Emerald Coast {Drink of the Week}

I debuted my {Drink of the Week} feature last week with my Coconut Watermelon Margarita that was really delicious. This week I am bringing you a coffee inspired drink I have named the Emerald Coast. I’ll explain why I have named it the Emerald Coast a little further down but here is a sneak peek at the drink!

The cool thing is that I was asked to participate in a social shopper insight study by Collective Bias and International Delight so this weeks recipe features International Delight’s new Mocha Iced Coffee. If you are a fan of social media you might want to follow International Delight on Facebook and Twitter.  They are doing all kinds of great promotions this summer as part of their #IcedDelight campaign.

I LOVE iced coffee. I think I had my first iced coffee when I was a teenager. It was at this cute little restaurant in my town called Dana’s by the Gorge. It was the It-Place in Quechee, Vermont and was popular with locals and tourists alike. Even though it has been over 10 years since I’ve been back, by the looks of their webpage, it is still a popular place. But I digress!

Now, back to iced coffee! The first time I had this cold coffee beverage swirled with sugar and fresh cream I was smitten for life. I developed an iced coffee habit that goes into hibernation from October through March but at the first sign of spring comes out growling like a hungry bear.

The closest Starbucks to where I live is well over an hour away, the closest Dunkin’ Donuts is the next state over, and until the McDonald’s moved in to town five years ago my only iced coffee option was homemade and lets face it, I’m LAZY!  Remembering to make coffee, let alone chill it, is an act that often was only accomplished in my mind and my iced coffee addiction often went without a fix.

When I learned that International Delight had recently come out with a pre-made iced coffee product my first thought was, “AWESOME, I want to try that!” Which was quickly followed by, “Why has no one done this yet?”  Sure Starbucks has it’s frappuccinos but they’re EXPENSIVE and, lets be honest, Starbucks coffee really isn’t that great!  ANYWAY, I am way off topic again!

On Tuesday, Richie and I took a trip to the Sam’s Club in Jonesboro, AR.  We love Sam’s Club and often a big “date night” for us is going to Sam’s for hot dogs and pizza and to taste the samples. We also like the cheap gas! Lame, I know, but I guess that’s what happens when you’ve been married almost 12 years!

Sam’s was featuring International Delight Mocha Iced Coffee in one of their sample carts on Tuesday.  Here I am taking my first taste of Mocha Iced Coffee.  The coffee was cold and refreshing. It was sweet but not too sweet and just the right strength of brew for me.  I thought the Mocha flavor was pretty good but am more of a fan on International Delight’s Original Iced Coffee flavor.  But the Mocha was good for a change!

I put together a Google + Album of my shopping experience.  I hope you check it out and that you also  think about checking out your local Sam’s Club because they have a lot to offer! To view all of my photos click here.

So let’s talk drink making!  

I have created a SUPER YUMMY drink using the International Delight Mocha Iced Coffee that I am calling the Emerald Coast.

WHY Emerald Coast?

My MOST FAVORITE place in the whole world in Panama City Beach!  Every summer my husband and I spend 6 days in Panama City Beach at the Holiday Inn Resort Panama City Beach!  I spend the remaining 359 days of the year dreaming about Panama City Beach.  Much like the entire kid-year revolves around Christmas, my entire year revolves around Panama City Beach.

Panama City Beach is part of Florida’s Emerald Coast which is characterized by its emerald colored water and white sandy beaches.  I figured a tasty cocktail was the perfect way to pay tribute to this wonderful place!

The minty green Creme de Menthe adds a refreshing zing to the tropical coconut flavor of the rum and the comforting flavor of the coffee with a color reminiscent of the waters of Panama City Beach.  The fluffy white of the whipped cream and toasted coconut is meant to invoke memories of the white sandy beaches of Florida’s Emerald Coast!

Let’s make it!

THE EMERALD COAST {a cocktail}

Inspired by Panama City Beach

8 oz. International Delight Mocha Iced Coffee
1/2 – 1 oz. green Creme de Menthe (Depending on how minty you like it!)
3 oz. Coconut Rum
Green Food Coloring (Optional)
Land O’ Lakes Whipped Cream
Andes Candies
Toasted Coconut

Before preparing this drink you will need to toast some sweetened coconut.  Place enough coconut into a DRY saute pan to cover the bottom.  Turn the heat to low.  Stir occasionally and WATCH CLOSELY! Coconut can burn very fast.  As soon as it begins to lightly brown and produce a nutty aroma remove it from the heat immediately.

Next, I gathered all of my ingredients to make my cocktail.

Fill a cocktail shaker approximately 3/4 of the way with ice.  Add the Creme de Menthe, Coconut Rum, and International Delight Mocha Iced Coffee.  Adding green food coloring is optional if you wish to really bring out the green color in the drink. I did not use food coloring.  Shake vigorously and pour into a glass.  Top with Land O’ Lakes Whipped Light Cream and garnish with toasted coconut and an Andes Candy.

This recipe makes 1 cocktail.

Enjoy and please drink responsibly!

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and International Delight #CBias #SocialFabric.  My drink recipe is original and all thoughts and opinions are my own.


Valentine’s Day Smash Book with Elmer’s #GlueNGlitter

If you’re anything like me you start thinking about Valentine gifts about 3 days before Valentines.  I plan Christmas months in advance but Valentine’s Day always seems to sneak up on me.  Since once again it is 3 days before Valentine’s  and I am running out of time, I thought I would make a gift to present to my Husband onValentine’s that I will continue to add to all year long.  This year I will be making a Valentine themed Smash Book.


What is a Smash book?

Smash books are sortof where art journaling meets scrapbooking.  The idea is to prepare the whole book (or parts of the book) ahead of time and fill it in as you go with your pictures and journaling.  There are themed kits available for purchase in a lot of scrapbooking and craft stores but I much prefer to make my own and today I will show you how to make a simple smash book in just a few hours.  Today we’re going to make a Valentine or love themed smash book that you and your significant other can add to all year long.

What supplies will I need?

I’m a list maker and I always start all my projects with a list.  I like to get all my supplies gathered up and ready BEFORE I begin so I don’t have to hunt things down later.  Here’s my list for this project:


A BIG Gluestick (Elmer’s Craft Bond Gluestick is archival and works perfect!)
A Tape Runner (I used the Elmer’s Craft Bond Tape Runner)
A Composition Notebook
Variety of Scrapbook Papers
Valentine Themed Stickers and Embellishments
Colorful Duck Tape
Pens and Markers (You may want to try Elmer’s Painters Markers)
X-ACTO Knife

I went to Walmart to get everything I needed for the project and to check out all of the Elmer’s products that they have.  You can take a look at my Google+ photo album of my trip if you’d like to see more about my shopping experience.

Why so many Elmer’s products?

In light of full disclosure – I have been asked by to create this project as a means of testing and reviewing Elmer’s Memory Keeping Products for their #glueandglitter campaign.  I am being compensated for this post but I can assure you that I am a HUGE fan of Elmer’s products and that I choose to use them because I believe in their quality.  For more information about this you can read my disclosure at the bottom of this post.

Elmer’s makes so many quality product. Here is a sample of some of their products:


Being an art teacher, I have learned the necessity of buying QUALITY products.  Cheaper usually means not as good in the arts and crafts world.  Elmer’s has never disappointed me.  The other great thing about Elmer’s is that their products are readiliy available at my local Walmart Supercenter. Again, you can read more about my shopping experience by clicking on my Google+ story.

Okay, we’ve got our supplies gathered!

Are you ready to make a Valentine’s Day Smash book?  Let’s get started!

Step 1: Prepping your journal

We need to begin by prepping the composition book. I love to use composition books because they are *CHEAP*.  Fancy sketchbooks, scrapbooks and journals will work too but I want to save some pennies and since I will be covering up the pages with pictures, mementos, color and journaling; the composition book works perfectly.  The only drawback to the composition books is that the pages of them are thin.  We can remedy this by gluing several pages together.  This will enable you to write, draw and even paint on your pages without the fear of you chosen medium seaping through to other pages.

So, grab that giant Elmer’s Craft Bond Glue Stick and start gluing pages together.  I chose the large size glue stick because it is HUGE and it works great!  I usually glue my pages in sets of three. I just smear some glue around the edges, make a big X in the middle and smoosh them together with pleanty of pressure so they will stick.  You can even burnish the pages with a spoon to make sure they are smooth and secure.

This is a great activity to do while you watch TV in the evening.  It is basically mindless repetition but will make all the difference in the quality of your final product.

I would recommend that you glue the pages in at least half of the book before you continue on with the project.

Step 2: Creating a Cover

Once your pages are glued together it is time to start working on the cover.  The cover is the part of the book your Valentine will see first.  We want to transform this from a boring composition book into something fabulous.  Collect your favorite scrapbooking papers and embellishments and let’s make a cover!

I usually begin by covering my front and back covers with a pretty paper.  To do this, smear glue all over the cover of your book.  Carefully position a piece of scrapbooking paper over the cover, lining up the binding seam with the edge of the paper.  Use a spoon or the palm of your hand to carefully smooth the paper out and secure it to the cover.  Allow it to dry for several minutes.  You can then use an X-ACTO craft knife to trim the excess paper from the book.


Repeat this same procedure to cover the back of your book and the insides of the covers, if desired.


Next, use your colorful duck tape to cover the binding of the book.  Slightly overlap the papers you just glued down.


Step 3: Embellishing the Cover

The next step is to embellish the cover.  The cover should reflect theme of the book.  You can use store bought elements if you like. Being an artist, I prefer to make my own.  I am taking an online lettering class called Letter Love 101 that has really been an inspiration for some of the lettering techniques I have been using. In the course we use a composition book to practice our techniques and the teacher also mentions Smash books which I had never heard of.  I did a little research and a litttle tweaking and came up with this Valentine themed smash book.  I also took an online art journaling class called 21 Secrets that taught me many valuable art journaling techniques that I will be using later in my book.

Once you have your elements drawn or picked out you will need to attach them to the cover.  I prefer the Elmer’s Craft Bond Glue Stick when I am gluing down organic (curvy) shaped pieces.

I prefer to use the tape runner to adhere straight edged pieces.

The Elmer’s Painter Markers are also really great for lettering.

Here is my finsihed cover. I saved a little room so that I may add a photo later.

Step 3: Preparring your themed pages.

I want my book to focus on my husband Richie and I as we make our way through 2012.  I want this Smash book to be a compliation of all of the things we love to do, with places to share not only photos and mementos but our feelings for each other as well.  Here are several examples of pages I have created.

Intro Page:

10 Reasons I Love You (I’ve made a page for each of us.)

True Beauty – Pictures of Us, Together

Places We Love to Eat

Hint: I created a pocket to insert menus by gluing the sides and bottom of a scrap piece of paper and attaching it to the page. Here is a closer look.

2012 Movies We Love

The possibility for page themes is endless and the great things about handmaking your book is that you can customize everything to your interests.  Here are a few more ideas:

Life is Good – journal and share photos of things you are proud of

A Day in the Life of… – Each of you takes a page to journal about what your day is like when you are apart

Togetherness – add mementos of things you enjoy when you are together

Things He/She Said – Make a list of funny or cute things your significant other says throughout the year

For more ideas a quick Google or Pinterest search will reveal a plethora of topics.  Suggested search terms include: smash book, layout, scrapbook, project life, journaling, and art journal.

Step 4: Completing your book

I plan to work on my book for the next year.  I think it will be so neat to sit down with Richie a year from now and look through our collection of mementos from 2012.  Take your time and have fun.  Smash books are meant to be a fun way to express yourself and create lasting memories with less time, effort and pressure than with scrapbooking.

Disclaimer: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias The opinions I express are my own and are not influenced by compensation. I only promote products that I fully believe in and that I have actually used and tested myself.

I am not affiliated with either 21 Secrets or Letter Love 101 and was not compensated for mentioning these online classes.  I have taken both online classes and believe they are of high quality.