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ARIES SIGNATURE COCKTAIL

12 Apr

Astrology is pretty popular right now, one could argue that it has been for some time, however it’s popularity is now spreading into less traditional aspects of life, such as makeup and jewellery. Signature drinks are also popping right now and I happen to be a big fan of them and this is why I decided to concoct zodiac themed cocktails beginning with the first sign of the zodiac: ARIES.

Here are a few things to note about this sign:

ARIES

Aries runs from March 20th- April 21st

Aries is the first of twelve Sun signs in the Zodiac

Aries, along with Leo and Sagittarius is a fire sign

The symbol of Aries is a ram and it is ruled by Mars

Persons born under Aries are described as energetic, creative and independent. Others might describe Aries as being stubborn, arrogant and lacking discipline…( it’s all about balance I suppose)

Which ever way you look at it , Aries brings to mind fire and passion. These are the traits I used as inspo for this spicy whiskey sour cocktail.

ARIES Cocktail:

WHAT YOU NEED;

1 shot Fireball whiskey

1 shot Cherry liqueur

1 tbsp lemon juice

1tsp granulated sugar

Ginger beer(for more heat) or Ginger ale

Maraschino cherries soaked in brown rum.

WHAT TO DO;

Add maraschino cherries to brown rum and soak overnight (longer if preferred)

Mix lemon juice and granulated sugar together, dissolving sugar.

Pour whiskey and liqueur into glass, top up with ginger ale/ ginger beer, add lemon juice/sugar mixture and garnish with rum soaked cherries.

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10 ECO-Tips (that will be great on your wallet too)

15 Jan

We all care about the environment (I assume) and would love to do whatever we can to be a bit gentler to our planet. Sometimes, being environmentally friendly can be costly, time consuming and bothersome (still worth it though). However, sometimes it’s actually really easy. Here are some eco-friendly tips I have compiled to help us on our quest to go eco.

1.Wooden toothbrush

This particular tip isn’t necessarily cheaper than purchasing a regular plastic toothbrush but it costs about the same as a good quality regular brush and it’s a super easy swap to make.

2. Menstrual Cup 

For persons who have periods, the paper products widely peddled throughout the second half of the 20th century and into the 21st century do not come cheap and result in waste due to their one time usage. I suspect it will be a long while before we can completely get away from disposable paper products, but this is a good start.


The most popular brand I would say is the “Diva Cup” although there are others available. I have a close friend who has used a menstrual cup for over two years. She currently uses the Diva Cup brand and caustions that there is a bit of a learning curve but once you get into the … flow of things (ba-dum bum ching!) it works out fine.

The Diva Cup menstrual cup costs around $38 US which does sound a bit steep but for comparison, a woman can spend around $100 US per year in paper menstrual products while some women report their menstrual cups last 2-3 years.

3. Shorter showers

Or…less showers. I know. I KNOW! This one seems weird and well gross. However, many of us waste a lot of water in the shower just standing there letting it run over our bodies for minutes on end. In fact, many suggest that no shower should last more than 5 to 10 minutes at a time. Shorter showers can save water and save you money on your water bill.

4. Less Laundry

I KNOW! First, I tell you to wash your body less then I tell you to wash your clothing less! Yes, it seems odd but again, we wash a lot of our clothing far too often resulting in faster wear and tear which leads to more clothing being discarded and filling up landfills. Additionally, many persons will wash just a few pieces of clothing at a time. This wastes  a lot water, a lot of electricity and a lot of money. Any clothing that can be re-worn such as jeans, jackets etc. should be and wait until you have a full load before turning on that washing machine.

5. Cloth makeup Remover

Take a stroll to the cosmetics section of any drug store or even a high end makeup counter and you will see every company peddling their disposable makeup removers. A thick piece of tissue impregnated with some cleaning solution usually lavender or lemon scented, requiring that you use one or two a day and repurchase every couple of months. Well… what if I told you that there was a way to remove your makeup without destroying the earth! What if I told you it was super easy and affordable too!

There are plenty of brands out there making makeup removal facecloths that you wash and reuse. Most are made of microfiber which has great propensity to absorb oils and doesn’t scratch. I have been removing my makeup this way exclusively for about 18 months. Right now, I have 5 cloths that I use about 4 times each (I use half of one side at a time) then wash. With this number of cloths, I always have a clean cloth I can grab and I haven’t spent a dime on disposable makeup removers for ages.


6. Reusable bag

This is an oldie but goodie. By now, I hope that we all have a stash of sturdy reusable bags in differing shapes and sizes for all our shopping needs. Whether its one of the woven plastic ones or my personal preference; canvas (more durable and long lasting), you can really cut back on your plastic bag use by including these bags in your repertoire.

7. Reusable food wraps/covers

Cheese wrap by Bees Wrap

This is a new concept to me. There are food wraps made of cloth and infused with bees wax and tree resin. Because of the wax, the cloth is easily folded and molded to the shape of the item it is covering whether that is a piece of cheese, half or a cucumber or the top of a bowl. The wax also makes it somewhat waterproof. The best part is that these cloths are washable hence reusable. Goodbye aluminum foil, cling wrap and wax paper.

I first saw this product when browsing in Sur la Table, a cookware,dinnerware specialty store and the brand I saw there is Bees Wrap but there are a number of companies that offer this type of product.

8. Reusable glass/plastic containers

Another oldie but goodie. Again, instead of wrapping unfinished foods with disposable materials such as foil and plastic wrap, place your edibles in containers for storage. A good quality plastic container can be reused for years and glass is eternal (unless broken)

9. Dish rag/cloth

Instead of a sponge (which depending on your appetite for risk can last you’re a couple weeks or a couple months), a cloth used to wash your dishes can give you years of service. After a few days/weeks change to a new dish rag, then wash and reuse.

Stainless steel Insulated Travel Mug by ZAK

10. Reusable water bottle/mug

This one is a no-brainer. Many of us drink plenty of water/coffee/tea every day. If we were to drink those things while in our own homes we would use a glass or ceramic mug, because we can wash them and reuse them. Well it doesn’t have to be every different when we go out. I have a mug which keeps things either hot or cold for hours at a time and I do NOT leave home without it. I have had everything from coffee to cocktails put into this cup in order to avoid using a disposable one.

These ten tips are easy to incorporate into most lifestyles. They help your pocket and they help reduce your footprint on the planet. Thanks for reading and have an awesome day!

A Few Spring Things

29 Apr

Hello and Happy Spring (even though I live in a Tropical climate where our only seasons are rainy and dry). Here are a few things I have been and continue to enjoy as we mark time until glorious summer!

MAKEUP

Pretty Birdie by Pretty Vulgar

Pretty birdie palette

This brand launched on Sephora.com sometime last year. I remember it initially got a bit of buzz then everyone , myself included seemed to forget about them. Fast forward to March this year when I saw this brand in store.

I was immediately drawn to this palette with its mixture of bold mattes(Nevermore and Snitch) and muted jewel tone shimmers(Wing it, Brilliant and Jealous). The formula is smooth and easy to blend and allows for many different spring appropriate looks!

Life`s a Festival by Too Faced

Life’s a festival palette

Are you sick and tired of unicorns and mermaids yet? I`m not! But I understand why some people might be. If you fall into that group I implore you to look past the ~ unicorn-ISM ~ and the somewhat silly packaging because this palette is solid.

It`s definitely meant for creating more fun, festival inspired looks with a few brightly coloured matte shades(Dessert Vibes and Young and Free), a lot of beautiful shimmers and some popping duo-chromes (Artist pass and Mystic Rain). If you can still get your (unicorn) hoofs on this one, definitely give it a try!

EATS

Starbucks Instant Refresher and Bobo`s bar

Starbucks Refresher

I am an obligate coffee drinker. I say obligate because I need the caffeine to get me going in the morning but I wouldn’t consider myself a coffee lover by any means. However, I`m always looking for something different and I recently found this. This is a hibiscus and berry flavoured drink with just a touch of caffeine. Enough to get your mornings going with a fruity/floral refreshing taste.

Bobo Bar

I discovered Bobo bars a few months ago in my quest to find breakfast on the go that didn`t contain gluten (I have some gluten intolerance) This company began as a mother daughter home baking endeavor and their bars come in a multitude of flavours from peanut butter to orange cranberry. They taste great warmed up for a few seconds in the microwave and go along great with tea, coffee (or starbucks hibiscus berry refresher)

BODY

Lip Mask

Lip mask by Lifestyle Products

They are making masks for everything these days: face, eyes, hands and lips! And to be honest, they don’t make a real difference one way or another , but they can give some temporary relief and improvements and they’re fun !

This brand is called Lifestyle products and they have a few different ?flavours ?scents such as shea butter and coconut. Your lips feel hydrated and soft after use.

Body Spray

BBW Rose Quartz body mist

Bath and Body Works is always out there looking for new ways to separate me from my hard earned money. One of their latest (successful) attempts is their new New Age , mineral inspired line. This is quite interesting as most minerals (rocks) don’t actually have any associated odours.The three scents are Rose Quartz, Aquamarine and Moonstone and they are available in shower gels, lotions and body mists. They all have more mild, clean scents with rose quartz having a soft rose water type of scent.

HOME

Candle

BBW Avocado Coconut 3 wick Candle

I love me some candles especially BBW candles. This particular style they have brought out features a more squat but wider shaped candle (stated to be the same amount as the regular shaped ones) and many of the scents are more natural inspired. This one, combines avocado and coconut, a rather unlikely pairing which gives a creamy, rich smell.

Thanks for letting me share some of the things I currently like and have an awesome day!

Galentines Day Bash!

4 Feb

It is often said that art imitates life. Sometimes however, the reverse is true. Galentine’s Day was first born on an episode of sitcom “Parks and Recreation” in 2010. Since then Galentine’s Day has become increasingly well known and celebrated with 2017 bringing it a trending spot on Twitter.

This holiday is celebrated on February 13th (the day before Valentine’s day) and it is seen as a day for gals to celebrate and uplift each other in a social scene where girl on girl hate is so prevalent.

This is right up my alley. An excuse to celebrate anything but especially something as positive as friendships between women.

I came up with a few very Pinterest inspired ideas to throw a Galentine’s bash for you and your gals.

Pizza Heart Bites

This is so darn cute. Heart shaped pizza bites are tasty and great party food to pick up and nibble on.

WHAT YOU NEED

Pizza crust -I used ready made flatbread crust

Cheese

Tomato sauce

Other toppings- I used mushrooms and Italian herbs

Heart shaped cookie cutter

WHAT TO DO

1) Cut out heart shapes from crust.

2) Top crusts

3) Bake until cheese is melted and you’re done!

Pink Love Donuts

WHAT YOU NEED

1) Donuts

2) Icing– I dyed it three shades of pink

3) Toppings– sprinkles

WHAT TO DO

1) Dip each donut into the corresponding glaze

2) Top with sprinkles, nuts etc and set into fridge to harden.

Sorbet Fizz Cocktail

For the cocktail portion of the evening, we combine a refreshing dessert with some fizzy wine.

WHAT YOU NEED

Sorbet– I chose black cherry to stick with the pink theme

Sparkling wine– Prosecco, Brut, sparkling rose etc.

WHAT TO DO

1) Place a scoop of sorbet in glass.

2) Pour sparkling wine over it and serve!

Guest gifts

I feel as if no celebration is quite complete without a little something for your guests to leave with. I also like giving gifts that are useful. I am also mildly obsessed with succulents…

Succulents are affordable, beautiful and hard to kill. To seal the deal I stuck a little label with a love note on the pot.

I hope this post can give you some inspiration for your own Galentine’s party or Valentine’s party or whatever party you have!

Have an awesome Galentine’s Day!

Make 2018 Great!

7 Jan

Hello and Happy 2018! Something about the calendar switching from December 31st to January 1st incites thoughts of change and resolve to be a new and improved version of yourself. 

While some resolutions can be a bit far reaching and cause undue stress I do believe setting some realistic goals can help you become a more effective, efficient and fulfilled individual. Here are a few of my tips for making 2018 great!

DRINK MORE WATER

What nutritionist/doctor/lifestyle guru hasn’t mentioned this at some point? There’s a reason for that, water is life! It’s our gift from nature. It is good for you because it keeps you hydrated, quenches your thirst and helps with pain. Drinking more water definitely makes you feel more alert and better.

I want to sidebar to point out that there is no minimum amount of water you should drink per day. I also want to point out that I mean regular water not water that has been electrolysed or ionized or galvanized.

BE ECO FRIENDLY

I’m a self proclaimed environmentalist. I feel that each of us can do a little something everyday that will have a positive impact on our environment. I know it isn’t realistic for most people to build a home in a forest and only live off the land. However, there are some things we can incorporate into our daily routines. Some things you can do are ; turn off lights whenever you leave a room, unplug appliances whenever they aren’t in use and use reusable bags.


PREP

Meal prep it and you won’t regret it! I did meal PREP relatively consistently throughout 2016 and I can’t find a good reason as to why I fell off in 2017 because meal prepping is awesome! Here’s why:

It saves time- By planning all, most or just some of your meals for the upcoming week you shave off hours in the kitchen. You spend a couple hours making multiple meals instead of slaving away morning and evening daily.

It saves money- By making all of your own meals, ahead of time no less you avoid having to buy those meals which will invariably be more costly.

It’s healthier- Whenever you make something yourself, you can control what goes into it and hopefully that means you whip something healthy or at the very least less UNhealthy than the stuff you pick up at drive thrus.


PLAN

I’m an unapologetic list maker. Having some plan creates order and makes it easier to keep track of what you need to do. You can invest in a beautiful designer planner and follow along with the planning community on YouTube or you can scribble on a notepad or you can type up on your phone. 

Whatever method you chose, chose something. You can get very detailed planning down to the half hour or maybe you just create “to-do” lists for the week but have a plan!

MAKE A LITTLE TIME FOR…

This one is a bit wide. I think we need to find a little time to do things that make us feel human or normal or happy. The emphasis is on a little. In our busy lives it can be next to impossible to anything apart from work, sleep and eat but if you just set aside a small pocket of time to focus on yourself, you will, feel regenerated and inspired.

Here are a few things I want to take a little time for:

READING
 

I used to be a book a week type of reader but somehow I lost that. And I hate it. I love to dive into the world that an author creates and I plan to find more time to incorporate more reading.

PAMPERING

You may not have time to book in a massage and pedicure on a weekly basis but you can put on an overnight hair mask or a 15 minute face mask, or you could do an at home foot bath, or paint your nails or…you get the idea.


EXERCISE

Regular physical activity is super important for everyone yet it’s something we can easily neglect for lengthy periods of time. Sneak in a mini early morning YouTube workout or get your squats in at night before bed. Skip, but dont skip exercise.

HOBBIES 

Painting, writing poetry, horseback riding…whatever tickles your fancy embrace it and spend a little time with it.


RELAXATION

Light a candle, put on Enya and relax or meditate or pray. Just find some time for reflection and regain some mental balance.

Wishing everyone a peaceful, fruitful and successful 2018.Thank you for reading and have an awesome day!

Ginger Pear Moscow Mule

17 Dec

Today I bring you a festive cocktail; a ginger pear Moscow Mule.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Prosecco

Pear nectar

Ginger beer

Can of pears

Fresh pear- I got a red pear

WHAT TO DO 

Muddle a pear half and place in the bottom of the mug

Pour pear nectar over pear

Pour ginger beer and prosecco 

Garnish with a slice of fresh pear

This is a delicious drink. It’s slightly fizzy with mild but complimentary flavours. A great option for a festive event!

Have an awesome day!

Easter Brunch

14 Apr

I love Easter. It always makes me think of new beginnings, a fresh start and of course, Cadbury creme eggs (lots of them).

Today I bring an Easter Brunch inspiration. I think brunch is a fantastic meal to have at Easter time. Everyone has time to go to church or sleep in late and then afterwards a no hassle relaxed brunch. For brunch there are usually lots of options; pastries, omlettes, cakes, cheese boards…the works. I chose three recipes I think would add a great touch to a brunch menu. They are all simple and affordable. I also laid out an Easter/Spring tablescape and added a delicious cocktail.

ON THE MENU

Deviled eggs

Stuffed mushrooms

Fruit Fluff

Peach “mimosa”



Deviled Eggs

This is a brunch staple and of course well suited for Easter. Deviled eggs turn simple boiled eggs into a creamy flavourful treat.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Makes 6

Eggs -The number of eggs you use will give double that number of deviled eggs as they are served as halves. I used 3 eggs so I got 6(only 4 shown)

1 tbsp Mustard– I used a spicy mustard

1 tbsp Mayonnaise– This is optional but it does add a certain creaminess

Spices– I used salt, black pepper and paprika, just a pinch of each.

Deviled eggs ingredients 




WHAT TO DO 

1) Hard boil eggs, let cool and remove shells.

2) Cut eggs in half and gently remove yolks. Set whites aside.

3) Add condiments and spices and mix until a smooth paste forms.




4) Place paste into piping bag (you can use a zip lock and snip the end) and pipe into egg whites.



Deviled eggs 


Stuffed mushrooms 

I remember the first time I had this version of stuffed mushrooms. My mother brought them home from a local Italian bistro and my life was changed. Something about soft, tart cream cheese against the crunch of a fresh mushroom is a perfect match.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Mushrooms– I used 8 medium sized ones (they were unfortunately a bit bruised)

Cream cheese– The amount you use depends on the number and size of the mushrooms but about 2 tbsp fill 8 medium sized mushrooms.

Spices– I used lemon pepper and some oregano.

Mushrooms and cream cheese 


WHAT TO DO 

1) Add spices to softened cream cheese and mix.

2) Place in a piping bag and pipe into mushrooms. 

Mushrooms and cream cheese mixture



3 )Top with oregano 


Stuffed mushrooms 



Fruit Fluff 

This is my take on an Ambrosia salad. I substituted cool whip with Greek yogurt for a healthier twist and a more “brunchy” feel.

WHAT YOU NEED 

I used arbitrary amounts, a little bit of each. The amounts you use depends on how much you plan to make.

Greek yogurt- The one I used is plain combined with honey so it’s already sweet. A great alternative is vanilla but really any flavour you prefer can be used.

Fruit– I used  mixture of frozen fruit (cherries, strawberries, lingonberries) and fresh  (strawberries and blueberries)

Mini marshmallows

Fruit Fluff mixture

WHAT TO DO

Mix altogether and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Peach “Mimosas”

What’s the best part about brunch? The fact that you get to splash your juice with wine. Lol. Now mimosas traditionally consist of wine and citrus juice hence my use of air quotes. Technically this is a peach cocktail but when doing brunch, we call it a mimosa.

WHAT YOU NEED 

White wine

Peach juice

Canned peaches

Peach mimosa ingredients 




WHAT TO DO 

1) Place 1 or 2 peach slices in the bottom of the glass and muddle it a bit (mash it with a spoon if you don’t have a muddler, which I don’t)

2 ) Fill glass halfway with wine.

3) Top off with peach juice and add a straw.

Peach “mimosas”



Tablescape

An important part of entertaining is creating ambience. For this I chose a simple, clean fresh look in keeping with the idea of a relaxed yet sophisticated setting.

This tablescape employed some crafty skills but all were simple. My colour scheme was pink, white and gold.

Table runner

I made a table runner of sorts by overlapping lots of doilies along the Centre of the table. I added a touch of gold by swiping gold paint over them in a random fashion.

Table runner from doilies




Flowers

I went with pink and white carnations. Carnations are often a very affordable option from the florist costing only a few dollars. I used about 4 bunches in all keeping  the look minimal.

I swished some of the same gold paint onto the flower petals to keep with the theme and placed them in jelly jars.

Flowers




Centre piece 

My “Centre piece” began with ambition. In fact, the failure of this centrepiece led to the final colour scheme, so maybe it was for the best.

For the centerpiece of an Easter Brunch I had to incorporate eggs somehow. I decided to dye some eggs. People have different methods of doing this. The best way I’ve found is using regular food and egg dye and a bit of vinegar to allow for better uptake of colour.

I removed the contents of the eggs by making a small hole at one end and simply allowing it to run out, gently shaking if you need to. Don’t waste your egg ! I put mine in the refrigerator and made omelet the next day.

I mixed the dye, vinegar and water in a mug. I find you get a more even coating if you use a mug.

As it happened the only colour that worked out was the pink (the yellow one broke and the purple came out streaky)

Once my one surviving egg was dry I splattered it with the by now ubiquitous gold paint. I displayed it in a mini jelly jar on a bed of Easter egg shaped jelly beans.

Centre piece




I placed the flowers and Centre piece on the table runner and laid the table with simple white plates and bowls.

The tablescape and settings

Table with food

Deviled eggs 


Stuffed mushrooms



Fruit Fluff



Peach mimosa


Easy breezy Easter Brunch. Hopefully some of these ideas will inspire you if you plan on doing brunch for Easter or any other occasion. Have a happy Easter and an awesome day!

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