Home Turf Tailgate

Going into one of the biggest games of the football season, our tailgate deserved something fresh. I found myself at Home Depot on the Thursday before the game buying a ginormous strip of AstroTurf to create a unique table runner – the added turf was just the ticket for this tablescape.

I used a chalkboard we usually display in our kitchen (made using an old frame and some spray chalkboard paint) as a canvas for one of my favorite lines in the song “We Are the Boys of Old Florida.” The letters looked nice and bold using chalkboard pens.

Patterned craft paper went the distance to create not only the table’s flag banner but also some mini-flag cupcake topers. I found the “We are #1” toppers at Michael’s, and the mini SEC helmets (which come in a set of all SEC teams) were also a fun addition to the cupcake stand.

My approach to tailgating is no different from planning any other gathering. You must consider things like the guests attending, the number of guests, time of day and flow of the event. Knowing this would be one of the busiest games of the season and with a tailgating window around lunchtime, I opted for grab-n-go foods that didn’t require much fuss or prep for mingling guests.

On the menu:

  • Publix chicken fingers with a side of ranch dressing – manageable and delicious
  • Pepper jelly, cream cheese and Ritz crackers
  • Cucumber sandwiches made with white bread, cucumbers and chive/herbed cream cheese (Just smear a little cream cheese on one side of each slice of bread, add cucumber slices and you’re done!)
  • Seedless grapes
  • Orange-flavored cupcakes (box mix) with whipped frosting (I loved how the orange cake mix showed through the white cupcake liners.)

Added creature comforts such as mints and hand sanitizer help keep guests clean and minty fresh. I was inspired by She’s Kinda Crafty to decorate the pump dispenser – she outdid mine for sure!

We were excited to again use our customized tailgate cups and pom-pom drink stirrers, serving Bloody Marys and sweet tea vodka-lemonades to our family and friends.

Last but not least, my husband’s tailgate contribution may have outshined the whole spread. He brought and chilled the largest bottle of beer I have ever seen, nine liters of St. Feuillien Triple. As someone once said, “Win or lose, we’re here for the booze!” …and the football, friendship and fun! Have a great time tailgating this weekend, wherever you may be!

More tailgate tips:
Tailgate Tune-up
No Celebration Penalties Here!




SoCal Jackie: A Beverly Hills Bachelorette

This weekend, one of my best friends in the whole world will marry her perfect match. Jackie and Ryan are two peas in a pod. Smarty pants, globe trotters and devoted parents to their pup, Coconut.

The beautiful bride and I met in college when she joined Tri Delta. One of my first memories of Jackie – a seemingly shy freshman – is when she opened up during a new member retreat, bringing the room to tears by sharing how hard it was to be away from her twin sister, Jessie, for the first time. She quickly became a regular at the Dolphin Discoteca (our apartment), and countless fun times have followed. Jackie’s wonderful husband-to-be and I attended the same high school – in fact, Ryan’s dad was my orthodontist (Thanks for the straight grin, Dr. Swigler!). I am so happy such kind, accomplished and amazing people found each other. I know they will continue to explore and adventure together, with trips to Africa and Australia (to name a few) and residences (at some point) in at least four U.S. cities already under their belts.

So how did we celebrate the last few months of singledom for Miss Jackie? Her sister Jessie – while pregnant I might add – did a fabulous job planning a Southern California trip for the girls. With our home base in a Venice Beach rental, we explored nearby Beverly Hills (special views from the TMZ tour bus), enjoyed the Hollywood Walk of Fame, dined among the stars, ran into a Real Housewife, relaxed beachside and rooftop, and danced the night away. It was the perfect setting, and I had the honor of getting to decorate for this shindig!

We worked like elves to set things up while Jackie slept on night one, so she would be surprised by the decor and goodies. To go along with the SoCal location, the inspiration was straight from the Hollywood hills:

  • A “Jackie Hills” sign hung from the ceiling with a pushpin and ribbon – an easy project made on some black cardstock with bright yellow craft paint.
  • The “Happy Bachelorette” banner was made using triangles trimmed from black cardstock, adhesive glitter letters in alternating colors, hot glue and glittery ribbon (sensing a theme with the glitter?).
  • Popcorn bags turned into cute goodie bags filled with tinsel, lollipops marked “Keep it Poppin’” and wrist warmers…because wrist warmers are fun. That’s why!
  • Each guest received a SoCal Jackie mix CD, including some of the bride’s favorites, as well as “California” by Phantom Planet.
  • Each guest had her very own star on our Walk of Fame, made with cardstock, spray adhesive, gold paint pens and gold seal stickers.
  • Pom-poms drink stirrers were a must (of course), and the garnish mermaids from World Market were a great little retro addition.

Our sweet friend Lindsey came up with some hilariously fun bachelorette weekend games, including a Hollywood scavenger hunt. One of the items on the list was to “Find Giggy” – we came close by meeting the Pomeranian’s owner, Lisa Vanderpump, when dining at her restaurant, SUR.

There are so many great memories from Jackie’s bachelorette, and I am excited to reunite with all of these ladies this weekend as we watch Jackie and Ryan tie the knot! Cheers to you both!




Oh My Goodness Garnish: Pom-pom Stirrers

I love garnish. From mini mermaids to mammoth olive skewers, it’s fun to dress up your drink! These little pom-pom stirrers are easy to make at home, and they are fun for almost any occasion.

Grab a glass of wine, get settled with your favorite cocktail-themed movie, and start preparing these festive little fluffies for your next gathering. All you’ll need: sparkly 1-inch pom-poms in you color(s) of choice, wood craft sticks and a hot glue gun.