August 23, 2013

Spice Things Up with a Game Night & California Pizza Kitchen Thai-Style Chicken Pizza!

This post is sponsored by Nestlé, which compensated me to partner with California Pizza Kitchen® frozen pizza and share news about the “Adventures in Entertaining” campaign this summer.

As a person who likes to party and entertain, you can imagine how over the moon I am about the fact that I’m engaged (to the man of my dreams, no less), and get to plan THE party of a lifetime. Weddings are no easy feat. I realize this. However, thanks to Pinterest and all things bridal, I’ve gathered dozens of ideas, inspirations, and, of course, DIY projects that I’m bursting at the seams to do.

The summer is slowly winding down and Jonah is even back to school.  As things start to cool down and I start to dive into my world of all things wedding bells, my fiancé and I thought it would be fun to invite our closest group of friends over for a game night. With my birthday just around the corner, we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to celebrate (moi) and just have fun with some old school board games and delicious food. Can you say Park Avenue and pizza anyone???

To compliment a night of games and light-hearted competition (read: fire and spice. Hey, when I play, I play hard), I’m going to serve California Pizza Kitchen® (CPK) Thai-Style Chicken pizza. I also plan to serve Asian Mojitos and keep dessert light with Coconut Ice Cream and fortune cookies.

Want to host a game night of your own? Check out my tips below:

1. Encourage guests to bring their favorite board games. Once guests arrive, you can even make a game out of choosing which one you'll play! 

2. On game night, there's always a winner! Award the winner(s) with take-home prizes…a gift card to purchase apps, or games for their phone, or even your favorite board game makes a great prize!

3. For fun tablescape decor, place your platters on old board games and stack boxes for food risers. You can glue Scrabble pieces on to note cards or write on playing cards to label food items.

4. "Infusing" your game night with Asian or spicy food? Serve small bites on wonton soup spoons, out of small Chinese food takeout boxes, or lettuce wraps! 

5. Serve spiced or Asian infused cocktails to keep game night spicy and serve with your CPK Thai-Style Chicken pizza!

6. Have an outdoor area? Keep it fun and colorful by filling a galvanized bucket with ice and loading it with your favorite beverages, wrapped with logos of iconic and lovable board games. You can really spice it up by having an area set up to play corn-hole. (Will be a nice break from buying property and "Going to Jail!")

Want more fabulous ideas for entertaining? Head to Pinterest and check out my CPK “Adventures inEntertaining” board! 

August 12, 2013


I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client. #ThisisStyle  for #backtoschool #cbias

Gulp. My son is going to be a kindergartener. A full-fledged kindergartener! This year, shopping for back to school apparel and items is more poignant and important than ever. Though my son spent last year in Transitional Kindergarten (thank goodness for “red shirting”), this year really counts as “The Year.” It’s go time, for reals, and there’s no turning back. (Sigh). But, lucky for me, I’ve teamed up with Collective Bias and SearsStyle to find the most affordable fashion for my son and even another child in need.

Like most 5-year old boys, my son is growing like a weed. It sees like every few weeks, he needs a new pair of shoes, a new pair of pants, new underpants and always, always, ALWAYS, new socks. (Honestly, when we moved to our new home, they should have told me that there was an evil sock monster that stole socks and made them smaller). Because he’s an active boy (let’s hope he masters the art of “sitting still” in Kindergarten!) I generally look for clothing that is comfortable and durable, but still has an edge and is stylish. Plus, we’re working really hard on encouraging independence…. From bathroom time to getting dressed, it’s important he can do a lot of things on his own. So clothing that he can easily get off and on, but that he feels proud of is equally important. Finally, to me, there is nothing cuter and more functional than a kid in jeans. Durable and easy to clean, I love putting J in jeans but because he grows so fast, it seems like I’m always in need of a pair for him. (My closet… that’s a different story. Can you say #obsessed?)

From the moment I got to Sears though, it was truly a “Jean Scene.” I loved their signage for this campaign and it was evident in the children’s apparel department that they had the denim selection to back up this campaign. There was so much to choose from!  I ended up getting my son two different pairs of Levis because the straight, relaxed fit is hard to find in those washes (My son’s not quite the “skinny jeans” kind of kid.) In an effort to teach him to read and do things on his own, I have labeled his drawers and on school days, I tell him what he needs (“It’s cold! You’ll need long sleeves and pants). He helped me put his clothes away and was quick to remind me how many things he’s outgrown and “are like, kind of baby.”

Trough out the children’s department, there were several “Tee Stop” displays. Almost every super hero imaginable was represented in the beautifully organized piles and mounds of screened tees. For $7.98, they’re really high quality and with graphics I know my son would love (and again, feel totally cool about . These things are talking points with his little buddies after all!) I picked out a cute Batman tee for him and an Iron Man tee to donate. The piece de resistance(s) were the tees for $9.98 that came with a toy. At 5, he’s not going to see “Man of Steel,” but he can certainly wear a Man of Steel tee! Great deal and he was super excited.

In addition to the jeans and tees, I found a few great items like khaki cargo pants with an elastic waist - perfect for hot, back to school months, (annnnnd for the child that never wants to go to the bathroom at school because he’s in a rush to go play with his friends), a striped tee (for “fancy” days”) and an adorable short-sleeve, plaid button down, that came with a coordinating tee shirt. It’s a 2 for the price of one look and it screams first day of school!

I loved seeing his enthusiasm over the super hero/character backpacks that comes with a lunch box. He instantly threw it over his shoulders to see what he’d look like rocking it on our walk to school. It’s big enough for carrying his favorite basketball and bright enough to locate in the cubby round up!

The best part, however, was talking about how there are so many children that don’t get brand new clothes or backpacks to go to school. In fact, his school partners with a school where many families live below the poverty line. Several times through the year, our school donates whatever is left in the lost and found as well a few book drives to help raise money for their school. But Jonah and I wanted to do something different- something special. We contacted the school and asked if we could give a new backpack and tee (a Spiderman Backpack and Iron Man tee to be specific!) to another little boy, just like Jonah, starting Kindergarten. “He’ll feel special because it’s new and he should feel good on his first day of school like me.”

Here’s to making back to school a success!

To get your affordable and style back to school gear, follow searsStyle on Twitter  and Facebook, and be sure to check out all the photos from my shopping experience on my Google Plus album!