Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Around Here, Lately

Falling snow fascinates Muning {our cat who thinks she's an ancient Princess!} to no end. For me, its the serene beauty after a snowfall that stirs my soul .......

Monday, January 11, 2016

DIY | Lavender Bath Salt

Making my own body pampering essentials is on my bucket list for a long time now. Since one of my January goals is to "do more and dream less", I thought why not start working on these body pampering essentials like bath salt, body scrub, massage oil and lip exfoliant. So, yesterday while it was snowy and windy outside, I was busy in the kitchen like a "scientist" mixing a bit of this and a drop of that ... after less than an hour, I checked off another item on my bucket list! And the scents of lavender, lemongrass and peppermint in the kitchen was heavenly!

These lavender flowers I harvested from my garden and air-dried last fall were finally put to use. I initially planed on making my own lavender essential oil but I still don't have enough plants to produce the amount of flowers I need {maybe this year}. 

For the meantime, I have been sourcing organic pure essential oils from SAJE or TIME & AGAIN for the last few months so I now have at least my favorite scents in my stash {lavender, bergamot, peppermint, lemongrass, and tea tree}.

Here's what you need to make your own Lavender Bath Salt:

2 cups Epsom salts 
1/4 cup sea salt (optional)
1/2 cup baking soda
4 tablespoons lavender flowers
40 drops lavender pure essential oil 

In a dry bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until well combined. Store in covered jar to prevent moisture. Now you can enjoy a fragrant and soothing hot bath using this homemade bath salt.

Note: Test product on hand before use for skin sensitivities. 
          Epsom salts soothe tired muscle
          Baking soda softens waters and alleviate skin irritation

Personally, after a long tiring day, I find it hard to fall asleep. I count sheep and talk to the Shepherd. I still do that, but that is after taking a relaxing hot fragrant bath!

P.S. Will share other DIY pampering essentials on my next posts.

Linking with :  *  Share Your Style  *  Sundays at Home  *  Creative Collection  *  Amaze Me Monday  *  The Scoop  *  Tweak it Tuesday  *  Treasure Hunt Thursday  *

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

2015 Top 7 Friends Favorite Posts

Hi everyone! As I resume regular programming in all fronts of this little life of mine, I did a review of what has been - things that worked, things that need improvement and things to let go. Here in my blog. I also reviewed posts that friends and readers considered as "favorites". I'm honored that most of these were featured in other blogs!

TOP 7 - Delicious Salmon & Spinach Wellington with Mushroom Mascarpone Herb Sauce

I made this dish when dear hubby was sick and I was so stressed. As they say,  a lot of good things happen out of a dire situation and this is one of them.  This has become a staple here at home specially when friends are visiting. The combination of the warm and flaky salmon and the crunchy pastry surrendering to the richness of the mascarpone sauce is truly delicious! 

TOP 6 - Homemade Basil and Garlic Tomato Sauce

August and September of 2015 were two of the best months here at home. There were buckets and buckets of fresh tomatoes harvested from our vegetable garden. Oh those fresh, juicy, plump and red tomatoes were definitely worth all the hard work n the garden. I still remember how busy the kitchen was! To me, even the most expensive canned tomatoes can't beat the freshness and flavour of this homemade tomato sauce.

TOP 5 - My Love Affair with Afternoon Tea {Tips on Hosting an Afternoon Tea]

Afternoon tea is one of my favorite get-together themes. Whether I am expecting a couple of guests or a dozen, I go all out in preparing the table, the food and of course the teas. To me, sipping warm delicious teas among friends is always an affair to remember.

TOP 4 - Crispy Baked Asparagus

Back in June, I shared this asparagus recipe given to me by one of the farmers at Port Perry Farmers' Market. This appetizer is best served right after taking the asparagus from the oven. It is crispy, tasty and when dipped with aioli, the freshness and tabginess of the lime will balance the saltiness of the Parmesa cheese. Best served with chilled Pinot Grigio.

TOP 3 - Rustic Outdoor Tablescape

From all the tablesacpes I have done so far, this is my personal favorite, hands down! While writing this post, I can see our snow-covered backyard from my working table and I can only wish that summer is just around the corner so we can eat dinner outside on this {if I may say} beautiful and rustic tablescape. Is that too much to ask in January? :-)

TOP 2 - Home for Christmas {2015 Christmas Home Tour]

This is my first home tour post in my blog and I really had a great time preparing our home for Christmas. In the same way, I also enjoyed looking at other bloggers' home tours for the holiday!

TOP 1 - Saving Herbs for Winter Months

Suffice to say that I am reaping the benefits of preserving these precious herbs back in September! Fresh or dried, I have no problem finding oregano, thyme. basil, mint, rosemary and tarragon when I need them for my recipe or two. Everything is either in my freezer in color-coded container {for fresh herbs} or in mason jars in the pantry {for dried herbs}. 

Live creatively, happy and lovely is my mantra this 2016. This blog is not only an avenue for my hobbies and passions in life. Through the years, blogging earned me new friends who share the same interests. This is my PURE BLISS and I hope though my rumblings and amateur photos, friends will continue to get something out of it in the same way that I am learning though others' posts.

Friday, January 1, 2016

My 2016 Life Planner

Happy New Year!

The champagne bottle has been popped and enjoyed, the glow and colors of fireworks were now mere memories and the first page of 2016 calendar had been turned. YES, today is page 1 of a 365-page-book called "My Year" - all but blank pages for now but waiting to be filled with daily stories, opportunities, challenges, successes and lessons learned resulting from choices made along the way. For somebody who likes to document these things like me, it is hard to find a planner that suits my needs {oh yeah, I have an iPad, iPhone and a laptop but this girl loves my paper where I can scribble on, paste things on and everything in between}. Since October I was searching for my ideal 2016 planner where I can include work-related appointments, meetings and travels, to do lists, personal life documentations {for project life} and space to write new ideas and recipes for my blog BUT couldn't find one. Since my demands are too many and specific,  I decided to make an all in one 2016 Planner which I named "Epic 2016"!

On a trip to Michaels one rainy Saturday in November, I found what I have in mind. I got an 8x6 Sn@p! Studio photo album and various inserts for my planner.

Each month has a space where I can write my monthly Life Verse, Monthly Goals {I find monthly goals easier to work on than New Year's resolutions}, and end of the month "Lessons Learned".

There's also a monthly spread for work-related appointments, meetings and travels. I also inserted a 8x6 pocket to keep my day-today business-related receipts.

I also got some inserts called "Life Documented" which I find useful for memory keeping of daily surprises, blessings and challenges. This way, it will be easier to put together my Project Life photo album at the end of each month.

There is also a place for my To Do List with various sections like phone calls to make, e-mails to send, shopping to be done, errands to run, etc.

I'm loving the fact that I found inserts for menu planning whenever I  have some home entertaining to do. 

And finally, I included some photo pocket pages which I can use to hold pages of ideas and inspirations torn from magazines in the doctor's waiting room {ooops, did I say that loud?} and of course to hold photos and craft cards.

We make our own life story. I can't wait to fill mine with what this brand new year has to offer. While seizing opportunities and new beginnings both in personal and professional fronts, I might as well sprinkle it with a dash of creativity and a dollop of fun!

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