Make a Splash at Your Summer Parties

Make a Splash at Your Summer Parties

 

Summer is in full, sizzling hot swing, and so are summer parties. From BBQ’s to pool parties, and rooftop hangouts to beach get-togethers, there’s plenty to enjoy this season. If you want to make a splash at your parties, you can’t forget must-haves like tasty food, refreshing drinks, rollicking entertainment, and Insta-worthy pictures.

Rosé All Day & Night

Staying hydrated, and covered in sunscreen, is non-negotiable in the blazing heat of summer. So bring on the water and  the Rosé. It’s crisp, cool, and refreshing. One of my newest favorites comes from the clean-crafted wine curators known as Scout & Cellar.

All of the wines selected by Scout & Cellar are free of pesticides, chemical additives, and sugar. In other words, they are not chemically altered. After delighting over their NV PUNKT GENAU GRUBER SPARKLING ROSÉ from Austria, I’m curious to taste some of their other fabulous finds.

Make a Splash at Your Summer Parties - NV PUNKT GENAU GRUBER SPARKLING ROSÉ, AUSTRIA

But before I get to refilling my glass, let’s talk about how this clean and refreshing organic sparkling wine lets me Rosé my day away. Not only am I fan this Rosé fruity notes, I also love knowing it’s from a family winery that’s been making wine since 1814. Can you imagine the type of summer parties the Gruber’s must have had? The bottles not too shabby looking either. I find its eclectic label so enchanting and amusing.

To keep my Rosé nice and cool, I skip the red solo cup. Instead, I pull my HOST Wine Freeze Cooling Cups out of the freezer. They help keep my wine at the perfect chilly temp for at least 2 hours. So I have plenty of time to responsibly enjoy all my summer beverages.

The Sounds of Summer Parties

Make a splash at your summer parties - Altec Lansing Baby Boom Speaker

No party would be complete without great music. You could hire a DJ, but I prefer to opt for something more realistic, and just as fantastic. Portable speakers are ideal for outdoor summer parties. Of course, they aren’t always so durable or waterproof. When I want my carefully curated playlist to sound amazing even while floating in the pool, I break out the Altec Lansing Baby Boom.

Make a splash at your summer parties - Altec Baby Boom Speaker

This sporty little Bluetooth enabled speaker not only sounds great, it’s also waterproof and shockproof.  In fact, it even floats. With six hours of battery life, this portable like gem will keep the tunes blasting all party long.

For summer playlist inspiration, check out these top picks from Apple Music, Esquire, and Time Out.

Capture the Moments

Make A Splash at Your Summer Parties - Polaroid camera

Sometimes what happens at summer parties should stay at summer parties. However, in these days of Snap/Insta/Facebook madness, capturing the moments is a necessity. But how many times have you asked your friends to send you that great photo, only to never see it again, except on their feed?

When I want instant pict gratification, I go old school with the Polaroid Snap Camera. Funny enough, my first camera was a Polaroid. There are family pictures of my sister, brother, and myself with Polaroid cameras around our necks. Back then they were much bigger.

Make a Splash at Your Summer Parties - Polaroid Snap Camera

Thankfully, the Snap is about the size of a cell phone, which makes it perfect for all your summer parties. You can slip it into your pool, beach or party bag for quick Polaroids of all your adventures. You can also save your picts to the camera’s SD card or share them on social media via the Polaroid app. And bonus, the film is peel and stick, which means you can turn your favorite photos into stickers.

Summer parties just got a lot more interesting and fun. For even more inspiration, check out even more of our favorite summer picks.

 

What are your summer party plans?  How do you make a splash?

 

Connect with Scout & Cellar: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Connect with Altec Lansing: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Connect with Polaroid:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

 

 

Summer Drink Must Haves

Summer Drink Must Haves

Beauty Brite Disclosure 

Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of the summer entertaining season. It’s the first long weekend where we can all enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. Besides having great food,  and looking summer fabulous, you also need a fully stocked bar, which why I’m sharing my picks for summer drink must haves.

Summer Drink Must Haves – Wine

I enjoy wine all year long, but when the weather heats up, I want something light and crisp. This can range from a delicious Rosé to a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. They both go well with everything from burgers to a cheese and fruit board. I recently discovered some new favorites that are now part of my summer drink must haves.

First up, is the refreshing and fruity Pomelo 2016 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2016 Napa Cellars Chardonnay. I could drink these California wines all summer long and I just might.

Summer Drink Must Haves - Pomelo and Napa Cellars Wine

Pomelo 2016 Sauvignon Blanc Tasting Notes:

  • Aromas of fragrant white blossoms lead to white peach, melon and ripe citrus on the palate complemented by a lovely lemon curd finish.

As a big fan of blends, I adore the mix of Sauvignon blanc and Chenin blanc grapes used in the Pomelo wine. You can really taste the influence of the red, volcanic soils of the Mason Vineyard, the fruit from Monterey County, and the mineral soils of Clarksburg, California. I can’t wait to pair this with my vegan crab cakes and steamed asparagus topped with Remoulade.

Napa Cellars 2016 Chardonnay Tasting Notes:

  • Aromas of peach, bright apple, and graham cracker excite the senses. Flavors of pear, crème fraiche, and pie crust are complimented by a creamy texture with balanced acidity and a nice, lingering finish of crème brulee and white peach.

The Napa Valley is known for its chardonnays. The cooler, coastal climate is the perfect place to grow this variety of grapes. I love a good fruity chardonnay with rich oaky undertones. This 2016 Chardonnay from Napa Cellars embodies both. I can absolutely see pairing this with grilled kabobs or even just a bowl of strawberries.

Summer Drink Must Haves - Backpack Wine

Backpack Wines Tasting Notes:

  • Rowdy Red is a tasty blend of Washington State Merlot and Syrah that shows dark cherry on the nose. It drinks velvety smooth showing black cherry, plum and a touch of spice.
  • Snappy White is a Washington State Riesling based blend has a touch of sweetness and weight that finishes with refreshing acidity. This balanced white delivers notes of green apple and Asian pear.
  • Cheeky Rosé is a Washington State Pinot Blanc and Sangiovese Rose blend is a drier expression, with a touch of peach, strawberry and rose petal; a clean crisp blush wine.

Summertime is also a perfect time for picnics and the beach. Taking a bottle of wine with you isn’t always a possibility. That’s where Backpack Wine comes in. These summer drink must haves are perfect for taking on the go because they come in can form. Produced from Washington State vineyards these four-packs are available in Cheeky Rose, Snappy White, and Rowdy Red.

I think the wine in a can concept is truly genius. They are the perfect bar or cooler alternative to beer or soda. Of the three options, I highly recommend Snappy White. It’s nice and light, yet full of flavor.

 

Summer Drink Must Haves – Liquor

A list of summer drink must haves wouldn’t be complete without a liquor component. And I have three fabulous brands to share with you. First, is the liquor that most surprised me, American Harvest Organic Vodka. I’m not usually a big vodka drinker. I typically reach for whiskey or bourbon, but this vodka is pure perfection.

Summer Drink Must Haves - Liquor

American Harvest Organic Vodka Tasting Notes:

  • Handcrafted in small batches from American wheat and distilled with 100 percent certified organic ingredients to yield a distinctly smooth spirit with a crisp, clean and slightly sweet hint of real agave.

Besides being an American-made organic vodka, it’s also a double gold medal winner.  All of the wheat used to produce the vodka comes from local farms and the water from the Snake River Water basin in the Pacific Northwest. I love supporting an American made brand, especially when their Vodka goes down this smooth. You can drink this vodka alone or use it for all your favorite summer cocktails. Can someone say summer brunch and a screwdriver?

Trail’s End Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Tasting Notes:

  • A smooth entry of sweet malt and chocolate, bolstered by toasted hazelnut with notes of tobacco and a touch of rye. Finishes long and warm, oily and buttery with a lovely alt spice kick and slight char note.

As I mentioned above, I’m a whiskey girl. I think it might be in my blood since my granddaddy used to make corn liquor, but that’s a story for another time. I instantly gravitated to this stylish bottle of Trail’s End. Crafted using 8-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and perfected in Oregon Oak, this whiskey is warm, nutty and oh so smooth. I can absolutely see why it’s won Gold and Double Gold medals in 2016 and 2017.

It was also recently announced that Trail’s End will be donating a percentage of their sales to help reforest the Pacific Northwest after all those devastating fires. Just another reason to add this whiskey to your summer drink must haves. I know I’ll be drinking it neat or trying out one of their many tasty drink recipes.

Camus Borderies Cognac Tasting Notes:

  • Reveals enticing notes of vanilla pods and orange zest, on a bed of soft spice and floral aromas. Ample and unctuous, with a robust yet elegant structure and a light hint of woodiness. Beautiful, long finish, well-balanced and wonderfully fresh.

Last and certainly not least is the robust 2014 Limited Edition of Borderies VSOP Cognac. I don’t know about you, but there is something about drinking cognac that makes me feel like a sophisticated grown-up. Not only is the bottle beautiful, but so is the rich amber liquid inside. Developed by cellar master Patrick Leger, this rich cognac comes from the Camus family’s own vineyards.

In fact, Camus, founded in 1863, still remains the largest family-owned Cognac house around today. With a history like that, it’s not surprising that this limited edition Borderies VSOP is truly remarkable and very distinctive. Each time I take a sip, I feel like I’m part of a long heritage of cognac makers and drinkers. I can absolutely see why you would want to pair this with chocolate or cheese. Basically, my favorite before and after meal treats.

Connect with Pomelo: Website | Twitter |

Connect with Napa Cellars: Website | Facebook | Twitter |

Connect with Backpack Wines: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |

Connect with American Harvest: Twitter | Instagram |

Connect with Trail’s End: Website | Twitter |  Instagram |

Connect with Camus: Website | Facebook | Twitter |

 

What are your summer drink must haves? Which wine or liquor are you curious to try?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create Your Own Craft Cocktails

 Create Your Own Craft Cocktails

Beauty Brite Disclosure

I’m a Jack and Coke kind of girl. Although it’s my signature drink, I’m always up for trying something new. After all, life is all about experiencing different flavors, cultures, and adventures. One way I indulge in this is through craft cocktails. I’m just fascinated by the unique combinations bartenders around the world come up with. Recently, I got to try my hand at making some unique cocktails thanks to Shaker & Spoon.

Shaker and Spoon Craft Cocktails kit ingredients

The brand was kind enough to send me their October 2017 Austin Without Limits Box.  Inspired by the “Live Music Capital of the World”, and one of my favorite cities, this box features drink recipes from three of Austin’s hottest bartenders. In addition to the recipes, each box comes with glossary card and enough contents to make 12 cocktails. All I had to do was add the liquor and the barware.

Craft Cocktails Goes to Austin

One of my favorite things about this box was that each recipe could be made with either Bourbon or Tequila. If you’ve ever been to Texas, you know both are popular choices. I like my dark liquor, so I made two of the drinks with Bourbon and one with Tequila. Next time, I might switch it up.

Craft Cocktails - The Beat Goes On

First up, I decided to fill my rocks glass with The Beat Goes On. Created by Jessica Sanders, award-winning bartender and owner of Austin’s drink.well., this craft cocktail ups the ante on the Old Fashioned.

The recipe required me to mix the included Spiced Mojo Syrup, orange bitters, Hella Bitters Aromatic Cocktail Bitters, anise pod, and lemon with my bourbon. My The Beat Goes On came out perfectly thanks to the easy to follow instructions. In just three simple steps, I was sipping my way through the rich, smoky, yet sweet flavor of my craft cocktail. It kind of made me nostalgic for the trip I took with my mom to Austin last April. I know she would have loved this drink as much I did.

Craft Cocktails - Huarache Nights

Next, I took to Rainey Street in Austin for a cocktail inspired by Chris Bostick, owner of Half Step. Recently named to Esquire TV’s Best Bars in America, Bostick knows a thing or two about making your taste buds sing with to the delight of his Huarache Nights.

For this craft cocktail, I gave my tequila a shake alongside the box’s Ginger Grenadine Experimental Syrup, lime juice, soda water and lime zest. The results were a Collins glass filled with both smokiness and sweetness. The ginger, lime and pomegranate flavors mixed perfectly with the tequila. I could imagine drinking Huarache Nights while sitting outside with friends listening to some great music.

Craft Cocktails - Masour

Last, but certainly not least comes the most unique cocktails I’ve ever made, the MaSour. Created by award-winning bartender Caer Ferguson, the MaSour is inspired by Texas’s first female governor. In addition to being the first woman to govern Texas, Mariam “Ma” Ferguson also worked to repeal Prohibition. She was a woman after my own heart.

I was excited and apprehensive about trying the MaSour. First off, it uses a raw egg white and secondly, it required me to fat-wash my bourbon. Fat-washing is a technique used by bartenders to add savory flavors to liquor. In this instance, I would be adding browned, salted butter. I love the flavor of brown butter. It’s rich and smoky.

After fat-washing the bourbon and following a few more steps, I was ready to fill my coupe. I topped it off with the charred flavor of a cinnamon stick and took a sip. My MaSour was an absolute delight. It was rich and creamy, yet somehow still light. I loved it, even more, knowing the bartender who created it had asked Shaker & Spoon to donate 50% of her proceeds to the Houston Humane Society. Sounds like a true Austinite to me.

My Craft Cocktail Experience

I absolutely loved everything about my Austin Without Limits box. It was so much fun creating my own craft cocktails. I can’t wait to try it again or to share them with friends. I also think these boxes would make a great gift for cocktail lovers, or anyone who likes to experiment with flavors.

Connect with Shaker & Spoon: Website |  Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Do you like craft cocktails? Which drink from the box do you want to try?

 

 

Celebrating National Snack Day With a Bang

Celebrating National Snack Day With a BANG

Beauty Brite Disclosure

Did you know that March 4th is National Snack day? I didn’t either but I’ve found some awesome snacks that I think you and your family will love. So let’s get down to the tasty goodness!

Now I have four kids ( ages six, four, two and three months), three of which are old enough to love snacks. I’m pretty sure that

“Can I have a Snack mom”??? 

is the number one thing I hear in my house every single day. So I’ll start with some of our favorites in this household.

Go Organically Fruit Snacks

Go Organically Fruit Snacks:  These are one of my kid’s favorite snacks by far! These tasty treats are USDA-certified and made with real fruit. At 70 calories each, I don’t mind giving them to my kids when they are in need of a snack.

Keeping with the fruity theme another go-to snack here is Welch’s Fruit Rolls. Did you know that fruit is the first ingredient? My kids love them and can’t get enough. I don’t feel bad sending these to school with my oldest daughter to school because I know that there is nothing in it to set off an allergy attack because she has so many allergies.

Munk Pack Oatmeal Fruit Sqeezes

 

Another favorite here is the Munk Pack Oatmeal Fruit Sqeezes. These are so great, helps keep your little ones full while at home or on the go, these are perfect to just put in your diaper bag or a school lunch. They are great for breakfast for your little ones too. This perfect snack is whole grain, vegan, and gluten-free. A great choice for any time of the day for sure.

So now that we have covered kids you ask “Well what’s a good choice for me”? I’ve found some I think you’re defiantly going to like.

Sparkling Ice is your option if you want to cut out the soda. For me, its all about the fizz and this carbonated drink is a great switch. It has zero calories and zero carbs. Its got Vitamin D and B-Vitamins along with antioxidants. There are over twenty flavors, from lemonades to teas. My favorite is the Black-Raspberry!

If you’re always on the go like I am, sometimes I honestly forget to stop and eat, which isn’t great but its life as a mom sometimes. Well, Gaea Veggie Snacks are great on the go option for that busy lifestyle. They offer Pickles ( My Favorite! ) carrot and cauliflower.  They are all natural and resealable and are great on the go snack.

Carrington Farms line of Paks

Carrington Farms line of Paks is great for adding in some extra nutrition in almost any product! Mix in water, smoothies, or sprinkle over some ice cream, great for keeping you fit and full.

What tasty snack will you choose?

Taking a Tea Break

Taking A Tea Break - Teamotions Tea Blends

Beauty Brite Disclosure

Let’s be honest, adulting is hard. Career, family, marriage, and social obligations are all great, but sometimes I feel exhausted trying to keep up with our calendar.

Since we can’t ignore our responsibilities, I’ve learned that it’s important to take time for myself. A moment to have a cup of tea, grab a cozy blanket, put on my pajamas, snuggle up on the couch, and just breathe…. [read more]

Tasty Teas and Treats For You

Tasty Teas and Treats for YouBeauty Brite Disclosure

I’ve always lived in the South and one thing that is always a staple in our house is tea. It’s one thing you can always count on being at the table. Your brought up almost drinking it from a bottle ( well maybe not that extream but you get the picture). So I’ve always loved trying as many types and flavors that I can get my hands on.

Growing up tea is served with every meal.

[read more]

Fueling Up With The Best Coffee To Support Our Veterans

Fueling Up With The Best Coffee To Support Our Veterans - Black Rifle Coffee Company

Beauty Brite Disclosure

I firmly believe that every person should have a motivating reward to help them get through the week. For me, that’s a favorite blend of coffee. I don’t skimp when it comes to picking out a blend, I search for the good stuff…. [read more]

Creating And Canning Seasonal Flavors

Creating And Canning Seasonal Flavors-Ball Collection Elite Sharing Mason Jars-Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee

Beauty Brite Disclosure

Canning jars can be used for many purposes: to can and store foods, to combine ingredients to create meals, salad dressings, or marinades; as serving containers; and to store and organize any number of small household goods such as buttons, pens and pencils, spices and oils. The uses are just about endless and are only limited within the bounds of your imagination.

I enjoy making jams and jellies as well as canning pickles, so these are the ways I most often use canning jars. But, I also have one that I keep spools of thread and sewing needles in for quick access to materials to mend garments and stuffed animals that develop holes with repeated use.

Ball Collection Elite Design Series Sharing Mason Jars

Canning jars make great gift receptacles for many types of small gifts. Not only do you minimize waste since wrapping paper or gift bags aren’t required, but you can use other small and simple things to dress it up such as ribbon, twine, and/or a gift tag. This minimalist approach allows you to let the gift itself (rather than the wrapping) take center stage. In addition, gift recipients can keep the jar to re-use in their own home in any way that is useful to them.

I’m going to show you two ways that I like to use canning jars utilizing the new Ball® Collection Elite Design Series Sharing Jars. First, I’m going to use one to combine the ingredients to make a delicious fall drink using Mocha Chameleon Cold-Brew Coffee. Then, I will illustrate how I use them to make gift-worthy food items, like the Spiced Pear Butter I recently made, that are great gifted on their own or as an item in a larger gift basket to friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances alike…. [read more]

Everyday Is A Great Day For Coconut

Everyday Is A Great Day For Coconut-Carrington Farms-Brooklyn Organics-Munk Pack-Sparkling Ice

Beauty Brite Disclosure

Well, World Coconut Day (Sept. 2nd) may be over for this year, but I don’t know anyone who feels beholden to enjoy coconut-infused products only one day a year. Do you?

Coconut is a sweet ingredient that can be worked into everything from snacks and drinks to side dishes and entrees. And it has some pretty beneficial health benefits, too. Coconuts are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, calcium, magnesium, potassium and amino acids. [read more]

Chameleon Cold-Brew Pumpkin Spice Latte

Chameleon Cold-Brew Coffee-Pumpkin Spice Latte

Print Recipe
Chameleon Cold-Brew Pumpkin Spice Latte
Do yourself a favor this fall season and upgrade your regular latte experience by incorporating pumpkin-inspired spices for a whole new drink experience, hot or cold.
Course Beverage
Prep Time 5 min.
Servings
Ingredients
Course Beverage
Prep Time 5 min.
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Blend the spices in a small ramekin separately.
  2. Fill a glass with ice cubes.
  3. Add cold brew, and finish with milk. Combine the mixture with a spoon or coffee stirrer (or put mason jar lid on and shake).
  4. Add the pumpkin pie spice blend to the coffee. Combine. Add more ingredients as desired to taste. Enjoy!
    Chameleon Cold-Brew Coffee-Pumpkin Spice Latte-5-Shaking
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