DFW Bloggers Spring Meet Up 2013

Remember how I talked about how much fun I had co-hosting and getting to meet fresh bloggy faces back in Fall? Well, I was lucky enough to do it allll over again with the DFW Blogger Spring Meet Up!

Strawberry Basil MashThanks to the lovely Nicole of Three 31 who put together this whole get together, we enjoyed a wonderful time bowling, mingling, and sipping delicious drinks at Lucky Strike in Fort Worth., a swanky bowling establishment that offers a full menu and a tempting drink list. See that Strawberry Basil Mash pictured there? It was DELISH.

We each took turns bowling the occasional strike and the ever-present gutter ball. Between turns we swapped blog stories and caught up on what we’ve all been doing both on and off the virtual grid.

Photo via Three 31
Photo via Three 31

Nicole was kind enough to provide cute little bowling awards for us to look forward to throughout our playing. I somehow managed to receive the top bowling champion award, which I find impossible since I’m typically the queen of gutters, but hey, I won’t complain! I guess these gals just bring out my beginners’ luck. ūüėČ

We finished off the good time with dinner at Brownstone Kitchen across the street. The decor of the restaurant was understated and classy, in my opinion.

Pomegranate ChickenAfter an extreme case of indecisiveness between sandwiches, crab cakes, and other mouth-watering choices, I finally decided on the Pomegranate brushed hen with roasted potatoes and green beans. The chicken was a bit over-cooked, but the seasoning and pomegranate glaze was uh-mazing. We were offered complimentary blood orange mimosas toward the end of our meal, which was delicious, as well.

For a more thorough review and more pictures, check out any of these ladies’ review of the event:

Taylor from Pink Heels Pink Truck

Nicole from Three 31

Heather from Dallas Single Mom

Sprummer WreathAs if it wasn’t enough to get to see this girls AND win top bowling champion, I also happened to be lucky enough to walk away with a super cute “Sprummer” wreath (Spring/Summer), made by one of Nicole’s church friends. How cute is it that she implemented flip flops into the wreath’s design? And it contains two of my favorite summer colors: Pink and green! I guess the “luck” of the night just rubbed off of me when I was drawn for that!

All of us ladies left with swag bags filled with goodies and blogging tidbits at the end of the night. My goodie bag contained some Scentsy products (car freshener and room spray), lotion, discounts on various online stores, and cute handmade “Hello.” stationary notecards from Airing Your Dirty Laundry!

Place SettingI seriously appreciate all the hard work and touches Nicole put in for this event (like the bag of socks for those [ahem, me] who forgot to bring some despite constant reminding, the notecards with our names and blogs on it for our place setting, the chevron/striped straws for our drinks). I had a much-needed wonderful time with these ladies, and still smile looking at all the photos. Now, the only question that remains is, when is the next one? ūüėČ

 

Sugar-Free Yogurt Popsicles – DIY Recipe

Tired of the same ‘ole yogurt and fruit routine? Follow this incredibly easy recipe for a quick, cheap, low-calorie snack that’s ¬†deliciously addictive! These sugar-free yogurt popsicles will be a hit for your little ones, or at any party this spring and summer season.

 

Sugar-free Yogurt Popsicles

Nutritional Facts Per Serving (Serving Size: 2 mini popsicles):

Calories: 44 — Sugars: 6g — Carbs: 6g — Protein: 3g

Ingredients Needed:

 

  • Fruit of choice¬†(personal favorite: 6 strawberries)
  • Greek yogurt of choice¬†(personal favorite: Yoplait honey greek yogurt)
  • Popsicle mold set¬†(I snagged a mini 8-popsicle set for $1 at the Dollar Tree! I did notice that they were out of stock when I went this last week, but there are several inexpensive popsicle molds available online on Amazon.com
  • ** Optional: Don’t like the tart yogurt taste? Add a packet or two of your sweetener of choice (I recommend Pure Via) for a sweeter, more traditional popsicle taste.

Directions: 


1) Place the greek yogurt and 3/4 of your fruit of choice in the blender. 

Blend well. Add last 1/4 of fruit toward the end and blend lightly, until only small particles of fruit are visible (for that “real fruit added” texture). DO NOT add water or ice to your mixture, as this will cause the popsicles to not harden the correct way in the freezer and make them more likely to break off in pieces when trying to remove them from the mold set. (Also, keep in mind that more fruit leads to a sweeter tasting popsicle!)

 

2) Prepare your popsicle mold set. 

Make sure it is clean and ready to go. (Be sure to double check the part that will be attached to your popsicle mixture when frozen, as any remanence may cause problems with attachment.


3) Pour your popsicle mixture into your mold set, making sure not to overfill. 

Overfilling can cause breakage when trying to pull your popsicle out of its mold later on, and can lead to a mess when trying to eat your icy-cold snack. Place the filled mold set in the freezer.

 

4) Leave your mixture to freeze for about 3 hours, and you’re set!¬†

Make sure your sugar-free yogurt popsicles are fully frozen by giving your holders a light tug. They should NOT move when being tugged on. If they give way in the slightest bit, your mixture is not firm, and should be placed back in the freezer for a while longer. When you’re ready to eat your popsicles, run the particular popsicle that you’re trying to get out under hot water. The heat will help the popsicle detach from the mold, and your home-made dessert should pop out easily when pulled by the handle after less than 30 seconds under the faucet.

Enjoy these mini delights! I tested the little smoothie ice poppers on both my roommate and my boyfriend. My roommate¬†loved¬†it, and though my boyfriend isn’t the biggest healthy-snack fan (he calls them “girly”), he enjoyed the flavors, as well! (Double win!) These sugar-free yogurt popsicles are the perfect cure to the terrible ice cream cravings that come over me while trying to eat right. They are¬†ESPECIALLY¬†perfect as a mini cool down in this God-awful Texas heat!

If you try this recipe (or even a different fruit/yogurt variation), be sure to let me know how you like the results!

 

DIY Thrifty Gift

No one likes showing up to a birthday party without a gift. But at times there are reasons beyond your control for not being able to have one. Perhaps you couldn’t find the coveted jewelry they wanted, completely forgot about the party until day of and didn’t find anything gift-able, or, worse yet, didn’t have the money to get anything. But what if you could make a sentimental, heartfelt, and enjoyable gift for just under $10?

Back in November of 2011, I had just started seeing my boyfriend at the time, J.S. We were planning to celebrate his 25th birthday with a low-key dinner and bowling night, but of course I wanted to get him something special as his girlfriend. In late September, I took a trip back to California for family matters. At the airport, preparing to go back to Texas, I realized that both my debit card and driver’s license were missing. I was fortunate enough to have enough information on me to make the flight back home. However, my two cards were still missing.¬†

I got that all sorted out eventually, but in the meantime, I had NO idea how I was going to get a gift for J.S. with just $30 cash in my name for the next week or so. I decided that I wasn’t to spend more than $15 on his birthday (gift and bowling included), that way I saved the other half for gas, food, and other necessities until my replacement debit card came in the mail. I did the math and decided I needed to save at least $6 for the bowling alley. But what could I get for under $9 at such sort notice that really meant something?¬†¬†

And so began the gift that actually impressed my boyfriend and showed him how thoughtful I can be:

 

The Thrifty Gift: Riddles and Rhymes

Total cost for this gift: $7.86

Total time spent: 1 day

Appreciation towards gift: Undoubted

 

The riddles and rhymes gift became a combination of¬†Pinterest¬†pins involving inexpensive gifts. I whipped them all together with a few of my own ideas for a 6-piece gift. Each piece had a numbered riddle attached. A note in the gift explained that he was to start with #1 and work his way to #6, trying to guess what each gift was based on the riddle before opening it. Each object inside was tailored towards a specific item he had mentioned liking in passing as we dated. It’s perfect for those celebrating their 6-month-iversary, 6 year anniversary, or a birthday with your significant other.¬†(Please forgive the terribly unfocused pictures. As you can imagine, it was a pretty hectic week, and I hadn’t quite figured out my phone’s zoom and focus features just yet! But an out of focus example is better than no example,right?)

 

Wrapping paper: $1 at Dollar Tree

Ribbon: leftover ($1 at Dollar Tree)

Greeting card covers used as numbered riddle cards: leftover ($2.50 at Staples Center)

I noticed that a set of thank you cards I already had somewhat matched the polka dot pattern of my wrapping paper. So, I used scissors to cut off the decorative front and pasted the riddles on the back of it.

 

J.S. had told me that he doesn’t drink much soda pop, but when he does he prefers Coke Zero. So, using this information, I added the soda riddle to a wrapped up single bottle of Coke Zero.¬†

Coke Zero: $1.32 at gas station

Total so far: $2.32

 

J.S. had also mentioned his fondness of pistachio nuts over others. I thought the cheesy but cute riddle was a great touch to giving him that snack.

Pistachio Nuts: $1.25 at grocery store

Total so far: $3.57

 

The boyfriend never mentioned liking Rice Krispy Treats, but I couldn’t help but add this one in!¬†

One Rice Krispy Treat: $1 at gas station

Total so far: $4.57

 

I was always stealing his gum, so I thought this was a great way to repay him for all the times he attributed to my minty breath.

Orbit gum: $1.29 at gas station

Total so far: $5.86

 

Alright, to explain this one I have to let the cat out of the bag. J.S. and I actually met on Plenty of Fish, a free online dating site. I had just moved from California and was looking to meet new people, friends or otherwise. He had been in Dallas from Michigan for some time with no luck in meeting the right person. And there you have it. I threw in some Swedish Fish candy to the mix in order to add this clever, personal riddle.

Swedish fish: $1 at Dollar Tree

Total so far: $6.86

 

 

 

This last one was by far my favorite item of the bunch, and actually the most cost-efficient! I found out through a random Pinterest posting that it’s possible to create your own, printable subway art at¬†Wordle. Using terms I knew about J.S. in the few months we dated and taking advantage of the extra Matte photo paper I had on hand from a previous photography course, I created a keepsake he still displays in his room.¬†

Photo paper: leftover ($4.99 at Amazon and eBay)

Picture frame: $1 at Dollar Tree

Total for gift: $7.86

 

The boyfriend was touched that I had put so much thought and effort into this gift; it didn’t matter the cost. I, personally, would be so appreciative if someone took the time to set up a gift like this for me. The ‘ole saying¬†“It’s the thought that counts”¬†really rings true in this case.

All of the riddles (save for #5 and #6) are available for print from The Dating Divas.

If you try this out, let me know how it works out for you! I’d love to see your completed gift sets! ūüôā