Unplugged Family Time


Put your phones away, turn off your IPADS and tune into your spouse, kids, and family.  A simple pancake breakfast can make all the difference.  Why gather?  Why turn around the damaging trend of constant connectivity, screen time, and instant gratification?

·       Because research examining 5,000 teenagers has shown that when children eat with their parents regularly, they are more likely to be emotionally strong and have better mental health.

·       Teens who ate regular family meals were also more likely to be adjusted, have good manners, and communication skills.

·       Eating together has also been shown to help Mom’s out as well. Mothers who ate with their families often were also found to be happier and less stressed as compared to mothers who did not.

Believe it or not, if you have a demanding job, finding time to eat with your family may actually leave you feeling less stressed. In 2008, researchers at Brigham Young University conducted a study of IBM workers and found that sitting down to a family meal helped working moms reduce the tension and strain from long hours at the office. 

Need help getting your kids off their digital devices?  If so then join the Beta coaching program, where I will help you – “Make Meal Time Unplugged Family Time”. 

Enroll here by clicking on this link.

Launch is scheduled for March 2018.

This is your call to action. Join the movement. Unplug your digital devices and re-engage with what’s important in life – your family, and friends!

Half Time Entertainment-Family Style

Super Bowl Inspiration-

Half time is here, get your family up and over to your tablescapes and have some fun. 

I am not a beer drinker, but guess what?  Beer (well not in the traditional sense) was my inspiration for this easy and fun interactive family friendly tablescape.  Create your own Root Beer Float Station. Yum Yum.


The Set Up
I bought this green floor runner from party city  for $8.99, along with these tiny soft footballs.  

I found 2 burlap table runners and placed them on either end of the green runner.  I then placed these yellow goal posts on either end. Now the field is set for the game!  


The Food-Make it yourself-Root Beer Float Station-

Playing on the theme of the beer tent, I thought I would set up Haagen Dazs ice cream, A & W root beer, and frosted mugs, or frosted mason jars for the best results.


Finally-the best for last-My Giant Beergarita.
So it’s my birthday, and I thought why not make myself the ultimate beer drink and share with my love.
The main ingredient Corona beer

Limeade concentrate, and tequila, and crushed ice. I’d recommend a good tequila like an anejo or reposada. Your can go with a Patron or more recently I have been using Casamigos.

Take two cups of limeade, 3 ounces of tequila and 1 bottle of Corona. Be sure to apply a healthy coating of ungranulated raw sugar to the rim after running a lime wedge along it. Garnish with lime wedges and add a couple straws. Or if it has been one of those days just endulge yourself. After all my husband is a liver transplant surgeon.

That’s all folks.  An easy and most of all fun half time entertainment table that will have your family talking several days after.  Gather, Connect and Make Memories.


My Why

Recently I’ve been reflecting on ‘WHY’ I set tablescapes. 

Thinking back to the very first tablescape that I set for my family I realized that my goal was a simple one.  It had come to my attention that we had all gotten drawn in to our busy lives and screens and lost sight of what is truly important.  Spending time with one another, deep in conversation, sharing laughter, our thoughts, and emotions.  And so that very first tablescape was about being together, slowing down, getting off the proverbial electronic grid, and sharing a meal, an activity, and a theme.  We laughed, we cried, we re-connected. 

Today, the reason why I continue to set tables remarkably remains one and the same.  But, I think that taking the time to reflect on the “WHY”, and the with “WHOM” has helped to confirm my resolve .  It made me realize just how important it is to bring families, friends, and people together to keep us grounded in meaningful interaction.

For more family gathering ideas subscribe to my Digital Dinner Party Guide.


Chili Saturdays’

Saturday’s are my day to chill out with my favorite people and my bowl of chili. Each time I make this wonderful bowl of delishisness I  get excited at the possibilities that await.  For starters, I love enhancing my chili with avocados, shredded cheese, fresh jalapeño peppers and a generous dollop of dill sour cream—Yum Yum.  Plus, it’s a great way to gather the family together, talk without our devices in our hands, and enjoy each other’s company.

 Try my chili recipe and let me know what favorite topping you decide to garnish your dish.

Ingredients for Chili

2 pounds ground turkey

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 onion chopped

1 chopped jalapeño

2 teaspoons of salt

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 bottle of ragu tomato sauce

1 can 28oz crushed tomatoes

1 can kidney beans

Directions:  In a large Dutch oven add extra virgin olive oil and sauté onions and jalapeños over medium heat, about 5 minutes.  Until onions are translucent.  Add ground turkey, and cook for about 8 minutes.  Add salt, chili powder, dried oregano, tomoto sauce and crushed tomatoes.  Bring all ingredients up to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours.  Add kidney beans, stir, serve and garnish with you favorite items.  Mine are listed below.



Olive Me

Day 12 of my 12 days of Christmas in Style.

For the final day I decided to pick this delicious food—Olive Oil-This product is so versatile, and of course delicious.   With a passion for food and eye for detail I made this beautiful spread.  

I purchased this olive oil, and with so many different flavors of olive oil, and balsamic vinegar  I created this fun food board.  Artisanal breads, with various fruits made this spread come together.  Try it yourself.  Pick 3-5 different breads, and pour your olive oil on different plates and allow your guests to taste test. 

Enjoy this festive feast-cheers and happy holidays. 



Day 11

Day 11-of my 12 days of Christmas in Style

Invite your friends over for a special evening of cheer. Entertaining is such a personal and thoughtful gift you can give those you mean a lot to you.  People always love the detains you add to make them feel special.  With that in mind, try making this ice ring.  Then add to your punch bowl and serve your favorite beverage.  Here I am pouring pomegranate soda.



For Him

Day 8-of my 12 Days of Christmas in Style

When you see the brand Hermes, you think French luxury, rich heritage, exquisite craftsmanship, eye for detail and high quality.  That’s exactly what this men’s cologne exudes.  The fragrance is subtle yet lingering, soft yet captivating.  I absolutely love this cologne, and for the retail price of $112 Canadian dollars at the Bay.

Perfect gift for your man this holiday season.



Bringing it home

Day 7- of my 12 days of Christmas in Style

Brining it home today, with Gail Simmon’s brand new cookbook.   I had the rare opportunity to meet this Top Chef judge a few weeks ago in Toronto and it was incredible.  I tasted some her yummy recipes as well as a couple of her delicious cocktail, straight from her new cook book-“Brining it Home”, order it right here.

This gift is perfect for anyone who loves and appreciates cooking.  Gail is a culinary force, and is able to translate her expertise to even the novice cooks.  I made her grilled pineapple here, and my family loved it.

The second photo is me with Gail in Toronto. Many people were excited that I got a chance to meet her;  but many also asked where I purchased my purple blouse.  It was a great find, and one of my favorites this season, I bought it at the Bay.


Bare Neccesities

It’s  all about the soft, and stylish Bare necessities.  Did you know that nightwear is the most important thing about a good night’s sleep.  Why? because if ‘you’ are not comfortable, while trying to ‘get’ comfortable chances are your sleep will not ‘be’ comfortable.  

There are a lot of options available for women when looking for nightwear.  Plenty of options to make them feel sexy and comfortable.  Like these from Victoria Secret. Great news, free shipping over $100.   

Gift guide:
If your spouse is having a hard time finding the perfect gift for you, direct them to VS.  


Grow great things for 2018

Day 5 0f my 12 days of Christmas in Style

What great things to do want to grow in your life for 2018?  If you’re anything like me, running from one thing to the next, you probably could use some down time to reflect on the real things that matter.  More than a daily calendar to cross of the things you accomplished, the cultivate what matters ‘workbook’ helps to uncover purpose filled goals and plan action steps to make what matters happen.  Sounds pretty great to me.  Grab yours today at https://shop.cultivatewhatmatters.com/pages/2018-powersheets

And start growing great things for yourself in 2018.

Perfect gift for all the busy Moms in your life.


Cool and cozy

Day 4: of my 12 days of Christmas

It’s not only my tablescapes that have seen a lot of sequence, but many of my gifts this year are adorned with shine and faux fur.  

If you are having a hard time finding something cool and glamorous for your tween or teenage daughter, than you landed on the right spot.  How about this sequence beret from Forever 21
 or this faux fur infinity scarf

If you are all ‘Mais Non’ on the beret and faux fur scarf how about these cool and cozy earmuffs with head phones 

Listen, look good and keep warm this holiday season.


Mom in Sytle


Lite up my world

Day 3 of my 12 days of Christmas in Style

Candles are always a safe and easy gift idea.  They make the perfect client gift, corporate gift or hostess gift, or stocking stuffer.  Named after some of the neighborhoods of Toronto and Vancouver these Vancouver Candle Co www.vancouvercandleco.com are all handmade using traditional artisan craftsmanship.  Each candle and diffuser is poured by hand in small batches.   These are just some of the my favorite Toronto neighborhoods that I love to visit.

  So get your candle now, shipping is free on North American orders over $59. 


12 days of Christmas in Style

Mom Truth- we like to feel good.

Welcome to Day 2 of my 12 days of Christmas in Style

I’m obsessed with watching real Mom’s tell it like it is.  So when I discovered Cat and Nat on instagram #CatandNat, I was naturally hooked.  Real life Mama’s caring for their families while still making time for themselves.  Most recently this Mama duo came out with a holiday makeup kit that’s perfect for the Mom on the Go.  Check it out. This gift is perfect for any Mom on your gift list

Haley Bogaert Cosmetics


12 days of Christmas in Style

Welcome to day 1 of my holiday gift guide series.  All my gift suggestions are under $200 Canadian dollars. 

Let’s start things off with my all time favorite gift to give and to receive. 
As someone who loves to cook, I fell in love with the names of each of the fragrances.  Orange bloom, mimosa and cardamom, French lime, the list goes on.   The brand is Jo Malone perfume.  Www.jomalone.ca

But who am I kidding I love all of them all.  I had a hard time picking just one, until I learned about Jo Malone’s brilliant concept of Fragrance combining, all about applying a duo of scents to create your own signature and personal statement. Genius! I love the French Lime Blossom and the Peony and Blush Suede combination.  

More than just scenting the body, this brand has many other ways to scent the home in the collection.  I have many scented candles around my home, and will be purchasing the English Pear and Fressia room spray. 

The gift is perfect for:

If you can bear to give this gift away, and chances are you will want to buy something for yourself.  It makes a perfect Hostess gift, corporate gifts. Gifts for Him-yes like the wood sage and sea salt cologne.


Turkey time

We reached the final day of my 3 tips in 3 days for a stress free dinner party.  

 Today it’s all about you.  Everything from the food you serve down to the decor you use for your table should be a reflection of you.  Pick recipes that fit your personality.  For example I saw a commercial on how to make a beer and bourbon turkey, while this may sound great for some, it was not something that spoke to me.  Similarity when it comes to your table decor, pick colors, fabrics and items that resonate with your style.  Don’t try  and be something/someone you are not.  You will feel uncomfrortable and so will your guests.  You are amazing for throwing this party, and your guests will appreciate all the love and attentiion.  Relax, and enjoy. 

Herb Roasted Turkey

•    1 turkey- 6 kg or 12-16 pounds, thawed if frozen
•    8 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature if possible)
•    Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
•    Several sprig of fresh thyme leaves
•    Couple of sprigs of rosemary leaves, don’t include the stem-too course
•    Grated zest of 1 lemon
•    Course salt (I use sea salt) to season the whole bird
•    1 lemon cut into wedges (use the one you just grated
•    1 orange cut into wedges 

1.    Note to self, when using a frozen turkey remove from freezer 2 days before, and let it thaw out in the refrigerator.

2.    When you are ready to roast, remove the turkey from fridge, remove the giblets from inside, and rinse the turkey with cool water, pat dry with paper towels.  Important--allow turkey to rest on a baking sheet for a couple of hours until it comes to room temperature.

3.    Take your butter, lemon zest, parsley, thyme, and rosemary and pulse in food processor until combined.  Add salt and pepper and pulse.  Congrats you just made compound butter, remove and set aside. 

4.    Place turkey in a large roasting pan, breast side up. 

5.    Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, with rack on lowest level.

6.    Smear your butter all over the turkey, fill the inside with your lemon and orange wedges, then season with salt and pepper.  Tie the legs together with kitchen twine, (I forgot this step ) and place the bird in the oven and roast for 30 minutes at 450 degrees F, lid off the roaster. Set your kitchen timer on, because you don’t want to leave the temperature at this level for hours. Yikes.

7.    After 30 minutes, reduce temperature to 350 degrees F, and continue cooking for about 2.5 hours, basting turkey-every 30 minutes.  I placed the lid on the roaster.

8.    After the 2.5 hours of cooking, use a meat thermometer and check the thickest part of the turkey to make sure the internal temperature is 175 degrees.  

9.    Last 3-4 minutes-remove the lid from roaster, and increase heat up to 450 degrees and to crisp up the skin.

10.    Remove from oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes-covered-before cutting into it.  



Tip 2: How to get your guests to eat less?

Thank you for coming back.  Hope you are finding my tips for a stress free dinner party easy and most of all helpful.  Today, I am talking about how to host a healthier gathering. 

Did you know that research has shown that being able to hear the sounds that your food makes as you chew it, can help you eat less.  It’s called, the ‘crunch effect’.  The researchers from Brigham Young University are talking about the effect that comes from the sound of chewing, chomping and crunching your food.  Bottom line,  when you slow down, chew every bite, take in the taste, the physical appearance of your food and your beautiful ambience, you eat less.  With that in mind, I created this crunchy roasted vegetable salad, try it out and see if your guests are eating less. 

Tip 2: for table decor I suggest using items that you have around your home and repurposing.  For example, I used these candle holders from Halloween and reintroduced them here.  I really like the darker colors, mixed in with the white pumkins. 


Roasted Veg Salad
½ head of cauliflower
1 sweet potatoes
1 bag of mixed greens salad
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Dried cranberries
Sunflower seeds or I used toasted corn
Feta cheese (optional)

4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
¼ teaspoon of salt
Pinch of pepper

1.    Preheat over to 425 degrees.
2.    Place vegetables in a bowl, add and toss olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a large roasting pan.
3.    Roast for 30-40 minutes, until veggies are  cooked through and browned. 
4.    Remove from oven and allow to cool
5.    Place salad in bowl, pour and toss dressing
6.    Arrange roasted veggies on top and garnish with dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and feta cheese


3 Tips in 3 days for a stress free holiday-table decor and recipes.

I love getting ready for the holidays, and I seem to enjoy it more when I am well prepared.  Planning has always been my secret weapon.  With the proper plan in place I am more likely to execute my goals—dinner goals that is.  This year I wanted to share three of my homemade dishes, plus three helpful tips for getting your table décor ready. 

When we lived in Chicago, thanksgiving was my favorite holiday.  Now that we are back, living in Canada I still carry on the tradition of celebrating this American holiday. I remember that one of the challenges for me was finding a tablescape style that I could easily adjust into two looks—Thanksgiving and Christmas—.  Tip 1: Use a style that can be easily modified to carry over into Christmas.  In this style I used silver and mercury gold (vase and candle holders),  from Pottery barn https://www.potterybarn.com/products/chippy-gold-candle-holders/?pkey=e%7Cgold%2Bmercury%2Bglass%2Bvases%7C94%7Cbest%7C0%7C1%7C48%7C%7C17&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCHwith a few small changes you can turn this look into a Christmas style in no time.  I also used this blue/silver tablecloth from Williams Sonoma, but this white one would look stunning,


Similarily, I also wanted to ‘perfect’ my homemade recipes.  Thanksgiving was a great time to introduce new recipes and see what my guests thought.  I would take their suggestions, improve the dish and make it even better for the my Christmas dinner party.  Here is my roasted garlic mashed potato recipe that I’m sure your guests will enjoy.

Roasted garlic Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes
8 medium size potatoes
2-3 teaspoons of salt
1/2 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of garlic butter (see recipe below)

Ingredients-for garlic butter
6 garlic cloves unpeeled
1 stick of unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon fresher ground pepper
Pinch of sal1.    

Heat oven 0r toaster oven to 400 degrees.
2.    Place garlic cloves in a dish sprinkle with salt and pepper
3.    Cover dish with foil and back for approximately 30 minutes, until cloves are soft.  Set aside and allow to cool.
4.    Place the butter in a bowl and mash with fork or wooden spoon.  Gently squeeze out garlic from their peals and add to butter, mix into butter.

Mashed Potatoes
1.    Peal and cut potatoes into cubes, add to pot of water.  Boil the potatoes, until they are soft but not mushy.  Drain potatoes, add milk, and 2 tablespoons of your  garlic butter.  Mash with a potato masher, or electric mixer, add salt and pepper.  Enjoy.


The Simple Things

Today is my Father’s 77th birthday, and I really didn’t have anything planned.  After all it is a Monday, and the kids have activities after school.  But, last night it occurred to me that every birthday we get to spend with my parents is a blessing.  So with that in mind we adjusted and rearranged our schedules to make this evening extra special, for a man who always goes out of his way for all of us.  

I picked a tweed plaid wool table runner that resembles his dapper and tailored style.  My Father loves to look nice.  The matching plaid napkins also remind me of his cravats or ties.  

I then placed a long wooden cutting board on top of the runner and will using it for decoration as well as serving and placing food on the table.  The menu is rustic and cozy, perfect for this chilly fall day. A leek and potato soup, broccoli salad, braised short ribs with a cauliflower mash, and finally for dessert birthday cake.