2nd Annual St. Patty’s Day Party

Another year and another successful St. Patty’s Day Party. This crazy Texas weather decided to be absolutely perfect the day of the party, making us thirsty and giving us the perfect reason to be outside playing cornhole, ladder golf, Polish horseshoes and more. Somehow we didn’t take one picture outside, but I think that’s because my amazing friend Kathryn, made the cutest chevron photo booth in my living room. I don’t think it was every empty and the pictures are hilarious.

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We carried on the tradition of the Whiskey Bar, which now has a permanent place at our annual soiree due to its success. We went simple on food and I had A LOT of help from my ridiculously generous friends and family. These Shamrock pretzels and Kathryn’s buffalo chicken dip were the hits! I ordered a banner from Vistaprint to match our invitations, Candace created a hallway of Shamrocks in my entryway that was just out of this world and she and I attempted to replicate these until the wee hours of the morning.

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We continued the St. Baldrick’s tradition as well, and our amazing nephew Derick volunteered to shave his head, which for us this year meant even more. We had more than 70 of our friends and family come by throughout the day and just had a great time. Thanks to all who helped make it such a success! Counting the days until next year!

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Check out our First Annual St. Patty’s Day for more Irish fun.

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Thirsty Thursday: Colorado Bulldog

Until about 9pm yesterday I thought it was Thursday. I finally realized that I was a day ahead of myself, which means (a) it has been a seriously long week and (b) I’m ready for some weekend cocktails. Over the Christmas break my brother-in-law-to-be got me seriously hooked on the good ole’ Colorado Bulldog. Its a cold drink that warms you up – the perfect winter cocktail.

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The Colorado Bulldog: Fill a tall 16 ounce glass 1/3 full of crushed ice. Pour in 1 jigger vodka and 1 jigger Kahlua. Fill to within 1 inch of the rim with Coke. Fill to within 1/2 inch with light cream. Stir to blend. (I use Diet Coke to cut down on the calories and I double the recipe so it fits in my Red Raider Tervis.)

Enjoy! Here’s to Friday!

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Thanksgiving Prep

I’m not much help in the kitchen (besides my mad dish washing skills), but I always eagerly volunteer to set and design the table. In honor of Thanksgiving tomorrow, I’d thought I’d share some pretty tablescapes to get you inspired as well as a few reminders on the ins and outs of holiday meals:

My favorite place setting of all time from Mrs. Lillien because it provides for three types of wine.

But, for those who may want to focus more on the meal and less on the wine pairings, this graphic prepares you for all scenarios:

Also, check out Cup of Jo’s wonderfully illustrated guide to table manners.

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Thirsty Thursday: Irish Coffee

For a brief moment we had 30°F weather here and it gave us a chance to finally break out the Jameson’s for a little cold-weather cocktail. The Husband has spent the better part of the last two years perfecting his Irish Coffee recipe and he has it down to an art. It (and a little Redbox action) makes for a great little date night in.


The Real Irish’s Irish Coffee

  1. First, preheat your proper Irish coffee mug, with hot water and then dump the water after a few seconds. (We picked this method up in Doolin!)
  2. Fill the glass with freshly brewed coffee until it is about three quarters of the way filled.
  3. Stir in a heaping spoonful of light brown sugar, depending on how sweet you like it.
  4. Add a shot of Jameson’s or any other favorite Irish whiskey. Stir again.
  5. Whip up some heavy whipping cream until you have a thick consistency that you can dollop on top. You can refrigerate the left over whipped cream for a couple of days.
  6. Drizzle Creme de Menthe on top and enjoy!

Thankful for Good Neighbors

Since the Hubs and I moved into our house two years ago, we have become really great friends with some of our neighbors. They would all do just about anything to help out one another and it is such a peace of mind to live in such a tight knit community. So with Thanksgiving coming up this week, I wanted to be sure they knew how thankful we are, so I made them a little pumpkin bread as a little pre-Turkey thank you. If you have someone that could use a little past-due THANKS, check out the recipe below.


Sabrina’s Pumpkin Bread (makes two 9×5″ loaves or 3 smaller loaves)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup salad oil
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1 can pumpkin (15 oz)
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbs. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2/3 cups water

Directions:

  1. Cream sugar and oil together.
  2. Add eggs and pumpkin. Mix well.
  3. Combine all dry ingredients.
  4. Add dry ingredients to mixture alternating with the water.
  5. Pour into well-greased and floured loaf pans.
  6. Bake at 350° F for 1 hour 30 minutes if using large loaf pans. If using smaller loaf pans start checking after one hour. Knife should come out clean when done.
  7. Cool completely before removing from pans.
  8. Wrap in your favorite paper, adorn with ribbon and spread the neighborly cheer.

Matrimonial Monday: Bridesmaids Asks

A couple of weeks ago I received this cuteness in the mail from my little sister asking me to be her MOH:

And these sparkling beauties are the ones Michelle sent:

I love, love, love formal bridesmaids asks. I didn’t do these for my wedding (because I got too excited and just blurted it out to everyone on the phone or in person) and I so regret it. It’s such a great opportunity to tell the special friends in your life why they are special and just how much they mean to you. There is some beautiful stationery out there for this particular purpose and I’m obsessed:

If you really want to go all out, these are great to pair with a little gift. Who doesn’t love wine, chocolate or a good koozie. Or if you really want to ensure happy bridesmaids – a monogrammed Longchamp. My friend Martha found vintage clutches that she put a note in to give to her bridesmaids. If that doesn’t make your friends feel special, I don’t know what will.

7.5-ounce Belgian chocolate postcards adorned with completely edible images.

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Monograms and Margaritas

We  threw a insanely fun couple’s shower at our house a few weeks ago for our great friends Juan and JoAnna. I loved the Margaritas and Monograms theme we chose! The possibilities with this theme are endless. One of the biggest hits of the evening was the Strawberry Basil Margarita that I pulled from Pinterest. This is definitely a recipe that will be made over and over. We had the cutest and most delicious cake balls made by Mo Cake’s in Austin and JoAnna’s BYO Lunch Bags stuffed with Anthropologie goods were a wonderfully creative (and well-received) hostess gift. Unfortunately, I did a horrible job at photographing this event so here is a mix of pictures of our party and some of the inspiration I collected while prepping.  Also, a big thank you to all my co-hostesses – it was a great group to throw a party with.

Some more M&M inspiration:

Debate Watching Party

Because I live in Texas, I do not get to enjoy the full excitement of election season. We are not a swing state (and I hope it stays that way) so the candidates don’t spend a lot of time tromping through our small towns, or blanketing our television screens, radios, phones and mail boxes with all of those nitty gritty ads. But, one of my favorite election season traditions is the debates. You get to see the personality of the candidates, determine how they work under pressure and analyze how good their speechwriters and team are. (I’m one that firmly believes a President is only as good as the rest of his cabinet members). My expectations aren’t high because I’m pretty sure the media has severely affected the relevance and usefulness of debates (for the worse), but I hope we get a little substance out of both candidates instead of just Convention-style rhetoric.

Unfortunately, I will be on a plane to Boston this evening (so thankful for DVR), but if not I’d pull out my best USA gear, invite my argumentative friends over and host a little debate-watching party of my own. Debate starts at 8pm CST – Go Mitt!

Booze it up with Conservative Intel’s Drinking Game and some bi-partisan bourbon:

If you prefer to watch the debate in your pj’s while Pinteresting, Bliss has you covered with their eau-lection collection:

And if you’re really on top of your game, Invitation Box has some killer election-themed paper goods:

If this debate snuck up on you, don’t worry. The veep candidates battle it out next Thursday and then we have two more head to head matches on the 16th and 22nd. Also, coming soon…a primer on the electoral college and the states that will make all the difference.

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Talk Like a Pirate

Many of you are probably not aware that today is National Talk Like a Pirate Day. I make note of this, because one of my main man’s (Jon and Candace’s adorable 4-year old) favorite things in the world right now is pirates. We celebrated his birthday earlier this summer which was of course pirate themed. Wyatt fit the part perfectly and Candace had everyone and everything decked out in their best swash-buckling gear. If you have a mini-Jack Sparrow in your midst check out this party inspiration:

  1. Nothing says “aargh” like nautical stripes
  2. This awesome tablescape came from Kara’s Party Ideas, which is one of my favorite blogs. She has several other pirate party ideas including one for girls.
  3. Notable Nest featured a whole host of pirate-y ideas, but my favorite were her awesome invitations:
  4. If that’s not enough check out Design Dazzle who compiled a whole list of super-mom ideas like this “X Marks the Spot” mailbox.
  5. A free “Ahoy” printable
  6. Hostess with the Mostest has the mother load of pirate ideas. It even has a Goonies theme!

Happy Pirate Day, all!

Thirsty Thursday: French 75

We went to one of my favorite Fort Worth bars the other night, The Usual, to celebrate JoAnna’s birthday where I re-discovered the French 75. I ordered one of these in a bar back in DC several years ago and was obsessed for a good six months. How I forgot about them I do not know. There is even jello shot version if you are really feeling festive.

The birthday girl

French 75 recipe:

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin (preferably one redolent with juniper)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup*
  • 1–1 1/2 ounces champagne
  • lemon twist, as garnish
  • brandied cherry, as garnish
  • ice

Shake gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup for 30 seconds in an ice-filled shaker. Strain into wine goblet or highball glass halfway filled with ice. Top with champagne. Add more ice if necessary. Garnish with lemon twist and cherry.

* Over low heat, dissolve 1 cup sugar in 1 cup water (stir occasionally). Remove from heat, cool in container, and refrigerate for up to a month. (I totally won’t do this part – you can buy simple syrup, can’t you?)

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