The Sweet Life | Sugarfina Comes To Dallas!

I was first introduced to Sugarfina, a candy shop of luxury candies for adults, on Instagram by other bloggers who would incorporate their cute little sweets in posts as "props". They had gummy pineapples (Parisian Pineapples), sugary lips (Sugar Lips), champagne bears (Champagne Bears), a variety of chocolates...you name it! I needed these in my life, so I got to Googling. The first time I tried Sugarfina for myself was from their shop-in-store at The Market in Highland Park Village, but I wished we had a full boutique...and NOW my wish has been granted. Sugarfina has brought their full sweet experience to Dallas with a new boutique location at NorthPark Center!

Take a peek at the photos from my visit to the new Sugarfina boutique:

Doesn't it look like a dream? Come out and experience the sweet life of Sugarfina with me on March 23rd. Sample some of my favorite and best-selling candies, sip on champagne and sparkling water, mix & mingle, and let the candy connoisseurs help you pick out the perfect confections to indulge in!

Girl Scout Cookies & Wine Pairing [Infographic]

Every year I both dread and relish Girl Scout cookie season. I'm well aware that I'm going to stock my pantry with several boxes of cookies that my jeans begged me not to buy because I couldn't say "no"...but I also don't care because this much deliciousness only comes once a year and I deserve it.

I almost got through the season without purchasing a single box until I stumbled across this genius infographic. Immediately, I dialed the first Girl Scout cookie "plug" I could think of and managed to snag a box of Trefoils, Do-si-dos, and Samoas just to pair with wine tonight. 

Check out the infographic to figure out what type of wine pairs the best with your favorite Girl Scout cookie! Click to read the article from the original source.

Source: SheKnows

Source: SheKnows

What are your favorite Girl Scout cookies?

Holiday Gift Guide | For the Hostess (& Long Distance Friends)

With the holiday party invitations rolling in, you might be wondering what unique gifts you can bring your host. You also don't want to forget about your long-distance friends who may not live in the same city, state, or country. I have a few thoughtful gift ideas that will take the stress away and make gift-giving easier.

The Fashion Connoisseur

The artful chocolates from Maggie Louise Confections have been on my radar for months now. I think I spotted them on Instagram and have been stalking them ever since. To my surprise, Neiman Marcus at NorthPark Center still had quite a few of their exclusive fashion chocolate gift boxes left (they are sold out online). Without hesitation, I grabbed one for myself. These are excellent for making an impression rather than purchasing a regular box of chocolates. MLC has so much personality in each piece that you can find something for any person on your list! Slip a Neiman Marcus gift card with this gift. | Shop this exclusive Maggie Louise Confections box on the Neiman Marcus website and in-stores for $38

The Bookworm

Snuggling up with a good book and warm wrap is my idea of a relaxing day during the holidays! I went to find a book for my sister at Barnes & Noble and spotted Taraji P. Henson's memoir...and it was a SIGNED COPY. Quickly, I flipped open the cover and first few pages to find her signature in black marker. Next thing I knew, I was happily walking out of the store with the book in my B&N bag. Long story short, books make perfect gifts especially when you really know the person and Barnes & Noble often has signed copies which makes it even more special.

I also recommend gifting a Tortuga rum cake if you can get your hands on one! We buy them every year and have been lucky enough to find various sizes in stores like Ross, TJ Maxx, Dillard's and Tuesday Morning. They're rum-soaked and so tasty with a cold glass of milk while cuddled on the couch with a warm blanket. Need I say more? | Around the Way Girl: A Memoir by Taraji P. Henson ($26 at Barnes & Noble stores; availability of signed copies vary by store) and a Golden Original Tortuga rum cake (also available from Tortuga Rum Cakes)

The Sweet Tooth

Send a box of exclusive and limited Sweet Virginia's toffee to a friend or bring one with you to the Christmas party. Everyone will love it! Each bar is made with fresh California almonds and blended with premium high quality butter. To top it off (literally), they're enrobed in semi-sweet chocolate and roasted, diced California almonds. This toffee is only available during the fall and winter months, and once they're gone...they're GONE. You can order it on their website and just a few department stores. There are several box sizes to choose from, too. Make it super simple and order the toffee from Neiman Marcus and send a gift card along with it! | The toffee can also be purchased directly from Sweet Virginia's website, Horchow, or Bergdorf Goodman.

Only 10 more days left until the big day! Hurry and place your orders so your goodies arrive at their destinations in time for Christmas Day!

Fall Festive | Tropicana Tangerine Lemonade + Cointreau

I partnered with my friends at Megan Media and Tropicana for this post. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. #MixedWithTrop

Last month, I attended an extravagant holiday party for Cointreau in Dallas. It was so beautifully decorated and there was inspiration in every single decor detail. I've wanted to craft my own cocktail for a few weeks and I was able to create the perfect mix right at home with Tropicana Tangerine Lemonade. Before my creative juices (pun totally intended) started flowing, I decided to give it a taste to decide on the flavors I wanted to incorporate. In my opinion, Tropicana Premium Drinks are flavorful on their own, but even tastier when used as a cocktail mixer! This delicious twist on lemonade is an excellent at-home mixology option minus the artificial sweeteners and flavors. It is also available in Watermelon.

Inspired by festive fall holiday parties, my goal was to deliver a herbal and spiced twist that can be sipped at any time of year whether you're at Thanksgiving dinner or at home for a relaxing Girls' Night or spa day. The Cointreau brings out the citrus of the Tropicana Tangerine Lemonade. I added grenadine syrup for an additional pomegranate flavor and aromatic bitters for a botanical blend.

Ingredients:

The Cocktail

  • 4 parts Tropicana Tangerine Lemonade
  • 1 part Cointreau
  • 3 dashes of Angostura aromatic bitters
  • 1 dash of Rose's grenadine
  • Canada Dry Tonic Water (fill 1/4 of glass)

Garnish

  • Rosemary sprigs
  • Fresh orange slices

Step-by-Step

  1. In order, add all measured cocktail ingredients to a mixer in the order listed
  2. If you're using a powered mixer, mix for about 10 seconds (I used my Cellucor Vortex portable mixer)
  3. Fill 1/4 of each glass with tonic water
  4. Pour or strain the mix into stemless wine glasses for you and your friends and lightly stir. Do not pour to the rim to leave room for garnishing.
  5. Garnish your glass with rosemary sprigs for extra herbal flavor and orange slices

Bring your next cocktail to a beautiful blend using Tropicana Premium Drinks! 

We partnered with our friends at Megan Media and Tropicana for this post. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

Empire Premiere | Cookie-Style with Golden OREOS

Besides clothes, I think my second favorite part about fall is season premieres of television shows. I await my favorites and welcome new series with an open mind, but no watch party is complete without snacks. Whether I have a friend over to enjoy the show with or I'm watching solo, the perfect foodie spread is a must!

I've been chowing down on these BOGO free California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizzas this week from Target. I picked up a few boxes of the Sicilian flatbread for tonight's tray complete with wine, popcorn, cheese + grapes, and...GOLD OREO COOKIES. 😳

What better way to welcome a brand new drama-filled season of Empire and the Cookie Lyon (aka Taraji P. Henson) than with cookies?! I wanted something a bit more glamorous than regular ol' chocolate chip. I almost always have OREO cookies in my kitchen, so when I spotted some gold ones on Pinterest, I knew they'd be perfect!

I picked up a can of the gold Wilton edible color mist from Hobby Lobby (used my 40% coupon from the website) and evenly sprayed approximately 8 spaced out cookies at a time on a paper plate. I waited until the first side was completely dry before spraying the opposite side.

I love the OREO Thins, but I'd recommend doing this on the originals. Some of the cookies became a bit fragile after spraying with the gold mist because they were so thin. They were so cute once they were completely dry and added a glam touch to my Empire snack tray.

WANT THE LOOK? GET THE DETAILS!
Decor: Black Trifle Containers // Gold Treat Boxes // Acrylic Tray (similar) // Marquee Letter Lights (similar) // Acropolis Coaster Set // Gold Luster Stemless Wine Glasses (similar)
Snacks: Original Oreo Thins (sprayed with gold Wilton Color Mist) // Microwaveable popcorn // California Pizza Kitchen Sicilian Flatbread // Monterey Jack Cheese Cubes + Seedless Red Grapes // Sutter Home Chardonnay

I'll be live tweeting Empire on Twitter at @JaleesaCharisse, so be sure to follow to join the convo! #Empire

Scream Queens Premiere | Chanel-Style with Barefoot Wines

I was so sad when the first season of Scream Queens came to an end. I've been hooked on the show since episode one and tonight the season two premiere airs! Tuesday nights are officially off-limits. 

I've been working on my closet project for the past two days, so I had to kick the season off Chanel-style! I picked up a bottle of Sweet Red Blend California wine from Barefoot at Target to sip on while I munch on extra buttery popcorn. The wine is new to me, but I definitely wanted something sweet and this is perfect!

Scream Queens-inspired snack tray lit by a Voluspa Crisp Champagne two-wick candle

Scream Queens-inspired snack tray lit by a Voluspa Crisp Champagne two-wick candle

What's a good premiere party without a little bit of candy? The other week, I got a cute little box of Sugarfina rosé gummy bears in a swag bag -- they're delicious (with real rosé champagne) and I figured this would be the perfect time to make them disappear. 👻 I also picked up some Jack O'Lantern-shaped Snickers and Trolli Crawlers. Who needs to go out when you can create a sophisticated candlelit smorgasbord of concession stand goodies at home?

I'll be live tweeting Scream Queens every Tuesday this season on Twitter, too! Follow me at @JaleesaCharisse to join the convo. #GetReadyToScream! 😱

Cocktail | Simply Lemonade with Blueberries + Sutter Home Chardonnay

I don't really drink alcohol a lot, but when I do have a few bottles in my apartment, I like to mix them with some of my favorite juices. Lately, the Simply Lemonade with blueberry has been my drink of choice. Not to mention, I love all things blueberry and they're currently on sale pretty much everywhere for only $2 each, so I've been staying stocked.

This morning, I decided to make the lemonade a tad bit more interesting by adding some Sutter Home chardonnay I picked up from the store a few weekends ago. I'm not a master mixologist by any means -- just your regular girl experimenting at home with the bottles she happens to have.

What You Will Need:

  • Two (2) pretty stemless wine glasses (mine are from At Home)

  • Simply Lemonade with Blueberry

  • Sutter Home Chardonnay, but any white wine will do

  • One cup of blueberries

  • Two (2) decorative striped paper straws

First, Chardonnay...then Lemonade

I didn't measure anything out -- I just went with my gut. Not even going to lie. BUT since I was pairing this cocktail with breakfast, I knew I didn't want to use too much wine and wanted to still be able to enjoy the blueberry lemonade. You can see how much chardonnay I used versus lemonade. 

Mix It Up, Mix It Up

You can use a stirrer or a drink mixer for this part. I completely forgot about my mixer, so I just stirred my drinks.

Add Blueberries

You can add however many you'd like! Personally, I like a lot of blueberries. 

Pair with Breakfast

This is a great, light breakfast drink -- kind of like a mimosa. Garnish your glass with extra fruit (if you'd like) and a straw, then sip away!

What type of drinks do you like to mix up for breakfast? Any suggestions? I'd love to hear about them!

Celebrate with Hpnotiq Sparkle

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So a few weeks ago we finally found out who or what Khloé Kardashian has been obsessing over, and I honestly can't blame her! With a drink like Hpnotiq Sparkle, you must find the perfect outfit, decorations, and food to have a girls' night. But this is a drink you share with only your best group of friends! I decided to host an evening of cocktails and bites at my new apartment with my bottle of Sparkle! I mean, what better way to celebrate moving into your own place? #INeedSparkle

Invitations

I love sending invitations through email. For my 21st birthday last year, I even used an amazing service called Paperless Post! For this particular event, I was feeling super crafty so I browsed Pinterest for awhile until I found the perfect invitation idea. Since I'm pretty savvy in Photoshop and a college student on a budget, I took the design and created my own custom invite completely from scratch!

Here's my version (personal information obviously changed):

8e7c70a84f218253-SparklePartyInvite_BlogVersion.jpg

The Outfit

Here's the outfit I planned to wear, but after running around town to put everything together...it remained a plan -- but a nice one, nonetheless. However, I was wearing a metallic gold skirt and I used my new Magnificent Metals eyeshadow by Stila...so I was somewhat dressed for the occasion! Originally, I picked out a Lovemarks Co. sequin skirted dress and my gold glitter Worthington pumps.

Décor

Like Khloé, I definitely flipped out when it came to finding decorations with enough sparkle, but I also didn't want to spend an arm and a leg! I mean, I'm a college student. I decided to use sparkly things I already owned plus new things to glitz up the ambiance!

I used some of my most glittery shoes as props on an old rhinestone tufted ottoman from my dorm days.

This is the prettiest, sparkliest half of the set up! The other half was mostly food and the cute cupcakes I made. I scoured Pinterest for weeks for the perfect inspiration! I sprinkled the table with turquoise gems with gave just the right touch to the table. I bought clear plastic champagne flutes and added a striped straw to each.

I bought a silver plant tray (with no intention on using it for a plant) at IKEA a few months ago when I moved into my new place and it finally came in handy I used it to display the Hpnotiq Sparkle. It really just looks like a serving tray!

I wanted the main focus to be on the decorations and cupcakes -- not the cutlery or tableware. Plus, I'm so into decorating with acrylic right now! I had a clear acrylic tray that would be perfect for placing the cupcakes, so I took two spare pieces of glittery scrapbook paper and cut them to fit the tray. Just like that, I had a liner!

The Sparkle Bar

Although, I totally specified hors d'ouevres in my invitation, I most certainly wasn't going to have my friends drive all the way to my apartment for bite-sized food. My gatherings always include food enough to fill!

These are the cupcakes I made were blue velvet baked to perfection in individual metallic gold cups. I finished them off by using vanilla icing on top and gold glitter sprinkles.

The blue velvet cupcakes up close (above). The day before, I realized that I would be far too busy to make the hors d'oeuvres I wanted to make. And besides, everyone's schedules turned out to be so hectic that I didn't want to spend upwards of $50 on ingredients and nobody show up. It just made so much more sense. Instead, I ordered pizza and chicken poppers!

Drinks with Hpnotiq Sparkle

Without a doubt, my drinks had to have a little Hpnotiq Sparkle in them, but I did also have non-alcoholic options available as well! I chose to serve the 'Bubbles and Blue' since it's fairly easy to mix (Hpnotiq Sparkle + a champagne of your choice) and my guests (and readers) could easily replicate it at home.

Hint: If you can't find Hpnotiq Sparkle in your area, you can always mix the original Hpnotiq and your favorite champagne. It's such a quick fix when you're juggling décor and food preparation! 


Want to throw your own Sparkle party with the new Hpnotiq Sparkle? Hurry and stock up for your holiday parties this season because there is a limited supply of Sparkle available from now until December!


Hpnotiq is also having a sweepstakes right now that you should definitely enter. They're giving one lucky winner the opportunity to win $5,000 to sparkle all year long! They'll also be drawing two winners each week until January 2nd to win prize packs. Buy Hpnotiq Sparkle for all of your friends, throw a fabulous party, and even go on a shopping spree for plenty of new sparkly goodies for your wardobe!

Enter and tell me how you would celebrate if you won the Hpnotiq Sparkle Sweepstakes?

This post was sponsored by Heaven Hill Distilleries
Heaven Hill Family of Brands. Bardstown, KY © 2014