About Trinidad Pena

Trinidad Pena is a blogger, foodie, branding expert and design superhero bent on helping others do what they love for a living, world domination and convincing people that wine belongs in the fruit food group since it's made from grapes.
{Food & Entertaining}

Strawberry Shortcake Parfait

Strawberry Shortcake Parfait Recipe - www.thebudgetsocialite.com

I’ve never been a fan of tooting my own horn… Ok, that’s a lie. But in this case, it’s not just me. It’s all of France. Parfait is French for “perfect”.  So when I tell you this strawberry shortcake parfait is the perfect dessert, I have an entire country backing me up.

Strawberry Shortcake Parfait

Most strawberry shortcake parfait recipes you see floating around use store-bought pound cake. That works, but I like to get wild and crazy and use shortbread cookies. What can I say? I like the crunch and I’m a recipe gansta.

This dessert is as easy as it is delicious. It’s just layering things you picked up at the grocery store. If you wanna put a bit more effort in, you can make fresh whipped cream and your own strawberry balsamic sauce. Both are mouth-watering, choose your own adventure.

Strawberry Shortcake Parfait Ingredients - www.thebudgetsocialite.com


  • Pudding mix
  • Milk
  • 12 oz frozen strawberries in syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • Cool whip
  • 11 shortbread cookies

This is how we do it

  1. Defrost the strawberries
  2. (Optional) Add balsamic vinegar to the strawberry syrup
  3. Make the pudding as per the instructions on the package. Usually there’s some milk and whisk action involved.
  4. Crush up those cookies. You can use a food processor or put them in ziplock and go to town.
  5. Layer ingredients in a glass. Start with the crushed cookies, then the pudding, then strawberries in syrup and lastly the cool whip. If you are using a big glass, repeat.

Strawberry Shortcake Parfait - www.thebudgetsocialite.com

Party Food

You can easily make this parfait the night before, if you are throwing a party. Simply cover your glasses with cling wrap and refrigerate. Speaking of glasses, I’ve served this in hurricane glasses (pictured) for a dinner party type situation OR using my shot glasses and spoon set and put it out buffet style. You have options aplenty.

Do you have a go-to party dessert recipe? Let us know in the comments.

Images by Trinidad Pena – Branding + Design


Co-founder | Trinidad Pena
Trinidad Pena is a blogger, foodie, and design superhero bent on helping others kick-ass online, world domination and convincing the world that wine belongs in the fruit food group since it’s made from grapes.


{Food & Entertaining}

Winter Sangria Recipe

Winter Sangria Recipe - www.thebudgetsocialite.com

I dunno about you, but this girl is OBSESSED with sangria. It’s a summer drink, but my love cannot be contained to just one season. It’s not possible. So, I did what any crazed wino self-respecting sangria drinker would do. I winterized it! Now, you can sip sangria whilst sitting by the fire. Yeah, I said it whilst.  Let’s do this!

Winter Sangria

Instead of a summery juice, we are going to use apple cider; Lemon/lime soda? Nope, Ginger Ale. More you say? Ok, how about a winter-spiced simple syrup, some dried cranberries and cinnamon sticks? Yeah, baby…That sounds about right. It’s winter sangria time!

Winter Sangria Yum! - www.thebudgetsocialite.com

I usually serve this cold, but really… it’s your world. Room temp works, it’s red wine after all. You wanna throw it in a crock pot and serve it warm? No one is gonna stop you. Pretty much the only thing I wouldn’t recommend is boiling it, because then the alcohol would burn off and that would be an epic tragedy.

Winter Sangria Close-up - www.thebudgetsocialite.com


  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground Nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground Cloves
  • 1 apple chopped
  • 1 pear chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 bottle of red wine ( I used Trader Joe’s Syrah)
  • 2 cups Ginger Ale
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • ¾ cup brandy or cognac
  • Cinnamon sticks (optional)


We start by making a simple syrup. Emphasis on the word simple.

  1. In saucepan, combine the water, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Simmer that bad boy for 10 minutes.
  2. Let cool. It will magically turn into a thick syrup that smells like everything that has ever been good in life.
  3. In a pitcher combine your syrup and fruit.
  4. Add the cognac/brandy.
  5. Let that soak overnight. Impatient? Try streaming a netflix movie and wait at least 2 hours. It’s worth it, I wouldn’t steer you wrong.
  6. Resist the urge to eat the fruit, right then and there… or just do and make another batch. No judgments.
  7. Add your wine, ginger ale, apple cider and orange juice.
  8. Garnish glasses with cinnamon sticks and serve.

It’s delish! And it’s a great party drink. You can make a big batch of the fruit/syrup/cognac mixture and keep it in the fridge, then just add your liquids as needed. Perfection.

What’s your favorite winter drink? Let us know in the comments!

Images by Trinidad Pena – Branding + Design


Co-founder | Trinidad Pena
Trinidad Pena is a blogger, foodie, and design superhero bent on helping others kick-ass online, world domination and convincing the world that wine belongs in the fruit food group since it’s made from grapes.



2013 Gift Guide – Under $50

2013 Gift Guide

The holidays are upon us, and we are getting to crunch time when it comes to gift buying. We asked our contributors for their top picks under $50. The things they cannot absolutely, couldn’t possibly live without. Here’s what they had to say:

2013 Gift Guide – Under $50

Holly: Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill mascara. I can’t live without it because it’s the BEST mascara I’ve ever tried and I’ve tried almost all of them. As a makeup artist, it’s my responsibility to try products before I use them on my clients. For years I’ve only found mascaras that I like; until I tried Eyes to Kill. The mascara lengthens and adds volume without clumping. I don’t have long or thick lashes, but the mascara (magically) finds the shortest lashes and lengthens them and the thinnest lashes and adds volume that looks very natural. The end result, is beautiful, long lashes. A great mascara is the stand-alone product that makes my eyes Pop!

Eva Said It: A slam dunk for coffee lovers. What’s better than a pound or two of gourmet beans and a grinder! Hit any store that sells kitchen appliances and gadgets for a grinder. You can go high end and fancy, but my its not uncommon to find a basic model that does the job just right for about $20. Then, hit a gourmet shop (in NYC, I love Porto Rico Importing Company on Bleecker St. www.portorico.com) for some of the tastiest and exotic coffee beans you can find! Toss both in a basket with some shortbread cookies or chocolates, et voila! A gift they wouldn’t dream of returning or regifting, and will use with pleasure!

Charlene: When holiday shopping for someone who already has it all, or you just can’t figure out what to get someone, I opt to send a donation to their favorite cause or charity in their name. You get to do good and it’s tax deductible. You can even make the donation at  justgive.org and let them choose the organization where they want the money to go.

Scarlett: My Roku box is the best thing a girl can have (and it doesn’t hurt that Roku sounds like the French pronunciation of my last name). Roku is this cute little streaming box that lets you turn any TV into a Smart TV and the prices start at $49.99 for the LT model. You can watch channels like NetFlix, Amazon Prime and so much more. All you need is wireless Internet and a TV. Boom.Done! Oh, they have free shipping right now!

Trinidad: You’ll pry my food processor from my cold dead hands, it’s one of my most prized possessions. It’s definitely a thing I can’t live without. This handy gages chops, minces, dices, purees and in a pinch blends. I’ve used it to make soups, pestos, grating cheese and even making dough. The thing is seriously versatile. This is a great gift for anyone who likes to cook and/or entertain.