Wednesday, May 21, 2014

3 Fresh Summer Cocktails

In honor of the long holiday weekend and my 21st birthday coming up, I wanted to share some of best summer drinks for you all to try. Ranging from a twist in the classics, to something new and fun, there’s bound to be a drink for everyone.

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First on the list, Moscato Strawberry Lemonade
- 1 bottle of pink Moscato
- 6 cups of liquid lemonade
- ¼ cups of strawberry vodka
- Frozen Strawberry Slices
- Lemon Slices
- Mix them all together in a large pitcher and enjoy!

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Why do an orange juice mimosa when you can make one with watermelons?
Watermelon Mimosas
- 1 small watermelon, peeled and cubed
(to yield about 6 cups watermelon cubes)
- Juice of 2 small limes
- 2 tbsp agave nectar (optional)
- 1 750ml bottle dry sparkling wine, chilled
Purée the watermelon cubes in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain the watermelon using a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Add the lime juice and, if desired, the agave nectar.
Mix the watermelon agua fresca with the champagne. Start with roughly equal parts of agua fresca to champagne, then tweak to your taste.

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And finally, for all those summer birthday people out there, Birthday Cake Martini
Makes 1
- 1 oz. Amaretto
- 1 1/2 oz. Smirnoff Iced Cake Vodka
- 1 1/2 oz. Coco Lopez
- 1 oz half & half
- Honey & rainbow sprinkles for the rim
1. Rim glass with honey then dip in rainbow sprinkles. *Best done by dipping glass in a plate of honey then a plate of sprinkles.
2. In a martini shaker filled with ice, combine Amaretto, Vodka, Coco Lopez and half & half. Shake until well chilled.
3. Strain into prepared martini glass and sip.

So whether you’re entertaining for 1 or 100, try these out and let us know how it goes. Although it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, please always remember to drink responsibly!

Have a great weekend!


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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

5+ Tips for Writing Your Own Wedding Vows

Hi! It's me again, Kati, and I'm excited to share with you 5+ tips for writing your own wedding vows! My husband and I decided to write our own vows and I have to say it was one of my favorite parts of planning our wedding.  Here are some helpful tips if you decide to write your own.

  1.  Make a Commitment
    • Make sure that you and your partner are equally committed to writing your own vows. This should be a special part of your wedding and you don’t want to force the decision or put too much pressure on your partner.  Once you both have agreed, then you will need to decide if you want to write them together or if they are going to be a surprise.
  2.  Make a List
    • To get started, I suggest you make a list of all the traits that you love about your partner. Then reflect on special moments you’ve shared together, times that your partner has really been there for you, and important milestones in your relationship. Jot down as many things as you can think of and sort through them along the way.
  3. Decide on a Tone
    • Do you want to be romantic, funny, religious?  Don’t be afraid to have fun with it! You can mention a silly story or quirk about your partner.  For example, in my vows I promised to let my husband play his video games and to always cheer for the Cowboys.  Also, feel free to be creative. You could even write your vows as a poem or a song.  Just make sure to take your audience in consideration and don’t mention anything that you wouldn’t want Grandma to hear! 
  4. Decide on a Structure 
    • Some examples would be to start each sentence with “I promise” or “I pledge” or to mention something from the past, present, and future.  For the length, short and sweet is usually best.  Make sure to discuss the length with your partner so that you are both on the same page.  You can set a time or word limit to help. 
  5.   Decide if You Will Memorize
    • Lastly, you will need to decide if you are going to memorize your vows or read them aloud from a sheet of paper.  Keep in mind you will most likely be nervous and emotional during your ceremony.  Even if you feel completely confident memorizing your vows, I suggest carrying a copy with you or with one of your bridesmaids. 
If you are having writers block or need some more inspiration, I highly recommend utilizing Google for some examples of other peoples wedding vows.  You can always edit or add to an example to make it your own.  Don’t be nervous if you’re not the best writer, all that matters is that it comes from the heart! 

Once you are finished, I recommend having a few others read over your vows for you. It could be your Mom, Sister, future Mother in-law, officiate, or anyone close to you. Whoever you choose will probably have some helpful insight and thoughts to contribute. 
Lastly, I highly recommend having some tissues readily available just in case! Don’t forget: practice makes perfect, so go over your vows as many times as necessary until you feel comfortable.  I hope these tips were helpful and wish you the best of luck!   

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

5 Ways to Make Your Graduation Party Stand Out

It's that time of year again! Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping and there is finally no snow left on the ground. With the warmer weather comes another season, but likely not the season you are thinking of; It is graduation season! 

I am especially excited because one of my younger sisters will be graduating in just a few short weeks and a few weeks after that I will be celebrating with her at her graduation party. Because there are so many graduation parties every year, my parents wanted her party to be something different. 

Below are a few ideas to have your grad party stand out.

- Have a theme party! Most graduates think they have to use their school's colors for their graduation party theme; however, a graduation party can have a theme that makes it all its own. Some ideas for a theme you ask? It can be anything from nautical, to vintage, to having a garden party, or a party with and assortment of cookies and milk to celebrate the smart cookie in you! Whatever you theme you choose is sure to make your party that much more special.

- Have a candy bar. We did this one for my graduation parties! As a thank you gift we set up an entire table with jars and jars of candy. As the guests were leaving they got to fill as many bags as they wanted with candy. And the way your candy bar is set up can match the theme of your party with the types of candy all the way down to the colors of the wrapper.

- Guest Book Jar. Just like a wedding, it is a great idea to have a guest book for your graduation party. This ensures that the graduate has something they can look back on and see who was all at their party. However, just signing a book is a thing of the past. Instead, have your guest write a favorite memory of the graduate or a piece of advice for the graduate on a piece of paper. Then have them stick it in a jar that the graduate can take with them and read whenever they'd like!

- Have the guests bring a photo of them with the graduate. When you send out the invites ask the guests to bring a photo of them and the graduate that you can keep. As they are arriving stick the photos to a cork board set up at the party. This gives the graduate pictures for keepsake and adds to the decor of the party.

- Have a bonfire. To end the night, have a bonfire for the graduate and their friends. Often during grad parties the graduate does not have a ton of time to spend with their friends because of so many people in attendance. This adds a special touch to the party and is great way for the graduate to end the party with friends. Don't forget to have all the fixin's to make s'mores and other delicious treats!

Lastly I would just like to congratulate the class of 2014! You guys did it! It's now time to party!

Happy Planning!

- Jennifer O.

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