Saturday, October 24, 2015

Our Halloween Costumes: Spaghetti & Parmesan Cheese

Every year I love coming up with couples Halloween costume ideas for Nick and I. We've been Bill and Sookie from True Blood, Danny and Sandy from Grease, and Margot and Richie from The Royal Tenenbaums. Usually our character costumes are dictated by whether or not Nick is willing to shave his beard (he's usually not), but this year I decided we should come up with a couples costume that would not be dependent on his facial hair (or lack thereof.)

I couldn't stop thinking about Nick's Halloween costume from the first year I met him in college (7 years ago now!) His friend Katelyn let him borrow a spaghetti and meatballs costume and he was an absolute hit. We decided that this year we would create his iconic spaghetti costume, but turn it into a couples costume by adding me as his Parmesan cheese!

How do we look?! Next Saturday we're co-hosting a Halloween bash with my friend Sarah and I can't wait to sport our costumes with all of our friends.

Putting together this costume was really easy and inexpensive. If you start now you'll definitely have it ready for your Halloween hootenannies next weekend!

Here's what you need!
For Spaghetti & Meatballs:
- Red sweatshirt
- Yellow (spaghetti colored) yarn
- Plastic forks
- Brown pom poms
- Colander
- Scissors
- Hot glue gun & sticks

For Parmesan Cheese:
- Green dress or shirt (I found mine at Goodwill)
- Fabric transfer paper
- Parmesan cheese logo, reversed for printing
- White fabric
- Paper plate
- Green poster board
- Iron
- Scissors
- Stapler
- Fabric glue

Here's what you do!
For Spaghetti & Meatballs:
- First, organize all of the attachments that you're going to include on your red sweatshirt. Nick's sweatshirt included meatballs (brown pom poms), spaghetti (yellow yarn), plastic forks, and plastic forks with spaghetti wrapped on the tongs. We hot glued yellow yarn around the plastic forks, but all of the other attachments were ready as is!

- Using your hot glue gun, attach the spaghetti, meatballs, and forks to your sweatshirt in a random pattern (it should look fun!)
- Next, place your colander on your head like a hat and measure how long you want your spaghetti hair to be. Cut your yellow yarn into the appropriate length pieces until you have enough to cover the perimeter of your colander, leaving room for your face. Hot glue the yarn to the inside edge of the colander.

For the Parmesan Cheese:
- First we'll make the lid! Cut a hole in the center of a paper plate so that it fits on your head securely.
- Using green poster board, measure a length of poster board that is 6 inches wide. Staple to the outside edge of the paper plate (you may need more than one piece to cover the perimeter.)

- Using remaining poster board make a circle with diameter the same length as your paper plate, plus one inch. Cut out three small circles to make your "shaker holes."
- Make 1/2 inch cuts around the perimeter of the poster board and fold them down. Add glue to the folded ends and attach to the open top of your lid. Lastly cut and glue a half circle to the top to make your closing cap.

- For the dress or shirt, print out the Parmesan cheese logo on fabric transfer paper. I split my logo up onto two sheets of paper in order to make it large enough. Make sure that the image is reversed so that it is correct when transferred.
- Following the package instructions, iron the logo onto a piece of white fabric. Cut out your white fabric along the edge of the logo and glue to your dress or shirt with fabric glue.

We hope that you love our Spaghetti & Parmesan Cheese costumes! Coming up with fun and creative couples costumes can sometimes be a struggle, but I think we did pretty well this year! What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

Sarah & Nick

Friday, October 9, 2015

Cold Brew Coffee: Morning & Night

You know that here in the Surznick house, we loooove our coffee. Whether it be hot coffee, an iced latte, coffee ice cream, or a delicious cocktail, coffee flavor is just one that I rarely pass up. We're so excited to share two different cold brew coffee recipes today in collaboration with Born Sweet ® Zing™ Zero Calorie Stevia Sweetener. Similar to our Pumpkin Spice: Morning & Night post, on deck today we have Cold Brew Coffee: Morning and Night - one drink perfect for your morning commute and another one perfect for happy hour after a long day at work!

First we have to start with making our cold brew! Last year we showed you our usual technique for making cold brew coffee, but now that fall (and cooler weather!) is officially here we won't need to be making batches so large. Making cold brew coffee in a French press is so simple!

French Press Cold Brew Coffee
Here's what you need!
- 2/3 cup coarse ground coffee
- 3 cups water
- French press

Here's what you do!
- Combine your ground coffee and water in your French press.
- Gently stir until all grounds are wet and well-blended.
- Cover French press with the lid but do not press down plunger.
- Steep coffee overnight in refrigerator. In the morning, press down plunger to separate the coffee from the grounds.

Okay, now let's make that cold brew taste reeeeeeeal good. Add it to your favorite mug or tumbler with some ice, a packet (or two!) of Zing™ Zero Calorie Stevia Sweetener, stir it up, and drink!

Even though I love hot black coffee, I've never been one to drink my iced coffee black. Adding some sweetness is a necessity, so I love that Zing™ Zero Calorie Stevia Sweetener has NO artificial ingredients and (obviously) zero calories!

If you're like us, coffee isn't just for mornings. Coffee is delicious ANY time of the day, but when happy hour is involved, it's even better! Check out the steps below to learn how we made a delicious coffee cocktail with Zing™ Zero Calorie Stevia Sweetener simple syrup!

Coffee Old Fashioned (Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit)
Here's what you need!
- 4 oz. coffee (leftover from your morning cold brew is perfect!)
- 3/4 oz. (1/2 shot) Zing™ Zero Calorie Stevia Sweetener simple syrup (recipe below!)
- 1.5 oz. (1 shot) bourbon of your choice
- 1 dash bitters

Here's what you do!
- First make your simple syrup. To do so, combine 1 part water to 1 part Zing™ Zero Calorie Stevia Sweetener (we used 1/4 cup each.) Heat over medium heat, stirring until well dissolved and let cool. Extra can be covered and stored in the refrigerator.
- Combine all ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a lowball glass. Cheers!

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Are you interested in trying Zing™ Zero Calorie Stevia Sweetener? Well I have good news - you can get a FREE sample by clicking here! Or you can head on over to the store locator to find out where to get Zing™ products close to you!

For the latest and greatest from Zing™ make sure you like them on Facebook or follow on Twitter. And of course, share your Zing™ Zero Calorie Stevia Sweetener creations on your social media with hashtag #BTSZingSpiration because we want to see what you're making!

I really loved the drinks we made with this product (especially that cocktail!) so I can't wait to try out some more recipes (I'm thinking smoothies and oatmeal!) What would you make? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!

Thank you to Zing™ Zero Calorie Stevia Sweetener and Her Campus Media for sponsoring this post. All opinions are our own. And thank YOU for supporting the brands that support The Surznick Common Room!

Sarah & Nick

Thursday, October 1, 2015

DIY Tye Dye Mugs

Aren't these mugs seriously the prettiest? I love them so much. Mugs are one of the easiest and cheapest things to DIY (which is all the more reason for you to make them!) You can find the tutorial in issue 3 of Holl and Lane magazine which launched TODAY!

Sarah & Nick