Holy, Guacamole

With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, it’s time for Margaritas and Caronas paired with chips and guacamole. Oh yeah, and to celebrate Mexican heritage and freedom (even though the holiday is celebrated more in America than Mexico). Either way, I’m the kind of Cinco de Mayo fan who focuses on the food and drink. One of my favorite Mexican foods is guacamole and this is one of my favorite recipes:

Okay, so that’s obviously not my favorite recipe, but I think that is seriously awesome! I did want to share with you my actual favorite guacamole recipe, plus the margarita recipe I’m excited to try this weekend. My boyfriend sent me this Slate article, You’re Doing it Wrong: Guacamole, that has lots of great tips on how to make guacamole properly. You should definitely check it out. He asked that we try to make the Slate recipe, which I plan to do soon. I’ll let you know how that turns out. In the mean time, here is the tried-and-true recipe that I always default to.

Guacamole

2 avocados
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp lemon juice (or lime if you prefer)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 small onion, chopped
(A lot of people like tomatoes. I don’t, but if you’re feeling it, add about 1/3 cup diced tomatoes or salsa)

Half the avocados and scoop out the insides (discarding the seed). Add remaining ingredients and stir/mush until desired consistency. Serve immediately with chips.

Easy Skinny Margarita 

1 lime, juiced
one packet splenda
1/2 cup of water
1 ounce of Tequila
ice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Shake and serve over ice. I’ve never made this before, but I will be giving it a whirl this weekend.

Salud!  (Aka Cheers!)

Easter Eggs Pt. 2: Go Crazy

Easter eggs are a real treat! I mean, there is absolutely nothing wrong with any craft that is 90% edible. I’m 23 years old and still color eggs annually. So today, I will be sharing with you some fun ideas for decorating your Easter eggs this year!

I would like to make the same preface that I made in my Easter Eggs Pt. 1 post, which focused on how to hard boil an egg. These tips and suggestions are not EmJoyable exclusives, but an aggregated list of suggestions that I’ve dug up for you. Consider this your one-stop-egg-dying-shop. It’ll be great!

Kool-Aid Colored Eggs! - Copyright Hey Jen Renee

Before I get started, I need to get a rant off my chest right quick. What did we ever do before Pinterest?! Can you imagine all the people out there with these really awesome ideas that they were totally hogging for themselves? How would we know how to organize our ribbons, dress up our children or do that cool braid thing? I digress.

Back to the egg decorating! Check out some of my ideas below. I will be dying my eggs on Saturday and be sharing my pictures with you all on Tuesday!

All-over Color 

Before a week ago, I had no idea that there was any way to color an egg other than the box of PAAS egg dye that you buy at Walgreens. Depending on what stores you are shopping at and what items you have at home, this may or may not still be your cheapest option. Here are a few other ways to get all-over color on your eggs.

Wilton Icing Color – This method requires Wilton Icing Color, vinegar and hot water. I thought this will cool because I have Wilton icing color coming out of my ears! I’m actually kind of embarrased that I didn’t already know about this method since icing color is almost the same as food coloring, which I did know about.

Food Coloring – For this method, you will need standard food coloring, boiling water and vinegar. Easy peasy.

Au Naturale  – I thought this was a really cool idea, but I would probably never actually do it. This would be great if I had beats and saffron just chilling in my cabinet at all times, but I don’t think it’d worth buying those things just to dye eggs. But if you do, knock yourself out! Let me know how it goes! For this, you will need a variety of fruits, veggies and/or spices and vinegar.

Tie-Dye – This strategy is so much better than my attempts to tie-dye eggs as a kid. My plan was to just dip the egg in as many little cups as possible, but that usually just turned them brown. This is a really cool way that uses the polarizing effects of vinegar and oil to create a tie-dye appearance. I’m really excited for this one! For this you will need vinegar, cooking oil and food coloring.

Dye with a Tie – I literally mean dye with a dye. I think this is brilliant! But only if you can find cheap, pretty ties. That’s the part that sounds like kind of a pain. Be sure to check out the link for the end result of differs tie patterns. Very cool!

Copyright Our Best Bites

Kool-Aide – I think this is by far the easiest and cheapest way to do it. All it is is Kool-Aid mix and water! And it doesn’t even have to be hot water! This one really pumped me up!

TIP: Put the egg inside a wire whist to easily dip the egg in and out of the egg dye. #Pinterest

Color Combinations 

Half & Half – Dye half (horizontal or verical) your egg in one color by dipping only part in each color dye. Or try leaving half white. This HRH Collection manicure post got me really pumped for this design.

Sponge Painted : This ones pretty self-explainitory. Dip a sponge (or scrunched paper towel) in dye and dab your egg to your liking.

Before you color …

Crayons – Use a light colored crayon to draw words, shapes or patterns on your egg. Dye, let dry. Everything in crayon will remain free of dye.

Tape – Press tape in rings around the eggs. Dye, let dry, remove tape. #stripes

Circle stickers – Press small, round stickers scattered across the eggs. Dye, let dry, remove stickers. #polkadots

Add Some Flair

So now that your egg is colored, it’s time to dress it up! Top your eggs with glitter, sequins, ribbons and felt!

Copyright - Delish.com

Do you have any egg decorating ideas? Tell me all about them! Send me pics of your eggs, too!

Happy Easter!

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is a love it or hate it kind of holiday. For some people, it’s this truly magical evening. A time when you can put behind all that’s wrong with the world and replace it with hopes and dreams and ambition for the future. It’s a fresh start. To others, it’s just another night but more crowded and with expensive cover. I’m without a doubt, a lover of the holiday.

I believe that New Year’s Eve is for black dresses with silver accents, obnoxious noise makers, curly hair and sparkly eye shadow. I believe that New Year’s Eve is a night to celebrate the end of an era and toast to the birth of something new. I believe that New Year’s Eve is meant to be spent with good champaign and great friends. 

This year, I decided that I wanted to have a fancy night on the town, which is something that I’ve never done before! Since I’ve turned 21, I’ve never been out to a bar for New Year’s Eve! I mean, that’s no real surprise, since I just turned 23, but regardless, I’m excited about it! Check out the details!

The Destination
We’re going to be ringing in the New Year at Mystic Celt, an Irish bar on the north side.

The People
I’ll be partying it up with Kenny, my friend Chrissy and 12 of Chrissy’s other friends (she’s so much cooler than me!). I have a group! I haven’t had a group in years!

The Outfit 
To say that I love my dress would be the understatement of the year! It was a Forever 21 steal that only cost me $20! It’s this sassy little black thing with a low v-neck and long sleeves with slits up the arms. I love it! To top it off, I’ll be completing the look with a pair of black, Steve Madden rhinestone tights and my fave black pumps!

I’ll totally post picks ASAP!

*   *   * 

The city of Chicago has so much potential for a fabulous New Year’s Eve, and I’m sure every city across the country and the world has something great to offer! I hope that you can see all that New Year’s Eve has to offer, even if you are a hater. I truly hope that you can find room in your heart for a last bit of holiday magic! I’ll see you all in 2012!

Cheers!

Holiday Decor

Moving out on my own was hard on so many levels. I suddenly had to cook my own dinner, keep my whole living quarters clean and pay my own bills. But when you have my mom for a mother, that’s the easy part.

My mother is just as crafty as I am, but she’s been at it for even longer. So anytime I needed anything for a project I was working, my mom always had it. She had buttons, velcro, yarn, paint, fabric, paper, glitter, silk flowers, etc. If I ever needed anything for a craft, my mom would help me come up with what to use and tell me where I could find it. And once you’re that spoiled, it’s hard to move on from that. When I moved into my own apartment, my craft cabinet instantly shrunk to a box of Crayola crayons, a couple tubes of glitter and a package of construction paper. That, my friends, is the hard part.

Not only was my mom the craft queen, but she was the decorating queen as well. Growing up, our house was an elaborate display, no matter what the season. For Christmas, our entire house was Elf-ed, down to the tiniest detail. We had an entire set of holiday serveware, garland around every doorway and banister, a beautiful tree, fake snow on the mantle and darling Christmas trinkets in all the right places. We had handmade stockings trimmed with sequence and each of my siblings’ names stitched in in gold ribbon. But it wasn’t just Christmas. My mom had accents for every holiday and season. It was darling. A lot of the decorations my parents had accumulated over the years, a lot of it I’m sure they found on clearance after Christmas but a lot of the decorations came from my mom’s crafty hands.

So when I moved out, I lost so much of the supplies I was used to growing up, which was rough. But I’m making progress! I’ve slowly built up my pathetic craft drawer to take up a whole shelf!

But my holiday decor is still pretty minmal. As you can see from my Christmas pictures, I’ve done as much as I could with what I have. This year, Kenny and I bought lots of lights, we inherited a Christmas tree that was retired from my parents’ living room, I kept some left-over Christmas decorations from my years at Starbucks and got a Christmas countdown calendar for Christmas last year. I had plenty of ornaments for the tree since I got one (or three) for every birthday for 22 years (however, they’re all pretty girly, so Kenny needs to start adding to the pool). I was happy, but I thought I could put my hefty craft shelf to good use to make a new decoration to add to my festive apartment! So I did! And now I’m going to teach you how in three simple steps with only two supplies.

Yarn Holiday Sign

What you need:
Yarn — any color, any kind
Pipe cleaners — any color, any kind

What to do:
1. Pick any word or phrase, and bend the pipe cleaners to form the word. You will probably need to combine multiple pipe cleaners to complete your word. To do so, simply twist them together. 

2. Start wrapping the yarn around the pipe cleaners. You will need to wrap several layers thick to cover the puffy part of the pipe cleaner. When you’re done, leave an extra inch of yarn, and back track a little bit. Cut another short piece of yarn and tie it around the extra yarn, to seal it off. 

3. If you have multiple words, you can combine them with a little bit of craft wire. Then hang with Command strips! I chose to use the tiny ones that are made to hang up strings of light. 

Happy crafting!

Like Mother, Like Daughter

It’s really crazy how quickly you start to feel like an adult. If you told me six months ago that two of my best friends were going to be staying with me for a couple nights, I would have done little more than be sure I had a few extra clean towels. But for some reason, when those same two friends no longer live two blocks away, actually plan a visit, pack their things and then travel several hours to visit (regardless of the fact that they didn’t travel only to see me), it makes the whole thing feel like a new experience.

It’s like when I was a little kid and my grandparents came over for Christmas. My brothers and I would have to clean the whole house from top to bottom, and I never really understood why. To me, we had no one to impress! I knew my grandparents loved us regardless of the fact that we had Nerf amo all over the playroom floor. But now I feel like I am my mother, cleaning to try to impress people that there is no need to impress. I am my mother’s daughter.

However, I must say, that even though I did attempt to clean my house, I was very proud of the fact that it only took me about five minutes to do it. My apartment was just clean on its own today! I was very proud of this fact, because it’s the first time in my whole life that I’ve been really good about things perfectly in order.

So today, my friends will be arriving in the great city of Chicago, and I will be their lovely host. I love being a host. I learn from the best, actually: my mother. My mom is the definition of cute host. Every time I go home, my mom still vacuums my room for me, which I love! She decorates our house beautifully for every holiday and hosts a lovely family Christmas with made-up games and themed presents. She cooks the most incredible breakfasts (omelets, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, you name it!) every morning I’m there.

Between my mom and my dad, there is always a delicious dinner to be had.

My mom even keeps an overnight basket in the guest bedroom, every time we have visitors!

Straight down to the table settings, my mom always keeps our house adorably cute.

So I plan on taking a little bit of my mom’s magic and making a lovely stay for my friends … straight down to the table settings.

Pardon to Skull — it’s halloween this weekend!