If you're thinking about visiting the Philly Home + Garden Show this weekend (February 16-18) at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, you're in for a treat. Wondering what you'll be able to see and do? We've got the inside scoop!
1. Get inspired by the HGTV celebrities
If you haven't already heard, Trading Spaces is coming back (insert happy dance here), and its host, Paige Davis, is going to share her experience as well as some tips and tricks on design trends she has seen during her career. Rachel Street, who will be the host of a new DIY Network show will be sharing her experience into buying, renovating and decorating homes in and around Philadelphia.
2. Check out the new Smart Home
As a guest at the Philly Home + Garden Show, you'll have an opportunity to see the newly expanded full-size model home built by Rudloff Custom Building that is paired with cutting-edge home security and entertainment technology from Comcast.
3. Put up your feet
Make sure to visit the Backyard Lounge, which will be furnished by Pine Creek Structures and sponsored by Belgrade.
4. Get Garden Inspiration
If you're like me, you're plotting (no pun intended) your plans for this years garden, and the Feature Gardens are sure to give you plenty of inspiration. From koi ponds, outdoor television setups, a beer tap and more will make your backyard this years hotspot.
5. Pick Up a Bouquet
Is it a garden show without fresh blooms? I think not. Support Phoenixville florist Cameron Peters at her cut flower booth where you'll be able to grab a beautiful bouquet and gain insight into how to decorate with flowers in your home. Did you know that by shopping local vs. online you're not only supporting businesses in your community, but you're probably saving money?
6. Learn about Edible Landscapes
Did you know that you can incorporate vegetables and herbs into a perennial garden? Scott Baldelli Landscape and Design will show you how to create the perfect edible garden for your yard.
7. Visit Crafted
Looking for unique handmade household items that'll set your decor apart from the rest? Make sure to visit Crafted, a market-style area of the Show Floor.
8. Upcycle Challenge
We LOVE that the Philly Home Show incorporates an Upcycle Challenge, and this time around it's the Habitat for Humanity Garden Decor. Local DIYers are transforming old furniture into functional and cute backyard decor. We all have that one piece we don't want to part with in our basement or attic, so why not put it to good use??
9. Make-it, Take-it
Looking to get hands on? Participate in a hands-on demonstration at no extra cost that you'll get to take home with you!
10. Hero Day
On February 16, all teachers, nurses, first responders, firefighters, police and all active or retired military personnel will be admitted at not charge to the Philly Home + Garden Show.
11. Local Blogger + Designer Presentations
We live in such a creative area, and some of the those masterminds are going to be presenting their knowledge and experience with all of you at the show! Visit the Pottery Barn Main Stage to check it out.
12. Phoenixville Night
Support a local town and visit the Main Stage to see some of the finest goods and services from Phoenixville.
13. Take Action
The Philly Home + Garden Show is truly about the experience and inspiration. Get engaged with the professionals and feel free to ask the designers and exhibitors questions so that you feel confident moving forward with the project of your dreams!
Valentine's Day Cocktails + Mocktails With Sparkling ICE and Bruce Cost Ginger Ale | Philadelphia Housewives
Fresh and simple Valentine's Day cocktails and cocktails
I don't know about all of you, but I'm having one busy week and it's hard to believe that it's not later in the week than Tuesday.
I won't lie, this week has really gotten to me. Not only have the phone calls, emails and meetings already gotten the best of me but yesterday marked the start of a six month health transition for me. It's honestly so much more than that, it's truly going to be a grueling journey but one that will be so rewarding and will result in getting to the bottom of a lot of the health problems that I've suffered from over the years, but will also be a positive lifestyle change. I consider myself a pretty healthy person, but this afternoon I stocked my pantry with so many (very healthy) natural ingredients that were foreign to me, and I'm honestly a little bit nervous about all of this. Not that I don't think it's not going to be good for me, or that I won't enjoy it, but I know that there's a lot of changes ahead of me and I'm sort of bracing myself. Does that make sense? I sure hope so!
Anyway, I'm really looking forward to tomorrow being Valentine's Day. It's our fifth Valentine's Day together, and the first that we're celebrating together in our new home. We're planning to make dinner together after work and then will probably settle in on the couch to watch The Office (we already watched all of the episodes, but we've been rewatching and aren't disappointed).
That being said, I thought it would be fun to come up with something to make our normal habit a little more special and what's more fun than a specialty cocktail to instantly upgrade a meal?
Thanks to Sparkling ICE and Bruce Cost Ginger Ale, we have a couple of fun ideas for you to try out tomorrow! I decided to showcase a cocktail recipe, but also have a mocktail for the kids if you celebrate Valentine's Day as a family or if you're like me and can't have alcohol right now due to a hardcore health cleanse, ha!
1 1/2 oz vanilla vodka
1 tsp. simple syrup
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
Sparkling Ice Grape Raspberry
Raspberry ice cubes, for garnish
Place raspberry ice cubes in glass and set to the side. In a cocktail shaker, add vanilla vodka, simple syrup, and fresh lemon juice- shake. Strain over ice and add Sparkling Ice Grape Raspberry.
Looking for a nonalcoholic alternative that still has tons of flavor? I put together this easy recipe for what I'm calling Mango Passion Punch.
Sparkling Ice Strawberry Watermelon
Sparkling Ice Pomegranate Blueberry
Bruce Cost Ginger Ale (Mango)
You should have 1 part sparkling water, 2 parts ginger ale, 1 part sparkling water. I personally poured the Strawberry Watermelon in first, added the ginger ale and then poured the Pomegranate Blueberry in. The result? A delicious nonalcoholic fruity mocktail! Not up for as much flavor? Omit the Mango Ginger Ale and opt for their Traditional. Still gives you a spicy ginger flavor without *as* much fruity taste.
I was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I remember being six or seven and getting an excited feeling in my stomach when the tv would click on and the sounds of the game would cry out. I remember, being around that same age, pit stopping at someones house one day while we were out running errands to catch the end of the game.
In elementary school, we'd have spirit days and everyone would wear green and I'd be in awe seeing my teachers in jeans (for some reason I always was fascinated by this - wait you're a real person?). I remember the energy in the hallway in high school when they'd play E-A-G-L-E-S over the loudspeaker and the whole school would chant along.
In college I briefly worked at a sports bar and game days were the best because the energy was infectious. One moment you'd be taking a tables order and the next everyone was hugging each other and jumping up and down.
My boyfriends family definitely got me more into sports than I was before. I look forward to Sunday's where we go and watch the game together. It's not just about the game, even though that's an important part, but about the fact that it's bringing us all together.
I think going into this years Super Bowl, that's what a lot of people who aren't from Philly didn't understand. It wasn't just a game.
You see, for fifty two years, Philadelphians have supported their team, have held out hope, have gone to games and religiously tuned in on Sunday during football season. We have opinions about the coaches, the plays, the players, but we'll also defend them to the end. We support our city and our teams no matter what.
On February 4, 2018 I, along with millions of other Eagles fans, experienced a wave of emotions.
This wasn't the first time the Eagles have gone to a Super Bowl, but it's the first time they've won. It's the first time they've won. That wasn't a typo, I just wanted to say it again.
Being in my mid-twenties now (eh, I guess late now that I'm 26? ugh) I realized the importance and significance of this game. As we get older, so do our parents and grandparents. Many of the "adults" in my life have been witnesses to the championships that the Eagles were a part of in the past, but they were also witness to the letdown. And that's probably the best way to word it. You see, it's not a loss, because in Philly it's an emotion not an action.
On Sunday, I sat (and stood and sat and stood) with Dan's family as we watched the game together, but this Sunday was different. For a week, the energy in the city was palpable. Reports of Philadelphia greasing the light posts only amped us up more. Not because we planned to go to the city and climb the lamp posts. Although wouldn't that have been some great PR? "Philly Housewife Allie Proko was arrested this evening for scaling a light post on Broad Street". Ugh, missed my chance. No, it was because we could feel the city preparing for the celebration.
All week long, our social channels were flooded with hype videos, pictures of peoples' kids going to school covered in as much green as their closets could produce, corporate offices throwing parties for their employees, etc. We had serious conversations about how the Super Bowl was actually stirring up a lot of emotions for folks who'd lost their fathers who wanted nothing more than to see the Birds victory.
We weren't just excited to win a game. We were excited to celebrate as a city and to experience that victory with the people we care about. When they say that Philly bleeds green, they mean it. It's in our blood. It's a passion that I'm not certain any of us can truly explain or put into words.
I'll be the first to admit that I've always been a fan, but I'm not as die hard as a lot of people I know (until now). We went around the room and answered the question, "Would you take $10,000 or the Eagles winning tonight?". I was the one who picked money (student loans and a new house y'all). After that night though, I'd change my answer.
As the clock ticked down to 6:00PM on Sunday night, I realized how emotionally invested in the game I really was. I started to get the jitters as if I myself was about to suit up and run onto the field. By the time the clock was at two minutes left, I had the chills and was standing with everyone else. When we won, it took us all a moment to realize what had happened. We were silent a moment, and then Dan's Dad screamed out, "THAT'S THE GAME!". And that was the moment that we all lost our minds. I even cried.
Again, I've always enjoyed sports, but I never wanted to allow myself to become too emotionally invested in them because I've just frankly always thought there were more important things. But then, in that moment, it all hit me. It hit me that sports are a part of my memories and that when I hear a game on in the background I feel instantly comfortable and at home. It hit me that we've made a tradition out of Sundays and Mondays. Are cheesesteaks and wings even that good? Yes, but even if they weren't, we'd love them anyway because they'd be pleasant reminders of these days. Youse guys, it hit me that I've been one of them all along.
The anthropologist in me feels sorry for the archaeologists who have to dig up our ancient remains and try to figure out why we all held onto our green hoodies. I guess we'll just have to keep passing on the tradition and passion so that they'll see that Eagles emblem on their excavation, stand up smiling in the dirt, and start chanting.
I don't know when it began, but I have a little obsession with stationary. In my closet here at my home office, the shelves are bursting with all sorts of beautiful thank you notes that I've yet to use because I don't want to get rid of them just yet and as the seasons change I find reasons to purchase all sorts of beautiful gift tags, invitations and thank you cards.
You see, as an event planner (my full time), I see the difference that stationary brings to the occasion. It's what I like to call, part of the details. The details of an event all come together and make something spectacular and contribute to the overall guest experience. The trouble with this can sometimes be bringing your personality into the stationary that you're ordering, because so many websites offer standard suites ... and what's the fun in that?
When I discovered Basic Invite, my world was complete.
While Basic Invite is most well-known for their wedding invitations and save the dates, they really have a fabulous selection for any event from a shower to a graduation announcement or even a Valentine's Day Cocktail Party (I just ordered mine!).
I'm personally also really loving their picture invitations ... ladies ... they even have birthday photo invites - how perfect is that for a first birthday or milestone?!
As someone who is no stranger to the online stationary world, I had so much fun getting lost in Basic Invite's website. Not only was their website tech and user-friendly for those of us who certainly aren't graphic designers, but the choices and selections felt limitless.
Basic Invite is one of the few stationary websites that allows its customers to choose from just about any color for every element with an instant preview online, plus you can select from 40 different envelope colors to set the tone of the theme or invitation before your guests actually even open it up! Total customization? Yes, please!
I'm personally really impressed with the scope of design options that are on their site. I'm loving how versatile the design choices are from fun children birthday invitations to swoon worthy wedding suites.
One of the absolute best features of their site though has to be the address capturing service. Coming from someone in the wedding and special event industry, this one's a keeper. All you have to do is share a link to your social media sites and your friends and family can safely input their emails and you'll be able to access it all on your customer account. If you haven't already had to recently update your address book, take it from me and trust that it's really difficult (even through text) to get people to respond to you; however, everyone's on social media and so it's a quick click and really convenient way to get the addresses that you need without hassle.
Interested in purchasing invitations or thank you notes for your Spring social calendar? Get 15% off of your order with the code: 15FF51
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I'm over here taking a break from shoveling the sidewalk and decided I'd share with you all some of my top restaurants that Dan and I like to visit when we go out to dinner. We don't go out that often these days since buying our home, but when we do we like to go somewhere that offers a little ambiance.
The Melting Pot in King of Prussia is definitely up there as one of our favorite places to eat. Why? It's the perfect date night because it's more than a meal, it's an experience. We don't eat fondue at home, so it's always fun to watch the servers expertly put together the cheese and chocolate recipes and it's so delicious.
The Valley Forge Trattoria is nestled in a small shopping center just between Phoenixville and Valley Forge Park, and I can't even tell you how many times we've been there. I always like to sit in the lounge section with its cushioned booths, dim lights and live music. It's the perfect spot to get your Italian food fix and is the perfect romantic date night environment.
I know it might seem funny that I'd list a pizza place as one of my top Valentine's Day restaurants; however, some of our favorite day dates have taken place here and I'm personally a big fan of impromptu lunch dates together. Valentine's Day celebrations don't always have to be elaborate ... it's about spending quality time together! Plus, Snap Custom Pizza offers my favorite gluten-free pizza that I've stumbled across so far. So good!
Strangely enough, we haven't actually been to their Philly location, but we love us some Buddakan. It's a super fun vibe, and I dream of their mushroom potstickers and dumplings.
On the constant quest to make a gluten-free dessert that everyone will love, I decided to try out a flourless brownie recipe that I was inspired by. I found an original recipe on Pinterest and decided to tweak it a bit to my own preferences. Enjoy!
10 oz dark chocolate morsels
4 tbspn sweet cream butter, unsalted
3/4 c granulated sugar
2 tspn vanilla extract
1/4c unsweetened cocoa powder
6 oz milk chocolate morsels
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
2 tbspn unsweetened cocoa powder
dash of rum extract
The first thing I did was make the brownies since you really shouldn't put the icing on until they've cooled. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take your baking pan and line it with parchment paper (it's easier if you use parchment paper that hangs over the sides of the pan a bit so that you can just lift the brownies out when they are done).
In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate with the butter in 30 second increments, stirring between sets. When it's melted together, stir in the sugar and combine. Set that bowl aside (you'll come back to it soon).
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla. Add in the cocoa powder and continue whisking until it's combined. You want the edges of your bowl / mixture to have a bit of froth/bubbles forming.
Pour the mix into the baking pan, spreading it out evenly. Place the pan in the oven and bake about 25 minutes. When done, place the pan on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.
While the brownies cool, move on to the icing. Heat your heavy cream until it just bubbles and then whisk in the cocoa powder. When combined and no chunks of the powder are showing, pour the cream over your milk chocolate morsels in a small bowl. Add a dash of rum extract (optional) for a richer icing flavor. Stir until smooth. Pour icing over cooled brownies and then refrigerate for about one hour.
Remove the completely cooled, finished brownies from the fridge and cut with a sharp knife. These are a pretty ooey-gooey texture already, so you can chill if you prefer, but I like to keep them sort of messy!
The past few months I've slacked a bit on my gluten free diet and my body hates me for it. On New Years, I rang in 2018 from the guest bedroom at our friends lake house where I was completely spent from a 4-hour flu-like spell/reaction to a plate of pasta at dinner. This wasn't the first time I reacted that way from regular pasta and I realized how serious my allergy to wheat is (at home I always eat GF pasta) and decided to start taking it more seriously.
For dinner earlier this week, I decided to whip up a new recipe for gluten free chicken enchiladas. Dan and I love us some Mexican food, so I decided to make the recipe "safe" at home.
One of the things that many people don't think about with gluten free eating is that it's not just obvious bread products that you need to watch for, but even sauces and pre-made mixes. On the bright side, I'm eating much healthier because 90% of what I'm making these days is from scratch!
Enchilada Sauce Recipe:
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons GF rice flour
2 tspn garlic powder
1 c chicken broth (I just added water to the chicken I cooked and used the "broth" of that instead of sodium-filled store bought)
1 1/2 c water
Dashes of hot sauce (I used Frank's) to your desired heat
In a saucepan, mix all the spices, flour and oil. Heat while whisking until fragrant, about 3 minutes. While you whisk, you want to add the chicken broth and water until it's smooth and there aren't any flour clumps. Allow it to come to a boil and then simmer a few minutes to thicken.
1 package of boneless, skinless chicken breast (cooked + shredded)
1 pack of GF Corn Tortillas
Enchilada Sauce (recipe above)
4 oz Cream Cheese (softened)
8oz bag Shredded Cheese
1 Onion (diced)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the shredded chicken into a mixing bowl with the diced onion, about 1/3 of your enchilada sauce and about half of the shredded cheese. Mix well.
Next, you'll pour a thin layer of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of the baking dish you're using.
Take the cream cheese and spread a thin layer onto each tortilla. Fill each tortilla with the chicken mixture. Roll, and put into baking dish. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over top with the other half of the shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.
I've always wanted to visit the Philly Home Show, but it's always conflicted with my schedule ... until now! I'm so excited to stop in this month to check out all of the fun, especially as a homeowner myself now. We're outlining eight of the things you should definitely check out while you're there this year.
PS: Don't forget to use our code PHILLYHOUSEWIVE for Buy 1, Get 1 tickets!
1. Connect with the HGTV and PBS celebrities.
If you're like me, you are personally invested in the lives of all of the HGTV stars and look up to the PBS celebs for their knowledge on all things design. This year, Tyler Wisler (Design Star contestant) and Kevin O' Connor (This Old House) are going to be gracing the Philly Home Show 2018 stage. Be sure to check out the schedule for presentations!
2. Sixth Annual Habitat for Humanity Upcycle Challenge: Urban Jungle
Philly DIY'ers, this one's for you. Take an old window and $50 at the Habitat for Humanity's ReStore and create a city garden. You heard us right.
3. Providence Animal Shelter Barkitecture Village
We are all obsessed with our dogs. I know I'm not alone in this. Rufus is literally my child and I'll be damned if he doesn't deserve the finest little retreat. Cue this village of luxury doghouses sure to inspire you and your fuzzball (Rufus' nickname).
4. Design with Grace in your Small Space
Whether you're in the city of Philadelphia or surrounding Main Line 'burbs, it's possible you're living in tight quarters. Our area has so many charming and historic residences and apartments, but sometimes working with small spaces can prove challenging. The City Studios design feature will be showcasing three distinct looks from local designers that show you how to get creative with your small space!
5. Make-it, Take-it
Another opportunity for those of us who love a little DIY opportunity. Local crafters and designers are attending the show to host their own hands-on workshops.
6. Expert Presentations
The Philly region is full of creatives and artists who continue to wow us with their talent. Be sure to check out the Main Stage furnished by Pottery Barn to see the various presentations that will take place.
7. Honor our Heroes
On January 15, free admission is going to be granted to teachers, nurses, first responders, firefighters, police and all active or retired military personnel in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King.
8. Take Action
I don't know about you all, but my Pinterest board(s) are brimming with inspiration for home projects that I'm jonesing to bring to life. The Philly Home Show 2018 is the perfect place to interact with vendors, exhibitors, bloggers and designers who can show you how to make your dreams a reality.
I can't believe that it's already 2018, can you?! One of the top priorities on my list for the new year was to revisit my time management system to get more organized and increase my productivity.
Let me give you a little background ... I'm self-employed running two businesses, just bought my first home and am trying to break away from my workaholic tendencies. Within my event planning business, I need to make sure that I'm scheduling time for administrative tasks, client work, meetings/networking, venue management, etc. Within my HITC blogging I need to make sure I'm content planning, networking to find us new GNO locations, planning GNOs, executing GNOs, and even training / on boarding new cities for the franchise! As a new homeowner I'm working on adjusting to keeping our home clean, running endless errands, making dinner, and of course, decorating every other minute. Whew!
I found myself overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities on my plate, and especially towards the end of 2017 with all of the transition realized that much of my time was spent trying to figure out how to get everything done instead of doing it. Not only was I letting my to-do list overwhelm me, but being self-employed and working alone from home I was having a hard time staying focused and not getting distracted ... just hopping task to task and not giving any of the things I needed to get done the attention it deserved. Cue time blocking!
If you go on Pinterest and look up Time Blocking, your equally organization loving heart is going to do a little dance just like mine did. No really. Mine did a little flip and I think even did one of those heel pops from the Princess Diary movie.
Time blocking is exactly what it sounds like. You carve out periods of time to assign various tasks to and then use that time to get it all done. Not only does this give you a deadline to help you focus as you're working, but it's a way to jot down all of your thoughts and delegate them to time chunks which really helps from allowing your to-do list to take over your life.
You have to make your time block to fit your own needs, but here's what mine looks like in my off-season for events (in-season looks much different as my work hours and days change!).
Let me break down what all of this means for me to help you structure your own. First, I wrote down all of the things that needed to be prioritized/done throughout my week. Then, I took those tasks and put them into more broad groups by color.
Orange = Personal
Blue = Work
Green = Family Time
My House Tasks // Errands is when I do the most cleaning around the house, meal planning, run any errands, etc.
Operations // Admin is where I answer emails for both businesses, make calls, file any papers that I've piled up, etc.
Planning // Tie Up is what I like to spend my last hour of the workday on. I'll take a half hour to finish any outstanding projects I didn't get done during the day and the last half hour to look at the next day and figure out what I want to work on and put a to-do list together.
If you've been feeling a little overwhelmed or just want to be more productive with your time, I highly recommend that you give this a try!
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