Category Archives: Party

St. Pattys Day

Is everyone getting excited for St. Patty’s Day!?  I certainly am.  My boyfriend and I both come from a family of Irish, so I found it fitting that I would surprise him with a trip to Ireland for the holiday!  His father went a few years ago, and I went back in high school.  Before I met him, I actually stayed in County Mayo, the same place his entire family is from!  We will be heading over to Dublin to experience all of the festivities on  March 13th and returning to the U.S. on the 20th.  I am going to need a vacation after this vacation.  I wrote up a travel piece on experiencing St. Patty’s Day in Dublin.  I hope you enjoy it!

“Erin Go Bragh!” “The Wearing of the Green!” “The Luck of the Irish!”  The air will be filled with all these familiar expressions in the streets of New York, Chicago, Savannah and many other cities on March 17, when St. Patrick’s Day will be celebrated.  St. Patrick’s Day has not always revolved around celebrations.  It was only in 1970 that Ireland began having festivals and activities.  Before that time, St. Patrick’s Day was observed as a religious holiday to honor their patron saint.  However, times have changed, and no where in the world will the celebration be more exuberant than in Dublin, Ireland!  Dublin will be sure to provide its own unique flavor and overwhelming enthusiasm for St. Patrick.

Numerous activities take place in the whole of Ireland on this special day. The biggest annual event is the St. Patrick’s Festival, which takes place in Dublin.  It offers entertainment for people of all ages.  The festival began in November 1995 and now draws approximately 1.5 million people.  Parades, music, family carnivals, street art, dancing, and theater are just a few of the events taking place.  It lasts for four days.  The St. Patty’s Day Parade in Dublin, is the largest of them all.

Along with the reveling, many people take the opportunity to engage in the St. Patrick’s Pub Crawl.  This pub crawl involves going to several different spots for drinks.  Some of the favorite Irish drinks that could be consumed on this pub crawl are whiskey, cider, cream liquor, Irish coffee, wine, or the most famous, Guinness.  Other popular beers are Murphy’s Stout, Kikenny and Smithwick‘s.  Throughout the days of partying and celebrating, you must eat, or else you probably won’t make it!  The most popular is to just grab a bite from the street vendors; however, if you want a nice sit down meal there are many restaurants to choose from. The Pig’s Ear and Rustic Stone are popular restaurants where you can find fantastic Irish food.  The traditional foods are Irish stew, soda bread, corned beef with cabbage, Dublin coddle, champ, and apple cakes.

If you are still looking for something to do, additional activities to participate in are the Dublin University Boat Races, the 5K Road Race and a Walking Tour in St. Patrick’s foot steps.  This tour takes you through the origin and legacy of St. Patrick.  In the 21st century, Ireland has become as ethnically diverse as the 40 different shades of green that is believed to exist in its landscape.  All of Ireland and the entire world will take to the streets to jubilantly celebrate Ireland’s patron saint on St. Patrick’s Day.

Live – Laugh – Love – Travel

AJ

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Mardi Gras

I don’t know about you… but I’m heading down to New Orleans for Mardi Gras!! NOT… I wish I could, but I have this thing called a job :-p  Here is an article that I wrote that talk about some other great places in the U.S. that you can travel to if you want to celebrate Fat Tuesday.  Or if you happen to live in one of these cities, enjoy and party on!

Most people associate the celebration of Mardi Gras in the United States just with New Orleans but that is not the only city that is known for celebrating Mardi Gras!  Many other cities in the United States pride themselves on their Mardi Gras festivals and celebrations.  As a result, many people are finding that they don’t have to travel to New Orleans to get their fill of Mardi Gras Carnival celebrations.

Mobile, Alabama is considered to have the oldest Mardi Gras Carnival celebration in the United States with history that dates back to the 1800s.  Mobile’s celebrations revolve around the mystic societies which are basically organizations that put on parades, masked and costume balls, and other events for members of the mystic societies and guests and also the public.  To become a member of one of these mystic societies is a secret and not general knowledge.  Members of the mystic societies take a big part in the the colorful floats and parade part of the Carnival celebration and have been known to toss small gifts (ranging from beaded necklaces, candy, stuffed animals, cups and hats) to the crowd.  It is a big part of the city’s celebrations each year and is popular for the residents and visitors alike.

The state of California has at least 3 different recorded events and celebrations of Mardi Gras although not all are continued at this current time.  Up until 2005, San Luis Obispo had annual Mardi Gras Carnival events but have been halted since they have gotten out of control with college students and visitors to the city.  San Diego has a corporate sponsored celebration in the Gaslight district and a San Diego Brazil Carnival Ball is usually held around the same time.  And then in San Francisco, the annual Carnaval San Francisco is a street parade and a festival that is held annually each May.

St. Louis, Missouri claims that they have the 2nd largest and 2nd best Mardi Gras celebration after New Orleans.  The city was founded by French settlers and has a strong Catholic background and so it makes sense that Mardi Gras would be big here!  Events include a pet parade where people can dress up their pet and walk in the parade with them and it is followed by Wiener dog races.  The Fat Tuesday parade always occurs in the evening and has been moved to Downtown St. Louis and mainly put on by corporate sponsors.

There are over 20 other cities in the United States that pride themselves on the Mardi Gras celebrations so the big question is just deciding where to celebrate Mardi Gras this year!

Live – Laugh – Love – Travel

AJ

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Happy Birthday!

It’s a Birthday Month!  Happy birthday to my awesome Uncle, my gorgeous Aunt, and to my wonderful Mother! Love you all! XOXOX

 

 

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How to Throw a Wine and Cheese Party

I talked a little bit about throwing your own wine party in my previous post. But here is a little elaboration on how to have a fancy wine and cheese party! (Riesling is my absolute favorite) Enjoy

Hosting a wine and cheese party is a fun, intimate way to spend an evening with friends. Luckily, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to be a memorable and elegant event. Here are a few tips for throwing a wine and cheese party on a budget.

Plan Ahead
Setting the date in advance will give you time to watch for sales. Skip specialty wine shops and head to organic grocery stores or import shops instead. Look for two-for-one deals or 20-percent-off six bottle sales. You’ll need an assortment of wines for a successful tasting, so stock up on a variety of wines ranging from crisp whites through robust reds. If you live in an area with active wineries or dairies, consider using local vintages or cheeses to cut back on costs.

Send Invitations
A party of six to twelve guests will provide lively conversation while keeping costs in check. Save money and add a personal touch by making your invitations, tasting cards and introduction cards at home. It’s easy to print computer-generated invites on generic card stock, but plain white linen hand-lettered invitations and tasting cards lend a taste of old-world elegance. A package of blank four by six inch cards can serve as invitations. Use the extras as introduction cards for your pairings.

DIY Décor
Luckily, a wine and cheese tasting party is an understated event with no need for elaborate decorations or trimmings. Crisp white tablecloths, sparkling glassware and a few pretty candles in decorative holders set the scene. For a centerpiece, let the season be your guide. Cut a bouquet of flowers from your garden, gather an assortment of autumn leaves and seedpods or use a few sprigs of evergreen and holly berry to form an attractive focal point on your table.

The Pairings
Wine and cheese have the ability to each bring out hidden flavors in the other. You’ll want to plan your pairings accordingly. Acidic whites generally pair better with soft cheeses like Camembert or Brie. Hearty reds stand up to stronger flavors like sharp Cheddar or Parmesan. Consider regional pairings, such as teaming a Riesling with Havarti or Swiss. Sweet dessert wines make music with robust, salty cheeses like Roquefort. Ask at your local wine shop for suggestions. Buy the cheeses the day before the party to ensure they are fresh and plate them separately to prevent flavors blending. Chill the wines, label the pairings and prepare for guests to arrive.

Must Haves
You’ll need a glass for each guest along with a pitcher of water for rinsing and a receptacle for disposing of old wine. A silver or cut glass ice bucket works well. When guests arrive, supply each with a tasting card for noting impressions. Gold or silver scoring pencils are inexpensive and classier than cheap ballpoint pens. Provide plain French bread for cleansing the palate before and after tasting, as well as fresh fruit, crackers, nuts and olives for noshing. Put on some soft music and let the tasting begin.

Live – Laugh – Love – Travel

AJ

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Labor Day BBQ Party!

I enjoy throwing parties, especially on holidays.  Here’s an easy way to throw a yummy BBQ party!

If you are looking for labor day BBQ ideas, you do not need to look any farther. This is a great holiday that a lot of people enjoy every year because they see it as the end of the summer. They want to have one last celebration to send the summer off in style. Children really feel this way because they know that labor day means that they have to go back to school. For them, responsibilities are about to come back into their lives. If you need some ideas for how to have a great BBQ this year, keep on reading.

Make Many Kinds Of Food
The first thing to remember is that you should give people some options when they come to your BBQ. Do not just cook hamburgers and hot dogs. You want to have these things since they are staple foods that will be expected, but you need to take it a step farther. You should also have bratwursts and chicken breasts. To accompany all of this meat, you should have grilled asparagus and corn on the cob. You can cook the corn in the husk; when the husk is blackened, the corn inside will be perfect.

Have It On The Beach
Many people have BBQs in their back yards, but not everyone has theirs on the beach. Now, you will need to live near a lake for this to be possible. If you do not, you can drive to a lake; it will just make it a little more difficult to get everyone to come. Once you are at the beach, you can grill out like normal while everyone swims in the water, plays ladder ball and volleyball on the sand, and enjoys the warm air. Since this is the end of the summer, the beach is the best place to be.

Have It On A Boat


If you want to take things to a whole different level, you could think about having the BBQ on a boat. A pontoon boat works perfectly because it moves slowly and it has a large, flat surface for the grill. If you live near a calm bay, a lake, or a river, this will be ideal. The only place that this would not work is on a lake that is rough and choppy. The waves will make it hard to keep the grill upright. You have to be on calm water.

Conclusion
All in all, you can do many things to make your BBQ fun and exciting. The most important things are good food, cold drinks, and fellowship among the people who have come there. Even if you just have a simple BBQ in your backyard and you all sit around a campfire in the evening when the meal is done, you will have a fun time if you have these three things. This is the last party for the summer, and you deserve to have a good time. You deserve to relax and celebrate as the world moves on to autumn.

Live – Laugh – Love – Travel

AJ

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