Thursday, June 23, 2011

expecting moms & their stationery

Dear friends,
If you ever decide to have children, please DO NOT plan to send me one of these cards.
Creepy or creepiest ever?

P.S. The reason I even found these expecting mommy cards by The Bonnie Marcus Collection was because I saw these (below) very cute camp cards! Not that I went to camp (yikes, bugs! and no showers!).. I just checked out the site because I thought they were adorable. Unfortunately I ran into the above not so adorable cards (which were featured on The Today Show, so don't be too embarrassed if you like them.. they obviously have a market. A creepy market ;) ). Talk about hit or miss.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

the clever life has arrived!

I am so excited to share my new Etsy shop with you. I hope you will take a second to check it out, and if you are a fan, perhaps share it with a friend or two? I'd really appreciate it!

So without further ado... ( the banner below!)

Edit: Sorry if you saw this post earlier and the link was wrong -- it's fixed now!

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coming soon...

My new Etsy shop (shoppe looks too pretentious to me) is coming incredibly soon! I'll probably have it completely up and running tomorrow. I couldn't be more excited, and I hope you are too. Oh, you don't know what to be excited about? Well, let me give you a little sneak preview of what's to come...

Pretty in Punk Garland

Rustic Americana Garland

Festive Flip Flop Garland

Merry Little Christmas Garland 
(my personal new favorite after my fall leaves one!)

I'll be posting a link to the shop here first thing once it's open! I also have some fun canvases with hand-cut phrases I'm looking forward to showing off -- the line is called "Word Play." 

See you soon over at The Clever Life

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

welcome back, hilary

Houston welcomed me back quite graciously two weeks ago. I made the move from New Orleans back to Texas for the summer a couple of Sundays ago, and I got a quick start to my two month stay with a happy reunion with a friend from our Birthright trip to Israel. She was in from D.C. for a business trip, and we managed to squeeze in a fun evening of authentic Tex-Mex at Escalantes, a quick trip to Anthropologie (where I love everything but can afford nothing), and my first trip to Sprinkles. It turns out my friend Jaclyn also blogs, so the evening was well documented (and, as you may have noticed, I'm not great about doing so, so this is a special treat).

Delicious margaritas at Escalante's

Us in front of Sprinkles Cupcakes in Highland Village (that's me on the left!)

My seriously good Red Velvet cupcake with a cute, branded bamboo fork. (I have since been back and even received a free dark chocolate cupcake because I followed @sprinkles on Twitter!)

Since my move back (it'll be two weeks tomorrow), I've acquired a very part time job as a catering hostess, worked on getting my new shop up and running (official launch coming very soon!), and went to BINGO in the Heights with some friends (unfortunately, we didn't win... and momma really needed new tires, so a fat $600 in prizes would've helped!).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

hilary's kitchen adventures : skittles-infused vodka

I recently went to a bar called Mid-City Yacht Club in New Orleans. Ironically, it is not a yacht club by any means -- it's actually a dive bar in a residential area in the very cool neighborhood of Mid-City. And what makes it so special? Well, the infused liquor, of course -- just like all yacht clubs, right? Personally I tried the Skittles-infused vodka and the Starbursts-infused vodka. A friend of mine tried mint-infused rum, which tasted like mouthwash to me -- yuck. So as I sipped on my Starburst-infused vodka and Sprite, I thought... why can't I do this?
I had read about making infused vodka awhile ago, when I was trying to think of cool gift ideas for my friends for the holidays. Just stick some stuff in a bottle with some booze, right? Couldn't be too hard. I particularly liked the Skittles one, so I decided to start with that.
I found instructions and got to work. I opted for a new type of Skittles, Skittles Blenders, ones that combine two flavors in each small candy.

 I bought three small plastic (the instructions recommend glass, but I found plastic to be perfectly acceptable... and I didn't get sick or anything, so choose your container at your own risk!) drink containers to use to infuse. I sorted the Skittles (a dangerous task often resulting in taste-testing each flavor) by color. I had three containers, and there were five flavors. I didn't like the blue one, so it was out, and I combined the orange and pink because they tasted awesome together. I only used one bag and one handle of vodka. I simply poured each color (or color combination) into its own container, then split the vodka among the bottles. No math or measuring necessary. I shook them vigorously, as per directed, and the color already started to fade off the Skittles. Next, I put them in the fridge overnight to soak.

The next day, I checked on my infusions -- they were looking BRIGHT! And the Skittles had all but disappeared, leaving a kind of gross white froth on the top of the liquid. Yuck. It had to go before serving. So like the instructions recommend, I set up the straining process.

 Each color had a different amount of froth (weird, right?), so I varied how many coffee filters I used (one or two). I just stuck them in a funnel in a cup. I poured the mixture into the funnel until it was full, then let it drain for about ten minutes. Please note this is a VERY annoying process. But the results are worth it! In the background, you can see the pre-filter substance (left) and the post-filter results (right). Muuuch better.

So yes, the filtration process does take a considerable amount of time, patience, and hand-washing, but by the end, you will have a seriously delicious concoction. I recommend mixing it with Sprite since yes, it is still straight vodka (a realization a friend did not make before taste-testing the brew). It is very, very sweet, but super delicious.

Our Cinco de Mayo party drink table (not awful considering we decided two days prior, on el tres de Mayo, if you will, that we were going to throw a shin-dig). You can see the bright Skittles vodka bottles on the back right (next to Skinny Girl Margarita, naturally, homemade piña coladas, and bucket strawberry margaritas... Olé!). You can also see the incredibly terrible tequila-infused pineapple (turns out the tequila-infused pineapple is MUCH stronger than the pineapple-infused tequila, and I would not recommend it to anyone because, unlike a shot, it doesn't go down quickly -- you just have to keep chewing and chewing. Ugh, disgusting. Sorry, Chris.).

I think next time I will go for a fancier infusion, like rosemary vodka or something cool like that! Maybe vanilla bean?

Have you infused liquor before? What's your recipe?

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