Tag Archives: holidays

Non-Alcoholic Drink Ideas

4 Jan

Its Friday, happy weekend!  For those of you that can go unwind with a glass of wine, or beer-Enjoy!  For those of you that cannot drink alcohol at the moment, I thought I would share some fun drink ideas for the weekend.  Water tends to get boring when you are pregnant-so spice it up!

If you are in a hurry and heading out the door, you can check your local stores for any of the following:

  • VIGNETTE, it looks like wine but is really juice!  I have to thank my friend Alana for informing me about this gem.  If you still have not announced your pregnancy, and want to hang out with your boozy friends, this comes in a wine bottle aka they will never know the difference!
  • When I was a kid, my parents would let my brother and I drink Sparkling Cider at Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner.  Of course, we thought we were soooo grown up drinking out of fancy glasses .  This past year, mom made sure to have a bottle ready for me at dinner again 🙂
  • You could always go with a non-alcoholic beer such as O’Douls.  Just be aware, that while it is branded as non-alcoholic, it does have a small trace-.4% per volume.  As with any product, just check the label.

If you are hosting a party and need ideas, try some below:

  • The old-fashioned Shirley Temple is made with Ginger Ale, Splash of Grenadine, and garnished with a cherry.  You can order in any restaurant or bar.  I also like to order mine with Sprite as opposed to ginger ale.
  • Rasberry Spritzer  —2 cups of seltzer, 2/3 cup frozen raspberries, 2 springs of mint, 3 ounces of raspberry flavored syrup, and don’t forget the ice.

Get creative-mix your favorite juices with seltzer just don’t forget the garnishes:)  Cheers, Tara


New Year’s Eve Reflections

31 Dec

The time is here!  Yes, time for the big parties, gorgeous dresses, bubbling champagne, and that romantic kiss when the ball drops.  Wait, that is not my life but the movies sure do make it look good.

I have always had high expectations for New Year’s Eve because I have always compared life to the movies (I know it’s stupid but I am learning).  Anyways, I always felt a little let down when the ball dropped on #NYE because aside from the horn blowers and pots and pans, there are no fireworks-it’s really just another night.  People ask what your resolution will be and you say the same thing you said last year, knowing that you’re not going to stick with it–again.  My other favorite is when people say they are done with the drama of the previous year.  Hellooo, you don’t have to wait all year to change your life.  Wow-I am starting to sound like an old person!

Seriously–why not change your life on any day of the week?  In all honesty, January is a cold, miserable month and probably harder to stick to the positive lifestyle during that time.  Why not make a resolution when Spring rolls around?  It will probably be easier to stick with.

We build this one night up and many people feel let down when nothing happens. Well, unless your best friend vomits all over your floor, but that’s another posting all together 🙂

My point is-whether you head to Times Square, stay at your local watering hole, dine at a fancy restaurant, or order takeout in your sweatpants-spend it the way you want to spend it!  You will enjoy yourself so much more.  Hate to be cliché, but that really is what it is all about.

And as for those pesky resolutions-don’t even stress, they’re not all that they are cracked up to be.

Hope you have a Happy New Year and may your 2013 bring many new adventures!

Cheers, T

Save Time with Dinner

27 Dec

Wow, where did Christmas go?  I hope you and your family were able to relax and spend time together.  It seems like we spend the whole month shopping, baking, decorating, wrapping, visiting, and with the blink of an eye it’s over.  As we do every year, Nathan and I went to NJ to spend time with my family and it was wonderful to see everyone.  I have to admit I am like a child at the holidays and was excited that Santa was, as he is every year,  so good to us.

Now that Christmas is over, it’s back to the grind and back to the routine.  It occurred to me this morning, as I was getting ready for the first day back to work that I need to think of something to make for dinner.  Ugghh-I feel like that is a never ending saga: what are we going to eat?  I know, I know- #1stWorldProblems.  Seriously though, our work schedules and traffic filled commutes are so crazy that a lot of times we get home from an 11 or 12 hour work day and the last thing I want to think about is what am I going to make.  Of course with making the dinner comes the clean up, doing any other chores that have been neglected, get work bag re-packed, and of course try to spend some quality time together.  Before I know it, the evening news is long over and its 9:45pm.

Since this blog is about newlywed life and all that comes with it, I thought I would share some ways you can save time with dinner.

1. Make enough food for two meals.  This will allow you at least one night of leftovers, which means at least one night of not cooking!

2.  Take food out for dinner in the morning.   This morning I  took frozen Italian Sausage out for dinner, so when I walk in the door tonight and Nathan asks, “What’s for Dinner?” he knows and with any luck he has already started cooking the pasta to go with it. 

3. Cook Together.  Use this time to start talking about your day.

4. Clean as you cook.   If you clean the mess as you cook, you will have nothing to do after eating, except put your plates in the dishwasher and enjoy the rest of your night.

Cheers, Tara

Rolo Pretzels-Sweet and Salty

24 Dec

Yesterday I posted that I made Rolo Sugar Cookies for my Mom’s cookie swap.  What I did not mention was my Aunt Jan brought Rolos melted onto pretzels and I fell in love!  Sweet and salty in the same bite-you cannot go wrong.  Luckily,  I had so many Rolos left over from cookies, I also made “Button Noses” as my Aunt Jan calls them.  Nathan prefers to refer to them as Pretzel Droppings, but you can name them whatever you like.

These are one of the quickest. easiest recipes and are DELICIOUS!

Ingredients you will need: Rolo Candies, Pretzels, and M&Ms

To start, spread pretzels out on a baking sheet.


Unwrap the Rolo Candies.


Place a Rolo on each pretzel and bake at 350 degrees.  Bake for 4-5 minutes, or until the chocolate starts melting.  You do not want them to melt too much, or you will have quite the caramel, chocolate mess. 105_0393

After removing the Rolo pretzels from the oven, place an M&M on each Rolo.


105_0396 105_0397

Let cool and enjoy!105_0398

Nathan and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.   Cheers, T



Rolo Sugar Cookies

23 Dec

Last weekend my Mom, Mother Gerry, hosted a cookie swap at her house and I had to make 12 dozen cookies.  For those of you that are unaware of the cookie swap rules-each participant has to make a dozen cookies for every other participant.  You bring 12 dozen of one kind of cookie and you leave with 12 dozen different kinds of cookies.  I should mention the reason I keep using the number 12, is because that is how many participants were in the swap.  You could have 8 people and would have to make 8 dozen etc, etc.

Anyway-the point of this post is to share with you the delicious cookies I made….Rolo Sugar Cookies.  Though, I have to give credit where it is due and thank my co-worker, Ed, for this recipe.


The only ingredients you will need are Rolo candies and sugar cookie mixture.

Now, of course you can make the sugar cookie batter from scratch, but if anyone knows me they know I am always trying to save time.  SO-there is no shame in buying the pre-made cookie mix and adding the necessary ingredients.

First, you need to start unwrapping your Rolos, and set them aside in a bowl so they are ready when you need them.


Lucky for me, my wonderful friend, Amber was more than happy to help me make 12 dozen cookies on a Friday night. Thats Amber mixing up the sugar cookie mixture.


Once the dough was ready we started wrapping the Rolos inside!



Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 8-9 minutes.


Voila! Let cool and enjoy.


Hopefully you are not stressing as the holidays near and have all of your cookies made.  If not, try this easy recipe and enjoy!  Merry Christmas!-Tara

Plan the Perfect Holiday Party

10 Dec

Need to plan the perfect holiday party this season? Well, you are in luck because we have consulted with our brilliant  friend Ashley of Ashley Nicole Events for helpful tips.  Ashley, the talented owner and creative director of Ashley Nicole Events, shared her 3 simple rules to throw a perfect party.

Let’s get real-you’ve been to a thousand holiday parties and this year is no different.  The thought of throwing yet another one of those “parties” makes you want to dig deep into your liquor stash for something strong. Really strong. Trust me, I get it! But, I’m here today to boost your holiday spirit by offering advice for throwing the perfect (and yes, even last minute) holiday get together that will be original, fun, and festive. You can bet your bootie that by the time you’re done reading this, you will start planning your perfect holiday fete! Let the planning begin…

  1. Know when to have your party.  This sounds pretty simple, right!?  I wish it was!  Most hostesses make the biggest mistake by hosting the event during prime dinner time.  I dread invitations with a start time of 6p.m. because guess what- I’ll be there but I expect dinner.  Don’t you!?  So what ends up happening, you get there at 7:00p.m., when you started getting ready around 5pm, you haven’t had dinner and end up spilling red wine on their new Create and Barrel sofa because your dinner consisted of 3 slices of cheddar cheese and a Triscuit cracker.  Oh, and then you wake up with the worst hangover and eat your face off at breakfast and sleep the entire rest of the day!  So, let’s not make this mistake with YOUR party.  Instead why not host a brunch holiday party!?  After all, who doesn’t love the thought of a delicious Bloody Mary bar and dazzling mimosas!?  You can make your snacks easy as 1-2-3 by purchasing mini cereal boxes and accenting each with a tied plastic spoon and pair it with a simple pitcher of ice cold milk set next to poppy seed muffins, and a fruit parfait.  Voila! You’ve got yourself a party!  Not liking the brunch idea?   Have a holiday champagne and cupcake party…with a 8:30p.m. start time! This way guests have had a delicious dinner and come to your event with a sweet tooth!  Set up a champagne bar with different types of bubbly and toppings and make simple devils food cupcakes with cream cheese icing topped with red sprinkles.  The cardinal rule is know WHEN to host your event.  If it’s during lunch or dinner times, provide guests with food…lots of it!  After all, appropriate pre-party eating is an art: master it. Your ability to do so will have a profound effect on the rest of the night.
  2. Include details of the event in your invitation.  My favorite easy and affordable way to send last minute party invitations is paperless post.  If you haven’t heard of it-right it down and check it out later.  They have an array of festive invitation options and allow you to customize it-all the way down to the invitation liner.  When creating your fancy invitation be sure to include information such as attire, any items you would like guests to bring and other party details so they know exactly what to expect.  In other words, if you’re doing a white elephant party-let them know the budget.  Be specific so everyone knows what to expect-even you!
  3. Relax and enjoy the party…no matter what.  Prepare yourself for the obvious that you tend to overlook when you’re happily cocktailed at someone else’s holiday fete. You know what I mean, the drunk single Uncle that wasn’t really invited but someone in the family leaked your party details on Facebook and now he’s hitting on all of your friends.  Or one of your friends new boyfriend who is awkwardly standing in the corner swaying side to side while crushing yet another vodka tonic.  Or, the friend of a friend who is aggressively competitive during the late night beer pong game and you think a fight may ensue and cops may quickly follow to break it up.  Simply relax and handle these jolly environmental issues with ease.  Call your Uncle a cab and give him a snack for the road, introduce the new boyfriend to one of your co-workers who is as equally as new to your crowd of friends, and distract the aggressive beer pong jock by turning on some great tunes for everyone to dance to.  You can control all of these situations and more, if you stay relaxed and festive!  Tis the season and if you listen to the above 3 simple rules…you will have one kick ass holiday party.  (Just remember to send me an invitation!)

DIY Christmas Ornament

3 Dec

This past February Joe and I, Tara and Nathan and a group of friends took a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. As you would probably expect we returned from that trip with our fair share of Mardi Gras beads.

Mardi Gras

As we were unpacking our suitcases when we returned from our trip we threw the beads into a box where they have been taking up space in our guest room ever since. What is one to do with Mardi Gras beads? I didn’t want to just throw them away since they are a fun keepsake from an awesome trip! However, I was tired of looking at them just sitting there taking up space.

Finally a couple of weeks ago it hit me! Light bulb! Usually when Joe and I take trips we will buy a new ornament to hang on our Christmas tree. Since we didn’t buy any while we were in NOLA I thought maybe I could make my own using the mardi gras beads.  I thought it would be a creative and useful way to keep some of the beads we collected and five them more of a purpose.

While I was at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago I picked up a box of glass ornament bulbs for $7.99. This was a really simple project and only took me about 3o minutes to complete. I picked out a few strands of beads in the colors I wanted. I also decided to use a few strands of purple, gold and green beads in two bulbs since they are the official colors of Mardi Gras, in order to remind us where the beads come from. 🙂 In order to get the beads into the bulbs I cut the strands and


I started with a pile of beads and ended up with a bunch of really great bead filled ornaments. Since adding the beads into the glass bulbs made the bulbs a little too heavy to hang on the tree I placed them in a large vase.







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