Disclaimer: I attended a tasting of Raft Syrups and received a sampling of their syrups. This post is not sponsored by Raft. I happened to really enjoy the syrups and have created a recipe (or few!) using their syrups. Enjoy!
Botanical Syrups and Kindred Spirits
A few weeks ago I was invited over to the home of the creators of Raft Botanical Cocktail and Soda Syrups with a few blogging friends for the opportunity to try some of their syrups and cocktails made with them. I was incredibly inspired by the passion and dedication of the women behind Raft Syrups. They spoke about their syrups and the process of creating and selling them with such authentic enthusiasm.
If you’ve ever read Anne of Green Gables then you’ve read the term ‘kindred spirits.” That is exactly how I felt sitting down with a few of my blogging buddies and Sook & Roslynn of Raft. I was reminded of the line:
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.
Anyways, we tried SEVERAL tasty drinks that night. (Many of which you can actually find the cocktail recipes over on the Raft website. ) Admittedly, the tasty drinks might have contributed a little to the warm fuzzy feeling that I got from the evening. However, I’m going to think now and forever that I’ve found another pair of kindred spirits out there.
Lemon Ginger Drop Cocktail
Upon tasting their Lemon Ginger Syrup the first thing I thought was…. wow, this would make for an AMAZING lemon drop. And, because I like to toot my own horn, I WAS RIGHT.
The lemon drop is a funny drink for me. Typically they are too sickly sweet for me to enjoy. However, when mixed with just the right proportions of sweet and sour, I am in love. The ginger syrup gives the lemon drop just the right mixture of sweet and sour… and, as a bonus, a fun little kick of ginger at the end. If you like a little spice in your cocktail then definitely try this drink.
Lemon Ginger Drop Cocktail Recipe
- 1 3/4 oz Vodka
- 1 oz Limoncello Liquer
- 1/2 oz Lemon Ginger Raft Syrup
- Juice of 1 lemon, plus 1 slice of lemon for rimming your glass
- Martini Glass
- Granulated Sugar mixed with lemon zest for rim
- Candied Ginger for Garnish
- Using a sliced lemon, rub lemon juice around the edge of your cocktail glass. Dip the glass onto a plate covered in granulated sugar mixed with lemon zest. Set glass aside.
- Pour the vodka, limoncello, lemon ginger syrup, and juice of the lemon into a cocktail shaker full of ice. SHAKE! Strain liquid into the rimmed martini glass.
- Garnish with a candied ginger.
More about Raft Syrups: Raft Botanical Cocktail and Soda Syrups are made in Portland, Oregon. The syrups are not only just about quality ingredients and great flavor… but, also about a healthy well-being! Check out the Raft About page to learn more about why they are creating these syrups. It is a good read, I promise! They currently stock three different syrups: Hibiscus Lavender, Lemon Ginger, and Smoked Tea Vanilla. The syrups are stocked in some stores throughout Portland and can be purchased ONLINE! These would make a fantastic gift for anyone building their bars.
Want even more recipes using Raft syrups? Check out these links:
Disclaimer: I received an opportunity to work with YogaOutlet.Com on this post. Thank you for reading posts that help support this blog. All opinions and thoughts are my own. Don’t forget to check out the reader discount below!
Since going from working on my feet full-time to working on my rear full-time (desk job) I’ve noticed a steep decline in overall body health. Not just weight gain, though there has been some of that, but just how I feel. I don’t sleep as well, I get tired more often, and I am sore constantly. Like most people out there, I’m not making time for exercise. I have plenty of excuses, but truly, it is just that other things are taking priority right now.
I have continued to let my body get more and more worked up—all they while telling myself I didn’t have time to exercise in the day. You won’t ever hear me argue with anyone who says they don’t have time to exercise. I understand it. Working three jobs, being a mom, wife, friend, sibling, and daughter… well, lets just say I didn’t even have enough time to do any of those things very well.
However, now I’ve come to realize that me not taking a little extra time to stretch at my desk, talk a long walk, or even do a little yoga, is actually eating into my time even more. I began to feel the affects of no sleep and constant pain seep into my work. The idea of sitting on the ground playing blocks with my child sounds tedious, exhausting and painful. Staying up longer than 8PM in the evenings to hang out with my husband, or help put my son to bed, became a trial. Though, going to bed at 8PM never helped me sleep more than 5 hours at night anyways. Well, you get the idea.
The moment has come that I prioritize exercise. It is about self-care. It is about maximizing the quality of life. And, well, it is about damn time.
Stretching my schedule for more self-care in the form of yoga
A long while back I had a doctor recommend yoga to me for health issues. I nodded my head, and even went through with buying a few online yoga downloads and hitting a class or two… but, I only actually tried it a few times before giving it up. Right when the “Come to the Treadmill” moment happened for me I received an email from YogaOutlet.com sharing about their Summer Yoga Sale happening this August. I was more than a little excited to work with them and order a few items from their website.
After perusing the site for a bit I landed on the idea of trying out yoga at home again. Getting to the gym is almost impossible for me these days, and doing yoga at home means my kiddo can do some poses along with me. Quality time with kiddo and great self-care combined? WINNING. I decided to order the Gaiam Yoga for Beginners Kit that comes with a yoga mat, strap, block and beginner yoga disk. And, because ALL of that was less than $30 I decided to throw in the Gaiam AM/PM Yoga for Beginners DVD. I like the idea of doing a short bit of yoga in the morning to energize myself, and different poses in the evening to sort of unwind. And, because I had no where to store a bunch of yoga stuff, I bought a nifty little bag that keeps most of it all contained for me and waiting right by my bedroom door ready to head out to the living room for use.
(I have friends who swear by the Gaiam Yoga Back Care DVD… so, if I end up enjoying these DVDs and using them more than a handful of times, then I’m adding that one to the list. I’ll try to update this post after I’ve done the DVDs more than just a few times and let you know how they are working out.)
I haven’t been very consistent yet, but having my yoga mat ready to go has helped. I’m hoping to get even more consistent so I can soon justify buying some of their really cute yoga apparel!
A Well Crafted Party readers can get a one-time 15% discount at YogaOutlet.com by using the promo code “bridgepose” at check-out on your first purchase! Orders above $49 get free shipping as well.
Have you tried at home yoga before? If so, what are your tips for keeping it consistent? Which videos do you like?
Party trends come and they go— some are classic, and others are fads. Thinking through the many trends that I play around with or decide to leave out of my events, I came up with the following series, which I will post on as I see trends come and go!
Love It or Leave It Party Trends
Okay, well… this is one of those party trends that I don’t think I’ll ever hate. The lined envelope got “big” a few years ago and suddenly there were hundreds of posts of people doing lined envelopes for weddings, parties, thank you cards and more. Heck, even I joined the crowd of people giving lined envelope tutorials!
I like the way that they make envelopes feel heftier and more important. I love the way that they can add a pop of color or texture to the invitation. I love the way that they can further touch on a party’s theme. So, basically I’m in the LOVE IT camp on this trend.
On the negative side of this trend is that it is a little wasteful– more paper, more costs, more time involved, and (sometimes) higher postage.
How about you? Do you LOVE lined envelopes or would you rather leave them behind?
(PS. The photo above with the lined envelop and part of an invitation suite is a fun little invite I did for an upcoming party. I can’t wait to share the details!)
I often find myself content to sit in my own little world of problems, responsibilities, and issues without thinking ahead to what the future might bring or what issues may be plaguing the world that could possibly use my help, my voice. It isn’t that I don’t care. I do, often more than it shows. Rather, sometimes… my own stuff is all I can handle! Lately, however, I’ve been really pushing myself to extend my reach ad lend my voice to issues where I am able.
One of those issues that has really been laid on my heart (cheesy, but true) has been Alzheimer’s Disease. About a year ago I accepted a full-time position as a Social Media and Marketing specialist for a Senior Living company. It has been an eye-opening, humbling and incredible year. I’ve had Alzheimer’s touch my life personally by affecting the people that I love. It took me seeing how MANY people that this disease really affects to make me realize my voice (and money) was needed. What I can do as a single person is not enough though, I need your help!
Facts about Alzheimer’s:
” Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.” — Alz.Org Website
A few facts that really hit home with me about this disease from the Alzheimer’s Association website:
- Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States
- More than 5 Million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s
- Alzheimer’s is the ONLY cause of death among the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
- Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are WOMEN.
- More than 60 percent of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers are women.
When advocating for finding a cure for Alzheimer’s I am thinking about the residents in the buildings of the senior communities I work with, my grandparents and my parents. But, I am also being a little bit selfish. I want to know that someday if I receive the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, that maybe there might be an answer out there to help slow the progression or to cure the disease. I advocate for my son so that the burden of my care is not put solely on his shoulders.
About the Walk to End Alzheimer’s:
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is a series of walks across the United States that help raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s. I will be participating in the Portland Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Sunday, September 7, 2014. My goal is to raise $200 for the cause and as much awareness as possible. I’m about 60% to reaching my goal and am working hard at it! I encourage anyone who can to find a local walk and participate. If you are unable to walk, a donation would be very much appreciated.
Donate to the Cause:
If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation to help the Alzheimer’s Association advance research into methods of treatment, prevention and, ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer’s please consider donating today. You are welcome to donate via the Alz.Org website or click this link to help me reach my donation goal! For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide.
Information and Facts about Alzheimer’s disease via the Alzheimer’s Association website: www.alz.org For help or more information feel free to call the 24/7 Helpline at 1.800.272.3900.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. This is just a cause that is near and dear to my heart. I wanted to share to help build awareness for this important cause.
This cocktail must be one of the strangest concoctions I’ve come up with yet. But, I was really craving a savory and smooth cocktail that utilized some of the yummy produce that my husband’s garden was giving us. At first I tried some muddling of these awesome cucumbers that he grew. But, the cucumber was much too bitter for a good cocktail. That is when I realized they were PICKLING cucumbers. Duh. So, a quick pickle happened and then the magic of this drink came together. If you are looking for a savory and smooth cocktail — good for brunch or a nice lunch on the lawn — then I’d challenge you to give it a shot.
Gin & Thyme Fizz Cocktail with Quick Pickles
This cocktail is made with egg white. Egg whites give a cocktail a creamy and rich texture along with some pretty awesome looking foam. Use your best food handling practices when working with raw eggs at all times. Clean hands, freshest possible eggs, and safe handling. Typically when using egg whites in a drink I like to shake up the drinks ingredients without ice to make sure the foam is the best and then I add ice, shake a bit and pour into a glass. Because I wanted the thyme and quick pickle to impart some flavor in this drink I chose to shake it all together with ice. It still worked great.
Ingredients & Supplies:
- Cocktail Glass- I used a rocks glass
- Cocktail Shaker
- Fine Mesh Sieve
- 1 Egg White
- 2 oz Gin
- 1 oz Simple Syrup
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 Quick Pickles (recipe below)
- 2 Sprigs of Thyme
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour over the gin, simple syrup, and lime juice. Add in 1 sprig of thyme and 1 quick pickle.Finally add the egg white.
- SHAKE LIKE CRAZY! Shake it up really well so that the quick pickle and thyme really infuse the drink with flavor and so the egg white gets nice and frothy.
- Strain the cocktail into a glass. You can do this drink up in a martini glass, or like I did, on the rocks in a rocks glass.
- Garnish with quick pickle and sprig of thyme
Quick Pickle Recipe
Quick pickles are not pickles that will last for a long time in your pantry. I like to make quick pickles the same day or the day before I’m going to eat them. Make at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before you need them.
Ingredients & Supplies
- 1 Medium to Large Sized Bowl
- 2 Pickling Cucumbers cut into spears
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 Cup White Vinegar
- 1 Cup Water (Boil before use)
- 1/2 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
- Put vinegars, water, and sugar in bowl and stir until sugar dissolves.
- Add cucumber spears to bowl, make sure vinegar solution covers all spears.
- Sprinkle with salt, cover and set in fridge.
- Test for a crunchy, slightly acidic and slightly sweet pickle after about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Disclaimer: Affiliate links are used in this post. Purchases made from affiliate links help support this blog at no additional cost to you. Product mentioned in this post were given with purpose of experiencing the product. No posts were promised in return. All opinions are my own. Thank you for reading and engaging with posts that help keep this blog (and blogger) running!
While I am not quite ready for Summer to be over yet… I’m also yearning for the cooler temperatures and warmer color palettes that Fall brings with it. Each year, as late summer comes rolling in, I start gravitating to more and more whites, light pinks, and nudes. It must be something about Labor Day heading my way (although, I’ve never been one to follow the no white after labor day rule!) or just the HOT August heat begging for lighter colors.
Outfit planning lately has incorporated as many whites, pinks, nudes, and golds as possible. I spent most my life hating yellow gold to only want it on everything I own now days. Am I just getting old or really falling for that trend machine that dictates everyone’s tastes? (Anyone else remember Josie & the Pussycats?)
More about the Crabtree & Evelyn Nud-est Collection: I liked these polishes because they are easier on the wallet than some other brands (approximately $6) and go on easy with great color. I can NEVER keep nail polish on long… but, these lasted me longer than some other brands. I also liked how the different colors from the collection went well together. I’m forever stuck in the paint one fingernail different trend. The Nud-est Collection has Alabaster (creamy ivory with a bit of shimmer), Peaches & Cream (peachy pink), Almond (opaque nude), and Mocha (warm creamy light brown with shimmer).
More about Mally Beauty High-Shine Liquid Lipstick Pens: Typically I don’t go for high shine lipsticks due to the hair stickage problem that sometimes happen. Lately though I’ve been wearing my hair pulled back for work and pairing it with a pretty bare face. (Sleep time is greater than makeup/hair time currently.) The pretty shine of these pretty pink shades is perfect for a natural look with a touch of polish. I’ve been wearing my Blossom lipstick daily!
- Shoes // American Eagle via Payless – These cut out oxfords are seriously my favorite new shoes (though, sadly, I don’t see them online anymore! similar here) My husband says they look like vests for my feet though.
- Cropped cream slacks via Ann Taylor (last season)
- White sheer tank via Anthropologie (three seasons ago)
- Cardigan via Target (a million years ago)
- Gold bracelet via Old Navy (in store only but it is the only thing I got so far this season! similar here)
Do you like wearing more nudes as the Summer is ending or perhaps something else? Comment below!
Fruits de Mer is a seafood platter of raw and/or cooked shellfish usually served on a bed of ice. A long time ago I saw a beautiful fruits de mer platter in one of my favorite events books and have wanted to throw a party with a fruits of the sea platter.
Right before my Mohs Surgery to remove my skin cancer I really needed a good excuse to be distracted for the evening. I invited friends over for a big meal and made the above platter as an appetizer… boy, let me tell you. We didn’t need the meal! I actually made enough seafood for TWO of these large platters. Then we followed it up with steaks and veggies for dinner and then something for dessert. I’ve never been so full in my life!
Making this platter was much less intimidating than I originally thought. I used precooked crab and lobster… it would be even better with fresh shell fish, but it wasn’t readily available in my area. The whole thing was still delicious, but someday I plan to make it with all fresh shellfish. I’d also like to pair it with ceviche someday! YUM. Below is how I made this dish… know that it is completely easy to customize this dish to your cooking comfort level and your tastes. If you go to a great fish purveyor you can even asked for your lobster to be steamed and your oysters shucked… then there is NO work for you and your guests are completely wow’d!
Plateau de Fruits de Mer:
Great appetizer for a dinner party or can even be served as hors d’oeuvres at a cocktail party. One large platter will serve 4 easily. I served this dish with a tarter sauce, cocktail sauce, chile lime sauce and butter.
To Build Platter (Just Like Above):
Cooking directions below this list!
- Ice: Cover a large platter or bowl with ice.
- Crab Legs: Add cooked and cooled crab legs to platter. It is also helpful to go ahead and pre-crack the crab legs so it is easy for your guests to take out the meat.
- Lobster claws: I was fortunate enough to find lobster claws already cut and pre-cracked for me! While I believe fresh lobster would have been even more amazing… the convenience of these little suckers was too good to pass up! I did go ahead and boil them quickly in a flavorful broth (see below) and then cooled quickly before placing on the platter.
- Shrimp: I got the largest sized raw, shell on (deveined) shrimp. After cooking I peeled the shrimp and placed on the platter. Easy peasy!
- Oysters: I spent all day looking up how to shuck oysters. I’d been SO excited about shucking oysters. However, the whole foods that these puppies came from cleaned and shucked them for me! I just got them same day and kept them on ice until serving! So, no directions below on how to shuck oysters… but, check out this oyster shucking resource if you’re in the mood to get your shuck on!
- Cucumbers filled with spicy salmon: This was a creation of my own. They turned out pretty good… though, next time I’ll go with a sashimi grade salmon rather than cooking my salmon first.
Crab, Lobster, and Shrimp:
- Get a large ice bath prepared and put to the side.
- In a large pot bring 2 gallons of water, 1 pint vegetable stock, 3 Bay Leaves, a Tablespoon of black peppercorns, and 1/2 bottle of dry white wine to boil.
- In batches cook the seafood. If cooking from live you want to do about 10 minutes for your lobster and crab. Move directly to ice bath once finished. For pre-steamed crab and lobster you’ll be infusing the shellfish with flavor and heating it back up to temp for about 8 minutes. Transfer to the ice bath. Finally, cook the shrimp. The shrimp will be dense and pink in about 3 minutes. Transfer shrimp to ice bath. Peel once cooled. Bring the liquid to a boil again between each batch.
Cucumbers filled with spicy salmon:
- two cucumbers, cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch portions
- 10 oz of cooked salmon shredded (or, use sashimi grade salmon diced!)
- 1 Tablespoon Siracha
- 1 Tablespoon of Mayo (I used kewpie mayonaise)
- Juice of one lime
- Sprinkle of cilantro for garnish
- Using a melon baller or spoon take out most of the center of the cucumber portion. Leave a little on the bottom to hold in the filling.
- Mix the salmon, siracha, mayo, and lime juice together in a bowl.
- Fill the cucumber portions with mixture.
- Sprinkle on the cilantro and enjoy!
What would you think if you went to a party and saw a Fruits De Mer? Would you ever try one at your own dinner table?
Today I spent literally ALL DAY LONG. Working on getting the Portland Bloggers Website updated and refreshed. The Portland Bloggers’ Master List also got a complete overhaul. Which means… if you are a Portland Blogger and were on the Master List before you need to RE-LIST your blog. I know… total pain in the tail. But, it will totally be worth it! The new features are seriously going to be so good for bloggers and for visitors to the Portland Bloggers’ website.
If you are a new reader to my blog then you might note that I have a lot of posts on Portland, Oregon. I moved to Oregon from Oklahoma about 7 years ago and have never felt more at home in my life. A few years ago the opportunity came about that I could start planning meet-ups for local bloggers. I took that opportunity and ran with it. The Portland Bloggers’ website and meet-up group is now bigger and better than I could have ever imagined it could be. We’ve got an amazing leadership team of local bloggers volunteering their time to help make each event a success and to keep the website filled with great blogging resources.
Anyways… I didn’t do much of anything “Snapshot” worthy this weekend as I just sat in front of the computer in my pajamas. But, I do think what I got done is pretty noteworthy! If you are a follower from the Portland, Oregon area pop on over to the Portland Bloggers website and check us out!
Not a blogger and/or not in Portland? Well, regular content is coming back tomorrow with a fun recipe!
I’m excited to have a local guest bartender for today’s Saturday Spirits! The minds behind Portland Wedding and Fine Event Bartending Service, Mint & Mirth are here to share their Tangerine Thyme Margarita. Mint and Mirth was a recent winner of Oregon Bride Magazine’s “Best New Wedding Vendor” of 2014. Their work has been featured on Snippet & Ink, Green Wedding Shoes, and Offbeat Bride.
I’m a sucker for a good drink with thyme. I can’t wait to make this drink this weekend!
Tangerine Thyme Margarita
from Mint & Mirth
3 ounces Altos Tequila
2 ounces tangerine juice
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
0.5 ounce orange liqueur
Crushed thyme salt for rim
Sprig of thyme for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add tequila, lime juice, tangerine
juice, simple syrup and orange liqueur. Cover and shake until well
Rim a chilled glass with crushed thyme salt and strain margarita into
the glass. Garnish with a sprig of thyme and enjoy!
Connect with Mint & Mirth:
** This is not a sponsored post. I have appreciated Mint & Mirth’s work for a while now. They were gracious enough to send over this awesome recipe after I requested it! Thank you to Mint & Mirth!**
Mmmmm… It’s Blackberry Thyme!
Well, it is blackberry time here in the Pacific Northwest. The Farmer’s Markets are overflowing with delicious looking berries. I created a Blackberry Thyme cocktail to be featured on the amazing InComplete Magazine! Go check it out and let me know how you like it!