Monday, December 23, 2013

Festive Holiday Cocktails

What's a holiday without cocktails, eh? Pretty darn sad, that's what I say. There are so many festive cocktails out there it's definitely hard to choose from! If you're looking for some last minute ways to make your Christmas shine a little brighter, serve one of these sparkly drinks at your holiday table! 

I'm loving this red and green Cranberry Mojito. Who said Mojitos are a summer-only drink?

Staying with the Cranberry theme, this Cranberry Martini looks delightful, doesn't it?

I know people have mixed feelings about eggnog, but I happen to love Eggnog once a year. There are plenty of homemade eggnog recipes but I will proudly admit I have never attempted them. I think some things are best done by professionals (read: sushi should be made by a sushi restaurant and eggnog should be made by liquor companies and bought in the liquor store).  Sprinkling some nutmeg on top is about as homemade as I get with my eggnog! Here's my fave all in one bottle:

While you're at it, you  might as well make these Eggnog Thumbprints to complement your nog craving. You'll have time since you won't be making your eggnog from scratch ;) 

Martha typically doesn't fail me, and she proves to be a winner once again with this absolutely gorgeous Pear and Cranberry Sparkler. Isn't it pretty?

In fact, I made a variation of this sparkler for a Girls Gift Exchange I hosted this past weekend and it was so refreshing! Perfect for these muggy 70 degree Christmas days we are having in NC! 

At our Fall Harvest Party before Thanksgiving, we did a simple spiked cider using Trader Joe's spiced apple cider and Bacardi Rum in the crockpot. It was a smash success. I highly recommend, it would still work for Christmastime! 

This Fig and Thyme cocktail is absolutely gorgeous to look at! I love how unique it is!

For my preggo friends (and cousin), this Apple Ginger Sparkler is pretty and festive. Just because your preggo doesn't mean you can't enjoy a lovely mocktail.

If all else fails, just throw some berries in your bubbly (or sparkling water) for a photo worthy cocktail display.

If you're not finished with your shopping, you best be getting on it because Christmas is 2 days away (in case you hadn't heard)! I've got a few stocking stuffers left to buy but my time fighting the parking lot wars is close to being over. Seriously - have people been as mean in your parking lots as they have been in mine? Lots of Scrooges out there - be careful! 

Merry Christmas to you and your family! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Winter Wonderland - 5th Annual Cookie Party

This past weekend we held our 5th Annual Cookie Party! I love that this has become an annual thing. Even though it's a lot of work, I really look forward to it every year.

Here are the 3 hostesses with the mostesses - my mom, Drew and myself :)

You can see past years themes here:

This years theme was Winter Wonderland with the colors being White, Silver and Blue. And sparkly glitter of course. This time of year I'm basically covered in glitter the whole time.

I spray painted letters to spell out Winter Wonderland on the mantel. The letters were perched in snow and a snowflake garland hung below. It was 55 degrees and sunny outside, so inside we didn't we didn't skimp on the snowy wonderland. 

Glass vases and a cloche (glass dome) were  filled with silver branches, white sparkles and blue ornaments to complete the Winter Wonderland theme! I loved how the cloche turned out, I think it  would be a great centerpiece item! In fact, this whole silver, white and blue theme would be a great tablescape theme for your Christmas dinner table. 

For the dining room (where the goodies aka cookies were) we had a backdrop made of silver wrapping paper. Mr. Fo cut out glittery letters from scrap paper that spelled out "Let it snow"...he's good with those freelance letters....and he likes doing it even though he claims he doesn't :) 

Drew (my sis-in-law and hostess partner in crime) hung ornaments from the chandeliers and it looked awesome! 

Sparkly, glittery trees were everywhere!

Most importantly, here were the real stars - the cookies!

These chocolate covered pretzels were festive and delicious!


Peanut Butter Blossoms were made a little more festive with candy striped kisses:

The Pecan Shortbread Trees were delicious and adorable - in fact, they won top prize of Best All Around Cookie!

Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprints Cookies were delicious (and another prize winner)!

I loved this Sugar Cookie Puzzle which tied for Most Creative - isn't it adorable? The puzzle pieces fit together perfectly to make this beautiful snowy scene! 

Lemon Ricotta cookies won Best Tasting for their fresh lemon-y flavor! You can find the recipe HERE

Peppermint Bark Brownies were a hit:

As were these AMAZING Nutella Sea Salt cookies! 

Here's a pic of all the cookies on one plate - our cookie guests know how to vote and took one bite (or more) of each! There were so many good contenders this year, people really brought their cookie A game. 

Each guests took home their cookies in silver gable boxes...

...complete with a cute sticker that matched our fab invitations from Party Box Design (my fave!) 

Hope you enjoyed our Winter Wonderland - we are still enjoying the cookies!! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Bear Wedding and other fab things going on

A lot's happened since my last post over a week ago. Sorry about that. Since my last post I had a birthday (31-eek), Thanksgiving (which was the same day as my b-day), my double cousins wedding (yippeee!) and a good friends baby shower :) So you can see why I wasn't able to post in a timely manner!

First up, my birthday/Thanksgiving. We were leaving the next day for the Bear Wedding (explanation to follow) so we didn't do much. I woke up and did a Turkey Trot which was fun. Here I am wearing the crown that my friend made me - and yes if you;re wondering, I wore it for the entire run and it didn't fall off once. I essentially forgot about it until people were shouting "happy birthday" the whole race and I was like, who are they talking to? Oh right, me!

I then promptly destroyed the effects of the Turkey Trot by eating my defense it was
 a) my birthday and b) the only place open on Thanksgiving. It was worth every greasy bite :)

We had a small low key dinner which I capped off with a Delicious piece of chocolate silk pie. Pie is so freaking good...I think it often gets overshadowed by cake, but it's got it's own excellent qualities. Yumm-mmy. 

Good thing I ate a lot because the next few days at the Bear Wedding were going to be super healthy (insert laughter here). 

Why do I call my cousins wedding the Bear Wedding? Well, because Lauren and Patrick (aka Paddy Bear) call each other (and everything in their lives) Bear-something. 

Exhibit A:

"Hey Bear, have you seen my Bear ____" 

"Yea Bear, it's right here in my Bear Bag" 

"I love you Bear-y Much" ... and so on and so forth.  

You see? So we called it the Bear Wedding. And they were 2 happy, happy Bears :) 

(I apologize for my slightly crappy iPhone photos, but honestly I was having SO much fun at this wedding that I had to remind myself to keep taking photos.)

So my cousin looked absolutely gorgeous, and her dress was amazing!

Here we are on the party bus before the wedding. Our red dresses were perfect for a holiday wedding! 

Love this photo. We Andolinos are classy. But seriously - look at her dress! That lace...that belt! 

The bridal party was taken care of with our own private room stocked with champagne and food. Nobody likes a hungry bridal party.

Laur did a great job with the decor and flowers at the wedding. I loved all the red!

The place cards looked great and I loved this crystal tree.

The room was stunning with amazing chandeliers hanging from the draped ceiling.

The flower arrangements were gorgeous - I loved the red berries.

They had a champagne based signature cocktail called The Bubbly Bear (of course). I could have had 10 of these...maybe I did.. but who was counting.

The cake was simple and beautiful and of course there were bear cake toppers. Obv. As I mentioned in my Cake Toppers post last month, creative cake toppers are all the rage these days.

Mr. Fo and I had a fabulous time and danced the night away to their awesome band!

The party favors were mini bottles of champagne (the Bears fave) with cute custom favor tags. We may have taken home 3. And they may have been taken home by my mom who put them in her carry-on bag...and well you know the rest. Some airport workers had a good old time with these wedding favors after we passed through security!

Besides the Bear toppers, the cutest things were these York Peppermint Patties in the hotel welcome bags - the grooms name is Patrick (Paddy Bear) York. York peppermint patties? Get it? Plus, I love York peppermint patties. Minty-chocolatey fresh.

Here I am with the two happy Yorks! 

Didn't that look like so much fun? It was! Congrats to the Bears - love you! 

Another congratulations is in order for my friends Leighton and Quentin and their Big Apple baby. Leight and Q are due in February with their first baby and he or she is bound to be beautiful and sophisticated since he or she will be born in NYC where they live. Plus Leight & Q are both beautiful and sophisticated so the babe has no choice but to be fabulous no matter where he/she lives :)

Here's some photos of their baby shower which was actually a fantastic cocktail party (in true NYC fashion!)!

I had some Big Apple cupcakes made from

Hillary and I took holiday portraits by the tree:

Proud Daddy Q holding up a funny onesie  (you know you laugh at that commercial):

Here's the happy expecting couple :) Love them.

And our best buds from high school (missing a few ladies here) these girls and excited to add another little one to the mix! 

If all those happy occasions didn't make you smile then you have a stone heart. But I'm giving you one more chance to smile with a picture of my precious little love, my niece Brookie at her ballet recital. 

I mean COME ON - even the Grinch and Scrooge would smile at that little sweetie pie 
rockin' her pink tutu!! If you didn't're getting coal in your stocking.

To babies, turkey trots, weddings and Christmas trees... have a great week!