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Macy's Presents American Icons LIVE Events!

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Macy's Presents American Icons LIVE Events!

I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

As summer rolls in, there are so many iconic moments that I have captured with my children. Charlotte JUST had her first popsicle, which I recall consuming mass quantities of as a child. She rode her bike around the block for the first time last week, with some help from mom. She wore her first denim jacket, which is so fashionably iconic America.

As for Bryson, he started playing baseball this year, America's past time. He discovered his love for s'mores on a camping trip with my mom and I last summer. He also loves to bake, and makes a huge mess in the kitchen! These are all the childhood memories that many kids share across America, making them iconic moments in our lives.

Macy's is hosting a series of events to celebrate what makes America the place we love to raise our children, and you are invited to join the in-store party! Macy's American Icons events are family fun and fashion bashes to kick off the summer right. I will be attending the event at the Chicago State Street Macy's location on this Thursday, May 14th at 12pm. Make sure to join me and participate in these events sure to get you ready for the warm weather!

Take an #AmericanSelfie with Chicago's own Stanley Da Bear, snack on Garrett's Popcorn and hit up the lemonade stand.

How about BBQ, is that iconic America enough? Well, you can learn tips & tricks from Milt's Barbecue for the Perplexed AND Brad Saylor, Macy's Executive Chef.

If you are in the mood for a little music, the steel band Potts & Pans and a cappella quartet No Big Deal will be on site, belting tunes and charming the audience.

And of course, what Macy's event would be complete without shopping? Everything you need to put together a timeless ensemble will be on hand during the fashion party as you shop to the DJ-mixed beats.

Don't live in the Chicago area? Make sure to check out macys.com/americanicons for over 20 additional locations. I am almost tempted to hit up NYC at Macy's Herald Square on May 14th to meet Carl Ray, makeup artist for America's First Lady and Maksim Chmerkovskiy from Dancing with the Stars! Or how about Macy's Union Square in San Francisco? The Pitch Perfect 2 costume designer Salvador Perez is hosting a fabulous fashion show celebrating iconic style from some of my favorite American designers on May 16th. Make sure to check out the website to see if the Macy's American Icons party is coming to a Macy's near you!

Macy's is also a proud partner with those who have served our country alongside Got Your 6. Each year, 250,000 incredibly brave women and men return from service, and Got Your 6 works to make sure they have the support and tools they need to become leaders at home. (The phrase "Got Your 6" originated from an old pilot system where directions correspond to hours on the clock, so anyone at your 6 is behind you, so "Got Your 6" means "I've got your back.") These are the true American Icons, and Macy's has declared Saturday May 16th Got Your Six Saturday- if customers donate $3, they get a 25% off pass to use all day May 16th.

I hope to see you this Thursday, May 14th at 12pm at the Chicago State Street Macy's!

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Easy St. Patrick's Day Dessert- Pot O' Gold Truffles

Although there seem to be an ever-increasing amount of healthy St. Patrick's Day desserts out there, I am going to the other end of the spectrum. This particular dessert is rich in many ways (See what I did there? Pot o' gold? Rich? ;) and so easy, I was able to mostly make it one-handed while rocking my 3 month old last year. I came up with the idea after looking at the masses of Girl Scout Cookies I just had delivered, particularly the Thin Mints. Yes, I could freeze them and in a chocolate-craving-frenzy cram the whole sleeve in my mouth one night, or I could create a new dessert out of them for an upcoming party. I did my jeans a favor and proceeded to do the latter.

Pot O' Gold Truffles

  • 1 package Girl Scout Thin Mint or Keebler Grasshopper Cookies (9 oz)
  • 1/2 package softened cream cheese (4 oz)
  • 1 bag chocolate chips, melting chocolate, etc... (12 oz)
  • Gold sprinkles or edible glitter

Directions

Use a food processor to crush the cookies into crumbs. Mix in the cream cheese. Roll 1 in balls out of the mixture and place on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper or nonstick mat. Stick in the refrigerator for a half hour to solidify before rolling in chocolate. When they are solid enough, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave (if using a microwave, be careful not to burn the chocolate!). Roll balls in chocolate and place back on cookie sheet. Place a small spoonful of gold sprinkles directly on top; you can make an indentation after they have set up in the fridge for a bit if you want them to look more like "pots." Let them firm up in the refrigerator for a few minutes so the chocolate firms up and you are good to go!

What are your favorite St. Patrick's Day recipes?

Adapted from Six Sisters

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Quick & Easy Oscar Party Ideas

Red carpet season means gal pal parties in my circle of friends! We love getting together, dishing on the fashion and sipping on some bubbly. Why not throw a last minute Oscar Party? I will help you with the dessert, signature cocktail and a few quick decorations and you are in BUSINESS! Signature cocktail: The Red Carpet

Ingredients:

Raspberry Cane Sugar from s.a.l.t. sisters

Jar of Wild Hibiscus Flowers

Segura Viudas Brut Cava (voted 2013 value brand of the year by Wine & Spirits- best bang for the buck bubbly in my book!)

Dip the rim of a narrow champagne glass in lemon juice or water. Pour sugar on plate and dip the rim in sugar. Fill glass with Cava and add a Wild Hibiscus Flower.

Wild Hibiscus Flowers can be purchased at Whole Foods, certain specialty food stores, and online on Amazon.com and their own website, wildhibiscus.com. They are all natural REAL edible hibiscus flowers preserved in cane syrup and every guest will go nuts over them!

 

I would also grab a few bottles of Cordon Negro Rosé, which comes in a chic black bottle. Who doesn't love sipping on pink bubbly?!

Delicious Dessert: Chocolate Strawberry Coconut Trifle

Ingredients:

1 bag Simple Mills Chocolate Muffin Mix + coconut oil, egg & water according to directions

1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz)

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 cups heavy cream

6 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 lb fresh strawberries, cut into 1" chunks

Directions:

Make mini muffins according to mix, cool and break into quarters.

Heat oven to 350 and toast coconut on a baking sheet (about 10 minutes, making sure to toss to prevent burning).

Combine coconut milk, 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan and bring to a slow boil, making sure to stir. Reduce heat and continue to stir and cook until slightly thickened. Transfer to a different dish and set aside to cool.

Beat heavy cream for a couple minutes in a bowl and add the 6 tablespoons sugar and vanilla extract. Continue beating until stiff peaks are formed. 

Add half of the whipped cream to the cooled coconut mixture and fold in.

Assemble the trifles-

Add 2 muffin quarters to the bottom of a wide mouth champagne glass.

Add a dollop of regular whipped cream.

Add a few strawberry pieces.

Add a dollop of coconut cream.

Sprinkle toasted coconut.

Repeat, ending with coconut cream and toasted coconut sprinkled liberally on top.

These can be assembled 2-3 hours prior to serving and kept in the fridge. You can also put all the prepared ingredients in small dishes and let guests assemble the trifles themselves- a trifle bar!

 

Decor: Red, Black and Gold

Red, black and gold are the colors of the season! If you have a red or black pashmina, use it as a runner down your counter or table. Next, grab some gold glitter and glue and add ombre glitter to plasticware and plastic cups.  Concentrate the glitter on the bottom and thin out towards the top. Take plain white napkins and add gold stars stickers or a stamp to each.

 

To create a photo booth, buy a red plastic tablecloth at a Dollar Store or Party City for a few dollars and hang on a wall. You can add gold stars, film strip border using white printer paper and black permanent marker, or the Hollywood letters! Make a few props- top hats, red lips, fun glasses attached to long bamboo skewers (trim the sharp ends!) and place in a vase on a table near the booth. I keep white electric pillar candles on hand at ALL times and decorate them as needed- a red ribbon with a gold glitter star is simple and elegant, or a faux film strip to keep with the theme.

Done! Pop a cork and enjoy, and always remember your friends come to see YOU and catch up, not judge you based upon how many Pinterest fails you have. 

Thank you to Simple Mills, Freixenet and Wild Hibiscus for providing product samples for photographs!

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Amana Freezer Giveaway!

I have hosted Thanksgiving for the last 5 years. At first the idea frightened me.  I had never cooked a turkey and didn't want to ruin my families Thanksgiving dinner! Luckily, when it comes to cooking the turkey, my husband and I do it together. We now Brine our turkey and it turns out amazing! I have learned to plan and prep ahead. We now happily host our friends and family with ease.

Recently I attend an event hosted by Melissa of The Moms at Whirlpool in Chicago. Along with the Whirlpool executive chef, they showed us how easily it is to freeze dishes for the holidays ahead of time. It makes hosting over the holidays easy and enjoyable!

 

 

I usually host Christmas Eve at my house every other year. That holiday meal is a little more hassle free as I am don't have a lot of guests. We do however seems to have a lot of leftovers! A big freezer in our garage would really help me when hosting holiday meals, for the prep and to freeze the leftovers.. Luckily for me and you, I won a 20 cu. feet upright  Amana freezeer ($849 value)  & we get to giveaway one to a lucky reader!

Want to know why this freezer is awesome?

-Saves you money over the lifetime of the appliance by using less energy to conserve resources.

-Deepfreeze® technology delivers the ideal long-term storage for your frozen food. This technology cools the freezer down to an ice cold negative eight degrees to ensure everything from ice cream to meat stays frozen.

-Easily move your freezer when it's fully loaded with four rollers that use swivels for smooth movement on flat surfaces.

-With 20 cu. ft. of capacity, you can easily store all your family's seasonal and bulk favorites.

-This Amana® upright freezer prevents ice buildup, so you don't have to worry about setting aside time to defrost the freezer.

-Activate Fast Freeze to rapidly drop the freezer’s temperature to its lowest setting, so food freezes in a snap, helping lock in freshness and flavor.

Are your ready to win this 20 cu. feet Amana freezer valued at $849? Enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

 

Disclosure: I won a freezer from Amana. I was not paid to write this post. All opinions are honest and my own.

 

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Holiday Traditions from my Childhood (with pics!)

When I think of Holiday traditions from my childhood,  I immediately think of my dad . He was all about the holiday's. He grew up as an only child and making memories with his kids was very important to him. He usually took us skiing in Northern Michigan either before Christmas or after depending on how our Holiday vacation fell on the calendar. Piling in our Station Wagon with our skis, holiday gifts (we would spend Christmas at my cousins & grandparents) and spending time together is a memory I will never forget.

     That's me with my Dad! Probably my favorite picture of all time.

You always knew if you received a gift from my dad because it was wrapped in newspaper! It was his signature. I lost my dad to ALS 8 years ago and I hang on to all the special holiday memories he created with me.

My sister and I with Santa. I was probably about 9 months old.

My sister, Dad and I (and some creepy doll).

It makes me realize how important it is create special holiday memories with my own family. Whether they are similar to the ones that my dad and mom created  with us or new traditions we create with my own family. We try to celebrate the holidays from before Thanksgiving until after New Years in many different ways. We like to do crafts,attend the Chicago Toy & Game Fair,  go to a holiday show, take a car ride to check out houses that are decorated for the holidays in our town, donate toys and go to breakfast with Santa are just some of the things we do during the holidays season. . Thanksgiving is just days away and of course that means many of our holiday traditions are based around food. Nothing wrong with that, right?

 

For more than 60 years Hickory Farms gifts have been a classic holiday tradition that brings family and friends together. If you are like me than you most likely  have distinct memories of Hickory Farms from growing up. I have fond memories of visiting our local mall with my parents and stopping in the Hickory Farms store. You could find me near the samples tasting the yummy cheeses and the signature summer sausage. You can find amazing gift ideas on their site, and their products in over 600 retail holiday Markets, Kiosks and select retail stores in North America. A tray of meat and cheese from Hickory Farms was always a treat at Christmas dinner.

Hickory Farms not only embraces passing down traditions through generations of families, but also creating new traditions and sharing them with loved ones.

 My kids at Rudolph in Chicago last Christmas.

 What are your favorite Holiday Traditions?

Disclosure: Compensation and products for review were provided by Hickory Farms via MomTrends. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review and to facilitate a giveaway.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Hickory Farms. 

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