Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Warm Up to Autumn with a Hot Buttered Rum from Trader Vic's!

My love affair with Tiki Culture began when I visited the Trader Vic's in Atlanta, GA many years ago. The restaurant is an oasis in the otherwise unassuming Hilton Atlanta; once you step inside Trader Vic's doors, you are swept away to a lush, mid-century Polynesian paradise!  

"Trader" Vic Bergeron is credited with inventing the Mai Tai, and the modern day restaurants he founded serve over 70 signature cocktails, many in their own distinctive glassware.  As a former bartender (and present connoisseur of all things cocktail), I adore Trader Vic's keen attention to detail and use of fine quality spirits and ingredients to craft their mixological masterpieces!

One such drink is Trader Vic's Famous Hot Buttered Rum, "a soothing, warming drink perfect for cold weather and after dinner."  Hot Buttered Rum dates back to Colonial New England,  tied to the rum and spice production of the Caribbean Islands.  Over time, Hot Buttered Rum gained popularity as a holiday libation and an apr├Ęs-ski staple.  Many people associate Tiki Culture with the endless summer of the South Pacific.  But there is no reason that the fun can't continue into the autumn and winter!  

Now, you can bring a taste of Tiki home for the holidays with 

It is so easy to use Trader Vic's Famous Hot Buttered Rum Batter to create a perfect drink every time.  
First, preheat a mug with hot water.  I used a thick-walled ceramic Tiki mug from my collection.  When you are ready to begin, empty the mug and add 2 teaspoons of batter, a well-balanced mix of brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and spices.  

Next, fill the mug with hot water.  I used my Keurig machine to dispense 8 oz. of hot water.  Then add 1 1/2 oz. of rum and stir well.  I used 1 oz. of Meyers's Dark Rum and 1/2 oz. of Bacardi Superior.

A note on spirits:  dark rum is preferable in the Hot Buttered Rum because it is aged longer and has a complexity and depth that adds to the rich flavors of the drink.   A dark spiced rum like The Kraken would also work well.  I realize that people are more likely to have white, gold, or spiced rum in their personal booze cache and can attest that those rums will work nicely, too.  As stated on the Hot Buttered Rum Batter package, you may also wish to try adding bourbon or brandy.

I finish my Hot Buttered Rum with freshly-grated nutmeg.  If you have never used or tried freshly-ground or grated nutmeg, I highly recommend it.  This Cole & Mason Nutmeg Mill is inexpensive and indispensable in my kitchen!  

The finished product: SCRUMPTIOUS.  The batter is a well-balanced mix of sweet, creamy, and spicy.  If you like a certain coffee chain's autumn 'Spice' collection of warm drinks, you would love the Trader Vic's Hot Buttered Rum.  There is nothing like curling up in front of the fire in the evening with a Hot Buttered Rum and a good book.  I also like to serve them during our holiday parties and after caroling at Christmas time.  

Get a jump on your holiday gift giving and order a 4-Pack of Hot Buttered Rum Batter.  You could bundle one tub of batter with whimsical mugs and a pint of rum for the perfect holiday hostess gift!

Trader Vic's also has a Tom & Jerry and Hot Buttered Rum Mixed Pack, whereby you receive 4 tubs of their Famous Hot Buttered Rum Batter and 4 jars of their Famous Tom & Jerry Batter for $40.  

Warm Up to Autumn with Trader Vic's!

Disclosure Statement: I was provided with complimentary samples for review purposes.  This review is based solely on my opinion.  Others may have a different opinion or experience with the product(s) listed above.  No monetary compensation was received for this review.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

eShakti Fall 2013 Collection

eShakti.com is proud to introduce its new FALL 2013 collection, a completely unique assortment of apparel and separates for the modern day fashionista. As a retro-modern brand, eShakti continues to embrace the past this season by rounding up key pieces to get the looks of decades past in the most modern ways: soft and curvy 40's fashion, fabulous 50's fit-and-flare, 60's clean shapes, 70's plaids and 80's knits.

With fabrics including gabardine and menswear plaids, and colors ranging from gray and moss green to eggplant and cobalt, eShakti's new Fall collection includes chic silhouettes and moody hues that welcome cooler months. 

Offering classic trends for a modern, new look, the eShakti Fall Collection is sure to inspire! 

 eShakti's Fall lines have been launched with a 20% OFF - Introductory Offer...an incredible deal!  

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Winner, Winner!

Blog Giveaways are an incredibly interesting phenomenon.  I discovered them last fall through Jenn Choi's amazing Toys Are Tools toy and game review blog.  So I entered.  And I WON.  And won AGAIN.

I am currently in the midst of an unbelievable streak of luck; I have won over 150+ contests (skill-based *and* random draw) since October 2013.  I discovered the amazing world of Rafflecopter and Giveaway Blogs and have been a contest hobbyist since then.

My strategy is three-fold and simple: 

        1. Just Enter!  Don't let the number of existing entries or the method of entry intimidate you.  Enter and enter as often as the rules allow.  I personally spend about an hour entering giveaways per day, 1/2 in the morning and 1/2 in the evening.  The old adage is true, "You can't win if you don't enter." Even though the new saying around my house is, "Thousands will enter...Adrianne will win." 

        2. Think Like a Winner!   Even though I have a long-standing reputation as a sardonically irreverent cynic,  I put forth every iota of positive energy in my being into each contest entry.  For really big contests, I like to meditate on the following: 
I can win this because I am worthy to win this.  Positivity IS my luck. 

        3.  Share the Wealth!  I often enter contests with other recipients in mind.  I won many of my daughter's Christmas gifts this past November/December.  Paying it forward is half the fun of winning, and it keeps the goodwill and positivity out there in the Universe.

Friends and family tell me that I must be lucky, that they "never win anything."  And my response is simple: It's not just luck  You must enter to win!  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bellas QTique Etsy Shop - Review & Giveaway *CLOSED*

Last Christmas, my daughter received this funky and fashionable Vintage Flower Top from Bellas Qtique as a present from a dear family friend.  She found it at the Overton Square Indie Style Market in Memphis, Tennessee.

As soon as we laid eyes on it, we fell in love with the bright, bold coordinating prints and the chic styling.  The top- which can easily be worn as a dress- is incredibly well-designed and expertly sewed.  There is ruching and elastic on either side at the hem with button accents there and along the empire waistband...and ruffles galore!  We packed it for our January family trip to Puerto Rico, and my daughter wore it to a very trendy fusion restaurant in Old San Juan, Marmalade.

My daughter received countless compliments on her dress as well as her good behavior during the three hour tasting menu at Marmalade!

I am happy to introduce Joanie Loves Tchotchkes readers to Bellas Qtique!  

Bellas Qtique is an Eads, Tennessee-based Etsy Store that specializes in handmade children's clothing, jewelry, and accessories crafted by a mother-daughter team.  The garment sizes range from 12 mo. to size 8, and custom orders are welcome.  Each expertly-made, boutique quality item is affordably priced.

Summer is here!  Wouldn't your Little Miss Firecracker look adorable in this

Spark up the 4th with this Patriotic Plaid Shirt $20 for your handsome little Yankee Doodle!

Deck your daughter out in the Circle of Daisies Skirt $25!

And no summer picnic would be complete without a watermelon-- or this Sweet Summer Dress $35, found on Bellas Qtique Facebook page:
What an eye-catching combo of colors and patterns!
Fabric Detail
For fun, we've styled the Vintage Flower Top $32 with coordinating sunglasses from Gymboree and Miss Trish by Target sandals:


Mary Pat at Bellas Qtique is generously offering a $25 Etsy gift certificate to her shop for one lucky Joanie Loves Tchotchkes reader!  

This contest closes on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST.

Fill out the Giveaway Tools form below to be entered to win.  Please note the mandatory entries!

This review is based solely on my opinion.  Others may have a different opinion or experience with the product(s) listed above. No monetary compensation was received for this review.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

First Giveaway! $20 Talking Friends Gift Card *CLOSED*

We love Talking Ginger and her friends, Talking Tom & Talking Angela!  Based on the popular Talking Tom app, these adorable toys talk, sing, and interact with each other and your app-enabled phone or tablet!
For my very first blog giveaway, I am offering $20 to the Talking Friends Shop where you can choose from so many items!

Good luck!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

$40 off for New eShakti.com Customers!

Use my coupon code ADRI2DRS to get $40 off when you purchase with eShakti for the first time! OR CLICK HERE!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

eShakti Review Part Deux!

I reviewed an eShakti dress in a previous post, and I am back to showcase another gem from their extensive line of "Real Fashion for Real People"!  

After hours of pouring over gorgeous garments and careful consideration, 
I went with the Shawl Collar Large Check Dress 
in Sky Blue/Olive/Navy/Cream:

From the site: "A shawl collar frames the V-neckline of this cotton check dress, nipped in at the waist with piped trim and flared out to a full circle skirt."

  • Slips on over head; partial side zip closure.
  • Short self-button front.
  • Dolman cap sleeves with partial elastic cuffs.
  • Princess seamed to shape.
  • Side seam pockets.
  • Below knee length.
  • Lined in cotton voile.
  • Cotton, woven check, no stretch, midweight.
  • Machine wash.

Upon ordering, I chose the custom option to select a "Deep V" neckline in lieu of the dress's more modest V-neck.  I also elected to submit my measurements for a custom-sized garment, just as I had done with the dress in my previous review.    I would have loved the option to lengthen the sleeves on this dress to a true short sleeve - or even a 3/4 - but, alas, t'was not an option for this frock!

As per usual, eShakti's shipping was quick and convenient.  The garment was expertly folded and packed so flat it belied the dress's fabulous, voluminous skirt!  After a once-over with some light starch and the iron, I stored my dress in a garment bag and headed off to my hometown with my family to visit with friends and celebrate my 6th wedding anniversary.

I was struck by the ease with which I slipped into the dress and admired the weight of the fabric that is also fully lined.  The color combination in the plaid is very striking and evokes the mid-60s Mad Men era.  I chose to play up the dress's vintage appeal with Texas-big, roller set hair and shimmery green eyeshadow with winged liner.  Paired with white jute-soled sandals, a gold bangle, and pearl studs with a matching pearl necklace, I was ready to celebrate with my husband at the place where we met and fell in love, the Cadieux Cafe.  

This amazing dress received compliment after compliment!  It is my new favorite summer frock, perfect for anything from a picnic in the park to a night out at a rock show.  
I am even considering getting this one in Rust/Brown/Cream/Gray:

eShakti has knocked it out of the park again with this dress design; retro enough to pass for true vintage, but modern in its sturdy construction, availability, and size range from 0 to 36W.  
Finding hip, feminine, quality clothing to fit *any* body has never been so easy! 
 And the custom options give you the power to be the designer- 
which is simply unheard of at eShakti's competitive prices.

If you are a new shopper with eShakti, you are entitled to save $25 with your first order when you register with them.  So start browsing for your next favorite wardrobe item, gurl!

Disclosure statement- I was provided with a sample garment from eShakti in order to 
complete this review.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

eShakti Review

Recently, I was contacted by a representative from eShakti who wondered if I would be interested in 
reviewing one of the items from their extensive online clothing store.  I began looking through pages and pages of delightful, modern designs and fell in love with their dresses!  I have long been a devotee of the fit and flare dress: flattering on nearly every figure (and on me at any weight).  When I saw that the side bar of the eShakti site had a "Fit and Flare" category, along with Sheath, Cocktail, and Little Black Dress, I was elated.  I adore easy navigating when shopping online.

As soon as I saw Her Fifties Colorblock Dress in french blue/cream, I knew I had met my soulmate! 

As a rule, I am hesitant to shop online for clothing unless I own several items of clothing from a company.  Like most women, I have persnickety peculiarities in how my body fits or *doesn't* fit into clothing.  For my general hourglass shape with hips larger than bust, I find that I need to put in some real dressing room time in order to select a garment perfect for my body and shape.  

When ordering with eShakti, you are offered the choice of 'off-the-rack' sizing from 0 - 36W (XS-6X), or you are able to enter your own custom measurements for an addition nominal cost.  I elected to go the custom route, as I haven't had a custom made dress since my Prom gown...thanks Mom!  I submitted my specs and placed my order on December 16.   

Much to my surprise, my custom dress arrived promptly on December 26, well before the 7 business days for shipping + 7-9 business days for transit time as specified in eShakti's fine print.  I was wowed by the super-flat shipping box and neat presentation.  I immediately tried the dress on to find that the straps were too long and did not conceal my bra straps effectively.  Going without support is not a luxury that I am currently able to afford ;) , so I quickly tacked the straps, taking them up about 2" on each side to achieve a better fit.  

Aside from the strap length, I felt that the dress fit well.  I might have sized down in the waist had I realized that the back of the dress was so elasticized.  I suppose I would need to have it properly tailored were I to lose more weight down in the future.  I thought that the fabric was vibrant and beautiful, lined properly in the places that a good dress should be.  I did notice a few minute flaws in the stitching, but nothing that was flagrant.  The pockets, a feature on many of the eShakti dresses, were a nice touch.  

On a recent trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico, I brought the dress to wear out on the town.  The dress packed well, not taking up too much space despite its voluminous skirt.  After a quick ironing, I slipped it on, pairing it with a french blue main/pedi, white leather jute-soled sandals and a cream woven shrug.  The crisp cotton poplin fabric was well-suited to the tropical climate.   My husband and daughter both complimented the color and fit.  Here I am striking my best 'red carpet pose':

After returning to the icy tundra that is the Midwest, I laundered the dress according to the tag specifications and was delighted to find that it washed up so well.  I despise Dry Clean Only duds!
This beauty will have to hang out in the closet for a few months, but I am excited to bring it out again in the spring!

In all, I am most satisfied with my eShakti experience and I have ordered another dress from them in the meantime.  Disclosure statement- I was provided with a dress sample from eShakti in exchange for this review.