Friday, June 28, 2013

Easy 4th of July Party Decorations

The 4th of July is such a great excuse to kick back with friends and family, enjoy a cold beer or any beverage of your choice and fire up the grill. The 4th is laid back summer fun at its finest. If you are throwing a party for this patriotic day, you don't want to fuss with fancy party decorations. I've pulled some of the easiest and quickest DIY party decoration ideas in history. So you can take a few of these and plan your perfect July 4th bash without breaking a sweat.  

Set a pretty table in no time with extra touches like  individual servings of berries at eat place setting and sliced fruit in a clear pitcher. 

This might be my favorite idea ever - I love this blue glass. In fact, if I was having a bash myself I would use blue glass since I actually have some that I've never used. Le sighhhh. There's always next year. 

Nothing says laid back like paper plates - so I absolutely adore this table with carefully coordinated and cute paper plates, napkins, cups and silverware. It will take you longer to finish your first beer than it will to clean up this table- that's my kind of cleaning! 

This next photo solves 2 problems - you're feeling a little crafty and you need a cute way to display silverware. I love these craft paper bags! Get the kids involved and see what sort of festive designs their imaginations can come up with! 

This next idea is brilliant. Store everything your guests need in a pretty galvanized bucket for an adorable presentation. The bucket could be a take home party favor! 

Using burlap or even craft paper, hand stamp red white and blue stars for a simple DIY table runner.

The best part about this star garland is that you can save it and use it year after year! Hang withs from the mantel, on the front door, on your deck - the possibilities are endless!

I love this country buffet set-up. The gingham cloth is perfect and so are the red solo cups. "Red Solo Cup....." (now the song will be in my head for the rest of the day). 

Red and Blue bandannas serve as napkins and decorations when you use them in mason jars. Love this idea! 

And even though this post is about decorations, and not food, I can't help but include a super easy 4th of July treat. Because let's face it, food is always on my brain. Take ice cream sandwiches and roll them through red, white and blue sprinkles for a simply fabulous presentation. 

Hope you have a great weekend! Mr. Fo and I plan to spend some time kayaking at the US National Whitewater Center. We will then follow that up with an ice cold brew and time spent watching the white water rafters fall out of their rafts. Hee hee. Been there, done that! 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Iced cold bevs for summa-summa-summa-time

Cocktails are made for summer. Sittin; in the sun with an ice cold drink makes the incessant heat and unattractive sweating all worth it, don't you think? Oh I'm the only one that sweats? Yea I don't think so. You all know what I'm talking about :)

Sangria is a classic summer drink, and this one is made with beautiful rose wine which is one of my favorite summer wines. And seriously the strawberries right now are so delectable.

So as you might have gathered from my last post that I'm trying to get my fitness in gear. As a result I'm  drinking copious amounts of water. And while water is delicious in its own right, sometimes I'm like seriously if I have one more glass of water I will ... do something drastic. So, I've been drinking a lot of iced green tea because I love it. And check out the health benefits...I mean even if only half of them are true, it's still quite a list. Something that tastes good and it's good for you? That's rare.

In terms of cocktails, I feel really good about this green tea mojito. You have a little fun, and you get some health benefits. Me likey mucho.

Grilled Peach cocktail - We just made grilled peaches on the grill pan the other night and I highly suggest it. Talk about a deliciously edible garnish!

Speaking of peaches, I just about called up James and his Giant Peach when I saw this Frozen Peach Old Fashioned from Southern Living Mag.  Gorge y'all, as they say in the south. 

Strawberry Fields Smash ... I just simply love the name of this one. Strawberry Smash? Fantastic alliteration.

Speaking of Strawberries and alliteration, how about this Strawberry Shag cocktail? The world "shag" is not coincidental according to the recipe description. Hehe.

This one almost sounds like a hot toddy but it's a cool toddy... Whiskey with Lemonade and Honey. This could almost make me like whiskey. 

This photo is of a pretty combination of Champagne, lemon sorbet and mint. I can't find an actual source besides Pinterest but I'm pretty sure if you mixed up those ingredients you'd have yourself a mighty fine cocktail.

This beautiful grapefruit mojito is what got me started on the cocktail train to begin with. Last summer I posted about my love for grapefruit HERE. Adding this tart fruit to a mojito? It's a match made in summer-lovin' heaven. 

I made said grapefruit mojitos over the weekend and little Claire Bear my niece was fascinated by the beautiful concoction. Can we talk about her pinchable cheeks btw? Squeeeeal! 

I hope you find yourself making some (or all, no judgement) of these cocktails to get you through the week! Cheers!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tri-ing something new....

So no big deal but I'm doing a triathlon. 

Okay, okay it's not a FULL's like a super sprint, but still. My friend Amy convinced me to sign up for the Ramblin' Rose Triathalon. At first I was terrified (and slightly angry at Amy), but now I'm pumped.  I was lucky enough to get hooked up with the fantastic local blogger Caitlyn from Healthy Tipping Point to become a Ramblin' Rose Blogger Ambassador and promote these great races.

What is Ramblin' Rose? It's a program that "celebrates the empowerment of women" - and you really can't argue with that. It's such a wonderful message and one that I truly believe in. I should clarify that I am generally pro-human, but specifically, I'm a big proponent of women kicking ass and taking names. Whether it's in business, school, fitness, motherhood or overcoming hardships, women should support each other and not bash each other because we all have our own struggles. 
 And enough of that soapbox...sorry, I just get passionate about my girl power.

But seriously, the point of Ramblin' Rose is to get women active and complete a triathlon. I find myself brushing this off as a "super sprint" triathlon because that's what it is, but whatever, it's still an event that involves swimming, biking and running and I will totes be proud of myself and my girls. Even if we do have to wear unflattering onesies (which what we are calling our one-piece bathing suits. Can't tri in a bikini, that's a no-go.) 

So, just how doable is this Ramblin Rose tri?

It's a 225 yard swim

8 mile bike

2  mile run

Not bad right? I mean, I haven't swam (like REALLLLY swam) since back in the days of Camp Thunderbird (represent Camp T!). But I'm just hopping in the pool in my sweet onesie and making a go of it. This is also fantastic motivation to get me out of a fitness slump, and the turning-30-metabolism slow down that I'm currently experiencing. (Seriously, why didn't anyone tell me about this evil turning 30 business? It's like you can't even have tons of wine and cheese without repercussions anymore. Rude.)

If you are interested in empowering yourself  (and who isn't!) check out the Ramblin' Rose events coming up! There's still time! 

                                          Say it with me ladies - "I am woman - hear me roar!"

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Unique Bridal Shower Ideas

I've attended many a shower...whether it's bridal or baby, I've been to countless of these fun events. It's just that time in my life where my peeps are going through these milestones. But can we all say that when you go to this many showers, you really remember the ones that are extra special? Where the host put some serious effort into the decorations, food, or even theme?

With showers on the brain, I've been researching some unique ideas for shower themes and there are some SERIOUSLY creative ideas... let's peruse!

This wine tasting shower is right up my wino alley. What a great way to celebrate and learn a little about wine at the same time! 

If you know me personally, you know I'm not really into the whole housewife thing. I mean I love cooking Mr. Fo dinner, but for the most part, I'm like listen dude, if you have arms and legs then you can do your own laundry and clean your own bathroom. (Aren't I nice?!) All that said, this "housewife" themed shower is really freaking cute. As long as everyone knows it won't actually come true - right ladies? Women power and Lean In and all that ;) 

In the same vein, I do love cooking, so I do approve of this kitchen shower. How cute are these utensils on the table? 

If the couple loves to travel, a travel themed shower is appropriate and cute! 

Seriously check this out, this is one of the cutest showers I've ever seen! We've all heard of the little black dress (aka an LBD), so why not make it a shower theme and celebrate all things girly! I love love love this! The black and white stripes are my favorite part!

Tea time is another popular  bridal shower theme. My favorite party blog Celebrations at Home put together a fabulous tea party shower that you must look at for some serious eye candy.

I really like this Something Blue shower, which is of course a play on the "Something Borrowed, Old, New and Blue" that brides traditionally sport on their wedding day.                  

bridal shower themes
bridal shower cakes

For more fun shower ideas (like a bowling shower?!), check out this Real Simple article! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Trip to NJ...and have you ever heard of a Wishing Well?

When I go to NJ to visit fam, it's guaranteed to be a good time filled with tons of food and lots of laughing. This past weekend I hit up the Garden State for my cousin Theresa's bridal shower, and I can say it was once again a success in the food and fun department. There's just nothing like visiting family, especially when they are as hilarious and fun as mine. Not to brag or anything. 

Here's a trip down Jersey lane: 

I got to see my cousin's little babe, precious diva child Serina. Her clothes are always so fantastic, the girl dresses better than me. 

Ter's wedding shower was a fabulous occasion. There were 60 (yup, 60) people at the shower, unlimited vino, freaking delicious food and so many presents you could barely walk around the room. Yup, sounds like your typical Italian family wedding shower - I should know, I was fortunate to have one similar myself back in the olden days when I got married.

Let's talk about my favorite part of any event, the food. As Mr. Fo says, I have a secret fat kid inside of me. I should seriously weigh like 400 lbs. Who knows, maybe one day I will. If he's lucky. 

We started of with delicious bruschetta topped with fresh mozzarella. If you've ever been lucky enough to eat in NJ, you know their mozzarella cheese is worth every single delicious calorie. And as my mother says, "There's nothing like a Jersey tomato." This bruschetta was like what bruschetta dreams are made of - fresh, crisp and the perfect amount of garlic.


Then there was a salad that I didn't take a picture of, because it was a salad. 

My favorite course, and the entire reason I even go to NJ (kidding, sort of) was the perfectly al dente pasta. This was pasta with vodka sauce, and the picture doesn't accurately show how much pasta I housed. I also didn't take a picture of the BREAD BOWL it was served in. (I'm totally kicking myself for not taking a photo of this btw.) I mean, carbs served in carbs? Is this heaven?


Pasta was followed by a choice of meat entrees which all looked delicious as well. I had the veal, which I always make a point to get because I never make it at home. 

For dessert there was of course a beautiful cake, but one of Ter's aunts made homemade cookies for each table. I had way too many. Aren't they delicious looking?


I was also sitting next to some preggos so I was able to have their champagne. Score!


I loved the shower favors - a wedding cake cookie and heart shaped measuring spoons. How cute!



And for Ter, she had basically an entire department store of presents.  I must say, she opened them with great speed. I was impressed.


Ter also had a "Wishing Well." I'd never, ever heard of this and all my family was shocked. Apparently the Wishing Well is a tradition where your shower guests give you small gifts to "start stocking your kitchen." i.e. Spoons, small kitchen gadgets, even cans of soup back in my moms day. This particular wishing well had been in Ter's family for 50 years! 


Here I am with my beautiful cousins including the bride in the middle!


It's always good to see my double cous, Lauren.


After the shower we looked a little different as Ter and I had a sudden urge to go in a friends our clothes. Ter's fiance got a sweet action shot of me jumping in.


The aftermath:


Hey, you only live once, right?! Why not jump in the pool with all your clothes on! 

So the big question remains...have you ever heard of a Wishing Well at a shower? Everyone thought I was crazy because I had never heard of this! Help a sister out! 

Have a GREAT week!