Essentials for a Beach Day with Friends

*This is a sponsored post on behalf of Black Box Wines.  All opinions and tips are my own.  And, duh, it’s wine so I know you’ll love it as much as I do.beach-essentials-for-hanging-with-friends

There are two kinds of beach days for me, one with family and one with friends. They look REALLY different. With my kids, there is sand EVERYWHERE, there are lots of plastic beach toys and bone dry juice boxes littering the horizon. I’m also on constant watch, ready to spring in to action, to save my kids from getting too far out in the water or reaching for the wrong kid’s sand toys. But with friends, now THAT is where I can relax. That is where I can enjoy delightful conversation, probably some good music and perhaps catch up on some reading material. And if we’re lucky, there is a little wine. Here are my essentials for spending a fun afternoon, with friends, at the beach.

At the beach, I may or may not be in my swimsuit depending on the time of day or weather. The beach is sometimes even more fun on a cool, overcast day. But you certainly want to make sure to bring along healthy snacks so that you can still fit in to your swimsuit. Nuts and dried fruit are a great option. They bring the crunch, a little salt and the sweet touch that most of us crave. Similarly, popcorn is my new go to snack and it is easy to transport in a Tiffin type carrier.

Especially if the weather is warm, you want to make sure to stay hydrated with water. I love Boxed Water because there is no plastic and they are good to the environment. They also just look way cooler. Make sure to stay away from sodas that can cause you to feel the bloat. No one needs to look like they are wearing an inner-tube when they aren’t.

Sunscreen and sunglasses are not optional. Pack your favorite pair of sunnies and slather yourself up with your favorite sunscreen BEFORE you leave for the beach. It needs time to penetrate the skin. Make sure to bring it with you and reapply as sunscreen wears off and leaves your skin vulnerable to the sun. Don’t forget to bring a speaker along (and something to play music from like your iPhone or iPod!). I love this one by Nixon because it is sand, water and shock resistant. And if you think you might have a minute, bring a long some magazines to get caught up on. But do not ignore your friends and keep your nose buried in one. You DO want to get invited back for another friend beach day.

Depending on the beach and the time of day, wine is a great addition to a great afternoon with friends at the beach. Most beaches where I am from do not allow any glass so Black Box Wines are the perfect option. Lose the bottle and toast your friends with one of their tasty varieties like their new Pinot Noir (notes of fresh berry, rose petals an cocoa!). This 3L box is the equivalent of 4 bottles! So you won’t need to worry about running out AND you can take the rest of the box home with you to finish when you deem fit over the next month. I know what you may be thinking, boxed wine? But as someone who favors twist off bottles (oh the side eyes I’ve gotten when I pull out my screw tops! – which happen to be eco-friendly thankyouverymuch.) boxed wine is a great idea! This packaing is also eco friendlier than regular bottles, they stay fresh for WAY longer and you only need to take one box with you and you have a whole heck of a lot of wine. It just makes sense. AND it tastes good. The Black Box wines are award winning and are a much better value than comparable bottle wine. You guys, I’m dying to taste the Sauvignon Blanc!

Black Box also has 500 mL sized boxes, in 5 varieties, for when you just want to take a few glasses with you. These are perfect for smaller picnics and tailgates.

The only thing as fabulous as enjoying a high quality, award winning box of Black Box Wines is winning a $5,000 shopping spree! “Lose the Bottle” and grab your shopping bag! Enter the sweepstakes by visiting https://www.facebook.com/blackboxwines/

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Black Box Wines. The opinions and text are all mine.


black box wines logoThank you for supporting the brands that keep me doing the kinds of posts I love!

Best Caramel Corn Ever

Pinkleton's Caramel Corn with Orange Cardamom and Scotch.  OMG Yum! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou know you have good friends when they gift you the world’s best caramel corn ever.  Well I mean, I think my recipe is the best caramel corn recipe ever, but prepackaged this is the stuff.  Kristin picked this Pinkleton’s caramel corn up on her recent vacation to Portland and knowing my love of snacks, caramel corn and cardamom, she knew I needed to try it too.  The flavor is outrageous.  It is at once bitter and sweet with subtle and bold flavors.  It’s the perfect crunchy texture.  And I didn’t want to share it.  I also knew that if I wasn’t careful, I would end up eating the whole bag in one sitting.  I ate some on the beach during a family picnic.  I packed this in my suitcase for my New York trip (I never like to be snacky in a hotel with only a mini bar available) and brought the rest home with me.  This would make a great gift for the foodies and snack lovers in your life.  I’m dying to try the other flavors too!  I mean – salted vanilla, salted molasses and spicy mexican cocoa?!  Order some for you summer vacations.  You’re welcome.  And thank you, Kristin, for knowing me so well!

 

Great Gift for Men and Foodies : Mantry

*I was sent a Mantry box to review.  Well, I kind of let my husband review this one because he’s a man.  But I am telling you my thoughts on the Mantry box as a gift idea. Themed artisinal food boxes for monthly subscription.  Great way to try out new products.  Makes a great gift! //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI am always on the look out for great gift ideas.  I love to give gifts that are unique or super personal to the person I am buying for.  My husband is super hard to shop for.  So when I came across Mantry I was REALLY hoping it would be something I could get for my husband.  And it totally was.  Mantry is the “Modern Man’s Pantry” and is an artisinal, food-focused gift subscription aimed at men.  And I think this idea is amazing.  Each month is themed and the hand picked, American made items go together in some way.  The box we received was Thai themed.  This is totally something my husband would be in to.  He likes spice, he likes snacks and it’s always cool to try new things.  Sometimes it is hard to tell if a gift box subscription is going to be worth it.  I think this one totally is.  The amount and type of products received was great and I would happily gift this to our men friends.   

Mantry Gift Box Subscriptions for Men and Food Lovers  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI was going to hold this for his Father’s Day gift but decided that wasn’t really fair since he saw me shooting these photos.  And was asking a lot of questions.  I couldn’t really hide the part of the box that said “Mantry” so I guess his questioning was justified.  I had to do some traveling a few weeks ago and while away my husband made sure to tell me how delicious this jerky was.  I was hoping there was some left for me when I got home.  There was not.  We have not tried all the products yet but we are super excited to.  There are some really unique things in there.  Things we probably wouldn’t have picked out on a grocery store shelf but since they were sent to us, we are totally excited to try.  

Cool label design on this hot sauce.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhat I love about this idea is that it is a great way to feature small companies that people might now know about.  And some of the product design was fantastic like this hot sauce right here.  And the site also features recipes of how to use the products included.  For example, they show you how to use the sauce above for Thai Chili Chicken Wings.  And I think I might like to test out the Thai Basil Margarita this weekend.

Great gift idea for men! //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comEven better, each box contains a guide that tells you all about the products included and also a map showing where they came from.  This is a really well thought out gift box and I think Mantry is a great gift for men and foodies.

*Thank you for supporting the companies and brands that allow me to do what I do.  While some posts are paid and some are not, I strive to bring you the things that truly stand out to me that I think you will love too.  If there is a product you think I would love, shoot me and email! cupcakesandcutlery at gmail dot com.

 

Easy Strawberry Snack

Try this super yummy strawberry snack.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHere is a super easy strawberry snack.  Wait, easier than actually just eating a strawberry?  Well, no.  But it IS still easy.  And super delicious.  I’ve learned something about myself over the years.  I see it as a skill.  Not one that you would ever really need.  And it doesn’t do your waistline any favors.  I have the innate ability to take a food and figure out how to make it as unhealthy as possible.  This can mean taking something unhealthy already and making it more delicious and amazing (thereby making it way more unhealthy, remember these lazy nachos?).  But I’ve noticed I do it with perfectly healthy items too.  Take for instance, the strawberry.  A perfectly fine piece of food on its on.  With its juicy sweetness and bright bold color, I should be fine, happy even, to eat it in its natural form.  But this is how I often eat my strawberries.  With…are you ready…SOUR CREAM and brown sugar.  What the!?!  Full disclosure, my close friend Lisa actually turned me on to this one when we worked in catering for a hotel together.  And that was a good 10 years ago.  And I’ve never forgotten it.

brown-sugar-strawberries-and-sour-cream-snackWould you try this?  I’ll be honest, I only just really started on the whole sour cream train a few years ago.  But there is something about the tanginess mixed with the brown sugar and strawberry that just makes your mouth so happy.

Super simple sweet strawberry snack.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comTry it.  Then serve it to your closest friends.  The ones who eat just as much junk food as you do and don’t judge you for it.  The people who you plan all your meals out in advance with before heading out on a girl’s trip to maximize the dining possibilities.  The ones who are fine to see you in your “fat” pants after you have eaten too many strawberries dipped in sugar.  If you even question the reaction you may get from a friend it is best to not introduce them to fat strawberries (I didn’t really intend to name them that but it has a nice ring to it, fat strawberries).  You’ve been warned.  Happy eating.

Strawberry Banana Passion Fruit Smoothie Recipe

Smoothie with passion fruit banana and strawberry.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI took my little guy to a juice place the other day and one of their smoothies caught my eye.  I love the flavor of passion fruit so I made note of what they put in one of their delicious sounding smoothies.  And then I came home and tried to recreate it.  It’s pretty close.  But more importantly the kids loved the strawberry banana passion fruit smoothie.

Passion fruit smoothie with rainbow sherbet, stawberries and banana.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI wouldn’t say that this is the healthiest smoothie out there considering it uses rainbow sherbet and I’m certain the passion fruit juice is laden with sugar.  Whoa, way to sell it, Sharon.  I know, I know.  But it does have fresh fruit and non-fat yogurt in it.  Hopefully that creates some sort of health-ish balance.  And rainbow sherbet reminds me of my grandma so I just wanted to buy some.

passion fruit smoothie recipe.  Great for kid's snacks.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAdd it all together.  I love these individual sized containers from my Ninja.  Is it just me or do you make a huge mess when you make smoothies in a large blender?  It seems like everything goes really well until I try to pour it in to glasses.  And without fail, something makes the smoothie shift and I end up with smoothie all over my counter.

Passion fruit smoothie from my ninja blender.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy kids go through smoothie loving phases.  We are entering one right now.  I try to keep frozen fruit on hand so that I can always make one for them even if I haven’t been to the store recently.

Passion fruit smoothie recipe.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comDelicious Strawberry Banana Passion Fruit smoothie for your mouth hole.  Enjoy.

Strawberry Banana Passion Fruit Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 large scoop (about 1 - 1 1/2 cups) rainbow sherbet
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 - 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 3/4 vanilla non-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 - 1 cup passion fruit juice

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to blender jar and mix well.
  2. Ingredient list makes one smoothie.
  3. Adjust ingredients to your preference.
https://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/strawberry-banana-passion-fruit-smoothie-recipe/