Shot of Brandi* By The Numbers: 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy Eve of 2013! 

These next two days are a time to reflect on the year that was and the year ahead. 

Today, I took some time to look back on my blog numbers for the year and all I can say is WOW. This year, I released Shot of Brandi* to search engines and welcomed A LOT of new readers (see below). For those of you that stumbled upon this site and continue to read, I look forward to e-meeting you in 2013 and hearing more about what brings you back and what type of content you would like to see here! 

I hope you all have a wonderful, sparkling, glitterfied, boozey New Year's Eve and Day! 
Cheers to lucky 2013!

Read More

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Thank you SO MUCH for reading my little blog! I really appreciate all of your feedback and kind words! Here's to more glitter, crafts, shoes, confetti and sequins in 2013!

Read More

Gift A Day #24: Brandi's Favorite Things

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Christmas Eve!

Maybe you aren’t exchanging gifts with your family this weekend – maybe you still have time to shop. If that’s you, I wanted to shamelessly share with you some gifts that I asked for and received this year! Obvi I was on Santa’s nice list ; )

·         Celebrate by Pippa
·         Pajama’s
·         B Charm
·         Wine Sippy Cup (no spills!)  
·         Bed Head “After Party”
·         “Best Party Ever” Undies
·         Cute card from J Bo (inside tells me that a DVD of seasons 1+2 of Downton Abby is coming my way! Whoo hoo!
·         WVU socks

Thanks, Mom + Dad + Jillian! (Don’t be offended if your gift wasn’t mentioned. I love them all equally lol)

Read More

Gift A Day #23: DIY Ideas from Sue

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Since it’s Sunday and that means Sunday with Sue, here are a few DIY items from Shot of Mom!

·         “We Wisk You a Merry Christmas” – Hershey Kisses inside of a Wisk!

·         “We Wish You a Merry Christmas and so much S’more” – S’more kits with holiday Peeps

·         Bow dazzled bubbly
Read More

Gift A Day #22: DIY Part 1

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I’ve warned you to avoid the stores, so for the next two days, I’m going to share with you some DIY gifts. Today’s subject is crafts, but unless you have a craft closet like yours truly, you may need to go to a craft store.

Here are some easy things that you can make at home!

·         Stockings: $1 stockings + glue + glitter, you’ve made personalized stockings!
·         Limoncello: Ferment a quick gift! Bottle it in mason jars.
·         Ornaments: There are so many things you can do with inexpensive clear ornaments. I like this photo ornament from the House of Smiths blog (no relation!). I’ve also seen clear ornaments with a variety of things inside like pearls, sequins, glitter and candy! Get creative!
·         Tote Bag: I made this tote for my bridesmaids! It’s super easy – buy a canvas tote, outline an initial and then bedazzle the crap out of it. Whola! 
Read More

Gift A Day #21: Lazy Last Minute Ideas

Friday, December 21, 2012

If you aren’t done shopping yet…boy, do I feel bad for you! I was out last night and it’s a zoo everywhere. And we are about to get hit with the first snowstorm of the year (coming from Chicago – thanks friends!).

So this weekend, you are likely going to head to the grocery store at some point. What can you buy someone there?

·         Gift cards. Enough said.
·         Ingredients for a recipe: Pick a dinner or dessert recipe and give someone all the ingredients to make the dish.
·         Flowers: For the hostess or the person that says that they don’t want anything!
·         Cheeses: Make a cheese, cracker and olive tray.
·         Magazine + Subscription: Pick up a magazine and include a year subscription inside! 
Read More

Gift A Day #20: Holiday Spirits

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Keeping it real with the gifts you can buy locally, this Thirsty Thursday, I’d like to feature some liquors to keep your gift recipient’s “spirits” bright!\

·         Great Lakes Christmas Ale: A favorite of the Smithkowski’s! In fact, we visited the brewery this past Monday!
·         Grey Goose Gift Set: You can never go wrong with vodka.
·         When in doubt, go with a liquor store gift card!
·         St. Germain: My favorite liqueur, this is fantastic in champagne or prosecco.
·         Veuve Clicquot: If you are going to go champagne, go Veuve. It’s really worth the price!
·         Crown Royal Maple: While Crown is sometimes considered a man’s drink (except for Reader Lauren), this maple flavor is rather tasty on the rocks! 
Read More

Gift A Day #19: Fuel For The New Year

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Given that Christmas is less than a week away, I’m going to feature gifts that you can buy locally vs. ordering online.

Today, let me share one that is on my list – the Nike Fit Band. This band tracks almost all of your daily activity - running, walking, dancing, etc. So at $150, this bracelet costs more than your average pedometer, but it does SO MUCH MORE. It’s like a daily work out game. The more you move, the more points you earn You can set daily movement goals and then track against your family and friends – who doesn’t like a friendly competition! This is all done via a handy virtual app. Now you can’t complain about not having a workout “buddy” because you can “compete” against complete strangers!  

Check the Nike website, but the band is available at sporting goods stores! 

Read More

Price Is No Object

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This holiday season, if you don’t have a price point in mind, I threw together a few gifts for guys, girls and kids. I didn't want to go too crazy on these so that they couldn't inspire a gift idea, but I also didn't want to list some obvious things like a house, vacation or car. 

·         Nixon Watch: First it was Timex, now it’s Nixon. I’m seeing more and more guys and gals rock these watches! I like this all-black version for a dude. If you won that Powerball, I'd say go for the Rolex, but I wanted to throw something in for my average freinds! 
·         Bottle of Dom: Tis the season for sparkle…why not buy some sparkly champagne to toast a successful 2012 and an even better 2013!
·         Taste of Greatness: In researching this post, I consulted the Neiman Marcus annual fantasy gift list. This was an item on that list. For $250,000, you can receive dinner for 10 from some of today’s greatest chefs! This would be truly a memorable meal for you and your foodie friends!
·         Valentino Shoes: If I had an unlimited amount of money to spend on my wardrobe monthly, I’d buy both pairs of these Valentino shoes. Studs + Bows = Shoegasam.
·         Canvas Play Tent: Remember how cool it was to use blankets to build a tent when you were younger? Well, times have changed and so have the products. Now you can buy a real tent for your house…and get it personalized! This is one tent that you can keep up all year round because it’s super stylish! 
Read More

Gift A Day: Monthly Prezzies

Shits starting to get real friends. We’ve hit the one week until Christmas time! So this means ordering things online is almost impossible….HOWEVER, there are some gift cards you can print at home – including monthly subscriptions. I covered this earlier this year, but here are some additional “of the month” clubs ones that you may want to buy!

·         Craft Beer of the Month
·         Tie of the Month
Read More

Gifts Under $100

Monday, December 17, 2012

After some crazy traveling over the last five days, I’m back at the price-themed gifts. Today it’s all about the Benjamin’s baby. These gifts are all under $100. I think some of my selections will surprise you – they are everyday items, but just a bit more expensive than you would normally pay. It’s the holidays – go big or stay home.

·         Jo Malone Candle Set: When I see people spending a lot of money for something, I become intrigued. Like Lululemon – are those pants really worth $100? One overpriced item I decided to test out for myself was a Jo Malone Candle. Uh huh, I get it now. These things ARE worth the $50. The scents are more unique than the ones you would find in a Yankee Candle.
·         Piano: Throwback Shot of Brandi* had one of these as a tyke. It’s where I learned how to play NKOTB Hanging Tough. This will annoy parents, but it’s just oh so cute!
·         Dart Board: I always select a game to make it on my list. This year, I’m unaware of what the hottest board game is, so I decided to include a game typically found in a bar – a dart board. For those friends that are getting too old to go out to the bars, bring the bar games to your house! 
·         Cooking Class: As I’ve said in previous years, this gift isn’t meant to insult someone by saying they can’t cook – it’s more about taking a class to learn new recipes and tricks! It’s also an opportunity to chat with a chef about questions you may have in the kitchen. In Pittsburgh, I recommend Chop, Wok, Talk. They have a great class topics for $65.
·         Deep Fryer: I previously wrote that frying parties are the new rage…you bring food to the hosts house and then fry it! So why not be unhealthy and buy a fryer! Funnel cakes for all! 
Read More

Gift A Day #17: Make a Wish

I saw this on a blog today and it was too cute not to share! Under $10, this Lush Magic Wand will add some cotton-candy scented bubbly to your bath.  This is perfect stocking stuffer or item for co-workers!

Read More

Gift A Day #16: Zig Zag

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chevron has been the “IT” pattern for about the last two years. This awesome clutch combines chevron with a monogram in black and gold. I don’t need to go on.

Read More

Gift A Day #15: Chillin

Saturday, December 15, 2012

If you entertain like my family, you often have a number of bottles of wine open…and those bottles are being consumed rather quickly. So it doesn't make sense to keep putting them into the fridge, SO this wine chiller from Sur La Table is perfect! Easy access to your vino while the bottles chill!

Read More

Gift A Day: #14 - If The Shoe Fits

Friday, December 14, 2012

Reader Brian requested more gifts for guys.

Sometimes I think, talk and drink like a guy, but sometimes things that I think guys would like…they wouldn’t. Anyways, I’m going to try to incorporate some more guy gifts.

Back in my single days, when I was scoping out a guy, I’d start by checking out his shoes and teeth. Ironically, I married someone who’s shoes I hated at first glance (and still somewhat do! Love ya, B!).

If I was going to pick out some shoes for my man, I’d go to J. Crew. I love their boots, but also the vintage sneaker collection. My current pick is these vintage Nikes!

Read More

Gift A Day #13: Color Me Happy

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I’m seriously a sucker for a pack of Crayolas and a coloring book. There is something so therapeutic about coloring.  

If you are too embarrassed to buy yourself a Hello Kitty coloring book, let me suggest that you buy one of these books for a tween family member. Gift your little cousin with one of these grown up-ish coloring books and then ask her to “share”

Read More

Gifts Under $50

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Did you know if you go to the Wikipedia page for the $50 bill, it says that Bill Murray’s face is on the cash? Yes, like Bill Murray the actor! Today’s lesson is that you can’t believe everything you read on Wikipedia!

Anyways, the true answer is Ulysses S. Grant! Another truth? Everything below is $50 or under!

·         Grid-It iPad Case from Flight 001: I spotted this awesome invention in People mag. Perfect for someone that travels a lot, this iPad case holds all of your cords in one place!
·         iPod Shuffle: Awesomely priced under $50, this is a great addition to a regular iPod specifically for working out.
·         Hello Kitty Chia Pet: This is one of my fav HK items that I’ve seen this year. I’d put it on my own list, but I kill plants.
·         Gap PJ’s: So I had some major coupon last month and bought these. Let me tell you that I want them in every color. They are the softest, most amazing pair of PJ’s ever!
·         Owl Speaker: We have an iPod dock alarm clock and computers, but sometimes I want to jam out to my tunes while I’m cooking. That’s why I put one of these hooters on my list! Part décor + part functional = rock ‘n roll
Read More

Gift A Day: #12 - I Glove You

Tech gloves were a hot item last year and it looks like they continue to be on poplar gift lists for 2012. Now only if the weather would get colder to wear them! Oh global warming…

Here’s a pair for him + her. North Face for him, Kate Spade for her
Read More

Gifts Under $25

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gifts under $25 are a bit easier than $10, but not as easy as under $50. I feel like $25 is a good price point for hostesses and friends, so I tried to include items for those people! 

·         Syrup Sampler: Super cute for a hostess gift. Pair it with some pancake mix that the hostess can cook up while nursing that party hangover!
·         Map: I LOVE the idea of placing this map on a corkboard and then adding pushpins for places that you’ve traveled!
·         Customized Paper Doll: You know how I kind of have a thing for paper dolls? Well how cute are these personalized ones! I spotted this find in Real Simple!
·         Tiffany Wine Tumblers: That blue box will thrill any recipient and also surprise people that you can get a gift from Tiffany & Co. under $25!
·         Suri’s Burn Book: LOVE this blog and saw the book the other day and it’s adorable! 
Read More

Gift A Day #11: There's No Place Like A Gingerbread Home

Gingerbread houses are like way cool. But making a gingerbread house requires a lot of talent. I like to leave that job for others, so I love this personalized house from Mark + Graham. This site is full of personalized goodies, so hurry up and order to ensure your items make it on time!

Read More

Gifts Under $10

Monday, December 10, 2012

Today marks the start of the official Shot of Brandi Gift Guide. This year’s theme is “Money” (said in a Honey Boo Boo voice). I’m breaking down gifts under $10, $25, $50 and $100 and for the straight up ballers out there, I’m including some “money is no object” items.

Let me say, finding ideas under $10 was a bit tricky, but I think I pulled some goodies. Also see the post I wrote for Reader Lauren last week for co-worker gifts. All of the items were under $10!

·         Mistletoe: For someone that could use some smooches, $5.99 gets you a spring of Mistletoe. Note that also does fundraisers and wedding favors!
·         Popcorn: 2012 is my personal year of popcorn. I’m obsessed. This perfectly packaged popcorn from Dylan’s is perfectly priced at $8.00.
·         Seed Bombs: Fresh herb gardens are becoming more and more popular. For $8.00, you will get nine seed bombs – three of each Basil, Chives and Oregano
·         Facebook Wall Sticker: For the social media obsessed, Facebook-inspired Post-It notes
Bar Bingo: Make your weekly bar trip more exciting with some bar bingo! 
Read More

Gift A Day #10: Kitchen Superhero

When you are in the kitchen cooking up a masterpiece, do you ever feel like you are a superhero? Well now, you can look the part with this Wonder Woman apron! Bonus – this item is under $25!

Read More

Gift A Day #9: iWant

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Given that it’s Sunday, today’s gift pick is from Shot of Mom. According to Sue, the hot item of the year that is apparently sold out of everywhere is the iPad Wireless Mini.

So if you are lucky to snag one of these, you will surely make someone happy!

Read More

Gift A Day #8: Put a Necklace On It

Saturday, December 08, 2012

‘Tis the season for holiday cheer…and engagements! Not only does this time of year bring out sparkly decorations, but it’s the season for sparkly hand accessories!

For the recently engaged gal, I love these cute necklaces from Etsy seller Meadowbelle Market. Pair the couples initials with a heart that includes can mark the year of their engagement or nuptials.

Read More

Gift A Day #7: In The Cards

Friday, December 07, 2012

Like a small child, I like to touch everything at the register when shopping. Magazines, gum, candy, etc. I get distracted and start looking for something else that I may *need.*

Recently I spotted City Dining Cards. If you enjoy trying new places, I recommend these cards. Right now they are sold in Pittsburgh, Philly and some places in NY. Here in the ‘burgh, a deck of cards is $20 and it gets you $10 off your $30 food bill at Smithkowski favorites like Lot 17, Shiloh Grill, Square Café, Industry Public House, Harris Grill, The Porch and many more! Additionally, 5% is donated to local food banks.

Read More

Gift A Day #6: I Said A Hip, Hop

Thursday, December 06, 2012

For the thug on your list that has everything, let me suggest the Grand Taxonomy of Rap Names poster. Perfect for the home or office, visitors will be amazed at the names on this list. Everyone from Trick Daddy to Coolio, don't be surprised if your friends breakout in song. Another bonus? It’s under $30! 

Read More

Gift A Day #5: 'Tis The Season to Sparkle

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Do you ever see something in the kids section of the store and immediately want the item in your size? Maybe it’s just me. The other day browsing the J. Crew catalogue, I wanted one of everything in the Crew Cuts Glitter on the Go page. How cute are these bags!? And the bonus is that they are a kid prices! Score!

Read More

Talk To Me Tuesday: Give Your Co-Workers' 5

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

When my readers ask, I respond. The most recent reader mailbag question comes from Reader Lauren.

Lauren writes….

“You should consider writing about gifts to give co-workers. Specifically if you are participating in a 12 days of Christmas exchange where you need to give a small gift each day. It’s hard to think of many $1-$4 gifts per day.

Like I said – readers ask, I respond. Here are a few ideas all under $5.

·         A Tree: The Arbor Day Foundation sells gift trees for $3. Choose between Redwoods, Pines or Spruces!

·         A Lottery ticket! That could turn into one big gift (and may cause you to look for a new employee if they hit it big)

·         Cookie Cutters: If she/he is a baker, some cute cookie cutters would be nice!
·         Obvi gift cards for things like coffee, bagels, iTunes can work under $5.

·         Mini Laser Guns: Why? Why not? Haven't you ever wanted to "shoot" your co-worker? These guns make it safe. And there are two. You can duel. 

·         Don’t underestimate the power of the Dollar Store. They have some cute wine glasses, kitchen goods, etc.

·         Cozy Socks from Old Navy: These are seriously my go-two ALL WINTER LONG. And maybe in the summer. And maybe during car rides. Whatever. They are awesome and only $2.50!

·         Nail Polish!

·         Tea or Hot Chocolate: Check out Crate & Barrel for cutesy-wrapped items under $5. 
Read More

Gift A Day #4: Feeling Flasky

Do you have a drinking photo of your friends that you love? My friends and I do. What better way to immortalize that image than on a flask! This customizable flask is priced under $30 and after you fill this up and hit the town, I guarantee you’ll have some new images to  for future flasks ; )

Read More

Gift A Day #3: Baked Goods

Monday, December 03, 2012

I know there are a ton of baked goods flying around during the holidays, but if you are looking to send a friend a sweet treat, let me recommend maccaron from Dana’s Bakery. While I can’t say that I’ve personally tasted these spectacular sweets, they are rather adorable and much easier to gift than cupcakes! And honesty – this is one cookie that people tend to avoid making, so they will totally brighten up someone’s holiday cookie spread!

Dana’s also has a Macaron of the Month Club
Read More