Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Travel Essentials

Our bags our packed and we're off to Maui! Here are a few of my in-flight essentials.
Travel Essentials

ShoesScarfSalve, Toner, Hair Elastics

All these things and a big stack of magazines make the journey a whole lot more enjoyable.
See you on the 7th!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Coconut Macaroons

Not to be confused with those colorful french cookies, these amazing little coconut mounds are the business.

Coconut is one of my all time favorite things so I'm not entirely sure why I didn't make these sooner. They're super simple and give purpose to all those half used bags of coconut in your pantry (please tell me I'm not the only one who has multiples of these at any given time).

Coconut Macaroons
1 1/3c. sweetened coconut*
1/3c. sugar
2 tbsp. flour
pinch of salt
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1c. chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 325.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl (except the chocolate chips, if you're using them). Drop by tablespoon fulls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly brown.

If you plan to dip them in chocolate-
Melt chocolate in a double boiler and dip baked cookies in it. Place them on parchment paper and put them in the fridge until the chocolate hardens.

*I used half sweetened and half unsweetened coconut because that's what I had. They were still plenty sweet.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Ahh the Weekend

A work event kept me busy for most of the weekend, but yesterday afternoon I had an appointment for some new lashes.

One of my favorite things about vacation is not having to wear make-up. Unfortunately, it doesn't do me any favors in photos. So in preparation for our trip to Hawaii on Wednesday, I went to Noir Lash Lounge for eyelash extensions. This is the first time I've ever had extensions, but the process was pretty relaxing. I will say that around the 30 minute mark, I was getting uncomfortable lying there, but the discomfort definitely paid off. In just under an hour my eyes went from sleepy to fabulous. I love them!

I also got to pull ol' Bessie out of storage. I can't wait to go for a ride and take advantage of this incredible weather.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Levon Helm (May 26, 1940-April 19th, 2012)

"Levon Helm left us today at 1:30 PM, Thursday, April 19, 2012. I am terribly sad. Thank you for 50 years of friendship and music. Memories that live on with us. No more sorrows, no more troubles, no more pain. He went peacefully to that beautiful marvelous wonderful place. He was Buddy Rich's favorite rock drummer ... and my friend. Levon, I'm proud of you." -Garth Hudson, The Band

If you've never seen the Last Waltz, or you just haven't seen it in a while, I would recommend checking it out this weekend to celebrate Levon and his incredible talent.

Levon, you will be missed.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Income Tax

The tax man has not been good to me this year.

Just thinking about it kind of makes me want to pull my hair out. So, I'll just have a drink instead. Don't let the name fool you, this cocktail is quite enjoyable and will help alleviate some of that tax time stress.

The Income Tax
1 1/2 oz. gin
3/4 oz. dry vermouth
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
1/3 c. freshly squeezed orange juice.

Shake all ingredients over ice. Strain and pour into a glass. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Playlist-Take Me Back

I was originally going to tell you about Alabama Shakes and how amazing they are, but I heard about 8 Tracks on the weekend and thought I'd make a soul inspired playlist to get you through the rest of the week.

Take Me Back
Keep on Lookin' (Kenny Dope Remix)/Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
Gold on the Ceiling/The Black Keys
You Ain't Alone/Alabama Shakes
Nutbush City Limits/Tina Turner
Big Booty Woman/Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
I Put a Spell On You/She & Him
Valerie/Mark Ronson
Gimme Shelter/The Rolling Stones

Listen to it in all its soulful glory here.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Dip Trio

These three dips are my go tos when feeding a crowd. They're delicious, not too heavy and require minimal ingredients.

Charred Pepper & Feta Dip
From The Best of Bridge

3 large red peppers
1 c. feta cheese
2 tbsp. pine nuts
1 tbsp. olive oil

To Char Peppers: Cut peppers in thirds and remove seeds. Place cut side down on a cookie sheet. Broil until skins are blackened and puffed. Remove and peel.

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yogurt Curry Dip
From Real Simple Magazine

1 1/2 c. Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. curry powder*
1 tbsp. lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

*You can control the heat depending on what type of curry powder you use. I usually go half hot curry powder and half regular.

Red Lentil Hummus
adapted from Chow

2 c. water
1 c. dried red lentils
2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped*
3 tbsp. tahini
5 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add lentils and reduce heat. Simmer until most of the water has been absorbed (15-20 minutes). Let cool. Place the cooled lentils, garlic and tahini into a food processor. While the processor is running, add lemon juice and olive oil. Once smooth, stir in salt and pepper to taste.

*2 cloves makes this hummus quite garlicky. If you like garlic, go for it. Otherwise, you might want to start with one.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Ahh the Weekend

It was my turn to host Book Club on Friday night.

Twelve ladies and a lot of wine made for a fun and hilarious evening. After a KILLER circuit class on Saturday morning, I spent the rest of the day in and out of naps until heading out for my cousin's birthday (yet another night full of fun ladies and laughs). Sunday, we did a little house hunting and snuggled up for The Killing and Game of Thrones. I love Sunday nights!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Fashion Friday- Festival Best

Coachella kicks off festival season this weekend in Indio, California. Unfortunately, I won't be there, but here's some festival inspired fashion.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Taco Lettuce Wraps and Black Bean Salad

I don't really have much to say about these except that we're slightly addicted to them and have been eating them- or some variation of them- just about every week for the last month. The homemade taco seasoning was sent to me by my friend Deana and it tastes just like the store bought stuff minus all the weird chemicals.

Taco Lettuce Wraps

1lb ground chicken
1 tbsp. homemade taco seasoning
1 head of romaine
Toppings of your choice- we like guacamole, aged cheddar and Cholula hot sauce.

Cook chicken in a frying pan until no longer pink. Add seasoning and stir to coat. If it seems a bit dry, add a bit of water. Tear romaine from the centre stem. Spoon chicken onto romaine wraps. Add toppings of your choice.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

1 tbsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Mix all spices together in a jar or sealed container . This is something you could make a big batch of and keep in the cupboard.

Black Bean Salad

1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can corn (or fresh corn if you can)
1 tomato, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 purple onion, chopped
1 tbsp. cilantro (optional)
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

Put everything in a bowl. Pour lime juice and olive oil over top. Sprinkle with salt and stir.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Hotel Room Workout

Keeping up a workout routine while on vacation makes getting right back into when you get home a whole lot easier. Here's a workout that's not only quick, but doesn't require a lot of space- ideal for a hotel room.

40 Butt lifts
10 Push ups
30 Squat jumps
30 Mountain climbers
40 Crunches
10 Tricep dips
30 Squat jumps
30 Mountain climbers
40 Bicyle crunches
10 Push ups
30 Squat jumps
30 Mountain climbers
40 Side Plank lifts (20 each side)
10 Tricep dips
30 Squat jumps
30 Mountain climbers
40 Bicycle crunches
10 Push ups
30 Squat jumps
30 Mountain climbers

The conference I was at last week was in the same hotel as the Reebok Global Brand conference and let me tell you, Reebok is doing something right with their staff. They were all incredibly fit and full of energy. Sitting by the pool with them was really good motivation. Though, they might want to re-think their ads. Did you see this before it got pulled?

Monday, 9 April 2012

Ahh the Weekend...

A somewhat failed batch of sticky buns for Easter brunch, dying eggs for the first time in at least 10 years, and two Easter bunny sightings (I like that first one better, but I might be a bit biased).

Eric has a terrible cold, so the rest of the weekend was spent finishing my book and watching season 1 of The Killing, which was just fine by me.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Corpse Reviver

Nothing says Easter brunch like a breakfast cocktail. The corpse reviver is the perfect (albeit somewhat inappropriately named considering the occasion) alternative to the mimosa.

Corpse Reviver

1 oz brandy
1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
.5 oz lemon juice
2 dashes Grenadine*
Sparkling Wine

Shake everything except the bubbles over ice. Pour into a wine or champagne glass and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with an orange or lemon peel.

*You can buy grenadine at the grocery store, but it probably won't contain a single natural ingredient. I mixed equal parts pomegranate juice and sugar, simmered for 15-20 minutes and let cool. Store in the fridge for future use.

A word to the wise: go easy on these bad boys. More than two and they quickly become more of a corpse maker.

Happy Easter! See you Monday.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Vegas Favorites

Having been to Vegas more than a few times, I've compiled a list of my favorite spots. Let's start with where to stay. This last time we stayed at Vdara and I loved it. One of my issues with Vegas is that I get tired of dealing with crowds everywhere I go. Vdara was orginially built as condos, so it doesn't have a casino which pretty much solves that problem. The rooms also come with kitchenettes which are great for pre-drinks and snacks.

If you've never been to Vegas though, you should get the full experience of staying in a casino. I've had great stays at the Monte Carlo, MGM Grand and the Flamingo.

Once I've rolled out of bed and recovered from the night before (usually around 2pm), it's time to shop (or lie by the pool if it's open). On my way, I like to stop at the boozy lemonade stand. It's just down the steps on the way to the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace. You can't miss it.

After picking up a drink, it's time for a little uninhibited shopping. Kate Spade recently opened up in Caesar's Palace and Topshop and Topman have opened just up the road at the Fashion Show mall. If you're up for shopping off the strip, the Premium Outlets and Town Centre outdoor mall are both good choices.

Shopping tends to work up an appetite, so here are a couple of my favorite restaurants. Pink Taco at the Hard Rock Casino is one of my favorite lunch spots. I'm sure it's not the best or most authentic Mexican food you can get in Vegas, but it's good and it's got a great atmosphere. If you're able to get a spot on the patio at Todd English's Olives in the Bellagio, you'll not only have amazing food (the giant bread basket and olive tapenade they bring is worth the trip alone), but an incredible view of the fountains.

For more upscale dinners, I have to say the meals I've had at Bouchon at The Venetian and Sage at Aria have been some of the best of my life.

We had the tasting menu at Sage and every course left a previously loud and rowdy table speechless. It was so good, in fact, that I didn't take a picture of a single thing we ate. Oops!

Bouchon is also at the top of the list. From the atmosphere- a table in the courtyard made us feel like we had escaped Vegas- to the service and the food. Everything is spot on. And the warm brownie dessert with peanut butter iced cream and frozen banana? Don't even get me started.

There are so many great things to see and eat in Vegas, I'm sure I've only skimmed the surface, but these are my faves and I hope you'll check them out next time you visit Sin City.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


We left Vegas for Phoenix late in the afternoon, so most of the drive was in the dark, but we did manage to catch Hoover Dam before the sun went down.

My conference was in downtown Phoenix and there didn't seem to be whole lot to do, but we did cheer on Canada's own Steve Nash at the Phoenix Suns vs. San Antonio Spurs game. Compared to hockey, where they constantly stop the play, basketball felt very fast paced.

I had one free day after the conference, so we headed out to Scottsdale to golf. It turns out my golf game hasn't improved at all, which meant I spent most of the day taking in the scenery and drinking Michelob Ultra.

The 28 degree weather, pool time and (very) slight tan I got have me really looking forward to summer.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Ahh the Weekend

Hello again! We made it home from Vegas and Phoenix in one piece. I'll have more on the trip tomorrow.

This weekend started with a Friday afternoon spa appointment at Stillwater. After peeling myself from the massage table, I headed out for a girls' night on the town. The hip hop blasting cab that picked us up was a good indicator of how the rest of our night would unfold. It was my first time to Commonwealth and it's definitely my new favorite spot to dance. By the way, Smalltown DJs are playing this Sunday. If you're lucky enough to have Monday off, definitely check them out.

Saturday night, Eric and I attended a fundraiser based around art and wine. The food was wonderful and we walked away with a great piece of art by Seka Owen.

Game of Thrones returned last night and it didn't disappoint. If you haven't seen this show yet, you're missing out. Allow me to show you just one of the many reasons why...