Latest articles by A Guest Writer for Plum Deluxe

A Guest Writer

Overhead view of a warming cream tea with cups of tea, scones, and miniature baked goods served on green and white plates.

How to Have the Perfect Warming Cream Tea

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During an English summer, one thing that we Brits love to do is to have a cream tea. Sit back with the sun on our faces, a scone slathered in cream and jam (or as you call it, jelly), and sip a nice cup of hot tea. But who’s to say that a warming cream […]

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Two scoops of Earl Grey Cardamom Ice Cream sprinkled with pistachios in a glass dish.

Spice and Ice: Earl Grey Cardamom Ice Cream

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Summertime is for sunshine and frozen treats. If you like chai or Earl Grey tea, you’ll love this lightly spiced spin on kulfi, which is a type of Indian ice cream. Nothing beats homemade dessert. You can enjoy this Earl Grey cardamom ice cream as a sweet ending to an Indian meal, but any occasion […]

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Antipasti Tray

The Art of the Antipasti Tray

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In my family, we have taken the humble antipasti tray and turned it into a focal point of all our celebratory dinners. The word antipasti means “before the meal,” but in my family the trays have a way of becoming the meal! Antipasti began in Italy as a way for families and restaurants to serve […]

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6 Yoga Poses to Boost Your Immunity

Yoga asana, or postures, carry a tremendous number of benefits, and a gentle practice can help to support the immune system all year long. Yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and lowers stress hormone levels. It gives a boost to the circulatory and respiratory systems, and supports the lymphatic system to eliminate toxins. All of […]

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How to Bring Celebration into Everyday Life

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New year’s resolutions are notoriously thorny; we make them and break them as if they’re nothing. More often than not, they’re not even representative of what our hearts truly want. What if, instead of making resolutions that feel crummy, we took the time to celebrate? I’m as guilty as anyone of forgetting to pause. I […]

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Bonkers for Brigadeiros: A Brazilian Treat That’s Super Sweet

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Are you a chocoholic with a sweet tooth that’s always in overdrive? If so, your holiday baking plans are about to get a lot more interesting — and irresistible! Say hello to the beguiling brigadeiro. Historic Recipe, Romantic Sweetness Brigadeiros are best described as a Brazilian bon-bon, a soft, truffle-like delight made with cocoa and […]

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6 Self Care Practices for Changing Seasons

That fall to winter space can be tough for me: my Ayurvedic type is vata (ruled by wind and space elements), and I experience seasonal affective disorder. It can be a challenge to move into darker days, colder weather, and the stress of the holidays. These are my very best practices for how I support […]

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Luck In Your Cup: Tea Superstitions for Prosperity, Love, and Good Fortune

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It’s no secret that tea has been around for a long time. According to Chinese legend, tea was accidentally discovered 5,000 years ago when Emperor Shen-nung was boiling water and some tea leaves fell into his pot. However, the earliest mention of tea that historians actually trust is in an ancient Chinese dictionary from 350 […]

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Bringing People Together: The Samovar, a Russian Tea Urn

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I remember the first time I visited my future husband’s parents in Germany. In their house, many details caught my attention, but one item stood out. “That’s a samovar!” I exclaimed excitedly. My in-laws were visibly surprised. “Do you know what this is?” “Of course I do! We have two of them at my parents’ […]

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A Classic Earl Grey Tea Granita with a Twist

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It seems like this past summer was the year for cold brew teas and tea ice pops, but there was one treat that I had enjoyed almost weekly that was missing from the trend: granita. An Italian dessert, granita is semi frozen and usually consists of water, a sweetener, and flavoring of some sort. Reminiscent […]

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5 Creative Ways to Cultivate Gratitude Without a Journal

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Expressing gratitude and cultivating (and investing in) high-quality relationships are two of the best things I have done to create a life that I love. In the moments when I have told people why I am grateful for them, I can see how much those words matter. I believe we should be saying them all […]

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Drink Your Greens: Double Green Tea Smoothie Recipe

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Green smoothies are having something of a moment. There’s a reason why these brightly hued drinks have been dominating your social media feeds: they’re an easy way to increase your intake of green vegetables (and the corresponding nutrients that come with them). Smoothies are easy breakfasts for those of us on the go, and by […]

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Hooked on Vanilla Salt: These Cranberry Lemon Bars Are Why

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Have you ever seen a recipe that didn’t call for a pinch of salt? There are not very many! Salt adds texture, plays a role in culinary chemical reactions, and — best of all — adds incredible flavor to sweet and savory dishes alike. You can use sea salt, volcanic salt, fine grain, large flake, […]

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How to Increase Your Good Luck + Good Vibes with Stones and Charms

We’ve talked a lot lately about creating good luck in your life. What about being more lucky at home? You can work on your feng shui, but want something even easier? Get yourself some lucky stones! All stones have a vibration and can be used intentionally to help us create balance, manifest, or shift our […]

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5 Tips and Tools for a Successful Flea Market Trip

One of the most fun activities during the warmer season can be hitting the road to go antiquing and to check out some cool flea markets, either nearby or on a farther journey. And whether you’re a seasoned pro or this in fact is your first rodeo, there are a few important things to keep […]

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America’s Happiest Town: Wining and Dining In San Luis Obispo

How does a visit to a quaint college town nestled between the rolling hills and beaches of California sound? A place where average winter temperatures are in the 60s and boutique shops, wineries, and restaurants are plentiful? Today, San Luis Obispo looks and feels a lot different than it did back in the early 90s […]

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Award-Winning Pomegranate and Avocado Salsa to Knock Their Socks Off

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I never thought I’d add “award winning chef” to my resumé, but thanks to my favorite salsa recipe (a combination of avocado, pomegranate, mango, and cilantro), I can legitimately do so. For what greater recognition exists for the home chef than the accolades of the local grocery store — and what greater reward is there […]

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Wisdom of Mom: 3 Ways to Show Your Support of Others

One of the greatest gifts my Mom ever gave me was her belief in me.  Regardless of what I was doing or saying at any given moment, she saw my highest, best self.  She was critical for sure –- and never feared telling me the truth — but she made sure I knew that anything […]

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The Ultimate Tea Party Centerpiece: A Showstopper Victoria Sponge

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It’s easy to get stuck in a tea party rut, particularly if you don’t want to deviate too far from tradition. But something as simple as a new twist on a classic Victoria sponge will provide your perfect English tea party with a showstopper centerpiece. I grew up with traditions of weekend high tea. After […]

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6 Ways to Practice Fitness for the Soul

If you asked most people why they exercise, they would probably tell you one of two things: either because they have to or because they are training for something. Both of those are perfectly good reasons to exercise. We do need to move our bodies in order to be at our healthiest, and choosing and […]

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Palate Pleaser: How to Make Your Own DIY Focaccia Bread

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Flatbreads have become so popular. They are crispy, delicious appetizers in restaurants, great finger food with wine at home, and can be used for sandwich makings and croutons or a nice lunch with soup. There are lots of crusty edges. It is an excellent use of seasonal produce, yet can be fantastic with just some […]

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Storming Savannah: Letting Loose On a Weekend Getaway

No husbands, no kids, and lots of planning were all it took to get my five sisters and I off on our first ever “sisters only” getaway. After two days in Charleston, where sweetgrass baskets, Rainbow Row, and other delights charmed us, our rented van then sped us along towards Savannah. As we traveled east […]

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Always Hungry In Philadelphia: A Foodie Weekend Getaway

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Philadelphia may very well be the City of Brotherly Love, but it is anything but congenial when it comes to food. Opinions are fierce and firm, secrets are closely guarded, and recommendations are fervently issued. The upside of all of this passion, all of this obsession, is that you, the traveler, will eat better in […]

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S’mores, Forts, & Relaxation: A Weekend in Amelia Island, Florida

Every year for our wedding anniversary, my husband and I travel somewhere that neither one of us has been; the last six years have taken us to Chicago, Seattle, Shenandoah, Montreal, Toronto, and New York City. But this year was an especially busy year and, rather than conquer a new city, we wanted somewhere to […]

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How To Make 2015 Your “Richest” Year Yet

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I love life and love living it to the fullest. I want the richest life possible. — Richard Branson We each have an amazing opportunity to make 2015 our “richest” year yet, a life not only filled with monetary abundance, but an abundance of love, joy, laughter, and experiences that allow us — like Sir […]

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Spread The Love Potluck

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It is really easy to get caught up with what is next in our lives; what movie we want to see, what vacation to plan, what the next five years will look like, etc. But, we are missing the most important part… we are forgetting to think about what is right in front of us, […]

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Sparkly Apple Ginger Sangria for Wintertime Bliss

Sangria takes on many forms lately, straying far from the traditional robust red wine and fruit concoctions that were born more out of necessity than pleasure. Today’s sangrias use exotic fruits and sweet liqueurs, but they all have common elements — mainly fruit, wine, complimentary liquor, and something to give it a little sparkle. If […]

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gluten free party rice balls

Gluten Free Party Rice Balls

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This feature was brought to you by our sponsor, Minute® Rice. The opinions reflected here are that of the author. There’s something to be said for the satisfaction of enjoying a hot snack, whether that’s a midday treat or welcoming your dinner guests. One of my favorites is arancini — Italian rice balls. They’re full […]

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Culinary Adventure: A Weekend Getaway to Baja California, Mexico

Visiting Mexico — to drink wine? That’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of our neighbor to the south, but if you appreciate good food and wine, consider a visit to Baja California’s Valle de Guadalupe. This scenic agricultural valley, just inland from the city of Ensenada, is known […]

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4 Writing Prompts to Help You Live the Good Life

I believe writing and the self are intimately connected. Through writing, you can explore your unconscious thoughts and learn more about your desires, your fears, and ultimately what you most want out of life. The tricky part, though, is learning how to get past the self-critical conscious mind. It’s not always so easy to push […]

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gausthaus aescher

PHOTO ESSAY: Finding Your Way to a Secret Corner of Switzerland

Berggasthaus Aescher guesthouse, in the Appenzell region of Switzerland, is unlike any other spot I’ve traveled. It’s an epic journey to get there, but once you arrive you’ll find a small mountain guesthouse that is seemingly floating above the clouds, built onto the side of the mountains, and nestled among the Swiss Alps. Inside you’ll […]

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Saving Summer Flavor for Year-Round Gifting

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Some of the joys of summer are the fantastic bounty available from kitchen gardens, neighborhood fruit trees, and farmers markets. But when all of that bounty gets ripe at the same time, the sheer quantity can be overwhelming. Why not turn some of those lovely summer flavors into gifts? Give Your Hosts a Jar of […]

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It’s Your Birthday Party: Do What You Want To

So it’s your birthday and you want to celebrate! That’s either a really exciting or really stressful idea, right? It doesn’t necessarily have to be stressful, though — after all, birthday parties are supposed to be enjoyable. However, that definitely means something different to everybody. You might be somebody who loves being the center of […]

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Dipping Duo: Two Favorite Appetizers for Your Next Bash

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Appetizers are my favorite party food option. They are easy to make, filling, cheap, and come with many dipper choices. There are dips that are savory and dips that are sweet, dips that are hot and dips that are cold, dips that are healthy and dips that are cheese and grease and butter and all […]

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8 Ways to Help Your Community While Getting Fit

From helping you lose weight to preventing chronic diseases, getting fit has many benefits. With the right workout, you can extend the benefits beyond yourself to help the greater community. No matter your fitness level or preference, here are eight ways that you can help others while getting fit. Rebuilding Communities – One Home at […]

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Gaucho Nights: 4 Variations of Maté Tea Inspired by South American Cinema

Long beloved in South America, Yerba Maté (pronounced sherba matay) is finally having its moment in the spotlight in the rest of the world, too. This herbal tea is derived from a holly plant native to Argentina, and, as well as having health benefits in spades, it is a social experience central to just about […]

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Mixing Art With the Outdoors: A Weekend Getaway to Helena, Montana

You want a weekend getaway filled with art museums, theater performances, and gallery hopping. Your partner dreams about hiking, biking, and fishing in the great outdoors. How do you find a destination to make both of you happy? Plan a romantic getaway to Helena, Montana. My husband and I weren’t sure what to expect on […]

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Making a Meal of Zucchini Madness

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I have more zucchini experience than I’d like to admit. They say that if you plan on planting zucchini, you better have a lot of friends. Well, one summer I made a gardening miscalculation and learned that I had far fewer friends than I thought! Enter several weeks of raw zucchini salad with almond pesto, […]

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Wine and Dine in Texas Hill Country: A Weekend Getaway in Fredericksburg

Wine tasting, fine dining, and eclectic shopping opportunities abound in the historic heart of Hill Country, just over 70 miles from both San Antonio and Austin. Fredericksburg, Texas is the definitive weekend getaway — enchanting oenophiles, food lovers, and anyone hoping to escape the everyday. Stay and Slumber You can walk back from dinner if […]

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5 Steps to Safer Sun Protection

Before heading to the beach or hitting the trails this summer, remember to grab some sun protection. Taking a few simple measures now could prevent development of skin cancer, skin aging, and painful sunburns. Here are some tips to be smarter and safer this summer as you enjoy the sun. Choose a Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen Shopping […]

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Shoes and Martinis: A Girls’ Weekend Getaway to Toronto

Toronto is truly a city that has something for everyone. Cosmopolitan and multicultural, this beautiful city hugs the shores of Lake Ontario and offers up a side of pristine nature to complement its worldly landscape. Toronto welcomes millions of visitors each year, from convention attendees to students to big bus tours, but I think it […]

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Americana Food and Wine Pairings for Summer Party Perfection

There’s nothing more American than a BBQ or summer picnic. Whether you are a planning something on the backyard grill or a picnic under the trees or at the beach, here are some delicious (and affordable) state-side wines to give you that perfect pairing for an all-American celebration. For Hot Dog Traditionalists Wine with dogs? […]

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7 Mouthwatering Go-to White Wine Blends for Summer

My favorite white wines for summer complement the season: cool and refreshing, mouthwatering, smelling of flowers and tasting of lush, ripe fruit. Still or sparkling, they pair perfectly with salads, fish and seafood, poultry or pork, and all manner of spicy dishes. A great many of my favorite summer whites are blends and, happily for […]

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Ciders & Sliders: How-To Tips and 4 Fabulous Pairings

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You’ve savored sliders with beer or wine, but what about cider? One of the most popular beverages in Colonial America (it’s why John Appleseed planted all those apple trees), cider is making a comeback with flavor and styles that are better than ever. Best of all, cider is a versatile pairing partner thanks to its […]

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Lunch Is In the Backyard: A Beginner’s Guide to Foraging

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I’m not what you’d call a survivalist; living off the land Bear Grylls-style has never been my thing. I mean, I like grocery stores as much as the next person. However, the idea that there could be delicious, edible, and free eats outside, all around me, without my ever knowing it — well, that’s just […]

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5 Ways to Make Your Master Retreat a Haven for Better Sleep

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You are finally home from a long day and can’t wait to get some sleep. Well you can kiss those Zzzzs goodbye because you’ve just been greeted by a fluggy room. This can’t happen anymore! I won’t allow it and frankly I can’t take you looking like a red-eyed monster. To help you out, I’m […]

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A Pantry Picnic: Get Up and Go with 10 Items or Less

We’ve finally put that long, cold winter behind us and some of the best days to get outside are ahead of us! Before you head out on the next beautiful afternoon to soak up some blue sky and green grass, take a look in your pantry and fridge to put together an easy and budget-friendly […]

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Scentsational: Discover Your Signature Summer Fragrance

Sarah Jessica Parker spoke at an event recently where she explained how the beginning of her fragrance business stemmed from a childhood memory related to smelling her mother’s perfume every time she left a room. Sense memory can play a strong role in deciding our personal preferences down the line. Some swear by one long […]

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Be a Happy Camper: 6 Luxury Camps for Adults

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Going away to camp isn’t just for kids. These luxury camps provide unique opportunities to participate in activities geared specifically for adults. They combine the best parts of going to sleep-away camp as a kid — making new friends and bonding over shared adventures — without having to give up too many conveniences. Wine Camp […]

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Worth Watching: Door County Wisconsin’s Outdoor Theatre

After a day spent exploring lighthouses, hiking lakeshore trails, touring cherry orchards, tasting cheese, and sipping wine, the opportunity to enjoy live theatre with an outdoor edge is what makes Door County, Wisconsin, so special. From the rustic, completely outdoor amphitheatre setting in the woods of American Folklore Theatre, to the more refined, roofed theatre […]

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Plan a Beautiful, Bountiful, Edible Front Yard

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from “The Edible Front Yard” by Ivette Soler Let’s face it — not many neighborhoods will be friendly to a no-holds-barred edible landscape. Economics is among the most pressing reasons for this since your property value is intertwined with the property values of your neighbors. If you do anything that might adversely affect the perceived […]

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Hellstrip Gardening: Creating a Paradise Between the Sidewalk and the Curb

from “Hellstrip Gardening” by Evelyn J. Hadden Many of us own or manage pieces of land that are part of the public landscape, a landscape that other people interact with every day. That public environment uplifts our mood or sends it plummeting, rivets us in the present moment or fails to distract us from our […]

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If You Love Wine with Seafood, You Will Love Cassis

Provence is known for Mediterranean sun (an astonishing 3000 hours per year with 300 days of sunshine), stunning food, and some of the world’s finest rose wine. In fact, most of the wines made in Provence are Rose: but there is one tiny wine region that lies right on the coast between Marseilles and Bandol […]

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5 Hot Style Trends to Keep This Summer

After one of the longest winters in memory, the spring season has finally sprung and we have all responded joyously with iced coffees, flip-flops, storage boxes, and lighter fashion. As the seasons change, so does not just our fashion, but our disposition. Sweaters get swept under the bed, and t-shirts and shorts move up in […]

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Cooking Calm: Transform Your Tastebuds with Lavender

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from The Lavender Lover’s Handbook by Sarah Berringer Bader On a warm, sunny day, it doesn’t get much better than brushing up against a lavender plant and inhaling the intoxicating aroma. You can experience this just about anywhere in your landscape. From pathways to rock gardens, lavender makes a wonderful focal point, and it is […]

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3 Juices That Skip the Sugar and Add Pep Into Your Step

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Forgo the highly processed, sugary juices you see on the grocery shelves — instead opt for nutrient dense, fresh juices that you can make at home. As you transition into the warmer spring months, sip on these refreshing juice recipes to get back a little bounce into your step. If you don’t have juicer, you […]

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Cool and Manly Ways to Rock Jeans and a Blazer

Women might make less to every paycheck a man receives, but there is one place where the female will always reign supreme: in fashion. However, although we have always been the gender to beat in the fashion options arena, the boys are catching up quick. Menswear has become a whole new game in recent years, […]

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Ménage á Trois: Chocolate and Wine Pairing with a Twist

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There are some who swear that nothing is more luxurious than letting a bit of chocolate melt on the tongue only to be swished away with a swig of wine. But sadly, not everyone is a believer in chocolate and wine, there are those who swear that they are nothing more than a terminable, incompatible […]

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Grow Your Own Gourmet

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Some of my earliest childhood memories involve sneaking into the backyard to stealthily snitch fresh peas, straight from the pods. Apparently, my sly skills required some honing, as I was an easy catch who left a trail of telltale pods in my wake. My garden raiding must be a genetic trait, as my mother was […]

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Succulent Cake-Stand Centerpiece

from “Succulents Simplified” by Debra Lee Baldwin Long associated with layer cakes, plates atop pedestals are useful for showcasing another kind of eye candy: floral centerpieces. You might design this composition entirely with succulents, but bright flowers lend a festive touch. A cake-stand centerpiece of flowers alone is possible, too, but the addition of succulents […]

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Have Cute Food, Will Travel: Preparing a Bento Picnic

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The bento concept originated in Japan, but has recently become increasingly popular as an alternative packed lunch in the US and UK. Cute presentation and a balanced plate are a winning combination, perfect for a picnic any time, anywhere. Bento Basics The basic principle of bento is to combine a number of ingredients into one […]

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Natural, Salon Beautiful Hair: The Secret Is In the Kitchen

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Eggs, milk, yogurt, fruit, cooking oil, and honey are common grocery items we shop for. These items help us to make delicious meals and desserts for our families. However, they can do more than just provide nourishment for our bodies. These kitchen items, along with a few others, can give you great-looking hair as well. […]

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Transform Your Hallway in 5 Easy Ways

The hallway of a home is a bit of an awkward space. Should you decorate it or should you leave it blank? It is oftentimes a narrow space that can be drab or dark. But awkward spaces like this shouldn’t be avoided entirely. In fact, hallways can be transformed into elegant, welcoming spaces. Let There […]

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5 Yoga Poses to Help You Live in the Moment

Rushing through the grocery store, I mentally checked off the items on my list: done, done, and done. I checked the time and realized again that it was much later than I wanted it to be. Now to get home and get dinner started. Except when I got to the front of the store, the […]

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Adding Life and Character to Your Home with Antiques: A Beginner’s Guide

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Many people believe if it’s antique it must be expensive, but that just isn’t true. For new homeowners or anyone who wants to embark on a new look without catastrophic price tags — move over Ikea. There are more creative, personal, and unique ways to build an interior on a budget; one of the great […]

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A Canadian’s Guide to Maple Mastery (Food Pairings & More)

There is little compensation for a Canadian winter, but the promise of fresh maple syrup in the early days of spring keeps me going through months of snow and ice. Visiting a maple sugarbush was a favourite activity of my youth, one that I’ve continued to love well into adulthood. And as I’ve grown up, […]

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Southern and Sophisticated: A Weekend Getaway to Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is certainly synonymous with cowboy hats and country music, but there’s so much more to Music City than honky-tonk bars; however, if that’s your thing, you won’t be disappointed. Nashville is often described as a big small town, but it’s also a well-suited destination if you only have a few days to get away. […]

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A Sweet Spanish Easter Treat: Torrijas Recipe

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Easter is a big deal in Spain, but while the religious pomp may not be to everyone’s taste, the accompanying sweet treat, torrijas, almost certainly will be. In their most basic form, torrijas are slices of bread soaked in sweetened milk, coated in egg, fried, and then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. The more popular, […]

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How to Identify the Top 7 American House Styles

If you ever wondered how to distinguish a Cape Cod from Arts and Crafts at a glance, look no further. Below we’ll run over the basic features of some of America’s favorite housing styles, as well as a little background on each type, and some easy tips for quickly identifying each style. Federal The Federal-style […]

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In the Deep: Summer Swimwear Trends for Women and Men

With spring having finally sprung, and everyone getting ready for some warm days ahead, it’s hard to wrap our heads around the fact that summer, too, is right around the corner. At the same time, we are eager, ready to welcome our flip flops the moment the temperatures strike 60 and to immerse ourselves in […]

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13 Essential Experiences – the Best Things To Do In Singapore

Who knew you could eat fiery South Indian curries and go sari shopping just a couple metro stops away from hookah bars and the gleaming Sultan mosque? That a night out could have you eating mee goreng to mandopop, downing pints at a Scottish pub, drinking mojitos at Cuba Libra, snatching at Turkish ice cream, […]

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How to Start a Yoga Practice: 5 Things You Should Know

It was months before I could get enough courage to attend my first yoga class. I had no idea what to expect, and just knew I would make a fool of myself. When I finally showed up, people were quietly stretching on mats spread around the room. They had obviously been doing this a long […]

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5 Fun Ways to Mix Stripes (That Actually Work)

Though this winter has seemed like the longest ever, with no light at the end of the seasonal tunnel, we are starting to see some signs of spring at last. The weather is warming, albeit ever so slightly, and this week I saw a lot of hands grasping actual iced coffee. With spring comes happiness. […]

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How I Improved My Kitchen Confidence in 4 Easy Ways

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On a cold December night, I made a small, albeit life-changing, discovery. I was in my kitchen happily baking the pieces of my first-born gingerbread house. I was determined to make my gingerbread house from scratch — including the icing. The comforting, soothing scent of cloves and cinnamon filled the air. It was a peaceful […]

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Expand Your Social Circle: How to Meet New Friends in Your Area

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Having a strong social circle has been scientifically linked to boosting your health, improving your confidence, and helping relieve stress in everyday life. Not only are they there to celebrate the good in life, friends can also help you get through the not-so-good parts. Once one reaches adulthood, finding new friends can be challenging as […]

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Let’s Make a Deal: The 5 Best Things to Buy on Groupon and Living Social

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We all love a good deal. Some think of it as an art form, waiting and watching for that perfect deal, while others relish in the comparison. There are a million ways and ideas to get something for a bargain. But one of the best and most popular ways to scout for a great deal […]

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