Dec 20, 2010

Great ways to dress up your PC gifts

As I'm giving away great gifts from PaperConcierge this year, I'm finding all kinds of ways to repurpose and wrap up things that are combined with a PC item. Here are some ideas for you.

Use a Whitney English Trend-E-Tote as a gift bag. The bag is part of the gift

Use a Whitney English Recipe Tin as a container for homemade fudge or candy. Or send your Recipe Tin as a gift with your favorite cookie, and remember to include the recipe too.

Fill a Dabney Lee Ice Bucket with drink accessories or a bottle of wine, then wrap in a cellophane bag as a colorful gift basket.

These Hicks Paper Goods Favor Boxes can be used for numerous different things during the holidays - gift basket with cellphane and tissue, table decor, or grow some paper whites as shown below.

Give a personalized Lucite Plate with a batch of cookies.

Dec 19, 2010

Baking Up A Holiday Storm

How many cookies, cake balls, fudge, etc... can I make in one afternoon? I'm motivated to do a lot, but we'll see how much actually gets done before I give up. Right now I've got my Red Velvet Cake in the oven and I'm preparing for the infamous "Red Velvet Cake Balls". These clever popable desserts came onto the scene Christmas 2007 (that's when I discovered them anyways), from this Bakerella Blog post. I hope mine turn out as good as the pic. This is my 3rd year making them. And I usually do Oreo Balls too. We shall see. I'll take some pics and let you know how much I got done.

Red Velvet Cake Balls

Red Velvet Cake Balls

1 box red velvet cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 can cream cheese frosting (16 oz.)
1 package chocolate bark (regular or white chocolate)
wax paper

1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting. (It may be easier to use fingers to mix together, but be warned it will get messy.)
3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet. (Should make 45-50. You can get even more if you use a mini ice cream scooper, but I like to hand roll them.)
4. Chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.)
5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package.
6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. (Use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate and then tap off extra.)
I also only melt a few pieces of chocolate bark at a time because it starts to cool and thicken. It’s easier to work with when it’s hot.

Dec 17, 2010

FREE Holiday Printables

Is your wallet feeling a little skinny after christmas shopping and extra costs of the holidays? Here's a novel idea ... how about something FREE for a change! Here are a few blog links I've found to point you in the right direction.

Printable holiday gift tags (on How About Orange blog)
Recipe Cards & Gift Tags (on the Tip Junkie blog)
Printable Gift Tags (on Party Like a Kid blog)

Happy Wrapping!

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I think I've been a VERY good girl this year. And I was wondering if you might bring me a Kindle for Christmas this year. Pretty please with sugar on top!

P.S. ~ I love my husband very much and maybe you could whisper a hint in his ear?

P.S.S. ~ What kind of cookies do you like? I'll be sure to have them waiting with cold milk.


Dec 15, 2010

It's now AFTER my 30th birthday and I didn't get everything crossed off. BUT ... that doesn't mean that I can't still do them. I'll get 'em done. Well maybe not all of them. If I haven't done my big wedding albumn by now, then I will probably never do it. Not the end of the world.

I'm done talking about this list though. No more bucketlist blogs!

Accomplished items - 16
In Progress - 4
Still goals to meet eventually - 7
I may never do this - 3

30 Before 30 Bucket List:

1. Learn to make Grandma Burch's chocolate pie.
2. Visit my sister in NYC.
           - She came to see me instead!
3. Go to Hawaii and see my friend Heidi.
           - 11/26 - 12/4
4. Revamp my iPod library.
5. Go to church once per month (minimum).
           - In all time, I only went twice. Lord help me! I'm going to get better at it.
6. Go hiking in the mountains.
           - Blue Ridge Pkwy in July '10
7. Enjoy a concert date with husband.
           - 8/21 – Zac Brown Band
8. Eat out at 3 new restaurants a month (new to me).
          - 8/5 – Burger Co.
          - 8/17 – Ellas Seafood
          - 8/20 – PioPio
          - 8/22 – Park 51 CafĂ©
          - 10/3 – The Rusty Bucket
          - 10/5 – Creole’s
          - 10/26 - Tai Basil
          - 10/27 - Fresh Wrap
          - 10/30 - Cajun Queen
          - 11/12 - Buona Vita
          - Lots of places in Hawaii!
9. Jog on the beach. (Ocean Isle or Hawaii)
         - 8/14 Ocean Isle
         - 8/15 Ocean Isle
10. Spend a rainy day at home watching movies all day.
11. Babysit a baby.
         - planned for 12/18
12. Order my wedding album.
13. Change a tire.
14. Run two 5k races.
         - a heart walk (2k?) in September        
         - 10/23 - 4.Niner 5k
15. Host a PaperConcierge party at my house.
         - 10/17
16. Reconnect with old college friends.
        -  drinks with Joe 8/13
        -  Alicia’s wedding 10/1
17. Make and continue the habit of 2 fitness classes per week.
        -  Accomplished – weeks 7/18, 7/25, 8/2, 8/9, 8/16 was 1 class & 2 jog outside ... I stopped
counting, but I have been working out regularly, just not always in a class setting.
18. Give blood again.
19. Go fishing with my dad. (when he visits NC)
20. Have a girls weekend away.
        - 7/23 – Courtney’s Cabin
21. Have a 'just because' party in the fall.
        - 11/6 Dinner Party
22. Stop biting my nails.
        - Big improvements, but still working on it
23. Visit an NC winery.
        - 11/13, Little River Wines
24. Watch a sunrise. (Hawaii)
25. Go on a picnic date with husband.
       - while were in Hawaii26. No fast food for an entire month. (Starting 9/16.)
       - 9/16-10/22
27. See a drive-in movie.
28. Play tennis ... LOL, attempt to play tennis.
       - 11/14
29. Eat vegetarian for a week. (when michael is out of town)
30. Take a Zumba class.
       - 10/1 with Mom

Dec 13, 2010

Hawaii ~ the great food!

One of my favorite things about our trip to Hawaii was the awesome food! I wanted to share the highlights. I'll still be posting a review and details of the trip later. But the food deserves its own spotlight!

#1 - The Pineapples! Once you eat a fresh Hawaiian pineapple it'll ruin you for life :) There are lots of roadside fruit stands selling pineapple and other local fruits, including coconut drinks - looks like a big coconut with a straw jabbed in it.

#2 - Shave Ice! To say that this is a local delicacy seems a little out of proportion, but Hawaiians and tourists alike all LOVE shave ice. Lots of hole in the walls similar to ice cream & smoothie shops line the pedestrian friendly beach loving streets. We stopped for some on our way out of town and it was really good. I got 3 flavors (coconut, mango and pineapple).

#3 - Hula Grill at Whaler's Village (Maui) - great location, great view, toes in the sand, nice service, live music, good food, and very affordable. We ate there twice and tried fish 'n chips, Thai chicken pizza and coconut shrimp. We loved the Chili Pepper Water (it's a light sauce) to dip things in, and ended up buying a bottle to bring home. Here's one pic from a sunset after we came off the beach.

#4 - Kimo's. This steak and seafood restaurant has a prime spot on busy Front Street in Lahaina (Maui), overlooking the harbor. It was already dark when we went, but if you are ever there then consider going to watch the sunset. Since Lahaina is on the western side of Maui, you'll get a great view just like the one above. Food was really good and it felt like a great date night. Definitely save room for the Hula Pie. It's heaven!

                                  Hula Pie  =)

#5 - The Gazebo at Napili Beach (Maui) - it's literally a wooden gazebo turned into a small restaurant. After reading great reviews in our guide book, we knew we had to find this place. It's inexpensive and SO worth it. Awesome food, very friendly service and great ocean front view with open air seating. I took a chance and went with the recommended Fried Rice dish on the breakfast menu. Oh my god, I want to find a similar recipe and make this at home! Michael got a Monte Cristo and then ate the rest of my rice! After this lunch, I was surprised our snorkeling didn't turn into us being weighted to the bottom of the ocean by our full bellies! I can't believe it buy we cleaned our plates.

#6 - Buzz's Steakhouse (Kaulua, Oahu) - our friends Heidi and Mitch, who live on Oahu, took us to Buzz's on our first night. This was by far the best meal of our trip! We started our vacation on the right foot with a strong margarita and a calamari steak (to die for!). Michael got a great fish entree and I had an Ahi tuna salad.

#7 - Old Lahaina Luau (Lahaina, Maui) - saved the best for last! We booked our reservations 2 weeks before our trip, and this was for sure a favorite in the whole Hawaii experience. Old Lahaina Luau is known as the best one of the island, and it was very impressive. Definitely go if you're ever there. We sat at a table with 3 other couples. The meal was buffet style, but started with the Imu ceremony (Hawaiian version of a pig roast). I was very surprised that they had an open bar. I don't have much else to compare this luau too - never having been to a traditional luau before - but I can tell you to go based on the fact that we had a fabulous time! Prepare to eat a lot.

#8 - Shrimp Trucks (all over Oahu) - the picture will explain a lot better than words. You can get a whole heaping pile of fresh shrimp and rice for about $12. Not bad. These trucks were scattered about the island. There were a lot on the North Shore side. Giovanni's was a popular one.

Honorable Mentions:
Sansaei's Sushi at Napili Beach
Shore Bird Restaurant (at Outrigger Reef on Waikiki Beach)
Lahaina Coolers

Dec 6, 2010

Back to Reality

Aloha!!! We're back in North Carolina and its so cold here! Hawaii was awesome and I can't wait to post some reviews and pictures later this week. We had such a great time and hopefully can go back some day.

Getting ready to heat up some tea and address our Christmas cards. They came in while we we're gone and I LOVE THEM! I got one of the Twist designs - will post later after my recipients have gotten them first.

~ Katie