Escada, Tadashi Shoji, Tocca, Josie Natori and Hellessy
I WOULD DRAPE MYSELF IN VELVET IF IT WERE SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE – GEORGE COSTANZA
Guys, the Fashion Week runways are overflowing with VELVET, and I’m loving every second of it. Why, you ask? Well, read my post about how to look chic while wearing pajamas where I also explain how I spent an entire semester of college wearing an orange Hofstra hoodie and black velour sweatpants…velour, the poor man’s velvet. But velvet? It’s just so luxe. I think I first considered velvet as a wardrobe choice after watching THIS episode of Seinfeld because, guys, velvet IS a choice. It’s not easy to pull off but I’m absolutely going to venture out and try to “drape myself” as often and as much as possible.
After an event like the Super Bowl, depending on your guests, you very well might be left with an extra six-pack or two in the fridge. Solve this dilemma with THE SHANDY, a traditional English drink that mixes beer with “lemonade” – actually a lemon-lime soda. You’ll drink half as much alcohol in each drink, but get to customize your flavor with every glass, turning that boring six-pack into something far more fun. You can find The Shandy style pre-mixed by lots of brewing companies, but when it’s so easy to make, you might as well try it yourself and have some fun with it.
Use a large beer glass
If using fruit, muddle in the bottom of the glass before you add any other ingredients
Fill about halfway with soda, then top with beer, adjusting the proportion to taste
The Shandy is best made with a light beer. I used a hoppy, light German pilsner and muddled fresh raspberries into it, which gave my Shandy a lovely pink tinge, with a bit of extra sweetness. Use whatever you have on hand – although I prefer it with a wheat beer, IPA, or any light ale. Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges work especially well with wheat beers, and all types of berries add a nice flavor.
If you don’t have a muddler, it’s worth investing in one. You can use them more than you might think – I love to muddle fresh fruit or herbs into my water for a tasty everyday drink. Here are some of my favorite muddlers:
Truth be told, I’ve never been a big fan of VALENTINE’S DAY (Anti Valentine’s Day Gift Guide 2014 to come) and all of the forced “love” that goes along with it…I mean, shouldn’t we love our friends, families and significant others EVERY day? All that aside, one of my favorite Valentine’s Day memories is from college. I had a really rough day in class and I came back to my dorm room and found a dozen red roses from my dad. It was a really sweet gesture and definitely made up for the fact that my day royally sucked otherwise. But I digress, and I’ll save the ranting for a different post. What I AM a fan of is new apps, especially when they involve letting me create fun things to send my friends and family.
My new favorite app, justWink, has nearly 675 card options to choose from, as well as the ability to add your actual signature, photos, etc. and can be sent via text, email, Facebook or Twitter, really giving you no excuse not to send a Valentine or two. Another feature that I really love is the fact that you can actually have the card send to someone via (gasp) snail mail for only $3.49, which is way less than actual greeting cards cost in store. This feature only takes about 3-5 days and you can even attach a gift card!
With winter in full swing, cocktails might be the furthest thing from your mind, especially if you happen to catch a cold. But staying in when it’s cold outside won’t seem nearly as bad when you get cozy with a HOT TODDY to warm you up. This drink is said to help clear congestion and help you sleep…and, it has the added benefits of being simple to make and tasty. I keep this one in my arsenal to make instead of chicken soup for when my friends are sick.
1 ½ oz brandy, whiskey, or rum
1 tablespoon of honey
½ a lemon
1 tea bag, optional
Coat the bottom of a regular mug or Irish coffee glass with the honey
Add your liquor of choice and the juice of your lemon
Meanwhile, heat water. Pour the hot water over the teabag, if using, into your mug or glass
Let the tea steep according to the type you’re using, and remove the tea bag (I like to stir to make sure all the honey is dissolved. Enjoy!)
You can use plain hot water if you prefer it that way, but I think the beauty of this drink is the endless options for experimentation. Try a cinnamon tea and throw in a with a cinnamon stick in there for good measure. Or use a chai blend, and you won’t need to add any spices at all. Use a sweeter herbal tea and you might omit the honey. I’d say to avoid anything caffeinated, because this warm drink makes a perfect nightcap – but I’ve seen people use green tea for the antioxidants and enjoy it just as much.
Sometimes you want to have something that’s a little more sleek and sexy to drink and The Lemon Drop, a martini, is just that – sweet, sour, delicious, and strong. You’ll need a tiny bit more preparation time than you did for The Paloma, but trust me, it’s worth it.
1 ½ ounces of vodka (about one shot glass)
½ ounce orange liqueur (like Triple Sec, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, etc.)
The juice of half a lemon, with twisted peel or wedge for garnish, optional
First, rim your glass with sugar. I used a margarita glass, but this is technically a martini. Use whatever wide mouth style glass you have. Put enough sugar on a shallow plate that’s wide enough for the edge of your glass to fit on it. Run a lemon wedge around the rim of your glass until it’s just moist. Dip the edge of the glass into the sugar.
Fill your cocktail shaker with crushed ice, and add the vodka, liqueur, sugar, and lemon juice. Shake well – really, really well! – to dissolve the sugar. Strain your drink into the sugar-rimmed glass.
*You can buy superfine sugar, an instantly dissolving sugar used specifically for drinks. Regular sugar will take longer to dissolve – you’ll have to shake long and hard. You can avoid all the shaking by making a basic simple syrup instead. Just boil equal parts sugar and water, stirring until fully dissolved. Let cool fully before using, and any leftover can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.
Things to know when buying vodka, according to Jo:
A lot of things affect the quality of vodka, which is why price ranges so drastically. Different vodkas brands each have their own distinct smell, flavor, aftertaste, and burn, and can be grain or potato based, or even distilled from fruit. Any impurities in the distillation process that make it into the final product will affect the quality of the liquor.
Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules like there are for tequila – everyone has their own preference for which vodka is best. I’d suggest trying those teensy bottles at the register in your liquor store, or making good friends with your favorite bartender and trying lots of different shots, until you find one or two you like. It’s best to have an affordable, everyday brand for cocktails, and a pricier brand to sip for special occasions. I’m more of a tequila girl, and I chose this limited edition Absolut Citron because I really liked the bottle – it just worked out that it tasted great, too.
We all know THAT sporty girl. She loves a cold one after work. She is great at poker and down to smoke a cigar with the guys. She knows the stats about the latest game and completely bros out on the weekend. She is…the cool sporty girl. (Jamie’s note: I’m so NOT this girl. I had to ask Hannah when the Super Bowl is even on TV)
Now, while I will always prefer a skinny margarita over a Coors Light, I can’t help but have a tinge of envy when it comes to the world’s cool sporty girls. So this Sunday, I’m stepping up my game (no pun intended) and giving those cool sporty girls a run for their money. I am going to master the Super Bowl. “Master” might be an exaggeration, but I am going to know a fact or two to prove my knowledge before and after the Bruno Mars concert…I mean, halftime show. (Jamie’s note: I wish Beyonce were performing again, sigh).
Here is my SUPER BOWL FACT SHEET, so you too can be the cool sporty girl at your game-day party:
Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos: you can show your support with these super cute nail art ideas (try not to pick a team to root for based solely on the colors) (Jamie’s note: but if you DO, don’t tell any men that was your reasoning.)
Quarterbacks (or QB): Russell Wilson vs. Peyton Manning
KEY TERMS AND FACTS:
Both teams want to score by advancing into the opposing team’s endzone (at either end of the field with the big fork thing)
Offense– tries to score (like a goal or basket or home run in other sports) by entering the opposing team’s endzone
Defense– tries to protect their endzone, by smashing into (or tackling) the offensive players and making them fall or drop the ball, or by intercepting the ball (think monkey in the middle)
Each team gets 4 attempts, or downs, to travel 10 yards with the ball. They can pass (this is where the QB’s come in) or run with the ball. Once the player hits the ground, the play is over and the team has one less down. If they travel all 10 yards within the allotted 4 downs, then they get another 4 downs to try to cover an additional 10 yards and advance towards the other team’s endzone.
If the team doesn’t cover 10 yards within the 4 downs then the other team gets the ball and the whole thing starts all over.
If the team gets super close to the other team’s endzone before the end of their 4 downs, they can attempt kicking the ball between the goal posts (the big fork thing) for a field goal, worth 3 points.
Touchdown– worth 6 points when a team runs or catches the ball in the opposing team’s endzone.
After a touchdown, the team can gain an additional point by kicking the ball between the goal posts in the endzone or two points if they run or pass it in.
Now you are officially a cool girl. Just throw in an italicized word every now and then through a mouthful of chips and dip and you’ll be good to go.
Jamie’s note: I had to add in these super adorable chocolate covered strawberries that look life footballs (sorry, Hannah), but they’re a perfect and healthy game-time snack. If any men are reading this, completely ignore this photo. Go team.
I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day (case and point here, here, here and here), but when Annette, Rachael and I decided to throw a little GALentine’s party, I couldn’t say no. In true Jamie form, I’m clearly telling an inappropriate story in the above photo, but I had to share this pic because I LOVE our real smiles/laughs. Isn’t that was a GALentine’s party is all about? Body part stories aside, we did manage to get some great photos, so let us know what you think in the comments below…and have a happy Valentine’s Day.
Pouring the bubbly. We used Sophia Coppola’s super girly Blanc de Blanc
Of course, I made sure we were all properly red-lipped
Pink donuts of all sizes to bite on
We all loved Rachael’s gorgeous gold-rimmed champagne coupes. Can you even?
And now, we get to making our DIY Valentine’s Day cards…