Criollo and Scotch – The Jem

I don’t like fizzy drinks or anything too sweet, but give me a quality spirit or a lovely glass of wine and I’m a happy girl.  I’d been hooked on Red Velvet from Cupcake Winery and for the holiday season they offered a sample bottle of Criollo Liqueur with purchase.  There’s nothing more fun that experimenting with food and drink recipes which I’ll offer up until I run out of ideas.

Mix your favourite Scotch with Criollo Chocolate Salted Carmel Liqueur – served neat, the way I prefer it, or on the rocks. Since this liqueur is very sweet, you don’t need a lot.  It’s a great option when when you don’t want dessert ~and~ an after dinner drink.

We called our grandmother, Nanny, but I often referred to her as the Dragon Lady.  She always wore a dress, her hair in a French chignon and her signature red varnish on her long nails.  Born in 1900, Nanny was stylish, relaxed, fun, intelligent and the first female entrepreneur in our family.  She apparently loved Dixieland Jazz and Lethbridge beer, but the only time I saw her drinking was on special occasions and holidays and it was always Scotch.  I offer up in her honour, The Jem shown in a vintage, passed down to my Mother and passed down to me and only used for Scotch.


If you are looking for the perfect glass to give with a bottles of Criollo and Scotch, I loVe these classic 13 oz barware glasses made in Italy by Luigi Bormioli

How to Fall in Love with Morocco from your Couch

Bliss Bracelets

Bliss Bracelets

It would give me no greater pleasure than to visit Morocco.  The light of North Africa, the colours of spice, the intersections of costume and traditions of Berber, Jewish and Muslim communities.  I don’t have immediate plans to go, but I have found a way to enjoy a bit of Morocco [and Peru] from Canada and that is through Jessica Torres of Welland, Ontario.

Like me Jessica fell in love with One Earth and decided to become a sales consultant with them.  One Earth products meet my own criteria for company ethics and fair trade, sustainable income for locals, emphasis on local and hand made products, and well, the products are seriously cool.

From Jessica, I’ve already bought the small tea pot and a hand-tooled leather bag pack made in Morocco, but I’ve got my eye on the Lala Satchel Purse for me and the Peruvian Bliss stacking bracelets which would make exquisite stocking stuffers for my sisters and nieces.

Lala Satchel

Lala Satchel

If you are an Anthropologie junkie like me, you are going to loVe Jessica Torres and One Earth.  Shopping local in an entire new way.

Jessica lives in Welland, Ontario and her Twitter handle is @one1earthbyjess


Do remember Thomas Magill? He was that young man in 2010 who jumped from a New York building and landed not on the pavement, but in the backseat of a Dodge Charger parked below.   He survived, but since that day there has been nothing in the news about his apparent suicide attempt or his recovery.

The question that my husband posed was, on the way down did he change his mind?

SuperheroesI’ve been thinking. Having survived, did he continue feeling bad or did he find God? Perhaps it one of those Hollywood moments like in Sliding Doors where the film lingers on the face of the characters as they smile a small smile and ponder whether it was fate or coincidence.

….but what about choice?  Not a superhero’s choice to save the physical body, but what if, when we are falling in life, to have that clarity to understand what is really important to us.  In that moment.

Magill didn’t intend to survive and had no clue he would survive, but in that moment falling, did he have any control over the outcome in his mind and find meaning?

I’m saying this because my family has crappy DNA. I’m holding my breath as I prepare to undergo a upper and lower scopy to scan for the nasties that took my father at 60 and my sister at 46.  I’m not worried about the procedure [which has its own risks], but I am thinking about the outcome and choices.

I feel like I am falling.

When Does Christmas begin for You?

Growing up in Calgary we must have had our tree up at least two weeks before Christmas.  Actually I don’t remember the timing.  It never seemed to be an issue.

Grammie Elf

Grammie Elf

The important parts were walking a family member’s Priddis ranch property to find the perfect tree.  Placing aluminum, not plastic, icicles along the branches an agonizing one strand at a time.  Wearing brand new Nanny pjammies and opening stockings in bed with my three sisters around 4:00 a.m. each Christmas morning.  Dinner with our extended family which included shredded carrots in orange jello and the mashed turnip that everyone put on their plate, but few ate.  Wondering if I would ever be big enough to sit at the adults table and not understanding that I would then be expected to wash the dishes instead of watching the Wonderful World of Disney on the floor at Grampa’s feet.

I don’t know when starting Christmas too early became a problem.  I know my husband refuses to get the tree or put up lights until days before the Eve, while I sneakily decorate the house in stages as soon as it gets really chilly.  I do, however, loathe businesses who are built around seasons.  It just puts too much pressure on everyone.

Some of my costume products are in demand before Halloween as companies and communities prepare for November events like the Santa Parade and staff parties, but this is their choice and I am responding to it.   I wish more business owners would fight the urge to unnaturally force this already stressful time of year onto themselves, staff and consumers.  Do you agree and …

Sammy’s Rock

I can’t tell you how many women I speak with that, like me, find themselves waking at 3:00 a.m., their hearts pounding and their minds filled with anxious thoughts.  We joke about how we should have a 3:00 a.m. chat room.

Most of the thoughts are irrational, like Sammy’s fear of this rock.  I’m not saying the thoughts are untrue, but irrational because in the scheme of things they don’t matter a hill of beans, or they are out of our control so why worry at all.

Off camera the lady picked up and put the rock out of sight in a wood bin.   Immediately Sammy bounded away happy to have saved the park from what we all laughingly saw as an inanimate object with no power except in Sammy’s imagination.  That really got me and I wondered what rocks in my life, either in or out of my control, I was making into a problem.

The only thing that has helped me calm the hamster wheel in my head is Hatha Yoga and mindfulness.  If you are like me, it took many gurus, classes and forms of yoga before I found something that worked.  That and Sleepytime Tea.  If you have tried and given up on yoga, perhaps you have just not found the right class and I encourage you to keep trying.

Till then, we are all still up at 3:00 a.m. CST if you are 😉


What she said …

Maison Bentley Style


If you ask my kids what celebration most floats their boats they won’t say birthdays or Christmas..It’s Halloween every time…and I’m not sure it’s just about the unlimited supply of sugar.  For them it’s the drama of being out in the dark with their friends, dressed as something totally alien, doing something that would be utterly forbidden in normal life.  This year Bella went as a wolf..who might have a few cat tendencies..we got a bit confused..


Charlie was Batman!


This year we went to a friends for a party..first time I haven’t decorated our house in years..


Ready for the off, treacle treating bags at the ready..


It’s not America..but people and their houses do embrace Halloween in SW London..there were some impressive sights..


We all thought this was a statue standing next to Robin Williams grave….until he went Boo!


Loved these pumpkins with their noses!


Returning home..a scariest…

View original post 11 more words

Scallops Komini Style

There appears to be, like myself, a number of Komini pan fans lurking about.  Here is a quick video of my husband Rick using our 10″ cast iron pan to sear sea scallops.  The scallops were served with a risotto made with my homemade lobster stock and we had a simple salad of spring greens after.  I don’t eat scallops or shrimp too often, their populations seem to be so fragile and like with much that I eat, I want to shop local at least the USA or Mexico, but Thailand and China?  If I don’t know the companies practices for farming, harvesting or staffing, it’s hard for me to pony up.  I’d rather go without.

When we do buy, cook and eat scallops or shrimp, it is a wonderful thing.   The grave aside, Rick is sauteing the scallops in butter on high heat of the smallest burner of our very sexy Lacanche stove and using the tongs to feel if they are cooked through and hot.  As I said, I cannot BBQ so I do not get how they are cooked, just that I appreciate that he does it well.