Author Archives: Tony M

Best (and worst) gifts for Mother’s Day

AdobeStock_82691471Can we talk about Mother’s Day gifts for a minute?

For the love of the woman who literally gave you your actual life/the woman who loves you as if she did, please DO NOT get her gifts from any of the following categories:

  1. Gimmick Infomercial products. I know what you’re saying right now, “But Dorthy from Peoria said it kept the racoons from her garden and mom is ALWAYS complaining about racoons in the garden!”    Just, no.
  1. Weight-loss products. Even if your mom is trying to get in shape/lose the weight she gained growing an entire human being in her belly, any acknowledgement that you think she needs to lose weight will set off a chain reaction you will not recover from.
  1. Appliances of any shape or size. Your mom might say she’d like a new vacuum, but under no circumstances do you get her a vacuum for Mother’s Day.  It’s like getting toilet paper for your birthday–yeah, it’s great if someone else pays for it and you definitely NEED it, but it’s a waste of the give-me-all-the-free-stuff-I-want-day you get once a year.
  1. Anything YOU want that she probably wouldn’t use so really you’re just buying a gift for you (sorry, 65” OLED 4K TV, not this time, even if it means mom can watch HGTV in the best definition available #justsaying)

So, with that in mind, here’s our top 5 picks for things you should actually give mom this weekend (also, please don’t wait till Sunday to start shopping.  Don’t be that person.  Your momma raised you better than that).

BOOKS

The best choice for the mom who needs to escape from all your drama for a little while.

HONY

Humans of New York – Stories

(as seen on Instagram)

Jane-Austen-2

Leatherbound collection of Seven Jane Austen                              

NoraRoberts

The Obsession – Nora Roberts

                                    

HOBBY-RELATED

Does mom have a green thumb?  Or maybe she turned your bedroom into an art studio the weekend you finally moved out? 

HPOTTER

H Potter Terrarium Kit                                     

PaintKit

Mixed Media and Easel Set                            

RainBoots

Chooka Rain/Garden Boots

DRINKS DRINKS DRINKS

Be it tea, coffee, or something a little stronger, you’re probably still the reason she’s reaching for one of these.

kitchen-aid

Personal Coffee Maker                                   

MUGS

Cute/Funny/Sweet Mugs    

Glasses                             

Swirl Red Wine Glasses

HANDMADE STUFF

You’ve come a long way since that awkward ash-tray clay slab you had to make in elementary school, but trust us, mom will never tire of getting a one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted gift you put your (preferably metaphorical) blood, sweat, and tears into.

Canvas

Canvas Photo Prints                                        

macrame

Modern Macrame Planter     (with fresh flowers)                          

chalkboard-pots

Chalkboard Pots

GIFT CARDS

Is your mom THE hardest person to shop for in the entire history of humanity (yeah, mom, I’m looking at you)?  Gift cards aren’t necessarily a cop-out gift as at least it ensures mom can get what she *really* wants.  Just get her a really fancy, mushy-gushy greeting card to put it in.

Amazon

Amazon                                                    

Target

Target

Michaels

Michael’s

And, theoretically, let’s say you did wait until Sunday, on your way to lunch with mom, and you stop in to Eastridge Center to panic-buy, don’t worry–we’ve got you covered.  Spend $125 between 10am and 4pm on Sunday, May 8, and we’ll give you a $25 e-gift card.

Check out our Facebook page for more details!

Top Ten Eats in San Jose

From food trucks to 50+ year old establishments, San Jose certainly has a restaurant to satisfy any craving you could possibly have. In no particular order, here’s our top ten places to get your fill.

Plate

  1. Falafel’s Drive-In

2301 Stevens Creek Blvd

Celebrate Falafel’s Drive In’s 50th year in business by treating yourself to a classic falafel–a pita sandwich filled with falafel balls (deep-fried chickpea heaven), lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, tahini sauce, topped with the restaurant’s famous hot sauce.

As seen on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, this classic middle eastern restaurant continues to serve up the same fresh dishes like tabbouleh and hummus as it did when its door first opened in 1966.

Burgers and fries round out the menu for less adventurous, but you’d be cheating yourself to miss out on a juicy steak-filled gyro or a sweet-crisp pocket of baklava.

ChaChaSushi

(via yelp/Dean C)

  1. Cha Cha Sushi

547 W Capitol Expy

Move over free chips and salsa!  Cha Cha Sushi has COMPLIMENTARY mussel appetizers!  Who does that?! (Cha Cha does, actually)

Not only that, this popular sushi bar has an extensive menu of specialty rolls like you’ve never seen.  Whatever raw/cooked fish combos you can dream up, they’re already two steps ahead of you and it’s on the menu.

Customer favorite Brandon’s roll (pictured above) is a plateful of sushi heaven with mixed fish, cucumbers, unagi sauce, rice crackers and the whipped topping of Japan–spicy mayo.

ASONY

  1. A Slice of New York

3443 Stevens Creek Blvd

If your pizza slice ideal is that it’s a little greasy and best eaten folded in half, then get yourself to A Slice of New York.

Walk in to the storefront on Stevens Creek and pick up a couple of slices of owner-recommended cheese to-go or order a full size from their NYC-inspired menu.  Can’t pick from the delicious line up?  Try customer favorite Munchie Lunchie–topped with pepperoni, chorizo and jalapeno so you KNOW it’s good.

CityFish

  1. The City Fish

30 E Santa Clara St, Ste 140

There are few indulgences better in life than a perfectly done box of fish and chips and The City Fish dishes up the best plate going in all of San Jose.

Come for the generous portions of expertly battered and fried fish, but stay for the garlic fries and fresh oysters as far as the eye can see.  Check out The City Fish’s happy hour specials with cheap fish tacos and $1 oysters on the half shell.

FreshlyBaked

(via yelp/John D)

  1. Freshly Baked Eatery

152 N 3rd St, Ste 101 (look for the red umbrellas)

Looking for a great fantastic deli downtown?  Freshly Baked Eatery has got you covered with classic sandwiches like you’ve never had before, thanks to their, well, freshly baked sourdough house loaf.

Freshly Baked Eatery is the perfect spot to stop in for a quick and cheap, but super tasty lunch.  Try the pastrami and turkey (pictured above), or if you need a hearty meal to hold you over to dinner, ask for the Special, which features their homemade-and-cooked-in-beer sausage.

(via yelp/Glenn L)

ChezSouvan

  1. Chez Sovan

923 Oakland Rd

If you haven’t tried Chez Sovan’s amok, you 100% have not lived.

The amok (steamed fish with curry and spices served in banana leaf, pictured above) is hands down the fan favorite at Chez Sovan.  This unassuming, lunch-only Cambodian restaurant serves up beautifully prepared fish curries and stir-fry noodles that you absolutely need in your life right now.

BillsCafe

  1. Bill’s Cafe

1115 Willow St

Everyone needs a hearty brunch spot in their weekend eating repertoire and Bill’s ticks every omelette/french toast/scramble box you’re looking for.

The real stars of Bill’s Cafe breakfast/brunch are the Benedicts.  From the classic smoked salmon to the riskier crab cakes to the El Paso (think corned beef skillet meets traditional benedict), you’re sure to find a benedict for everyone in your brunch party.  Don’t forget to wash it all down with a chilled mimosa, or else, does it even really count as brunch?
(via yelp/Anita M)

SlidersBurgers

  1. Sliders Burgers

1645 W San Carlos St

Buffalo wings?  Check.  Chilli cheese fries?  Check.  A selection of unusual meat choices for supremely tasty burgers and cheeseburgers?  Check and check–Sliders Burgers has you covered for a solid night of burger-ing.

From wild boar to elk to ostrich to good old fashioned beef, Sliders grinds all meat in house for the freshest burgers you’ve ever had from a diner-style restaurant.  Start by selection what meat you want as your burger base and add-on favorites like grilled mushrooms or avocado until you’ve crafted a burger that’s all your own.

MilkWood2

(via yelp/Lily T)

  1. Milk & Wood

387 S 1st St

What’s that you say?  Thought you could only choose your toppings when you go out for fro-yo?  What madman would dare dream up customizable popsicles?

The awesome crazies at Milk & Wood, that’s who.  You pick your flavor of popsicle (green tea kit kat is unmissable), you pick a chocolate to drizzle, you pick your toppings (I see you there, Fruity Pebbles), and top it off with another drizzle of chocolate and/or condensed milk.  Your choice, your prerogative.

Spartan-Food-Truck

  1. Spartan Taco Truck

447 E William St

Located within walking/stumbling distance of SJSU, Spartan Taco Truck is the perfect spot to sate those late-night, finals-cramming munchies.

Don’t miss the $1 freshly fried chips and nacho fries–oh yes, you heard right–that’s all your favorite nacho toppings served on french fries.  Open from 9pm-3am, this food truck serves street-style tacos, burritos, nachos and offers a self-serve toppings bar–everything your midnight cravings could ever hope for.

7 Spring Styles to For Attending a Wedding

Just because its not your wedding doesn’t mean you won’t need to look fabulous. Below are 7 wedding styles for attendees that are guaranteed to make you look fabulous but not take away the spotlight from the bride to be.

 

beautiful wedding table decorated with fresh flowers, candles and an invitation
beautiful wedding table decorated with fresh flowers, candles and an invitation

 

Wedding-Attendee Rule #2 is that you can’t outshine the bride.

 

Rule #1, if you’re interested, is put your iPhone away already.  Don’t be the jerk ruining the photos your friends/family spent their life savings for and instead, gasp, actually witness the event through your own eyes and not through your iPhone screen.

 

Back to Rule #2–you can (and should!) still look amazing, wipe the floor with the bridesmaids, but maybe save that sex-bomb hair and heavy contouring for your big day.

 

We’ve rounded up the perfect hair and outfits to make you shine with a dewy-freshness for your best-looking spring wedding season yet!

 

Hair

Braids and soft curls are your best bet for a demure and classy wedding guest look.  Here’s our top three subtle and pretty styles, sure to get you some double-takes as you hit the reception dance floor!

 

  1. Braided Crown

Braided Crown

Watch the Twist Me Pretty tutorial here.

 

  1. Old Hollywood Glamour Curls

 

holywood_glamour_hair_tutorial_wedding_diy_5

Find step-by-step photos over at Grey Likes Weddings

  1. Messy-but-classy side pony

messy-ponytail-how-to

 

Get the tutorial for this dreamy style from Cup of Jo.

 

Clothes and accessories

In keeping with softly styled hair, match your simple do with soft and sweet threads.  Don’t be afraid to venture outside of floral dresses–we are crushing on jumpsuits this season, too!

 

  1. H&M’s Floral Jumpsuit with Espadrilles

hm jumpsuithm espadrillesjpg

  1. Forever21’s Floral BodyCon and Nude Wedges

Forever21 BodyConForever21 Wedges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Patron’s of Peace Maxi Dress with Full-Tilt Necklace

POP Maxi FullTilt Necklace

 

Don’t settle for a being a wallflower this wedding season!  There are so many gorgeous, sweet, and demure hair styles and outfits that will keep you looking your best without completely stealing the show!

7 Benefits of Yoga You Probably Didn’t Know About

Yoga began as a sacred form of worship and a way to reach enlightenment by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization more than 5,000 years ago in northern India.  

 

In recent years, it has gained traction in Western cultures as it transformed and adapted to promote longevity and quality of life, however, it’s often dismissed as a “fitness fad” or reason for women to wear extremely comfortable pants all day.

 

What you might not realize is that yoga actually has astonishing health benefits that go far beyond a flat stomach and toned body.

 

  1. Increased Flexibility

With so many yoga poses focusing on increased flexibility, you might be wondering why there is so much attention on flexibility.

 

Flexibility is just the term used to describe the range of use our muscles have–if you have little flexibility, you’re not using your muscles to their full potential.  Our muscles naturally lose strength through lack of use and even loss as we age, which leads to aches, pains and stiffness in our joints.

 

Consistent practice of yoga, in any form, will help you slowly stretch and strengthen muscles you didn’t even know you had, extend their range, and increase your flexibility to give you a strong body.

 

  1. Additional Strength Training

While free weights and machines at the gym definitely have a place in your strength training circuit, yoga also holds its own for building muscle.

 

Yoga poses like chair pose or the humble plank feel easy enough at first, but after just 30 seconds of holding (and probably for a few days after), you’ll notice it’s not just your arms and legs that are burning.  As with most yoga poses, your entire body is engaged, and you’re often supporting your own body weight.

 

Think of yoga as free weights, but you’re lifting the weight of your own body!

 

  1. Better Posture

Posture is more than just old-fashioned dinner table manners–it actually informs how well (or how poorly) your muscles and ligaments are aligned in your body.  

 

Good posture ensures muscles are in their correct place and you’re not placing undue stress on any one muscle or muscle group.  Unaddressed poor posture can not only cause muscle strains and injury, but can also lead to digestive and breathing problems in the long term.

 

  1. Protection From Injury

As already mentioned with flexibility and posture, yoga actively keeps your muscles aligned correctly in the body, with each muscle in its intended place and being used within its full range.

 

One benefit of this is protection from injury, with many runners and top athletes engaging yoga as part of their injury-prevention toolkit.  For instance, a long distance runner may use poses like standing forward bend or low lunge as a means of keeping the muscles between the hamstring and knee strong and flexible to prevent a serious knee injury.

 

  1. Lowered Blood Pressure

Yoga is equal emphasis on focused stretching and focused breathing.  While overall fitness can certainly contribute to lowered blood pressure, research shows that focused breathing can provide immediate and long-term positive effects on blood pressure.

 

This breathing technique in yoga is called pranayama, which translates as “control of life force”, and is the incorporation of intentional breathing with various poses.  Although this controlled breathing temporarily causes blood vessels to widen, research indicates that, over time, it can continue to keep low.

 

 
  1. Stress Management

“Stress sends the entire physical system into overdrive,” says Garrett Sarley, president and CEO of the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, Mass. “The muscles tense, the heart beats faster, breathing patterns change, and if the cause of stress isn’t discontinued, the body secretes more hormones that increase blood sugar levels, raising blood pressure. Yoga is one of the few stress-relief tools that has a positive effect on all the body systems involved.

 

Several studies on the effectiveness of yoga as a treatment for depression and anxiety provide compelling evidence of the practice’s benefits. Some of these studies focus solely on the effects of frequent yoga on women, while others take a play a large role at the area to provide the most complete picture possible.

 

Participants in these studies reported lower stress levels, improved mood, and relaxed nerves in every case.

 

  1. Effective Pain Relief

Numerous studies have been done on how yoga can specifically help alleviate low-back pain, although, as we’ve already seen, when the body begins to work as it was intended, undue stresses to joints and muscles are reduced and related pains alleviated.

 

If you’re experiencing chronic pain, it is absolutely worth consulting with your doctor about incorporating yoga into your pain management program.  The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has consistently found that patients who practiced yoga for three or more months experienced significant and sustained improvements, even more than usual medical care.

Why You Need Fro-Yo In Your Life

Why You Need Fro-Yo In Your Life

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(via menchies / facebook)

 

I love ice cream.

 

Like, let’s move in together, maybe get a dog and merge bank accounts, love ice cream.

 

But, as it turns out, ice cream doesn’t love me.  Well, it loves hanging around on my thighs, otherwise, it’s just a bowlful of sweet, sugary stomach-ache waiting to happen.

 

For most of my life, I didn’t let the inevitable post-binge regret stop me from downing a pint on my own.  That is, until a few years ago, when a friend dragged me to our local frozen yogurt shop, touting its benefits and carrying on about how it “tastes just like ice cream.”

 

I was skeptical.  Don’t get me wrong–I like yogurt.  At that time, I was eating yogurt with breakfast 3-4 times a week.  And because I was eating yogurt 3-4 times a week, I knew that it, in no way, resembled ice cream.

 

Again, as it turns out, I was wrong.

 

It did taste like ice cream.  And, more surprisingly, I wasn’t left with the post-ice cream blues.  This got me thinking.  If it tastes good and I don’t feel bad after eating it, is it too good to be true?

Frozen Yogurt

     (via adobe stock)

 

As it stands, 95% of Americans already think that frozen yogurt, or “fro-yo”, is healthier than ice cream.  After some quick investigation, I found that, on the whole, they weren’t wrong.

 

Low Fat Content

Frozen yogurt typically contains 0.5% fat, whereas ice cream clocks in at a weighty 15%, thanks to the taste (and waist) maker, heavy cream.

 

Keep in mind, though, often when you have a sweet treat that’s low-fat, sugar could be lurking to boost taste.  Many soft-serve frozen yogurt vendors add as much, if not more, sugar to balance the biting tart of the yogurt.

 

Say it together with me, folks, “everything in moderation.”

 

Probiotics

You’re a smart person.  I’m a smart person.  We both know that yogurt is full of healthy, gut-improving bacteria called probiotics.  Since fro-yo is made with *drum roll* yogurt, fro-yo also gives you a healthy dose of the digestive-boosting little guys.

 

While not every frozen yogurt chain is created equal, many are keeping up on the forefront of health and technology by ensuring the probiotics found in their fro-yo are hearty and can withstand the freezing process, so not only will your mouth be happy with your frozen treat, your gut will be, too.

 

Happy gut, happy life!

toppings2-2

(via adobe stock)

 

Fruity Options

Let’s be real for one minute.  The last time I had fro-yo, I got cake batter, peanut butter, and red velvet cupcake flavors, which probably wasn’t so bad, but then I buried them in cookie dough bites, peanut M&M’s, and chocolate sauce.  I’m not proud of my choices that night, but it happened and I own that.

 

No matter where you decide to pick up fro-yo from, everyone will have a plain or “tart” option, which, if you’re trying to stay on the squeaky-clean side of dessert-dining-out, is going to be your safest bet.

 

You’ll also find every topping bar stocked with fresh cut fruit and chopped nuts to top your sweet treat.  Adding fresh fruit to the top of your tart fro-yo adds a sweet pop of flavor, while nuts will satisfy your need a “candy coated shell”, not to mention getting caught up on your vitamin and protein intake for the day!

The 10 Greatest April Fool’s Pranks You Have To Try This Year

Tired of always being on the ugly end of an office prank?  Switch to the offensive team this April Fool’s with these clever and harmless April Fool’s Day gags.

  1. The Switcheroo

cbFPLW4

I suggest a backup box of actual donuts as this prank can potentially cause serious unrest and harbored resentment amongst your colleagues.

  1. The Sensor Block

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Variations of this classic prank include taping photos of Nicolas Cage and the Trollface meme to the underside of the mouse.

  1. The “Hey Girl”

Ryan_Gosling_2_Cannes_2011_(cropped)

Take advantage of the coworker who forgot to lock his computer at lunch and install a Google Chrome extension that changes all images on any webpage to photos of Ryan Gosling.

  1. The Googly-Eyed Office Supplies

cBFNI

Googly-eye packs usually come with about 100 pairs of eyes, so get creative!  Once you’ve covered a coworkers stapler, mouse, and filing cabinets, head over to the communal refrigerator and get sticking!

  1. The Escapee

office-prank-pinterest-via-frances-ermengarde-261176_w650cx299cy300

The thought of this actually happening is truly terrifying.

  1. The “The Office”

Stapler_in_jello

The quintessential office prank–desktop item set in Jell-O–made famous in the Pilot episode of The Office.  This one takes a minor amount of prep work work, but is 100% worth it for the response.

  1. The Sticky Situation

06-Post-It

If you’re feeling particularly gutsy, try this one out on your office supply manager.

  1. The Moat

dorm-room-door-prank-cups-tower-trap

Still a little bitter you’re stuck in the cube farm and not in an office?  This prank is a solid way to vent some frustration, but you may want to follow this one up with peace-offering donuts.

  1. The Christmas Gift

wrapped - 20090525_172443

But really, who DOESN’T love unwrapping presents?!

  1. The Bieber-Fever

38IHc

Of all of the above, this has to be the most unsettling.

What’s New at the Movies

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MOVIES YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS

3154_batman-v-superman-dawn-of-ju_8600Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
The Internet has been arguing the merits of casting Ben Affleck as Batman in this sequel to Man of Steel since it was announced mid-2013. On Good Friday, this highly anticipated feature finally hits theaters, settling once and for all if Warner Bros. choice in casting is a hit or a miss.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is our first peek at a multi-film reboot of DC Comic’s Justice League. As the story goes, Batman fears that Superman (Henry Cavill) is becoming too powerful and poses a potential threat to humanity and the two battle through bitterness and envy until faced with a much darker force, courtesy Lex Luther (Jesse Eisenberg).

While all eyes will seemingly be on Affleck’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne and his masked counterpart, don’t miss an epic performance by Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.

 

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”10px”][vc_column_text]3471_my-big-fat-greek-wedding-2_2D8CMy Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
While the sequel to Man of Steel has been talked about for years, the chatter surrounding a sequel to the 2002 rom-com My Big Fat Greek Wedding has been decidedly less obvious.

The film features all the same players you met the first time, with the introduction of Toula (Nia Vardalos) and Ian’s (John Corbett) daughter, Paris, who is now leaving home for college. Plot twist–Toula’s parents discover they were never legally married, and thus, another Big Fat Greek Wedding is planned.
If you loved the Portokalos family food-related shenanigans, heart-to-heart conversations, and irreverent laughs the first time around, you won’t be disappointed by this sweet sequel.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”10px”][vc_column_text]3406_allegiant_73AEThe Divergent Series: Allegiant
Allegiant, the third of the wildly popular Divergent teen novel-turned-movie series, finds Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) leaving the walls of Chicago for the first time ever. They quickly discover that what lies outside is far worse than they could have known as they become caught in the middle of a war to save humanity.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”10px”][vc_column_text]3349_zootopia_E1EDZootopia
Zootopia is a bustling anthropomorphic metropolis where animals live and work together in peace until a mysterious crime puts the city on edge. Rookie Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), the city’s first rabbit cop, is forced to team up with a cynical and wily fox (Jason Bateman) to not only prove herself as a cop, but make the city safe again.
Full of all the fun and clever humor you’ve come to expect from a Disney full-length feature, Zootopia is one you don’t want to miss, even if you don’t have kids.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

8 Fresh-Take Recipes on Easter Classics

I’m not ashamed to say that my favorite thing about any major holiday is food traditions.

Thanksgiving?  There better be a big, juicy turkey on the table.

Christmas?  I want to be eating gingerbread everything.

Fourth of July?  I won’t be happy if there’s not at least three types of grilled meat and a mountain of potato salad falling off my plate.

As great as food traditions are, sometimes you need to shake things up a little.

Wrap and roast that turkey in bacon.  Top that gingerbread with a maple-bacon glaze.  Dress up that potato salad by throwing in blue cheese and bacon.  (Note: there is no food that is not made better by adding bacon)

With Easter fast-approaching, here are some fresh takes on the classics that are sure to wow your guests and still check off your annual traditions.

  1. Dried Cranberry Hot Cross Buns

(Source: Natasha’s Kitchen)

-1

I’ve always hated raisins.  I can’t pinpoint the exact moment in my childhood where the sweet, juicy wrinkle-nuggets first went on my “hate it” list, but there they are, and there they’ll stay.

Which is why I was so excited to see this take on the traditional hot cross bun.  I usually opt for the fruit-less or chocolate kind around the table, but a simple swap of raisins-for-cranberries gives this Easter tradition a pop in color and flavor you won’t want to miss.

  1. Asparagus and Bacon Popover

(Source: Closet Cooking)

2

I wouldn’t say that I’m lazy, but you give me the option of slaving over a convoluted brunch tart or a one-pan popover, I’m going to opt for the one-pan wonder every time.

Kevin at Closet Cooking whipped up this easy asparagus (because you know how to eat in-season) and bacon (because bacon) popover that looks impressive, but actually only needs about 10 minutes of prep time.

  1. Spinach and Artichoke Quiche

(Source: Simply Recipes)

 

Have you ever sat down at a restaurant brunch, excited for a crisp slice of their quiche-du-jour, only to be told that they “just sold the last piece?”  Sheer heartbreak, no?  Everything else on the menu pales in comparison.

So avoid the heartache and make your own this Easter!  Your brunch guests will be wowed at your restaurant-quality dish and it’s easier to toss together than it looks.  This spinach and artichoke recipe is bursting with vibrant greens–a colorful reminder that spring is on our doorstep!

  1. Maple Brown Sugar Ham

(Source: Life as a Lofthous

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My slow-cooker gets a solid workout during the winter months and I’m always on the prowl  for new ways I can use it throughout the year.

Cue this luscious slow-cooker recipe–a fresh spin on the traditional honey-glazed roast.  I love the use of maple and brown sugar to give this Easter ham a sweet, caramelized coating that tastes just as great the next day (if you manage to save any for leftovers!).

  1. Bacon Pea Salad

(Source: Foodie With Family)

-5

Oh, look!  There’s bacon again!  What a surprise!

The combination of sweet green peas, smoky bacon, and crunchy red onion make this salad aesthetically pleasing swimming in a bowl on your tabletop and not to mention it adds a light, freshness to your brunch plate.  I particularly love the subtle zest of the paprika, you normally only find in a deviled egg this holiday.

  1. Deviled Egg Salad

(Source: Simply Recipes)

6

Speaking of deviled eggs!  No Easter brunch is complete without them!

I remember watching my grandma painstakingly slice open eggs, lay them out on a special little deviled egg platter, and then pipe-filling them in, one by one.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.

This deviled egg salad has all the flavors you love (mustard, paprika, mayo) with a few new ones (hello, tabasco!), minus the hassle of piping or the small matter of transporting them.

  1. Sparkling Lemonade Sangria

(Source: The Whisking Kitchen)

7

I’m not sure what your Easter drink traditions are, or if there really even are Easter drink traditions, but now is as good a time as any to start one.

I love a good lemonade and sparkling wine so this sangria-lemonade, which is bursting with fruit and citrus, will definitely be making a pretty pastel debut on my Easter Sunday menu.

  1. Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Maple Pecan Frosting

(Source: The Food Charlatan)

8

Carrot cake and cream cheese frosting go together like peanut butter and jelly, chips and salsa, bacon and, well, everything.

But Karen at The Food Charlatan, takes that relationship to a whole new level by mixing maple syrup and toasted pecans in her cream cheese frosting.  The result a sweet, nutty layer of pillowed atop a super-moist cake.

Even the harshest carrot cake critics will want in on this fresh take on a classic Easter tradition!

Spring 2016 Fashion Trends

Spring 2016 Fashion Trends

With the advent of spring comes numerous new fashion trends. Those inclined to remain abreast of the latest fashion would be remiss not to take a look at what is in store for them as we enter a very special time of the year.

  • Pleats are in fashion for spring and never looked better. Whether you’re looking for the classic navy hues or the seven colors of the rainbow, pleats are great for wearing into the summer. And make sure you do a pirouette as you enter the room or office to show off your

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  • Tie-dye dresses, shirts, blouses and pants never seem to lose their popularity and 2016 is no different. Colorful patterns that are sure to impress that give off that bohemian style you’re always had an affinity for.

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  • Bag lovers rejoice! Like the heavy metal look? You’ll love the studs and grommets from Zara, Prada, Louis Vuitton and more. For you ladies looking for something different, take a look at the quirky designs for 2016. Dogs, pineapples and yes, even beautiful crocheted bags. And don’t forget the latest fad – half moon bags – hot, hot, hot!

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  • The hottest thing in Hollywood is the choker top! It’s an awesome blend of part-turtleneck, par t­halter top. Sweaters and blouses look great with fashionable cami pants or even jeans.
  • Sky­high heels, flats, and mules ruled the runways for the spring collection. There are so many choices you’ll spend Easter working through them all. Oh, Easter – time to buy ladies!

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  • Off the shoulder dresses are looking great for spring.
  • You’d be remiss if you didn’t consider the Spanish influenced dresses by Michael Kors
  • Goodbye sweatshirts! It’s time to grace yourself with lace. Soft, stylish and ever so comfy, whites are making a big splash for spring as well. · Let those slim jeans show off your ankle boots! Flats and squares aren’t the only thing trending this spring. It’s back to the straight and narrow for shoes this year.
  • And who can go without denim at any time of the year? From white denim and soft washes, to flared and cropped jeans, a plethora of styles and colors are up for grabs!
  • Nautical stripes are back for men. Bolder, fresher, and certainly more stylish, they’ll bring out the subdued macho in any man. · For the ladies and the men, sunglasses for spring range from the ever popular round, to aviators, cat style and sleek geometric shapes are all the rage.

Are Shopping And Happiness Linked?

Shopping-happinessIn some good news for shopaholics, scientists have found that material purchases can provide more frequent happiness over time.

A new study has shown that material purchases, from sweaters to skateboards, provide more frequent happiness over time, whereas experiential purchases, like a trip to the zoo, provide more intense happiness on individual occasions.

The majority of previous studies examining material and experiential purchases and happiness focused on what people anticipated about shopping or remembered about items and experiences.

The University of British Columbia’s Aaron Weidman and Elizabeth Dunn wanted to know how people felt in the moment, say the first weeks with a new sweater or tablet computer.

They assessed the real-time, momentary happiness people got from material and experiential purchases, up to five times per day for two weeks.

Material purchases consisted of items such as reindeer leggings, portable speakers, or coffee makers, and examples of experiential purchases were a weekend ski trip, tickets to a hockey game, or spa gift cards.

By having people record their thoughts in the weeks following their purchases, as well as one month after their purchases, the researchers showed that material and experiential purchases bring happiness in two distinct flavours.

Material purchases bring repeated doses of happiness over time in the weeks after they are bought, whereas experiential purchases offer a more intense but fleeting dose of happiness.

“The decision of whether to buy a material thing or a life experience may therefore boil down to what kind of happiness one desires,” said Weidman.

“Consider a holiday shopper deciding between tickets to a concert or a new couch in the living room. The concert will provide an intense thrill for one spectacular night, but then it will end, and will no longer provide momentary happiness, aside from being a happy memory,” he said.

“In contrast, the new couch will never provide a thrilling moment to match the concert, but will keep the owner snug and comfortable each day throughout the winter months,” Weidman added.

The study was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

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