Wine Down Wednesday :: Bluegrass

November 16, 2011 § 1 Comment

I had the privilege of going to the W on 2nd Street here in Austin a week ago. Tanner and I tried their restaurant, Trace because we’ve heard some great things. Besides Trace being recommended to us, I was told I had to try one of their handcrafted cocktails called the Bluegrass Martini. Best.Drink.Ever. Bits of mint, slush, and blueberry all in a glass, count me in any day.

According to the Austin Chronicle 2011 Restaurant Poll, “Austin is emerging as a cocktail capitol,” so there was no craft cocktail winner. Who knew Austin was the cocktail capitol??

There are so many great classic and craft cocktails at Trace, like the Manhattan, Jalapeño Cucumber Lemonade, and the Lone Star Classic. But, I highly recommend the Bluegrass for something refreshing, innovative, and just plain yummy.


Wine Down Wednesday :: Black Swan

October 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Halloween is just around the corner and if you are like me and are planning some sort of Halloween party, you need a good drink to go along with the festivities. My party has a black and white theme, and I have found just the drink that will go perfectly.

Black Swan

1.5 oz Russian Standard Vodka (I’ve used rum too)

5 Blackberries

3 oz lemonade

Muddle four blackberries in the bottom of a tumbler. Add ice, vodka, and lemonade. Garnish with remaining blackberry.


Top 10 Wedding Treats for the Guests Who’ve Seen it All

September 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

The most important people at a wedding are the bride and groom. But, what about all the guests, especially the ones who have traveled? There has been an overwhelming trend of brides and grooms who want to treat their guests to a celebration and a “thank you” of sorts. It is not only a celebration of the union of marriage, but a celebration of the friends and family who love and support the bride and groom.


Here are some ways to treat your guests to an evening of bliss, happiness, and celebration.

Pre-Ceremony Cocktails

Photography by Abby Jiu Photography

Most guests are used to not getting anything to eat or drink until the reception starts. What a great way to treat your guests by giving them a light cocktail or a refreshing nonalcoholic drink. Definitely think something fruity, light, and cold.


Welcome Bags

Photography by Sarah Yates

This is a great idea, especially if you are getting married in a city that has a lot of personality and if you have a lot of guests coming in from out-of-town. Put together bags or boxes with snacks and unique items that represent you and the location of your wedding. Have them placed in your guests hotel room before they arrive.


Child Care

Photography by Emily G Photography

I can not even begin to tell you what a great idea this is. If you have guests coming in from out-of-town, most of your guests may not know a sitter in the area to watch their kids. This means they have to bring them to the wedding. It might be  great to arrange for a nanny, kid’s table, coloring books, activities, treats, and food that they would like. If kids are an issue, make sure you specify no children on the invitation.


Wedding Dress Change

Photography by Jose Villa & Widdis Photography

You might have your big, romantic, and heavy dress for ceremony, but if you want to party comfortably later on, you might consider changing into a shorter, sexier, lighter dress. Guests love this because the dress is such a huge part of the wedding and when they get 2 dress surprises, everyone leaves happy.


The VIP Lounge

Photography by Aaron Delesie

This is great for the guests who may want to take a break from dancing. The lounge allows the guests to grab a drink, sit, and have a conversation. The lounge furniture gives guests a comfy alternative to the rather uncomfortable seating options usually offered at weddings. It also gives guests the VIP treatment. You may want to place the lounge within view of the dance floor so those guests can still watch the dancing.


Mid-Night Snacks

Photography by Raw Photo Design

Keeping guests fed throughout the night will make for some very happy guests. After dinner and cake, you may want to offer some snacks as the guests leave the reception. Whether it’s sweet, salty, or breakfast for the morning, your guests will feel treated and well-fed.


Special Lighting

Photography by Adrienne Maples

Your DJs and videographers can offer more than just music and a video. See what they can do with the lighting. When looking at your venue you might not think about the lighting when the sun goes down. Special lighting will make your guests feel special and might even encourage everyone to let loose a little more than usual.


Wine Tasting at Cocktail Hour

Photography by Michael Bullock

I might not recommend this for a large wedding, but this could be a really nice treat if done right. You may have your bartender set up stations around the cocktail hour where your guests can take part in different wine tastings. You may have them taste all of you and your groom’s favorite wines or whatever theme you want to go with.


Only Serve Food You’d Want to Eat

Photography by Docuvitae Photography and Films

Don’t let your caterers talk you into fancy, frilly food you wouldn’t normally choose for yourself. There’s nothing wrong with serving a good slider or mini hotdog. There is a “wedding food” type, and it can get a bad rap. Shock your guests by feeding them with food they would want to order if they went out to eat.


Your Party Doesn’t Have to End After You Throw the Bouquet

Photography by Krystal Mann

You don’t want to stop dancing, but your time at the venue is up? Plan an after party. After all, you have the rest of your life with your husband, but one night with all your guests. Plan something fun like karaoke, go to a lounge, or a cool local club to show your guests a fun late night on the town.


Wine Down Wednesday: May all your joys be pure joys and your pain, champagne.

September 21, 2011 § 2 Comments

It doesn’t get more classic than the champagne cocktail. Not only is this beverage perfect for a celebration, but also as a great happy hour option. Drinking champagne gives you that elegant, fancy, celebratory feel.

Here’s my favorite champagne cocktail recipe…

Simply The Best Strawberry Champagne Cocktail

1/2 cup fresh strawberries
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
Champagne or Sparkling Wine

Wash and hull the strawberries.

Put all the strawberries, except one, in a blender.

Add vanilla, lemon juice, and sugar, and puree.

Pour into a Champagne flute half-way (more or less to taste).

Top with Champagne or Sparkling Wine, and stir gently.

Slide the remaining strawberry onto edge of the glass.

Wine Down Wednesday: Vegas Edition

September 14, 2011 § Leave a comment


So, I’m dedicating Wednesdays to enjoying life and finding ways to take time for myself. This week, I am in Las Vegas with my husband, Tanner and not only have I had a wine down Wednesday, but a Tuesday, Monday, and Sunday.

One of my favorite things to do with Tanner is to sit, drink, and talk. Whether it’s coffee, wine, cocktails, etc. We always have great conversation and fun in these times and I can truly say we’ve done a lot of “drink talking” this week!

So, I’m dedicating today to good drinks, conversation, fun, and Vegas! Everyone take a little time out of your day to find your happy place because I’ve found mine!

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