- Homemade Irish Cream Whiskey – It’s like Baileys, but better. Make a big batch ahead of time, and it can keep for up to two months. Be sure to use a quality whiskey – such as Jameson’s, and you’re set for success. Did I mention that it’s cheaper than the store bought stuff as well? You can have fun with the flavours too. Try and infuse it with peppermint, vanilla, or cinnamon. One word: YUM! Click here for an amazing recipe.
- Soothing Homemade Bath Salts – Here’s the great thing about bath salts, they are so simple to make and you can put whatever you want in the recipe. Maybe you’re stressed out from having your in-laws over, there’s a recipe for that. Perhaps you’re hung-over from one too many rum and eggnogs with your cousins, there’s a recipe for that. Or maybe you just need a relaxing time to yourself with no distractions, there is also a recipe for that. Disclaimer: Results may vary with every bath. These bath salts do not cure hang-overs or get rid of in-laws. Click here for awesome recipe ideas.
- Family Cook Book – I’m sure everyone’s family has those special recipes that are passed down from generation to generation. Like grandma’s meatloaf, who doesn’t love meat loaf? It’s time to put away that old disorganized cookie tin where you are currently keeping them. Why not have them organized in a nice way that is easy to find and use. One idea is to get crafty and DIY, similar to a scrap book. Another idea is to have them digitalized and put onto the computer, so the recipes are easily sharable; there are tons of companies who are doing this right now. Here is one idea to get you started.
- Chocolate Nut Bark – For the chocoholic. Everyone knows someone with a sweet tooth. The staff at work is going to love this holiday-time treat. Try it with dark chocolate for that less-sweet sensation, or even mix it up with white chocolate. Heck! Why not get crazy and add some dried fruit. There is a ton of recipes out there to try, check out this one it is simple and delicious!
- Coffee Cup Sleeves –I don’t know about you, but I love my coffee. I always use a sleeve for my coffee when I’m getting my coffee to go. Does anyone enjoy burning their fingers on the cup? This idea is so great because they are re-useable and absolutely adorable. Did you know that approximately 80% of Canadians drink coffee? That means there is a very high chance that his DIY is going to be a hit with more than one person on your list this year. This blog has as an easy step by step tutorial.
Celebrating 150 years of Canadian Pride
Canada 150 marks a celebration like no other. Over 100 free live performances are scheduled for 11 days leading up to the culmination of events this Saturday, where nearly 50,000 proud Canadian’s will gather in Victoria’s Inner Harbour to celebrate what it means to be truly Canadian. For those needing a brief history refresher, Canada Day, formerly known as Dominion Day, marks the historical event in which Canada gained their independence from Great Britain in 1867.
Canada Day celebrations kick off at 12pm on July 1st. The day will be filled with multicultural artistry, diverse food & beverage offerings, and live music, and of course a grand finale fireworks display to commemorate our nation.
Grab your flags and be sure to check out this eventful Canada 150 Day schedule in downtown Victoria:
Main Stage, BC Legislature Lawn:
12pm: Coast Capital Savings living flag tee shirt pickup
2pm: Coast Capital Savings living flag photo
3:00pm: Elder Blessing
3:15pm: Esquimalt Singer & Dancers
3:30pm: Lekwungen Traditional Dancers
3:50pm: “O Canada” – Valdy & The Childrens Choir
4:10pm: Stella Swanson & The Rosie Joyfuls
4:55pm: CIBC Reaffirmation Ceremony
5:30pm: Dirty Mountain
6:15pm: De Temps Antan
7:10pm: En Karma
8:05pm: The Funk Hunters
Harbour Stage, Ship Point Inner Harbour:
12:30pm: Mexican Folklore Dancers
1:15pm: Lilia’s Polynesian Dance Co
2:00pm: To be announced
2:50pm: Sooke Community Choir
3:30pm: Shan-e Punjab
4:15pm: Fortune Killers
6:00pm: Stinging Belle
7:00pm: Deep Sea Gypsies
8:00pm: Band of Rascals
Full article from Hubspot here:
1) Resolve to be electronics-free.
2) Resolve to write something every day.
3) Resolve to improve your design skills.
4) Resolve to take breaks.
5) Resolve to listen to one podcast per week.
6) Resolve to ask for help.
7) Resolve to develop a mobile strategy.
8) Resolve to use your vacation time.
9) Resolve to read more.
10) Resolve to move to the next level of your career.
Show Your Resolve
The 10 Things You MUST do During the Holiday Season in Victoria BC
Victoria is a magical place, and it truly comes alive during the holiday season. The city is adorned with twinkling lights, carolers and buskers liven up the streets, and festivals & events take place in every neighbourhood. Premiere Suites Victoria has narrowed down the top 10 events you do not want to miss this holiday season!
1) Vote for your favourite Christmas tree while supporting the Victoria Hospitals Foundation at the 25th Annual Festival of the Trees. Hosted by both the Fairmont Empress Hotel and the Bay Centre this year, you will look up in wonder at 85 beautifully & creatively decorated trees
2) Magic of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens is a holiday tradition that you do not want miss. This family friendly, pet friendly event runs the month of December into early January, and features the “12 Days of Christmas” light display throughout the gardens, along with festive brass bands and Christmas carollers, as well as outdoor ice skating.
3) Beat the crowds at the malls and visit Father Christmas in Old Town. You can get your picture taken and share your holiday wishes with this jolly spirit at the Royal BC Museum. Santa will be waiting for you on Fridays-Sundays from 11am-3pm on the first 3 weekends in December.
4) Feast your senses on the creative inspirations constructed entirely by holiday gingerbread! The Inn at Laurel Point is host to Canada’s National Gingerbread Showcase, where professional and amateur bakers alike display their masterpieces for all to enjoy.
5) The boats in Victoria’s Inner Harbour are lit up in a vibrant display of Christmas lights during the Marina Light Up. Take in the delightful display as you wander the downtown causeway with a loved one, hot chocolate in hand.
6) On Saturday December 3rd, come be a part of the Ogden Point Christmas Light Up in support of the Mustard Seed. Stay and see the IEOA Lighted Truck Parade, which begins at Ogden Point at 6:30pm and arrives at the Western Speedway by 8:30pm with many viewing locations in between!
7) Marvel at the lights of Centennial Square and downtown Victoria from atop the 20 meter Ferris Wheel Ride. Santa will be there, along with food vendors and holiday entertainers – sure to make this a memorable Christmas event.
8) There is no better place to do your Christmas shopping than at one of the many Christmas Markets offered in Victoria. Find that perfect something for that special someone in your life made by a local vendor with love.
9) Bundle up and bring the family down to the Delta Victoria Ocean Point Resort to enjoy one of Victoria’s great Christmas traditions – Christmas Starlight Cinema in the Inner Harbour. Don’t forget your lawn chair, blanket, and warm drinks – heaters provided by the hotel.
10) Unleash your Christmas spirit as you sign and dance along with the Victoria Soul Gospel Choir. You will have a hard time staying seated through the high-energy sounds of Motown, R&B, Gospel, and Raggae!
I love summer. I am a summer gal through and through. The warm lazy days that stretch late into the night. The smell of barbeque in air. The sound of lawnmowers and the smell of fresh cut grass. The feel of the sun warming your back. There is so much to love about summer. Did I mention the long summer days? How could one not feel on top of their game with so many hours of daylight energizing you through long lists of tasks and engagements? …So what happens when the leaves start to fall, the wind carries a bite, and the clocks fall back? Halloween comes and goes with a stir of excitement, and then I catch myself whispering of summer’s distant return. But I am determined not to live half a life, one that not just thrives when the sun warms you from above and the wind is at your back, but one that can be equally as rewarding in darker (wetter) days. I am a firm believer that there is a silver lining to everything, even the seasons. With the arrival of Autumn comes an opportunity for change, reflection, and growth. Growing up, Autumn marked the start of a new school year, a chance to meet new friends, take new classes, and try new things. A fresh start if you will. That feeling has instilled within me to this day.
So as much as you may long to stay in bed with a good book on a rainy day (and there is something to be said for that), this post is about inspiring you to get outside and experience some fall friendly activities on our treasured Vancouver Island.
1. Goldstream Park. Running mid to late October through to early December, Goldstream Park is home to the world class salmon spawning stream with thousands of Chum Salmon returning every year. Did you know that salmon see reds, purples, and pinks very well? Avoid wearing these colours to get an up close look at fish actively building nests and watch for spawning behavior. Make a day of it and bring something to cook up on the BBQ pits in the day use area along the river. The forest canopy provides a natural umbrella in drizzly weather.
2. Craft fairs. Many Christmas Craft Fairs begin in November, and why not get a head start on your list by supporting local artisans at the same time? Who doesn’t love some hand knits, preserves, and Christmas baking? Check out:
3. Pamper yourself at the Spa. Everyone deserves a little pampering every once in a while. Victoria hosts some incredible spas, and my personal favourites are located just outside the city: Sante Spa at Bear Mountain (http://bearmountain.ca/Westin-Hotel/Spa) and Brentwood Bay Spa (http://www.brentwoodbayresort.com/spa/spa-overview.htm). Also worth noting are the Spa Magnolia, Spa Sereine (the 30 minute Indian Head Massage is incredible), Sapphire Day Spa, and Silk Road.
4. Take a winery tour. You need look for farther than our own backyard to find some incredible wineries. Just a short drive to Mill Bay (mini-roadtrip!) will bring you to one of my favourite wineries, Cherry Point Estate Wines. Although the bistro closes at the end of September, tours and tastings are offered year round. Do not miss the chance to try the Cowichan Blackberry Dessert Wine. It’s like summer in a glass. Oops, there I go again…. http://cherrypointestatewines.com/
5. Take a cooking class. Fall is the perfect time to learn a new recipe or two. Companies such as the London Chef, Cook Culture, and Olive the Senses offer classes for foodies and beginners alike. My husband came home the other day from a corporate team building day at the London Chef with a pocket full of Eastern recipes. Being the one who normally does the cooking, I just about jumped out of my skin with excitement. And that got me to thinking, wouldn’t this be a fun idea for a birthday party?
6. Shop (for weather appropriate clothes). I grew up in Ontario where the seasons were extreme. If it wasn’t too cold to go out, it was often too hot, too humid, too stormy. To prevent us all from going stir-crazy in the house, my mom would load us kids up into the Chevy and take us to the mall. A change of scenery did us all wonders, and a little retail therapy never hurt either. I have come to learn that owning a comfortable, quality, water-proof jacket is KEY to surviving winter in Victoria. That and a pair of rain boots. I have not put my feet into rubber footwear since elementary school, and that is nearly 20 years of wet sneakers and soggy leather boots. I stand converted. If you do not have a pair in your current collection of footwear, make that be your next investment! If you are looking for a place to shop, I encourage you to branch outside of the malls for a taste of locally designed men’s and women’s fashion boutiques found on trendy Lojo (lower Johnson St). You can also find an eclectic mix of independent delis, boutiques, bookstores, toy stores and more at the seaside village of Oak Bay Avenue.
7. Walk the breakwater. Cozy up with hot chocolate and lots of layers and go embrace the elements. The 850 m. iconic breakwater was built between 1914 and 1916 to protect the Ogden Point piers which were being constructed simultaneously in anticipation of a trade increase due to the nearing completion of the Panama Canal. Yes it will be windy, wavy, and wet… but that is the point! (refer to point #6)
8. Plan a trip. The internet is great for researching destinations and reading reviews, but I strongly encourage you to get out of the house and go visit a travel agent. Let them tantalize you with exotic destinations, load you up with glossy brochures, and build you a custom itinerary. Even if you are not ready to book just yet, the process will bring you that much closer to making it a reality. In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to dream a little dream…
9. Leaf through the volumes in Booktown. Sometimes there’s just something about wandering around a bookstore and discovering new things that Amazon can’t beat. Visit Munro’s Books on Government Street — recognized as one of the 10 most beautiful books stores in the world.
10. Be a tourist in your own town. I went out yesterday and bought a travel guide book for Victoria. I have also lived here for 20 years. Yet, there is so much yet to discover, this I am sure. Venture somewhere new, or revisit a long forgotten site and see it through new eyes. I must mention one of Canada’s most beautiful and diverse heritage estates, Hatley Castle. Built in 1908 for coal baron and Premier, James Dunsmuir, this 40-room mansion is a classified heritage building.
Holiday Season Cocktails
It’s early December and the Holiday season is in full swing. Christmas music sweetly plays on the radio, the malls are packed with stressful shoppers, and everyone has at least one Holiday party they will be attending. For me, the Holidays are a big one because I get to host parties at my place with friends and family. What can I say, I like to entertain! It also gives me a chance to try out my newest appetizer recipes, and feed my loved ones one too many cocktails. Everyone ends up way too full, and feeling a little fuzzy. Eat, drink, and be merry, right?
If you will be a host this year of a Holiday party, then this guide is the perfect one for you! I’ve asked the staff around the office what their favourite cocktails are, so there is a little something for everyone. Your friends and family are going to wonder how you made something with so much alcohol taste so good!
Rachelle – Managing Partner
1 ½ oz Vodka
½ oz Triple Sec
½ oz Vermouth
4 oz Cranberry Juice
Add all ingredients into a martini shaker. Shake, and then pour into martini glass. Add a few cranberries for garnish. Rachelle recommends to use a good quality vodka for this recipe (like Grey Goose), it makes it even more delicious.
Leah – Head of Accounting
2 oz dry Gin (try Tanqueray 10)
1 oz dry Vermouth
Combine the gin and vermouth into a shaker, fill it halfway with ice, and stir vigorously until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain into the chilled glass. Garnish with olives – Leah says the more olives the better!
1 ½ cups chilled pineapple juice
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup Malibu liqueur
½ cup fresh lime juice
2 cups crushed ice
Blend & serve.
Katie – Reservations Manager
Elderflower and Ginger Mojito
It’s the perfect combination of bitter and sweet, it’s refreshing and delicious. Be careful with this one, you’re going to want to drink these all night!
5 Mint Leaves
1 oz White Rum
1 oz Elderflower Liqueur
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Muddle mint leaves lightly in tall glass. Fill the glass ½ with ice. Add white rum, elderflower, and lime juice. Top with ½ soda water ½ gingerale until the glass is almost full. Garnish with a lime wedge. Enjoy!
Whether we are ready to admit it or not, it’s almost that time of year again. The Holidays are fast approaching us. This time of year brings so many things to be thankful for like family, rum and eggnog, the smell of home baked goods, those crisp and cool frosty mornings, rum and eggnog, out-door ice skating, and hoping for snow. Did I mention rum and eggnog?
I’m sure we all have a few people on our list who are difficult to shop for. The simple brother who is impossible to shop for, the aunt who has everything, or the sister-in-law who is thrilled with whatever you get her but secretly she hates it. Well, why not mix things up this year. Keep it simple and do it yourself. I’ve put together a list of DIY gifts for the Holiday’s that are a sure-fire win! Not to mention they are simple, because if you’re like me if it looks too complex it will turn into one of those Pinterest fails. Yikes!