Mardis Gras: Have a Purple Drink!

I’ve drank all around the world, but one of my favorites is the purple drink at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar.

Purple Drink

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar
941 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA 70116

As the story goes, Jean Lafitte was a man that just did what he wanted – I love it!

Warming: the purple drink may taste like a grape slushie, but it is no kids drink. It’s the only drink that has knocked me on my you know what, and inspired the category for my blog: Party Past the Plane – which I did after having 2 of these… It truly was an epic night.

Happy Mardis Gras!

‘Healthy’ Super Bowl Grub

Ahhhh, the Super Bowl: Feasting + Football. It’s an unofficial American National Holiday called Super Bowl Sunday, the second largest day for U.S. food consumption (after Thanksgiving!) and has often been the most watched American TV broadcast of the year.

With all this sporting/celebratory decadence how do you maintain any eating discipline?

Voila! Here’s a healthy option for parties recommended by my favorite chef, Swan 🙂 #swanskitchen

Recipe from
Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
1 head of cauliflower broken up into florets
1 c water
1 c flour
2 t garlic powder
3/4 c Frank’s hot sauce
1 T unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Whisk together the water, flour, and garlic powder to create a batter.
3. Coat cauliflower florets in batter.
4. Spray an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet with cooking spray.
5. Place battered cauliflower on cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
6. While the cauliflower is baking mix together the hot sauce and butter.
7. Brush or pour the hot sauce mixture over the cauliflower.
8. Bake for an additional 5 minutes.
9. Enjoy!

How to Donate Your Clothes

Before you change your mind, round up those clothes and use this guide to give where it counts!

Clothes in used condition:

H&M, Ann Taylor, Loft, Levi’s and the North Face let shoppers send / bring in clothing, shoes and accessories (any brand) in exchange for discounts on purchases. Donated items are resued or recycled.

Old denim:

The Blue Jeans Go Green Program ( organizes denim drives with retailers and universities. Old jeans will be reborn as insulation for communities in need. Donators receive a discount to buy a new pair.

Well worn sneaks:

Nike ReUse–A-Shoe Program allows you to bring up to 10 pairs (any label) to a Nike or Converse retail store, or mail them to the recycling facility (

Underused formal wear:

Project G.L.A.M. ( distributres bridesmaid dresses / fancy dresses to needy highschoolers. puts wedding gowns into the hands of military brides.

Old eyeglasses:

New Eyes for the Needy ( will take used specs and give to children and adults in developing nations.

Luxury or vintage fashion:

Check out Clothes in new or gently used condition are accepted. Buyers browse the member’s closets in the app. If you want to donate, snap photos on your phone, identify one as your covershot, write a description and set the price. All items must be sent with a prepaid U.S. Postal Serrvice USPS Shipping label. You must also supply the box. You get 80% on sales of $15 or more; under $15, the company takes a $2.95 commission.

*Happy Donating*

Motivational Monday w/o Feb 1st: The Princess Bride

Inidgo Monday

Easily in the top 3 favorite movies of Brielle, The Princess Bride has a very soft spot in my heart. At my wedding, I walked down the aisle to the theme song: A Story Book Story!

My best friend, Linda Gomes, sent this to me and I laughed so hard. Yes, this is how I feel about Monday sometimes.

We Are One – Rosemary Gibbons

My mother use to say ‘Show me your friends and I’ll show you the future.’ I have made a tremendous effort to surround myself with genuine, loving, optimistic and driven people. I truly believe your success will be in direct proportion with the company you keep… good generates good.

In my “Friend’s of Brielle” category, I want to feature the inspirational people in my life. In the last post, Dom Venneri ( shared his travel secrets – he has been to some of the most amazing places and spent time with pretty incredible folks. He inspires me to break out of my slightly neurotic planning mold and just be creative and free.

For this post, I am thrilled to share the story of Rosemary Gibbons, a woman that literally left her whole life behind for a much bigger purpose. Enjoy!

My Story of WE ARE ONE

by: Rosemary Gibbons


When I was young growing up in the Midwest, I would see pictures of children in Africa. My heart was touched and I wished that I could help them somehow.  Many years later I had the opportunity to visit a remote African country, one of the poorest in the world. I traveled to Malawi and saw first-hand the needs of children there.

While visiting a college in Malawi, I was invited to teach a course on Leadership. There was a need because Malawi had been under Colonialism and  then a dictatorship for many years. I had been facilitating workshops on Leadership Development and Team Building in the states, so my experiences fit the need there. During my stay in Malawi, I saw that people had been oppressed and living in fear of taking initiative and responsibility. The country needed strong leaders with the courage to stand up for what is right and they had to be taught; thus education was a priority. I also discovered what I already knew in my heart: that we are all a part of the human race and that there is a oneness that connects us.

In 1998, I sold my house, car and most of my belongings to move to a college campus in Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi. The joy of teaching those so eager to learn was beyond words. My joy heightened when I met a Malawian man who shared my desire to train up effective leaders who could take responsibility to make the country a better place. We were married in 2000 and set about teaching and training, with the knowledge of “we are one” in our hearts.


We also founded a nonprofit  501c3 which could enable friends in America to donate and help with our cause. We named it WE ARE ONE. Many have contributed thousands of dollars through the years which has created an opportunity for those who were living in vulnerable and poverty stricken conditions. The connection of people who give and those who receive creates a connection of oneness.

In 2002, a famine plus the Aids pandemic devastated Malawi and nearly an entire generation was lost. Their children were left stranded without care or grandmothers trying to provide for them. We felt led to adopt 12 boys who could be future leaders. These are now in high school and college. We also created a scholarship program and tutoring project which have assisted many to acquire a much needed education.


It has not always been easy, as I have encountered near death experiences through ill-health and robbery, setbacks, disappointments, and sadness. However, after serving for 18 years in Malawi, I can say that it has been worth it to experience positive results and to learn over and over that we are truly ONE.

Please visit our website and learn more:

We Are One Malawi Facebook:

Smoky Broccoli Soup Recipe

I love broccoli and soup so this recipe was a match made in heaven! This is so healthy and easy to make.

Smoky Broccoli Soup


Serves 8

2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups chopped sweet onions
1 Tbsp pressed garlic
2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp and 3/4 cup water
1/2 and 1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 cup chopped broccoli
3 cups cauliflower
2 Tbsp ghee
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
5 cups spinach
1 can organic coconut milk
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Sauté onions for 4 minutes on medium heat, until translucent. Add garlic, cayenne, smoked paprika, pepper, 1 teaspoon of sea salt and two tablespoons water. Stir well, and continue heating for another 2–3 minutes. Add chopped broccoli, cauliflower, ghee, and apple cider vinegar and stir well so that everything is coated. Leave for at least 2 minutes so that the flavors mix. Add 3/4 cup of water, another teaspoon of sea salt, and lemon zest. Continue cooking over low to medium heat for another 6-7 minutes.

Once cauliflower is cooked through, reduce heat, add coconut milk and lemon juice, and stir well. Heat entire mixture enough to warm the coconut milk.

Turn off heat and use a handheld blender or high-speed blender (much smoother with high-speed blender). Add a little more water if you want it thinner. Taste and adjust.


DIY Body Scrub

I love exfoliating body scrubs. I have tried many brands and have to say the simple DIY recipe my cousin Jennifer Ross Hofrichter gave me is amazing.

3 ingredients, great exfoliation and you choose the scent – easy, inexpensive and useful.

Easy DIY Body Scrub Recipe


  1. White Sugar
  2. Coconut Oil
  3. Essential Oil (she  used lemon, I used my orange oil from Marrakesh – but use whatever you prefer)

Lather up and enjoy!

Motivation Monday: #TRUTHBOMBS w/o Jan 25th

Dirty Halo

My friend, Lauren DiPrima, knows how much I love motivational quotes and got me Danielle LaPorte’s #TRUTHBOMB cards. There are 134 sentences that provide a little inspiration. I loved this one. It put a smile on my face and it’s a great way to kick off this week!

Swan’s Sesame Noodle Recipe

A chef is a person who is a highly trained, skilled professional cook who is proficient in all aspects of food preparation of a particular cuisine.

Although my dear friend Yao-Hsuan Huang (aka: Swan) #swanskitchen wasn’t formally trained, she is proficient at cooking everything – seriously! She gets inspired and just creates magical dishes that are not only delicious, but a beautiful sensory experience. I tease her all the time and ask her to be my personal chef (I could only wish!).

She was kind enough to provide one of her favorite recipes for 3QT.

Sesame Noodles

Swan’s Inspiration: Every year I make my friend’s husband, Tom, a dish for his birthday. One year I brought him a bucket of banana pudding to a bar. Last year he requested sesame noodles. This request made me think of my mom’s liang mian (cold sesame noodle) recipe. She uses Taiwanese sesame paste. I substituted peanut butter because that is what I had on hand. I also added a bunch of veggies. You could really throw in any of your favorite vegetables. The sesame noodles were a hit and have made multiple appearances at other parties.

1 box of spaghetti (any brand- I usually buy what is on sale)
12 oz bag of sugar snap peas
1 c of vegetable oil
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
1/3 lite soy sauce
3 T sesame oil
1 T agave nectar
2-4 cloves of minced garlic (depends on how garlicy you like it)
1 T grated ginger
2 T toasted sesame seeds
1/2 c smooth peanut butter
1 red pepper, sliced thinly
1 orange pepper, sliced thinly
1 yellow pepper, sliced thinly
5 scallions, sliced diagonally whites and greens
2 carrots, shredded
1 c cilantro
1 T toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
FullSizeRender FullSizeRender-2
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water generously, so it tastes like the sea. Cook spaghetti to al dente according to package. Usually it’s 9-10 minutes. During the last 3 minutes the pasta is cooking, throw in the sugar snap peas. They should stay floating on the top. After 3 minutes use a slotted spoon to transfer the sugar snap peas to a bowl of ice water. You want to shock them so they stop cooking and retain their color and crunch. After they are cooled slice then diagonally.
2. While the pasta is cooking whisk together the vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, lite soy sauce, sesame oil, agave nectar, garlic cloves, grated ginger, 2T toasted sesame seeds and peanut butter. This is the sauce.
3. Drain the pasta and toss in the sauce.
4. Toss in all the peppers, scallions, carrots, sugar snap peas, and cilantro.
5. Garnish with 1 T of toasted sesame seeds at the end.
6. Enjoy!

3-D Eyebrow Embroidery

I have no eyebrows. They are shapeless, thin, and downright ugly. I would spend money on shaping, tweezing, waxing, threading, but nothing ever seemed to work. The only time they would look decent is when I would get them professionally done by a make-up artist, and honestly, who has the time to do that everyday? Also, there are so many bells and whistles involved! I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler let alone try and outline an eyebrow.

I was in an eyebrow funk until my dear friend, Lorin Carlino informed me about 3-D eyebrow embroidery. I immediately conjured up images of needles, patchwork and 3-D glasses and couldn’t grasp what this was.

Eyebrow embroidery is also known as cosmetic tattooing, semi-permanent makeup, pigment embroidery, 3-D eyebrow embroidery, or micro-blading. It’s very common in Malaysia and Singapore and has slowly been gaining traction in the U.S. Semi-permanent pigment is pushed into the surface of the skin with a fine blade to mimic the growth/look of existing hair and create natural looking brows based on your preference. The technician draws in your dream brow prior to the procedure to ensure the shape/style the customer desires.

Lorin sold me on this and I made an appointment at Tina Lee Skin Care in Chinatown. This is NOT a fancy spa. It’s tucked inside the Hair Le Pell Salon in New York City’s Chinatown (18 Pell St / 212-966-8740)

Tina Lee

The procedure is simple:

  • Recline in a chair while Tina fills in your brows to your liking.
  • She applies numbing crème and within 3-5 minutes begins filling them in with the little blade and ink.
  • Pain: I have a high tolerance for pain so it didn’t bother me. It literally felt like someone taking a hairbrush and twisting out knots from your hair. It was uncomfortable. I’ve had friends who cried (yikes). It’s very dependent on each person. BUT regardless, it’s a 10-30 minute procedure depending on how much you have to fill in AND it’s totally worth it (ever hear Pain = Beauty) because once it’s complete and you see how perfect your brows are, you will forget any discomfort you had.
  • Recovery: Again this is dependent on the person. Tina gives you an herbal topical solution to use the next 10 days. It moisturizes and seals in the semi-permanent ink. It has a very herbaceous smell. I use it at night before bed. I had no down time. Some people may experience redness for a day. Your brow area will be tender for a few hours after. That’s about it.
  • Maintenance: this lovely procedure lasts up to a year. Tina suggests clients return within 3 months of original application to fill in any spots. Most clients go for a year/year and a half before starting over again.

This has truly been one of the best beauty investments I ever made.