Believe it or not, 2011 has come to an end. I hope this past year was a great one for you and I’m wishing that 2012 is full of beautiful surprises and lots of laughter.
I wanted to take a moment to thank you … all of you reading this. Thank you for reading Thoughtfully Simple, supporting the blog, the posts, and the goal of simple entertaining. From the virtual support on Twitter and Facbeook — to those real life mentions, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope to bring you a lot more in 2012.
For now, I’m eager to wrap up the work day and join my family in some simple celebrating. Here’s a glimpse of my New Year’s spirit:
Whether it’s a large formal soiree or a more causal dinner party – the best events are the ones that are put on by cool, calm, and collected hostesses. I talk a lot here about ways to simplify your gatherings and I’m always striving to share tips to keep you organized, stress-free, and excited about your event. Today, I’m sharing a must-have book that completely falls in line with these goals — it’s called The Dinner Party Diary by Deborah Greenspan.
This book is perfect for the seasoned hostess or those just getting their feet wet and curious about how to plan a dinner party. Here’s a little peek:
This book is going to be your go-to resource/planner for several reasons. From keeping track of your guests lists, to planning your meal, designing your table settings, to providing ample room for notes and reflection on each event — I am sold on it’s usefulness. Now, you can keep track of everything in one place, which for me is key! No more trying to remember what I served last time I invited so and so over for cocktails or trying to remember the name of that appetizer I prepared for last year’s Mother’s Day get-together. It’s all there, right in my new party planning journal (love that!).
Get your own copy of The Dinner Party Diary on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble for $25.00 (bonus: this would make a thoughtful hostess gift too!).
To learn more about The Dinner Party Diary, be sure to check their blog, and follow them on Facebook & Twitter too.
What do you think? Do you think you could put this new book to good use? What is the next event you are planning? We’d love to hear about it!
Earlier this week, I shared two unique holiday cocktails with you that were made with Sierra Mist. For a little refresher you can check out the recipes for Meet Me at the Mist-letoe and Frost Bitehere.
Today, I have two NEW holiday drinks that I created while playing bartender with Sierra Mist myself — one cocktail and one mocktail (the kids will love this one!).
First, we have the cocktail.
This is my type of festive cocktail — it looks really pretty but isn’t full of sweet stuff. I like the crisp, all natural flavor the Sierra Mist brings to this drink.
Makes me want to start unwrapping my Christmas gifts right now. Isn’t it pretty?
1 oz Cranberry Juice (I used sugar free)
1 oz Cranberry Vodka
Splash of lime juice
Top with Sierra Mist
Directions: In shaker combine: Cranberry Juice, Cranberry Vodka and lime. Shake over ice and strain into glass. Top with Sierra Mist.
Drink number 2 is a mocktail and equally festive.
2 oz Cranberry Juice (or other favorite red juice)
Splash of lime juice
Directions: Fill glass with ice (or chill all ingredients and skip the ice). Add to glass: cranberry juice, splash of lime juice and then top with Sierra Mist. Garnish with something festive and fun (above: glass is rimmed with green sugar crystals and adorned with a candy cane twist).
I hope that these festive holiday drinks have inspired you to create your own recipes! In fact, if you do create a cocktail or mocktail of your own, share it with Sierra Mist on their Facebook page (they’d love to see it!).
Maybe you need some supplies? How about a Mixology kit from Sierra Mist?
One lucky reader will win: A Sierra Mist Natural holiday gift pack (shaker, drink garnishes/sugars for rimming, party glasses & a $50 AMEX gift card!)
Congrats to Jennifer M!
Contest is closed. To Enter: Leave a comment telling me about your favorite cocktail/mocktail or the name of the one you’d like to create (mandatory entry).
For Extra Entries (not required, leave a separate comment for each you d0):
I really am a sucker for a pretty cocktail, especially a festive or holiday cocktails. So when Sierra Mist asked me to test out two of their festive holiday cocktails all I could say was …. “get me my shaker!”
I was really eager to test out these two unique cocktails because although I like a little fizz in my drink — I am not a fan of sugary sodas. Sierra Mist seemed like a great alternative since it is made with real sugar, no artificial ingredients and is 100% natural flavoring.
So, I put my mixologist’s hat on and created these:
Pretty, right? Say hello to Meet me at the Mist-letoe & Frost Bite.
Meet Me At The Mist-letoe…Martini
2 oz. Sierra Mist Natural
1 1⁄2 oz. Raspberry Vodka
3 Leaves fresh basil
1⁄2 oz. Fresh lime juice
1 oz. Blueberry juice
1. In a glass, muddle two basil leaves and lime juice, then add to shaker
filled with ice
2. Add raspberry vodka and blueberry juice to the shaker; shake well and
strain into a martini glass
3. Top with Sierra Mist Natural
4. Garnish with a basil leaf for decoration (optional)
3 oz. Sierra Mist Natural
1 oz. Blue Curacao
1 oz. Coconut Vodka
1 oz. Pineapple juice
Fresh blueberries (optional)
1. In a shaker filled with ice, mix coconut vodka and pineapple juice
2. Add blue curacao, fresh mint and blueberries (optional)
3. Shake all ingredients well and strain into a large glass filled with ice
4. Top with Sierra Mist Natural
5. Garnish with fresh blueberries for a holiday twist (optional)
So I thought it’s be fun to see which cocktail you’d most like to try. Are you a Meet Me at the Mist-letoe or a Frost Bite?Here’s my favorite…
Now tell me, which would be yours?
Don’t forget to check back for 2 more recipes (one cocktail and one mocktail!) plus a cool giveaway from Sierra Mist!
Feeling the holiday stress? Wish you had more time? How about carving out a little girl time and getting some of that to-do list accomplished? My simple tip to sneaking in time with your best friend, mom, sis and neighbors? How about hosting a simple, Pretty Packaging Party?
The plan: set up a gift wrapping station, toss out some supplies and simple snacks, and invite the girls over for chatting and wrapping!
Confine your packaging party supplies to one room in your house — a dining room table or an otherwise, “out of the way” spot where you gals can get busy wrapping and catching up.
You’ll want to have plenty of supplies on hand (you can even ask each guest to bring something like tags, tissue, or ribbons to make it easier).
Boxes (I prefer these craft brown ones from thinkgarnish.com), plenty of ribbons of different widths, and festive tags are all a must. Don’t forget the tissue paper, tape, scissors and pens too!
Add those thoughtful touches to your gifts with these little homemade paper flowers. I made all sizes using cupcake liners and coffee filters! Layer, scrunch, and secure the flower together using a brad. Hostess Tip: if you’ll have kids in tow this is a fun craft that will keep their little hands busy!
You won’t want to forget some drinks and snacks — but keep it super simple. You’re getting together to get gifts wrapped and sneak in some quality girl time — no working away in the kitchen! Serve water or lemonade in glass jars with cute straws. Serve “packaging peanuts” and candy in these clever clear plastic tubes (so handy).
This entire Pretty Packaging Party idea can be pulled together in a whim — it’s super simple. So, go ahead — call up your girlfriends and invite them over for some wrapping and chatting. After all — good things do come in pretty packages.
*Bonus: in addition to the $2,500 grand prize, each of the above Facebook pages will be giving away weekly $100 gift cards (enter each week for the $100 drawing or just once for the grand prize drawing).
Enter to Win the $2,500 Grand Prize & Weekly $100 Gift Card Giveaways
“Like” Homes.com &/or ForRent.com on Facebook and fill out the entry form located on the Naughty or Nice tab on the left side under their profile picture.
While filling out the form refer the contest to friends using the “refer a friend” option. Referring your friends increases your chances of winning.
Good Luck everyone! Contest ends at 12pm EST on December 16, 2011. Grand prize and weekly winners will be emailed and announced on Facebook.
Now, what would you do with an extra $2,500 to spend this holiday season? After you enter, be sure to come back and let me know in the comments!
This is a sponsored post. Homes.com has paid me to review their holiday contest and offer my opinion. I only recommend companies or services I believe my readers will enjoy — cheers.