small pretzels (any shape works!)
chocolate covered caramel candies (I used Rolos, they fit perfectly on the pretzel)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Arrange the pretzels in a single layer on the parchment lined cookie sheet. Place one chocolate covered caramel candy on each pretzel.
Bake for 3-4 minutes or until the caramel candy is soft but not melted. Immediately after removing the candies from the oven, while the candies are still warm, press a pecan half onto each candy covered pretzel. Let stand or place in refrigerator until caramel candy is cooled and harden completely. Store in an airtight container.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
1 can frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate
1/2 cup vodka
3 and 1/2 beers. I use Mich Ultra and it turns out delicious.
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
Sliced lemons and limes
Stir all ingredients together, adding the beer and raspberries when you are ready to serve.
Disclaimer: So I know you are probably wondering what has gotten in to me with posting all these drink recipes, so I wanted to let you all know I am not a drunk. I share these drink recipes with you because they are something that I have enjoyed and shared with my friends in hopes you will do that same while being responsible. I am not preaching, I am just saying!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Boss Man and his wife have a beautiful house outside of downtown Columbia close to Lake Murray. After briefly getting lost, because I thought I remembered how to get there, we arrived a shortly after 6:30pm. We enjoyed a cocktail before dinner, Boss Man made a Peach Fuzz for his wife and myself, while him and Thomas enjoyed a beer. The Peach Fuzz was delicious by the way, I will have to ask for the recipe and share it with you! Dinner was ready soon there after. They made a shrimp boil and Boss Man made his own recipe for cocktail sauce which was out of this world. It was so good I could have eaten it by the spoonful, seriously. Did I just take that too far? Whatev, it really was that good!
We left the house for the boat without clearing the table because we were going to miss the sunset if we didn't hurry. To be more specific, we were headed out on the boat to Bomb Island which is an island in the middle of Lake Murray where over 750,000 Purple Martins come to roost on this island every evening during the summer. Before last summer, I had never heard of such a thing! By Boss Man's description I thought I understood, but boy was I wrong. This is unlike anything I've ever seen. We made it to Bomb Island just in time and there were at least 50 boats already scattered around the island watching the Purple Martins.
We were in such a rush to make it there in time, I forgot to bring my camera, but here is a picture from Google to give you an idea of the crazy number of birds there are on the island.
When we arrived back at the house the ladies headed for inside, while the men stood around outside talking about cars, but before I knew it Boss Man was back in the house asking if we were ready. Of course I asked, ready for what? He replied, to go for a ride! I am sure I had a puzzled look on my face, wondering how four adults were going to fit in to a tiny two seater convertible? What I soon found out when I stepped outside was Thomas sitting in the drivers seat of the MG.
We drove around Lake in the old cars for close to hour. Obviously Thomas didn't kill us and I lived to tell you that crusing around town in the MG was SO much fun!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I embrace change willingly and the latest and greatest technology is usually of interest to me. I was one of the first of my friends to have a Blackberry, but one of the last to jump on the iPhone bandwagon, but honestly I really didn't like the iPhone when it first came out. I can speak from first hand experience now when I say I didn't quite know what I was missing out on because after only using it for a very short time I am extremely happy with my decision!
I know I am new to the iPhone world, but one thing I do know is the capabilities of the iPhone are endless. So I am asking for your help, what are you favorite apps, capabilities, shortcuts, or just little quarks you've learned and love about the iPhone?
Monday, July 26, 2010
For the encore he sang at the very back of the amphitheatre in the middle of the crowd sitting on the lawn! I think it goes without saying, but the crowd went nuts!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Rockaway's is a great place to enjoy comfort food. It is actually where Thomas and I had our first date! They are known for their pimento cheese burger and pimento cheese fries. Caution: Be prepared to get messy when you order the pimento cheese fries, as there is no easy way to enjoy them, but they are ever so worth it.
As I am sure you have already figured out, Rockaway's is known for their pimento cheese burger and fries. So much so, President Bush ate lunch there when he was in town, because you really can't leave Columbia without trying either of the two.
After a very comforting dinner, the group decided we wanted to head downtown to The Rooftop Bar on top of the Sheraton Hotel. The hotel opened over a year ago along with the bar. Thomas talked about going there plenty of times last summer and I was always hesitant because for whatever reason I always felt like the first time we go we needed to have a group of friends with us. Don't ask why I felt this way, because I have no clue. So last night was the night to take the plunge. The Rooftop Bar is on the 17th floor of the Sheraton Hotel with amazing views of downtown Columbia. The bar was crowded, but not packed, there were plenty of seats at the bar, where we sat and enjoyed each others company as well as the beautiful skyline. It was such a neat atmosphere with an incredible view, so much so you didn't feel like you could possibly be in Columbia. The bar was a big hit with the entire group and we will definitely be back. With or without a group of friends!
Friday, July 23, 2010
We all know there are many choices when it comes to drink mixers, so much so it is overwhelming at times. Most of the time when you are in need of mixer it's for a sugary drink like pina coladas, strawberry daqauris, etc. and how can you really go wrong when its sugar and more sugar. On the other hand, it seems hard to find a Bloody Mary mix that isn't bland. Like I said earlier, the reason why I like Bloody Marys is for the devine combination of salt and spice. Look no further than Zing Zang. It is the only Bloody Mary mix out of a bottle that I have been able to find with spicy flavor. There is nothing worse then vodka and tomato juice if you ask me.
Absolut Peppar. Yes, there is actually a purpose for this flavor vodka. If you are like me when this vodka debuted a few years ago and there was advertisement after advertisement for Absolut Peppar in magazines, I kept thinking to myself, what drink could possibly call for pepper flavored vodka? Then it hit me! Bloody Mary's,duh! And I can tell you from first hand experience it makes a huge difference. It adds extra zing the drink!
Rim the glass first with lime juice then with Old Bay seasoning or celery salt
Add a celery stalk or pickle spear to the inside of the glass
Add as much horseradish as desired for added spice
Garnish with a slice of lemon or lime and/or a piece of shrimp
Thursday, July 22, 2010
This picture was sent to us from Molly's foster Mom, Anita and is one of our favorites!
Molly with her new parents and foster Mom, Anita!
New Mom, Karen and Foster Mom, Anita making the transition!
Last group photo before the trip to Molly's new home, she looks quite happy!
In our recent dealings with dog rescue organizations, it has really put in to perspective for me how many dogs in the United States have not been fortunate enough to find their forever homes. Why buy a puppy from a breeder who is having litter after litter of puppies to make money when there are thousands of dogs all ages, sizes, and breeds already without homes. I am a firm believer in rescuing animals after my parents wonderful experience in adopting Sparky from Welsh Terrier Cares and Molly from Fox Terrier Rescue. These rescue organizations are run by people just like you and me and they do it because of their love for animals. There are many needs for these type of nonprofit organizations from foster homes, and adoptions, to volunteers, and monetary donations. If you are interested in getting involved please click on the links above to learn more.
Molly is adjusting extremely well to her new home and my parents are absolutely in love with her! Please take the time to spread the word about pet adoption and together we can save innocent animals from cruelty.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Thomas and I both have a love for Chicago, so much so we have thought about living here, but the winter weather stops us dead in our tracks every time. Thomas' last trip to Chicago he discovered Gino's East, rated one of the best for Chicago's pizza. Every time we talk about Chicago or pizza, he reminisces about Gino's deep dish pizza. As soon as we decided we wanted to get out of the hotel for dinner, I recommended we go to Gino's.
The most delicious and unique deep dish pizza I have ever had! The crust is definitely different, but incredibly tasty. We ordered a large supreme pizza, in case you are wondering, I am traveling with two male coworkers which explains the choice and size in pizza.
Gino's East has several locations in Chicago, so the next time you visit the Windy City, be sure to make it one of your stops! And if you've never been to Chicago, you're missing out, plan a trip today. Once you get here, you will fall in love, as long as you don't visit in the winter!
P.S. I apologize for not posting yesterday, time got away from me!
Sunday, July 18, 2010
So I am sure you read my blog every day (not!) and might have noticed that you wanted to comment on something in my post and weren't able to. I apologize! I am new at this whole blogging adventure and did not realize the comment section had been turned off.
I am here to tell you that has all been changed since the middle of last week and I welcome your comments, input, opinions, feedback, etc. I am very interested in what my readers have to say and I hope this opens up other doors for us to share ideas!
Friday, July 16, 2010
After what I know will be a very fun and exciting weekend, we will be heading home around lunch time on Sunday because I need to unpack and repack within just a couple hours to make it to the airport as I am headed off to the windy city for a conference!
I hope you have a great weekend!
Thursday, July 15, 2010
The champagne rounds out the strong flavors of the tequila and lime, adding bubbles and a wonderful flavor that will have you reaching for flute after flute.
(You can double or triple this recipe to make it for a crowd.)
Finely grated zest (colored part only) from one lime
1 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup Cointreau
1 cup 100% agave silver tequila
Superfine sugar, if needed for adding sweetness
Half a lime for moistening the glass rims
Coarse (kosher) salt
1 bottle chilled Brut Champagne
1. Make the margarita mixture: In a pitcher, combine the lime zest, lime juice, Cointreau, and tequila. Taste the mixture. If you like the flavor (it will be quite tart), leave the mixture as is; if it's too tart for you, stir in a little superfine sugar. Cover and refrigerate until chilled , about 1 hour.
2. Serve: Strain the mixture to remove the zest. Moisten the rims of eight 6-ounce Champagne glasses with the cut side of the lime half. Spread coarse salt on a small plate, then upend the glasses into the salt to crust the rims. Fill each glass halfway with the margarita (it'll take a generous 1/2 cup). Slowly fill the rest of the way with Champagne and hand to one of your lucky guests!
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
2. Share 10 things about yourself.
3. Pass this award on to 10 bloggers you recently discovered who are fantastic and contact them to let me know you picked them for this award.
10 Things About Me:
1. I'm an only child. As my good friend Ellie calls me on a daily basis, figlia unica (only child in Italian). Although, I am an only child, I have 18 first cousins on my Mom's side of the family and 9 first cousins on my Dad's side of the family and I think of them as the brothers and sisters I never had!
2. My Mom is my best friend-always has and always will be. It is hard that we live in different States, but I hope we live closer to each other one day soon! We talk daily both on the phone and through e-mail and usually see each other once a month!
3. I love to travel. Whether it's traveling to a different city, state, or country, traveling excites me! Thomas and I took our first trip abroad together to Spain in May and had a wonderful 10 days. At the end of our trip we made a promise to each other that we would plan a big trip each year from here on out. We are already thinking of places to go next year!
4. I much rather bake than cook. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy doing anything in the kitchen, but I enjoy baking the most. Maybe it has something to do with my endless sweet tooth?
5. I have the best group of girlfriends a girl could ask for! Seriously. Who can say they lived with 8 of their best girlfriends in one house for 2 years during college, not fight, and are still friends years later? We can and we are proud of it! I have the best memories from those two years we lived together. Since graduation, we all still live in the South and see each other a few times every month!
6. Thomas makes my life better in every way. I truly believe you find your significant other when you least expect it. In my case, I was friends with both of Thomas' roommates yet never spent much time around Thomas. I am so happy that we ran in to each other out one evening 3 years ago because he truly is my better half!
7. I enjoy planning-especially parties and trips! I love to entertain and I can't wait to some day have lavish dinner parties and celebrations with family and friends. I look forward to planning these events just as much as I enjoy the actual event.
8. Forever grateful to the University of South Carolina and it's Gamecocks for the best 4 years! I still get chills when I think about attending football games at Williams Brice Stadium and hearing 2001. It was at USC where I made the most amazing friends I could have ever imagined.
9. I have been very blessed. I have the most amazing parents, family, and friends. I am thankful for the good health and fortune God has blessed us with. I consider Miss T a part of the family, she is my little buddy and I can't imagine life without her!
10. I have a true passion for fashion. In all seriousness, I majored in Fashion Merchandising at USC and although I not currently working in the fashion industry, it is my dream that I plan to have come true one day soon.
I award the blogs listed below with the Sugar Doll Award:
I hope everyone has a great Wednesday and enjoys the blogs I have listed above!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
I am fortunate enough to have large family and lots of friends and I think it is important to make sure you come up with a budget at the beginning that works for you for bridesmaid dresses, travel and hotel costs, the amount of money you can afford on engagement gifts, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and wedding gifts. That way you'll always have a guideline that will keep you in line with your budget and fair to every friend and family member whose wedding you are asked to be a part of.
Below are some tips for wedding guests on a budget. Let's be honest here, we all have a budget whether is $50, $100, $500, or $10,000, we all have a limit at some point.
Shop around for hotels. Just because the couple blocks of rooms at a particular hotel, say the Ritz, does not mean you have to stay there nor that you are getting the best deal. Shop around, there are plenty of discounts, AAA or booking online that could save you money.
Wear the same outfit. This is much easier for guys, as they can easily get away with wearing the same suit to multiple weddings by changing the necktie. If you are expecting several invitations that require black tie, it is more economical to purchase a tux then to rent one each time.
As for us women, there is the pressure to dress differently for each wedding, but that shouldn't require a whole new outfit. Purchase a neutral color dress and accessorize it differently for two different weddings.
Bridesmaid dresses on a budget. Once you are finished with the dress you can resell it on eBay or a local consignment shop to recoup some of the money you spent. Also, unless alternations are included in the price of the dress, you'll often save money by doing them with an independent seamstress than the one who works for the bridal shop.
Do your own hair and makeup.
Plan the bachelorette/bridal party carefully. Make sure you decide in advance who is paying for what. Collect money in advance if you can or choose a venue where you can easily split the bill.
Still can't afford it? Just say no. There's no point in going into debt over someone else's wedding, so sometime it makes sense to decline.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Carrie's Play On Tour made a stop here in Columbia back in the beginning of May and trust me I was there! I absolutely admire her talent and love her music. The concert was very entertaining, yet so real. It seemed as though it was Carrie, just being Carrie. That the person you see performing on stage is the real her and she would be just as enthusiastic, thankful, and sweet if you met her on the street. I listen to her album Play On at least once a day!
It has been said that Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher tied the knot yesterday evening at the Ritz Carlton, Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, GA. I have actually been to Greensboro, GA and Reynolds Plantation as one of my best friend's mom's lives there! It's magnificent, I can't wait to read about the details in People Magazine!
Friday, July 9, 2010
For dinner, Thomas took me to Baan Sawan, a Thai Bistro on Devine Street to celebrate my birthday! We both have been wanting to try this restaurant for awhile and my birthday was a great excuse!
Riesling they had on the menu because Rieslings are usually my favorite and as it turns out this one is now top on my list. It was the perfect combination of dry and sweet and it was ice cold which made it that much more enjoyable on a hot summer evening. For the curious, the wine is Richter Peisporter Michelsburg 2008. I can't wait to find a local store that sells it and stock up for special occasions since it is on the more expensive side at $35 per bottle.
To start we ordered calamari to share, it was prepared crisp and drizzled with plum-ginger sauce that was out of this world y'all. The calamari was delicious, both Thomas and I were remarking how we had never seen such thick pieces of calamari. Delicious!
After a tough decision, we finally decided on our entrees. I ordered the pad thai, rice noodles tossed with their slightly sweet, tart and salty pad thai sauce with bean sprouts, ground peanuts, onion and scallions. You had the choice of adding chicken, tofu, or shrimp, I chose chicken. Thomas chose one of the curried entrees. Step 1 you pick from chicken, shrimp, vegetables, tofu, sliced sirloin, duck, or fish of the day. Step 2 you choose a curry. I won't go through all the different types of curry, but Thomas settled on the red curry which is described as medium bodied.
The atmosphere at Baan Sawan is very laid back and relaxing. You feel as though you are enjoying dinner in someone's home with no rush. Our entrees arrived a short time later and both did not disappoint. Warning: be extra cautious when ordering the spice level of the curry. Thomas enjoys the hot hot hot flavor of spicy foods, however the hotness from curry is measured on a different scale.
We spent the rest of the evening enjoying one another's company before heading home. My birthday celebration will continue for a few more days, as I am celebrating with my friends tomorrow night and with Thomas' family sometime over the weekend or early next week.
Until next year thank you to my family and friends who made my birthday very special!
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I have been so blessed to have such a wonderful family and friends and I am very thankful to be celebrating another birthday with you all!
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Cucumber Water Recipe
*In order for the cucumber to fully release its juice, you need to prepare it the day before your event.
1 cucumber sliced and peeled + 6-7 cucumber slices for decoration
1 1/2 to 2 liters of filtered water
Half a lemon sliced and unpeeled (optional)
In a pitcher mix the water, cucumber, and lemon (optional). Let it rest in the refigerator for 24hours. If you prepare the water at the last minute. cut the first cucumber in 3 to 4 pieces. Then squeeze the cucumber pieces to release all the juice.
Before serving remove the cucumber slices used to flavor the water. Then stir with a wooden spoon, add some ice cubes, and 6 or 7 fresh cucumber slices.
Enjoy this refreshing drink!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
1 can pinto beans
2 cans white\yellow corn
2 cans Rotell tomatoes (original)
Drain all the cans and mix together in the bowl. Squeeze a good but of Italian dressing, start with a small amount and gradually add more as needed. Mix together. Cover bowl and place in refigerator overnight. Before serving transfer dip in to a fresh bowl and serve with tortilla chips.
Monday, July 5, 2010
We are having a blast at the beach with my entire family. The weather has been gorgeous, we've been so lucky! Our days are spent on the beach while the past 3 nights we have alternated having dinner between two of my Aunt's houses. Tonight we are having dinner again with the family and are celebrating both mine and my cousin, Christina's birthday. My birthday is later this week and Christina's is July 21st, we are just 13 days a part! I'm looking forward to ice cream cake for dessert (it's my favorite)! More on that later...
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Last 4th of July I drug Thomas to Pine Island to see fireworks. Needless to say, he was not happy camper due to how crowded it was. Although, once we arrived and got situated he ended up having a great time, isn't that what matters? This year we are spending the holiday a part and unfortunately not by choice. Happy 4th of July Thomas, we miss you!!!
Oh, and Mom if you reading this in the other room, I hope you are making your blueberry pie for this evening!
Happy 4th of July!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
For those of you who know me, know how much I love my Blackberry Pearl, always have and always will. Its just been recently that I have decided I wanted to make a change. I can't exactly remember how it all came about, but it must have started when I realized my two year contract on my current Pearl should be expiring very soon, which it is.
I really don't know anything different then a Blackberry because before then I had no fuss flip phone. So, I guess what I am trying to say is, I am scared to leave the Blackberry world and enter the world of Apple and the iPhone. I need reassurance, desperately! If I make the change will I be pleasantly surprised?
What I love about my Blackberry Pearl is the size, blackberry messenger, the reasonable cost for minutes and data plan through TMobile my current service provider, the ease of sending and receiving e-mail from multiple e-mail accounts.
It's time...I am ready to take the plunge whether it is upgrading to the Blackberry Bold and staying with TMobile....
In return, I'll keep you update on my decision...!
Friday, July 2, 2010
I hope everyone has an enjoyable and safe 4th of July weekend! By the time you read this, Miss T and I will already be on a plane heading home to go to the beach for the weekend. I can't wait to spend the next few days with my family down at the beach!
Thursday, July 1, 2010
OPI Bubble Bath is my go to color for my nails. It doesn't matter what time of the year it is or the color of your skin, nothing looks better then freshly manicured nails painted with OPI Bubble Bath. I agree that it is better to keep your nail color simple and subdued while painting your toes something wild and crazy. I have never been to a nail salon that doesn't have a bottle of OPI Bubble Bath available, but it doesn't hurt to purchase a bottle for yourself to keep at home. It will come in handy midweek for touch ups or when your in a pinch and don't have time visit a nail salon.