Quarter Century

17 Apr

Anyone who knows me also knows that my birthday is without a doubt my favorite day of the year. Maybe it is the only child in me or maybe I really do crave attention, but a day dedicated to celebrating you, come on what’s not to love? My birthday parties always involved spectacular themes, meticulous planning and a to-die-for gift bag – and we’re talking single digit birthdays. In college I started thinking, why celebrate one day when you can celebrate all weekend? And if we’re going that far, why stop at the weekend? (I also tend to live a “go big or go home” lifestyle)

Enter the “birthweek”.

I recently came across this post from “1000 Awesome Things”, which breaks down the various elements and necessary celebrations that take place throughout your “birthweek”. Having just celebrated my Quarter Century “birthweek”, I couldn’t help but compare:

1. “The Wild Party” {check, check, and check} – The party started Friday Night with a surprise FAW planned by my BFF (note, I have never had a surprise party thrown for me, was completely surprised and apparently even more gullible than I thought) My celebration continued into a Saturday of sangria in the sun which was then followed by a jello-shot Easter Egg hunt, Sunday brunch at El Vitral with loads of champagne and an insanely fun day at the ballpark.

Gloria - a birthday box of wine.

2. “Bestie’s Dinner” {check} – A fabulous evening (on my actual birthday) spent with my favorite San Diego gals at one of our local loves, Enoteca. We go for the BYOB/no corkage fee but stay for the insanely delicious pasta and Italian “Happy Birthday” serenade.

3. “The Office Party” {check} – My overly fabulous co-workers threw me an Afternoon Birthday Tea Party. Seeing as we work for a beautiful wedding magazine the table was set and styled to the nines.

Our Tea Party!

4. “The 1 on 1” {check} – This is supposed to be for that “friend” no one else can stand, however I don’t have any of those. I reserve this for the time spent with my roommate, partner in crime and BFF. We got our nails done, did some shopping and enjoyed a delicious dinner together.

This may seem excessive to some but that doesn’t bother me. You only turn 25 once, and then you turn 26, 27, 28… and I think that’s a cause for celebration. Happy Birthday!

Easter Brunch, for dinner

13 Apr

We mixed things up and ate at our coffee table

Out of all of the Holidays there are to celebrate I have to be honest, Easter is not my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I love pastel colors and cheesy potatoes, but growing up it was never really my cup of tea. The Easter Bunny at our country club gave me the creeps and searching for a dozen dyed eggs when you are an only child is more a form of punishment than a fun game. It also typically falls on or around my birthday, and I am not interested in being upstaged by a over-grown rabbit. However, when my roommate suggested we host an egg-dying party I decided to put my ill feelings aside and pull out the pink china.

 

Pinterest inspired asparagus vase of roses

I cooked a delicious ham in the crock pot (it was my first crock potting experience and I can promise there will be more to come!) I modified this recipe a little bit, using apple juice instead of pineapple juice and I added a shot or 2 of brandy. My mom always uses brandy when she makes ham, so I thought it was necessary. We also enjoyed some cheesy p’s, or as my California-raised friends refer to them “scalloped potatoes”, some yummy bread and coconut chocolate chip cookies (with no butter!).

Dye, glitter and sequence!

After dinner, it was onto the main event – egg dying. Once it was made clear I would not have to search for these eggs post dying and that there was glitter at my disposal, I was more into it.  When you add good friends and a few glasses of wine to the mix, I have to admit the whole Easter-thing is starting to look better in my eyes.  Especially since the Easter Bunny didn’t make an appearance.

Shamrock Shake {Good Food}

19 Mar

Happy Monday After St. Patrick’s Day!! I hope your weekend was filled with as much green and deliciousness as mine. We had the pleasure of indulging in a true Irish Feast thanks to our dear friends Chrissy and Lauren. Not only did the meal start with a shot of Jameson but it included perfectly cooked corned beef and cabbage, amazing beer bread and yummy veggies (that they turned into Shepard’s Pie the following day…yes I am spoiled). Our apartment was responsible for dessert and hosting Irish Car-bomb consumption. The success of the “Grown Up Milkshakes” combined with the need to create Martha Stewart’s adorable  Shamrock Straw Toppers inspired me to take a stab at my very own Shamrock Shake. It was so yummy that it had us doing an Irish Gig all night long!

Shamrock Shake that will make you Shuffle! 

1 container Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream

Whipped Cream Smirnoff Vodka (I poured 1/2 a liter into these puppies)

1/4 Cup Milk

 

Grown up Milkshakes {Good Food}

5 Mar

A few weeks ago we hosted a Toy Story 3 movie night.  Since most gatherings at our apartment revolve around food, we thought an appropriate theme for the cuisine was “little kids food” – chicken fingers, mac ‘n cheese, corn dogs – you get the gist. When our friends/fabulous Little Yellow Kitchen food bloggers came across this recipe for grown up milkshakes I had to give them a shot (or 6!)

Turns out Lucky Charm infused milk, vanilla bean ice cream and vodka is an amazing combination!

Before & After: Table Makeover

1 Mar


If you can remember from a while back I was on the hunt for the perfect kitchen table for our new apartment. It took a few months but my fabulous roommate finally found one! I’m not going to lie, when she brought it home I was a little skeptical because it was pretty hideous!  However, after some serious sanding, a few coats of off-white paint and a reupholster job (in cow print!) our cute little kitchen felt complete.

And the Award goes to…

27 Feb

It is no secret that I LOVE to play hostess. Throwing a dinner party, having friends over for a Disney-Themed movie night or even a casual FAW, I see as opportunities to bust out the pink china, plate up some delish grub and sample fun cocktails (or white wine). The Academy Awards combines most of my favorite “F’s” – Fashion, Film and Food – add A-List celebs and champagne to the mix and we’ve got ourselves a party! Putting together a red carpet event is easier than you think, all you need is an occasion and/or theme, a fabulous invitation (I am a fan of paperless post), a yummy menu, some over-the-top simple decor and your best buds. 

Our menu consisted of fried chicken (in honor of Octavia and The Help), dragon rolls (A Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), homemade Italian Pizza (because we have access to an Italian chef), delicious cake batter popcorn and of course, Chocolate Cake (we left out the “special” ingredient). I hope your Oscars Night was filled with good food, good friends and a little bubbly!

FAW

24 Feb

One of the many cherished traditions from my college days at UW Madison was “FAC”, or for those of you non-badgers, Friday After Class. Although it was always a personal goal not to schedule class on Fridays, having something to look forward to after that dreaded end of the week lecture was key. Not to mention, FAC was the perfect way to kickoff the weekend! Now well into my Sophomore Year in the “Real World” FAC has naturally transitioned into FAW – Friday After Work.  Let’s face it, we all know when 5 o’clock on Friday rolls around you are ready for a glass of Chardonnay.

What started out as my roommate and I decompressing after a long work week over a glass on wine and some cheese, has transitioned into a weekly gathering that our girlfriends plan and look forward to. I’m talking themes, gourmet food and countless bottles of vino. Of course, there is still always cheese and the purpose has not changed, even from our FAC days…celebrating the weekend.

If you don’t FAW, I highly suggest you take a crack at it. But a tip from a pro, invest in some quality wine glasses, while Ikea is great their glasses don’t stand the test of time and broken glass is quite the buzz-kill!  Happy Friday to you, cheers!