Throwing A Book Club Party On A Budget with Chinet® Cut Crystal® PLUS A Giveaway!

Monday, May 4, 2015

A few weeks ago when I was back in Nebraska I told my sister I would help her get ready for her book club party. She has two little babes under the age of five (although Knox looks 12, I'm pretty sure he's just three)  and she's also a busy working mom. So I wanted to be nice and help out- or at the very least try...

Here's the thing, I like getting ready for parties. Cleaning up? Not so much! In fact, I hate the clean-up. Still, I knew I just couldn't leave her high and dry to clean up after, so we found the perfect solution! We chose to use Chinet® Cut Crystal® disposable tableware for two very major reasons: It looks nice and there's no clean-up, because it's disposable!

We also chose to keep our book party pretty simple and just served light apps and wine and punch. What I've always loved about the Chinet® Cut Crystal® line is that the clear design and elegant swirl pattern perfectly match any theme or d├ęcor. As you can see, these Chinet® Cut Crystal® 9 oz cups blended in very nicely with our setting and we were able to offer our book club members a lovely choice of drinks and tableware!

The Chinet® Cut Crystal® line includes matching dinner plates, appetizer plates and dessert plates, 9 oz and 14 oz. cups, cutlery and now a new stemless wine glass. So, we certainly weren't short on choices when it came to planning our book club party.

It was so nice to "not" worry about how we were going to set up for this party, but rather keep the focus on enjoying each other's company and, of course, our love of books! The best part is, with the help of Chinet® Cut Crystal® disposable dinnerware, styling an event is super convenient, so if you've offered to help host a party like I did, you can bring it all with you!

Here's the really best part! If you're throwing a party in the future, or even just planning on doing some summertime entertaining, today's giveaway will give you a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card and a Chinet® Cut Crystal® gift package (approximate retail value of gift pack $50) how nice!

For more party inspiration, visit the Chinet® website for more great ideas!

Want to win? To enter for a chance to win, just comment below and tell me how Chinet® Cut Crystal® would elevate your next get-together?
Entry Instructions:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 5/4/15 – 6/14/15.
Be sure to visit the Chinet brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

I Was That Girl

In hindsight I should have gone home after I insisted Chris take this ridiculous photo with me on Friday night.

We'd finished dinner, it was nearly my bedtime (10:30 p.m.) and I'd clearly had enough. But instead I got on a trolley with a the rest of the Nebraska hooligans and no good came from the night.

I always get nervous when Chris's buddies come to town. Because they don't just bring themselves when they come, they bring a feeling of nostalgia. Of college nostalgia. And I'm too old for that college feeling. Way too old. I'm not sure about your significant others' friends, but chris's friends like to party. They party way too hard for this old girl.

Yet there I was Friday night at dinner taking shots of Sambuca because the Buca Fairy, aka Drew Welch, was in town and that's what you do. Is Sambuca a Nebraska thing? Does anyone else do this? Next to Malort, Sambuca is the most foul tasting thing ever. I avoid it like the plague. Unless of course the Nebraska boys come to Chicago for a weekend...

Anyway, one thing led to another and at some point all of the guys were doing flips (or maybe it was just Chris doing flips) on a bar thing inside of the trolley- if I remember correctly it was like a horizontal bar similar to monkey bars at a playground? Maybe it wasn't, I don't know. Never one to turn away from acrobatics after a few drinks, I wanted to show off my skills as well.

So I grabbed the bar and tried to hurl myself backwards and instead hurled myself on the ground very hard. SMACK goes my head. It was a hit like a toddler would take falling out of a booth at a restaurant. My head hit so hard it bounced right back up like a bouncy ball.

Oh it hurt alright. But I think what hurt more was my pride. I've always been very agile and prided myself on my ability to do random monkey bar flips at a moment's notice. But there I was lying on the floor of a trolley like an idiot. Like a girl in her late twenties trying to do monkey bar flips on a trolley... I was that girl.

And so I picked myself up, said I was okay, and remained quiet for the rest of night as I reflected on the poor decisions I had made.

The following day I had to pull myself together to go to a Derby party. I wanted to skip it I felt so bad, but I made myself go as punishment. Sure we look happy, but I'm in a world of hurt right here.

That's the thing I hate about heavy drinking and why I rarely do it anymore, it's not just a one day event. It continues to haunt me for days after. I'm still not feeling like myself. Then again that could also have something to do with the head trauma I experienced as well.

So excuse me while I try to pull myself together today. It's not going to be easy.

Printing Photos With Crafted Prints

Saturday, May 2, 2015

I remember a time when I used to live for disposable cameras. I'd finish the last five shots on something terrible like a close up of my bedspread or a pic of my cat's tongue and then I'd run the camera over to Walgreens and patiently wait four days for them to be ready. (24 hour used to be $4 extra and no thank you.)

It's funny to me that in today's photo obsessed world we rarely develop real photos anymore. We're content to just let them live on our phone. Or at least we used to be.

After posting nearly 1400 photos on Instagram in the past 3+ years, I decided it was probably time I get some of those photos developed. I mean, why not? I've got all of these great photos (of Harlow) and it's time to get them off my phone.

So I turned to Crafted Prints to start printing my Instagram photos. I got a mix of the vintage and square prints and they turned out great!

And they are super affordable, you can get up to 20 prints for only $12! The quality is simply wonderful, let's just say things have changed a bit since the days of developing disposable cameras.

My mom was in town last week and she loved looking at all of the photos and I was kicking myself I didn't think to order any for her for Mother's Day! But I suppose I can always make up for it with my dad next month for Father's Day... Don't let parents fool you, they're just as vain as we are, they love photos of themselves. I suggest starting with these awesome magnets.

To order your own prints and see all of the fun stuff you can do with your photos check out Crafted Prints website here. 

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Happy May Day!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Today starts the #20HappyDaysinMay challenge on Instagram and everyone keeps asking about prompt one, May Day.

What is May Day? WHAT IS MAY DAY? How do you not know?

I'll tell you.

In my childhood, May Day is a day when you fill dixie cups with anything your mom can find in the pantry. This can include but is not limited to popcorn, peanuts, M&Ms (but usually it's baking chocolate chips because who has M&Ms lying around?) and sometimes random cereal if times are really hard or mom hasn't grocery shopped in awhile.

So you fill the cups with weird old pantry food, stick a pipe cleaner through both sides to make a miniature cup bucket, and then you take them around to your neighbors and drop them on the porch.

You ring the doorbell and run. Rumor has it if you get caught, you get kissed. I wouldn't know because I was the fasted kid ever, but I'm pretty sure my sister would trip on the steps or fall in the grass every year and get slathered in gross neighbor kisses. She wasn't the most athletic child. Or perhaps she was just craving attention? I'm not sure on that one.

So I want to know, is this just a Nebraska thing or do other states follow in this odd tradition?

And if you really want to feel bad about yourself browse "May Day baskets" on Pinterest. Whyyyy? Why are we constantly raising the bar and doing this to ourselves? I'm proud of the random crafts/treats I always brought to school as a kid. It made me more resilient and self confident.

If you can handle being a 7 year old with the ugliest May Day basket in class you can handle anything.

That being said, May Day is whatever the hell you want it to be.

So happy weekend. Happy birthday month, siblings! And of course, happy May Day. Summer is on the horizon.

Mountain Play

Thursday, April 30, 2015

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The North Face for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
When Chris and I get tired of the city, I think we'll move to Colorado.
I love it here. I love the weather, the people, the wide open spaces, and the chance to hike up a mountain whenever you feel like it.
After a day full of checking out wedding venues (more to come on that later) I was more than anxious to slip into some workout gear and on hop on the mountain.

It felt so good! I know everyone probably says it, but if I lived within close driving distance to a mountain, I would hike every day.

It was fitting because I just got my new sweatshirt and crop leggings from Mountain Athletics from The North Face. And as you can tell, I'm very excited about it. I haven't taken off the hoodie since I got it. These are my new favorite athletic clothes.

The leggings have that active stretch fabric that I love when it comes to workout gear. They don't fit uncomfortably tight and they're also not baggy in places they shouldn't be like some yoga pants I've worn. Mountain Athletics from The North Face uses FlashDryXD, so they don't snag, pill, pull, or best of all, attract a lot of dog hair!

I have a North Face fleece I wear all of the time, but this is the first workout apparel I've worn from their line and I'm super impressed. Besides hiking in the mountains which I obviously can't do all of the time, it's also cute and convenient for walking Harlow in Chicago.

The best part is North Face is hosting a giveaway so you have a chance to win your own cool workout gear. The North Face Mountain Athletics Collection Give-Away!  

Check out The North Face, Facebook for even more! Also make sure to Download the Mountain Athletics App. For more information Make sure to follow The North Face on Twitter and find the hashtag #ITrainFor on Twitter and Instagram.

Visit Sponsors Site

My Dream Wedding

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Yesterday I had a conversation about napkins.
A ten minute conversation about napkins. The wedding coordinator lady say, "well, which napkin is most you?"

You know, I've never really thought about it before. What kind of napkin am I? What kind napkin are you? That question has so many layers.

I like to think I'm a fun napkin. I wish I was cloth, but I'm probably paper. Maybe I'm one of those cute napkins with flip flops and a beach bucket that says something silly like "Son of a Beach." I'm probably sold at Tj Maxx because I couldn't hack it somewhere else. Or maybe I'm just covered in dogs. I don't know.

I DON'T KNOW. There's so much I don't know (or care about) when it comes to wedding planning.

So then the wedding lady said, "Tell me about your dream wedding, what have you always wanted to have? Things you've thought about since you were a little girl."

Up until the last three months, I've never really thought about a wedding. I've never dreamed about a wedding. It just wasn't my thing.

I guess that's not completely true. I've always dreamed about having a tent.

A trampoline tent to be correct.

A wedding reception that takes place on a huge trampoline covered by a tent. How fun would that be? I had a trampoline tent for a brief time in the summer of 1998 and it was the best summer of my life. Sadly my cat tore the tent to pieces with his sharp teeth, but man it was fun while it lasted.

No matter who we've talked to while we've been checking stuff out here in Steamboat, Colorado, I've had two important questions.

"What kind of late night food do you offer? And are dogs allowed?"

I have my priorities. They must have a good menu of eats to bring around at 10 p.m. and Harlow has to be included in my wedding. He's family! He is my maid of honor and Chris's best man. It's just the way it is.

Time to head out into the wedding jungle again. Wish me luck. This dream wedding is going to happen one way or another.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Guess what happens this week? .... It's May!
May is my favorite month, it has always been and always will be. It's my birthday month and it feels like the first month of summer. Although in Chicago is doesn't really get warm until July... but we can pretend.
In an attempt to bring the fun back to Instagram I'm going to kick off a fun little Insta Challenge. This is pretty much 100% inspired by Helene's latest Insta challenge success, #30PhotsinBetween. Follow her @heleneinbetween and browse that hashtag. The photos are incredible. She did good.
That being said, I'm not the best at photos. So let's call this challenge a free space for those very talented at the insta game already, and those just learning like myself... Everyone is welcome. And of course this is also inspired by the book/hashtag 100 Happy Days. I know myself well enough to know I just can't commit to being happy for that long, so I'm keeping it easy at 20. I'm Just being realistic here. 
Here are the prompts:

It starts on Friday, May 1st with the best holiday of all, May Day. I'm not sure what May Day is exactly but let's figure it out together. Maybe I'll make baskets full of popcorn and drop them on my neighbor's steps after I ring the doorbell and run. But that's pretty much like a normal Friday afternoon for me anyway.

I'm off to enjoy sunny Colorado! Maybe even do a little wedding planning... Stay tuned. Have a great Monday!