Spooky Halloween Party

Halloween-1

Trick or Treat? This Halloween decor is sure to make your guests gasp with delight. Lots of candles to set the ambiance are a must! Try white tapered candles in empty wine bottles for an elegant tablescape.

Halloween-1b

We love this severed finger invitation from Martha Stewart, what a way to announce the evening! Find full instructions here.

Halloween-2Halloween inspired paper products like menus and labels help tie the event together. We love this Macbeth themed party by Loralee Lewis.

Halloween-4

It wouldn’t be fall without caramel apples. Bring it up a notch with this delectable caramel apple cake by Half Baked Harvest. Find the full recipe here.

Halloween-3Make your appetizers festive with Halloween inspired food. Get this witch finger recipe here.

Trick or treat? Have a spooky Halloween!

Fabulous Fall Centerpiece

fall-centerpiece

Why not bring Autumn indoors with a gorgeous centerpiece. This collection of mums, roses and greenery celebrates the warm colors and abundant spirit of Fall. It is a great centerpiece to compliment your Thanksgiving table, or an easy way to brighten up your space for everyday.

Gelatin: Better than Botox! Cranberry Jello Recipe

Jello-2

Nutritional deficiencies can contribute to early aging, and adding gelatin to your diet can help increase collagen production for youthful skin.

Jello is an easy way to incorporate gelatin, and this healthy recipe is without added sugar or artificial ingredients – like the kind you buy in the store.

Jello-1

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan set over low heat, whisk gelatin with 1 cup cranberry juice and 3 tablespoons honey until there are no lumps.
  • Pour mixture into a medium bowl and whisk together with the remaining cup of cranberry juice, add lemon oil if desired.
  • Pour into molds and refrigerate until firm.

Sweet Summer Salad

Apple-Salad_web

This easy salad is as light and sweet as summer. Just throw the following ingredients together and toss! It couldn’t be any easier to make the choice to eat healthy today.

  • Mixed greens spring mix lettuce
  • Diced green apples
  • Dried cranberries
  • Pecans
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Father’s Day Gift from Child – Painted Elephant

For Father’s Day, I always get a gift for my husband from me, as well as a special gift from my son. This year, my son painted this ceramic elephant as a sentimental, artistic display of love for his dad.

The inscription says,

“Daddy, No matter how tall I grow I will always look up to you.”

 

Michaels sells an assortment of ceramic animals. Then you just need some paint and brushes and let your little one have some fun being artistic! I used a fine point sharpie pen to inscribe the message.

Happy Father’s day to all the fantastic Dads out there!

Finding Time to Meditate

Meditation

Ten years ago, I heard about meditation, it sounded interesting, like something I would enjoy and benefit from. But I hardly had the time to schedule another thing into my busy life. My mornings were a rush out the door, I was always running late, there were no breaks at the office, and by the time I got home I was exhausted. Years passed by, and I went on without meditating. I later learned, that if you can’t find an extra 10 minutes a day to do something for you, it may be time to reevaluate your life.

Fast forward ten years and my life looks very different. It is much more balanced and I am able to prioritize what is important to me, including self-care, personal growth, and awareness. It wasn’t until I began my Yoga Teacher Training course at Shiva Shanti Yoga that the topic of meditation came up again, and this time with an assignment. The assignment was to meditate 20 minutes a day. Well, now that it became an assignment, there were no more excuses, and I had to find a way. And I did. And now that I am able to see the benefits of meditation, now it is the first thing I make time for every day.

So how do you find the time…

If these outrageously successful and busy people including Oprah Winfrey and CEOs of various companies can find time to meditate, so can you. Meditating at the same time every day will help it to become part of your routine more easily.

Here are some examples of when you can find time to meditate. Pick one now, and stick with it for the next month:

  • The first 10 minutes of when you wake up, while still lying in bed.
  • When you get out of the shower in the morning, take 10 minutes to sit in a chair in your robe before getting dressed.
  • Before breakfast, take 10 minutes to sit outside on the porch or deck at home.
  • At work during the first 10 minutes of your lunch break, before eating.
  • When you arrive home at the end of the day, sit on the couch for 10 minutes.
  • In the evening when lying in bed before going to sleep, take 10 minutes to yourself.

If you don’t have 10 minutes, substitute with 5 minutes. If you don’t have 5 minutes, just try a minute. The thing is, just do it. Put it in your calendar and schedule it. Keep doing it so that you can make a commitment, and you can gradually increase the amount of time dedicated as you begin to build a routine.

According to Deepak Chopra, the best time to meditate is as soon as you get up and after you take care of your bodily functions—don’t think about it—just get up and sit down to meditate … even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Morning Detox: Lemon Water with Turmeric, Ginger and Mint

Tumeric-Drink_web

Lately I have been starting the day with a detoxifying beverage of warm filtered water, lemon, ginger, mint and turmeric. Since I gave up coffee, I’ve actually been enjoying the morning ritual of mixing up this special drink. Truth be told, the peppery, bitter taste of the turmeric takes a little getting used to, but the health benefits are worth it. 

Turmeric has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. It has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic.

According to Dr. Axe, research shows that turmeric benefits go beyond that of these 10 drugs:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Anti-depressants (Prozac)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Anti-coagulants (Aspirin)
  • Pain killers
  • Diabetes drugs (Metformin)
  • Arthritis medications
  • Inflammatory bowel disease drugs
  • Cholesterol drugs (Lipitor)
  • Steroids

Turmeric contains chemical compounds called curcuminoids, of which curcumin is the most beneficial. Curcumin is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory agent and also helps the body to absorb other antioxidants.

So add some turmeric into your diet with this easy drink:

Ingredients

  • One glass of filtered room temperature water
  • 1/2 of a lemon, squeezed
  • 2 thin lemon slices
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of turmeric
  • 5 fresh mint leaves
  • 2 small slices of fresh ginger (a little goes a long way)

Instructions

Place all ingredients into the glass of water and mix with a spoon. You can add honey if the taste is too potent to start.

Gift for Men: Whiskey and Literature

WhiskyWaxSeal_FinishI thought long and hard about this one for my Husband’s birthday, and settled on two things he loves: whiskey and literature. Now to find a way to make it tie together with beautiful packaging and sentiment.

WhiskeyWaxSeal_1For this project you will need:

  1. Whiskey Bottle: Select a cool bottle of your man’s favorite Whiskey. I used this simple, medicinal looking bottle of local Bourbon Whiskey from Kings County Distillery. You can always choose another type of alcohol if he’s not a Whiskey man. A flat shaped bottled is best for tying it all together.
  2. Book: Is there a book that is meaningful to the two of you? Maybe even a collectors edition if you can find it! I loved the intricate foil-stamped cover design of this version of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. The elongated shape would work perfect under the bottle. Barnes and Noble carries a beautiful Collective Editions set of other book titles following this gorgeous design.
  3. Twine: A spool of twine or hemp can be found at your local craft store.
  4. Wax Seal: To create the seal, you will need a stamp and wax. There are tons of emblems and wax colors to choose from, pick one that represents you and your partner. I chose a classic set using our last name initial “C” and the color red, found it at Nostalgic Impressions.

WhiskeyWaxSeal_2Inscribe the book to make it even more special. I chose to use an excerpt from Romeo and Juliet:

“My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
my love as deep;
the more I give to thee,
the more I have,
for both are infinite.”

Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

WhiskeyWaxSeal_3To wrap up the package, unravel the twine along a table, and place the book on top, followed by the bottle. Isn’t it cool how the book cover peeps through the glass bottle! Wrap the twine around the items a few times and tie it in a knot.

WhiskeyWaxSeal_4Next you will apply the wax seal.

  1. Light the taper of the wax candle and hold it at an angle. Let the melted wax drip from about 2 inches above the surface until the drops of wax form a 1 inch circle.
  2. Blow out the candle and stamp in the seal.
  3. Keep it pressed for approximately 1 minute to get a perfect seal.

Voila! The perfect gift for the man in your life.

Ranunculus Flower Arrangement

Ranuculous1_web

My most favorite flower, Ranunculus, meaning “little frog,” in Latin, often come in multiple layers of delicate, crepe paper–thin petals, looking like an origami masterwork. The name probably refers to many species being found near water, like frogs. Whenever I see them in the store, I just can’t walk away without them. They make long-lasting cut flowers and the way their stems wiggle this way and that makes for a lively arrangement.

As often happens when I am flower arranging, a few lovely blooms break loose and snap right at the head. What a shame! No need to throw those away though, grab a shot glass or small vessel and make a tiny display that is just as beautiful.

Ranuculous2_web