Browsing Tag

new year

ORGANIZING

My 2013 Year Plan

weekly meal planner

I don’t make New Year resolutions. Instead, I select what are the 5 areas where I will concentrate my time. I started this habit after reading 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done by Peter Bregman. His method attacks the work/life balance issue that we all face by allowing time for personal matter and for your career. It helps me to keep my focus on what I want to achieve and on what I need to be happy.

I achieve my ideal work/life balance by setting 3 career-oriented goals and 2 personal goals. Then, I decide what percentage of my time to allocate to each goal. I take a few minutes, daily and weekly, to check if I am on track with my plan. The simplicity of the 18 minutes method means that it is easy to manage, and, most importantly, that it reduces my chances to be distracted by other people’s agenda. Continue Reading

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

DIY Photobooth Ideas for New Year’s Eve

diy photobooth for new year

Nothing commemorate the passing to the New Year as a photobooth. You will see that it is not complicate to set up your own photobooth. Basically, you need to create a festive, photo-friendly backdrop and to supply your guests with a nice prop selection.

As a start, I suggest that you explore these three successfully executed photobooths. Take the time to read the articles/posts since they will supply you with all the tips you need to make your own photobooth for New Year’s Eve. Head first to HGTV. They produced a comprehensive DIY photobooth set up guide (top picture).

For years,  Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day! shared her photobooth projects. I really like her latest idea which uses a fringe garland as the backdrop.

big fringe garland photobooth
photo credits: Sarah Hebenstreit of Modern Kids Photography for Oh Happy Day

Lastly, the quality of your photos depends on the quality of your photographer and how comfortable your guests feels  in front of the camera.

new year's eve photobooth ideas
photo credits: studiOsnap

COCKTAILS + wine FOOD + DRINK

Sparkling Wine and Champagne Cocktails for Your New Year’s Eve Party

new year's eve bubbly cocktails

I believe in saying goodbye to the year with a bubbly beverage. If you wish to serve something else then a straight glass of Champagne, consider these 5 sparkling wine cocktails for your celebrations.

classic champagne cocktail
photo credits: 101 Champagne Cocktails book by Kim Haasarud – visit Epicurious for the Classic Champagne cocktail recipe

Negroni Sbagliato
photo credits: Negroni sbagliato recipe at Liquor.com

new year's eve bubbly cocktails
photo credits: Prosecco-Berry Sparkler recipe at Rachel Ray| Pink Fizz recipe by Lotte Duncan via Food Network

champagne punch
photo credits: Champagne Punch recipe at Martha Stewart

Lastly, there is the Watermelon and Mint Collins that I shared last August.

They all seem tasty. I will have a hard time making a selection. Which one would you prefer to drink on New Year’s Eve?

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Three Bubbly Cocktails for New Year’s Eve

champagne cocktails

champagne cocktails

Instead of serving a glass of Champagne, you can serve Champagne cocktails. You can either use real Champagne or a sparkling wine. We found that the Roederer Estate Brut NV from California is a wonderful substitute to the real thing. A versatile Champagne is the Veuve Clicquot.

The Kitchn shared three bubbly cocktails. Their Pear-Cranberry Champagne calls for an optional dash of orange bitters. For next time, I found two online sources; one in Canada and in the United States.

SOURCING:
Champagne Bar for New Year’s Eve: Three Bubbly Cocktails on The Kitchn
+ For Canadians: Fee Brothers Orange Bitters $ 7.99 CAD
+ For Americans: Fee Brothers Orange Bitters $6.99 USD

LIVING URBAN Living

I want my Wii Fit Plus

wii fit plus by nintendo

wii fit plus by nintendo

Like everyone’s else at this time of the year, I want to exercise more in 2010. Going to the gym does not fit my schedule. I used to do a small wake-up my body yoga routine every morning followed 3 times a week by a longer yoga session. Then, I add a Wii Fit session to my “get in shape for ski”  routine. For the last 6 months, I stopped all that.

Living a More Balanced and Organized Life is my New Year’s resolution. To be true to my resolution, I will reintegrate a training session as an essential part of my daily activities.

I was curious to see what is new with Wii Fit. They are a few new exercises but the feature I like the most is that I can build my own training routine in Wii Fit Plus. I will get the new version. I will tell you if it is worth it. As I watched the Wii Fit Plus Info video, I felt inspired by the loft interior.

What I like about the Wii Fit is that it can be used by all members of the family.

+ photos: Wii Fit by Nintendo

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

Happy New Year! And my new Favorite Champagne

toasting new year with moet and chandon nectar imperial rose

toasting new year with moet and chandon nectar imperial rose

I do not wait for New Year’s Day to drink Champagne.  As with any wine, the taste is diversified which is why I like to try new Champagne.

Amongst the few Champagne I tasted in 2009, the Moët & Chandon Nectar Impérial Rosé seduced me. It is the latest rosé in the Moët & Chandon’s collection. It has a wonderfully intense and fruity flavor. The pink color is beautiful. I will buy it again when I go back to the States since the SAQ doesn’t carry it.

On that note, I wish you a very Happy New Year! I wish that your life in 2010 will be filled with health, love, peace and joy.

+ photos: Moët & Chandon

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY decorations

Chinese New Year Decorations and Party Menu

chinese new year decorations

The year of the Ox started today. According to the Chinese calendar, January 26, 2009 is the start of year 4707. This is a cool celebration that make a wonderful theme for a dinner party. Since the New year celebrations last 2 weeks, you have plenty of time to plan a family feast.

What you need to remember is to use plenty of the traditional lucky red with gold accents in your decor. For the party favors, you can prepare red envelops with each an even number of bills or coins for the unmarried. Get the spring couplets (poems) from Chinatown. For more party ideas, read my guide on how to host a Chinese New Year party. I wrote it last year for Food Network Canada.

The menu at the Chinese New Year is filled with symbolism. Best wishes for prosperity, longevity or good luck is in order. Spring rolls and dumplings represent gold ingots. Fish symbolizes wealth and prosperity because Yu (fish in Chinese) means abundance. Whole fish served with head and tail evokes the start and the end of the year.

The candy tray is another tradition. The tray must be circular or octagonal.

Chinese Dinner Menu

I mixed some Vietnamese dishes from my friend at QlinArt. Why not celebrate cultural diversity at the same time?

chinese new year menu

+ Shrimp and Pork Dumplings Steamed in Banana Leaves by QlinArt
+ Yan Can Lo Mein on FoodTV.ca
+ Vietnamese imperial rolls (cha gio) by QlinArt. Serve them with her tasty Vietnamese fish sauce dip (nuoc mam). For more authenticity, opt for the Chinese Potstickers by Jaden of Steamy Kitchen
+ Kuih Kapit, the Love Letters biscuits from Sea salt with food
+ Chinese Steamed Fish by Jaden of Steamy Kitchen. Check out her blog for more Chinese New Year recipes.

Enjoy!

CREDITS:
+ Candy Tray, Chinese Lanterns, New Year Wishes couplets: photos by hale_popoki on Flickr – rights reserved

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY decorations

Glamorous Holiday Theme with a Christmas tree Fitted for Condo Living

Cosmopolitain Holiday Decor at Canadian Tire

Canadian Tire is not a name that comes to mind when you plan a glamour Holiday party. But when I browsed the Holiday catalogue that they sent me I was surprised to see that they carry some cool design holiday decorations. Canadian Tire imagined 6 holiday decor themes for the 2008 edition. The Cosmopolitan theme will work as well for a Christmas party than for a New Year party.

I received some free samples from Canadian Tire for evaluation. I selected the items to fit with the decorations I already owned. They sent me a sample of the black feather tree with gold tips and the deep purple feather wreath. I did not have the time yet to open the box of the 3-piece pre-lit gold trees (reg. price $29.99) that sit on the coffee table. I received a couple more items that I will show you later this week with my own settings.

These items are more affordable than the typical stores where I shop. It is not the same quality obviously. If it is for a holiday decor that you intend to use for a year or two, go for it. I say that because some items are fragile. Their lifetime will depend on how good you are at storing them.

Purple Feather Buffet Table Theme

I came out with a concept for a buffet table. Put a feather wreath around a round raised service plate or bowl. Sadly, the wreath they sent me arrived in three pieces due to poor packing. I may try to rescue it with some tape and see if it possible to show you my concept next week.

Rainbow Moments tea lights and oil lamps

I bought at Home Hardware a pack of Rainbow Moments tea light candles with purple flames from to complete the look.

Christmas tree Fitted for Condo Living

Big and tall Christmas trees take space. So brands imagine different options to adapt to the lack of space of many urban residents.

I saw this $130 model on the Canadian Tire catalogue but I did not find it online. The half-tree is designed to stand against the wall. I never see this type of tree for real. I think it is a practical idea to a specific problem. The half-tree is cheaper and you save on decorations. Have you ever seen one installed in a home? I am curious to know if they look good.

Stay tuned to see later this week my own Holiday decorations. Like gifts under the Christmas trees, you have to wait a little bit later to see how I decorated this year. Simply know that I gave you some clues over the month.