Follow me on Twitter! Do you have a pretty product you'd like to recommend for this blog? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Image by: The Hoodwitch
Happiness, prosperity and love could be just a stone, an herb or a rattle dance away
From celebrities’ obsessions with healing crystals to the fashion set’s attraction to modern magic to influencers’ reliance on spiritual healers and energy practitioners, many appear to be inspired to “think mystically for guidance,” as put by Sean Monahan in The New York Times. This surge in the fascination with metaphysics, folk medicine and natural magic, Monahan explains, is triggered by shared feelings of an uncertain future and the desire to resort to magic to bring on the good vibes.
Smudging is being used to ward off negativity in homes, rose quartz crystals are being toted around to enhance love lives and shamans are being sought out to provide relief from stress, depression and anxiety using wooden rattles. No matter your concern, there's an otherworldly treatment that could help you feel and live better.
Whether you’re into the whole mystical healing thing or see it as another granola-approved trend, it seems wrong to completely ignore a concept that could bring positive energy your way. So, why not hop on the natural magic bandwagon with the rest of the pro-"woo-woo" community to cleanse the negativity out of your life and attract more happiness, prosperity and love?
Below, we’ve rounded up the top crystals and herbs that are the least weird and most popular natural magic practices today that can help you find balance in your life, strengthen your relationships and manifest success.
This powerful and sacred plant is commonly used for smudging — the burning of the herb in which the smoke gathers and dispels negativity in the home and on the body and welcomes positivity. It helps aid emotional, mental, spiritual and physical imbalances.
White Sage Smudging Stick, Amazon, $20.
Dubbed “the love stone,” rose quartz brings just that into your life, through romantic, platonic and unconditional relationships. Aside from amping up the love in your life, the stone can also increase self-esteem and self-worth, soothe internalized pain, lower stress levels and promote forgiveness.
This cheery yellow stone helps manifest happiness, success, health and prosperity. It can also assist with the recovery of depression, encourage generosity and help tame mood swings.
Natural Raw Citrine Cluster, Etsy, $15.
Known for being one of the most effective stones for healing people, amethyst is commonly used to help the home become and remain a clean and positive environment. The stone soothes the nervous system, enhances spirituality, fosters selflessness and can even help cure insomnia.
Aside from being used for psychic guidance, apophyllite is also used for enhancing creativity, reducing anxiety and fear, and encouraging acceptance. It can assist with planning for the future and helps one forget any negativities from the past in order to do so.
Apophyllite Crystal Specimen, Amazon, $8.
Designers and decorators share they favourite kitchen trends for 2017.
For many of us, the kitchen is the hub of the home. It’s where the family convenes every night for dinner. It’s where homework is done and family meetings are had. And it’s where guests gather even though the dining room table is set and a fire is roaring in the living room. There’s something about the kitchen that makes it far more than merely a utilitarian space. If you’re thinking about updating your kitchen this year, check out these hot trends, as identified by designers.
Photography: Michael Nangreaves
1 "Mixing metals is my favourite kitchen design trend for 2017. I think it reflects a more individual, less formal approach to design that is popular with millennials and non-millennials alike. While it takes a bit of an expert eye, it is totally appropriate to mix metal finishes in your faucet, cabinet pulls, chair legs and pendants!" - Designer, Lisa Canning.
Credit: Stacey Cohen
3 "One top kitchen design trend I love is to have sections of the upper cabinet extended onto the counter. Let's face it, we all love our small appliances (i.e. toaster oven, espresso machine) but we may not want them on display all the time. A multi-purpose kitchen island has been the go-to solution to disguise the microwave and dishwasher, but unless the island is 10 feet long, it is challenging and perhaps impractical for the island to house the small appliances we use daily off the counter. By having the upper cabinets extended to the counter and small appliances sitting behind doors, you can achieve a sleek design statement without sacrificing your morning coffee!" - Blogger and Decorator, Tim Lam.
: Donna Griffith
4 "In 2017, we will continue to see cabinetry painted white and various shades of grey. I think that we will also see cabinetry painted warmer tones such as greige (grey & beige), taupe and mushroom. Islands in a different colour or stain than the perimeter cabinetry will continue to be prevalent. In addition, handcrafted islands that look like furniture with legs will be popular for that unfitted kitchen look. It also adds personality and charm and the kitchen then looks like it has evolved over time. Quartz as a counter will continue to be popular as consumers become aware of its benefits." - Interior Designer, Vanessa Francis.
Photography: Monic Richard
5 "After years of white on white kitchens, our clients are asking for something different again. While you might not want to paint an entire kitchen in one colour to stand out from the crowd, the tendency in 2017 will be to mix natural wood, paint and metals in the kitchen. Try framing the range hood and the island in chrome to add sparkle to the space. Add texture to your cabinetry with a mix of light wood veneered lowers and white lacquered uppers." - Interior Designer, Tara Fingold.
Photography: Donna Griffith
6 "Say hello to dark metals in the kitchen. Polished chrome and nickel accents are giving way to black faucets, burnished steel pendants and matte black cabinetry handles. The dark finishes can work in sleek modern kitchens or the most cottagey of cooking spaces. With white kitchens continuing to dominate, a dash of black can provide high contrast and instantly update tired cabinetry." - Blogger and Designer, Jennifer Flores.
7 "Terra Cotta is back! But it's not the tangy orange clay you're used to. In 2017, Reclaimed Rose Terra Cotta will be hitting it big. Following the trend of reclaimed wood, the rich creams and pale pinks of this antique terra cotta tile will be the next phase in the modern farmhouse kitchen. Look for hexagon or herringbone for a modern take on this old classic. Pairing over-sized pendants and industrial decor with reclaimed terra cotta will help keep the space current." - Designer, Andrea Haraldsen.
Enjoy this sweet treat perfect for an afternoon tea party.
Learn to make these light and airy swirled strawberry meringues.
Take advantage of the season’s fresh berry bounty with these delicate confections that put a new spin on the everyday fruit bowl topped with a dollop of cream. Light, airy and easier than pie, they’re sure to become a family-favourite summertime staple.
1 To make the sauce, puree the strawberries, sugar, 1 tablespoon water and lemon juice in a blender.
2 Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and stir over medium heat until warmed through, about 2 minutes.
3 Whisk the cornstarch in a small bowl with the remaining tablespoon water until smooth; stir into the strawberry mixture.
4 Bring the strawberry mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl; let cool completely.
5 To make the meringues, preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the sugar onto a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet; bake just until the sugar begins to turn golden, but not hard or melted, about 8 minutes. Reduce the oven to 200°F.
6 Meanwhile, in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. With the mixer on high speed, gradually beat in the hot sugar; continue beating on high until the mixture has cooled and is stiff, glossy and very thick, about 10 minutes.
7 Beat in the vanilla. Slowly add 3 tablespoons of the strawberry sauce in a steady stream. Stop beating and gently fold the mixture two or three times to create a swirled effect.
8 Drop the meringue mixture by generous 1/2 cup measures onto a large parchment paper-lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart, to form 8 meringues. Top each meringue with 1/2 teaspoon of the strawberry sauce and, with a toothpick, swirl the tops to distribute the sauce.
9 Sprinkle with the freeze-dried strawberries (if using). Bake until the meringues are crisp and no longer shiny, about 3 hours.
10 Without removing the baking sheet, turn off the heat and allow the meringues to cool in the oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Serve with the remaining strawberry sauce. Store the leftover meringues in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Makes: 8 meringues
Decorated in shades of silver and gold, this shimmering tree makes a statement. Image by: Donna Griffith
What’s better than chic, sophisticated holiday style? The ability to achieve it with ease. Here are 10 tips to simplify your next festive soiree.
Last year, when homeowners Pamela Schott and Sheldon Pollack moved into this 7,500-square-foot five-bedroom century home in Toronto’s Forest Hill neighbourhood, they merged more than just their families (he has three 30-somethings; she has two kids; and four of the five live at the house part-time). The couple, who will wed next year, also blended their approaches to the holidays. To that end, their seasonal decor is sophisticated and minimalist, glamorous and uncluttered, neither too gimmicky nor too theme-y. For Pamela and Sheldon, it’s all about simplicity. Though they enjoy entertaining – the couple loves to host a holiday drop-in – they always keep it effortless. “A party is about the friends, family, wine, appetizers and conversation,” says Pamela, who makes creating a relaxed atmosphere her priority. “It’s about the event, not the planning.” Here, we highlight 10 ways Pamela and Sheldon execute their elegant holiday style with ease.
1 Choose function: A petite potted rosemary tree gives the kitchen counter holiday flair with purpose. Well into the new year, it will serve as a source of fresh decoration for place settings and garnish for themed cocktails.
2 Make strategic splurges: Don’t stress about baking in the days leading up to your party. If you lack the time and the piping skills, splurge on artfully adorned cookies iced in your home’s colour scheme for a scrumptious statement.
3 Stay simple: A bouquet of white amaryllis is an understated accent that’s synonymous with winter but doesn’t scream “holidays.” Buy the blooms a few days before your event so they’re at their prime when guests arrive.
4 Lay it down: Getting festive garlands to swag just right can take a lot of fussing. So if you want to gussy up your windows in a flash, layer cuttings of greenery on your windowsills instead. Here, Douglas fir and magnolia leaves add a luxe touch.
5 Accent the architecture: Draw attention to eye-catching structural features like leaded glass windows with beautiful holiday wreaths that accentuate the details but don’t steal the show.
6 Make room for more: Use a bowl to hold gorgeous Christmas ornaments that didn’t make it onto the tree for a simple centrepiece or coffee table accent.
7 Wrap it up: No pot? No problem! Use a swath of grey linen fabric secured with decorative ribbon to dress up the base of a tabletop tree. This unconventional feature lends a festive touch to an otherwise unadorned space.
8 Come out from under the tree: Take your gift wrapping to the next level with finishing details like sculptural toppers and layered ribbons. Don’t just place presents under the tree: Artfully arrange them on various nearby surfaces for vignettes that suit the season.
9 Mix metallics: Sticking to a gold and silver palette makes decorating the tree almost effortless. Look for a mix of shimmering materials, from beading to mercury glass to metallic fabrics, so you don’t have to think too hard about even distribution.
10 Make it a team effort: Whether it’s decorating the tree, hanging wreaths or wrapping presents, holiday tasks are more easily executed as a team. Get your tools out ahead of time, gather the family and put on your favourite holiday tunes to set the mood – you’ll be done before you can say “cool yule!”