IMPRESS YOUR VINAS WITH THESE COCKTAIL-MAKING TIPS

Vina: bold, intelligent, badass. She’s the life of the party. She can mix a drink.

To help bring out that life-of-the-party vina that’s inside of you, I’ve compiled a tried-and-true list of cocktail-making tips so you can be that girl wherever you’ll be celebrating next.

Before I started following these five simple steps, not even my most beautiful glasses, stainless steel shakers, or a phone full of Pinterest recipes could save my drinks from coming out too strong, too sour, too much like juice, or too much like toxic waste. These tricks have helped me become more creative behind the bar and have given me a better understanding of how much alcohol each drink needs, all while keeping things simple, sweet, and cheap.


1. LESS IS MORE WHEN IT COMES TO INGREDIENTS

A good cocktail doesn’t need to be complicated. Many of the best cocktails have three or fewer ingredients. The important thing to know is what mixes well with what. Here are two of my favorite simple drinks that have less than three ingredients:

The Paloma: 1/4 cup of tequila, 1/4 cup grapefruit soda (like Fresca or Jarritos), served on the rocks with a lime wedge. Add a salted rim to feel like a real pro.

The Bellini: 2 ounces chilled fruit purée (traditionally peach), 3 ounces prosecco. Usually served in a champagne flute, start with the fruit puree on the bottom, then pour the prosecco over the top. Feel free to add a fragrant garnish to up your bar cred.

These and other gorgeous two-ingredient cocktails can be found at http://www.mydomaine.com/two-ingredient-cocktails

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WHEN IN DOUBT, STICK TO THE CLASSICS

Who’s ever turned down a whiskey and Coke or vodka and soda? These drinks are well known for a reason and are simple to make. The best part about their simplicity is that it makes them easy to customize and dress up. Put your own original spin on any of the classics with fresh herbs, splashes of fruit juice, or even a simple lime or lemon to impress your vinas.

GET CREATIVE WITH FRESH FRUIT AND KOMBUCHA

When you’re drinking, you ’re probably not drinking for the health benefits (unless you’re one of those red-wine-with-dinner people). Still, it’s nice to mix up a fun drink that ’s light on guilt sometimes. Fresh fruit, kombucha, and even Perrier can make awesome additions to classic drinks. (HINT: The Real Food Dietitians suggest replacing the ginger beer in the classic Moscow Mule with kombucha and adding fresh ginger, mint, and cucumbers.)

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CHEAT SHEETS ARE A VINA’S BEST FRIEND

Now that you have the inspiration, it ’s time to get technical. You don’t want to make your drinks too strong or watered down. To ensure that you pour just right every time, check out this amazing cheat sheet that explains the use of “parts” in drink recipes. You can always print it out and keep in your kitchen so you ’re ready for your next soirée.

USE THE TOOLS AVAILABLE

There are so many amazing resources where you can find easy drink recipes. Use them! There’s no shame in borrowing a few tips and tools from the pros. Here are two personal favorites:

Now that you know the tricks of the trade, I fully expect to see you giving back to the Vina community by hosting a meet and greet cocktail party with your new matches!

Find some new vinas to invite to your next cocktail party by downloading Hey! VINA on the App Store today! You’re new best friend could be just a swipe away! 👯📱

THE PERFECT VINA VALENTINE’S DATE IDEAS

‘Tis the season for heart-shaped everything, mountains of roses and heaps of chocolates. Love is in the air, and that’s a beautiful thing! I believe one of the most unfortunate misconceptions about Valentine’s Day is that it’s centered around romantic love, specifically. I don’t subscribe to this notion, and neither should you! Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate all forms of love, especially friendship. So, why not set aside some time this February to get together with your vinas and celebrate each other? In fact, I’ll even offer up some ideas to help ensure you have the perfect VVD—Vina Valentine’s Date!

GET FANCY

I love to dress up for an evening out—any excuse to put on a dress and a pair of heels. If you and your vina(s) feel the same, go all out with your fancy plans! Here are some ideas for your kickass date:

  1. Get blowouts together—there’s nothing like going out with your hair on-point, and it’s that much better when you have your vina pals with you! Many salons will throw in a complimentary glass of champagne or wine.
  2. Prep for your date together, and plan to get dressed and ready together. I always love doing this with friends before a big event—we chat, help each other get ready, and pregame for the evening with some wine. So, why not put on some mood music, bust out the bubbly, and shamelessly compliment each other while you get glammed-up for a fantastic evening?
  3. Go to that fancy-ass restaurant you and your vinas have been dying to try! This is the perfect opportunity to splurge and enjoy a dining experience you wouldn’t normally treat yourself to. Also, there should absolutely be candlelight—this is really non-negotiable.
  4. Exchange Valentine’s gifts over dinner. Do you love giving and/or receiving gifts? Me too! You can go the more traditional route and give each other ostentatious bouquets or more personalized gifts that represent your friendship.
  5. Don’t forget dessert! Honestly, I think dessert should be mandatory for all dates. If your dinner isn’t followed by a delicious sweet treat (Mmmm, ice cream. All day. Every day. Ice cream), then I don’t think it truly counts as a date, but I digress.

BE ADVENTUROUS

Are you and your vinas looking for something a bit more exciting? Do I have the PERFECT plan for you! You know how you’ve both talked about wanting to get a tattoo, but you just never seemed to get around to it? Here’s your opportunity! I HIGHLY recommend choosing an artist in advance and doing a consultation to ensure you and the artist are on the same page regarding your tattoo vision. Here’s the perfect game plan for you and your besties:

  1. Start the day off with a scrumptious brunch (I suggest avoiding booze).
  2. Shake off nerves by watching your and your vinas’ favorite Netflix series (I highly recommend “Queer Eye” or “Grace & Frankie” 🤗).
  3. Get your tats! Some parlors will let you sit in the room with each other as moral support (you can always chat with your artist beforehand about this).
  4. Take some time to admire each other’s new ink.
  5. Celebrate! I recommend ice cream followed by hours of dancing (either out on the town or in the comfort of your home wearing your coziest PJs).

FEELING CRAFTY?

Do you love getting creative and creating eye-catching crafts? Then you’d better prepare yourself for this epic VVD!

  1. Both of you choose a Valentine’s craft from Pinterest and purchase the supplies prior to the date.
  2. Meet at either of your abodes and exchange crafts (this can be your V-Day gift to each other)!
  3. Take it a step further before you begin your crafting extravaganza by both picking a cocktail recipe to try. Besides, I’m pretty sure cocktails make everyone better crafters.
  4. Construct your creations.
  5. Admire each other’s works of art!

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KEEP IT COZY & CASUAL

Not feeling up for a night on the town? Opt for a cozy night in instead! You can have a perfectly wonderful Vina Valentine’s date within the comfort of your own home. Here’s how:

  1. Dress code: pajamas (10 points to Gryffindor if they’re footies).
  2. Have everyone bring their favorite snack to share.
  3. Menu: comfort food—whatever brings warmth to your heart and happiness to your tummies. To go along with your pajama theme, you can prepare a menu of your favorite breakfast dishes (i.e. pancakes smothered in peanut butter and maple syrup 😍).
  4. Have some wine or mimosas (if you go with the breakfast theme), and let your vinas know how awesome you think they are.
  5. End the evening with your favorite best friend flick! Can’t think of one? “Bridesmaids,” “The Spy Who Dumped Me,” and “First Wives Club” are all excellent options.

GET PAMPERED

Treat yourselves to a day of relaxation and self-care. Here are some steps to your perfect date:

  1. Start the day off at your favorite cozy breakfast spot. You can even order-in, if you’re wanting to keep it super chill.
  2. Surprise your vinas with a trip to the spa.
  3. Enjoy luxurious facials, massages and mani-pedis.
  4. Afterward, go for a refreshing smoothie.
  5. End the evening with a relaxing yoga session at that awesome spot you’ve heard so much about.

Whatever you decide to do with your vinas this Valentine’s Day, remember to set aside some time to express your gratitude for each other and remind one another what badasses you are!

There’s nothing quite like being affirmed and appreciated by a friend, so jump on the Hey! VINA app to start connecting with your potential new besties! 

THOUGHTFUL GIFTS FOR YOUR VINAS

Whether you have know your vina for months or just met, you want to get her something special. Sometimes even for the people we know the best, we may have trouble finding them the perfect gift. Here’s a cheat sheet of things to buy a few different types of vinas.

THE FITNESS VINA

This is the vina that hits the gym five days a week. She loves to catch a Zumba class at any opportunity she gets. Slinking away to her hot yoga class is on her daily to-do list. This vina can be super fun to shop for! If you know what type of activity she likes, you can get her accessories to complement her routine. Grabbing things as simple as facial wipes, deodorant, travel size shampoo and conditioner, body splash, and a spray bottle of rosewater can be a heaven-sent to this vina. Think of what can keep her feeling her freshest after that workout sesh. Trust me! She will be grateful on that day she forgets her deodorant.

Photograph by Freepik

THE FOODIE

This vina is the one that knows her way around the kitchen. She most likely loves to cook and experiment with new recipes. For this vina, I highly recommend an experience gift: A gift where you can experience a new cuisine together. It’s a great way for you two to get some more bonding time, try something new, and you already know she’ll be game for it!

THE VINA WHO ALWAYS NEEDS STUFF

This is going to probably be the most unconventional idea for a gift, but you (and your vina) are going to love it. You know when your vina tells you she needs to go to the supermarket and pick up napkins, toilet paper, an onion, cat litter, eggs, toothpaste, bagged lettuce, and bobby pins? Okay, maybe you don’t know that vina specifically, but she’s out there. She’s the one that always needs to stop at the store to pick something up. So pick it up for her. It sounds cheesy, but how cool would it be to have your vina show up at your door with a 16-pound bag of cat food? That’s pricey and heavy, and you know that she needs it. Think of it as a care package that you are sending to your most loved vina. You want to help her get the dreaded shopping out of the way by just doing it for her. You are such a peach!!

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Everyone knows that the holidays are not about the gifts, and it is more than likely your vina won’t even be expecting something from you. The truth is, it is so much more fun to give than to receive. Sometimes giving the most underrated and unthinkable gifts actually makes the perfect gift. And when all else fails – GIFT CARDS. Everyone loves a gift card!!

Yes, the BESTEST gift cannot be left unmentioned – a perfect holiday vina date! Hop over to the Hey! VINA app right now to plan a Christmas get-together!

FRIEND DATES: HOW TO MAKE YOUR NEXT VINA PLAN A SUCCESS

A party of one is never fun. Vina plans are so exciting to put together, and equally as fun to attend! It’s a great place to make a new friend and do something fun at the same time. You meet people that already share a common interest, so you can pretty much guarantee that no one will end up staring into their latte because it’s more interesting than the conversation. But what happens when you host a VINA plan and no one shows up? This vina knows and can tell you firsthand how to make your next one a success!

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THE UGLY TRUTH

You have to admit that when someone selects ‘Maybe’ to a plan that you’re hosting, you get a little flutter of hope that it’s going to turn into a yes. Truth is, people are busy and things come up, so don’t take it personally. And sometimes staying in alone and watching Netflix beats a night out with new people, and that’s perfectly okay. You are looking to plan something that will allow you to meet people on your schedule doing something you like, so if you don’t get any responses, chances are you just haven’t caught the attention of the right people yet! Don’t lose faith!

TRY, TRY AGAIN

So no one RSVP’d with a yes to your last plan. Take a look at what you wanted to do, and when you were offering it. Time and place are essential when making plans with other people, especially when those people are new to your circle. Try switching it up. Instead of brunch at the crack of dawn on a Wednesday, try Friday night drinks at 6 p.m. Changing up the time, venue, or day will help expand your pool of vinas who are interested. Take a look at the location and the distance from other vinas too. Walking distance is good for big cities, while our countryside vinas will have to plan for driving time.

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Photo by Adrienn on Pexels.com

Although I live 15 minutes from NYC and I would love nothing more than to visit a museum with some vinas, it’s just not feasible. I’m a single mom that has her son alternating weekends, and when I don’t have my son, I like to spend my time visiting my boyfriend. For most of us time is sacred, so sacrificing it for a new experience can be challenging. I usually have to wait for just the right time when I know I will have alone time and not be committed to someone, or something else.

SPREAD YOUR WINGS, YOU SOCIAL BUTTERFLY

The best way to host a vina plan is to attend a vina plan. Revolutionary right? Find a plan in the VINA app that you want to go to. While you’re there, network, socialize, and make friends (that’s what you’re there for). By going to a plan hosted by someone else, you are already taking the preparation portion out of making your own plan. Then as everyone is gathered together, the next idea is bound to come up! When it does, jump on the opportunity to make it your own VINA hosted plan! That way, you already have a guaranteed group of gal pals you can count on showing up!

Hosting an event is so much fun! You get to pick out where you want to go and spend it with people that want to be there too. It’s a bummer when no one else responds, but just remember, it’s not you! Soon enough, vinas will be lining up to hang with you, so get out there and meet them!

Ready to host your next big event? Download the Hey! VINA app now and get planning!

HOW TO ATTEND AN EVENT ALONE AND COMPLETELY OWN THE ROOM

I was recently in Los Angeles for work. My twelve hour day wrapped up and I was starving. I’d passed a gorgeous Italian restaurant on my walk to the showroom earlier that morning and decided I would go back for a big plate of pasta and an equally big glass of wine. My day had consisted of meeting after meeting, followed by a panel and networking event and my brain felt fried from human interaction. I could not wait to sit down and have a meal by myself and read the news.

When I arrived at the restaurant, I walked in and asked for a table for one. My waitress came over and asked if anyone else would be joining me and with a smile, I said nope, just me. She took my order and I pulled out my iPad and started scrolling through the media to see what had happened in the real world while I was in the fashion world. She returned with my glass of wine and asked if she could sit for a moment and I said sure. She asked: how do you do it? Men come into the restaurant all the time and eat alone, but I rarely see a woman do it. I personally don’t think I could, even if I wanted to. What’s your secret? I laughed and then paused for a moment. I don’t have a secret, I said. I felt the same way you did for a very long time, but when I studied abroad in college I made it a personal goal to step out of my comfort zone and do things alone, and it honestly changed my life.

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For the rest of my evening, I spent a lot of time thinking about this interaction. It really made myself examine what it means to be alone and why we are so hesitant to do things by ourselves. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just one of those societal things that we have to find the courage to break through. We perceive being alone as an embarrassment when in reality we should see it as a source of empowerment. We learn something about ourselves when we’re forced to spend time alone. Even more shockingly, we learn something about other people when we’re by ourselves. When you do something by yourself, you are free to act according to your standards-completely exempt from others’ opinions and desires.

So, to the point of the article, if I had to give a single answer to the question: How do I attend an event alone? I figure the best answer is to fake it until you make it. I don’t think there is anyone in the world who could walk into a room completely alone and truly thrive on their first go-round. We all experience the same butterfly sensation and general anxiety, it’s a normal human reaction. The beautiful thing is that no one else has to know that. I think it’s equally important to remember that every single person that you see is probably having the same feelings that you are, but you more than likely wouldn’t know that from looking at them.

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I would like to suggest one simple adjustment that will make a world of difference. It’s the night of the event and you are busily getting ready, throwing outfits about the room in a panic. You finally decide on something and you dress yourself before rushing out the door. Here’s where my suggestion comes in. Before you run out the door, take a minute to stand in front of the mirror and look at yourself and repeat the following: I am confident, I can do this, and if I believe something magical will happen-it will. Take a deep breath and repeat as needed. Think of it as getting ready for your mind. If you tell yourself something enough, you’ll believe it, just the same way we believe that it’s scary to attend an event alone.

Walking into an event with an instilled sense of confidence is a contagious thing. Think about your confidence as your customer service voice. You put in on when needed and even though it may not always feel genuine internally, it is perceived as such. This confident energy will quite literally radiate from you, and before you know it you’ll be striking up conversations left and right. Much like riding a bike, the first time is always scary and uncomfortable and hard, but once you get the hang of it you’ll be amazed at the world of opportunity that has suddenly become available to you.

So, moral of the story, push yourself to do something uncomfortable. Take some deep breaths. Repeat those words over and over to yourself. Put on your confidence and remember that everyone else is probably in a similar situation that you are. Hop into the comments, I’d love to hear how you attend an event alone and totally rock it!

Ready to totally own the room? Come over to the Hey! VINA app now to find an open event happening around you! 🥂☕️👭

STARTING HOLIDAY TRADITIONS IN A FAMILY THAT NEVER HAD ANY

For as long as I can remember, my family never had those traditions that most families have when the holidays rolled around. Whenever it came to anything holiday related, my dad would be working for the extra money, and sometimes we’d go and see him at work for dinner. That was basically our Thanksgiving and Christmas celebration every year for as long as I can remember.

About four years ago when I started dating my now husband, I began to see what the holidays should really be like. His family is very big on holidays to the extent of arguing over who gets to host which holiday each year. And that’s when I started to see how much fun the holidays could actually be.

My sister and I decided right then and there that we were going to make our own traditions. Forget the fact that all these years we never had any. We just decided with the snap of our fingers we needed to do this for us, and if we met others along the way that would join us, great! If not, we would still make it happen.

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We started with little things like watching How The Grinch Stole Christmas (the Jim Carrey version) and listening to Christmas songs when they played on the radio. Pinterest wasn’t as big as it is now, but we were able to find ideas through that and Google. We saw that “Elf on a Shelf” was big with parents, and how adults in general were using the idea of naughty elves to make funny jokes.

That year my husband actually bought us both an “Elf on a Shelf” for Christmas. It was one of the best things we’d ever received because we’d never had anything like it. We kept it in the box because we didn’t want to ruin it, but we put it to use the next year. The second year was a little hard to do anything because of health issues with my dad, but the year after we decided to wear ugly Christmas sweaters with our significant others, and they were FUNNY! I bought mine but my sister made hers and my husband’s that year.

Last year, we brought my husband’s cousin into the family traditions. We all chose to wear some kind of Grinch themed clothing and it was great! It made us all happy that we could start doing these small things which meant a great deal. This year we’re still trying to decide what we are going to do, but we are steering towards actually dressing up as our very own “Elf on a Shelf.” We are very crafty people so we might even sew our own costumes!

What hits us especially this year is that my sister is pregnant and will be giving birth around Christmas time. We’ve promised to give her daughter these traditions that we never had growing up, because we want her to be happy during a time that always felt like a chore to us as kids. It just takes one person (or two in our case) to decide that the holidays are going to be happy time, rather than something to dread.

Find new friends to start your traditions with by downloading the Hey! VINA app today!

HOW TO BEAT BLACK FRIDAY

Hello. My name is Jessica, and I love Black Friday. There, I said it. But more than that, I can give my opinion on it from two standpoints: I worked in retail management, and I am an avid shopper. The struggle of Black Friday in the retail world is that you know your store will be the loudest, messiest, and most chaotic place on earth. But that was exactly what made it so worth it. Ironically, that is also the reason why I’m no longer in the retail business. As a shopper, it’s the one day of the year where you can run down aisles, put your hand on something and say “I got here first,” and actually buy that $800 TV for half price. Whoever you are, we can all agree that Black Friday is exhausting – but fear not! Here are a few pro tips on how to beat Black Friday before it beats you!

KNOW WHERE TO GO

If you do a search on the internet for Black Friday deals, there will be a lot of websites that pop up giving you the 411 on when and where the best deals are taking place. If you start your search early, you can see where last year’s deals were and get a nice idea of which store is going to run a similar deal this year. You can also search the hot sales according to your area. This will help you figure out what stores to hit when depending on the area you’re going to be shopping in. We’re going for maximum efficiency, dot all your i’s and cross those t’s!

MAP IT OUT

Listen, Black Friday is a competition. If you don’t know where that $5 toaster is sitting, you’re toast. Pun intended. The day before Thanksgiving, take a dry run over to the store that you know is going to be the busiest on your list. Take a look around the ends of aisles and large open spots for free-standing displays, but remember, it’s not uncommon for that handheld mixer to be hiding in the toddler boy’s section come shopping time. If possible, make a pal in the store. Find an employee with a friendly face and strike up a Black Friday convo. Ask questions about the products that you are looking for, deals, and possible product placement. Chances are if you’re a kind shopper, the employee will be more than willing to offer up some details.

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Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

 

GO VINA, GO!

The best part of shopping is doing it with friends. Grab your vina and decide where and what you both want to buy. One of you holds the place in line while the other makes the mad dash for that last phone stand/bottle opener. Plus you’ve got two extra elbows to help you make your way through the crowd. Never doubt the buddy system! Be on the lookout for your vina’s items, and your vina will look for yours. At the same time, agree that you will both grab whatever you think your vina may be interested in. You never know who might want that Star Wars dining set!

BE SAFE. BE SMART.

Remember that you will be out with a mass of people. Large crowds can create large problems. Be aware of your surroundings and carry as few personal items as possible. Take your cash or credit cards, ID, and the absolute bare necessities on your shopping trips to avoid being a target to predators. Make sure whatever you take with you is securely attached to you, no backpacks, back pockets, or slinky handbags. If ever there were a time to use a fanny pack (whether you think they’re totally making a comeback or should be left in the 90’s) that time is now. When packing things into your vehicle, throw in an extra coat or two to cover up the bags you leave in your car while going into another store.

Black Friday is a great way to score some awesome savings on those items that you’ve been wanting but can never afford at regular price. And if you do it right, you can get a crazy jump on the holidays. It can be a lot of fun to go out and see what you can score last minute, but it can be just as fun to chill at home with leftover pumpkin pie, fuzzy slippers, and a laptop waiting for Cyber Monday deals! Whatever you choose, be safe, have fun, and rock this holiday season!

Looking for your tribe to take on Black Friday with? Download the Hey! VINA app today and start swiping! 

 

5 THINGS TO BRING TO THANKSGIVING THIS YEAR

Thanksgiving: it’s the one day a year you can put on your fat pants and let them live up to their name. For those of us who prefer to be the Joey Tribbiani of the group eating all the food, and not the Monica Geller slaving away in the kitchen, it’s probably not the best idea to show up empty-handed. And no, a bottle of wine doesn’t count. I mean, it totally does…as long as it comes with a side dish. So if you wanna step up your game from opening a can of cranberries, check out this list of classics and newbies to try out this holiday season!

THE “I HAVE 42 KIDS AND A CROCK POT”

Whether you’re an exhausted mommy vina, or a busy boss babe, the crock pot is the hero you need. Throw it together the night before and grab it on your way out the door! Check out these no-nonsense recipes and let the crock pot do the rest: Crock Pot Cornbread, Crock Pot Potatoes Au Gratin.

THE “I’M FEELING BOLD THIS YEAR”

Brussels sprouts have gotten a pretty bad rap over the decades, but they’re totally making a comeback this year. With a little roasting and a sprinkle of honey your friends and family won’t believe you when you tell them they’re eating mini balls of cabbage. Try one of these recipes for a new spin on getting your greens: Roasted Fall Brussels Mix, or Honey Roasted Balsamic Brussels.

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THE “IF IT AIN’T BROKE DON’T FIX IT”

Unless you’re hosting, or were specifically asked to bring the turkey, potatoes, or stuffing, you should probably steer clear of the staples to avoid duplicates. But fear not! There are plenty of side dishes that will totally steal the show at your gathering this year. Like the underappreciated yet totally deserving Baked Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows, or this Creamy Green Bean Casserole…wait for it…from scratch! That’s right, no cans + all fresh ingredients = the only way to go.

THE “TWIST ON A CLASSIC”

Everybody loves pumpkin and apple pie, but why wait for dessert when you can have it as an appetizer that goes great with a little football and some cider? Pumpkin Fluff Dip and Fruit Salsa (or Apple Pie Dip) are two delicious dishes that work great as a pre-gamer, or an after dinner refresher. Pair with graham crackers, gingerbread cookies, cinnamon sugar tortilla chips, or any of your favorite snacks!

THE “PASTA GOES WITH EVERYTHING”

Everybody loves pasta, don’t question me on this. Whether it’s classic Kraft mac and cheese, or a sun-dried tomato bisque over rotini and spinach. Thanksgiving is the perfect occasion to try your hand at a Crisp Autumn Pasta Salad, or a creamy Butternut Squash Lasagna. Bonus: you get to keep the leftovers!

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Top any of these recipes off with your favorite bottle of wine, a jug of apple cider, or a pot of pumpkin spice! And don’t forget to bring your vinas!

Looking for a baking buddy this holiday season? Download Hey! VINA and connect with fellow foodies to try out all your new recipes with!

 

HOW TO INVITE A NEW VINA TO THANKSGIVING!

Thanksgiving is for spending time with friends. If you’re inviting your vina to a Thanksgiving dinner hosted by someone else, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you should obtain permission from the host. Call your host, and ask if you can bring your new friend. If your host is less than welcoming to your guest, then you shouldn’t invite them to that party. Instead, you could host your own!

Now, I know what you’re thinking; that is a lot of work! Well, it doesn’t have to be. First things first, what kind of an event will your new vina like best? There are a couple options that I’ll lay out below: a formal dessert and beverage get together, a laid back Turkey Day dinner, and a leftover smorgasbord complete with family are a few options.

FORMAL DESSERT GET-TOGETHER

This works best for a new vina that you want to get to know better or for a group of new friends who don’t know each other yet. The best way to invite your vina to this party is with a cool invite. Zazzle has some super cute paper invites. Mail your invite to your vina or hand it to her when you go on a Vina date. If you give it to her in person, tell her that you are hoping to have a fun Thanksgiving event, and you are going for a glamorous and fun vibe!

Have lots of pie on hand, all your Thanksgiving favorites should be there. If your family has an unusual favorite, have that too. My family is obsessed with Mincemeat. Also, make sure you have plenty of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream to go with your goodies!

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Serve your pie with fantastic coffee, and if you and your friends drink, a mulled wine or other fall cocktails are a great option! You can be as simple or as sophisticated as you would like with this part of the evening.

Decorate with candles, maize, and miniature pumpkins.

LAIDBACK DINNER

Tell your vina that you are having dinner by yourself or with a small group of friends for Thanksgiving. Ask her to come by sending her the date/time/address via email or text.

Pinterest has a host of recipes that are easy to prep and cook. For Friendsgiving last year, I made a turkey breast with gravy recipe in a crockpot. Green beans can be roasted in the oven, and mashed potatoes can be made ahead of time (or even made instant!). Whole pies can be picked up from bakeries or the frozen food aisle. Remember, this is fun! Don’t stress too much.

LEFTOVER SMORGASBORD

This one is the easiest to manage. After Thanksgiving dinner with the fam, call your vina and tell her that you can’t wait to compare family holiday sagas. Ask her if she was sent home with mountains of leftovers and if she would like to do a middle-school-style food swap. Tell her you’ll provide drinks (again, whatever you and your vina enjoy), and you can both provide dessert! The more pie, the better.

Then, eat, drink, and be merry while gossiping about all your family drama. Tell your new bestie all about how your dad keeps asking you when you’ll get a promotion, your mom wants to hear about your bae, and your crazy cousins keep bringing up all the embarrassing stuff you posted on Facebook circa 2008. Nothing sparks a new friendship like good old fashioned family drama!

Happy Turkey Day, vinas!

Want to host your own vina-giving? Of course you do!! Download the Hey! VINA app and create an open plan in your area now!

VINA’S MESSAGE TO OUR VETERANS

Yesterday marked the hundredth anniversary of the end of the First World War. To commemorate this day, November 11th is designated in most Euro-American countries, as a day to remember and thank all soldiers, fallen or otherwise.

Remembrance Day has been around for 100 years now. But despite its long history, the day – and I say this in shame – always seems to sneak up on me. Granted, with all the commercials that try to make money out of anything and everything, it’s hard to forget. However, I feel like I’m not the only one who feels the enormous temperature gap in the enthusiasm, compared to any other holiday. And I say this without shame this time, that I somewhat feel shamed by this disparity. More so considering the significance of this day.

It shouldn’t be a day that surprises anybody. Nor a day that just we let pass on. Rather, it should be a day that is talked about and that people are ready for long in advance. It should be a day for us to come together to honor the brave men and women who still to this day keep us safe, day in and day out.

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One hundred years ago, towards the end of the war, a Canadian army doctor named Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae wrote a poem called “In Flanders Fields” to try to immortalize the fallen soldiers who served alongside him.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Every year on November 11th, Canadians celebrate by taking a moment of silence, and by reciting this poem while wearing their poppies proudly on their chests. We take a moment at 11AM to remember and thank the brave men and women who sacrifice everything to protect us and keep us safe. They sacrifice their time, relationships, and lives for us. Some soldiers who make it back alive are forever changed by the horrors that they were once forced to witness. They deserve our thanks, and so much more.

On behalf of the Vina community, thank you, for all that you do and have done.

Find your community of people to honor our veterans on the Hey! VINA app this Remembrance Day!