It's 1,001 Days Later...

Monday, November 28, 2011

1,001 days ago I set out to do 101 things. I’ve updated you all throughout the last 2+ years, but now the day has come.

I started stressing about my list about a month ago. I was a bit disappointed with my progress. I started talking to fellow blogger and reader Jason about my struggles and he brought up a good point – while I didn’t accomplish some of the things that I set out to do, some are “in progress.”

For instance, take #60. That’s to visit a Chicago suburb called Evanstown. While I didn’t have a chance to do that when we made a sudden move, I will do that on August 25th when reader Jason gets married! So that one is “in progress.”

On the other hand, some aren’t anywhere near progress. Take “Get Manicures Quarterly.” That one was complety unachieved. I’ve got two mani’s in the last 3 years! Ugh.

So without further ado, here’s my update!

Shot of Brandi (4 done, 0 in progress, 1 uncompleted)
1. Give Shot of Brandi* a makeover. I really want some blog flair!
·         DONE – new header baby!

2. Hit 150 unique blog readers
·         Wow. This one surprised me. I’ve hit 301 absolute visitors! WOAH! Hi Everyone  ; )

3. Post a
·         Oh remember when reader Lindsay and I showed you how toproperly pop champagne?

4. Record a successful lip dub
·         Sad. This never happened!

5. Hit 500 posts
Done! Without much fanfare, I hit this number back in September!

Back to School (1 done, 4 in progress, 0 uncompleted)
6. Take a cooking class – In progress

7. Attend a wine tasting
·         DONE! Took a wine class with my mom in March 2011

8. Mix things up with a cocktail class – In progress

9. Register for a craft class – In progress

10. Learn another language (other than English or Spanish) – In progress
Bonjour! I started studying French in July before I went to Canada! It came in handy around my Belgium friends in Ireland!

Food Yummmm (4 done, 1 in progress, 0 uncompleted)

11. Go on a Chicago and/or New York Cupcake Crawl – In progress
Watch out Chi this December!

12. Eat at
 Table 52 Chicago 
Brady and I dined here our last night as Chicago residents!

13. Bake a pie
·         Thanksgiving 2009 when Brady and I celebrated in Chicago I baked a Ginger Pumpkin Pie (right)

14. Make a turkey dinner
·         As a follow up to the above, we also made a mini-turkey, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes!

15. Bake Christmas cookies
Oh yes! In 2009! In 2010, I mastered the art of the Oreo ball

Throwin’ it Back (3 done, 1 in progress, 2 uncompleted)

16. Write 10 handwritten letters
·         Does thank you notes count? I think so! I wrote 10 thank you notes to work colleagues in 2011!

17. Subscribe to a newspaper
  Another not complete, but we do subscribe at work!

18. Find a pen pal
·         How funny – so this is a bit done! Through a work creativity challenge, I exchanged letters with Connie Kang from Taiwan! She even sent me some fancy book marks. Thanks Connie!

19. Ride a bike
·         J Bo and I conquered six miles in 2010 on the Montour trail.

20. Create my family tree – In progress
·         A family member is actually doing this on

21. Visit my
 elementary school
·         Not done : (

Globe Trottin’ (2 done, 0 in progress, 4 uncompleted)
22. Travel to Napa
·         No : (

23. Explore Europe
·         Oh yes, the Smith’s went, saw and dominated Ireland and London!

24. Visit New Orleans
·         Another negative!

25. Sleep outside – aka go camping
·         Heck No!

26. Go to Disney
 While I’m not going to call this “in progress” the hubs and I are working on it. Especially given the new Harry Potter stuff!

27. Get a passport
 My close friends and family know about my first attempt at a passport pic – let’s just say round two after the name change is MUCH better. I’m off the terrorist list.

Crafty McCrafterson (3 done, 2 in progress, 1 uncompleted)
28. Complete 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 scrapbooks (I’m slacking) – In progress
·         I’m going digital!

29. Finish a painting
·         If we ignore my recent craft-tastrophy, I did make a little bathroom painting in Chicago

30. Create a book of family recipes – In progress

31. Make jewelry
·         DONE! I made this really rad necklace (among other things!)

32. Really learn to crochet
·         Pretty much done – I  made a scarf!

33. Take a flower arranging class
·         Not done, but I put together some rad things for clients!

Rockstar (2 done, 0 in progress, 3 uncompleted)
34. Sing live band karaoke
·         Nope

35. Try out for a reality show
·         Nada

36. Complete my “secret project” with reader Amy
·         No

37. Meet someone famous
·         I have a few to add to this – some Food Network people, athletes, Whitney Port (right) and Nick Cannon.

38. Attend a concert of Brady’s choosing
 While he may argue this, I did attend Lollapoloza with him for two years (proof below).

Giving Back (2 done, 4 in progress, 1 uncompleted)
39. Find one charity and contribute to it – In progress

40. Adopt an animal from the
 Lincoln Park Zoo
·         Done – and see #101!

41. Donate 100 things to charity
·         I had a MAJOR closet cleaning out earlier this year and when we moved.

42. Babysit someone’s kids – In progress

43. Complete the
 29 Gifts challenge – In progress

44. Sign up for a local political party group
·         Not yet.

45. Send a letter to a troop (or troops!) – In progress
·         I hope our troops like glitter Christmas cards!

Let’s Get Physical  (2 done, 1 in progress, 2 uncompleted)
46. Run a race
·         Pittsburgh Marathon 5K in May 2011 bitches!

47. Go fishing
·         Myrtle Beach, 2009, deep sea fishing – caught 6!

48. Play wirlleyball
·         NO! Ugh!

49. Go surfing, skiing or snowboarding (that’s for you, Brady)
·         No broken bones means that I haven’t completed this

50. Buy a bike – In progress
·         Take note. I want this for my birthday!!! (And it’s been on my Christmas list!)

Cheee-caaa-goooo (0 done, 0 in progress, 5 uncompleted)
* I mean, this category just about sucks! I left Chi-Town too soon! Nothing done here!
51. Go to a
jazz club 
52. Visit the botanical gardens
53. Go sailing
54. Go on a
 history bar crawl
55. Visit Ravinia 

Day Trippin’ (1 done, 1 in progress, 3 uncompleted)
*Again, a bit difficult to complete given my switch in residence!
56. Go to Milwaukee
·         Visited good ole Milwaukee in 2009!

57. Visit
 Michigan wine country
58. Tour the Wisconsin Dells
59. See the suburbs
60. Walk around
 EvanstownIn progress

The Arts (2 done, 2 in progress, 1 uncompleted)
61. Read a book
·         Gosh, I read way to much! This one was easy! My favorite – the Sex and the City prequels!

62. Attend a play or musical – In progress
·         While I saw a number of reader Brian’s comedy shows, I didn’t totally fulfill this. But no worries, B and I have some plans!

63. Watch 5 Academy Award-winning movies
Yeppers! A Beautiful Mind, Chicago, The Departed Forrest Gump, Gladiator, Slumdog Millionaire

64. Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago)
·         No!

65. Go to a Renegade Craft Fair – In Progress

Relaxin’ (2 done, 1 in progress, 2 uncompleted)
66. Take a family vacation
·         Myrtle Beach ’09 and Hilton Head ‘10 (see right - we had to play "school bus" for the kids...)

67. Go on a
·         YES! I bought a picnic basket and made Brady go to the Oak Street Beach with me

68. Spend the day at a spa
·         I still have issues relaxing. I haven’t been back to a spa since like ’08.

69. Sign up for yoga classes – In progress
·         I’ve got some great options on our new street!

70. Get nails done quarterly (surprisingly I get them done like twice a year)
·         HECK NO! I’m so so awful at this.

Treehugger (3 done, 1 in progress, 2 uncompleted)
71. Recycle
·         I DO! Mostly all paper

72. Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products – In progres
·         I’m working on this

73. Keep a plant alive
·         I’ve killed several!

74. Plant a tree
·         Nope.

75. Upgrade my homeless cart
·         Ha. I did. With Billy! The Jeep!  

76. Use recyclable grocery bags
·         The Smith’s are totally recyclable bag users!

Gettin’ Wasted (2 done, 0 in progress, 3 uncompleted)
77. Play in a beer pong tournament
·         Reader Lindsay and I dominated on Halloween! And 4th of July...(right)

78. Taste
·         Thanks for former reader Bubba!

79. Visit the
 Miller Brewing Factory
80. Dine at Goose Island Brew Pub 
81. Attend a bourbon tasting

(2 done, 1 in progress, 2 uncompleted)
82. Fly a kite
83. Build a sandcastle
·         Done! On the family vacations (below). Don't knock my work. I was trying to make a stone-like wall out of shells!

84. Drive a convertible
·         Done! I parked Dana’s car!

85. Go to an
 amusement park 
·         KENNYWOOD!!

Let’s Get Digital (2 done, 1 in progress, 2 uncompleted)
86. Sell something on ebay
·         Nada. I have been trying to buy things though! Ha.

87. Post a video to YouTube
·         Yes! B and I had a channel!

88. Buy a video camera
·         Flip, baby!

89. Make an edited video- In progress

90. Meet
 Julia Allison 
·         No, but I’ve come close. She also got a show deal with Bravo!

Hostess with Mostess (3 done, 1 in progress, 0 uncompleted)
91. Host game night 
·         Done! Easter night this year! We even skyped in Dana to play!

92. Have a party in my apt.
·         This was my Chi apartment and yes! Super Bowl!

93. Attend/host a theme party

94. Read the Emily Post etiquette book – In progress! I just bought the new one!

Personal  (3 done, 2 in progress, 1 uncompleted)
95. Get married : )
·         Obvi done.

96. Start a journal after my wedding for my kids/grandkids – In progress! B and I started a little book, but he is being uncooperative!!

97. Find a new job
·         Ohhh boy. I found a new one and then went back to the old one. Things I would do for this list ; )

98. Meet a new friend
·         Done!!

99. Find a church – In progress

100. Call my grandparents monthly (if I don’t see them)
·         I’m not going to go a done on this one, but I do get to see them more often now!

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

So the final tally is….
·         44 things DONE
·         23 things In Progress
·         34 not done

I mean it’s bad. I know it is. But I have a feeling that in the next few months, I can get myself to 50! And in the next year even more things done!

I’d encourage you all to take the time to do this vs. a New Year’s Resoultion in 2012. It gives you more time to meet your goals and get things done! It was really fun coming up with the list and challenging myself to do these things.

Oh and if you are wondering about 101. Well, I’m the proud owner of the polar bear at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. I decided to kill two birds with one stone (is this appropriate given the charity is animal conservation? Eek). I donated $46 to help make up for some of the items that are in progress. I can’t wait to visit my bear soon!

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'Tis The Season To Shop

Today is Cyper Monday. You know, the day when everyone goes back to work (except those in Pittsburgh who are deer huntin’).  It’s the day when people buy things online that they weren’t able to find if they went shopping over the weekend.

Well these online shoppers are not alone. The National Retail Federation estimates that 36 percent of people out there will do their holiday shopping online.

I’m part of that 36 percent.

I seriously can’t count how many times this past week I said “I’m doing all of my shopping online.” I’m just so annoyed after going out to the mall and coming home empty handed because the store didn’t have something in the size or color that I was looking for.

So if you want to join us cool kids in the 26 percent, then here are some sites to visit.

·         Etsy: If you’re on my list y’all may be getting’ some crafts! I love the handmade originals on this site. Pro – you know your gift will be unique. Con – the receiver may need to really like it because the return policy may be a bit wack.
·         Uncommon Goods: The site name says it all – this site is full of uncommon, cool gadgets and gift ideas.
·         Minted: I’m really into personalized gifts this year. I can’t say that I am buying anything, but I’m into the idea of buying them. Minted has great stationary options.
·         Kodak Gallery or Snapfish: Now a days, it’s a gift just to get photos printed. But these sites have some cool photo gifts

Check out some of the obvious retailers like Macy’s, Best Buy, Target, etc. They sort out gifts online and can serve as good inspiration for shopping!  
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Dip, Baby, Dip

Monday, November 21, 2011

I remember when I was a kid and cookie dough ice cream came out. It was like the most amazing thing in the world and kinda still is. Well until now.

This Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip that I discovered via How Sweet It Is is seriously rad. It's like eating the cookie dough without worried about uncooked eggs.

I tested this awesomeness out last Wednesday and was like - ehhh it's okay. Then, I let it sit in the fridge for the night and...angels were singing when I took the lid off this bad boy on Thursday.

I've pasted the recipe below directly from How Sweet It Is. You will see above, I dipped in graham cracker pretzels (crazy, right?), but I also bought some animal cookies to dip in a future batch.

Cookie Dough Dip
makes about 1 1/2 cups
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 8-ounce block of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups chocolate chips
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture starts to bubble. Set aside to cool, and whisk in vanilla.
Cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar for 60 seconds. With mixer on low speed, add in brown sugar and butter mixture. Mix until combined. I added the chocolate chips at this time so the mixer could break them up into pieces. You can so that, or just fold in the chocolate chips.
Garnish with additional chopped chocolate. Serves with fruit, cookies, crackers, pretzels or a spoon.
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Houston, We Have a Trend

Sunday, November 20, 2011

You know how I’ve been recently talking all about flower walls? Well here’s another one to add to the list. Via Pinterest this gem was featured at the Biz Bash New York Expo (a lot of party trends come out of these Expos). I expect these to be popping up at a lot more weddings in the future!

This wall was designed by Luxe Event Rentals & D├ęcor.

I love the idea of using this as the backdrop for a couple to say their vowels, the cookie table, a photo booth, etc. 

Note that the show also featured mini candy apples! I made these a few times and they are SO EASY! If you are making these, use chocolate first, then caramel. The caramel won’t stick to the apple since it’s moist (I know, gross word). Here’s my last tray (ignore my mom’s recipe sign in the dish)

 Ignore my awful camera phone. I'm due for an upgrade in a month ; )
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