Thirsty Thursday: Gonna Party Like It's My Birthday!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Someone’s birthday falls on Thirsty Thursday…and that someone is ME!!!! That means I have the honor of featuring my own drink here on this blog!

My loyal readers know that I love me some wine right now. Given that it is a Throwback Thursday, I thought I would stick to that theme and take a trip down memory lane, well what I can remember of it, and highlight some of my old favorite cocktails!

Oh you see that theme up there? Almost all of my birthday parties are at bars...well, one was Chuck E. Cheese, but they serve alcohol ; )


Yes. I drank before I was 21. Other than Zima, I wouldn’t say that I had a favorite drink during my underage years. It was basically whatever us kids could get our hands on. That involved Mad Dog (shout out to reader D), Keystone Ice and Peach Schnapps. Jell-o shots were also a must.


Freshman Year – Jungle Juice, Keystone and Milwaukee’s Best. Not favorite, but it was available. When my parents came to tailgate, we got the good stuff – Coors Light. When I snuck into bars (18 to party, 21 to drink…what, what!), I’d order Sex on the Beach…because that didn’t make it obvious that I wasn’t 21!

Sophomore Year – This is where the fake ID came in thanks to sometimes reader Margaux! For beer I’d go with Coors Light. Mixed drinks my go to was Captain & Coke.

Junior & Senior Years – Turning 21 meant legal trips to the bars. For $1 22oz mixed drinks at Levels, I went with Long Island Iced Teas. When I bought myself bottles of liquor, I went Barcardi O…until I imbibed in a bit too much – haven’t drank the stuff since. Beer – Coors Light and a little Bud Light here and there.

More bars...some things never change!


2003 – dating Brady when I was living in Blacksburg, we would go to the local bowling alley and drink bottles of Bud Light in the shape of bowling pins. One of the only things I liked about Blacksburg.

Chicago Years

2005 – Moving to Chicago, I started experimenting with new cocktails. Chicago is where I discovered Effen Black Cherry. So for several years, I moved to Effen Black Cherry and Sprite.

Around the 2006 time, I started drinking white wine. Pinot grigio specifically. I’d say around 2009, I moved to Prosecco. In 2010, I discovered Prosecco with a splash of St. Germain. Shots of choice were red headed sluts and Patron. I also adopted a love of Bloody Marys during brunch!

Pittsburgh Years

In 2011, I blame sometimes reader Lindsay, I moved over to red wine. My favorite is cab and I LOVE Arnold Palmer. Recently I got into Dave Matthews Dreaming Tree and love that too! I also love me a Pimm’s Cup during the summer and also tend to sip on a gin cocktail. Shot of choice right now is Fireball.

I can’t wait to see what the future will bring for my alcohol pallet! 
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Fashion Friday: Alex & Ani

Friday, February 21, 2014

Over the last year and especially around the holidays I saw Alex & Ani on a number of gift lists. I’ve seen this brand before and saved it into my “Gift” bookmark folder, but recently I’ve seen some people wearing these bracelets in person and they are super cute!

I started writing this three weeks and breaking news has come in before I could post…the Victoria Secret in Shadyside closed and it’s going to be….an Alex & Ani Store!

Not only are the bracelets cute, but they each have a special meaning.

According to the website, Alex & Ani create eco-friendly, positive energy products to enlighten the mind and empower the spirit. For example:

Khaki Healing Charm: Green symbolizes connected hearts and love’s power to heal.

Grapes: A symbol of fertility, grapes are associated with good luck, hospitality and pleasure.

Om: A sound resonating throughout the body into the soul.

Purple Velvet Spirituality Charm: Violet provides spiritual wisdom and a sense of oneness with the universe.

Tinsel Beaded Bangle: A reminder to join family and friends in joyful celebration.

Claddagh Charm: The Claddagh, which originated in Ireland, represents the virtues of love (the heart), loyalty (the crown) and friendship (the hands).

Some additional good ones!


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Reader Mailbox: Lunch Ideas

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Former reader Lindsay writes…What are some fun lunch ideas.

The reason reader Lindsay asked me this question is because I told her what I eat for lunch: veggies. You see, on Sunday or Monday (depending on the cluster F the Whole Foods parking lot is), I buy a veggie tray from Whole Foods. It’s about $7 and you get broccoli, peppers (red, yellow and green), tomatoes, carrots, celery and cauliflower. Each morning I make a baggie of veggies for my lunch. I pair that with fruit, nuts, whole wheat wrap or some $2.50 Whole Foods hummus (best on the planet). In all, it’s a pretty healthy, filling lunch. Well filling for me. I can’t eat a big lunch at work or I’ll want to fall asleep at noon.

I’m not a health expert by ANY means, but sometimes I have some good ideas. So here are some other lunch ideas.

·         Quinoa: I went on a little kick of making a big bowl of quinoa early in the week and then adding in some veggie and a splash of soy sauce throughout the week. It’s good hot or cold and you can always add in shrimp or chicken. 

·         Veggie Wrap: Whole Foods has some awesome whole wheat wraps that are like $2.00 for like 6. Well, I take these a put a little hummus inside. Then, I’ll add some veggies…either one or all of the following: mushrooms, asparagus, cucumbers and a little feta here and there.

·         Salad: In Chicago salad was my go to lunch. A little lettuce, garbanzo beans, cucumbers, and peppers and you’ve got a pretty salad. I also keep salad dressing at work (if people don’t use it).

·         Tuna & Soup: Not together, but these are two staples that I always keep in my desk for those days when you forget lunch.

·         Veggie Burgers: I try and avoid processed foods when I can, but its rather difficult. One processed food that I don’t mind buying is veggie burgers. You can quickly zap them in the microwave and they are typically under 100 calories!

·         Tomato Salad: In the summer, I love to make a good cucumber and tomato salad with a bit of olive oil, basil and feta.

If you can’t tell, I’m like 60% vegetarian lol. I eat meat and fish during dinner, but by day I’m a veggie gal!

I couldn’t do this on my own, so I consulted the internets for some other recommendations…

·         Kale & Apple Salad
·         Veggie Pita Pocket
·         Southwest Pasta Salad – even a quick whole wheat pasta with a bit of cheese and Italian salad dressing would be great.  
·          Greek Salad
·         Chopped Lunch Salads

Brady and I are now big fans of rotisserie chicken. For the two of us, we get at least four meals or more out of one $9 chicken!

Oh and you can never go wrong with PB&J!  
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That time I made 20 centerpieces in 2 days...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I just ended my tenure in office as the Vice President of a professional organization in Pittsburgh. My last event was an awards ceremony in which I sat on the committee planning the event. I took over on d├ęcor and we planned on using balloons to add some sparkle to the event…until we had an amazing response to the event with more than 50 guests than we anticipated. We also saw the final floor plan the week of and balloons would block the view of those in the back of the room.

So four days before the event, we had to resort to another option with a limited budget. I ventured out to a craft store during a snow storm and I was able to turn around the following….

The event was held at PNC Park – home of the Pirates. Playing off of black and gold, I purchased gold faux flowers on way sale from Christmas (75 cents a bushel!). I then bought 10 taller circle vases and 10 lower square vases. They didn’t have 20 of one or the other.

Once I had the flowers and vases, I then grabbed 20 pieces of Styrofoam, black ribbon with a bit of sparkle and glue sticks. To add some more depth to the table, I bought black and gold sparkle poster board and regular black poster board and a circle hole punch to make confetti for the table.

Total Bill: $253.99 for 20 centerpieces!

To assemble the centerpieces, I cut up some petals and glued them on to the Styrofoam to cover the white base. I then trimmed the flowers with wire cutters and stuck them into the Styrofoam. Finally, I filled the vase with left over flowers just to continue to cover the bottom on the vase.

Did I LOVE them? No. But did they do the job? YES! I mean they worked for a four day turnaround! After making these for this price, I sorta wished I made my own centerpieces for my wedding! 

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Craft-tastropy: Glitter Wine Bottles

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Not all of my craft projects go…um…well. Here’s one of them.

I’ve seen so many glittered wine bottles. I received a mini bubble bottle for Christmas AND a 12-pack of glitter from my mom, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try one of these sparkly crafts. I purchased some decoupage glue from Martha Stewart and tested my luck….

And it was almost all wrong.

I added the clear decoupage glue to the bottle and then started to sprinkle on the glitter. I used a very fine glitter and it actually took A LOT to cover up the bottle. I tried to even out some of the glitter with a brush and it just started clumping up on me. I could have added a few more layers of glitter, but I decided to stop before there was another glitter bomb all over our apartment.


I’d probably recommend NOT doing this. Just tie a bow on the bottle. Or glue gems. Pass on this craft! 
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