Thursday, January 18, 2018

It's a Game of Frozen Thrones at the New Hampshire Ice Castles

If you haven't visited the Ice Castles in Lincoln, New Hampshire yet, you really, really have to! The 25 million-pound Ice Castles opened last week, welcoming visitors to a winter wonderland of icy slides, frozen thrones, fountains, tunnels, and LED lights that twinkle to music. But if you had visited this same spot in Lincoln just over two months ago, you simply would have found a field.

The making of the castles is a six-month process that begins with the drawing up of blueprints, paving the way for a crew of about 40 artisans to handcraft the attractions using hundreds of thousands of icicles. Any Ice Castles visitor (or Instagram admirer) knows that guests walk between walls of ice that reach 20 to 30 feet into the sky. The building of those walls begins with the installation of LED lights and a sprinkler system painstakingly spread across an acre — sprinkler heads linked to a fire hydrant and aimed just so — and with a temporary metal structure that’s sprayed with water so that the water freezes into icicles. Artisans then harvest those icicles and use them to build the castles, which is all done by hand.

In fact, the crew grows and harvests between 5,000 and 12,000 icicles per day, sticking the harvested icicles to an icy base created by the sprinkler system and carefully arranging the icicles so that they eventually grow into the LED-filled sculptures, arches, and tunnels with which visitors are familiar. There just is nothing like this on Earth. To go through a structure of this size that’s all made of ice with the whole thing at night glowing and changing colors, it’s just absolutely beautiful.

utah ice castles

Adult admission in Lincoln is $13.95-$21, and admission for kids ages 4-11 is $9.95-$16, depending on the day of the week and whether the ticket is booked online or purchased at the door. Door tickets may be unavailable if online tickets are sold out. Check online here before you make the drive!

The castles typically close for the season in March, but the end date will depend on the weather. Don't miss your chance to channel your inner Khalessi and sit on a frozen throne for an epic Instagram pic! Head to Lincoln, NH and devour the details of a wicked cool time at the Ice Castles!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wedding Wednesdays: Bridal Shower Themes for Every Kind of Bride

A great bridal shower speaks to the to-be-wed's personality and gets all of the guests involved while talking, laughing and sipping on something sweet (and bubbly). These themes do just that—and there's one for every kind of bride. Consider what works best for the bride-to-be in your life and enjoy the perfect time showering her with all the love and fun she deserves!

Wine Tasting Bridal Shower

Wine tasting bridal shower

​What it is: A wine pro or sommelier teaches the group how to taste at home or at a wine bar or vineyard. Choose a theme for the wine, like all vintages from the year the couple started dating or wines from wherever the couple is going on their honeymoon.

Best for: The bride who likes to sip; it's also best with smaller parties.

Planning tip: If you're planning to buy the wine yourself, follow this handy guide: Assume every bottle holds eight tasting servings. So, if you have eight guests and you want to taste four different types of wine, you'll need one bottle of each. After the tasting, figure about half a bottle per person.

Bartending School Bridal Shower

Bartending cocktail bridal shower

What it is: This type of shower is best suited towards a classy cocktail hour instead of a more casual daytime get-together. Hire a local bartender—from your favorite bar or from a bartending school—to come and show you how to make some fun cocktails.

Best for: The super-chic to-be-wed who prefers cocktail dresses to sundresses.

Planning tip: Just in case the socializing doesn't pick up right away, have some icebreaker tricks on hand. Doing something as simple as putting Mad Libs about the bride around the room can help encourage guests to get talking.

A Craft Bridal Shower

Crafting bridal shower

What it is: The focus of the shower is to get hands on and make a DIY project. These days, there are tons of options, like flower arranging, painting ceramics or making valentines or ornaments if it's around a holiday.

Best for: A creative and crafty crew that won't mind getting their hands dirty.

Planning tip: Go to a class or have an instructor come to your home and walk everyone through making their own item. Buy pretty boxes and ribbon to wrap up each guest's finished product to take home.

Tea Party Bridal Shower

Tea party bridal shower

What it is: The most classic shower theme of all is usually held at home or in a teahouse. Just because it's a tried-and-true idea doesn't mean you can't put your own creative spin on it. Create a bohemian vibe with colorful lanterns and low-slung seating or something more quirky and whimsical (think: Alice in Wonderland's Mad Hatter!).

Best for: The traditionalist or the prim-and-proper bride.

Planning tip: Have guests get into the theme with their attire by encouraging them to wear hats, gloves and bow ties. Traditional fare, like tea cakes, cucumber sandwiches and fruit tarts, are always crowd-pleasers, and set up a loose-leaf tea bar for guests to create their own take-home favors.

Pool or Beach Bridal Party

Pool party bridal shower

What it is: Everyone wears their swimsuits and sunglasses for a casual party by the water.

Best for: A summer shower and a playful crowd who won't mind getting their hair wet.

Planning tip: Tropical cocktails with bright umbrellas are basically required for this kind of party. Instead of the traditional shower games, rework the rules so you can play them in the water (think: The Newlywed Game meets Marco Polo).

Plan the perfect shower for the bride-to-be in your life and devour the details of a day to remember (second to the actual wedding of course)!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Bring Your Bottoms to Blossom Bar in Brookline

Get those bottoms can finally bring your bottoms to Blossom Bar in Brookline! With a grand opening on January 3rd, the transformed Sichuan Garden is well underway, producing the most amazing cocktails along the most perfect bar in a Boston neighborhood.

Image result for blossom bar brookline

Ran Duan — a former Eater Boston Bartender of the Year, led the transition of his parents’ Brookline restaurant from old-school neighborhood Sichuan joint to hip cocktail bar. The happening hot spot will be open from 4 p.m. until 12 a.m. to start, but will eventually have a 2 a.m. liquor license. Duan, who has previously appeared in GQ’s “Men of the Year” edition, has been running the show at Baldwin Bar — the acclaimed cocktail bar inside his parents’ other restaurant, Sichuan Garden II, in Woburn — since 2009, adding The Baldwin & Sons Trading Co. in an upstairs lounge in 2015.

Image result for blossom bar brookline

Blossom Bar will offer a menu of about 40 dishes, including favorites from the old Sichuan Garden such as dan dan noodles, pork dumplings with chili vinaigrette, house special eggplant, and Chongqinq dry hot chicken. The bar has a phenomenal cocktail menu and shares these incredible concoctions on its Instagram page to give you a taste before you actually wet your whistle.

Image result for blossom bar brookline

Head over to Brookline Village this weekend, drink a cocktail inspired by a notorious smuggler, and eat as many noodles and dumplings as possible. It's the only way to devour the details of the banging new Blossom Bar!