Category Archives: Food and Drink

Bachelorette Bonanza!

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Being a social butterfly, it is probably not shocking that I absolutely LOVE bachelorette parties!  It is one of the last times you get to go all out before the bride says “I do”. I recently went on a trip to Atlanta (awesome city by the way) for my lifetime friend Casey’s bachelorette party.  We had a ball.

Below are some fun ideas for planning bachelorette festivities.

Spoil the bride.

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No matter what, it is essential to make sure the bride to be feels special. This is all about her so make it a pleasantly wonderful memory for her. Whether it be a relaxing spa day or a night out on the town, make sure to keep her feeling fabulous. One thing I thought was adorable was having Casey’s fiancé write her little notes (some were funny some were sweet) and we would give them to her randomly on our trip.  Here is a cute picture of her reading one before we hit the road.

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Designate a dress code.

One way to make bachelorette parties fun are by coming up with a dress code. When my friend Blair got married we all wore black and had fun glasses and she wore the outfit of her choice. with a cute veil and sash.

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Another adorable idea my friend Jennifer had was making each person who came to her uptown Charlotte festivity wear a tutu. In my opinion,  it was super precious and unique.

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I’ve also seen people get t-shirts made, all wear pink, and other similar things, but you can easily custom the dress code to type of person the party is for.

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Play games. 

I have played some funny games at bachelorette parties. One of my favorites is  the balloon game.

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BALLOON GAME:

  • Write down different things the bride to be is required to do before the night ends. (For example, get a stranger to take a shot with her, do a funny dance, get a kiss on the cheek, and other silly things)
  • Insert the instructions in to a balloon.
  • Blow up the balloons and place them on the outfit of the bride to be.
  • When you go out the bride must have all of the balloons popped and completed each task written down or else she has to take a shot.

Try new places.

When we went to Atlanta everything was new to us so we let the bride to be pick a few spots we stumbled upon or we have heard about from friends and checked them out. If you are ever in the Midtown area of Atlanta,  I would definitely recommend the Steamhouse Lounge (amazing seafood) and Publik Draft House (extensive cocktail menu).

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Be smart and safe.

If heavily drinking will be involved always remember your body needs food and water. Do not over do it. You don’t want to end up with your face in the toilet all night or passed out before sunset. Also DO NOT drink and drive. Take cabs, plan a stay in slumber party, or go to places in walking distance of you.

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Most importantly HAVE FUN!

Stuck Like Chuck

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I live in the Carolinas for a reason—it’s WARM! I love summer, flip flops, and sundresses. Usually winters are cold but it is rare to it will will snow more than a few hours during the entire winter. Well I have been stuck in my apartment for the last 3 days due to winter storm, Pax. It snowed and snowed and snowed some more and in Charlotte when it snows it becomes a ghost town. Lucky for me Harris Teeter has been open and is just a couple of blocks away from my home. I never thought going to the grocery store would be my form of entertainment but it has been not only my life saver but also a way for me to safely get out of the house. Although I am stir crazy as heck and can’t wait to get back to work, I have creatively found ways to keep myself occupied.

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SNOW DAY IDEAS

1. GO OUTSIDE: Because it rarely does snow here in the south, people go nuts when it does. My dad lives in Colorado, I think the snow is beautiful if I am skiing but other than that, I’m content looking at the snowfall from the warmth of my home. If however you are one of the people who enjoys being outside in the snow–build a snowman, take a walk, grab an inter tube and find some hills to go down, or make a snow angel! Please just remember to dress appropriately–layer up, grab your boots, scarves, hats, and gloves.

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2. CLEAN: Yeah I know– not the most “fun” snow day idea but I used the last 3 days to deep clean my entire home. I did laundry, organized my closet, mopped, dusted, scrubbed the bathroom, did dishes, and more!

3. COOK: I have cooked much more than usual. To be frank it’s because everything is closed but none the less I have eaten some simply delicious warm meals the past couple of days.

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BUNLESS BURGER

These are extremely simple to make and taste AMAZING! I purchased the pre-pattied sweet onion cheddar burgers from Harris Teeter (you can use whatever type of hamburger meat you prefer).  I placed them on my George Foreman grill for about 20 mins flipping after 10 minutes (you can also cook in your oven or skillet–the choice is yours, I just prefer the grill). Then you can top with your favorite toppings! The one I made was topped with sautéed sweet onions, bacon, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, avocado, and pickles. I mixed hot sauce and A1 as a sauce to dip it in! Don’t knock it til you try it!

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CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

All I did for this was get a prepackaged dry soup mix (Bear Creek Tortilla to be exact). I then added sautéed chicken, lime, hot sauce, sour cream and Fritos. It was a good winter meal and took less than 20 minutes to make.

4. RELAX: Watch a movie, have a glass of wine, have a spa night, take a nap. Do whatever you want to do that you may not have time to because of your busy schedule. I work nonstop so I made it a point to rest as much as possible.

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Well, the sunshine has finally come out so the white stuff is finally melting but if you are stuck, I hope this gives you some sort of idea of what could make it a little less painful!

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That’s SO 2013

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It’s hard to believe it is 2014. The saying must be true because time really does fly when you are having fun. Although a year has past, 2013 brought a lifetime of memories.

JANUARY 2013- Me and Lgeezy

2013 started out for me with the rekindling of a friendship I once thought was beyond repair. Lauren and I are both very opinionated and my stubbornness hindered our friendship for a while and ever since we had a pretty intense talk sometime in January we have been closer than ever. We are always each other’s comical relief as well as ear to listen threw hardships. She and I often joke about how happy we are that we are friends and the truth is, I don’t think either one of us would have it any other way.

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Lauren and I at my house for Superbowl 2013

FEBRUARY 2013- I couldn’t think of one big moment so I put two for September, because it was a pretty great month!

MARCH 2013- Trippin’

In March my 8 year old niece,Darby, wanted to go visit some of our family in Colorado so I did what any aunt would do, went with her. She is so patient for a kid. She was an amazing passenger and we enjoyed watching the snowfall as we made crafts by the fire. She loved the snow and knew exactly where she wanted to eat while in Colorado Springs, CO. It’s almost bittersweet to watch her grow up.

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Well, Aunt Avyn had a big girl job so, I had to leave that Sunday and get back to work but Delta had other plans. I was stuck in an airport for 2 days straight. I spent one night in a hotel in Colorado Springs and another in Atlanta. Most people would have been miserable but lucky for me, I met some pretty kick ass people and we clicked instantly. We did everything together for those two days and even nicknamed ourselves the Delta Force. It was actually pretty amazing because to this day I talk to 2 of the ladies I met.

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ImageDelta Force stuck in hotel #1

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APRIL 2013- Wilmington Bound

Quentin turned 30 this March and because I was in Colorado, I took him on a trip to Wilmington NC, in April. He is from Charleston SC, loves seafood, and had never been so we went down for a night and enjoyed some fresh seafood, a rooftop bar, and a beautiful condo overlooking the waterway. Although we didn’t get to take the sunset cruise I had planned because it was so cold outside, we still had an amazing trip and look forward to going again.

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MAY 2013- Claybo party of 2

This year my friend of many years Jennifer Allen became Jennifer Claybo. That’s right, she got married to her best friend Jon Claybo! The two are a walking definition of marrying your best friend. They adore each other so much and I am so glad I got to witness them tie the knot. Everything was beautiful and I continue to wish them both a lifetime of happiness.

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June- 28 Years of Greatness

One of my best friends, Beth, turned 28. My friend Casey and I hopped in the car and headed to Columbia, SC to celebrate 28 years of fabulousness with Beth. We had dinner at a Japanese restaurant where we actually sat on the floor. It was a feast of sushi, sake, and silliness. After dinner we had a pajama party with Beth and her roommates. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while.

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Beth- the birthday girl

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JULY 2013- America’s Most Wanted Tour

I try to go to at least one concert a year so this year I got a Groupon to the TI, Lil Wayne, and 2 Chains concert, told my friends about it and we all went. A few of us pregammed at my house then met everyone there and had a blast. Dancing on a summer night is one of the best feelings in the world.

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AUGUST 2013- Playin’ By the Pool with Pipes

My friend Piper and I both got laid off from our full time jobs and instead of moping around about it, we did what we could, looked for jobs, and most importantly had fun! If we didn’t see each other at least twice a week, something was seriously wrong. We took our dogs on walks, relaxed at each other’s houses, but my favorite times were pool times. We joked about how we “worked from home and we had business meetings”–leaving out the minor detail that we were unemployed and went to the pool weekly. It sucked getting laid off but we are both getting back on our feet finally, but I must admit it this summer was one of the best ones because of her.

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SEPTEMBER 2013- He liked it so he went and put a ring on it

Sunday September 15, 2013 my lifetime friend Casey was no longer  in a relationship with her boyfriend Jesse, she was now his fiancé. With country music playing, they sat in the back of his pick-up truck.  They were drinking wine in front of a bonfire when he got down one knee and asked for her hand in marriage. I am so excited to be apart of their wedding and can’t wait to see Casey as a bride! She will be gorgeous, I just know it!

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Here’s the ring!!!

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Jesse and Casey

SEPTEMBER 2013- She’s 1

This September my baby niece Remy Vera turned one! Decked out in a tutu and Chuck Taylors, she was the guest of honor at her cookies and milk themed birthday party. My sister in law is so creative she had a cookie decorating station set up for the children, a milk bar, and guest left with a mason jar packed to the top with ingredients to make their own cookies at home. I love my family and seeing Remy become a year old, walking and talking has been an amazing experience.

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OCTOBER 2013- Glammed Up Pumpkins

This year instead of carving pumpkins, some friends and I headed to Piper’s house and glammed up some pumpkin. Piper supplied glitter, glue, sequins and more and we decorated our pumpkins. I think they turned out adorable and it was much cleaner than sticking your hand in a slimy pumpkin.

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NOVEMBER 2013- Thankful for Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving my family and I enjoyed a delicious meal at my parent’s house. It was laid back but we were surrounded by love and each other.

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This is some of our feast

DECEMBER 2013- It’s Christmas time in the city

Hands down, Christmas was the best way to end the year. From celebrating with my friends at our annual holiday party to watching my niece open her iPad, Christmas was amazing. Anytime I am with family and friends, I am content. They are the reason I get up each day and aim for greatness. Below are some pictures from my holiday celebrations.

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My Charlie Brown tree

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10th Annual Peacock Christmas Party

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My amazing mother

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Handmade crafts from my niece

Gobble Gobble!

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I feel like I blinked my eyes and it was November. Decked out in my leggings and fall purse, Thursday,  I headed down to my parents house to enjoy a day of family and friends.

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It has been quite sometime since I had Thanksgiving there. Usually my brother and I spend time with our father from Colorado but this year we were all with mom. I brought Quentin, my boyfriend, and my brother brought his girls. My aunt, and uncle who has had a pretty rough medical battle this year, and a few of our family friends and parents filled my childhood home. It was such an amazing time. It is really special when you get to spend the day with those who mean the most to you. With everyone having such different schedules, these times are hard to come by.

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I have never brought anything to thanksgiving because I have never really enjoyed the kitchen, but this year I felt it was time to contribute. I made macaroni and cheese, and not to toot my own horn–but it was good! Simple, yet delicious, I have included the recipe below

Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe- done!

Ingredients

6 cups of grated cheddar cheese

4 cups of noodles (I used small shells but you can use elbow macaroni)

2 cups of milk

Optional salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 375. Boil the noodles until soft (about 6-8 mins–just check because you don’t want to overcook them). Use a colander
to drain the noodles. Run cool water over them  as they drain (it helps keep the noodles from sticking). Then in a nonstick Pyrex or buttered metal pan evenly alternate layers starting with noodles on the bottom then cheese, salt and pepper to taste if preferred. Repeat until the pan is full. Top with a generous amount of cheese. Pour the milk evenly over the whole dish, then bake for 25 mins. Then enjoy!!

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Let’s be honest here–no Thanksgiving is complete without a kitchen blunder or two. For example, my pumpkin bars may have been in the oven a little too long and left behind at my house on purpose and mom may have been freaking out because the turkey wasn’t cooking as quickly as she had hoped. Comical now; we have more memories for the books! Although sometimes it is easy to get consumed in our own stresses, I am thankful for the day noted as Thanksgiving. Each year is another moment to share a nice meal with those who have help mold me into who I am becoming.

FISH AND BEEF: It’s what’s for dinner!

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I recently began working with an amazing woman, Gwen Poth. She owns her own PR here in Charlotte.

I was just  talking with a friend the other day about how much fun we had at The Cowfish for my friend Piper’s birthday.

ImageWell, it turns out, The Cowfish, is one of Gwen’s clients! This place is such a unique dining experience. Some refer to it as a burgushi restaurant because they are well known for both their sushi and burgers. As you may know, I am somewhat weak for being in the know about celebrities. The other day I was working on a project for Gwen, and learned some pretty high profile people are also fans of The Cowfish. Michael Phelps is just one example.

They say opposites attract and if this is true,  this is a true foodies’ dream come true. If you ever have a chance to drop by – DO IT. It’s a unique restaurant inside and out and the food is to die for.

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http://www.thecowfish.com/

Lily Pad LaPrad

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Last year one of my dear friends, Lauren, became the first time mother of a beautiful baby girl.

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On August 28, 2012, Lauren and her boyfriend, John, welcomed their precious little 6lb., 12oz.  daughter, Lillian Marie.

It seems like just yesterday she was born, when in actuality yesterday we all joined to celebrate her 1st birthday!

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Being named, Lillian LaPrad, she inherited the fitting nickname– Lily Pad LaPrad. Her 1st birthday party was themed around lily pads which was perfectly unique. From the food to the decor, the party was perfect!

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All dolled up in pig tails and her party dress, Lillian welcomed her guests just like any 1 year old would–crawling, semi-walking and talking, and smiling from ear to ear.

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Although some may argue if a 1 year old even understands the concept of their 1st birthday, there is no doubt Lillian knew it was all about her. She crawled from guest to guest, climbing up on their laps for a moment then moving along to the next until it was time for presents and cake. She is such a social butterfly–just like her mom!

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She opened her gifts ranging from clothes, to shoes, to toys and touched and looked at each one for a few seconds–as any curious one year old would.

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We gathered together at the end, singing to the birthday girl. Of course, being the diva she is, loved the attention.  After her parents helped her blow out her first birthday candle she devoured her yummy cake! What kid doesn’t like sugar, right?!

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Yesterday was perfect in every way! I feel honored that I was able to celebrate with so many others as this sweet little girl turned 1. Each time I see her, it seems as if her personality is becoming more of her own. I can not wait to continue to watch her grow and change as the years go by. But before anything I have to get her to say Avyn!

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Snip and Clip

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Let’s face it guys– our economy is not at its best. Although the job rate is slowly back on the climb, employers are not able to offer the compensation they once were. It’s not that they necessarily don’t think candidates don’t deserve it, it’s that many internal costs of running a business has also increased. It is not easy to run a business especially with the issues our economy is facing.

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Well this blog is not going to find you a job or give you the winning lottery numbers but, it should help you manage to save some money while shopping for your families essentials. We’ve all seen the shows and heard the stories of the people who spend close to nothing on a whole month’s worth of groceries. I was a bit hesitant about this whole couponing idea until I saw how easy it was to do.

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I’m not going to sit here and say it is easy to because it does take work and patience (which I am working on). About a month ago I got a Sunday paper and collected the coupons, then continued just about each week following. All I did was check the sales papers for the  two local grocery stores and made lists of what was on sale and looked for a coupon. Everyone has their own system but that is mine. I ended up spending $50 on $120 worth of groceries at Harris Teeter. SCORE!!! I also look through to find good prices to local restaurants, stores, and entertainment on groupon.com. We got concert tickets for $22 a piece! Can’t beat that. It can be a little time consuming but trust me you and your bank account will definitely appreciate it. Happy Couponing!

All You Magazine has some great tips for people who are interested in couponing and need some ideas on where to start. http://www.allyou.com/coupons-deals/easy-couponing-00400000061681/