Thursday, January 30, 2014

Valentine’s Day Brunch

Every year, without fail, I hear a lot of grumbling about Valentine’s Day from friends and co-workers.  They struggle with how expensive and hard it can be to find a sitter and make reservations, how commercial it has become and how much pressure they feel (or are putting on themselves) to WOW their Valentine.  Well, you know me, I say if it is too stressful neither of you are going to enjoy it, so is it really worth doing??  

I don’t know about you, but I have a tough time enjoying a nice evening out if I’m stressed out about how much we are paying the babysitter.  Plus, would you rather enjoy a nice meal at your favorite restaurant when half of the free world is there with you or on a quiet evening when you can actually hear each other talk?

So, I have of course come up with a fun alternative for you to try this year - A Valentine’s Day Brunch!  Trade an expensive night out for a fun family friendly brunch at home with your closest friends.  With Valentine’s Day falling on a Friday this year, having a morning brunch on Saturday or Sunday is a fun way to have a relaxing celebration with your Valentine and close friends, without the expense of a babysitter.  

As always, you can get as elaborate as your schedule or budget allows or take my advice and keep it simple and enjoyable.  The most important thing to remember is to have fun and create a comfortable environment for everyone.  We all have so much going on in our busy lives it is nice to just kick back with close friends and enjoy a good meal.

Find all of my tips for:

Until next time,
aka Chick #1

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Perfect Super Bowl Party

Are you ready for some football?  Today I shared some easy ways for you to throw the perfect Super Bowl Party with Page Crawford on WNCN Today.  The best part?  None of my tips require advanced cooking skills or the world’s largest cold cut stadium ;-)

     Fun for Kids of all Ages.

DIY Penalty Flag

o   DIY Penalty Flags.  If you have young guests at your party or animated grownups, the perfect way to get everyone involved in the game is with a few DIY Penalty Flags for them to toss each time there’s a call to be made (or the wrong call was made!). 
DIY Penalty Flags
-  1 yellow napkin
-  1 practice golf ball
-  1 rubber band
Unfold the napkin and place your practice golf ball in the center.  Draw up each corner of the napkin tightly around the golf ball (the corners of the napkin will look like a long tail).  Wrap your rubber band around the golf ball 2-3 times and you’re done!  TIP: You can also use a ping-pong ball or small bouncy ball.  Just be sure not to use a hard ball that may do some damage :-)

     Deliciously Easy Super Bowl Snacks.

Corndog Bites

o   Corndog Bites.  Making these bite size corndog bites couldn’t be easier, even for those of you who don’t know your way around the kitchen and they will be a hit with all of your guests.
Corndog Bites
-  1 box cornbread mix
-  5 hotdogs cut into bite size pieces
Prepare cornbread mix as normal, stir in hotdog pieces, spoon into mini muffin tin and bake as directed.  Serve with ketchup and mustard.

Football Deviled Eggs

o   Deviled Football Eggs.  Turn your favorite deviled eggs into mini footballs.  Simply add small strips of green onions to the top of each egg to make football laces.

Milano Football Cookies

o   Football Cookies.  Everyone loves Milanos, but have you ever thought of them as the perfect Super Bowl Party food, probably not.  But, with a little melted chocolate or brown cake gel you can turn a Milano into a football.  Simply melt chocolate in a microwave safe dish, thentransfer to a ziptop bag.  Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and pipe laces on the top of each cookie.

And of course you can't forget my favorite Super Bowl centerpiece, the Beer Can Cake!

Until next time,
aka Chick#1

Find all of my party tips in Party Planning Tips for the Clueless Chick 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fun Excuses for a Party

If you are looking for an excuse to throw a party this weekend, I have three predictably fabulous ideas you will love.  January is full of fun holidays you’ve probably never heard of like National Pie Day, Beer Can Appreciation Day and Chocolate Cake Day.  

This morning I shared some of my favorite January party inspiration ideas with Page Crawford on WNCN Today:

     National Pie Day.
o   January 23rd.  Thursday is National Pie Day, a day sponsored by the American Pie Council to encourage people to bake their favorite pie.  So why not bake (or buy) your favorite pie, or better yet chose pie as the theme for your next party.  You can serve pizza pie, bite size pumpkin pies, pot pies, Sheppard’s pie, pie pops, good ‘ol apple pie and decorate the house with pie charts and show the movie Life of Pi ;-)

     Beer Can Appreciation Day.
o   January 24th.  That’s right beer lovers, there is an official day dedicated to the beer can.  Beer Can Appreciation Day commemorates that great day in 1935 when beer was first sold in cans, thus forever changing tailgating.  What’s the best way to celebrate Beer Can Appreciation Day?  By cracking open a cold one of course.  Or, if you’re crafty, throw together a Can Cake or up-cycle your favorite beer can into a fabulous bud vase.  Either way, you will also have the perfect centerpiece for your Super Bowl Party.
     Chocolate Cake Day.
o   January 27th.  Wait, what?!? A day dedicated to chocolate cake?!?  Yes, please.  Send January out with a bang by throwing your own Chocolate Cake Day celebration, just remember that a yellow cake with chocolate frosting just won’t do, it’s all chocolate all the time on January 27th.  Whether you bake the Clueless Chick’s favorite Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake, pick up a chocolate cupcake, or bake chocolate chocolate whoopie pies for your coworkers, have a piece for me! 

If you need any more inspiration for your next party or dinner Friday night, don't forget to pick up a copy of Party Planning Tips for the Clueless Chick.

Until next time,
aka Chick #1

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Best Gifts of 2014

If you have started shopping for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, or have a birthday to plan for, you’ll be happy to know that 2014 has brought with it some pretty cool new gifts for everyone in your life.  Today I shared some of my favorite new gift ideas for the whole family with Page Crawford on WNCN Today.

     For Your Favorite Mommy-to-be.
o   Belly Belt.  The BellyBelt by Fertile Mind is the perfect solution for pregnant women who are keeping their pregnancy under wraps in the first trimester, trying to extend their non-maternity wardrobe, or transitioning back into their pre-baby clothes.  Forget the old trick of looping a rubber band through your belt loop, these fabulous wardrobe extenders can be worn with any bottom that buttons or has a slide fasten.  Genius, I tell you.
     For Your Little People on the Go.
o   KinderVille.  KinderVille has created a fabulous new line of silicone food storage containers for your little ones, or you.  From these super cute sandwich or snack pouches to jars cups and bowls.  Hospital grade silicone makes a fabulously safe and easy to wash container for snacks, lunch, feeding or food storage for homemade baby food or snacks. 
     For Your Favorite Kid.
o   Laser Pegs.   Laser Pegs put a high-tech twist on building blocks. Inside each Laser Peg block is an LED light bulb and when you connect Laser Pegs pieces together your entire design lights up in reds, blues, greens and yellows. With the Laser Pegs kits, you can build everything from running cars to bugs.  How fun is that?
     For the Lady in Your Life.
o   TwoAlity.  In TwoAlity, we’ve found the coolest new options in rain boots.  These versatile clear boots have interchangeable liners in seemingly endless colors and patters for whatever mood you are in.  These boots will take you from Spring to Winter and every season (and style) in between.  You can even wear them without the liners.  Who doesn’t love endless fashion possibilities?  
     For the Handyman on the go.
o   TaskOne.  This year, you can get your handyman a new TaskOne iPhone case which will fix his bicycle on the side of the road, open a beer, or chop some kindling for the fire.  With 22, yes 22, tools in a tough and very slim case for your iPhone, even an un-handyman will feel pretty handy.  TIP:  You may want to remove the knife/saw before going through airport security ;-)

Happy Shopping!

Until next time,
aka Chick #1

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Simple Christmas Cleanup Tips

It is that time of the year when you can expect the neighbors to look at you sideways if you haven’t started taking down your Christmas decorations.  And we all know that taking down and packing up all of your decorations is not the least bit fun and usually ends with someone vowing to never decorate for the holidays again.  Today I had the pleasure of sharing some of my simple tips to make your Christmas cleanup, and decorating next year, a little easier with Page Crawford on WNCN Today.

     Preserving Memories.
o   Christmas Card Keeper.  One of the best parts of the holiday season is receiving adorable holiday cards in the mail.  These days many people are sending out the most beautiful photo cards and it is a shame to throw them away, but keeping them can be a pain.  Here is a simple way to keep all of your favorite holiday cards organized so that you can display them for years to come.

Christmas Card Flip Book
Single Hole Punch
Metal Ring(s) found at any craft or office supply store

1.     Use a hole punch to punch a hole in the top left corner of your cardstock, being sure to make the hole ~1/2 inch from the top left corner.  Note:  If you prefer a book type binding, punch an additional hole 3 inches below the first hole.
2.     Use your cardstock as a template to punch holes in each of your holiday cards, being sure to position them the way you would like to see them as you flip through the cards.
3.     Once you have punched holes in each of your holiday cards, use the metal ring(s) to string them together.  Be sure that your ring is large enough to allow you to easily flip through the cards.

Use your family’s holiday card as the cover of your card flipbook so that each year you can look back on the changes and major events in your life over the years.

     Organizing Small Ornaments.
o   DIY Egg Carton Storage.  It can be tough to store your small ornaments, especially those that are delicate, and ornament storage systems can be quite expensive.  The solution – an egg carton.  Simply stockpile a few clean empty egg cartons throughout the year and when it is time to pack up your small ornaments you have the perfect container.  This is also a great way to keep your themed ornaments organized (like my awesome Starbucks ornament collection started by my hubby when we first met).  TIP:  When it is time to decorate the tree next year, use the egg cartons to divvy up ornaments between your little ones, it is much safer and efficient than handing them one ornament at a time.

     Grab’n’go Storage Ideas.
o   A Bag for Everything and Everything in a Bag.  Your Christmas decorating and holiday party setup is made much easier if you strategically pack like items.  This way you don’t have to go digging for the holiday plates you KNOW you packed after you’ve already found your napkins.  One of the easiest ways to make cleanup, storage and setup easier is by using a ZizzyBee Bag.  These bags are much sturdier than a zip top bag and still give you the ability to see all of the contents.  Plus, once filled, the bags are very easy to stack inside your storage container.

So take a little extra time to pack away your Christmas decorations, you’ll be glad you did when it is time to put up the decorations next year!  And if you don't mind the sideways looks, I say keep up your decorations until Valentine's Day ;-)

Until next time,
aka Chick #1

p.s. Thanks ZizzyBee for the cool samples for our shoot!