Chocolate banana ice cream

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Wrote this post on Food Amino app. It’s a recipe for chocolate banana ice cream using only a blender and 3 ingredients! It’s tasty, lowfat, low sugar and most of all very cost effective!

Just click the link!

Check out this post on Food: http://aminoapps.com/p/hdjkz

Hard Candy Christmas

Hey! Hope everyone is having a great holiday!

Despite my having lived away from home on numerous occasions over many years I have always made it home for Christmas. ALWAYS!

Not this year… this year I was away from my home and my family, friends, pets and all things familiar. I didn’t think it would be so bad to be honest. I’ve missed New Years and birthdays a bunch of times. I figured I had it covered. I mean I’m a fully grown adult with a job and responsibilities. Also I’ve made some good friends since I moved so it isn’t as if I would be completely alone. I decided that I’d decorate my apartment, buy some ingredients for a nice Christmas dinner and share with my friends.

Well,that was the plan. Approximately 3 weeks or so before Christmas my entire mood plummeted. I don’t know why specifically. Perhaps it was being away from home that finally got me or maybe I’d had a particularly stressful week at work or a combination. Whatever it was I felt down and decided to cancel Christmas this year. If I couldn’t have it the way I liked I didn’t want it at all! (I know, really mature right?)

I stayed in this foul mood for days and I swear my spirit slowly began to die until one morning about 9 days before Christmas I decided if I didn’t do at least SOMETHING  “Christmassey” I really might just melt into a pool of despair.

I set out that day with one goal. Bring home Christmas! I may have mentioned in my Halloween post that my new place of abode is not only limited in its variety but what there is can tend to be mighty pricey. This does not bode well for someone on a budget but I accepted the challenge.

I made my way into the town square area and to the store with the most bargins. It’s a dollar store in concept in terms of the quality and variety of things it sells but nothing in there costs $1. Try $1.99 and up, most of it being up. That said they still have some of the best prices in all the seven kimgdoms! (Sorry I just started reading Game of Thrones)

THEME
Like any good party or wedding, holiday decor needs a theme. Whether literal or abstract it gives a basis, an idea of what direction you’re going. My theme was:

CANDY
Way back when I thought I’d be home for the holidays and was filled with hope and excitement I decided I wanted to try a Candyland Christmas theme. I even started a pinterest board about it.
For anyone who knows me well, it’s no secret that for a few years I have yearned for a pink Christmas tree. Now our family always gets a real tree but we also usually have 2 or 3 other trees, one in the verandah, a small one in the kitchen and more if we feel it necessary.

This year I felt inspired to take it further. I love the idea of a pink tree. I imagine it to be cotton candy. Candy! What if everything on the tree was a candy ornament or a candy colored ornament!
I immediately knew the colours I wanted: pink, purple, blue and green. My accent colour would be silver.
I pinned pictures of some beautiful and creative stuff : donut ornements made of salt clay,pastel globe ornaments wrapped to look like sweeties, old outdoor bulbs covered in candy coloured glitter. I was excited!

But alas,  here I was with limited time, options and money. This was going to be hard.

I decided I would stick with my concept for candy inspired choosing round, unbreakable(the only type they had) ornaments in my original colour scheme of blue,pink,purple,green and silver. To me these colours were the most candy like. I went for variety and got 2 packs of small ornaments(purple and blue) and the other 3 colours larger balls. These were the types that came with multiple finishes in the same package so 2 were shiny, 2 were frosted and 2 were glittered.

TREE
What tree? By the time I decided Christmas was back on all the real trees and most of the artificial ones were sold out. Also it would be too expensive.
I bought a string of artificial 9 foot garland and an artificial wreath.

LIGHTS
One string of plain white lights were all I could manage at the prices this store had.

EXTRAS
I also ponied up for a roll of green ribbon, a large shiny pink bow and of course hooks.

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The stuff

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I spent some time placing things here and there to figure out what order to place things in. I recommend this. When you make your final decision then start attaching.

I used the hooks to attach the balls by their tops onto the wreath and garland.

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I laid out the garland on the floor and switched decorations back and forth until I got the design I wanted.

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I used the ribbon to wrap around the wreath and I used the extra for a small bow to accent the garland.

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I pinned the garland around the breakfast bar area and the wreath just adjacent

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The Wreath

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The Garland

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Together

I draped the lights around my small 11th floor balcony.

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And there it is. Christmas decor on a time and money budget.

The title for this post was inspired by that old Dolly Parton song “Hard Candy Christmas”  on the Christmas album she did with Kenny Rogers all those years ago. I thought of this song because I chose candy as my theme and I’ve met some really nice people in the past few months and that’s all very sweet. However I am away from home for the holidays and having some challenges becoming settled and that’s hard.

That being said, I am thankful for all that I do have and all I managed to accomplish this year: I purchased (and sold) my first vehicle, I did an important exam, I was able to truly eliminate a very negative influence in my life and of course I met my awesome kitten (who I miss) Cali! 2014 was definitely better than 2013!

So enjoy the rest of the season and have an awesome 2015!

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Cali (the kitten)

Fab Find! Neutrogena Hand Cream

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Hey!
Time for a product review. This is about Neutrogena’s “Norwegian Formula” hand cream.
I bought this little tube of moisture just over 3 months ago in a quest to keep the skin on my hands looking young. In my job I wear powdered latex gloves and I wash my hands countless times daily. I’ve noticed in the past year or so my hands are beginning to look a bit well…tired.

I was informed by a credible source that the gloves combined with the merciless hand washing will age my hands and fast.
Like everyone in the world, I want to live long but I don’t want to age so I set out to find a product to slow this inevitable process down.

I did NOT hit up any high end cosmetics shops for their specially formulated youth serums which would cost me half my month’s rent for a microscopic dollop. I went to the supermarket. There you can find many good quality products.

I must take a moment to admit that there was nothing specific I was looking for, no particular brand or formulation. I was looking for the cheapest thing that looked as if it might actually keep my hands moisturized. I planned to rub it on each night as part of my “night time beauty routine” (which as it happens doesn’t and never has existed).
I stumbled upon the aforementioned product. Neutrogena is of course no stranger to cosmetics and is a trusted name with a decent reputation. I’ve used their washes and a few other things by them over the years and I have no complaints so I felt that they would at least deliver a reasonable product. The box promised that just a tiny amount would do the trick because it was so concentrated with moisture. The last selling point for me however was the cost. This tube was approx $12 US for 2 oz. I thought “Let’s do this!”

A few days later I decided to try it. I was surprised to find it was a translucent gel rather than a typical emulsified “cream”. At this point I KNEW it would be good!

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             The Gel Like Moisturizer

Obeying the directions I squeezed a teeny tiny amount out, probably half of a pea sized portion and began to rub.
To my surprise (pleasant), once I rubbed it became white like traditional cream and thick yet smooth. I was able to spread that small amount over both of my hands.
It left them feeling AMAZING! Not even body butter leaves my hands this silky, soft and moist. And… it wasn’t greasy at all! I suspect that if you used too much at once it would get a bit greasy but using the correct portion it’s just right.

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It goes white once you start rubbing

Additionally, because you only need a small amount at a time, this stuff will last! This conditioning wonder has replaced my BBW(Bath and Body Works) minis which I use to moisturize my hands in between washes. I now take it to work with me and apply it throughout the day (probably 5-6 times) and it is still almost full! 
(Sidenode : I still carry my BBW mini lotions around in my bag for regular everyday use)

So, is this a fab find or not? A resounding YES! As with everything, different people may have different opinions about the same product so the only way to know for sure is to try it yourself but I’m pretty sure you will not be disappointed!

Have an awesome day!

GHOST POST

Happy Halloween again! This is the as promised scary story post.

Of course I usually post about entertaining and decor and even shopping but this is an exception to the rule. Of course I can tie it into my MO. Ghost stories are entertaining, everyone loves a ghost story whether or not they believe in that stuff. They are also a free form of entertainment… so looking to spice up your Halloween night? Invite a few friends, bring some snacks and sit around telling ghost stories.

I have a small compilation here today. I can’t scientifically prove that any of these hauntings were real but the experiences certainly are. So here we go…

1) HOSPITAL HAUNTING

WHERE? The Victoria Hospital, Castries St.Lucia WHEN? 1970’s Told to me by a nurse who worked there at the time.

One night while doing night duty 2 nurses headed to the sleeping quarters at the back of the hospital for their break. When nurse K arrived she saw that nurse M was already in the room resting in the rocking chair. K proceeded to get the blankets down all the while talking to M. Surprised that M was not responding she turned to the rocking chair and found that it wasn’t M at all but rather a black wispy substance in the loose form of a human which then proceeded to swirl and move underneath the nearby bed! K was frightened and as she turned to bolt through the door she saw the back of Nurse M running up the stairs. M had arrived in time to see the entire thing and corroberate K’s story.

2) OSCAR THE GHOST

WHERE? Oxford Plantation, St.Lucy , Barbados WHEN? 1960’S Told to me on different occasions by my mother and aunt

Oscar was the well known resident ghost with a penchant for smacking persons on their behinds partiularly in their sleep often leaving visible hand prints. This reportedly happened to numerous family members, friends, cousins who frequented the home. My mother is unsure who Oscar was in his lifetime, she assumes he used to live there previously. There was a window on the second floor with the name Oscar etched in a pane. This window was replaced. A few weeks later, the name Oscar was once again etched into the window pane….

3) GHOST ON THE MORNE

WHERE? The Morn, St. Lucia WHEN? Early 2000’s Told to me by a friend whose friend’s father was on of the witnesses

A group of about 6 adults (men and women) were driving home from a party late one night. As they drove they saw a woman standing on the side of the road up ahead. They all noticed she appeared very tall, about 7 feet! She was wearing a long old fashoined dress. Both she and the dress were sheet white and she didn’t appear to be solid. As the group slowly drove by they looked into her eyes and saw nothing but black hollow sockets! They  swiftly headed home and the men returned about 45 minutes afterwards but by then she was gone…………

BONUS

This year our gardener of many years suddenly passed away this year. He came to us as a gardener but was so much more. He painted our rooms, fed pur animals when we were away, he was a friend. Aprroximately a month or so after he died, my mother was in the backyard feeding our dogs when she came across his name etched in the cement. It had never been there before…..

So that’s it, have an amazing day!

Halloween on the Cheap

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Happy Halloween!
I love Halloween. I also love Christmas, my birthday and Easter. I like Valentine’s day and I have no feelings towards Thanksgiving. I also appreciate,respect and acknowledge Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali and Eid even though I don’t personally celebrate them.

Now to the meat of the matter: Halloween!
Despite living away from home on and off for the past 4 years I have managed to be at home every year for the past 6 Halloweens. There I have a collection of Halloween props and decorations both handmade and store bought.

Here (where I am now) I have nothing. Zero, zilch! To add insult to injury Halloween season found me at a time when I had no money. NONE! So it isn’t like I could order a bunch of new stuff online or go on a shopping spree.

What is a poor party girl to do?

Well I soon discovered that my new hometown didn’t have much to offer in the way of Halloween shopping, in fact it doesn’t have much to offer in the way of shopping in any way…

Despite that I soon discovered a discount store had some Halloween stuff in stock. The basic stuff: witch hats and brooms, cat ears and tail kits, rubber creepy crawlies you get the drift.

Even though I prefer more inspired merchandise I could work with this. I have loads of “basic” Halloween decorations at home.

I could do a whole witchy theme I thought :
I’d hang two brooms over the doorway, put a plastic cauldron on my dining table and have a ton of rubber worms and mice spilling out of it. Of course I’d buy a bunch of pumkins and arrange them on my counter then put witch hats on a couple of them…..yes I can see it now….
EXCEPT I didn’t have enough money for all that stuff.

Okay so forget the theme idea I would keep it simple: A Happy Halloween banner on the wall, fake cobwebs in each corner a plastic Jack-o-lantern bucket filled to the brim with candy. I could strategically place the rubber rats and centipedes on the floor wait wait….didn’t have enough for that either.  And the store didn’t have any fake cobwebs anyway.

So I went in with a budget of under $10 (that was my theme).For that I got the following:
1) Spiderweb bowl
2) Pack of rubber spiders
3) Pack of small bats
4) Witch’s hat
TOTAL $9(things are kind of expensive around here)

This wasn’t a whole lot to work with but it was enough. My apartment is small anyway.
I placed the bowl on my table and arranged the spiders in and around it.

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Made some look like they were crawling away.

I put the witch’s hat on my breakfast bar and placed a spider and bat on it. I also added a purple candle I had from before saying as my colour scheme is purple.

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The bats were a problem. I wanted to hang them or maybe stick them onto the wall for a flying effect.but my lease prohibits sticking stuff up and also I had neither string nor tape nor funds with which to buy them. So I grudgingly propped them onto the shelf just above the breakfast bar. Made it into a Halloween corner as such.

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I’m a hardcore Halloween-ist so I knew I had to do something even if it isn’t what I would have wanted. I’m already away from home and friends and family so I needed some semblance of normalcy. And you know what I like it. It’s simple. I can look over when I’m on my laptop or in the kitchen making lunch and see it and that’s cool.

This is the overall look

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My little Halloween corner.

Well that’s that. I’ll be at work on Halloween night but I hope everyone has a great Halloween.
Stay tuned for my Halloween Scary Story post.
Have an awesome day!

Supermarket Steal- porcini mushrooms

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That’s the price of this cannister of porcini mushrooms. $14.39!

Hello all, today’s post is about a great deal I got at the supermarket on an item I probably wouldn’t usually buy because of the price.

So I was in the supermarket a few weeks ago when I walked by a small lone shelf with an array of seemingly out of place items. It was at the end of the drink aisle but there were cans of soup and boxes of ziplock bags and dryer sheets and they all had little yellow and white stickers on them with hand written prices.

I was instantly drawn in! That warm fuzzy feeling I get as I approach a well stocked SALE section in the back of a favorite clothing store set in. I slowly crept over with quiet but palpable anticipation…. I confirmed what I had suspected. These items were on sale!

Let me digress for a moment. I recently moved ,so this supermarket is new to me and I am now getting to learn it. At home, (my real, original home )the supermarket chain my family shops at has a similar practice. The items are called Red Dot Specials. There is usually a couple shelves just by the entrance where they have most of the items displayed and a few scattered throughout the rest of the store. (usually refrigerated items)

These prices on these items are slashed! Almost everything is at least half price and often even more reduced than that.

But why?
Why would a place of business sell these random items for next to nothing? Well in the food business much of your merchandise is perishable. Even “non perishable” items have a recommended shelf life. As an item nears the end of its shelf life/sell by date the store has 2 options:
1) Let their products expire and discard them.
2) Sell them off as quickly as possible to salvage some money.

The easiest way to move products is by cutting the price and drawing your attention to that fact. This is what the red dots do. All these items have a huge red (deep orange) sticker on them with a reduced price scribbled on.

My dear frugal friends, this is how you obtain those fancy gourmet items you dream of having your kitchen filled with.

My sister and mother have made this into a sport, a science even. They know the day the red dots get put on and make an effort to go to the supermarket on said day. A significant portion of our shopping happens on the “red dot” shelf.

When I open the fridge and spot some fantastic cooking sauce we heard about on Food Network but never bought (cause it was too expensive!) I just know,I don’t have to see the red dot on the label. When we have gourmet cookies or crackers to snack on I don’t need to ask how this came to be… I already know. When there is suddenly a surplus of something we usually buy sparingly like almond milk I am not baffled….the answer lies on the little sticker that says red dot.

This is not a foreign concept. Lots of, if not most supermarkets do something similar although I’m sure they have their own names for it.

In this trip to the supermarket I bought the above mentioned item: porcini mushrooms.

I have heard of them before, being an avid foodie I’ve seen many a recipe call for them. I’ve watched a chef prepare some with pasta (a dish I intend to try). I’ve always wanted to try out these porcini mushrooms. But they are pricey and half the time not even in the supermarket. But that day I was in luck!

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$1.99! Approximately 1/7 of the original price!

This was my chance! I picked up the container, seriously considering buying two at once then deciding against it in case I didn’t actually like them.

I have tried them in only one recipe thus far, a makeshift meal of turkey sausage, tomatoes and porcini mushrooms.

To use them, the container recommends pouring boiling water on them and letting them sit to allow the flavor to seep out. They also soften.
They are useful in lots of sauces.

The aroma is enticing. It smells like some gourmet Italian kitchen making something really good. The taste is very umami. Salty,earthy ,slightly bitter and very complex.

I enjoyed my porcini mushrooms and I plan to try the pasta recipe soon.

This was possible all because these tasty morsels of fungus were on sale.

Interested in these supermarket steals?
I have a few pointers below to guide your purchases .

1) Ensure the item is really on sale: Too often we see signs saying “special” or see 3 of  the same item taped together and assume this means they are at a reduces price. Not always the case. Make sure you are really getting the bargin you’re looking for.

2) Check the expiration date. This is all relative as many items are still good for some time after their expiration or sell by date but use your judgement. Any milk containing product whose date has already passed , I pass on that. Same for things containing fruit as fruits can harbor lots of microorganisms when no longer good.

3) Inspect. Sometimes items which are damaged e.g dented cans or partly open packages are placed on sale. If you have no issue using a box of dryer sheets that might be missing a few or a bag of chips that have popped open and been exposed to the elements then that’s your call. Just make sure you know this before hand and get no unpleasant surprises.

So there you have it!

Happy (bargin) shopping and have an awesome day!

Last Splash(Watermelon Slush)

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“Ah been drankin’ wata mellun”
Hey…
So summer is officially over

ACTUALLY……..
For those in temperate climates (Northern hemisphere) summer is over. For those in temperate Southern climates its now coming and for those in the tropics well there are generally 2 seasons: rainy and dry but we do experience milder versions of weather patterns depending on which side of the equator we lie.

But I digress….

I’m really here to talk about the quintessential summer friut of 2014…..the watermelon!

I don’t know if to attribute it to the (?in)famous line in Beyoncé’s monster hit “Drunk in Love” or this just happened to be the year everyone jumped on the watermelon bandwagon but this fruit was large and in charge in 2014.

It made its way into everything from fresh fruit salads to salsas for grilled meats to alcoholic beverages.
It could be found in fashion too, I’ve seen watermelon bags (shaped like a semicircular slice of the fruit), tees with watermelon prints and of course featured in Mz Katy Perry’s “How we do” music vid (LOOOVE that song)

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Watermelon print tee

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that the watermelon has been a popular fruit and had an impact on fashion for a loooong time. However as far as popular culture goes every year a few food items get seriously hyped up and enjoys (or endures) its 15 minutes of fame.
Examples include:
1)Pomegranate circa 2009/2010 (and it’s still going,pomegranate flavoured stuff is always more expensive)

2) Kale circa 2012/2013

My prediction for 2014/2015 is coconut and more importantly coconut water! Mark my words you heard it first right here.

Again, I digress….

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A WORD ON WATERMELON
According to Wikipedia(everyone’s ultimate reference source whether or not we admit it) watermelon is the name given to both the plant and it’s fruit(which is what we are actually talking about here). It is believed to have originated in Southern Africa. They contain little sugar, lots of water and lycopene which is associated with cardiovascular health… blah blah blah take home message: it’s good for you!

MY THOUGHTS ON WATERMELON
As a young child I was given watermelon as well as many other fruits to eat (my mother tried, I have only myself to blame for any bad eating habits I now foster). I hated it.

As a teeneager, while trying to develop healthy eating habits I tried watermelon. I hated it.

As an adult, on numerous occasions, while trying to be healthy and frugal I tried watermelon. I.HATED. IT

I’m not sure I left any clues to suggest this but don’t like watermelon. At all.
It’s watery as the name implies and tastes like Styrofoam (what I imagine it must taste like). It has too many seeds and even though its so watery, when the juice dries it gets über sticky. Bleh!

However, not wanting to be left out of this watermelon craze I decided to give this fruit another chance.

The thing about watermelon that really does appeal to me is bang for your buck. Watermelon is cheap. I can get an entire cannonball sized one for what 3 apples or 1 nectarine costs. And I will get a lot more servings of a fruit that is pretty much as healthy as they come.

So I gave the wretched fruit another try. I was inspired by the thousands of pins and posts and magazine articles glorifying this fruit. What I did realize is that hardly anyone was eating it plain. They were adding it to stuff, adding stuff to it etc (you get the idea)
That was the key. Sure I couldn’t tolerate the thought of putting a chunk of the pink fleshy fruit to my lips by itself but what if…. what if I jazzed it up a little… and that I did.

So here is the actual post(lol)

WATERMELON STRAWBERRY SLUSH

WHAT YOU NEED:
1) A watermelon(whole or sliced)- the amount you use depends on how much of this you make.

2) Strawberries(frozen)either use actual frozen strawberries (I did, they’re cheaper) or get fresh ones and pop them in the freezer.

3)Lemon/Lime juicefrom a bottle or fresh

WHAT TO DO

1) Cut the watermelon into small cubes (the exact size is entirely up to you)

2) Slice the frozen strawberries up

3) Place both fruits in a bowl or jar or glass and pour a dash or 2 of lemon juice over it (again this depends on how much you make and how acid you like things)

4) Stir the ingredients together allowing the watermelon to get partially crushed. It’s okay if the strawberries get a bit crushed too.

5) Serve with a spoon

PEARLS (a-hem ..seeds)
i)You can add strawberry flavored beverage mix e.g tang,Kool aid to amp up the strawberry factor.

ii) Add Sprite/7-Up or plain soda water(only a couple dashes) to give some fizz.

iii) Blend with said sprite etc to make it into a drink.

This is a great little snack on a hot day or alternative to ice cream for dessert. It’s affordable, simple, versatile and easy. Oh and I actually liked it! Cheers to that!

ADDENDUM

Other food Trends(these are my personal observations, no scientific evidence was used)

Red Velvet anything –2011-present.

Key Lime flavored anything– this is currently becoming a trend.

Bacon- circa 2012. This is when everyone’s favourite breakfast item meandered into pop culture and is now commonly seen on shirts, in jewelry, internet memes….etc.

Quinoa-circa 2013 to present. This one makes me chuckle.My sister did NOT get on this gravy train. She is so anti this gluten free wonder(she thinks it’s obnoxious). I personally like it, a healthy alternative to cous cous but I cannot even mutter the wprd in my sister’s presence.

Pops- circa 2011 to present. Cake pops, applepie pops, marshmallow pops…. basically any dessert or food item in general on a stick (except corndogs). We have Bakerella ( the talented, brilliant inventor of cake pops) to thank for this.

Now I’m done. Have an awesome day!

Dessert Party

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Hello everyone. I had a birthday this month. (Shout out to all September borns!)

Initially I wanted to have an intimate gathering. A cooking party, one where a chef comes and demonstrates while the guests follow and prepare the gourmet meal they then indulge in. I soon realized this was well above my means.

What I did instead was just as good. I had a dessert party! A dessert beach party to be exact! Yup, a party where the entire menu is dessert. I also had the fortune and pleasure of being able to have it at a beach house. Dessert, sand, ocean. Pretty perfect.

INSPIRATION
The inspiration for my party was…wait for it…. “My Little Pony Friendship is Magic” a.k.a MLP FIM. Yes, this adult over here is a huge fan of the series. I’ve been a fan of My Little Pony since the original series back in the day. I’m sure most people are vaguely aware that the series has been revamped quite a few times but I have to say that this current version (Generation 4 or G4) is the best! But I digress.

I knew I wanted a party inspired by them but having MLP FIM plates, tablecloth and loot bags would be a bit much even for me. I decided to have a more abstract interpretation of the show.

On the show, the ponies are always having a good time and throwing some kind of party usually put together by resident party planner and my favourite character Pinkie Pie. For this reason I chose pink as the colour of my decor.

At their parties the menus almost solely consist of dessert. Hence my idea to have a dessert party!

THE PARTY
Every shindig I throw together no matter how big or small how casual or fancy I have a party plan. This is where I put together important bits of info to guide me as I plan. Sometimes it’s written, sometimes I put it in my phone and sometimes it’s just in my head but the point is that it’s there.

PARTY PLAN

WHAT: Birthday- Dessert Party

WHEN: September 6th 2014

WHERE: Beachhouse at X location

WHO: Insert guest list here

THEME: MLP FIM /Dessert

MENU: Insert menu here

ENTERTAINMENT: This is where you decide how you keep ypur guests bustm. Anything from an iTunes playlist to a game of monopoly to a performance by a belly dancer goes here.

BUDGET: Arguably the most important part of the party plan.
My budget was $100 US

Wait…what! An entire party for 25 plus persons feeding them dessert!(easily the most expensive part of any meal) for $100 US! No way!

Yes way. I am the poor party girl. I entertain and live fabulously on a budget!

HOW: I decided to do it potluck style. I asked each guest(or couple) to bring a dessert. That way each person only spent money on one dish but put altogether we had quite a spread.

THE LIST
This is my menu
1) Strawberry Trifle

2) Chocolate Trifle (ended up being baked chocolate mousse cake)

3) Brownies

4) Blondies

5)Cheesecake (one with strawberry and the other with cherry topping)

6)Coconut mousse

7) Ambrosia Salad

8) White chocolate chip cookies

9) Strawberry Strudel

10) Ice Cream

11) Fruit Tarts

12) Coconut Loaf

13)Chocolate Bread Pudding

14) Jello

Additionally we had tuna, cheese and cucumber sandwiches as well as fishcakes for those who wanted a break from the sweetness.

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Fruit tarts

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Blondies being sliced

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Some of the desserts

Of course there were drinks. From juice to coke wine, rum and vodka(birthday cake flavoured!), tipsy gummy bears and jello shots!

DECOR
As I said pink was the colour of choice. In an effort to stick to my budget coupled with my lack of time and energy to DIY, I had very minimal decorations but I think it worked out just fine.

1) Triangle flag banners
I bought three of these 9 foot long card banners. They were pink and white with alternating patterns of polka dots and stripes. I got them from a craft/toy store and they werw very inexpensive.

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The banners

2)Flowers
I usually get flowers from my supermarket. They are reasonable and there’s a decent selection. To save money, you could buy 2 or 3 flowers and either add some bulk with foliage from your garden or leave them just so for a minimalist look. This is what I usually do but I got crazy and bought a full bouquet with pink being the main colour of course.

3)Table
I bought a dirt cheap plastic tablecloth in flamingo pink. Not wanting to hide to beautiful dark wood table entirely my sister folded the tablecloth lengthways into 1/3’s and made it into a table runner.

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Table runner and flowers

4) Balloons
What a controversial decoration. For years I considered them tacky. A six year old birthday? Yeah. A high school dance? Fine, maybe. A wedding or a conference? NO!
Now I don’t feel that way at all. All over the net I’ve seen some seriously tasteful balloon decorations. Also, if you like balloons..use them! They are cheap, fun and instantly say “party!”.
My sister and mother got me three regular latex balloons filled with helium( they don’t last as long as heluim balloons) for my welcome home which happened 5 days earlier. They still had a little life in them so I tied them to the gate of the beach house so guests could find us.

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The balloons on day 1(sorry no party pics of them)

5) Candles
More for the ambience than decoration. I got a Glade candle in Coral Lagoon scent. Glade, BBW and similar brands are cheaper alternatives to fancy schmancy pricey designer candles.

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Glade candle

ENTERTAINMENT
Music
My sister’s bf set up a laptop and speakers and hooked it up to the TV. He had a playlist going most of the evening but later in we switched to YouTube requests and karaoke. Fun times!

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The entertainment system and me being a total creep in the window.

Hula(Hoola) hoop
Oh yes, inspired once more by MLP FIM. In their land Equestria, technology doesn’t exist and the ponies entetain themselves with old fashioned passtimes like apple bobbing and ball bouncing. I had 2 hoola hoops and later on in the evening some of us retreated to the sand and had a serious hooping session. I won!
There was also a beach ball (for those who couldn’t hoola hoop)

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View from the beach where the hoop-off took place.

THE CAKE
Half of my budget was spent on my cake. I love baking but who wants to have to make their own birthday cake? I ordered a dark chocolate mousse on chocolate sponge. It was topped with thick white chocolate curls and sliced strawberries. It was pure, smooth chocolaty evil. And we loved it!

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Decadence

I had an old fashioned “birthday song singing, speech giving cake sticking” It was touching.

That’s it in a nutshell. Another birthday well spent with excellent company. I have to admit I had been feeling really down in the days leading up to and on my birthday. This happened to me last year as well (I hope it doesn’t become a regular thing). By the end of the night I felt better and for that I am grateful. (especially after that hooping sesh!)
Wishing everyone an awesome day!

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Fab Find (or not)

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Hello all

I’m back on the beauty vibe today where I’ll be reviewing “Baby Skin” by Maybelline. Let me first acknowledge that this isn’t brand new. It seems to have been around for at least 1 year and so many beauty bloggers/vloggers have already reviewed it. However I’ve only recently used it so I will now add my 2 cents as it were.

Let me first explain briefly what it is. It’s a face product that boasts “blur technology” and is meant to “Instantly erase pores”. It isn’t meant to actually shrink or fill in pores just make them a lot less visible.

Now let me tell you how I came across this product. No I wasn’t actively looking for pore minimizer (even though I have massive pores). I was in the supermarket just perusing the cosmetics section and there it was not too far from “babylips” which I LOVE!
When I saw it I was instantly intrigued. Of course it looked super cute just like baby lips packaging then I read what it does! Erasing pores? I was sooo there.

I bought it with not so much as a second thought (maybe a second but definitely not a third). It cost the equivalent of about $6 US, which is the price I hear it goes for most places. This appealed to the poor party girl in me, for a pore minimizer this was a steal. In fact I don’t evem own any pore minimizer because it tends to be one of those things that run you at least $30 US! and this poorpartygirl AIN’T.GOT.TIME.FOR.THAT (lol).

Anyhow onto the review…..

I tried it literally as soon as I got home and could get it out of the package. With clean hands I squeezed a half of a pea sized amount onto my palm and proceeded to gently pat then spread it over my problem area (either side of my nose)

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It looks like gel. There was no real smell that I could appreciate. The way it feels is the most interesting part of all. I doesn’t really feel like anything I’ve ever touched. It’s not sticky like gel would be, it has a slightly greasy feel when you first touch it but that feeling quickly becomes powdery once you actually apply it. Difficult to describe.

Now did it actually work? Was this in fact a super cheap version of those fancy high end pore erasing/filling products? Was it a fab find? Or not?

…………………………………………………………

Not! I was soooo disappointed! I love Baby Lips and I think Maybelline makes good products in general but this one did not deliver it’s promise.
I actually watched a couple reviews of this on YouTube to see if maybe I was applying it wrong, I wasn’t. I tried it at least 4 times.

I saw one review where the girl was super duper impressed. No one esle really seemed to be but many of them did confess that it made their makeup go on better and so it functioned more as a primer than anything else.

I personally didn’t find any difference in makeup application.

I also noted that one vlogger said she thinks if your pores are too big it won’t work. Maybe that’s why it did nothing for me. But really, it’s people with big pores who actually need a product to erase them so…..

Anyhow the verdict is NOT so fab of a find. It’s certainly affordable but it doesn’t do what it claims to making it something I wouldn’t buy again. However I implore anyone interested to try it themselves and get a true verdict.

Thanks for reading and have an awesome day!

Tipsy (gummy) bears and Jell-O Shots

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Hello all. So I had a birthday recently (Sept 6th- shout out to all Virgos!) and I had a dessert party! But this post isn’t about that. No, no no. Inspired by my dessert theme however I decided to make 2 alcoholic treats…..

1) Vodka infused gummy bears
2) Jell-O shots

This post is about these 2 treats and how I combined them.

TIPSY BEARS
I first learnt of the existence of these about 1 1/2 years ago when my sister decided to make them for her 25th birthday. She called them Drunken Gummy bears (as per the name used on the Internet).
I remember everyone being able to eat 2 maybe 3 of these max cause they were so potent! All but that one friend who had so many that by the end of the night he was walking like a drunken gummy bear himself (shout out to my friend Mark!). Anyhow, the recipe she used which was based on multiple sources asked that the gummy bears be soaked at least 3 days prior to use. Having experienced 3 day infused gummies, I decided to prepare mine the day before. Hence my term Tipsy gummies rather than full on drunk.

What you need:

1) Gummy bears ( the amount you use depends on the number of people you plan to serve and their general tolerance for strong alcohol)
Side note, I’m pretty sure other gummy treats can be used e.g gummy worms (the ones without the acidic sugary coating) could make a great Halloween drunken snack.

2) Vodka – whatever brand you prefer.

3) Bowl- for mixing the gummies.

What to do :

1) Pour desired amount of gummies in appropriate sized bowl.

2) Pour on vodka so that all the gummies are covered (not submerged and swimming)

3) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

EXTRA
I took them out about twice in the 24 hours to give a stir (the gummies become quite congealed) and the second time I added a dash more vodka because they had absorbed it all.
Before serving I took them out of the fridge for about an hour so they would soften and I could scoop them out properly.

I served mine in plastic shot glasses.

And it is that simple.

Jell-O SHOTS
Ahh jell-o. Something I definitely have a love-hate relationship with. I love that it looks so fun, that it’s been around for so long, that it’s so low in calories. However I often cannot get past 2 spoonfuls before becoming painfully aware that I am eating something that wobbles (bleh!)
I do on the other hand ADORE their puddings. I could eat chocolate jell-o pudding evey day for the rest of my life!
That being said, in keeping with my dessert party I decided jell-o (a classic family dessert) was a good idea. Then I was like hey! Let’s add alcohol for a really fun time! What I love most of all about jell-o, as a woman on a budget ( shout out to my fellow poor party girls!) is that it is dirt cheap! A small box is under $1(US) literally eveywhere you go. I used 1 small box to make 40 shots (using small plastic shot glasses)

I have certainly tasted a few jell-o shots in my time but I never made any. Turns out it’s very simple. I also learnt that I didn’t have to use vodka as the alcohol, I could also use rum! (#whoknew)

I made 2 flavours :1) watermelon with regular vodka and 2)raspberry with raspberry flavoured rum.

I got the recipe from a youtube video youtube recipe and the idea to use rum from her.

What you need:

1) 1 small package of jell-o(or other gelatin snack) -I used raspberry for this but use preferred flavour.

2)1 cup boiling water.

3) 1 cup cold water.

4) 1 cup Bacardi flavoured rum (or other flavour, or vodka)

5) Shot glasses (or other suitable small containers).

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Ingredients for jell-o shot fun

What to do:
1) Dissolve jell-o in 1 cup of hot water.

2) Add 1 cup cold water and stir well.

3) Add 1 cup of rum/vodka and mix.

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The mixed product.

4) I placed this liquid into a measuring cup (because the little spout makes it easier for pouring)

THE TWIST!
5) For my raspberry shots I decided to mix poisons as it were and dropped 2-3 tipsy gummies in the bottom of the shot glasses before adding the jell-o.

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Tipsy bears

6) Pour mixture into glasses and let chill and solidify. I left mine overnight to ensure proper consistency.

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The finished product (if you turn your head sideways and squint you can see the gummies in the bottom…lol)

EXTRA
I kept them in the fridge for most of the party intermittently taking them out and going around until they’re were none left.

In summary both vodka infused gummies and jell-o shots are a fun inexpensive way to serve both alcohol and an adult treat. You need no more than 2 cups of alcohol to pull off both (that’s like a small bottle of vodka or rum)

I had fun making these and more fun watching my guests devour them with a mixture of delight and horror.

Look out for a post on the rest of my birthday dessert party (on a budget of course) and have am awesome day!