A Colorful Christmas - Gold

Sunday, December 14, 2014

'Tis the season to sparkle, right!? You didn't think I wasn't going to include a sparkly color on this gift guide, did you? Not only are these gold gifts sparkly, but they also include a unicorn!

  1. Notebook
  2. Gold Cards
  3. Pineapple Candle  
  4. Highball Glasses
  5. Hostess Set
  6. Sequin Blazer
  7. iPad
  8. Unicorn Décor  

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A Colorful Christmas - Blue

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Today’s gifts are blue da da dee da da da…that tune right there is a little throwback for you on a Thursday!

  1. J. Crew Shoes
  2. WVU Yankee Candle
  3. Nike Shoes
  4. Agate Coasters
  5. You’ve Got A Friend Shirt
  6. Burberry Scarf  
  7. Evelyn Henson Bart Cart Print
  8. Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

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A Colorful Christmas - Black

Monday, December 08, 2014

Today we are going a little dark here during the Colorful Christmas with black gifts! It may not be the brightest color in the Crayon box, but it does provide some great gift inspiration! 

  1. Baby Baby Grand Piano
  2. Tiffany Earrings
  3. Jawbone Speaker
  4. Johnnie Walker Black Gift Set
  5. Land of Nod Tee Pee
  6. Mansur Gavriel Bucket Bag
  7. Slate Pennsylvania Cheeseboard  
  8. Crate & Barrel Spirits Cabinet

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A Colorful Christmas - Red

Thursday, December 04, 2014

For day two of my Colorful Christmas gift ideas, I was inspired by the color red! Nothing says Christmas more than the color red! (okay, well maybe green?! We will save that for another day!).

  1. Prada Make Up Bag 
  2. Apples to Apples Game
  3. Kitchen Aid Mixer
  4. Marc Jacobs Lipstick
  5. Radio Flyer Wagon
  6. Polo Red
  7. Amelia Rose Cocktail Ring
  8. Sprinkles Red Velvet Cake Mix

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A Colorful Christmas!

Monday, December 01, 2014

Compiling Holiday Gift Guides for this blog is one of my favorite things to do each year! I’ve created a number of themes in the past and this year is no different! 

In hopes that you have a bright holiday season, I decided to theme this year’s guide by color!

Today we will start with one of my favorite colors – PINK!

  1. Lululemon The Mat
  2. Moschino Mirror iPhone Case
  3. Nikes  
  4. Jawbone Up
  5. Kendra Scott Earrings
  6. Manolo Blahnik Heels
  7. Fashion Fairy Tales
  8. J. Crew Bathing Suit

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Shot of Brandi Gives Nemacolin Resort 4 Stars

Monday, November 24, 2014

A few weeks ago the hubs and I visited Nemacolin Resort outside of Pittsburgh. This trip was in part thanks to Santa Claus (aka my parents) who gave Brady a gift card to the resort last year. We decided on a last minute trip to celebrate his birthday!

The resort has a pretty crazy history that you can read here. The quick low down is that the resort is currently owned by the Hardy Family – the family that founded 84 Lumber.

If you plan on visiting, a few tips:

Don’t go on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday: This resort is a bit pricey and if you are looking to save a buck, go on an off day. For example, we went on a Sunday and saved $120 vs. the weekend night rates.

Take Time To Walk Around the Hotel: This resort is seriously like a museum. As you walk from building to building, you will see different items in the vast Hardy art/artifact collection. There are super old stock purchases, art and one of the largest salt water fish tanks. You will also see autographs of some pretty famous people. Joe Hardy goes all out for his birthday and parties for his children. You will see pictures and autographs from celebs like Robin Williams (RIP), Bette Midler, Bill Crosby, Hilary Duff, Christina Aguilera and more! Oh and Wiz Khalifa got married at Nemacolin.

Go in October or November: While there are a lot of activities to do at the resort in the summer or winter, I’d recommend this time of year so that you can see all of the glorious leaves changing!

Make Dinner Reservations in Advance: Like I mentioned we decided to visit Nemacolin at the last minute and weren’t able to land reservations at some of the restaurants. The staff mentioned that it was unusually busy on the Sunday that we visited, but most of the restaurants actually recommend reservations!

Book Activities in Advance: Nemacolin has a little bit of everything for everyone. You can ski, golf, go to the pool, spend a day at the pool, gamble, play mini-golf, have a VIP experience with the wild animals, hike…the list is almost endless. The golf course was designed by the famous course designer Pete Dye and pros like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have played here. For things like the Jeep off road experience or clay pigeon shooting, be sure to make reservations in advance. One downfall of going on an off day is that some of these experiences may not be available.

Don’t Forget to Drive Around The Resort: Per my mom’s recommendation, we made sure to see Taylor and Paige’s playhouse. Built for his daughters, the playground is more like an actual house. Next to the playhouse is the zoo. It isn’t a real zoo, but close enough. You can see lions and tigers and bears. No joke!

There is SO Much To Do Outside of the Resort: Near Nemacolin you will find Falling Water, Ohiopyle, the Christian Clay Winery and a TON of historical sites (General Braddock was buried here). Make time to visit the area attractions while you are here. Reservations are totally recommended at Falling Water!

If you can’t already tell, I’d TOTALLY recommend a trip to Nemacolin as a staycation around the Pittsburgh area!  

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Gifts for Your Favorite Wine Lover

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I understand. It seems like every year that Christmas spirit (and advertising) creeps earlier and earlier into the year. I’m on the fence regarding how I feel about this, but what I will say is that I do believe in preparing in advance what you will shop and craft for the holidays.

I didn’t mind at all when Nordstrom released a gift section of its website. I was even more pleased when I saw that they have a number of wine themed gifts that are seriously clever and adorable.

Here are some early gift ideas via Nordstrom to get you thinking about Christmas gifts!

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Last Minute Halloween Costumes

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Omg you guys. We don’t have Halloween plans. No Halloween plans = no costume. I think I’m breaking like a ridiculous streak of Halloween costumes. I think the last time I didn’t wear a costume was in 2005 when I didn’t know many people in Chicago!

IF by chance we get some last minute plans, I have a few tricks up my sleeve to pull off a last minute costume. If you are in the same boat as me, I thought I would share some last minute tips!

  1. Tutu + Tank with tooth = Tooth Fairy (your man could go as a dentist.) This was my costume circa 2004!
  2. Minnie Mouse Ears + Polka Dot Dress = Mini Mouse. 
  3. Red & White Striped Shirt + Red and White Striped Hat + Black Glasses = Where’s Waldo
  4. Black Cape + Round Black Glasses + Red/Yellow Tie + Grey Sweater + Lightning Bolt on your Forehead = Harry Potter.
  5. White Polo Shirt + khaki pants/skirt + nerd glasses + number sign around your neck = spelling bee contestant (see my costume above!)
  6. White Sweatshirt + White Sweatpants + Toilet Paper = Mummy
  7. Black & White Striped Shirt + Black Eye Mask + Bag of Money = Bank Robber
  8. Hawaiian Shirt + Khakis + Camera Around Your Neck + Map = Tourist
  9. Jean Shirt + Jeans + Bandanna on Head = Rosie the Riveter
  10. Yellow Dress + White Tights + Black Umbrella = Morton Salt Girl 
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Let me see that Pumpkin Roll!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I'd say in the last two years I haven’t been drinking as much beer (vs wine), but I do love a good pumpkin or seasonal ale.

One that is at the top of my list is a local beer – Penn Brewery Pumpkin Roll Ale. A little bit of this in a bottle rimmed with brown sugar…AMAZING!

With an ABV of 6%, Pumpkin Roll Ale is spiced and sweet. I don’t feel that I could drink several of these, but one or two do the trick! I must say – it’s up there with my favorite pumpkin beers of the year!

For those that live in Pittsburgh and those that may visit, be sure to check out Penn Brewery! They have an awesome Oktoberfest and great food inside their restaurant! I can’t wait for the holiday beers! 
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Shot of Brandi Annual Pop Culture 2014 Halloween Ideas

Thursday, October 16, 2014

It started last month. The request came in from hardly ever reader Trish. Then two nights ago in from sometimes reader Lynn.

People are looking for Halloween costume ideas.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and brainstorming costumes is another one of my favorite things to do each year. It's actually something I do year-round and keep a little list handy! 

So without further ado, here are my 14 ideas for 2014.

1.      iCould Leak: This is my FAVORITE idea.  Dress as a cloud (think pillow stuffing stuff from a craft store glued on to a sweat suit) and then put censored celebrity pics on.

2.      Emoji: There are SO MANY options with Emojis! Pair with a friend to be the dancing girls. Go solo as the girl in the red dress. The two girls in the pink and red dress. You can also wear all black and create a different yellow face to wear a la sandwich board.

3.      Beyonce: I imagine this as a group costume to display the many stages of Beyonce. “I woke up like this” Beyonce, Drunk in Love (with a surfboard) Beyonce, Single Ladies Beyonce, Preggo Beyonce at VMAs, and bedazzled leotard Beyonce times a thousand.

4.      Pumpkin Spice: People LOVE Pumpkin Spice anything right now. Turn wear all brown with a pumpkin spice label!

5.      Grumpy Cat: Go for a general white cat costume and use makeup to paint your eyes brown. Bonus points for creating grumpy meme like signs to hold up!

6.      Clueless: Iggy Azalea went retro for her Fancy video by throwing things back to the movie Clueless. Break out the plaid on plaid and go as Cher!


7.      Most Eligible Bachelor: With Clooney off of the market, all of the celeb mags are trying to determine who is the world’s most eligible bachelor. Create a people magazine cover and insert yourself into the issue. Preferable wearing a tux and maybe carry one rose bachelor style!

8.      Nicki Minaj & an Anaconda: I’m typically against pop star costumes, but I’ve made about three references in this list. This is an idea for couples – one goes as Nicki and the other a snake!

9.      Mork & Mindy: A couples costume to honor the late, great Robin Williams. There is also Mrs. Doubtfire, Hook or Patch Adams. While I anticipate some Joan Rivers costumes, I wouldn’t recommend the Robin + Joan combo. #TooSoon

10.  Jimmy Fallon EW Girl: One of Jimmy Fallon’s most popular sketches on the new Tongiht Show, dress as the “Ew”girl. Blonde wig, sequin pink dress and pink headband! Bonus points for faux braces!

11. Mean Girls: This year marked the 10th anniversary of the movie Mean Girls. There are a few ways you could do a group costume for that. Four girls dressed in pink (“On Wednesdays We Wear Pink”) with burn books. Four girls dressed as the Christmas skit with 1 mom in a pink velour jumpsuit. Or as the Mean Girls in their Halloween costumes.

12. A Legalize It Person: Every year you need a political-inspired costume and with marijuana being legalized in more states, why not be a legalize it person! Think hippie with some weed-inspired shirt and sign. Bonus points for passing out brownies!

13.  Joe at the Super Bowl: This is a 2014 oldie, but a goodie. When you Google Joe Namath at the Super Bowl, yeah, you get pictures of him in a Jets uniform. But you also get some awesome shots of him at this year’s game in his awesome fur coat. A good idea for a guy!

14. Pittsburgh-Centric:  For those of you that live in the Pittsburgh area, a few city-centric ideas: The Lost Old Lady During the Pirates Game,Sophie Masloff, construction cones, polar vortex or a drunk country concert goer (complete with trash hanging from your outfit).

Costumes That I Anticipate Will Be Big:
·         Pharrell Williams with his hat from the Grammy’s.
·         Ice Bucket Challenge.
·         Olivia Pope from Scandal (I bet you won’t recognize half of these at first).  
·         Orange is the New Black for girl packs.
·         Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

And…I have to say it, but Ebola parodies. This will be a controversial one this year!

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Create Your Party: Oregon Trail

Monday, September 29, 2014

Earlier today I came up with this blog post idea while reading THIS article about a museum in Portland that offers guests the opportunity to play a REAL LIFE game of the Oregon Trail.

For those of you that don’t know, the Oregon Trail was one of my FAVORITE things about the middle school computer lab. The object of the game was to guide your covered wagon from Missouri to Oregon – while hunting for food and avoiding scary diseases like typhoid. You can still play the game online here.

Like I mentioned, the idea of this blog post came around as I was reading about a real life game…so I thought, why not have a real life Oregon Trail THEME PARTY! Here’s how this could play out. Most of these ideas could work for adults and kids!


  • Send an invitation to your friends asking them to travel with you to Oregon.
  • Ask guests to dress in theme! This party calls for bonnets and long skirts for the ladies and overalls and flannels!


  • Make signs for the popular destinations along the trail like Independence, Ft. Kearney, Chimney Rock, Ft. Bridger, Ft. Walla Walla and Willamette Valley.


  • Just like the game, when guests arrive have them choose a profession: banker, carpenter or farmer.  Give guests faux money to use at the general store.

  • Create a gold mining station. Sift through sand for gold coins to be used in the general store.
  • A lot of great men and women were lost on the trail to diseases like dysentery, typhoid, cholera and exhaustion.  For those that don’t make the full trek, print out tombstones for guests to write a heartfelt messages. 

  • Hunting was super important in the game. Play pin the target on the deer and bison.
  • Build your own mini covered wagon and try and float it across a baby pool.
  • You also can’t go wrong with an old fashioned sack race!


  • Remember only 100 pounds can be carried back to the wagon!
  • Food was essential to survival on the trail. Serve favorites like Bison, deer, elk, rabbit, squirrel, and bears. Incorporate these foods into your party with things like Buffalo wings, Bison burgers and a trail mix bar!
  • For drinks…you are in luck! Willamette Valley is a super popular wine region! Pick wines from the area and add Oregon beers!
  • Prevent the common trail diseases with jell-o “shots” in syringes! You could also create a spinning wagon wheel to land on a shot! There are always snakebite shots too! 

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Ahoy! It's My Bathroom Art!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

When decorating our new space, I had a tough time finding art for our bathroom. You see, we have a rather long wall.

I scoured the internet for art, but most of it was beach scenes. We do not live near a beach and I don’t want to be reminded of that daily while using the bathroom.

After some searching, I found some striped paintings with nautical images painted on the canvas. While some items were about $50 on Etsy, I decided to take on the craft myself.

Here’s what I bought:
·         4 canvases ($5 each)
·         3 paints – a light beige, tan and gold
·         Brushes
·         3M painters tape

I painted the canvases solid beige. Once that dried (which was rather quick), I used the tape to create stripes. What I found easy here was to cover the full canvas in tape and then rip off every other line. Then, I painted tan lines.

Once that dried, I did a quick internet search for nautical shapes and decided on a boat, anchor, seahorse and flamingo. They don’t really go together, but yet they kinda do. I wasn’t a fan of some of the lobsters or seashells, so I kept my animals a little tropical!

I printed and then cut out the shapes on cardstock and traced them over the canvas with a gold pencil.

Then, I painted the shapes on to the canvas. Note that it took several coats to cover up the lines. You will see the in process images below. 

And ta da! They aren’t the greatest, but for under $30, they will do just fine for now! 

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Pin-teresting Pin Board DIY

Monday, August 25, 2014

I mentioned earlier that the hubs and I moved into a new pad. One of my FAVORITE spots in this place is my crafting nook! You see, our attic bedroom has this little space in between the two closets with a little window. I’m working on crafting a number of items before I’ll reveal my nook, but today I wanted to share one of my craft projects – a real life pin board to pin my future projects!

I purchased a $9.99 cork board from Target with the plan to DIY it into something a bit more fancy.

This is SO simple. I covered the pin board with a fabric - I chose a metallic dot burlap so that the future pins wouldn't be so noticeable. You could also totally buy regular burlap and add metallic paint dots, but I wasn't messing with placing those dots on in a row! 

My solution for keeping the fabric in place was my solution for everything...GLUE GUN. 

Then, I placed gold thumb tacks the about two inches away from each other to create a studded boarder.

Ta da!SO EASY, right!?

After researching some DIY tricks on the internets, I decided upon a fabric board with stud/pin trim.

This DIY was SUPER easy and cost about $25 total – and I have 200+ extra thumb tacks and some fabric.

Stay tuned for more craft nook DIYs! 
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Flat Out Looking Forward to Fall

Friday, August 15, 2014

Flats used to have a bad image. They were almost a sign of defeat against heels. Well things are a changing. Flats are more in fashion on the runways and the options have become more chic. Here are some of my favs for fall.

  1. Valentino
  2. Chloe
  3. Tory Burch
  4. J. Crew
  5. Kate Spade
  6. J. Crew Factory

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Monday, August 11, 2014

OMG you guys. It’s totally one of my FAVORITE times of the year…


I LOVE a good planner. While the hubs and I have a shared Google calendar, I still love writing down those important dates in a planner.

I broke a five year tradition of a Lilly Pulitzer planner and went with Kate Spade for 2015. The Kate Spade planner had the one thing I love – a month view followed by week to week view – but minus the additional 12 months upfront that the Lilly offered. One less bonus? No stickers with the Kate. I’m 33. I can make it without the stickers!

Given my obsession with planners, here are some options if you are in the market for a new calendar! Note that most of the 2015 planners start with August 2014 – hence why it’s planner season!

  1. Lilly Pulitzer 
  2. Minted
  3. Emily Ley
  4. Kate Spade
  5. Erin Condren
  6. Paper Source

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A Festival of Wine? I'm totally there.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Last Saturday the Winey Women took a field trip to the farm! Janoski Farms to be exact for the Harvest Wine Festival.

Despite the rain, our group had a great time sipping various Pennsylvania wines and noshing on a great spread of food featuring vegetables grown at the farm!

Some of my favorite wines of the day were from Greehouse Winery out of Brentwood, PA. I purchased the Applesauced wine – a blend of spiced apple and sweet cranberry – which will be amazing this fall! 

Shot of Mom purchased 8 bottles of wine, including Hoe N The Garden from Greenhouse. We drank this later that night and it’s the winery’s best seller. It’s a great summer wine – light and fruity!

The sales team at Greenhouse were great and let us try a number of wines. Two other good ones were Tramp N The Weeds and the Dan Good Wine – which is a cab that is low in sugar (= less of a hangover!)

While they didn’t have these bottles at the festival, the Hoe N Santa’s Sled & Tramp N The Snow would make cute Christmas gifts!

Last, but certainly not least form this winery was Red Hot Diamond. This is a super unique wine that is aged with a hot pepper in a bottle of Fireball! Yes, this wine has a kick to it and it’s more like a shot than a sipper.

My second favorite winery was probably Starr Hill. My top sip here was from a blend called Margarita Madness – it tasted just like a…well, you probably guessed it – Margarita! The Blackberry Blush and Recession Red were also delish. Shot of Mom bought the al Mondo – which tastes like Amearetto and smells like Maraschino Cherry. It was tasty, but I think it would be even better baked into a cupcake or icing! They also have recipes on their website.

Starr Hill appears to have a winery where you can host events and weddings or take tours.

Hailing from Aliquippa, PA, was Glatz Wine Cellars. I love a good theme and appreciate Glatz for naming its wines after gems. I tasted a number of good wines here, but I can’t seem to find their wine list online and do not have my paper of blends!

I probably drank the most frozen sangria from Volant Mill Winery. Sold as a show special, you received a bag of sangria mix and a bottle of red wine for $22. The only thing you needed to do was add water and an optional brandy and freeze to make frozen sangria. I tried a number of other wines here, including their Cocoa Vino – which tastes like chocolate.

I skipped Wilcox Winery, which has a location in Robinson, because I’ve broke out into hives from their wine in the past. I also wasn’t too much of a fan of the wines form Michael Stephen Kavic Winery located on Campbells Run Road in Carnegie. Given it’s close proximity to my hometown, I really wanted to like these wines – I just couldn’t.

I HIGHLY recommend going to this event next year! It’s a great time and a beautiful setting! Follow the Harvest Wine Festival Facebook page for news!
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Fashion Friday: Midi Life Crisis

Friday, July 18, 2014

It’s not so much of a crisis, but a crush. Right now, I’m loving midi-skirts!

A midi-skirt is a bit tricky to pull off when you are short like me, but I still attempt to rock it.

Here are some midi’s that I’m crushing on.

  1. Kate Spade
  2. Asos
  3. Alice & Olivia
  4. Oscar de la Renta (similar, less expensive skirt from Theory)
  5. Tibi
  6. Topshop
  7. Express
  8. Old Navy
  9. Piperlime

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Judge Wine By Labels!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I say you can totally judge a bottle of wine by its label. In fact, that’s how I make about 50% of my wine decisions! Being a wine-o is all about the “test & learn,” right?

Visiting my almost remodeled liquor store, I snapped a few cool labels for your future purchasing pleasure. 

I apologize in advance for the awful, one-handed iPhone pics. My other hand was holding my purchases! 

Tell her that she is "Biutiful."
I love a good Cava in the summer! Not as sweet as champagne, but light for those hot days!

This one is tricky because it isn't a Pittsburgh wine, but your Pittsburgh loving friend will appreciate the name. 

For that wine lover who's husband's name is Brady...oh wait. That's me.

People from New York aren't egotistic of anything. 

God only knows what wine you are drinking. 

Pug life. The wine for the Notorious D.O.G. lovers.

On a boat or on shore, this is a festive bottle of Chandon.
Also, how cute would this be at an "Ahoy, it's a boy" themed baby shower!?

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