31 December 2013

13 Things for 2013: Update

Well the year has officially come to a close. While I didn't accomplish everything on my list, I am happy with what I did accomplish this year. 

1. Run a race (either 5K or 10K)
I feel like I add this to every list but I don't know if it will ever happen. I really hate running.
2. Bake more cake pops 
 All I did this year was make cake pops (okay not really but it seems like it). Haha. They are so well loved though.
3. Make a meal only from things bought at the farmers market.
I probably shouldn't be crossing this off it wasn't completely from the farmers market, but I am going to let it slide. The main ingredients were and I shopped the farmers market on a much more regular basis then I have in the past.

4. Get a summer job in my field
I had a wonderful internship experience! 
5. Read a Jane Austin novel
6. Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity one Saturday
I am actually really upset that this never happened. Usually there are build days offered through the club at school but it never seemed to work out this year. Oh well. 
7. Take a cooking class
Sort of forgot about this/never found a class that interested me
8. Make a recipe book with family favourites
I feel like I can half cross this off. I started one, made an outline, then got busy and didn't make/photograph all of the dishes. 
9. Go on a trip/vacation
10. Make my own tea blend
I have gotten adventurous in mixing different teas/blends to create something unique. Its quite fun actually.
11. Blog at least 1x per week
For the most part I went above and beyond on this one. Posting on average 3x per week! 
12. Have a board game night

We have had a few fun board game nights. Cards Against Humanity and Monopoly never get old.
13. Give hot yoga another try
I never got around to this one either. I think its still too soon after my horrible experience last time.

Overall I managed to accomplish about half the items on my list which I am pretty proud of. Not bad for a "New Years Resolution". 

30 December 2013

Ice Storm

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holidays filled with family, friends and joy!  I was forced to take a break from blogging for a few days since the ice storm took out our power and internet. I was planning on working on posts during the day Sunday for the week but mother nature had other plans. We finally got our power back on Christmas Day ( a Christmas miracle) and then with the craziness of the season I didn't get a chance to update the blog. It was a nice unexpected vacation. I thought I would share with you some pictures of the ice storm. While it sucked not having power, everything covered in ice was quite beautiful.


20 December 2013

David's Tea Advent Calendar: Week 3

Day 13:

This tea steeps up beautifully. The leaves have tiny gold balls in them that actually glitter once it is steeped. It is beautiful to look at and true to its name.  Its not officially labeled as a chai tea but it definitely has that spiciness to it and those hints of flavour. The strongest being the cinnamon. The look and shimmer of this tea are definitely its strengths and out weigh the taste for me. 

Day 14:

I wanted oh so badly to like this tea. I have been wanting to add to my rooibos collection and I have been loving all the different rooibos that I have been trying lately. I love drinking them at night before bed since they are caffeine free. Both the boy and I took one sip of this tea and dumped it. It was SO cinnamon-y. To the point where I felt like I had just had a spoonful of cinnamon (although I have never tried the cinnamon challenge it seemed like an appropriate comparison). 

Day 15: 

Ah. A classic today. It was just what I wanted. Something simple and familiar. This tea to me is just so comforting. A touch of milk and a dash of sugar and I am transported to my grandmother's housing having tea and dipping her cookies in it. 

Day 16: 

In all honesty I didn't try this tea. It smelt wonderful and I am sure I would enjoy it but it being at Mate tea it is a stimulant and I just wasn't feeling something fruity this morning. I like black teas in the mornings, especially in winter. There is just something comforting to me about them and this was not gonna cut it this morning. Then when I was in the mood for something fruity I of course wanted something that wouldn't keep me up all night. I think I am going to save this to ice for hot summer mornings. 

Day 17: 

Cream of Earl Grey is probably my favourite tea. Which is saying a lot. It is the one I most recommend to people.  It is the tea that made me fall in love with David's Tea. It is just so perfect. I drink it on a regular basis and when I stop drinking it for a while and come back to it I fall in love even more. It just has the perfect balance vanilla flavour mixed with earl grey. I cannot do justice to this tea. Just go try it. You can thank me later. 

Day 18:

Another tea that I was not a fan of. I loved the smell of the tea, it was bright and fruity. The actual tea itself was bitter and gross. I didn't end up finishing this tea either. Maybe I burnt the leaves? I might give this another try. Its a white and green tea blend and I usually like blends but I have mostly had white and black tea blends.  I wonder what it was about this tea. 

 Day 19:

This is one of David's cutest teas. It has mini chocolate chips and lip sprinkles in it. It just makes me so happy. I love this tea on its own but its even more delicious as a latte. The black tea mixed with that hint of peppermint and chocolate is delicious. This tea will satisfy your sweet tooth and I love that it combines two of my favourite flavours: peppermint and chocolate. 

You can check out my reviews of Week One and Week Two as well! 

18 December 2013

Holiday Baking

I thought I would share with you what I am planning on making and sharing these holidays. 

Shortbread Cookies with Red and Green M&Ms

I am also thinking about making some macaroons and other Christmas cookies but I haven't decided yet. What are you planning on baking this year? If you have any favourite recipes please share in the comments. 


17 December 2013

Gifts that Give Back

Gifts that Give Back

Why not give a gift this year that your giftee will not only love but that will also give back to others. Its a win, win, win.

Warby Parker - Not only are their glasses cute and functional for every pair sold they provide a pair to someone in need. So why not provide your four eyed friends with a gift card to Warby Parker and help give the gift of sight to someone in need. 

TOMS - TOMS also has a one for one model. Buy a pair of shoes and they will give a pair to someone in need. Their shoes are incredibly comfortable and go with pretty much everything. There are a ton of styles and prints to choose from. 

MetoWe - MetoWe is the Social Enterprise of Free the Children. It helps support the overhead costs of the charity. They offer socially and environmentally conscious goods made by artisans in developing countries and provide fair wages to Mama's supporting their families. 

Hosting For Hope (HomeSense) - The net proceeds from these gives go towards helping women and children victims of abuse through supporting local shelters and violence prevention programs in the community. 

Tory Burch Agenda - All profits from the purchase of the pink shade will benefit the Tory Burch Foundation, which Supports the economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs and their families in the US. 

Cole and Parker - Cole and Parker sell fun socks that support a one for many model. They are partners with Kiva and proceeds from each purchase of socks is loaned to support entrepreneurs in poverty. 

16 December 2013

Cookie Packaging

With all the Christmas baking I have planned I have been looking at different ways to creatively package my baked goods to share with friends and family this season. Here are some of my favourites: 

I love the simplicity of these tins. They can be reused for years to come and I love how great they all look grouped together. Such a simple way to reuse tins or to fancy up tins from the dollar store. 

Glass jars are a fun way to share treats with people. I think one cookie only would look best in these jars. Add a bow on top, a ribbon and a tag and you have a simple and beautiful gift for anyone on your list. 

This reminds me of a box of chocolates. I like how they used liners to separate the different cookies. Beautiful presentation. 

Chinese takeout containers are a favourite of mine. Even simply lined with festive coloured tissue paper and tied with a ribbon they look fantastic. Decorating these containers would be a great holiday craft for those with kids. 

Kraft paper. Twine. Glitter letters. A touch of nature. Enough said. 

13 December 2013

David's Tea Advent Calendar: Week 2

Day 6:

I was exited for this green tea today it was a nice change from all the Christmas-y teas that have been in the calendar lately. I don't drink green teas that often but when I do I remember why I love them and then vow to drink them more then drink too much and get a headache and upset stomach.  This is a nice mid-afternoon tea however. The only probably is that it makes me crave sushi which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The popped rice in this tea is super fun and adds an interesting almost sweetness to the green tea flavour. I might have to make this tea a permeant part of my collection. 

Day 7: 

Another new to me tea. They always pull it down at the store when I say I like fruity teas but its never been something that I committed to trying until today. To be honest, I didn't really like it. The tea has yogurt bits in it which I really didn't like the flavour of in my tea. I felt like I was drinking hot strawberry yogurt which was kind of a turn off. I thought the tart yogurt didn't really complement the tartness of the strawberry either. I don't even thinking icing this tea will save it. 

Day 8: 

I love the Advent Calendar because not only do I get to try teas that I haven't before but I rediscover teas that I love. Mango Madness is one of those teas. I made a large pitcher of iced tea.  I really like how light and fresh this tea is. This tea is more of a summer tea to me then a winter tea but it was a nice surprise in the calendar and has gotten me steeping pitchers of iced tea again to drink all day. 

Day 9: 
The smell of the leaves of this tea reminded me of black liquorice for some reason so we were already off to a bad start ( I am not a fan of liquorice). I took one sip of this tea and then threw out the rest of my mug. It was disgusting. It was like drinking flowers and the what I can only assume to be jasmine was way over powering. I can still taste nothing else. 

Day 10: 

I was happy to see Coffee Cake today after yesterdays tea. Black teas are my favourite and I was starting to miss them. This tea would probably be up there as one of my favourites (it doesn't taste like coffee at all) if it weren't for Red Velvet Cake. To me this is a less spectacular version of Red Velvet Cake. I do like the sweet hints that the cherry and pineapple bring out in the black tea and it makes for an exceptional latte. I was skeptical to try it the first time because of the name. I don't like anything coffee flavoured but this has no coffee flavour at all. 

Day 11: 

This tea is a great tea for before bed. It is calming and relaxing. I love the freshness of the peppermint mixed in with the chamomile. You get a hint of the chamomile first followed by the peppermint cooling after taste. This tea makes me want to cozy up in bed with a good book and then drift off to sleep.  

Day 12:

Another green tea. I was a little weary after the last one but when I opened the tin it was bright and fruity. The smells reminded me of one of David's other teas Green and Fruity (I wonder if that came out before this tea because that would be the perfect name for this one since the other one is a roiboos). Anyways. I really enjoyed this tea it was perfect hot and would probably be lovely iced. I sipped it while studying for finals. I think Genmaicha from Day Six (at the top of this post) is my favourite green tea I've had so far though. 

Are you doing the David's Tea Advent Calendar? Whats your favourite so far? If not, which would you most like to try? 


Ps. You can see my review of week one here

12 December 2013

Gift Guide: Gifts Under $20

Gifts under $20

Eye Shadow. iPhone Case. Mittens
Terrarium in a Jar. Nail Polish. Journal
Pyjama Bottoms. Hand Cream. Charades

I put together some small gifts (under $20) that would be perfect for a Secret Santa gift, for a stocking stuffer or something small for a friend.

Check out my other gift guides: For the Boys.
From last year:
For the Fitness Junkie. For the Tea Lover. For the Cupcake Queen.

9 December 2013

Gift: Hot Chocolate in a Mug

I knew I wanted to share some of the marshmallows I made with my friends and family. So I put together these super cute and simple mugs with everything they would need for a mug of hot chocolate.   

I found the mugs at my local dollar store. I was surprised by their super cute collection of Christmas mugs. I decided to add a small bottle of Baileys since its amazing in hot chocolate and found a sample pack at the LCBO. I add a pack of hot chocolate and some marshmallows then wrapped it up in cellophane. It was a quick and easy gift that I know they will love for under $10. 

6 December 2013

David's Tea Advent Calendar: Week 1

Day 1: 
I was actually really excited to see White Chocolate Frost as the tea for the first day. It is one of the few on the list that I have yet to try so I was excited to try a new tea. The main flavours that are promised in this tea are mint and white chocolate. I tasted the mint for sure but I didn't really get a white chocolate flavour coming through. The tea also had a thin film of oil across the top which I am assuming is from the melted white chocolate. If you like peppermint teas then you will like this one for sure. It is a bit creamy, again from the white chocolate. I don't think its anything special I do like that its a herbal tea which I can drink at night and is different from other herbal teas I own which are mostly fruity. I think I prefer chocolate mint rooibos.

Day 2: 

The smell of this tea is extremely sweet almost like candy which I was not expecting.  The flakes of coconut in this tea are HUGE like larger then they usually are in David's Teas. There is also almond and apple flavours. The actual steeped tea is a sweater tea for sure and doesn't have that usual earthy rooibos flavour. They must have tweaked their blend from last year's alpine punch because I remember it being overly cinnamon-y which caused my mouth to be very dry. I am not getting that this year. A change for the better for sure! I am actually pleasantly surprised and would consider adding this tea to my collection. Its the perfect tea for cold winter night as its caffeine free.  

Day 3: 

Another tea that I have never tried. They always pull it down for me when I am in the store but something has always held me back from trying. While I love black teas I am not a huge fan of fruits in my black teas. I like to be able to add milk and something about fruit and milk together just doesn't sit well with me. This tea smells wonderful and the blueberry's come through very strongly. However, once steeped I found that blueberry smell did not translate into blueberry taste. Perhaps I will try it iced next time since I usually like fruity teas iced or maybe I should go nuts and add some milk to it. I want to love this tea so badly but theres just something missing. 

 Day 4: 

Forever Nuts is probably one of the best selling teas that David's Tea has and yet I have never jumped on its band wagon. For the longest time I thought it was that I didn't like the almonds in tea but now I have a few favourites that do have almonds so I am not sure what exactly it is that I don't love about this tea.  It has grown on me over the years and I don't mind a cup of it now and again but its not something that I would put into heavy rotation. It sort of tastes like apple pie. I prefer this tea when it is warm rather then first steeped or cooled completely. I have been told its good with spiced rum so perhaps I will have to try that. 

Day 5: 

This is one of my favourite latte teas. The only thing that bothers me about it, is that has an oily layer on top. Probably again from the chocolate. Its not sweet like you would expect a chocolate tea to be and it actually doesn't remind me of any of their more chocolate-y teas. The cinnamon is probably the most dominate flavours of this tea which I don't mind in this case since I dampen it with the milk for the latte. I am not a fan of this tea straight but as a latte its wonderful!  

4 December 2013

Must Watch Christmas Movies

I love Christmas Movies. I love spending an entire Saturday watching those cheesy but oh so good made for TV Christmas movies. It is one of my favourite things about the holidays. I am happy to watch any Christmas movie that comes on and if there is a love story involved even better! Everyone has their own list of must watch movies at Christmas time. 
Here's mine:

Probably my favourite Christmas movie. The original is my favourite but I like the remake as well. I have to watch this movie at least once every Christmas (usually more).  

A modern Christmas tale. A big fun loving family not without its fair share of dramas. You will laugh and you will cry and you will occasionally cringe at SJPs character. 

I think this one speaks for itself.

One of those sad but oh so good Christmas movies. 

This was one of my favourites as a kid. Such a fun concept and the sequels aren't horrible either.

Perfect movie to put you in a good happy holiday mood. 

I just found this movie recently. Its not your typical Christmas movie but it starts out around the holidays so I am saying it counts. For sure a new favourite.  

Not really on my list, but top of the boyfriend's for sure. So I will be watching it. 

What Christmas movies are on your must watch list?