Category Archives: Sponsored

Throw Together a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta with Moe’s

Cinco de Mayo is coming up, and this year it’s on a Friday. [Cue amateur hour.] While every restaurant will make their best attempt at a margarita and slap a $3 price tag on it, you may want to avoid the hordes of partiers looking for cheap drinks. That said, sometimes it’s best to host your own fiesta–then you can make your margaritas as strong as you want (and know that they don’t have well tequila in them) and share good food with your amigos.

My friends and I put together a little fiesta to celebrate Cinco a bit early. To make things easier, we ordered catering from Moe’s Southwest Grill (promotion). The party was simple–catered food, a margarita bar, and, of course, a piñata.

To make it a little more festive, I put together a margarita bar so each guest could create their own margaritas. My guests could choose their citrus–lime, key lime, orange or blood orange–and sweetener–Patrón Citrónge Orange, blood orange syrup or “Sweet Heat“, Torani’s ghost pepper syrup. We wrote the traditional margarita recipe in chalk on the ground so even a novice could get it right.

This year, to celebrate “Cinco de Moe’s”, Moe’s created a new, margarita-inspired drink, the Moe-Rita, that combines limeade, lemonade, orange and some other goodies. (If you’re at one of their restaurants, you can get it from the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine. To make things even easier, guests could use the Mo-Rita as the base of their margarita and spice it up as they desired.

Instead of grilling up fajitas and stressing myself out trying to cook rice perfectly (just not my strong suit), I let Moe’s cater everything. I went with the fajita bar that came with everything we could have possibly wanted to pile onto a tortilla–chicken and beef, rice, beans, mixed onions and peppers, shredded cheese, lettuce, sour cream, guac and pico de gallo. Their catering comes with chips and salsa and we went all in with queso (which is quite fantastic).

Moe’s even covers dessert … their crispy sopapilla chips are my new obsession. They were a hit and my guests were more than happy to take a bag home (I may or may not have been grabbing one here and there all week. They’re real damn dangerous.)

Every party needs a little entertainment … and party favors. I stepped into Fiesta for a piñata (they’re quite inexpensive there and there are plenty of options). I filled my colorful llama with mini liquor bottles (plastic ones to avoid breakage), Mexican candies and snacks and hangover helpers (Advil packets and TUMs). You’re never too old to take a swing at a piñata!

Feeling inspired and want to win? Host your own fiesta, and make sure to post a picture of your Moe-Rita creation on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #MoeRitaMixer. Moe’s will pick one entrant to win a FREE catering for up to 50 people!*

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Thanks to Moe’s for partnering with me for this promotion and setting us up with great food and the Moe-Ritas!
*Entries will be judged on originality and creativity. The winner will be announced on June 15th and can host their event anytime in the month of July 2017. For more information, visit

Recipe: Orange Cava Popsicles ft. Segura Viudas Brut Cava

Summer is coming … and it’s going to be a rough one, so being poolside with a cocktail and something cold is going to be the way to cope. Since all day pool parties aren’t always conducive to mass amounts of liquor, I figured out a little less aggressive way to up my booze intake … and get some extra vitamin C while I’m at it–Orange Cava Popsicles.

Made with a few simple ingredients, the easy to make popsicles are a perfectly refreshing poolside treat. Just freeze overnight and, voila, a boozy treat to cool you off … and they look pretty damn cool, too.

Orange Cava Popsicles
1 cup Segura Viudas Brut Cava
1.5 cups orange juice
0.5 cups water
3 tablespoons agave syrup (or other flavored syrup to your liking)
Orange halves

Combine liquid ingredients and mix until the syrup is dissolved. Place an orange slice in each popsicle mold, then fill with the mixed liquid leaving a little room for expansion from freezing. Depending on your molds, either place sticks in the molds immediately, then freeze overnight, or let freeze for one hour before placing the sticks.

If you want to go full-tilt basic, grab some fresh juice (or some extra cava) and drop your popsicle in. The drink will change with every sip since the popsicle will gradually melt into it!

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***Special thanks to Segura Viudas for buying the bubbly for these goodies!***

A McKinney Must-Do: Arts in Bloom

The annual Arts in Bloom and Wine Festival is coming back to McKinney in a few short weeks (April 7-9) … and they’ve added two days! The festival will feature work by national and local artists, music by local acts, great food from McKinney restaurants, and … of course … wine from local growers.  (Do you get the local angle yet?)

The festival was recently named on “GuideLive’s list of 50 can’t-miss festivals this spring” … so that’s something.

So, what must you know before heading to historic McKinney?

  • There will be a Wine Garden featuring wine from 14 regional Texas wineries.  Wine, y’all.  Buy a commemorative wine glass for $20 and get 10 tastings to find your favorite.  (They’ll have wine by the glass and local beers available, too.)
  • You can soak up the booze with food from vendors serving up goodies from state fair favorites to Smoked Gouda burgers and gourmet popsicles.
  • You can stay a while and enjoy the live music on one of two stages with a little something for everyone.
  • It’s free.  Even parking is free with shuttle service straight to the festival.
  • You’ll see some fantastic art from more than 150 artists including sculptors, painters, photographers, woodworkers, and more from right here in North Texas showing right beside national artists.  And all of it will be for sale.
  • It’s family-friendly.  They’ll have a Kids Creation Station where your little ones can do arts and crafts and be entertained by someone other than you.
  • Frisbees are not allowed.  (Just sayin’.)

For more information about the festival, call 972-547-2660 or visit

2017 Dates: April 7-9
Historic Downtown McKinney (111 N. Tennessee Street)



Afternoon Picnic in the Park

Spring is coming, but it seems Dallas has already decided to give us spring weather.  With perfect sun nearly every day, it’s important to get outside and enjoy it before the temperatures are too warm to do so.  I invited some friends to join me in the park across the street from my home for a little bubbly picnic to enjoy the weather.  (Somehow we caught the only overcast day we’ve seen in a while, but it was still lovely.)

No weekend meal before 3pm is ever complete without bubbles, so I stocked up on Segura Viudas Brut Cava and Rosé … and plenty of ice.  (I used Segura Viudas’s bottle calculator to determine how many bottles to get … and then got an extra bottle because I know my friends so well.)  The cava was a nice choice thanks to its crispness and mild floral note, which is light and pairs nicely with many items.  We started on the sparkling wine while we set up–pillows, blankets, plenty of trays (key), and some snacks.

While we were focused on the drink, we figured the definition of a picnic was a meal outside, so we each brought a little something to snack on.  We started with the biscuit bar, complete with homemade whipped honey butter, Irish Whiskey Jam, Trader Joe’s Fig Butter, and other goodies.  Kathryn brought caprese skewers and watermelon/feta skewers, both drizzled with balsamic glaze, and we sprung for Kuby’s chicken salad (really, the best around) with endive and crackers.  For sweets, we picked up donut holes and I made no-bake cherry cheesecakes, which were incredibly easy and tasted fantastic.

The perfect little treat for the end of the meal was Strawberries and Cava gummies made with Segura Viudas But Cava by Chris Henley (a.k.a. Betty Cocktail).  I am very particular about the consistency of gummies and I LOVED these.  The flavor was delightful, and we were told that they still have booze in them, which is unique for gummies as the alcohol is usually cooked out.  (Chris also brought her little pup along to enjoy the festivities.)


The picnic was a delight

Just make sure you get a wagon to haul everything!


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#OpenUpCava #SeguraViudas

***Special thanks to Segura Viudas for buying the bubbly for our picnic!***

GALentine’s Day Brunch

I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day (and no, not in a sad girl way), but after years of low key, forced romance with respective boyfriends, I’ve learned that it’s actually a great opportunity to spoil your friends.  Because, really, love comes in all sorts of forms … isn’t that what Hugh Grant told us in “Love Actually”?

I got some of my girl friends together (and surprisingly, two dudes) for a fancy, little plein air brunch this past weekend.  I went a little full-tilt girly brunch with French macarons, yogurt parfaits, cookies, quiche, and croissants.  I didn’t make a dang thing (very unlike me) because I wanted to have one no-stress party.  It was the best decision I have made in a while.

I sweetened the deal (and ensured a longer brunch session) with a mimosa bar featuring Segura Viudas Brut Cava, blueberry and orange juices, and St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur.  Everyone was able to make their perfect mimosa concoction.  Trader Joe’s has a fantastic selection of unique juices for mimosas, just stay away from the carbonated options as it can make your mimosa too effervescent.

A fun, extra touch on the brunch was adding party favors at each place.  Segura Viudas makes the cutest little (totally totable) splits that were perfect as placeholders.

So, what are your favorite Valentine’s Day traditions–both with S.O.s and friends?

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***Special thanks to Segura Viudas for sponsoring our brunch!***

Healthy & Happy in the New Year

Can you believe that Christmas came and went already?  Yeah … me neither. With all the New Year’s Resolutions that probably (for most of us) have already been broken, I made one that is a winner–drink more and get healthyish.  But, Susie, how is that a thing?  Sit back and let me throw some learning your way.

Here are two things helping me through my resolution:

I learned that sparkling wine … is healthy.

To begin, sparkling wine kicks the other wines’ butts ringing in around 80-90 calories per glass.  The other guys?  Closer to 110-300.  See … we’re already on the way!

Even better, (at least for me) the bubbles seem to make me drink sparkling wine a little slower than non-bubbly booze. And, even if I’m drinking slower, sparkling seems to make me feel a little boozy sooner than other drinks. (Is that just me?) So, two more reasons that may I consume less!

Working out CAN be fun.

As I’ve learned, there are fun ways to get your steps and reps in. While I love to run alone to clear my head, I have recently become a fan of buddy workouts; they motivate you and keep you accountable. (Oh, and you have someone to grab a smoothie with after sweatin’.)

If you need a few, quick workouts to get you started, check out Melissa Rountree’s fitness tips on the #DrinkingwithSusie feature we did together.

I have also been enjoying Camp Gladiator, which is a butt-kicking workout, but the high-energy, friendly instructors keep you motivated and moving, so it flies by. Find one of their super convenient classes (a ton of places and even more class times) and then email me for a referral to knock some $$$ off. 😉

So, before popping out to the millions of random shindigs that happen in January (we thought we were done with the holiday parties, but housewarmings, baby showers, girl’s nights … geez), grab a totally totable split of your favorite sparkling (like my little bottle of Segura Viudas Brut Cava). That way, with all your hard work, you’ll not only look great, but you’ll feel great by starting the night on a healthy note.

If your resolution was to be more generous or a better friend, take a whole bottle to share!  Then you’ll look like you’re not only a baller, but then you can tell them how healthy it is for them and you’ll look like you care … like, a lot. (And don’t forget to deck your bottle out with a tag like this one by Southern Fried Paper!)

If you’re really into the healthy cocktails (believe me, they’re out there), adding a couple of carefully chosen ingredients may help in other ways. I enjoy this cocktail because adding ginger and lemon have health benefits of their own. Ginger is a natural nausea and indigestion remedy and lemon is jam packed with vitamins.

1oz vodka
1/2oz lavender simple syrup
1/2 oz ginger liqueur
1/2 oz lemon juice
Segura Viudas Brut Cava

Add first four ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Double strain into a coupe (or any martini-style glass) and top with Segura Viudas Brut Cava. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Around my home lately, I’ve been favorite Segura Vuidas Brut Cava, which happens to pair well with autumnal flavors thanks to its slightly spicy notes. My favorite pairing? Just about anything pumpkin, which happens to be super healthy, too! I got a little crazy this holiday and kept making the pumpkin bread below and gave them to neighbors with the little splits in the picture above. BEST.NEIGHBOR.EVER.

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350º. Combine ingredients with mixer and pour into two prepared (greased) loaf pans. (Makes two medium loaves or four smaller loaves.)

So, let’s tackle this year and get healthy-ish with a little help from our favorite sparkling wine and the buddy system!

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***Special thanks to Segura Viudas for sponsoring this post.***

Llano Wines for the Holidays

The holiday season is, of course, one of my favorite times of the year, but let’s be real … between the parties, cookie baking, gift shopping, and trying to finish up the work that pays for all of it before the fiscal year ends, sometime we need a little shortcut.  So, instead of stressing yourself out trying to think of a gift for every host, pop into the liquor store down the street, buy a case of Llano Wines, and be ready for a party with as little effort as grabbing a bottle and a gift tag on the way out the door.

Llano Wines in Lubbock is the largest, best-selling premium winery in Texas and produces almost 50 varietals of wine, some are even award-winners! Their two best-selling items–2015 Signature White and 2014 Cellar Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon–pair with anything from grilled chicken to a holiday steak dinner (respectively).


The West Texas winery offers wines from $10-$35 and even offer the chance to customize your bottle’s label for just $5.  Llano Wines should be available at your local retailer, or just order online … because we all deserve to be a little lazy around the holidays.

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Sweat Out the Chill with a Marker’s Mark Hot Toddiablo

Y’all … this weather is weird.  30º one day, 60º the next … it’s enough to give anyone a sniffle.  The best cure?  A hot toddy.

The Hot Toddy (or tottie or “hot whiskey”) is traditionally made using a dark spirit (usually whiskey, rum, or brandy), hot water, sugar, and some spice.  Typically, we see lemon added to make it … you know … more “medicinal”.  And while they’re said to be a good way to mitigate cold symptoms, I’ve found that I enjoy them whether I’m sickly or not.

The word “toddy” itself comes from the Hindi work tārī, which was a drink they made using the toddy palm.  The British adopted and adapted the drink (as they do), and then it made its way to America’s deep south and they did the same using rum and local spice and sugars, but these drinks were served cool.  The more well-known HOT version is thought to have come from Scotland and was used as a cold cure.  

Wherever it came from, I’m a fan.  That said, I came up with a version that will add some (literal) spice to your holiday …

Hot Toddiablo
1½ oz Maker’s Mark
1/4 oz Ancho Chili Demerera Syrup*
1 bag Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice tea
3 oz hot water
2 dashes Orange bitters

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass, then stir until combined.
Glass: hot drink glass

Garnish: orange slice and cinnamon stick (and slice of ancho chile if desired)

Ancho Chili Demerera Syrup
2 cups demerera sugar (Sugar in the Raw)
1 cup water
2 ancho chilis, stemmed and seeded

Bring ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and let sit for 20 minutes.  Strain through a find sieve, and let cool completely.  Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.


Maker’s Mark: ~$30/750mL
Tea: Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice tea, $2-$24
Cup: Crate and Barrel, $1.95

***Maker’s Mark generously provided me with product to create this recipe.***