Guest Post: Pinterest Party

Monday, April 30, 2012

While it is losing a little bit of steam, Pinterest still remains one of the top three social media sites out there today and one of the most popular with women. I love watching some of the creative things that people are doing with their pages, posts, etc., but one thing really stood out to me and that idea comes from Reader Joanne.  

Joanne and her friends took all that there is to love online about Pinterest and brought it offline with a Pinterest party.  

Here’s how it went down in Joanne’s words:

·         The party started with a conversation about a pin -- a friend and I were talking about how the broader group (we are all friends from church) were pinning a lot of the same things (see above). I suggested that we have a Pinterest party where we could sample a lot of the things we seem to be interested in. I convinced my friend to host it -- she is more centrally located and has a bigger (and cleaner) house!

·         It was all very casual - everyone was asked to bring something they
had seen on Pinterest. No one brought copies of the recipes - but we
had pinned so many of each other's pins, we already had them or knew
someone who did. (We just used Post-Its to label the goodies.)

·         Our host made favors she had seen pinned -- homemade dishwasher
detergent and s'mores. Another guest made a different s'mores favor --
double the fun!
·         People brought various crafts projects they had been working on. One
made an Anthropologie-inspired comforter as well as felt barrettes she
created for a fund-raising effort. Another showed us how she makes
tutus for little girls (cute!).

·         For the Pinterest-curious, we had a laptop set up with a tutor to show
them the ins and outs.
·         There was a beauty corner (it wasn't intentional, just how people
gathered) to practice making braids and other cute hairstyles and a
group getting pumped for the Hunger Games opening by polishing their
nails with the new(ish) China Glaze collection -- Capital Colours.

·         It was very fun, and we want to do it again. In fact, there used to be
something like this a while ago. A bunch of the married women from our
church used to get together once a month, bring food and work on a
craft together. Sometimes the craft was enjoyed by the maker, and
others were donated to a group in need. The group was called
Homemakers. I like to think Pinterest helped bring it back!

Some things that Joanne would change about the next party:
·         Send out Pinter-vites! I'm shocked that, at the time, evite didn't
have a Pinterest party invite (not sure there is one now, haven't
checked to confirm).

·         Have people bring the recipe or create a pinboard to collect all the
goodies. Or print out cute labels for writing the name. I would also
have the maker include her name, so people would know who to hound, or thank, or curse!

·         Have a theme -- whether it's try out all of the so-called "best
banana bread" recipes pinned, everything made has to have a fruit or
be on a stick, or simply spring recipes, or something else.

·         "Assign" or find volunteers to bring some savory goods, so you don't
end up on a total sugar high! (To our credit, we did have enough
savory goods, but there still were A LOT of sweets.)

·         Encourage people to bring containers to take stuff home

·         I would love to do a meal swap using Pinterest (a la -- but that would work better
with a smaller group. We easily had about 20 women!

·         More organized craft projects!

My person add to this party would be to also wear an outfit inspired by the site. You know me; I take themes to the extreme!

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What a Catch

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A few weeks ago, I went all fancy chef on Brady and prepared my first lobster tail. Let me tell you – this was SO EASY to do, I just had to share!


Here’s my step by step:
·         Purchase lobster tail (PGH friends –  you likely know this, but Wholey’s is the most awesomest place to purchase fish!)
·         Thaw the tail if needed under hot water
·         Place the lobster tail on its belly and cut the shell down the back

Cutting the tail (and drinking wine)

·         Open the tail and meat “like the Red Lobster commercials” (that’s what my Wholey’s dude told me)
·         Melt some butter and drizzle it on the tail (or mix up your own seasoning)
·         Place the tail into a steamer (I had to buy one! Should have registered for it!)
·         For a 4 oz tail, you steam it for about 12 minutes (the meat should be white)


Finished product!

SO EASY, RIGHT!? Next time I think I'm going to whip up some of those Red Lobster biscuits

For more official tips, I consulted the wonderful when cooking! 

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Cinco de Derby 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Looking ahead to my calendar for May, I squealed when I saw the date of the first Saturday – May 5th.


This is seriously one of my favorite “holidays.” The day when South of the Border meets the South! Margaritas meet Mint Juleps! Sombreros meet Derby Hats! Donkeys meet Horses! Maracas meet the Bugle Call. Horse Bets meet Bar Bets. It's just so many reasons to get drunk, it makes me do a happy dance! 

I first covered the Cinco de Derby party in 2008. You can read the full post here (and my 2011Derby post). My décor ideas haven’t changed – a piñata pony, make your own hat station, mint margaritas, etc. So rather than re-create the wheel, I decided to give you two additional drink recipes for a Cinco de Derby party!

Frozen Mint Julep recipe from Kentucky Derby Party site, Derby Logo, glass

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Will You Sign My Yearbook?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

While this may not pertain to a lot of my readers, an idea hit me the other day that was too good not to share.

A few years ago at a cousin’s high school graduation party, after a few adult beverages my sister and I decided to recreate our senior pictures. You know, the ones where you are cuddling a tree or posing up against it with your arms crossed. Or if you are like my husband, resting your arms on a stack of books (ha.). Our little session took off and aunts and uncles joined in on the fun.

With the popularity of photo booths, it got me thinking – why not bring this concept to a graduation party with props!

To execute this, all you need is a white backdrop, props and a camera. You can even take it a step further by hiring an aspiring photographer to take pictures of your guests as a memento.

Some prop through starters:
·         Pom Poms
·         Football
·         Musical instrument
·         Books
·         Basketball
·         Baton (shout out to all of my former majorettes!)

After the party, you can turn the pictures into a fun “yearbook” keepsake for the grad!

Maybe you can pass this on to someone planning a high school grad party! Or maybe a class reunion?

To bring this post to life, I thought it would be fun to feature some "Do's" from my friends' / readers' senior photos. But looking through them, I must say that my friends kept it pretty safe - not going too cheesy. HOWEVER, I did pull two good examples of senior photos. One of which I may get shot for (or forced to do a shot). I just wish I had her ex-boyfriends pic...

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Jerk, Wobble and Twerk with Cat Daddy Bernie

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I hate the Electric Slide.

Please take no offence, but I’m not a big fan of the Electric Slide. There’s just something about what happens to the dance floor when that song comes on at a wedding. It’s like all the men clear the space and the women that haven’t been dancing run out.

A lot of dances have tried to dethrone the Electric Slide, but none have really eliminated it. It still lingers at weddings and events.

With wedding season about to go into full swing, I thought I would share some of the up and coming dances with you in the hopes that you will do shots and get another glass of vino during the next Electric Slide session and really impress people when you know these dances!

·         The Wobble: I learned about this dance at an event earlier this year with Reader Lauren. It’s got some elements of the Electric Slide, but gives you the opportunity to freestyle a little.

·         Cat Daddy: This one is a bit new to me, so we will learn this together.  The video had me at “Cat Daddy” (I like cats) and the t-shirts “B!*ch I Go To Work.” There’s a lot to love about this one.

·         Like Bernie: The ‘80’s were full of awesome movies and Weekend at Bernie’s is one of them. Well some kids in the south have created the “Like Bernie” dance. Basically, you move like Bernie. Dead Bernie that is.

·         The Jerk: I’m not sold on this one. My attempt at this resembled a pee pee dance.

·         Last, but certainly not least, there is Twerking. None of the videos of this booty shaker were PC enough to post, so I’ll let you google that one yourself : )

If some of these dances are too hip for the wedding that you are attending, you can still impress your friends with the new moves! 

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Mullet Hunting

Friday, April 20, 2012

I Like Hunting. 

Okay, don’t call PETA on me. I like hunting, but it’s not the kind of hunting that you would think.

I like hunting for mullets.

You know, the shorty, long. The business in the front, party in the back. The Camero Cut. I love spotting a good mullet. After I spot a good one, I then typically try and shoot it. You know, with my camera phone. So that I can send a pic to reader Margaux. 

While a nice flowy mane will always strike up a smile on my face, lately I’ve been becoming just as excited to see another type of mullet. The mullet dress!

I first reported on this trend in 2010 and finally the mullet dresses are popping up in more retailers this spring! Here are some mullet (or high/low or asymmetrical hem) dresses that I’m lusting over.

Another reason that I love this trend? Because us shorties can finally rock the maxi dress without looking like we are ridiculously vertically challenged! And it shows off cute shoes : )

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I Heart It

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Browsing Pinterest for an image to use in a presentation, I spotted this image of a s’more with a heart shaped marshmallow. 


While it’s only 6:15 a.m., I immediately:

a.     Wanted a s’more
b.     Fell in love with the heart shaped marshmallow

I’ve seen heart shaped marshmallows during the holidays, but via the caption of this image, I discovered that you can get heart shaped marshmallows year round on!
 How freaking perfect are these for bridal showers and weddings? You can include heart-shaped marshmallows in a s’mores favor. You know, the graham crackers, mini-Hershey’s bar and marshmallow in a cute bag with a tag? LOVE. 
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Shot of Brandi Visits the Liquor Store

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Last weekend, the hubs and I spent the weekend in the Garden State - New Jersey. In addition to seeing family and friends, one of my favorite things to do is to visit the local liquor store.  Obvious reasons aside, the NJ liquor stores tend to get new spirits before PA stores. So it's a great place to see what new things will be hitting our stores soon! 

It's no joke that the flavored vodka trend has exploded. I mean seriously - look at this aisle of booze! All flavored vodkas. 

To go all Betty White on you for a second, I seriously remember in college when all we had was Bacardi O if we wanted some flavors. Things have some a long way in, er, um, almost 10 years! Eek! 

Not only is this shot of the hub's awesome because he is giving me that "you are going to blog about this look," but he also is holding all of our goods while sporting some awesome WV shorts.

Seriously - you can buy almost any flavor vodka now. 

Burnett's Sugar Cookie vodka could be interesting around the holidays to serve at a cookie exchange or give as a gift with a tray of homemade baked goods! 

I've always been a big fan of Effen (that's what she said), so I was excited to see this new flavor. How refreshing does this sound - Cucumber and Vanilla - a total spa drink! 

Now on to the Wine. I'm always looking for a bottle with a clever label and this trip didn't disappoint!

Sorry for the blur here. My hands were a bit full. 

I wonder what happens when you drink the bottle on the left? 

First there was Bitch wine. Now we have Royal Bitch. Maybe a good option for a Jubillee party for the Queen? I kid.

Speaking of bitches, here's a great wine for a friend who is a Sweet Bitch.

A wine to say congrats? Or for a big Arseno Hall fan! 

Have a Beach House? Keep this on hand. Or use it as a way to say thanks for letting us stay with you! 

And finally, the purchase for Shot of Mom - Three Olives Loopy. I haven't tested it out yet, but I hear it's a little like Fruit Loops and it's sweet. Could this be good for a boozy brunch party with a cereal bar? 

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Brandi: Unplugged

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It’s probably a bit obvious that I’m a bit of tech addict. I check my email and the Daily Mail on the way to work, in line at Starbucks, then get to work and do work on a computer, then leave work and read email and the Daily Mail again on the commute home. At night, I go through my Google Reader maybe a little Facebook, blog, etc. So A LOT of computer time.

Like a true addict, I know that I can’t cut myself off completely, but I’ve decided to go Tech Free one night a week. And since Tech-free Tuesday has a nice ring to it, I’ve picked this night to:
  • Not use my computer
  • Have limited phone usage (I need to glance here and there for missed calls and the work BB)
  • No Nook
  • No iPad (ha, my roommate hogs it anyways) 
I’m going to use my techless time to:
  • Craft
  • Read books and magazines
  • Gym visits
  • Drink wine
  • Outdoor exploring
  •  And maybe some new found hobbies

So don't think I'm ignoring you if you call, email, FB, Skype, Gchat, Meebo, Instagram, Tweet or whatever me on Tuesday. I'm just going Tech Free! Anyone want to join me?
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Grillz Worth Biting Into

Monday, April 09, 2012

April is National Grilled Cheese Month. I know that every day there is some ridiculous food holiday, but this is one that I have no problem celebrating.

Hands down, my favorite Grilled Cheese (except one from mom or grandma) comes from Mr. Graham Elliot of Chicago. This delicacy involves white Pullman bread, Wisconsin cheddar and cheese curds, prosciutto and then – tomato marmalade.

I found a recipe for this gem on a site called Made Man, so I’m sharing a link to it here. The key ingredient – the marmalade takes about 5-7 hours to make! Eek!, but seriously – it’s worth it!

(photo from Food &Wine. I couldn't bring myself to take a photo of my goods last time I was eating - I didn't want to look too touristy!)

This sandwich makes its way on to my short list of reasons that I’m glad that we don’t live in  Chicago anymore…because I would seriously eat this weekly.

Oh and I borrowed this imaged from Food & Wine to illustrate this mouth-watering sandwich. It’s part of a slideshow on the Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in the U.S. – check out the list to see if there is a joint near you listed!
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Hoppy Drinking

Thursday, April 05, 2012

As a marketer, I tend to not buy in to marketing trends. Okay, if the trend if powerful enough, I’ll dip my toes in. Take for instance the push to get people to go green. Well B and I use recyclable bags. Selfishly because they are easier to carry our groceries into the apartment.

Now there is that push to “shop local.” I like this one. I don’t mind supporting local stores and farmers. AND I really don’t mind supporting my local brewers!

Reader Lindsey and I recently sampled and purchased some growlers from East End Brewery – a Pittsburgh micro-brew that was up until recently run by a one man show.

My most recent growler was the Big Hop IPA. I’m not good with tasting words, so I’ll let the East End peeps describe this: “very hoppy, but not especially biter. Balanced with a solid Munich Malt backbone.” It’s also the most popular seller!

Forgive me, but I can’t remember what brew I tasted or had during my last visit to Pittsburgh Public Market, but I’m looking forward to sipping some Monkey Boy soon. Here’s the description from the site:

Monkey-Boy - Swinging from tank to tank around here, we've come up with the perfect way to enjoy a bright sparkling taste of summer, no matter what the season may be.  Now a year round offering, this fresh local hefeweizen carries a distinct banana ester profile, and crisp finish. No bananas were harmed or peeled in the brewing of this beer. It's just a little side benefit that our German yeast strain gives us.

Now that craft beer is booming, East End is looking to expand. And I don’t mind supporting them and I hope that you will too! 
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Turning Tables

Monday, April 02, 2012

In looking for ways to sex up my inexpensive tablecloth for our little St. Pat’s breakfast, I turned to one of my favorite crafting supplies – ribbon.

Using wedding leftovers and some new $1 threads from the craft store, I fancied up the spread by cutting and taping ribbon down the front of the table. I then hid my sloppy tape work with a thicker ribbon.

Feel free to steal this VERY SIMPLE idea my friends! 

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April Showers Bring Babies and Weddings

Sunday, April 01, 2012

With the exception of Easter weekend, Shot of Mom and I have a shower (baby and bridal) every weekend in April.

Bridal registries are scary – for both the person registering and the people buying from them. There are just so many freaking options. You keep thinking “do I need these” or “will the couple use this?”

Since we all know that Shot of Mom is a pro in the kitchen, I asked her to weigh in on the top five things that she uses. I felt that this could be good for those still finishing up their registry and those that are shopping for a bride-to-be.

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