Wrap Star

DIY

I’m not a traditional person, in many ways, but especially when it comes to holiday decor. Our tree is a multi-colour fiesta, with sweet ornaments that are precious, kitschy, handmaid and mismatched, plus a garland of bright fabrics from India, pom-pom neon elephants from Thailand… macarons, owls, deer, foxes, and even a beaver for good measure. It makes me so happy to see the colours, all interwoven with gold and white lights.

So, it’s no surprise that when it comes to wrapping, I am a huge fan of DIY, reused, recycled and quirky styles. This year the tree, in all its colourful splendour, has an array of bright packages tied up with yarn, ribbon and twine. The main papers are bright cactus-print with gold, hot pink paper with zebras, and some magenta paper with graphic avocados. I reused some pretty patterned boxes, and did colour coordinated (reused) gift wrap inside all the boxes, for an unexpectedly bright and irreverent holiday melee.

Here are some of my favourite inspiration pics to get you in the wrapping mood (all photo credits and links available here: https://www.pinterest.ca/alisonjc/gift-list/)

Although boxes were my vehicle of choice this year, I am always game to think outside the box when it comes to the wrapping! Enjoy!

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What would you like to see a blog about in upcoming entries?

Emoji Me

DIY, style

If summer inspires me to dress in … well, dresses and some bright lipstick choices,  winter brings forth a desire to bundle. Inevitably, I tend to wear fewer accessories (since gloves and scarves and layers tend to make rings, earrings and other things that get caught on woollen items pretty annoying), so there is always the question: how do I keep things original and fun, while planning pieces that are warm and layerable?

I like to make things personal. Recently, like the popular, now familiar denim jacket with patches, I've started to sew my brightly coloured patches to anything that has lost its charm.

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I've loved my patch jacket, but now its sweaters' turn to shine. So, there are a few directions you could go:

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I voted a black sweater with drop shoulders and a loose fit out of my closet, plucked a handful of bright appliques (cacti, popsicle, banana, orange slice, ice cream cone, pizza, sunglasses, palm tree and pineapple) focusing the colourful adornments on the shoulders. Then I picked a matte lipstick in dayglo pink to match the cactus flowers, paired it with some grey slacks that fit like sweats with pleats, and some patent leather brogues… I am a happy, comfy camper.

Et voila:

 

For all photo credits, see links at: https://www.pinterest.ca/alisonjc/style-sa-vie/

DIY Rainbow Halloween Pumpkin

DIY, style

For a very pretty, not so spooky Hallowe’en stoop we got local pumpkins and some rainbow marbles. With the trusty drill and some elbow grease we created a glowing rainbow lantern that looks just as pretty with battery operated tea lights. Now we will just wait for the sun to go down.

* drill holes slightly larger than the marbles, make sure they are free of pumpkin guts, then pop them in place!

Easter in the Garden 

DIY

I’m excited for the chill that is absent in the spring air. I can see the grass greening up. I love a good hand-drawn aerial map of the flower beds. It’s time to reinvent, after a long winter. 


This is phase one. After borrowing my sister in law’s spray paint, attacking some old, tired-looking pots and getting a few starter plants to help me see it coming into focus, bright and boho yard transformation is well-underway! 


DIY pots in two-tone jewel tones and gold. Mixing old and weathered with the new. 

What is your yard up to? Patio or balcony? Indoor nook with some indoor gems?

All Patched Up

DIY, style

I did it. Got out an old jean jacket and started sewing. The inspiration:

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Don’t have $1,300 for a D & G version? Grab your sewing kit for a DIY party of 1. I am so thrilled with my final product, and it’ll keep getting better as I find new patches to jazz up my one of a kind beauty.

Check out these, and more images like ’em, with links at my Pinterest page: https://www.pinterest.com/alisonjc/style-sa-vie/

Kombucha? Why don’t ya?

DIY, Foodie
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photo credit: mountainroseblog.com

 

My friend, Lindsay, is always ahead of the curve. In middle school, she was channeling Drew Barrymore in “Mad Love,” with sunflowers in her hair. By grade eleven, she was  driving an olive green VW camper van. At the end of high school she left a semester early to work on a sailing ship docked in Cadiz, Spain. She was the coolest best friend a wholesome gal like me could ask for.

Now, as a Sommelier and world traveler, she is always making sure that our trips are full of excitement, especially in the wine department, with great tips and recommendations. She even phoned ahead for us to arrange a tour and tastings at Quinta Nova winery in the Douro Valley, to make sure we got the VIP treatment. Check out the Portugal trip log in the ‘Indulge’ section of the blog for more pics and details o that. Here.

Lindsay is always game to try something before others catch on, in grade school it was tahini and bread making, now it’s homemade Kombucha. If you can get over the repugnant appearance of this stuff, and have a friend who will set you up with a pre-made jar to start you off, it’s pretty easy; I’m actually thrilled by how satisfying it is to see my little science project magically (seemingly) reproducing – in the dark of my pantry.

A few basics:

-it brews in the dark, left alone for a few weeks

-brewing occurs by some scientific fermentation process (magic) through interaction between the liquid (black tea, distilled water and sugar) and the scoby

-the scoby is a booger-y-looking, yeasty layer of good bacteria that multiples and grows in the container, to produce the kombucha tea

-kombucha is getting more and more popular (read: trendy) and is being sold for a pretty penny, but you can make it at home at minimal cost (8 tea bags, some water, a cup of sugar and some glass jars)

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photo credit: mygutsy.com

I enjoy the low-maintenance aspect of this fizzy, tangy drink; plus it tastes pretty great …and I picture it transforming my guts into the hip-shaking, happy-dancing lady from the Activia Yogurt Commercials, while bringing me untold, mysterious health benefits. I haven’t noticed huge changes in my health, but my stomach is looking pretty flat (despite my unchanged carb intake) and I look forward to my daily dose of Kombucha flavour.

Though you can buy it in an array of flavours…

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I bought two of these so that I could get a sense of the ideal ‘flavour’ and have a bar to compare the normalcy of my own batches; plus I’ve reused the containers, after cleaning with boiling water, because the ones I bought have plastic tops (the scoby shouldn’t come into contact with metal), and they are a perfect size to store my finished brew.

As explained by the author of the site Cheeseslave, there are many health benefits; to read the full article, click here. She does an awesome job explaining these perks in detail, so I recommend checking her site out. In short:

  • Kombucha Health Benefits #1: Boosts the Immune System
  • Kombucha Health Benefits #2: Natural Detoxifier
    • Kombucha has probiotics and enzymes that promote detoxification. One of the main jobs of the good bacteria in your gut is to detoxify. By adding more beneficial bacteria to your gut, you’re getting the job done faster. Kombucha promotes detoxification. Regular consumption of kombucha tea also supports liver function.
  • Kombucha Health Benefits #3: Rich in Vitamins and Enzymes
    • B vitamins can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, boost memory, and relieve PMS.
  • Kombucha Health Benefit #4: Energy Boost
  • Kombucha Health Benefits #5: Increased Metabolism
  • Kombucha Health Benefits #6: PMS Relief
  • Kombucha Health Benefits #7: Relief from Arthritis and Joint Pain

It has been around a very long time… really long, and a renewed interest in healthier living, and taking the care of our bodies into our own hands, has seen a resurgence of home-brewing and greater availability of commercially prepared Kombucha.

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If you’re even a little intrigued (like I was), check out the link above. If you’re game to start your own brewing at home, here is a helpful site with video how-to’s:

http://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/kombucha/how-to-make-kombucha/