Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Look Back at 2014

Can you believe that in a couple of hours it will be the year 2015? How is that even possible. Time goes by fast when you are having fun, and I have to say that 2014 was quite the year. 2014 will always go down as the year of huge life moments. Now I want to take the time to look back at these moments with you guys. 

Let's start at the beginning shall we?  

I started off the year still living with my amazing aunt and uncle. I can never thank them enough for letting me stay with them until I got on my feet. I had some amazing times with them, and I would never trade that for anything. 

A couple days into the new year, my dad passed away. I hadn't seen him in years, and it was a very surreal experience. You never expect something like that to happen, but I had the people who mattered most by my side and that is all I could ask for. 

Then in March I started having tooth pain and I found out I needed to get my wisdom teeth out - the day after my 23rd birthday! It was my first time "going under" and the experience really was horrible and painful, but I got through it with the help of my family and boyfriend. 

In May, James and I found our dream apartment and moved into our first place! It was so exciting and scary at the same time, but it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Throughout the year I have been sharing sneak peeks at our home in my "apartment to home" series. The place still has a little ways to go, but expect a lot more on that in the new year!

May was also the month that I took a step forward with this blog. I took the abeautifulmess blogging course and really started to focus on where I wanted it to go. I wanted to create content that really spoke to the person that I am. I still have a long way to go, but I want to thank you all for coming on this journey with me so far! 

In July, the second love of my life joined our family. We adopted our little guy George from a shelter in Massachusetts after finding him on the petfinder website. What was a spur of the moment decision turned into the greatest thing we have ever done. I could not picture my life without this little guy. He brings so much joy to our home, and we love him like he is our child. (And we spoil him like he is too!)

The summer in general was a pretty amazing one. It was made up of a lot of little experiences that added up to create some unforgettable moments. 

In October I received the amazing news that I was awarded the "Rhode Island Hospitality Employee of the Year Award". I attended the Stars of the Industry event and couldn't be more excited and proud of my accomplishments. 

About two weeks after I found out about my award, I received another piece of amazing news. After over a year of hard work I was being promoted to Event Manager. I honestly could not believe it! This was a huge step in my career, and at only 23 years old I have accomplished more than I could ever dream of. 

I got to finish up the year spending the holidays with my boyfriend and our families. We had a great couple of days just relaxing and spending time with the people who matter most. 

2014 has been the year of HUGE life changes, accomplishments, and milestones. I want to thank you- my readers, my family, my friends, for coming along on this journey with me. If 2015 is anything like 2014, we are in for another incredible ride. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Saturday Caturday

A quick post to say Merry Christmas to my blogging friends over here on Creatively Casey! We had an amazing holiday with our families, but we are glad to be home. Especially this little guy, although I think his new favorite activity is car rides! 

Hope you all had a happy holiday as well! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Moscow Mule Gift Box

This year for the holidays we are doing a Yankee Swap, or grab bag, at work for our office holiday party. I wanted to do something a little different, shying away from your typical gift card or bottle of wine gift idea. That's when I came up with the idea of doing a create your own cocktail gift box. At first a thought martini's, but then I saw the copper mugs and it hit me - Moscow Mule's. 

I love to get a little creative with my gifts every year. All you need to make this gift set is a box, some tissue paper or newspaper, and your drink ingredients. 

A Moscow Mule is a simple cocktail that consists of Ginger Beer, Vodka, and lime. Three simple ingredients combined to make a delicious drink. Traditionally they are served in a beautiful copper mug. Now this is a gift I would like to receive! 

This is an easy last minute gift that is sure to impress your friends and family!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Gift Guides

If you are anything like me, then you are a last minute Christmas shopper. I will be spending my weekend driving around picking up my final gifts with the rest of the procrastinators. No fear my friends! I have two awesome gift guides for you on the blog today filled with fun ideas for those special guys and gals in your life. 

First up, the ladies. 

Pictured: kate spade wallet, crosby record player from urban outfitters, nixon gold watch, bath and body works three wick candle, lush gift set, birchbox subscription. 

These pre wrapped gift sets you can get from lush are the perfect last minute present idea. Everything is done for you, you just pick it up and go. Bath and body works also has great gift sets that everyone will love. Also, did you know that you can gift someone a 3, 6, or 12 month subscription from birchbox? That is the perfect gift for any beauty lover in your life. 

Now for the guys.

Pictured: beer making kit, xbox one, nixon watch, guitar pick punch, sports jersey, funny graphic tee. 

I love giving "activity" gifts, and the beer making kit is perfect. My favorite thing in this guide however is the guitar pick punch. I got this for James last year and he loved it. He is always losing his guitar picks, and with this you can make them from just about anything. Old gift cards definitely work the best. 

And there you have it! Any of these gifts are guaranteed to wow that special person in your life whether it is a friend, family member, or significant other. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Traditions, Movie Edition

Every year there are a few movies I just have to watch during the holiday season. Some of them are classics, and some not as familiar. I am going to talk about a few of my favorites today (most on Netflix) to get you in the spirit!

First things first, the classics. 

Elf - always the very first Christmas movie I watch every year. 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas - because baby grinch is just too cute to resist.

The fires of love

Christmas with the Kranks - I watch this one multiple times during the holiday season. When Tim Allen get's the botox I lose it every time!

Now to some of my all time favorites that you may not have hear of. Caution: extreme cheesiness ahead. 

Snowglobe - a movie about a girl who gets stuck in a snowglobe and learns the true meaning of a "perfect" Christmas. Yes, it is as cheesy as it sounds. 

Let it Snow - I can not make a list of my favorite Christmas  movies without adding a Hallmark original movie in here. I have loved Candace Cameron since the full house days, and any Christmas movie with her is great but this is definitely my favorite. 

Christmas in Handcuffs - this is the ultimate cheesy abc family Christmas movie. Melissa Joan Heart and Nick Lachey make an interesting pair. The fact that she kidnaps him and they still fall in love is very unrealistic, but I have to watch it every year. 

The Holiday - it is not exactly a "Christmas movie" but it is one of my favorite movies set during the holidays, and always makes me feel good. And it stars my favorite guy Jack Black. 

And lastly, I can not make a list without including my all time favorite Christmas movie. Ever since I was little I have sung along to this film, performing the musical numbers in my living room. 

The year without a Santa Clause - because Heat Miser and Snow Miser are the OG's of Christmas 

What are your favorite holiday movies?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Perfect Fried Turkey

Whether it is Thanksgiving or Christmas the star of the dinner table is a turkey. But not just any turkey, a fried turkey. Because frying makes everything better right? Right. However, frying a turkey can be intimidating for many people (you know, the whole I can burn my house thing). I am here to tell you that it is a lot easier than you think. It takes way less time, and you get the benefits of a nice crispy skin. 

Here are the things you are going to need: a frying pot, poultry stand and hook, frying pot, a propane tank, and about 5 gallons of oil. My family uses peanut oil since none of us have allergies. It just adds a little extra flavor. 

The first thing you need to do is heat the oil to about 350 degrees. While the oil is heating up, which takes about 30 minutes, prepare your turkey. You can choose to brine the turkey overnight be we skip that step. If you do choose to brine your turkey, make sure it is completely dry before placing it into the oil. 
Tie the turkey legs together with twine. This year we decided to remove the wings and cook them separately. The wings are my favorite part, and every year they cook way faster than the rest of the bird resulting in inedible wings. The wings turned out perfect, and we all took turns snacking on them while waiting for the rest of the bird to cook. 

Place the turkey on the stand, and then use the hook to slowly submerge the turkey in the oil. You must turn the burner off during this step to prevent any oil from splashing on the flame. Once the turkey is fully submerged, turn the burner back on. 

You are going  to cook your turkey for three minutes per pound, ie. 12 lb = 36 minutes, and so on. Cook the turkey until it is 155 degrees. Place the thermometer in the leg away from the bone for the most accurate reading. The heat will carry over as it rests, bringing the bird to 165 degrees. 
Raise the turkey slowly out of the oil, and place on an aluminum pan. Try and stop yourself from peeling off all of the amazing crispy skin. It is glorious. 

Carve your turkey, and enjoy the incredibly juicy and crispy bird. 

Once the oil has cooled you can funnel the oil back into it's containers and store it in a cool place like your garage for up to three months. 

Will you be frying your turkey for the holidays? 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Yummy Winter Sangria

Hello my blogging friends!
The beginning of the month has been crazy prepping for some pretty big groups here at the hotel (Miami Dolphins, what up!). Now the holidays are fast approaching and the month is winding down. I have a couple awesome posts to share with you for the next two weeks to make up for my lack of posting during the previous two. 

Today I have another delicious sangria recipe for you, perfect for your Christmas get-togethers. You are going to need two apples, a cup of fresh cranberries (or frozen), 1/4 cup of sugar, one can of club soda, half a cup of grape juice, one bottle of Pinot Grigio, and rosemary to garnish. 

Add all of your ingredients minus the club soda to a glass pitcher and let stand in the fridge. This will help the flavors meld together. Top off with the club soda and give it a stir. Top off your glass with a sprig of rosemary and some cinnamon sugar for a festive touch (and a little extra kick of flavor). 

I am a sangria lover, and this is definitely one of my favorites. The tartness of the cranberries pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the apples, and the club soda adds a little bit of bubbles. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Gracies Providence

Recently we were given the opportunity to dine at one of the best restaurants in Providence, Gracie's. They are the only five diamond restaurant in Providence, and their fine dining atmosphere and menu are what brought them there. They have an amazing selection of wines and craft cocktails. Their bartenders are very knowledgeable and make some great suggestions - I had an delicious pear and cider cocktail that I would definitely order again. 

After having a drink at the bar we sat down and our five course tasting menu began. It all started with a little amuse bouche of coffee marinated carrot to get your pallet going. 

Here is a look at the Chef's tasting menu

I was beyond impressed by the presentation and quality of the food. The little touches like the pistachio honey on the salad took the dishes to a whole different level. There is a reason that they are the best in the city. 

For me, I think that the most memorable part of the meal was the root ice milk. It simply melted in your mouth. I would go back just for that. We met the mastermind behind all of their desserts, their Head Pastry Chef, which was truly a highlight of the night. 

I also can not stop thinking about the wine that was paired with the perfectly cooked duck confit. I have never had a sparkling red wine before, but now I am hooked. The wine was deep in color, but light and bubbly - completely unexpected! 

I can not wait to go back and bring my favorite guy for a special occasion.I know he will fall in love with it just as much as I have.