Outdoor Summer Party

OK, I know it's hot, but summer parties are meant to be outdoors so rub on some sunscreen, grab a bag of ice and get outside! Sure, you’ll likely serve up the standard BBQ fare like burgers, wings and hot dogs, have a beach ball or two in the pool, but you can make it a party to remember by adding a few simple elements.

Food & Drink

Create a "lemonade stand" with multiple drink dispensers; each with a different drink. Offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks just in case there's kiddies attending the party. Serve up your concoctions in mason jars with colorful striped straws for drinking. Give drinks a snazzy look by adding frozen berries or melon balls instead of lots of ice. Or use cupcake tins to fill with water and slices of lemon or lime to make fruit filled ice cubes. The drink will look prettier and add flavor without watering it down. You can find a variety of drink dispensers and mason jar drinking glasses at Cost Plus World Market and Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Here's three of my favorite super simple summer cocktails from Pinnacle Vodka:


Pinnacle® Pool Party Punch 
1 part Pinnacle® Original Vodka
2 parts Lemonade
Splash of DeKuyper Blue Curacao
Mix ingredients and serve over ice

Pinnacle® Raspberry Lemonade
1 parts Pinnacle® Raspberry Vodka
2 parts Lemonade
Mix ingredients and serve over ice
Garnish with a lemon wheel or raspberries

Pinnacle® Ruby Sunset

1 Part Pinnacle® Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka

2 Parts Lemon Lime Soda

Splash of Cranberry Juice

Garnish with a Lime Wedge

Offer options for the grill from steaks to burgers to even bratwurst. You can order a "Freedom at the Grill" package from Omaha Steaks (now $77) to feed all your friends.

While you're at it, order the cherry pies too for $15. Yum!


Serve gourmet chips or popcorn without the need of a fancy caterer. Warm up the chips in the oven, pop the popcorn and toss with various seasonings like rosemary or paprika and serve them in brown paper bags. Cut the tops off the bags, fold over, fill with the savory snacks and tie some colored twine around the bags. It’s easy for guests to walk around with them in hand and toss when they're done. 

Opt for flowers in mini pots for added décor rather than the expense of cut flowers. You can give your guests the mini pots as gifts to take home and re-plant or you can add them to your garden after the party.

Or use colorful summer vegetables as your centerpieces. Fill vibrant veggies like mini tomatoes, carrots, radishes, green beans in pretty bowls, jars and vases of varying heights.

Make one or two spots the main areas for food and drink whether it be turning your potting table or picnic table into a buffet set up and decorating it with a colorful outdoor tablecloth or brown kraft paper that you decorate with markers or even crayons. Or try adding a strip of wrapping paper down the center like a table runner.

Light Up The Night

When the sun goes down you need good lighting to keep the party going. String white holiday lights, if you don't want to buy new lights, across fences or patios and in trees, add outdoor lanterns and even candles. Otherwise, try stars or vintage looking glass bulbs you can pick up from places like Bed, Bath and Beyond and WorldMarket.com. Add extra decor with party artwork from Minted.com


Let the Games Begin

Small talk can get tedious real fast. A good time in my book include games. And when outside they include games both adults and kids can enjoy. Or just adults acting like children.

Create your own mini-Olympics. Draw names randomly to set up teams.

Want to go the extra mile? Give participants bandanas to signify their teams.  You can find then online for about $1 a pop.

Games don’t have to be fancy or require a big set up to be a success:


- A colorful croquet set can be set up in under five minutes.

- Bean bag toss

-Inflatable dart board set

Guests go through various games to get points.

If you don't have some of the equipment then revert back to the games you played during recess like red light/blue light and tag and have relay races with leap frog, crab walk, one legged hop, and even a water balloon toss.

Memory Maker

Don’t forget to capture the memories. Create your own photo booth. You don’t need to hire anybody. Instead create a backdrop with something as simple as a large bed sheet or brown kraft paper which is super cheap and draw polka dots or write your guests names on it. Offer your friends props like silly sunglasses. Take photos on each other’s cellphones and share.

If you have any shy friends, opt to do something that I call a Cocktail Selfie, which is just fun a picture of your drink. Offer some fun arm candy and garnishes and snap away. Take photos on each other’s cellphones and share with the hashtag #CocktailSelfie. 

Final Tip

Have a bucket or a beach bag nearby with sunscreen, bug spray and even a few small shot bottles of First Aid Shot Therapy (F.A.S.T.) for your guests to avoid a sunburn, a bite and a hangover or headache.

Let your NFL fan style freak flag fly proudly all season long with your fashion and entertaining wares from your favorite team. Super Bowl XLIX is nearly here and I shared looks for super fans on KTLA Morning News. Whether you're rooting for the Seahawks or Patriots you can look the part head-to-toe and dining table to couch in NFL Homegating gear.





Opposing teams? No problem. Get your NFL fan style at the NFL Shop.

Deck out the party with NFL Homegating gear of your favorite teams at NFL Shop.

They got the look head-to-toe in t-shirts to jerseys to jeans and maxi dresses.

Chips and dip, crackes and cheese and a shoes for wine.

Even salt and pepper shakers get in on the NFL action.

So you want to have an awesome holiday party sometime between now and New Years Eve, but you're feeling a little stuck, right? Well, sit back, get comfortable and read through my fool proof ideas for fun. Then start inviting people you know you want to eat, drink and be merry with while it's cold outside.

1. Holiday Libations & Nibbles

Have a signature drink that pairs with your party theme to keep the festivities fun & delicious. When you throw a party during the holiday season it’s likely you may still be finishing up in the kitchen when guests arrive so get the socializing started right away by serving your guests a seasonal cocktail. Every holiday party does not have to be a sit down occasion. My favorite is to have friends come over a little later than dinnertime by making it a “Drinks & Desserts” fête. It’s less fuss and muss in the kitchen. Besides the finger foods and, of course, the treats, I offer small ramekins filled with seasoned nuts whether sweet or savory. This kind of party is a chance to indulge in delicious confections and serve up two-three signature cocktails so your guests have choices. Check a few of my favorite seasonal cocktails below:

Dessert Table

1 part Pinnacle® Pumpkin Pie Vodka

1 part DeKuyper® Crème De Cocoa Dark Liqueur

1 part Half and Half

Midnight’s Kiss

1 part Pinnacle® Original Vodka

2 parts Champagne

2. Deck the Halls

a. Choose a color theme for your décor. Don’t feel required to go with stereotypical green and red. You can stretch through holidays if you choose two to three colors and make it look festive like white, silver and gold.

b. You can also create conversation at the table multiple ways with décor by doing a DIY message on plates or creating a placemat with silly questions for your guests to answer.

3. Holiday Party Trends

a. Ugly Christmas Sweater Party:  Holiday parties usually mean you have to come up with several dressy outfits. Instead, get your guests to get crafty and design their own ugly holiday sweater. The party will lead to lots of laughs and DIY inquiries.  Have guests vote on their favorite ugly sweater and the winner goes home with a basket of all the ingredients to make your seasonal cocktail.  If this just isn’t your thing, then go with the holiday sock party and have everyone wear silly holiday socks that guests can buy or create.


Reindeer and Santa Socks, $14 Joy the Store

Multi-Pack of Christmas Socks, $4 Macy's

Hot SoX Dog and Cat Christmas Socks, $6 Bare Necessities

Elf Striped Socks, $5.70 ASOS

b. Holiday Cookie Swap: Ask friends to bake two-dozen of their favorite cookies to bring to the party. Create decorative boxes or get some holiday tins to offer your friends to store their new goodies to bring home.

c. Have a Tree-Trimming! Set up your evergreen (real or fake!) with lights and garland, and let each guest know that they can bring an ornament to hang on your tree. And don’t be greedy, send your guests home with an ornament as a gift as well.


Make these DIY ornaments (project #7243) and other projects with the Cricut Explore, Cricut.com

d.  Christmas Caroling: This is awesome! Everyone knows the songs and music, now just get your friends together for the fun. Have friends come earlier for this party since you shouldn’t be knocking on neighborhood doors past 8:30 out of respect. Print out the lyrics for several classic holiday songs.  And while you get ready to bundle up against the cold offer your friends some hot chocolate or carry a thermos of hot chocolate or cider while you walk the neighborhood. Now head out, ring a doorbell and step back from your neighbor’s front door and start singing.  Plan on visiting several homes around your neighborhood. Or just walk as a group along the sidewalk in your neighborhood and sing.  After an hour or more of singing head back to your place for food, drinks and games with the group.

4. Party Planning Tips for Seamless Entertaining

a. Theme It: Come up with theme so your party stands out among the rest and becomes the coveted invite. 

b. Avoid Hours in the Kitchen: Don’t feel the pressure to make all your food from scratch. Make it a mix of homemade, semi-homemade and store bought. Better yet, make it potluck whether it’s a dessert and drink only party or a sit down meal where you make the main dish and friends bring side dishes. Pre-batch and pre-cook everything the day before so you’re spending less time in the kitchen, and more time with your loved ones.

c. Make a Holiday Playlist: Music can keep the party grooving and upbeat so curate a holiday playlist ahead of time. Mix holiday classics sung by a variety of artists such as Michael Buble, Idina Menzel, Frank Sinatra and more!


Christmas Music, Amazon.com

d.  Be prepared: Some guests may over do it on the holiday “cheer” or you may just have one too many cookies. Have on hand plenty of water for guests plus some simple remedies like F.A.S.T. First Aid Shot Therapy (firstaidshottherapy.com). These small bottles the size of a shot are a liquid remedy for pain (say goodbye to your headache) and stomach aches. And offer carpooling, a taxi or Uber if guests need a safe lift home. 

Available at Amazon.com, 12 bottles for $29




Turkey Day can be daunting if you’re the host. You’ve got the meal to tend to, a football game on the TV to compete with and the late day snooze that guests succumb to after eating a big meal. Here are my tips for a day that's beautiful, memorable and special to you and your guests.


Watch for our video for more ideas & DIY.

Save yourself some time and set the table before the big day. First the tablecloth; maybe even add a table runner to spruce up the table with a little color and contrast. Make sure you have a water glass and wine glass for each guest. Skip those less than desirable paper napkins; your friends are worth the cloth ones! You can even go one step further and add a beautiful napkin ring to make the place setting even more fabulous. If you don’t have napkin rings, then you can make them with the Cricut Explore® Machine among many of the DIY projects below. 


Project- Fall Napkin Ring, Project - Leaf Napkin Ring

If you are serving the food buffet style, you will still want the table to look complete, so set the table with chargers or plate toppers. Go the extra step by sticking on or etching a message on these table toppers through a simple DIY project. Each charger or topper can have a different message for the season or personalized to each guest. 

Made this with the Cricut Explore

Add fresh or faux flowers to create your own centerpiece, you can even add squashes and leaves for that extra autumn flair. If you have several couples attending your Thanksgiving or "Friendsgiving" meal then create place cards and mix up the seating or have guests swap seats during dessert. This creates great conversation and new friends.

For lighting, have plenty of tea lights or candles. Place them on the mantel, along windowsills, or in clusters on the dining table. Remember to have unscented candles on your dining table so the enticing smells of your food does not compete with the scent of the candles. 

As for food, keep it simple. If you want a sit down dinner, minimize the guests to 10 and prep the ingredients or portions of the meal ahead of time. Remember that not everyone loves turkey and some of your friends may be vegan or vegetarian. There are a multitude of possibilities you can cook instead of turkey that are quick and easy. You can make salmon, eggplant or even a butternut squash pie. If you plan to serve the traditional turkey for the main course, but you’d rather not set a timer and spend hours near the oven, then order a turkey fully cooked ahead so you just heat it up. Remember to choose your turkey by adding 1 pound per guest, 1½ pounds if you want leftovers.

For the big meal, stay away from complicated recipes and main courses that need constant attention. Don’t hesitate to dole out side dishes to friends and order your favorite dessert from the local bakery. The point is to get out of the kitchen and enjoy the party. Once the menu is planned, print up a menu to place on the table so guests can immediately start drooling.

If your dining table is on the smaller side set up the food buffet-style in the kitchen or another open surface, so guests can help themselves and your table can be dedicated to the décor and lighting.

Serving booze? Stick to wine or a signature drink specific to the season, something with apple cider or cinnamon comes to mind. Don’t get frazzled offering too many choices of soda and drinks. Remind guests they are free to bring their own drinks if they are picky. 

1 – Ask it. Type or write up questions for your guests ahead of time and place them under the dinner plates, dessert plates or in a bowl so guests are unaware until it’s time to share. You may suddenly learn of a hidden desire, their favorite gift given or received, or what they’d do if they won the lottery.

2 – Shout it out. I’m not talking about fighting or tantrums, I’m talking about playing games and getting your guests shouting out answers. Sure board games work, but games like charades and celebrity are so simple and fun. Pick up an easel and dry erase board from your local office supply store or arts store for your own version of Pictionary or download the $.99 app of Heads Up and all you need is your phone. If your guests want to watch the football game then play these games during commercial breaks and get guests off the couch.

3 – Make a face. Don’t forget to capture the memories. Create your own photo booth. You don’t need to hire anybody--Instead create a backdrop with something as simple as a large sheet. And offer your friends props like simple DIY masks. Take photos on each other’s phones and share.


DIY - Pilgrim Hat and Party Animal Masks 

4 – Show off some talent. Before your guests arrive send them a short email asking them to come prepared to share a talent. Assure them to not overthink it. Whether they want to play a song on their guitar, tie a cherry stem with their tongue, show off a card trick or tell a knock-knock joke, it will surely add some laughter and fun to the gathering.

5 – Give a gift. Don’t let guests leave empty handed. How about a monogram pumpkin? Or send them home with a mini loaf of pumpkin or banana bread, or even just cinnamon sticks (the real deal) and a packet of hot cocoa mix. Or even a leftover piece of pie. Guests always love to feel loved. 

And don't forget to just have fun! Thanksgiving is meant to be a joyful celebration and gathering with people you love.



Throw A Ghoulishly Good Time Halloween Party

Halloween is one of my favorite days of the year! I’m one of those gals that loves a chance to dress up in a theme costume so I start prepping for Halloween early. And the big day is a guilt-free chance to get my fill of candy and sweets.  

If you’re planning on throwing a party don’t just put out some bowls of candy and hope for the best. Stir up a guaranteed good time with yummy food, games and silly themes like dressing as characters from a Wes Anderson movie or your kids favorite TV show or video game. Have guests vote for best costumes from most top notch DIY to most original. Make Halloween 2014 a spectacularly spooky time.

Watch my video for more ideas for doing a DIY Halloween.

Party Details

First, remember that you don't have to outdo that neighbor with the nine foot fog machine. 

Choose a theme for your party whether you go macabre with vials of red liquid to represent blood, red stained tablecloths, and splatters of blood you create with decals you stick onto walls and chairs and crime scene tape or choose a witchy theme with a witches brew, hanging bats, and skeleton cut-outs. Decorations can be simple and still pack a big punch, like this Spooky Halloween Garland by Frenchie Wraps made with the Cricut Explore.

Serve your guests with these ominous beverage bottles! Peel off drink bottle labels and stick on these instead. Click here to make this Halloween Drink Set whether you choose potions or poisons.

Make these fun and spooky Halloween Candy Containers from this Make It Now project on Cricut and have guests guess how much candy is in each container. Get your containers for candy at The Container Store. The person who guesses closest wins their choice of candy to take home.


These Candy Corn Cupcake Toppers are a simple way to add some Halloween flair to your party. Click here to make them now. Or create a centerpiece with 3-D pumpkins with this Make It Now project.

 Don't be fooled. Piñatas aren't just for kids. So load up a piñata (or two) with candy and let the fun begin!

Don't forget to send guests home with some candy in fun treat bags that you can create yourself with a simple DIY project from Cricut.

Halloween Games 

Games are essential for a fun Halloween party that includes kids and adults.

Doughnut on a String. All you need are doughnuts, ribbon and rope.  Tie a length of rope between two trees. Have kids stand under the rope, tie pieces of ribbon to doughnuts (one per player) and then to the rope so the treats hang slightly above mouth level. On the count of three have players start. Instruct each to eat an entire doughnut -- no hands allowed -- without letting it fall off the ribbon. The first to finish wins. There's no need for prizes; they've just had their sweet treat.

Pin The Face On the Pumpkin. This game works for kids as young as two years old. Cut out eyes, noses, and mouths from black construction paper (or use your Cricut to cut shapes for you). Stick a reusable adhesive on the back of each cutout, and give a set of cutouts to each player. Place a large pumpkin on a low table or a bench. Blindfold players and position them starting four feet away (little kids may stand closer), instruct them to walk toward the pumpkin and create a jack-o'-lantern face (without peeking).  After every player takes a turn creating a pumpkin face, take a photo of the player with their finished pumpkin.

Bobbing for Apples. The classic of bobbing for apples is still fun. Splashing waters, wet faces and silliness. Fill a tub with water and apples and have each player try to get an apple with their teeth while their hands are held behind their backs.

Candy Count. Fill several jars with different Halloween candy and, as each guest arrives, have them write down a guess as to how many pieces are in each jar. Everyone only gets 1 guess and the person who is the closest gets to take home the jar.

Mummy Bandage. Create two to four teams, depending on how many guests you’re entertaining. Grab some rolls of toilet paper, set your timer, and see which team can wrap up their partner the fastest in 60 seconds or less.

Eyeball Hunt Game. Icky fun! Fill a large pot with cooked spaghetti noodles and painted ping-pong balls that resemble eyeballs then see who can find the most ping-pong balls in a set time. Want to get really competitive? Color code the balls and make each color worth a different point amount.

I love game nights! I also like a little healthy competition, so instead of dinner and a movie or standing in a crowded bar invite over your gal pals for a poker night party. Here are my "5 on Friday" to stack the deck in your favor when gathering your girlfriends for a fun night of Texas Hold'Em. Sure cards and chips are essential, but so is the food, drink, ambience and even the playlist. 

 5 on Friday

1 - Send an Invite That Matches the Theme: Skip the email invitation and send your girlfriends an invite you make with the queen of hearts card so they get the message that this party is girls only. For poker night 6-10 friends is best. Expect the party to last about three hours.

2 - Swap Cash Winnings for Little Gifts: Don’t want friends to bet real money, why not have their “winnings” apply to little gifts they can choose at the end of the evening like a gift certificate for a mani/pedi, a gift card, a box of freshly baked goods, etc. 

3 - Play Up Your Poker Face with Fun Props: Not sure you have a poker face like the pros? No problem! Put out props so your gal pals can take on a new character form – various hats and visors to sunglasses and simple masks to distract your competition. Plus, it makes for fun snapshots throughout the evening.

4 - Get Guests in a Game Night State of Mind with Your Playlist: Curate a custom playlist that sets the mood. Are you rolling the dice on Vegas-style games? Don’t forget to include Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” in your mix or the ever classic “Luck Be a Lady” made famous by Frank Sinatra.

5 - Use Light Bites and a Signature Cocktail: Stick to small bites and avoid greasy and sticky foods as they can mess up your deck of cards.  For drinks, print out the recipe for a signature cocktail, set up all the ingredients and glassware on your bar or kitchen counter and let guests serve themselves. Try the Pinnacle® Vodka Watermelon Money-Maker, which is a tasty melon martini your guests are sure to love!

Watermelon Money-Maker

1 part Pinnacle® Original Vodka

1/4 part Dekuyper Watermelon Liqueur

1 part White Grape juice

Splash fresh lemon juice

Method: Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour into martini glass and garnish with a loopy straw and small cube of watermelon.



Paper party decor from Minted.com

Playing cards and green poker visor from CelebrateExpress.com



Pinnacle® is a registered trademark of Jim Beam Brands Co. and is used with permission.  The information, comments and ideas expressed on this website do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Jim Beam Brands Co., its affiliated companies or any of their directors or employees.  Pinnacle® does not sponsor, authorize, or otherwise endorse this website.



The best parties are those that have the three G’s: good food, good music and good lighting. And of course, a good guest list. I decided to turn to my favorite DIY projects into a sensational party setting that would wow my guests. 


Skip the Evite—the best impression for an elegant party is to mail invitations.  Evites give the idea that anyone and everyone is invited and rarely get a prompt response.  A sophisticated dinner party is exclusive. A DIY invite can save you money and look far more impressive to your guests. They'll be intrigued to come see what else you'll have at the party. 

For this recent dinner party, I chose A Midsummer Night's Dream as my theme, but you can go DIY for a backyard BBQ and have just as much fun with your projects. I got crafty and became a DIY Diva with Cricut.com's new electronic cutting machine and their Make It Now projects. It cuts, paper, fabric, vinyl and even leather in minutes, flawlessly.


If you aren’t musically inclined or have the time to make a varied selection then search for DJ mixes online or CD’s that fit the theme of your party from lounge music or soft R&B for dinner and switch it to disco for dessert to keep the mood and energy upbeat. Or get yourself the Camden Square from PolkAudio.com and you can connect up to four iPhones so to share playlists.


Buy fresh from your local farmer's market or supermarket the morning of the party OR go DIY and make a stunning centerpiece like we did of paper and fabric flowers. With a few adjustments, I can mix and match different flowers, even mix with fresh for future parties.

Food and Drink

As for food, keep it simple. If you want a sit down dinner minimize the guests to 8-10 and prep the ingredients or portions of the meal ahead of time. Stick to what you know in the meal department. Stay away from complicated recipes and main courses that need constant attention. Don’t hesitate to dole out side dishes to friends and order your favorite dessert from the local bakery.

For more guests set up a buffet and hire someone to pass hot hors d’ouervres, serve dessert and clean up the kitchen. You can usually hire someone through a catering company, cooking school or college program. The point is to get out of the kitchen and enjoy the party.

Stick to wine and either beer or a signature drink for alcohol. Stick to seltzer and ice tea as your non-alcoholic choices. Nothing gets more bogged down that offering too many choices of soda and drinks.  

Seating Arrangements

Mix up where friends usually sit at your table. Create place cards and help establish some new friendships. To break the monotony that can occur with the same old crowd, come up with questions for your guests. Type or write them up ahead of time and place them under the dinner plates, dessert plates or in a bowl so guests are unaware until it’s time to share. You may suddenly learn of a hidden desire, their favorite gift given or received or even a silly fear. 

For the Guests

Don’t let guests leave empty handed.  Write or print up the recipes from that evening’s dinner, roll up and secure with ribbon and tie around a mini bottle of wine or champagne. Or just send them home with something sweet like a mini cupcake.


Don’t forget to capture the memories. Create your own photo booth. You don’t need to hire anybody. Instead create a backdrop with something as simple as a large sheet. And offer your friends props like simple DIY masks, hats and sunglasses. Take photos on each other’s cellphones and share.



Cricut is looking to get inspired by you!  All my DIY projects were created with the new Cricut Explore.


Awesome Group Costumes!

Trick or Treat, we want something good to eat. We also want to look good in our costumes while filling up our bags with candy.

Is your whole family trick or treating together? Are you and your freinds going to a party together and think it would be so much better if you all dressed from a movie, TV show or comic book? We agree! We dressed friends in our favorite group costume ideas for Halloween this year. We think you'll agree that all the kids look adorable.

Wizard of Oz

The Scarecrow, Dorothy and little Toto too, Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch

Super Heroes

Iron Man, Captain America, Super Girls and Bat Girl

Star Wars

General Greivous, Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker and Princess Leia

80's Rock Icons

Anchors from KTLA Los Angeles, Henry DiCarlo, Megan Henderson and Chris Schauble

Watch us on TV!

All Together

Where's the candy?

All costumes from Buycostumes.com and CostumeExpress.com


We love an afternoon treat and when we can incorporate a breakfast ingredient, even better. These sticky ooey gooey balls with Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch cereal! It's simple to make and within a few minutes you're biting into a mix of marshmallows, caramel and dark chocolate.


Sticky Ooey-Gooey Balls

6 Cups Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch cereal

¼ cup butter

1 pkg. 10 oz. marshmallows

1 bag 7 oz. dark chocolate

20 caramels

1 Tbsp. water

1. Melt butter in a large saucepan on low heat. Add marshmallows; cook 5 minutes or until marshmallows are melted and the two are well blended, stirring occasionally.

2. Remove from heat. Let cool slightly.

3. Microwave caramels and water in a medium microwavable bowl on HIGH 1 ½ to 2 minutes or until caramels are completely melted, stirring every 30 seconds.

4. In a large bowl, pour in the cereal. Start adding the melted marshmallows and caramels to the bowl of cereal and mix all together.

5. Shape mixture in to 24 balls with cold water moistened hands. Place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet; cool completely.

6. Heat dark chocolate in a bowl over a pot of hot water on the stove at a low heat. Stir frequently until chocolate is melted.

7. Dip top of each ball in chocolate; return, dipped side up, to baking sheet. Refrigerate 15 minutes or until chocolate is firm.

Sometimes the best things arrive in a box. It's like a special holiday or birthday when a box arrives at your doorstep and you get to be surprised by the contents. I researched the best box subscriptions and other companies that specialize in sending you curated items from jewelry to dog treats to kids crafts to wine. I checked out an array of items and I shared them with Marie Osmond on Hallmark Channel.



Kiwi Crate

-Kids projects for ages 3-7 that celebrate kids’ natural creativity and curiosity.

-Each box comes with the instructions/inspiration and materials to create the project covering a number of developmental areas through art, science and imaginative play from gardens to dinosaurs to creating butterfly wings.

-$19.95 a month or $220 a year with one month free. Each box contains 2-3 projects each month.

Bark Box

-They curate a box based on the size of your dog.

-$18 a month—four or more carefully selected products and presents for your dog—anything from bones and treats to leashes and innovative gadgets.

-Monthly, 3 or 6 months plans available- free shipping

-Each month 10% of proceeds go to a different local animal shelter they sponsor


Tasting Room

-Lot 18 has rolled out a first of its kind wine club, called Tasting Room.

-Members taste and give feedback before they commit to a full case of wines.

-They receive 6 mini bottles (4 red, 2 white) for $9.99. Members are given instructions on how to taste via an online tool that asks basic questions about likes and dislikes.

-Once the tasting is complete a taste profile is created and the first shipment is created with a case of 12 full size bottles. Four annual case shipments per year. First shipment is $84.99 with free shipping ($7 a bottle) and after that it’s $149.99 for a case ($12.50 a bottle).

True & Co.

-True and Company has reinvented the way women buy intimates. By taking a fit-based approach to online bra retail by replacing the uncomfortable fitting room experience with an online two-minute fit quiz and risk-free home try-on.

-Take trueandco.com's 2-minute online quiz and create your own personal bra shop of best fitting styles. They use your current bra size as a starting point and then diagnose your true size taking into account your shape, pain points and common body image issues.

-Their algorithms then recommend and sell only the styles and the sizes that fit a woman’s specific body shape in a personal bra shop created just for each customer. 

-For your initial home try-on box, get your 5 favorite styles (you pick 3, their experts pick 2) sent to your home. 

-You then have 7 days to try on the bras. Pay only for what you keep, return the rest.

-This is not a subscription service, but you can try it as often as you like.

All bras start at approximately $45. Shipping and returns are always free.


Elizabeth and Clarke

-Why spend over $100 for that designer blouse when you can have designer-quality blouses and tees delivered to your doorstep each season for $30 or less.

-Get a box of one, two or three shirts delivered every 3 months at the beginning of a season. Three tops are just $20 each.

-Neutral colors so they match with items in your wardrobe. Quality fabrics. Fashion forward. Styles similar to Alexander Wang, Theory and James Perse.

Mynt Box

-Every month you receive 3-5 items of the top jewelry and accessories trends based upon the box you choose-Boho, Luxe or Mixe for $30 a month or just try it once for $40.

-Receive up to $100 worth of jewelry every month.

-You can also shop Mynt without joining.


Misto Box

-You can try Misto Box for just $5 with free shipping. Subscriptions cost between $12.50 to $15 a month depending on the length of the subscription. 

-Misto Box has a team of coffee experts who taste and evaluate more than 50 coffees every month from different artisan roasters across the country.  (Think local favorites.) 

-Each box contains four 1.7 - 2 ounce samplings of premium single origin coffee from four different artisan roasters. You’ll get to know each roaster and coffee intimately with included tasting notes and coffee info.

Love With Food

-Gourmet food delivered to your door for $10-12 a month depending on the plan you choose.

-Each box contains 8 or more gourmet foods.

-New flavors each month curated with a different theme.

- For every box sent, a meal is donated to feed 1 in 5 hungry children in America. In one year of business, Love With Food has donated more than 50,000 meals. They donate a meal to a hungry child via efforts with Feeding America and Share our Strength.

-Their motto is “Make Tummies Happy.”

- Love With Food frequently works with celebrities to curate the boxes, e.g. Thanksgiving 2012 box was curated by Amy Roloff of Little People Big World of TLC. Upcoming April 2013 box is curated by Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods on Travel channel.



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