Happy Holidays!

It feels like my life has revolved around holiday parties the last two weeks!

The party season kicked off with my coworker’s old fashioned cocktail party. Each guest was encouraged to participate in the contest for best drink. There were two categories: best infusion and best cocktail. I naturally entered both!

For the infusion category, I made a cinnamon ginger pear vodka. I added fresh pear, ginger, and cinnamon sticks to vodka and let it infuse for a week. It was delicious! I also experimented with a few other flavors like banana bourbon and chocolate cherry bourbon, but the ginger vodka was the best. For the cocktail competition, I needed something that I could easily pre-mix and transport without it losing carbonation. I went with an Apple Pie on the Rocks – apple juice, fireball, and vanilla vodka. It is simple but a crowd pleaser.

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There were so many tasty entries! My personal favorites were the chocolate martini that tasted like chocolate milk and the vodka soaked gummy bears. With such fierce competition, I was surprised that my cocktail won first place! I was awarded a kitten calendar, pizza puzzle, and a coconut filled candy cane!

The following night was our office holiday dinner downtown. We go to the same restaurant and have the same food options every year, so it wasn’t as exciting as the first time I went in 2014. It was still a fun night, though! I got to dress up and watch everyone enjoy the Secret Santa exchange I organized. I got my coworker a chic tie with the eye chart printed on it. He ended up being my Secret Santa, too, and got me  Justin Bieber blanket! I love it!

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The most recent festivity was my Hanukkah party. I invited everyone I know in Portland and asked them to bring all of their friends – in total, about 30-40 people showed up! I spent the entire day baking in the kitchen. I made challah bread, latkes, three flavors of rugelach cookies, traditional black and white cookies, and sufganiyot doughnuts! Luckily a few other people brought cheese and crackers and fruit, because everything was gone by midnight!

The highlight of my party was the photo booth I made. It wasn’t a traditional photo booth, but more of a backdrop with props. I was surprised the lighting turned out as good as it did! I’ll definitely be reusing this idea for all of my future parties.

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I have a little less than two weeks before I get to go home to celebrate Christmas!

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