Friday, September 9, 2011

The Rich Guy Who Likes Planes and Wine

A dear friend of mine bought Andrew and I a Groupon for a private wine tasting as an engagement gift. The winery was 2 hours away, so we dropped the dogs off at doggie daycare, packed up some cheese, crackers and meats, and made it a day trip. Our trusty iPhone GPS soon prompted us to roll up to a hidden little neighborhood of extremely wealthy people's homes. Not just "we vacation twice a year and have a boat" wealthy. No, each one of these homes had it's own airplane hangar (garage), and in the center of all the homes is an air field. Yeah....seriously. As we were realizing that this "winery" was in someone's home, Andrew says "it seems like some rich guy just said I like planes, and I like wine, soooooo I'll start a winery in my hangar!" My dear fianse was right, that's exactly what it was.

As we entered into the hangar, the owner/vintner/pilot named Lorenzo greeted us and escorted us to the private wine tasting room (his basement bar). We tasted 10 wines along with cheese and fresh bread. Our favorite was a 2009 "vintner's reserve" a semi-sweet red, which we are suckers for. I was really impressed with this guy's wine making abilities, especially since he has a day job as a pilot and wine making is just a "hobby". The wines had a very organic quality to them and weren't sweet/fruity or cheap tasting like (unfortunately) a lot of Michigan wines.

After our private tasting, we were welcomed to sit and enjoy some acoustic tunes there in the hangar with our picnic snacks. We purchased a bottle of our vintner's reserve pick and spent some quality engagement time together the rest of the afternoon. Thanks, Lorenzo (rich guy who likes planes and wine)!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I used to be embarrassed...

I was born with a hyper-sensitivity to what other people think of me. Sometimes it is a blessing, most the time it is a curse. However, I feel that I have made STRIDES of improvement in this area lately as I grow into my adulthood. I'd like to share with you a few things that I used to be embarrassed about, and how I feel about them now.

I used to be embarrassed that my mom delivers the mail. Now, I like it because I know she is a hard working, dedicated employee.

I used to be embarrassed that I have 2 webbed toes. Now, I show them off because they make me unique.

I used to be embarrassed that I did not have a wardrobe full of Abercrombie & Fitch clothes. Now, I have no desire to wear clothes that expensive.

I used to be embarrassed that I am from the Mid-West. Now, I LOVE it and am extremely proud of it.

I feel that my embarrassments have matured, and so have I. For instance:

I am embarrassed that my dogs sneak into the neighbor's pool. However, it is something that we are working on, so I can get over it.

I am embarrassed that my dogs poop in the neighbor's yard. However, it is something that we are working on, so I can get over it.

I am embarrassed that I have "love handles". However, starving sucks. I try to work out frequently and it is still a goal of mine to have a "nice" stomach.

I am embarrassed that my now fiance broke up with me a couple years ago. However, it made him realize that (DUH) I am the one for him, and now our relationship is amazing!

I am embarrassed that we live with my parents. However, someday I know I will miss being able to see them everyday.

I am embarrassed that our engagement will end up being 2 years and 2 months long! However, we are working hard for our wedding and nothing is being handed to us. I think we will be stronger and happier because of that.

Anyone brave enough to tell me what you are embarrassed about? ;)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Easy Jello Shot Recipe/Tutorial

In 2 days, several of our roommates and friends from college will be visiting for our annual tubing trip down the river. This is an event I look forward to ALL YEAR LONG. Among the many things that I must do to prepare for the "shenanigans," making JELLO SHOTS is at the top of the most important list. I do not remember where I first learned this recipe, but I've known it by heart since I was 21 (ok, maybe earlier..):

What you will need:

*This is for ONE batch, which makes about 15 jello shots. Please feel free to double, or tripe, or quadrouple your batches!

1 package of Jello (whatever flavor you want)
1 Cup of liquor (whatever kind you want, make sure it will go well with your Jello flavor)
15-20 tiny plastic shot cups (I get them from my local GFS store)
15-20 tiny plastic shot cup lids (also from GFS)
1 permanent marker 

Step 1: Bring 1 Cup of water to a boil in a sauce pan. Meanwhile, line up your tiny plastic shot cups on the counter. 

Step 2: Once the water comes to a boil, add the package of Jello (I used Berry Blue this time). Stir until completely dissolved.

Step 3: Pour the liquor into a glass measuring cup with a spout (I used raspberry vodka this time). Now, pour your Jello & water mixture into the liquor.

Step 4: Slowly pour your jello shot mixture into the tiny plastic shot cups.

Step 5: top your cups with lids. At this time, I like to label the lids by liquor (people like to know what they are getting into). For example "V" for vodka. Then, put the shots into the fridge for at least 4 hours.

What is everyone else doing this upcoming weekend?

Enjoy! -Briana

School Picture Day Feelings

Remember when you were younger and your school pictures arrived...about 6 weeks after "school picture" day? Your teacher would hold the pictures hostage up at her desk ALL...DAY...LONG. It felt like a hole was burning through your stomach and it wouldn't stop until you saw those pictures!!!

Maybe that didn't happen to you...but that is how I feel when I am waiting anxiously to see any professional work that includes a picture of myself. That same feeling came rushing back to me yesterday when my large, white "Wedding Paper Divas" envelope arrived in the mail with my Save The Date proofs and invitation samples.

When my wedding coordinator socked me in the gut by telling me that the average cost of wedding stationary is DOUBLE what I intended to pay...she immediately referred me to Wedding Paper Divas. And now I am a happy girl. Our Save The Dates (pictured above) are only $1.09 a piece! Also, since they are post cards, we will save MAJAH on postage. And I think they turned out great. I was surprised that my FIANSE liked this picture of himself...but he whatev! (I'm trying to loosen up my bridezilla control issues....)

I was so excited about reviewing my Save The Date proofs (STDs of the non-chlamydia kind, as my BFF would say), that I made myself a vodka lemonade in celebration! YUUUMMM.

Above are the invite samples that I ordered. I. LOVE. THEM. Vintage, traditional, simple...all my favorite things! I hope they will be able to make the text a little bit bigger & darker. But other than that, they are perf! The actual invite is only $2 a piece! The response card and reception cards are extra, but VERY reasonable. 

Has anyone else used Wedding Paper Divas? What do you think about my stationary picks!? :)- Briana

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Guest Post on Drink Michigan!! promotes two of my favorite things: DRINKING & MICHIGAN. Check out my guest post here where my sister and I pair 3 of our cupcakes with local, Michigan wines. Genius, right?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Engagement Party

Although I have been engaged for a year and a half, Andrew and I were living on the opposite pole of the country for the first year of our engagement. Now that we are back in "the Mitten" (Michigan), my parents decided to throw us an engagement party. Of course, they had to couple it with a celebration of their 28th wedding anniversary. The picture that was included in the invite is #3 above: their wedding photo and a photo from our engagement photo session.

The party was great. Old friends, old family, new friends, new family, tons of food and of course...quite a bit of drinking. I thought i'd share a few pictures and details:

Picture #1. Sangria! I found a yummy recipe by Emeril Lagasse and it turned out great. My instructions/adaptations can be found here 

Picture #2. Myself with one of my besties and also bridesmaid, Courtney.

Picture #3. The aforementioned invitation picture.

Picture #4. A "party ball." My mom is in love with "Art deco" things from the '30s and '40s. She filled her party ball with vodka and redbull (she's not playin' around....), and was offering/forcing people to take pumps/shots all evening. Mom knows best.

Picture #5. Cake Pops! I got the recipe from my favorite blog "Little Miss Momma" here

Picture #6. Myself and the man of my dreams

Picture #7. Snipped some flowers off a bush in my parents back yard to make some pretty and simple centerpieces. Anyone know what type of flower/bush this is?

Sangria by Emeril Lagasse w/ revisions by Briana

This Sangria was A HIT at our engagement party. I got the recipe from Food Network (Emeril Lagasse), but made my own revisions. What you will need:

1 bottle of red wine (I used a Shiraz-Cabernet mix for a more "winey" taste)
1/4 Cup Brandy
1/4 Cup Orange Flavored Liqueur
2 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Fresh Orange Juice
1/4 Cup Sugar (I used 1/3 Cup instead because at first it tasted watery/diluted)
1/2 Orange, thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
1 unwaxed apple, cored, and cut into thin wedges (I did slices)
1 (750-ml) bottle of sparkling water, chilled
1 bottle of cranberry juice (my own addition)
1 large, pretty, punch bowl (my own addition)
1 jello mold (my own addition)

Directions: Combine everything except the sparkling water into the large punch bowl. Cover and chill about 2 hours. Meanwhile, pour cranberry juice into the jello mold & freeze. Once your mix is chilled, and your juice is frozen, add the sparkling water to the punch bowl. To loosen the frozen cranberry juice, turn jello mold upside down and run hot water over it. Be careful! Hold your hand underneath to catch it. Then, place the frozen juice mold into the punch bowl. This will keep the sangria cold, without diluting it as it melts. In fact, it makes your Sangria less alcoholic as the party goes on, which is a hidden little trick ;) Grab a ladle and serve!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Porch Bubbles on "This Girl Walks Into A Bar"

I invented a drink and named it "Porch Bubbles." One of the COOLEST chicks on the block asked me to do a   Guest Blog  article about it. Jordan Catapano has been a bar tender to the stars and started a Kick Ass blog called "This Girl Walks Into A Bar." It has tons of bar & restaurant reviews of the So Cal area (in my dreams I go there...) and lots of tips for bartenders and drinkers! Her advice on what to order when you don't want people to know that you are not drinking a real cocktail? Soda and cranberry. If the link doesn't work, copy and paste:

Up In The Air

Me, our husky, Svedka, my fiancee, Andrew, and our Lab/German Shepherd mix, Jameson

Ever since my fiance, Andrew and I got engaged in December of 2009 (yes, we have been engaged that long...), ALOT has been "Up In The Air": my job, his job, where we will live, what kind of life we'll be able to live and the list goes on....

A year ago today I was living in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Andrew was on the practice squad for the Miami dolphins, and I was 4 months in at my new job as a logistics coordinator for an international importing company. We were renting a small house with a yard close to down town. We didn't know many people. We spend a lot of time just the two of us and our dogs.

Now, we are back in Michigan, both living at my parents house...with our 2 dogs. I know, sounds horrible right? Actually, I LOVE it. I think that most young people feel an "itch" to get out of dodge and try something new. Me? I had that itch for a long time. Before Florida I spent time living in Arizona and Washington, D.C. Turns out, for me anyway, nothing is greater than being within a few miles distance of your family and your closest friends.

Andrew is done with football. He has lost 50 pounds and feels great. He just started a new job yesterday. The international importing company allowed me to stay on and work "virtually" from home. That means A LOT more time to take care of the "FIANSE" and the pups. Plus, office life is NOT for me (BLAH...)

Although last year we had quite a bit more money, we were lonely and didn't know if our livelihood would be there for us from one day to the next. Now, we are surrounded by family and friends, and our summer has been PACKED with fun "shenanigans". There is still A LOT "Up In The Air." But I think I like it that way. And there is no place like home :)