Weekly Snippets 34

Weekly Snippets 34

Y’all. I’m on vacation. It was a completely 100% needed vacation, I was literally starting to lose my mind. That said, I still worked far too many hours for this to be a true vacation, but it was a start. Maybe next month’s trip will go better. Without further ‘ado, 10 things that happened this week:

  1. By Friday last week I was flipping exhausted. When I got home after work all I could bring myself to do was watch sitcoms (Hart of Dixie) and pack.
  2. Saturday I spent almost the entire day in the airport (thanks, American) due to a delayed first flight causing an itinerary change, and a second delayed flight.
  3. I’m spending the week being driven around in a Mercedes SL63 with the top down. Feeling extra swanky over here.
  4. We went to a handful of open houses on Sunday. One of which was a 9 million dollars. I don’t know why I don’t do this for fun more often. I may try to pick this up as a weekend ritual when I get back to Philadelphia.
  5. Sunday we went to get Tito’s tacos. My first Cali-Mex experience. I’m thinking about starting a mission to find the best. Suggestions welcome.
  6. Monday and Tuesday I worked 12 hours.
  7. I got a manicure and pedicure. It felt really good to be pampered for a little bit. Pink finger nails. Teal toe nails.
  8. I’ve finally sent out birthday cards through the beginning of August. Man, I still have some catching up to do.
  9. Wednesday I went on the WB Studio Tour. It was probably one of the most fun touristy things I’ve done on a vacation ever. Getting to see where Friends, Full House, Gilmore Girls, Everybody Loves Raymond, and more of my favorite sitcoms were filmed was an absolute blast. And I got to sit on the (recreated) Friends couch at Central Perk.
  10. Thursday was day one of two at The Yellow Conference in Downtown, LA. Super excited to be meeting so many West Coast bloggers.

I felt like I should have had more since I was on vacation, but part of me thinks it’s pretty wonderful that vacation has been chill. Now if y’all could say a few prayers that my flight home Sunday doesn’t get quite as delayed as it did on the way here that would be great. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Weekly Snippets 33

Weekly Snippets 33

Y’all. It’s Friday. And I’m tired. So tired. Four days in a row of looking extra late is not my favorite. Everyone does it sometimes though, right?

Anyway. It’s Friday. The day that I share with y’all 10 things that happened in the past week. So here goes nothing –

  1. I drove to Saratoga Springs to hang out with Jess for the weekend. It’s always so good to hang out with blog friends in real life – and to get to check out a new city I hadn’t seen before!
  2. We also spent part of Saturday afternoon just relaxing; we watched Fixer Upper and played a non-competitive game of Carcassonne.
  3. I had a Broadway sing-a-long for at least 8 hours of my 10 hour drive.
  4. I got to buy and eat maple cotton candy. It was delicious.
  5. My best friend from high school, Tory, came to hang out in Philly for a few days. It mostly involved watching a lot of romantic comedies.
  6. I have a new favorite smoothie. It has spinach, apple, cucumber, lemon juice, non-dairy milk, and agave in it.
  7. I had a hair consultation on Wednesday morning. I’m super excited about the changes to come. It’s time to start playing with color again.
  8. I went to my first FlyWheel class today. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before. It was like being in a club and on a bike at the same time. I never did quite get comfortable with the fact that my feet were strapped to the bike, but it was definitely a good workout. I think I’m going to try the FlyBeats class next because you stay on the beat of the music the whole time. I will report back. Working out was followed up by a delicious Snap Kitchen salad too. Thanks to FlyWheel & Snap Kitchen for inviting me – and a few other PHLbloggers along to try it out.
  9. This week we played another round of #wepretendtobecooks and my friend Tara cooked a lovely Mediterranean meal for us, complete with honey cake. So good.
  10. My mouth is eating itself again. (Canker sores are the worst.)

Guys, I’ve gotta tell you. That was really hard to come up with 10 things. I think that means I need more sleep. And next week: vacation. I can’t wait. It’s so needed.

Party Preparation Timing

How To Time Preparations for Parties via Chrystina Noel

I’ve recently hosted three very different parties under very different circumstances:

  • I hosted a dinner party for 6 on a Monday night;
  • I hosted a brunch & tea party on a Saturday morning, and
  • I hosted a beer tasting on a Friday night.

The preparation for each one of these parties looked incredibly different. I was recently asked how I schedule out a party, and I thought a look at these three parties would be able to provide some insight for those wondering how I made it happen.

Monday Night Dinner Party

How To Time Preparations for Parties via Chrystina Noel

This wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be to do. Mostly because I had all day on Sunday to prepare. I made sure to choose foods that I could prepare at least half-way the day before. I did need to make sure I made it home from the office by 4:00pm though.

The menu: butternut squash soup and rolls, honey-roasted vegetables and gnocchi, and cupcakes, wine & water

The food shopping: Saturday evening and Sunday morning

What to do the day before:

Prep time: 8 hours

  • Make butternut squash soup and store it in the fridge, wait until the day of too add yogurt
  • Cut the vegetables for the entree, refrigerate over night
  • Make and frost the cupcakes, refrigerate over night
  • Clean the house
  • Set the table

What to do the day of:

Prep time: 2 hours

  • Reheat the soup and add the yogurt
  • Cook gnocchi and roast vegetables
  • Buy the rolls

Saturday Morning Brunch

How To Time Preparations for Parties via Chrystina Noel

Saturday morning brunch isn’t too complicated because you have Friday night to prepare. Also, I made sure to choose items that could be prepared ahead of time. Technically even the waffles could have been prepared ahead of time and just kept warming in the oven, but I was using the oven for the egg strata. I waited until the morning of the brunch to cut the cake so it stayed moist.

The menu: iced tea, champagne frozen beverage, egg strata, waffles and strawberries, and pink and white anise cake

The food shopping: Thursday night

What to do the day before:

Prep time: 6 hours

  • Make frozen champagne beverage
  • Make pink and white cake
  • Prepare iced tea in the refrigerator to brew overnight
  • Prepare egg strata
  • Clean the house
  • Set the table

What to do the day of:

Prep time: 3 hours

  • Cut pink and white cake
  • Make waffle batter
  • Cut strawberries
  • Cook egg strata

During the party:

  • Make waffles

Friday Night Beer Tasting

How To Time Preparations for Parties via Chrystina Noel

This was difficult. The only other party I’ve recently hosted on a Friday night was Mardi Gras, but I actually took the day off to cook for it. I tried really hard to choose menu items that could all be prepared ahead of time and didn’t take much work. Carrots and chips only needed to be open and the buffalo chicken could be made in a crock pot. The complicated part was getting to the Pretzel factory with only a few hours to spare so they didn’t get hard.

The menu: New Belgium beer, Philly pretzels, carrots & dip, chips & salsa, buffalo chicken grilled cheese, and blue moon cupcakes

The food and beer shopping: Wednesday night

What to do the day before:

  • Put the beer in the fridge

I would have loved to do more the night before, but I worked until 11pm and just didn’t have the energy, so instead:

What to do the morning of:

Prep time: 2 hours

  • Make blue moon cupcakes
  • Put the buffalo chicken in the crock pot

What to do the evening of:

Prep time: 2 hours

  • Frost blue moon cupcakes
  • Mix three cheeses to make for grilled cheese
  • Buy pretzels
  • Set the table

During the party:

  • Make grilled cheese

Also, as for “clean the house,” that mostly means sweep the floor in the kitchen, sweep the steps, wipe down the surfaces in the bathroom, put a clean towel in the bathroom and kitchen, and wipe down the counters and cabinets in the kitchen. Nothing too fancy. I admitted to myself a long time ago that no one should ever eat off my kitchen floor.

My Best Tips to Make it All Happen

These are all of my best tips to prepare for a party that I recently shared with Plum Deluxe in regards to the tea party.

  • Read all of the recipes you’re going to use before you need to make them to figure out how far ahead you need to start preparing
  • Set the table the night before – and if you can’t do that at least make sure to get all the dishes near the table to make it easier to set the next day.
  • Put out all of the serving plates you plan on using the day of the party. This way if you see an empty plate, you know you forgot to put something out.
  • Make as many things as possible ahead of time. This will cut down on what you need to do the day of the event.

Actually. If I had a kitchen that people were able to hang out in while I was cooking, I would totally do the last-minute cooking things while people were there. It’s one of my favorite ice breakers because it means there’s something to talk about. Maybe one day.

How does everybody else break down party preparations? Do you have any go-to dishes you make when you know you’re short on time?

Weekly Snippets 32

weekly snippets 32

Korean food on Monday night. Flipping delicious.

I have no idea how another week went by. They go by so quickly when I’m home. I always forget that. General feeling this week? Good. Fun. Happy. Super exciting. I hope to be able to keep it up. And without further ado – 10 things that happened in the past week:

  1. Friday night I hosted a beer tasting featuring New Belgium beer. Seriously, every time I travel for work I need to host a party influenced by that location. It definitely happened with Louisiana and Mardi Gras. You’ll see a guest post about it on Miranda’s blog, Spooky Little Halloween, soon!
  2. Saturday I got to hang out with my friend from high school, Alex, and her fiance in Philadelphia! I got to show them a little bit of our cool town. We only had two hours and hit La Colombe, Reading Terminal, bubble tea, a quick Gayborhood tour, and my house. Not too shabby.
  3. Then on Saturday I got to go to my friend Ryan’s 30th birthday party. A pool party! I haven’t been to a pool party in a long time, so that was a lot of fun. That said my salon visits totally didn’t line up right so I didn’t use the pool. Sigh.
  4. Later on Saturday I went to my friend Alexis’ going away party and got to see a bunch of friends I haven’t seen in a long time. Now I have an excuse to go visit Columbus, Ohio! (There must be something there, right? I have faith.)
  5. Finally on Saturday I left the party early to go home and write a blog post and send it off before midnight. Yes, Saturday was a very long day.
  6. Sunday I blogged and watched sitcoms (mainly Cheers) for most of the day. It was a much needed day.
  7. Monday night I had dinner with my friend Josiah in NYC. We went to Koreatown and ate some delicious food. Followed by even more delicious dessert. Korean food is pretty new to both of us, but we were both super excited that we tried it!
  8. Wednesday night I went line dancing for the first time in New Jersey. Yes, I spent 3 years in Louisiana and somehow never went line dancing. It was so. much. fun. It was incredible to see all of the people doing all the dances at the same time. And they just knew them. So cool. And intimidating. Because they seriously all knew what they were doing – ages 21 to like 80. We learned 3 dances while we were there – and I can’t wait to go again! (Then I’ll at least know 3 more dances than I knew this time, which was zero.)
  9. Thursday was our work summer party. We all took off work for the day and went to the Jersey Shore to hang out. It’s a nice break and a good excuse to see everybody outside of the office.
  10. Also on Thursday I got incredibly sun burnt. I don’t spend enough time outside to remember that sun burn is a thing.

I can’t believe how much I crammed into one week. And only one week of work left until vacation. Goodness I can’t wait for Los Angeles. It’s a much-needed vacation. And a blog conference while I’m there! Here’s to the rest of summer! I hope you’re all enjoying as well!

(Or winter. If you’re in the southern hemisphere.)