A simple guide to beer and food pairings

beer pairings feature

beer pairings

A simple guide to beer and food pairings

For thousands of years, beer has been inextricably connected to food. The distinct qualities and ingredients of beer can intensify, complement and create endless food-pairing possibilities.

The low alcohol percentage in beer complements food rather than overpowering delicate or complex flavours. The alcohol breaks down fats and oils and helps cleanse the palate. Caramelization and browning during the beer-making process create many sweet and savoury flavours making beer perfect to pair with food. While wine and cheese parties might be the norm, try hosting a beer tasting party for the beer lovers in your circle.

Here are a few pairing tips from Rickards:

• Wheat beers  –  pair nicely with protein like seafood and butter-based sauces. Rich cheeses like Havarti can bring out the beer’s fruity and herbal notes.

• German-style pilsners – pair nicely with poultry, sautéed foods and cream sauces. This type of beer has a balance of softness and punchiness so it won’t overwhelm delicate flavours.

• Irish-style ales – pair well with pork and tomato sauces, due to the sweetness of the malt. Serve this toasted malty flavoured ale with nutty and smoky cheeses like gouda or aged cheddar.


DIY Live-Streaming Your Wedding

live-streaming your wedding

DIY Live-Streaming Your Wedding

Live-streaming your wedding may be something your parents never heard of, but it’s certainly nothing new. Brides and grooms have been utilizing this technology for years to share their special day live with friends and relatives that would miss it otherwise due to circumstance, location or health.

live-streaming your wedding

You’re probably already shelling out a pretty penny for all kinds of marital memories from disposable cameras for your guests, a photo booth, the videographer and the photographer. The good news is that new live streaming apps and technology means that it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. In fact, live-streaming your wedding may actually help you pare down that guest list or choose the destination wedding of your dreams without feeling the overwhelming guilt of “well so-and-so won’t be able to make it then.” Here are some tips and tricks to live streaming your wedding to keep costs low, guests happy and yourself stress-free.

Know Your Audience

Who will be watching this once-in-a-lifetime event? Do you want all your Facebook friends in on the fun? Or do you just want your extended family across the pond to see the actual I Do’s? Defining your audience realistically is the first step in choosing the most effective and efficient way of sharing your big day.

If you’re just live-streaming for grandma and grandpa, then FaceTime might be the best way to share your special day with them. Skype is also a great option for international guests, and if you upgrade, you can live stream up to ten users.

Hangouts On Air is a good option if you have more people who want to watch. It lets you stream up to nine users for free. You also can make the hangout public or private, and you have to invite guests to join via their Google Plus account. In addition to airing your special day in real time, Hangouts On Air works in conjunction with YouTube to save and post your video, so guests can watch it over and over, make comments and share. Once again, you have privacy options, so it’s up to you if you want to keep the audience limited.

If you want to include more virtual guests, consider affordable apps like Periscope that allow you to live-stream straight to your Facebook or Twitter account, so hundreds or thousands of your friends and followers can see. And while it used to be just for iOS users, Periscope recently became available on the Google Play Store for Android as well.

Choose Your (Second) Videographer

You’ve already hired a videographer for the wedding, but now you’ve got to find a live-streaming camera holder as well. It can be hard to find a willing volunteer on your guest list, but if you have a slightly tech-savvy guest, a live person always gets the best footage. Other brides have opted to use drones or even robots (no joke!) for high-tech live-streaming. Of course, you can go old school and just put a laptop on a chair.

Get Easy-to-Use Film Equipment

While you can keep your filming equipment simple with any old smartphone, tablet or laptop, many brides are getting a little more professional with their live-stream filming equipment, especially if the stream is being recorded. The new iPhone 6s Plus already has amazing video stabilization as opposed to older iPhones, but you can get even more professional with hand-held stabilizers that use counterweights. These give your video an extra cinematic appeal, not to mention they start at around $30 and go up from there.

Feel Better Fast: Ways To Perk Up Your Mood In An Instant


Wedding Planning Stressing You Out?

Feel Better Fast: Ways To Perk Up Your Mood In An Instant

moodSometimes, no matter how hard we try, stress finds its way into our lives. But there are things you can do to shake any bad feeling before it takes hold. Try these five surefire tips to boost your mood instantly.

1. Put a Song in Your Head – Regardless of genre preference, music has a way of lifting spirits. Make a playlist of upbeat songs to brighten the day, or find a fresh new station on your favourite internet radio service. When the stress sets in, let the music play. You’ll be singing a new tune in no time, and your positive energy may even lighten up the people around you.

2. Try Water for Wellness – Water has a way of inviting relaxation – so start your day with a warm, steamy shower. You can easily turn the bathroom into a personal spa by upgrading your showerhead with a powerful rainshower.  Or, go for a major upgrade, and design a new spa-like oasis, including full-body, customizable coverage with body sprays.  Moen Canada’s new Mosaic flushmount multi-function body sprays are the perfect addition, as they direct water just where you want it and can allow you to easily switch between two settings: regular flow and pulsing massage.

3. Just Say “Om” – Much like fitness trains your body − meditation trains your mind.  So turn off the stress and get in the “now” by meditating. With regular practice, it’s been shown to create a sense of emotional balance and decrease stress. Don’t know how? Try attending yoga classes, or download Headspace, the app that teaches you how to meditate in just 10 minutes a day.

4. Hit the Gym – If you’re not the outdoorsy type, flip your mood around at the gym. A workout or even just a fast-paced, 30-minute walk can stimulate different chemicals in the brain that make you feel more relaxed and happy. Boost your positive endorphins all day with a morning workout.  Plus, this will do more than just improve your bad mood – it will also get your body in shape.

5. Hug It Out – Did you know that our bodies release a hormone known as oxytocin when it encounters love and affection? Whether it be friends, families or pets, being around the ones you care about will improve your state of mind, reduce stress and lower blood pressure.

Don’t you feel better already? Take control of those tough days and remember one – or all – of these mood boosters. You’ll be feeling fine in no time.


Expert tips for winter skincare

winter skin care

Expert tips for winter skincare

A good skin care regimen is important all year long, but a drop in humidity and temperatures during the fall and winter seasons can set the scene for dryness and irritation. In a recent survey, 68 per cent of women across Canada said that when purchasing skincare products, the most important issue is dry skin.

According to dermatologist Dr. Paul Cohen, effective moisturization is the key to preventing dry, dehydrated skin. He explains that skincare oils can play a role in the maintenance of healthy skin, particularly during the dry, cold weather months. “When oil meets skin, an amazing thing happens,” says Cohen. “Oils such as Bio-Oil can hydrate and help balance the skin while providing a barrier to protect against the elements and seal in moisture.”

Products like Bio-Oil have helped consumers become more comfortable with using oils for skincare because it’s light, non-greasy and safe for sensitive skin. In recent years, new choices have appeared in skincare aisles, with the latest being Lipidol, an entire range of skincare oils designed to supplement the skin’s own natural oily layer.

Cohen cautions that without proper care, dry skin can reach a point where moisturization is ineffective and other treatments may be required. “Dry skin, particularly the hands, can worsen over time, become cracked, chafed, red and itchy,” he says. “You always want to prevent a breakdown of the skin barrier because this is when skin can become prone to dermatitis and infection. Preventing moisture loss is important to help keep the skin smooth, supple and in top shape.”

For smooth, silky skin, try replacing your usual cream or lotion with a moisturizing skincare oil this winter.


Bridezilla Warning Signs

Bridezilla feature

Bridezilla Warning Signs

There is a bridezilla in every bride but the question remains if it is controlled or not. All of us have different personality types and perhaps that may play a role in becoming a bridezilla or not.  Any stressful situation can bring the worst out of us whether it’s a death, financial problems or planning a wedding.


Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your lives and you want everything to be perfect.  I guess the key word here is “perfection”.  To reach perfection is virtually impossible and we must learn to cope with some of the ups and downs that you will cross along the way.

Are you a bride in the green zone? Green being very relaxed and you just go with the flow.  You don’t obsess about the wedding 24/7  and openly accept help from others.  You know what you want and plan everything in it’s appropriate time  frame.

There are subtle warning signs of becoming a bridezilla which I call the yellow zone.  What are some of these signs you ask?  Well, do you think, live and breath wedding details?  Are you constantly on-line looking up information for hours on end? Do you find that you are spending less time with your fiance? Are you acting selfish and only talk about the wedding to every person you see or meet?  If you are answering yes to two or more of these questions you may be entering the yellow zone meaning “proceed with caution”.  If you don’t proceed with caution then you are allowing yourself to enter the red zone.

The red zone is full blown bridezilla tendencies and most likely you have gone to far.

Are you angry or edgy all the time? Has a bridesmaid dropped out from your wedding party?  Are you friends staying away from you more than usual?  Do you fight more with your fiance?  Are you having disagreements or changing vendors on a regular basis? Do you react very quickly to the slightest problem or change in your wedding planning?   If you have answered yes to two or more of these questions than you need to stop, take a deep breath and remember what your wedding is really all about.

As a wedding planner, I can tell within my first 10 minute consultation what type of bride she will be.  My job is to make them feel as comfortable as possible.  Since I am not part of their family, they find it very easy to speak with me about problems or questions as I will not judge them.

Brides, you don’t have to do it alone.   You don’t have to control every little detail.  Put some trust in your family, friends and fiance to help you along the way.  The more relaxed and calmer you are the better the wedding day will be.  Always remember….. if something  should go wrong, you are the only one who will knows as the guests were not privy to your planning process information.

You know what financial situation your families are in so if you feel this would put too much pressure on them don’t ask for help and let them come to you.  Keep in mind though if you are asking for help they will have something to say about certain costs and you will most likely hear “do you really need that”?

If you are one of those lucky brides where Daddy is paying for it all then that is great.   If things don’t work out that way and you both are paying for the entire bill, you will receive gifts of money from your guests that you can certainly put towards all of your purchases.  Having a wedding is not a way to make money anymore.  Most couples are just happy to break even and enjoy the  celebration!