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Dark Decadent Feast

21 Oct

Hello and happy Fall/Autumn/Halloween and if you’re in the Sounthern hemisphere Happy Spring and if you’re in the tropics Happy End-of-Rainy-Season.

THE INSPIRATION

This post is about creating a tablescape and some menu ideas for a dark themed dinner. It’s not too Halloween-ey, not overly Autumnal but rather a bit in between. I imagine this as a romantic dinner for two thrown together by a sophisticated witch who enjoys long walks crunching fallen leaves as much as she enjoys online shopping at Pottery Barn.

TABLESCAPE

I began by layering a traditional white lace tablecloth underneath a black netted material purchased at a Halloween decor store.

I then decided to cluster some synthetic and organic elements including a cast pumpkin, a white fake pumpkin interdispersed with fall/Halloween appropriate fruit and vegetables: turnip, beet and pomegranate.

I also added a battery operated off white medium pillar candle placed in a cloche for some lighting effect and to add some interest.

To complete the tablescape and add some height variation I place a clear vase with some beautiful fresh hydrangeas. The white adds the perfect classy touch but the burgundy brings the dark decadence.

The table was complete by adding two place settings of black and white dinnerware and simple clear glass flatware.

MENU

For the menu I decided on a salad, soup, light main and dessert.

DARK SALAD

This salad is a simple combination of mixed greens (I chose one with lots of purple and brown leaves) and purple (or red) cabbage. It would pair well with a balsamic based vinagarette.

To make this salad simply chop, mix and plate!

SWEET POTATO AND BEET SOUP



This thick delicious soup is made from yellow sweet potatoes and a bit of beets to deepen the colour. It can be served warm or cold.

To make the soup : Boil sweet potato and beets, blend or mash into a puree, sautee onion, garlic and spices then add puree and vegetable stock to make thick flavorful soup.

BRAISED EGGPLANT

This is the light main course: an umami fueled flavour trip. The thick meaty texture and deep flavour makes this a fantastic menu option.

To make this braised eggplant: Chop the eggplant into thick wedges

Mix the braising sauce; molasses, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, miso paste and white granulated sugar by whisking ( Mix according to your taste preference)

Using a little bit of olive oil, sautee the eggplant then add braising sauce, turn down heat and cook until thickened.

MERLOT POACHED PEAR

This one gets a chef’s kiss because it’s so good yet so simple. This is a sweet after dinner treat that requires no advanced dessert making skills.

To make the poached pears: Peel and core the pear

Bring merlot, white granulated sugar and spices (I used cinnamon, clove, bay leaf) and vanilla extract to a boil.

Add pears and let simmer until cooked and absorbed the mixture.

Let it cool and serve. This goes well with chocolate as well as a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Have a beautiful decadent autumn !

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Cereal Treats

21 Aug

We’re all too familiar with the rice crispy treat, a mixture of rice crispies, marshmallow and whatever else they add in to create a very sweet, sticky moreish delight enjoyed the world over. However, my mind was blown a few years ago when I realised you could do the same thing with any other cereal and from that point I’ve always wanted to try coming up with some concoctions of my own. Well I’ve finally done it!

This is a cool idea for a party or picnic snack. You can make them ahead of time, they’re fun and even though most people have had rice crispie treats, other cereal treats may be a novelty.

WHAT YOU NEED

1) Cereal(s) of your chosing– I opted for a fruity cereal, chocolate puffs and Lucky Charms.

2) Marshmallow– I picked the smaller ones because I thought they would melt faster but in fact I have no proof that’s the case. You can also opt for flavoured marshmallow.

3) Toppings– I chose sprinkles,  icing and cocoa powder.



Multiple types of cereal.




Marshmallow.

Sprinkles, icing and cocoa powder.



WHAT TO DO

1) Melt marshmallow in microwave- Try short bursts of 10 seconds or so, stirring each time until it’s soft.

2) Add cereal and melted marshmallow (along with any flavorings e.g. cocoa powder) to bowl and mix.


Add melted marshmallow to cereal.

3) Spread mixture into flat surface or mould (I used baking pans)


Mixture spread into a pan.


Other cereal mixtures in pans.

4) Let mixtures cool and harden in refrigerator.

5) Once hardened let soften a bit (allow to sit out) and remove.


Finished treats.

And that’s it! Enjoy!

Snapshots of : MIAMI

6 Aug

These are some snapshots of a visit to Miami. Miami is a vibrant city with a kaleidoscope of cultures and warm beautiful weather. There is something for you whether you love to eat, shop, party or explore. I hope my photos bring just a speckle of the richness that is Miami, some spots to check out and tips.

Room with a view

My hotel room offered me this view onto a fairly busy street with ongoing construction and opposite a fairly new and modern apartment complex. At various times of the day I would see people walking to go grab lunch, heading to the gym with their yoga mats and popping in and out of the nearby Whole Foods supermarket.

THE SALTY DONUT

Local hotspot.

I checked out a local donut shop called “The Salty Donut” for breakfast. This place is so popular that they are rumoured to sell out of products each day. I made sure I got there super early to avoid lines and have a peaceful morning.

The display case.

This shop boasts interesting flavour combos year round such as maple and bacon, guava and cheese and brown butter and salt as well as seasonal options. Additionally, they sell some delicious coffee offering up familiar hot options such as cappuccinos and macchiato as well as cold brews and iced coffee.

 

Coffee and donut

 

My selection was raspberry and rhubarb donut, a sweet take on both fruits paired with brioche dough along with Japanese iced coffee with tangy fruity notes.

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Raspberry rhubarb donut.

 

THE SHOPS AT MERRICK PARK

 

Shopping up a storm

Miami hosts a myriad of shopping options from outlet malls to well loved off brand retailers as well as beautific outdoor malls. I visited The Shops at Merrick Park in Coral Gables where you can find US mall staples such as Sephora, Francesca’s and Pottery Barn as well as some luxury options such as Gucci and Jimmy Choo and a favourite of mine; Anthropologie.

View of the steps at Merrick Park

There are a few dining options at Merrick Park one being Brasserie Central which serves French cuisine set at moderate prices.

 

French lunch

Clam chowder

 

Oysters

 

LA CENTRALE

Street view of La Centrale from the bridge.

This is described as an Italian Food Hall where diners can experience anything from casual deli style to al fresco to fine dining. The restaurants offer a plethora of options from meat based to seafood not to mention gelato and other desserts. There is also a bar situated in the centre of the fine dining hall and the kitchen where they offer classes in Italian cooking.I was able to take in the Neopolitan Pizza making class. Chef was thorough and very nice.

The kitchen.

Aprons for class.

 

Pizza

 

Outdoor seating at La Centrale.

 

In addition to the pizza making class, I had breakfast at La Centrale on a Sunday morning. There was “limitless” Prosecco for two hours.

Breakfast delights.

 

Bombolone: Jelly filled donut.

 

Delicious brunch at The Caffè.

 

Apertivo and Cocktail bar.

 

Negroni fountain (no you didn’t actually drink from it, but it looked pretty!)

 

Negroni: This stuff is strong! 

 

BAYSIDE

This plaza is a staple in Miami at this point. An outdoor mall with well known American eateries such as Bubba Gump, Five Guys and Chillis as well as more authentic cuisine stalls selling Cuban and Caribbean food as well as a more run of the mill food court. There are also lots of stores selling clothing, art and jewellery and more as well as an open air theatre with a view of the ocean hosting local performances both day and night.

Bayside by night.

 

Bayside by day: Here boats taking passengers out on day trips.

SUGAR (EAST HOTEL)

 

This decadent Asian inspired restaraunt is located on the top floor of Brickell Centre. On the outside is a beautiful outdoor bar called sugar where there tends to be standing room only. However, on the inside there is this beautiful eatery with a live DJ.

” Bottomless Champagne”- We got to drink as much as we could stomach within 2 hours.

Tasting Menu

The prices in here are on the higher side without a doubt, however a fantastic option is their “tasting menu” where you can select one item from each segment of a menu and it gives you about four or five different things to eat including dessert as well as Moet for 2 hours.

Trying a tasting menu is a bit of a pro-tip for eating at a more expensive restaraunt especially if you are there in a group because then everyone gets a little taste of everything usually at a more affordable price.


Some of the dishes and the view from our table.

 

BRICKELL CENTRE

This is a shopping and lifestyle centre located in Downtown Miami. Here you can find luxury shopping stores such as Gucci, more affordable ones like H&M and Zara, makeup shops like M.A.C and Sephora not to mention some amazing restaraunts including the aforementioned La Centrale and Sugar rooftop bar and restaraunt. Surrounding the main centre are also more shops and restaraunts. This is a great place to spend an afternoon as well as finding something to do at night.

A view of Brickell City Centre from a bridge.

 

Brickell Centre is partially open air making it more relaxed.

View from across the waterway of Brickell City Centre.

 

OUT AND ABOUT

Just out and roaming Miami City you get to enjoy a lot of unique architectural designs from the Art Deco buildings on South Beach, the sunny sky scraper apartment buildings with beautiful windows and glass balconies and of course, the flyovers curving and weaving like a 1960’s artist’s rendition of ” The Future”.


Flyover going across the water.





A view of the buildings .





A metro station.




View off Brickell Centre from across the water.




View from beneath.


Waterway and apartment buildings.



A mural

 

SOUTH BEACH

If you go to Miami, you have to at least check out South Beach, Miami Beach. It’s definitely one of the more popular spots in this city and that does mean it’s often crowded but I still reccomend. On South Beach you can find restaraunts galore, museums, shops, bars and clubs meaning there is definitely something for everyone there. If you are interested in architechture you will be amazed by the Art Deco buildings dispersed around this area with an actual Art Deco district for your viewing pleasure.

Street view of South Beach, Miami Beach.

The beach.

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Delicious seafood pasta at a restaraunt in South Beach.

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Dining out on South Beach.

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Art Deco style building.

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Shops in South Beach.

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A shot of Collins Avenue.

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Bustling nighttime in South Beach.

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The famous Ocean Drive and the Art Deco welcome centre.

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The clock: people take photos here as proof that they’ve been to Miami Beach.

 

Those are some of my snapshots of Miami, obviously this city has so much more to offer but these were some highlights for me. If you’re thinking of visiting definitely do it!

 

ON Trend: NEON Moment

26 Jul

So… NEON, ammirite?

Neon is out and about this year especially this summer. While brightly hued clothing, jewellery and even makeup isn’t new having had moments of insane popularity throughout the past 30 years or so 2019 is definitely a year for Neon to shine.This year Neon is popping up in little and big ways on the runway, in stores and on the streets.

OPI Neon polishes, Huda Beauty 9 pan Neon eyeshadow palettes, Orange bag by Zara.

Okay, so neon is popping and happening but you aren’t really a neon person so how can you incorporate this trend into your style? I would say a little goes a long way. Sure you can dress yourself from top to bottom in bright orange, hot pink and acid green, that’s cool but if you’re a little less…loud, you can try little accents here and there.

A great way to incorporate neon is with smaller clothing pieces like bikinis or cropped tops or jewellery pieces like earrings.

You can also add bright neon pops of colour with your makeup like a pink lip or orange eye or accessories like a wristlet or socks.What neon items do you plan to pick up? Have an awesome day!

EXERCISE AT HOME

10 Jul

Tired of dropping hundreds of dollars in gym membership only to drop out weeks later? Unable to join that aerial silks class all your friends are talking about due to tight budget? Can’t put aside time to meet up on the beach for that free aerobics class?

Have no fear! Broke Party Girl is here to the rescue!

I know first hand how incredibly difficult it can be to establish a regular physical activity schedule and how easily it can get derailed. As busy working adults so many things can take priority over exercise. Then, if you’re fortunate enough to get a regimen going, all you need is one hectic week or a minor injury and before you know it you haven’t worked out in months!

Throughout my life I’ve exercised in many different forms; gyms, swimming, exercise groups (clubs) and some were very successful but at some point all came to an end for one reason or another. This led me to focus more on working out in my own home, on my own time and at my own pace. While I absolutely encourage as many forms of excerise as you want including gyms and classes, the ability to get it done in your own home gives you a great fall back option AND it’s more budget friendly.

Here are my suggestions for your budget friendly home workout

AN EXERCISE MAT

This one is a must and a no-brainer. Exercise or yoga mats create a barrier between yourself and the ground, cushioning you and making it easier to do certain exercises. The great thing about these is that they are easily found everywhere from supermarkets to hardware stores and of course online and they are typically very affordable.

AN EXERCISE BALL

This is another staple and I suspect everyone between 18 and 60 has owned one at some point. Exercise balls are inflatable and come in a variety of sizes to suit you and your preference. One of the most outstanding things about this item is the versatility. They can be used to do ab work, leg work , they can be used in aerobics and also in doing stretches. Like the exercise mat, exercise balls are typically easy to find and very affordable.

WEIGHTS

Another must have and the final piece of what I think of as the trifecta or work out items. If you purchase nothing else, get the mat, the ball and some weights. Weights can come in the traditional dumbbell form but there are some variants such as weighted balls and handheld dumbbells that have a strap going across the hand making it easier for persons who can’t hold dumbbells. Weights are useful in doing resistance work when strengthening and toning muscles. The weight or weights you choose depends on your strength and goals.

SKIPPING/JUMPING ROPE

This isn’t a necessity but it’s an excellent tool. I personally LOVE skipping so maybe I’m biased. Skipping is an excellent form of cardiovascular activity and is considered a full body workout since you have to use multiple muscle groups such as abs, legs and arms. It helps to improve coordination and burns loads of calories. And it’s cheap, skipping ropes are very affordable so in fact I recant my initial statement, a skipping rope IS a necessity.

RESISTANCE BANDS

As the name blatantly implies, resistance bands work based on resistance. These rubbery bands are useful adjunct to weights with the added benefit of being able to work other muscle groups you typically wouldn’t with regular weights such as lower body muscles.

YOGA BLOCK

Yoga blocks are rectangular pieces of foam that are useful in helping with stability and support and as extensions of the arms allowing the user to achieve more poses. Most people use two but having just one is useful.

FOAM ROLLER

A foam roller is helpful in stretching and releasing muscle tightness. It is a cylinder of foam and can be found in many sports departments for a reasonable price.

Those are my personal recommendations for getting home exercise started. Note, there are no expensive machines or equipment in this list meaning you don’t need to spend thousands to get started.

PLEASE NOTE THESE ARE EQUIPMENT RECOMMENDATIONS NOT EXERCISE RECOMMENDATIONS, BEFORE BEGINNING ANY EXERCISE PLEASE CONSULT WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN AND CONSULT WITH A TRAINER REGARDING CORRECT USE OF EQUIPMENT.

What at home exercise equipment would you recommend?

Thanks for reading and have an awesome day!

Cheap and Chic:

14 Jun

Hello and welcome to the fancy life (just kidding). This post is about finding an affordable way to elevate your look using just one item: a silk scarf.

THE ITEM

This is the item , a silk scarf. I purchased this one from Nordstrom. It is by their in house brand Halogen and cost $35 US.

So here are some ways to wear it:

1 AS A NECK SCARF

Wearing a skinny silk scarf tied around your neck won’t keep you warm, but it sure will make you look fancy AF. It makes for a nice accessory and I especially like it paired with a button up shirt.

2 AS A WRIST CUFF

I really like this one. I love the idea of wearing things around your wrist that’s a little different from a dainty bracelet. I like leather and metal cuffs but a scarf is perfect. It’s a little bit girly and a little bit bad girl. I tie mine up like a bow.

3 AS A HEAD SCARF

This is a simple way to wear to wear a scarf. Adding it to your hairmakes you look as if you tried when you really didn’t.

4 AS BAG DECOR

This is another one I totally love. Wrapping a bag handle (seen here) or tied like a bow (seen above) really makes a basic bag become boogie.

If you can get your hands on a skinny silk scarf, definitely try wearing it all these ways. Thanks for reading!

Bright, Pink and Happy- MOTD

21 Apr

Hello and here is a bit of Easter inspired, makeup:

Milani Liquid lipstick in “Gorgeous”

Anastasia Beverly Hills “Riviera” eyeshadow and pressed pigments palette

Milani Baked Blush in “Bella Rosa”

This colour story invokes freshness and new beginning which is what Easter is all about.

Have a great Easter and an awesome day!

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