Archive | March, 2013

Chat Session with Anna Mikell from Visit Gainesville

29 Mar

How Visit Gainesville Uses Pinterest

If you haven’t already looked up your hometown or local city on Pinterest, you might be surprised by what you find. Here in Gainesville, Visit Gainesville has tons of information on local events, restaurants, shops and more. Aside from their website, they’re also very active on Facebook, Twitter, and you guessed it… Pinterest!

I had the opportunity to sit down this week with Ms. Anna Mikell from Visit Gainesville, and she talked about how Pinterest has become another great tool she utilizes at work. Not only does its Pinterest account promote Visit Gainesville, but it also delivers a vast load of useful and interesting content to its followers.

Visit Gainesville- Pinterest

Check out what Ms. Mikell had to share about her experience with Pinterest, and be sure to follow Visit Gainesville and your local city on Pinterest!

Easter Bunny Carrots

28 Mar

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

If the Easter Peeps S’mores, didn’t satisfy your sweet tooth (you must have a GIANT sweet tooth), then maybe this bonus Easter treat will be the perfect addition your holiday spread. It’s just a simple twist on delicious chocolate covered strawberries… or so I thought.

On Pinterest, these chocolate covered Strawberries, made to look like carrots for the Easter bunny, looked very appetizing and super simple. However, unless you’re an expert when it comes to making chocolate covered strawberries, this treat can become a major flop.

Chocolate Troubles

First off, white chocolate is a lot sweeter than regular chocolate and getting it to the right consistency was a little tricky. But once you’ve got your chocolate melted, just use food coloring to get the chocolate to just the right shade of “carrot orange.” The next step is to dip the strawberries into the chocolate. Sounds simple right? Well getting the chocolate to cover the whole strawberry (and make it look like a carrot) is pretty difficult, unless you want to lose your strawberry to the chocolate.

Dipping Strawberries

Overall, these chocolate covered strawberries were a nice treat and will definitely add to your Easter spread.  The idea of making them look like carrots for the Easter bunny is very creative and will attract both kids and adults. However, don’t expect your strawberries to come out looking pinperfect. Happy Easter!

Orange Strawberries

My Easter Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Easter Peeps S’mores

27 Mar

peeps smores setup

For everyone celebrating Easter this weekend, you may have been trying to find some new treats to enjoy with family and friends. Of course there’s tons of cakes, cupcakes, and anything involving Easter eggs, but why not try something different for Easter?  Eventually, I found something on Pinterest that caught my attention right away… peeps s’mores!

Who didn’t love making s’mores as a kid? Whether in front of a fire, or over the stove top, you can always have fun making this deliciously messy treat.  It’s simple and it’s a classic. So finding an Easter version was pretty exciting.  Instead of using a regular marshmallow, you use an iconic, colorful Easter peeps.

A Little Too Messy…

I decided to go with the bunny peeps, but the little chicks will do too. This specific pin says to build your s’more (chocolate and peep stacked between two graham crackers), and then microwave for 20 seconds. If you follow these directions, you might find that the marshmallow peep comes really close to exploding in your microwave (who would have wanted to clean that up?).  Ten to fifteen seconds will probably melt the chocolate and the marshmallow peep to just the right gooeyness. 

peeps smores stacked

peeps smores final

But Finger-Licking Good!

But even with super-sized peeps, these Easter s’mores are extremely tasty. The pop of color that the peeps add, and their sugar coat, really make these s’mores pinperfect. You’ll definitely feel like a kid again trying to eat this deliciously messy treat. You might want to enjoy your peeps s’mores after some Easter egg decorating. Happy Easter!

Cookie Monster Cupcakes!

25 Mar

So every year for my boyfriend’s birthday I try to make him a fun cake or dessert. Even though he’s in his 20s, he really is a kid at heart, so his birthday treat has to be reflective of that. So last year I decided to make him Cookie Monster cupcakes! Yepp, Cookie Monster- as in the Sesame Street character.

When I came across these cupcakes on Pinterest, I thought to myself, “this could either go really well, or end up being a disaster.” I looked through several different versions of Cookie Monster cupcakes and overall the execution and idea seemed pretty quick and easy.  So I was determined to make them a success.

How-To

All you have to do is bake the cupcakes (I chose chocolate), cut a whole for the cookie to fit into, and then decorate. I made the blue icing from white icing with food dye, and put it in a makeshift piping bag- just a simple zip-lock bag and cut the very tip of the corner off. Be sure to put the cookie in the mouth before you ice the cupcake so you can ice and holes around the cookie. The eyes are just made from white chocolate melting candies, and the black is food gel pen I got in the baking section of my local grocery story.

Enjoy- Me Love Cookies!

cookie monster!! 

TA DA! Super easy and super fun Cookie Monster cupcakes. I was really happy with the finished product, and my boyfriend absolutely loved them! I would definitely recommend these pinperfect cupcakes for anyone you might know. Whether they’re 4 or 44, who doesn’t love Cookie Monster?

Matte Nail Polish

22 Mar

Recently, I have been coming across more and more pins featuring matte nail polish. Most polishes that I have found are top-quality, brand name polishes- expensive nail polishes.

This shine-free look definitely caught my eye and seems to be trending right now, but I wasn’t completely sold on it. I figured it was worth a shot, but I didn’t feel like spending $8 on a whole bottle of matte polish.

So of course I search around Pinterest for a DIY matte nail polish tutorial, and I found one pin that seemed simple and straightforward. All you have to do is hold your nails over some steam (I just put a coffee mug with water in the microwave for 90 seconds).

And viola! Matte nail polish. I was honestly shocked that this actually worked but was very pleased with the pinperfect results.

Matte vs Gloss Hands

Matte vs Gloss close up

Disclaimer: The matte effect did fade after a few days and the polish began chipping relatively quickly.

Chimichurri and Parsley Potatoes

20 Mar

If you’ve ever gone to a Spanish or Latin restaurant and ordered some sort of steak, you’ve probably tried chimichurri at some point. Being Hispanic myself, chimichurri is almost always a must whenever making steaks. Since I’m away from home, I figured I could look up a chimichurri recipe on Pinterest and see if it matches up to my mom’s. As a side dish, I usually just make baked potatoes to go with my steak, but I figured I’d try something new while I was testing recipes.

Chimichurri

When I found this pin for a chimichurri recipe, I thought it mirrored my mom’s pretty well but with a few added ingredients. I don’t think I’ve ever made chimichurri with red wine vinegar, oregano, or red pepper flakes, but you can’t knock it ‘til you try it right? Overall, it was pretty good. But I have to admit, I’m just too accustomed to my mom’s recipe and still think hers is the best chimichurri I’ve ever had. I think it was a mix of the oregano and the red wine vinegar that kind of threw my taste buds off.

Chimichurri

Potatoes

The potatoes were a piece of cake to make, and I just used the extra parsley from the chimichurri (thinking ahead). Also, instead of using baby potatoes, I just used regular sized potatoes and cut them into chunks.

Parsley Potatoes

Enjoy

Cook up some simple steaks, maybe pour yourself a glass of wine or sweet tea, and this dish is absolutely pinperfect! I would also suggest looking around through some other chimichurri recipes and trying a few so you can decide which you like best.

Chimichurri & Parsley Potatoes

Green Monster!

17 Mar

Green Smoothie

Just because Spring Break has come and gone, there’s no reason to give up on our diets, workout routines, or healthy habits. And in honor of St. Patrick’s Day today, what better way to get healthy than with a green smoothie. If you plan on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, your body will probably appreciate the extra vitamins and antioxidants.

I’m a huge fan of smoothies because they’re quick, easy, and a great source of energy. Personally, I used frozen fruits because you can keep them in the freezer for a while and you don’t need to add ice. But thanks to Pinterest, I learned that if you add fresh baby spinach, you instantly add extra vitamins to your smoothie. I was quite skeptical about the taste and the green color when I first saw a picture, but my friend Lysette tried it and became a HUGE advocate for green smoothies.

Not Sure About the Spinach?

As do most pinners, Lysette promised that the spinach would not change the taste of your smoothie.  There are several smoothie recipes on Pinterest that use spinach as an added ingredient so there’s no restriction to the flavor of your green smoothie. I found a specific pin for a “Green Monster,” which mentions all the benefits Spinach adds to your smoothie.

I just made my everyday fruit smoothie with Orange Juice for extra vitamin C, added the spinach leaves, and BOOM… my very own pinperfect green monster! I added berries to this specific smoothie so the color is darker than other green smoothies. Your friends might look at you weird when they see you sipping on your green monster (mine sure did), but your taste buds won’t know the difference and your body will thank you.

Green smoothie unblended Green Smoothie

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

16 Mar

It’s that time of year again! When you pull out every green item you own, pretend to be Irish and have a good ‘ole time. What started out simply a religious holiday has turned into a celebration known for fun treats and beer! This year I’m hoping to celebrate St. Patty’s with fun Irish drinks that won’t take up too much time or money. Don’t worry, thanks to Pinterest, I found some great treats for both kids and adults to enjoy.

Kid-friendly Irish Car Bomb

Kid Irish Car Bomb Not all people are fans of Irish Car Bombs, but whether or not you like the adult version, you might be a fan of this kid-friendly version. All it takes is root beer and some vanilla ice cream (basically, a root beer float). Personally, I’m not a fan of root beer but my friends are and they loved it.

Guinness Float

Guinness FloatWhile the kids are enjoying their non-alcoholic Irish, the adults can sip on some Guinness floats. It’s basically the same concept, but instead of using root beer you use that famous Irish beer. Just pour yourself a glass of Guinness, add some ice cream, and you can drizzle with chocolate syrup and whip cream. This recipe has homemade versions of the syrup and cream, but ready-made is fine too. I also just used regular Guinness beer instead of Guinness Stout.

Green Soda

Green SodaBut of course the kids are going to want to join in on the fun of having green drinks, and not all adults enjoy beer, so how about green Sprite? Just add some green food coloring. I had some ginger ale in my refrigerator so decided to use that instead, but you get the idea.

Green Beer

Perhaps the simplest way to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day is by making your very own green beer! All you need is beer and a few drops of green food coloring and you’re good to go.  I found that if you pour a little bit of beer, add the food coloring, and then pour the rest of the beer, you won’t need to mix or stir anything and the food dye won’t stick to the bottom.

Green Beer Mixing green beer

Whether you’re a kid or an adult, these drinks are sure to make your St. Patrick’s Day a pinperfect celebration. Cheers!

Green Eggs & Ham

13 Mar
green eggs and ham cover

Courtesy of Google Images

I think at some point or another, we’ve all read the Dr. Seuss classic Green Eggs and Ham, or at least have had someone read it to us. I remember my little brother used to be OBSESSED with this book. He especially liked it after his teacher brought in green eggs and ham for the whole class to eat for breakfast, and after that he went through a phase where he would only eat his eggs if they were green.

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up this weekend, I was trying to look for some fun activities or treats on Pinterest that would help us get in the holiday spirit, and I was so thrilled to come across a pin that featured green eggs and ham. It brought me back to the days not only of when my brother was younger, but when I was a kid as well.

Green eggs & ham rawMaking green eggs and ham really is as simple as just adding a few drops of food coloring to your scrambled eggs. The recipe in this pin uses six eggs so it recommends 3 drops of food coloring, but if you’re cooking fewer eggs then a drop or two will do. The milk in the eggs helps make your eggs nice and fluffy (a trick I learned a long time ago). I also liked that the ham was scrambled right into the eggs instead of being served on the side.

Making green eggs and ham is a fun and easy treat to make with your kids, or to just bring out your inner child one morning. If you are going to make them for your kids though, I would recommend reading the book with them the night before and then surprising them with this pinperfect breakfast! And in the spirit of St. Patty’s day this week, we can all use a little green eggs and ham.

green eggs & ham cooked

Sharpie Nail Art

8 Mar

sharpie nails

Time and time again we see all these intricate and fun nail designs with different colors and patters designs that most assume could only be achieved by a wonderful manicurist with tons of nail polish pens. Well I am no manicurist and don’t have any nail polish pens, which is why I got excited when I saw this pin for Sharpie nail art.

Fun & Easy!

It’s a pretty basic concept- use Sharpies instead of nail pens for simple fun designs. So I grabbed by silver Sharpie and just went with a simple line design I had seen on a different pin. And lo and behold, I had a brand new, quick and easy, look- all thanks to a Sharpie.

Beware!!

I was very pleased with the results… until about a few hours later. Just by going about my day with homework and house chores, the Sharpie design had completely worn off. Adding a clear coat on top is definitely a MUST if you’re going to try any kind of Sharpie nail art. Otherwise, you’ll just watch your pinperfect manicure fade away.

Sharpie Nails faded

It was fun while it lasted.