5 Ways To Relax

La Marca This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of La Marca Prosecco. It is intended for an audience over 21 years of age.

When life gets a little crazy (or, as of late, a lot of crazy), it can be hard for me to calm down. But over the years I’ve managed to find a few stress-relief “sweet spots”, in other words, the things that get me to wind down and put the sparkle back into life.

La Marca prosecco La Marca ways to relax La Marca H&M blue shirt summer outfit 1. Nothing gets me relaxed like a good glass of bubbly! In fact, now that I think of it, every way I like to relax is better when paired with a little bubbly. It may seem like such a small thing, but it has such a luxurious impact. One of my favorite brands is La Marca Prosecco. It’s smooth, sweet, and delicious. Not only is it available throughout the country (find a nearby retailer here), but it also has an affordable price point (around $17), making this an accessible luxury anytime I need to relax (also, making it my favorite thing about the them). You can find out more about them on their Facebook page.

5 ways to relax 2. Because my husband and I are nearly inseparable, it would seem that in order to relax, I would need some time away from him. However, just the opposite is true. Spending time with my husband is one of my favorite ways to relax. Some of the things we love to do together to unwind include cooking, walking, traveling, drawing, playing scrabble, and reading (particularly on Sunday afternoons, under the afternoon sun, after a picnic).

how to relax blue shirt and white jeans 3. I’ve been journaling for as long as I could write. In fact, I have boxes filled with tons of my old journals (which I’m sure are filled with juicy secrets like how many chocolate eggs I would sneak from my sister’s Easter basket). Journaling has helped me through sad and difficult times and rejoiced with me in happy times. It listens to everything I need to say, even if I need to say it 1,000 times. It has nurtured my love for writing, and it probably explains why I enjoy blogging so much. Anytime I feel off balance and flustered, I take a step back, find a quite spot, and pour my thoughts out onto paper. I always feel better.

blue nailpolish 4. Every week, I pencil in an hour or so to do things like paint my nails, give myself a facial, and put on a hair mask. I try to avoid e-mail, work and social media, and truly bask in the quietness of unplugging.

La Marca 5. Last, but certainly not least, anytime I need to relax, I head to the kitchen. There is nothing that baking and cooking can’t fix, especially if I’m drinking a little glass of bubbly while doing so!

Do you like to relax with a nice glass of bubbly? What are some of your other favorite ways to relax?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of La Marca Prosecco. It is intended for an audience over 21 years of age.

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Happy Hour- Hot Apple Butter Rum

hot buttered rum cocktail You know when rum and butter are in the same sentence, chances are pretty high that good things are ahead. Of course, it could also mean something horrible, like clogged arteries from too much butter and a hot drunk mess from drinking too much rum, but we’ll just pretend neither of those are an option. What IS an option is making and drinking this delicious hot apple butter rum drink. If you’re like me and you have a cabinet full of liquor, no mixers in the house (and you’re too lazy to go buy some), but you just have to have a cocktail, this is the drink for you. Better yet, if you’re in charge of cocktails for any holiday gathering this season, bring this. Everyone will love you for bringing a delicious drink and the host will love you because everyone loved the drink. So basically this drink will make everyone love you a lot. You’re welcome!

wintertime cocktails hot cocktails hot apple buttered rum hot apple butter buttered rum

 

Hot Apple Butter Rum
Makes 2 Servings

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 a cup of apple butter
1 cup of water

1/2 a shot of orange liquor (like a Cointreau or Grand Marnier), per drink
1 shot of dark spiced rum, per drink

Candied orange peel and cinnamon sticks for serving (optional)

 

In a medium sauce pan heat the butter, brown sugar, apple butter and water on medium-high heat until the butter is melted and the liquid is boiling. Stir a few times, then let it continue boiling for another 2-3 minutes.

While you are waiting for the liquid to boil, pour a half shot of orange liquor and a shot of rum into each mug. Once the liquid has boiled, pour half into each mug, then stir to combine. Toss in a piece of candied orange peel and serve with a cinnamon stick, if desired. Drink immediately.

*Notes: This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. Also, if you are making this for a party or a larger group, you could make this in the crockpot; just add all your ingredients, heat on low, and then serve once it is warm.

I have not personally tried this with anything other than apple butter, but I’m sure fig butter or pumpkin butter would be delicious substitutes.

 

Maple Pumpkin Coffee Creamer

Maple Pumpkin Coffee Creamer

This right here may look like any old cup of coffee, but don’t be fooled. It’s really fall in a cup. And by fall I of course mean maple pumpkin coffee creamer. I’m sure you’ve realized by now my obsession with all things fall, specifically pumpkin treats, knows no boundaries. So of course I love me a good PSL (pumpkin spice latte). But the $5-a-cup, not so much. Back in the baby days of RC, when my pictures were scary (really scary), I made a pumpkin syrup as part of a pumpkin latte. I’ve since realized that traditional form of the PSL is a little too sweet for my liking so I came up with this creamer instead.

Maple Pumpkin Coffee Creamer
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 can (12 ounces) of evaporated milk
2/3 cup of pumpkin puree
1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon
2 pinches of ginger
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of maple syrup (can adjust based on your sweetness preferences)

In a small pan, over medium-low heat, combine all ingredients. Whisk everything together until it is smooth. If you choose to you can strain the liquid. Otherwise, add a few tablespoons to a cup of coffee and refrigerate the rest in a tightly sealed container for up to a week. Just make sure to give it a good stir before using again.

*Please note I chose not to strain the pumpkin puree out, which means my coffee requires a stir here and there to prevent the pumpkin from lumping up. If your prefer you can strain the creamer through a fine sieve and then toss the pumpkin.

Healthy Living- Smoothies

smoothie recipes

While trying to figure out what to write in this post, I decided to refuel my brain cells by doing a little baking….which resulted in me eating chocolate chip cookies while writing about healthy living. That’s probably a sign that I shouldn’t be giving advice…..

Or maybe I should….One of the reasons I actually wanted to add this ‘healthy living’ column onto the blog was not so I could tell you to drink green juices, and eat weird chips that look like they could pass for cardboard, or do a crazy insane cleanse. It’s so I could pass along the ways I stay healthy in a totally normal, not-having-to-sacrifice-chocolate-or-wine type of way. Hence the cookie eating above. After all, a couple of cookies never hurt nobody…

Now that we’ve thoroughly discussed my inability to stay away from sweets even when discussing healthy eating, let’s get to today’s topic- smoothies. One of my tricks for keeping my diet in check is to drink smoothies. I usually start my morning off with one, other times I drink one as an afternoon snack. It’s a great source of energy, it helps me stay full, it satisfies my sweet tooth (and occasionally my ice-cream craving), and it helps me detox after a day or two of unhealthy eating. Some of my favorite combos include-

  • Mango, banana, kale
  • Peanut butter, banana, cocoa powder
  • Strawberry, pineapple, banana
  • Mixed berries, banana, kale
  • Apple, pineapple, mango, banana

My biggest trick for achieving the perfect smoothie is to always add at least a half of a frozen banana (I buy bananas in bulk, peel them, toss them in a ziplock bag and freeze them, then I just pull out whatever I need for my smoothies, or banana bread). It will make your smoothie sweet, creamy and it really helps to bind all the flavors together. As far as liquid, I usually just use water. I use mostly frozen fruit so I never add ice and occasionally I’ll toss in some Greek yogurt for extra creaminess.

No matter what smoothie flavor I make, I always add in a few supplement boosts. For me that includes a teaspoon of flaxseed oil, a teaspoon of coconut oil, a tablespoon of brewer’s yeast, and a teaspoon of chia seeds.

I’d love to know, what are your favorite smoothie flavors and do you add supplements to them as well?

Happy Hour- Spiked Iced-Tea

Spiked Iced-Tea Recipe

 Oh hi there delicious and refreshing cocktail. I’m so glad you decided to come into my life before summer was over. Not that the end of summer would prevent me from drinking such a delicious drink. And not that I’m the first one to think of spiked iced-tea. But if you are looking for a quick cocktail (maybe for a little Labor Day cook-out), mixing up this drink is about as easy as it gets. FYI, it’s also great when you forget to stock your bar with mixers (not that I would know anything about that).

 

Spiked Iced-Tea

2 oz. vodka
1 oz. St. Germain
6 oz. iced-tea (I used plain black tea, but flavored teas would work just as well)

Shake together. Serve over ice.