift to her!). Since I’m in total wine mode, I was excited to see that the March issue of InStyle has a lengthy story on wine and wine accessories. If you haven’t had a chance to read the mammoth March issue, here are a few key highlights.

• Tasting Bottles – I’ve been waiting to write about these for quite some time. Grgich Hills Estates and Blackbird Vineyards offer a six-pack of wine bottles so that people can taste a little sample of different vinos before buying. They also make a cute, inexpensive gift!

Wine Away – keep this little gem in your purse to rid away a red wine disaster.

Bottle Notes - a newsletter that InStyle calls this the “Daily Candy for wine”

Wineberry – I’ve been saying for years, boxed wine is becoming chic. Check out Wineberry. The cute wooden box is also eco-friendly!
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You've Come A Long Way, Baby

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Seeing this post on Uncrate today, I had one of those “Well when I was in college” flashbacks. Like "When I was in college we wore black pants, drank jungle juice from a red cup for $5 all night and took our front door of it's hinges to play beer pong."
Boy, have I come a long way.

Readers, let me introduce you to the $750 Custom Beer Pong Table.

I know what you are thinking – why would I spent that much on a custom beer pong table? This table says I’ve got a serious side, but I like to party. This table is respectable enough if you wanted to use it as a dining room table when your in-laws visited, they wouldn’t know that it you use it for weekend keggers. AND This table is a more chic version of the door a door. You can stay warm and still play beer pong.

Oh and the LED lit triangles? Classy.

(Source: Uncrate)
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I Did It All For the Nookie

Monday, March 07, 2011


Rather than celebrate turning 30 by bitching out all forms of technology, and reminiscing about simple times that involved low text books vs. texting and pagers vs. cell phones, I decided to embrace it by requesting a Barnes & Noble Nook. I know, I know…there’s something to be said for picking up a book or magazine and reading the hard copy, but swing by my house and give me a solution for magazine and book storage and I’ll come back to the old fashioned side.

Anyways, I wanted to give an early Shot of Brandi Approval on the Nook! I’m still learning all of the ropes, but so far I’ve read a magazine and purchased a book on it and I’m in love. There is built in wi-fi, so you can check your email, read blogs and surf the internet! There are even cute covers for it!

Browsing for a book to buy was super easy too. Actually, a lot better than being in a book store. I typed in a few past books I’ve read and looked for similar titles and voila! I bought a new book!
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G is for Girl Scout Cookies

Thursday, March 03, 2011

If hunting a Girl Scout was a possibility for a badge, I’d deserve it.

I’ve spent that last few weeks seeking out little girls (that sounds gross) selling the delicious goodies. I thought this would be an easy perk of living in suburbia, but it was totally a challenge.

Then, while making a trip to Sam’s Club for birthday party supplies, there is was (cue angelic music). That golden table of gals selling cookies. I knew I would need to hit this up on the way out.

I must admit, I was a Girl Scout for two years. I even went to a camp (hell). BUT, one thing I did dominate at was cookie selling. In fact, thanks to my mom, I was the number one seller and got a special badge for that. WINNING!

So in honor of those delicious, crunchy, sugary delights, I wanted to honor them with a liquid version this Thirsty Thursday.

I give you, the Dirty Girl Scout! (Ironically, this was one of my favorite shoes…in high school. Thanks, mom & dad!)

Dirty Girl Scout Recipe (recipe direct from Drinksmixer)
1 oz vodka

1 oz Kahlua coffee liqueur

1 oz Bailey's Irish cream

1 oz white creme de menthe

Mix the vodka, kahlua and bailey's and pour over ice. Pour the creme de menthe down the center of the glass. Looks gross, but tastes delicious!
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