Dee BrunAward Winning Author, Libations of Life, A Girls Guide to Life One Cocktail at a Time.
Resident Cocktail’ista on The Steven and Chris show on CBC. Home entertaining columnist Toronto Star & Yourhome.ca.
Cocktail Chef & Stylist, Menu Development, Home Entertaining Guru, writer, humorist, wife, mother of 4, TV Junkie, shoe-aholic, boarder line George Clooney stalker..hmm what else...I am old enough to remember making “Mixed Tapes” from the radio...My fave vacation spot is anywhere with a beach bar...and when I grow up I want to be Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City and marry George Clooney...IT COULD HAPPEN!
YOU WANT ME THERE...
Need a Signature Cocktail or Hostest with the Most’est for your event? Then I am your Cocktail’ista…Contact me with the deets…have shaker will travel!
I HEART TALKIES...A LOT...
I Talk…a lot…and some say I am very good at it…Have a Talkie?? Need a Talker?? I’m your Girl…especially if their are Drinkies after all the Blah Blah Blah
WHAT I 'M MADE OF...
I am my Brand & work with so many Amazing ones…Have a Brand that needs a Slightly wrinkled face? Brand need a Make Over? Let’s Chat…I am ALL about Brand(y)ing !
WHO I WORK WITH...
Co-orporate Event Planning….Fab Signature Cocktail or Mocktails Designed for your Event, Media Release or Product Launch…
STUFF Here is where you will find FAB Recipes, Videas, Links and all around general FUN STUFF... Clink around...Cheers
“A hostess gift is a token of gratitude for the invite & all of the work your host/hostess has put into the event. Keep in mind that it is not a Thank-you for the event itself. Etiquette tells us that we follow-up with a Thank-you after the event & that should be sent in the same manner as the invite was extended. For paper invites a paper Thank-You, email invites and email thank you and so on.”
I also asked the ever Fabulous design duo Colin and Justin their thoughts on giving hostess gifts…
“When you think of all the effort your hostess is putting in to make sure you have a fabulous evening, it’s nice to take along a cute wee present. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, maybe some homemade cookies, a scented candle (a candjhome.com, candle of course!) or a lovely jar of home made jam. Just something to show you’ve thought of them and all their efforts to make you feel at home. We sometimes take a swag bag with perfume samples, candy and a lottery scratch card or two. It’s fun to be the gifter instead of the giftee!”
Here is my list of my FAVE FABOOSH Hostess Gifts for 2015…
Be sure to check out some passed lists for more FABOOSH gift Ideas.. Happy Hostess…
“Perfect gift for film buffs and a terrific twist on movie nights, Gone with the Gin is the ultimate cocktail book for die-hard silver screen aficionados who prefer to be shaken, not stirred. Included within are 50 delicious drinks—paired with winking commentary on history’s most quotable films—plus an all-star lineup of drinking games, movie-themed munchies, and illustrations throughout.”
This book adds a fun new twist on cocktail books and film books in one. The recipes are smart , easy and most entertaining to read. FAB value at 18.99$ on Amazon.ca
It is rare that I enjoy a flavored anything. I have to say, I like this Bailey’s better than the original . This has now become a staple in my Saturday morning coffee.
Well not just any beer…
Put together a basket or 6 pack of fab unique craft beers. Or beers from other parts of the world for your host to enjoy. It is always fun to try new things and so many people will not be as adventurous when buying for themselves.
Check out McClelland Imports for some more FAB beer suggestions. Also if you are in ST Jacobs be sure to check out Block Three brewing and the Elora Brewing company in Elora Ontario. Be sure to google craft brewers in your local area to see what you have available to you.
Soap Stones are handcrafted glycerin soap intended for both use and display. Consisting of all natural, vegetable-based soap ingredients, the Soap Stones are made and faceted by hand in a Brooklyn studio.
Headed to a holiday kids party… I got ya covered… I am in love with these Hair ties and hair bands made by a young lady named Story…
Story chooses different charities to donate portions of her profits too..can you say.. TAKE MY MONEY!! For more info and to order email email@example.com …Delivery is included!
If you are headed to my house for a party these top my gift list..just saying…
If you are pinching your dollar and Scents… (see what I did there…)
I love me a good Caesar and it all comes down to the Mix.. and my go to is Walter’s All Natural Mix … Small batch with NO Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), artificial colors, and Glucose / Fructose (high fructose corn syrup) …Makes drinking healthy..right?
Unicef has 14 Survival Gifts available all under $20 These are more than just gifts, they are small miracles. You can send things like bed nets, anti-malaria drugs or pencils for a school. Simply buy your hostess one of these little miracles and you can send her an e-card or their is even a printable card you can take to the party with you…I gaurantee it will be the best holiday gift and one your hostess will never forget..
What is your favorite hostess gift to give or receive…?? I am always looking for FABOOSH ideas…CHEERS!
Over the past few months Canola Eat Well for Life has been traveling across Canada cooking up a storm from coast to coast. I had the great pleasure of hosting the grand finale at Olde Bridge Place in my kitchen with some amazing people and an FABOOSH baker.
Cook book author Charmain Christie known as The Messy Baker joined us to give us the 101 on baking with Canola.
We set on a an afternoon journey of baking 6 amazing recipes all using Canola…
The Messy Baker used the Canola in these recipes like you would any other oils or butters. No fancy changes had to be made and the finished products were just FABOOSH. Not to mention that Canola is a good fat. Love the ‘Fat Chart’ they provide on their site. They also have a very handy Canola Oil baking conversion chart...Which is great when you avoid doing math at all costs like myself.
Here is a fun chart I now have posted in my pantry for easy use.
The day was filled with tips, tricks and so much knowledge. Both about baking and Canola itself. One of my faves came from The Messy Baker herself.
“If you’re baking with sticky ingredients like honey or molasses, measure the canola first, but don’t scrape it all out. It will grease the measuring cup so that the sticky ingredient slides right out.”
So simple right! This will save me so much frustration and RE-washing of measuring cups. I knew Canola was a healthy choice in my cooking but had no idea it was versatile in baking.
Another thing I learned that day is that not all Canola is created equal. Just like many oils and fine wines there are different grades of Canola and we had the pleasure of baking with some Pristine Gourmet Canola that is a pure virgin oil. This oil has a more robust flavour and is a favourite for chefs. It has the lowest saturated fats of all oils and can be used in raw or cooked recipes.
And what is a party without GAMES…
I love learning new things and today was all about the “Canola Crush”..Which is a simple as it sounds. You crush the Canola seeds and VOILA..You have oil. And we could not have asked for a more picturesque place to do it than on the front lawn of Olde Bridge Place on the banks of the Grand River by the Kissing Bridge.
Look at this crew of freshly inspired Canola bakers… HUGE thanks to Canola Eat Well and Charmian Christie The Messy Baker…We are all ready to head into the holiday season inspired to make delicious and healthier treats for our loved ones.
This would not be a proper baking post without sharing some screen licking worthy pictures of our finished products…
I love all the holidays. I am a sucker for food, family, costumes, decorating: anything that has a party vibe. However, the Christmas holidays are by far my favourite. It may have something to do with growing up with the ‘Griswolds’. My parents would decorate the house from top to bottom, inside and out. There would be an EPIC back yard hockey game. My mother and my grandmother would bake enough Christmas cookies to feed a small city, or two. In all this ‘It’s a Wonderful Life-isms’, by far my favourite is the tradition of my parents hosting the neighbourhood open house every Christmas Eve…I LOVED IT! My parents had the cheesy fake wood veneer bar in the burgundy carpet-adorned basement. My dad would mix drinks and spin the 8 tracks. That was until I became a bartender and the cheesy bar became all mine. All in all, the holidays growing up for me were all about us kids.
It is not surprising that all my family’s traditions are the ones I grew up with.
I love my home and I so look forward to dressing it up for the holidays. I just can’t wait until Halloween and Thanksgiving are over so I can get into the basement and dust off the Christmas decorations. Finding a home for all the sparkle and family treasures, it is like my own special Christmas morning.
The cookie baking tradition is by far my favourite, although it means a lot of mess. As messy as this tradition is, my controlling, neat-freak OCD side goes nuts. Two of my four children have November birthdays so ‘Christmas Cookie Baking Parties’ have always been a staple in our home. Sprinkles, icing and flour OH MY! All worth it to see the sticky finger licking kids, covered in flour and green sprinkles smiling and laughing while learning in the kitchen. This tradition encompasses so many amazing things I would never trade it for a perfectly clean house. And the best part of all is the amazing smell of cookies baking! I love how just the familiar scent of holiday cookies in the oven can instantly make me feel like I’m right back there in my childhood home, helping my mom and grandma bake dozens upon dozens of cookies.
Following in my father’s footsteps, my husband and I have always opened our home every Christmas Eve to our family and neighbours. On a ‘pop-in-if-you-can’ type of invite, it is always an amazing night. I love to have fun with it and do a ‘naughty and nice list’ table cloth; it’s a simple and very inexpensive way of making your guests feel special and adding whimsy to your party. This night is full of joy, sharing, anticipation and the best part – it ends early. People start coming by around 4:00 and all are gone by around 9 to get ready for the big guys’ appearance. I have met so many amazing people because of this tradition. There is something very special about sharing your home with friends and strangers alike.
Finally, the season really is all about the kids. We all know the kids love the ‘Big Guy’ so why not make him the star of your party? Every Christmas Eve my computer transforms into the NORAD Santa Tracker and it is a HUGE hit with the kids. They love to check in and see where he is delivering his toys, watch the videos and see how long before he works his way into our time zone. This way all the kids can scurry home, leave out their cookies and carrots, and make sure all the Elves are nestled in their beds. On Christmas morning my favourite tradition is the single mandarin orange in the toe of each stocking. The smell takes me back to my childhood and brings back so many wonderful holiday memories.
Regardless of how you celebrate the holidays or what holidays you celebrate, the most important thing is to surround yourself with those who matter. That is truly the greatest gift.
Your weekend of memory making will include 2 nights in the Kissing Bridge suite. A fabulous 2 room suite with king size bed , full kitchen and living room. A Cozy fireplace and your very own private porch over looking the Grand River and so close to the Kissing Bridge you can almost touch it. Also included is a delicious farm style breakfast for both mornings that you prepare at you leisure in your suite.
*Giveaway does not include travel. Not valid on long weekend or holidays. This prize is valued at $370 and has no expiry.
This post is sponsored by Pine-Sol. With a strong heritage and long legacy, Pine-Sol is a long-standing tradition in many Canadian homes. Apart from the classic pine scent, Pine-Sol is also available in a variety of long-lasting scents – mandarin sunrise, lavender, lemon and sparkling wave. The smell of pine and mandarin always remind me of the holidays! So, you can use different scents throughout your home to change the mood too.
Comments Off on Great American Whiskey Trail…WASHINGTON Edition
I don’t often write about Whiskey. Not sure why, possibly because it is something I have not developed an appreciation for. I do however write about travel so when I had the opportunity with the American Distilled Spirits Council to learn more about American Whiskey and visit the places where it is made…How could I say no!
The new hot travel trend right now is Distillery Travel …Wineries have long been hot travel destinations, but with the rise of the cocktail culture people are flocking to see where there favorite spirits and beers are made. Just ask Forbes who posted this great article on “The top 10 American Whiskey Distilleries to Tour Now…”
Over time this distillery fell into disrepair and was closed. That is until 2005, with a two year rebuild. Including an archaeological dig to uncover actual artifacts and the historic placement of the distillery back in 1797, it once again open it’s doors in 2007. Walking through the buildings and the grounds you would think this place has been standing and untouched since 1797. The rebuild is AMAZING and the fact they still make the whiskey the same way they did in 1797 is more so.
I even got to mash up some mash myself, not an easy job.
Mount Vernon’s master miller, Steve Bashore, describes the 18th century milling process used by Washington in his gristmill on his plantation.
There is something very different about doing a spirits tasting when you are in the place where they make it. All your senses are alert, you now know the process, the ingredients, the history. It is unlike any other tasting you will experience guaranteed.
Every few months Mount Vernon produces a small batch of whiskey from this historic one of a kind distillery. Needless to say it is in very high demand. So much so they have created a “Whiskey Notification List”…So if you are interested in tasting some of that history you need to sign up!
I have never been a history buff, hell I am not even American. However, there is always something very special special going on at this place that is sure to fascinate anyone no matter your interest. Not to mention the killer views off the back lawn.
When your tours are done and your head is about to explode with all the amazing sights and learning it is time to EAT!
Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant is the perfect end to the perfect day. The menu us vast, well priced and appointed and offers everything from braised lamb, roast duck to shrimp and grits.
And my favorite part…I got to wash it all down with Mount Vernon’s own beer!
The only thing wrong with this visit to Mount Vernon, was that I wanted more time to explore it! I can not wait to plan a Washing trip with my family and go back and spend more time in this amazing space.
If you are a spirits enthusiast like me, shake on over to the Distilled Spirits Council of Americas website and check the amazing things they are doing to preserve the history of spirit making in the United States and the American Whiskey trail.
When planning your next vacation be sure to do some research and see what is made in the area you are visiting. You will me amazed and the unique tours you will find. It is always a good thing to think outside the bottle.
Cheers happy travels.
On a Whiskey side note. After all that is the main reason I was there. I happen to find a whiskey I really enjoyed during our tastings.
Wigle Craft Whiskey is an American whiskey that was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. However it has a great Canadian connection as the idea for it came about during a family visit to the Shaw festival in Niagara on the Lake back in 2010.
This grain to bottle distillery produces amazing flavored whiskeys using organic grains and also a selection of deevine organic bitters perfect for any cocktail. They also get my vote for the prettiest labels.
Over the past 8 years I have had the pleasure of working on some amazingly cool and fun projects. I have worked with incredible brands, celebrities and in many different places all over the world…As many people tell me… I have a pretty cool gig…
This past spring I received a call from an unlikely source. A couple of engineers from the University of Waterloo wanted to talk to me.
Ummm…do they know that I don’t do MATH?
Turns out this odd voicemail has turned into one of the funnest (it’s a word)…Most creative projects I have every had the opportunity to work on.
Co- Founders Bryan and Jason were a world away in China with an idea, an ugly prototype and the dream of creating a single serve cocktail machine… There was only one problem…
They had no idea how to create a delicious cocktail…
I don’t do Math and they didn’t do Cocktails…
After many 4 am texting, email and skype sessions…At this time we had never actually met and they were a ‘day away’ in China with sketchy internet so it made for some fun brainstorming sessions…..Along with the lovely Nadia our flavor development guru…we have created something FABOOSH and unique.
Combining the world of technology (the ‘Math’ doers) with the world of Mixology we created Bartesian… The Ultimate Cocktail Machine…
Bartesian is a single serve cocktail machine that makes a fresh, FABOOSH tasting cocktail every time…
For the record..I did A LOT of MATH…
Nadia and myself worked in the Lab for weeks, measuring, mixing, tasting, tweaking, perfecting the flavor profiles for these cocktails…
It was a tough job but somebody had to do it. Let’s just say that we were very popular with her co-workers …It was not hard to find tasting volunteers…
In the end…We created 6 FABOOSH Bartesiancocktails…all of which I am proud to put my name on and would serve to any of my guests. If you know anything about me or what I do…If they tasted like ASS..I would have no part of it.
It was really important that each cocktail tasted fresh and “REAL” every time. We used all fresh juices, the capsules are NOT powder. We sourced all natural flavors and premium bitters. Don’t believe me? Come on over and we can do a blind taste test…We may have to do it several times to make sure we get it right and it’s always more accurate with Disco music playing in the background…
Just ask Amy one of our many taste testers…
If you want to know more about this FABOOSH new project I am a part of..feel free to email me or comment below. Check out Bartesian on Kickstarter !! You will find all the information there along with some more really cool videos and how to become a backer…
HUGE CONGRATS to the amazing Bartesian Team… Everyone , math doers and cocktail doers alike are so very excited and proud of everyone for all their hard work..
When it comes to eating out, who makes the decisions in your family?
In my family, it is all me…the less choices my husband has to make the better he likes it.
It is very rare now days that I eat at a chain restaurant, for many different reasons. I managed one for way too long, so many times all their food tastes the same and they always lack originality.
However, every now and then, out of desperation and convenience, I dine at a “Big Box” restaurant. Another rarity is getting to have a meal alone with my husband, so I wasn’t about to be picky. We headed to Moxie’s Bar and Grill. It was not my first time at a Moxie’s, however the last time I visited one there was nothing that made me want to rush back. On my first visit I had sat in the lounge and was served by a highly over exposed cocktail server. You could of parked a bike in the amount of cleavage she was showing and her mini skirt (which for the record I thought was just a wide belt). Forced her to transform from cocktail server to Cirque du Soleil performer when she dropped my menu and had to contort herself in such a way to pick it up. Gives a whole new meaning to “Big Box” restaurant.
Now to be fair the lounge is 18+, no kids are allowed in there. I am also not a prude and have worn my share of flesh money outfits when I bartended at nightclubs back in the day. I am going somewhere with this …
This time my husband and I sat in the restaurant portion of Moxie’s. Where we were served by a lovely young girl with long flowing hair, cute pants and a lovely blouse. At first glance, a lovely ensemble, I even commented on her pretty necklace. As the lunch went on I started to really look around the restaurant, and then it hit me…Every woman working here is wearing HEELS…HIGH HEELS..the servers, the hostesses, the cocktail servers from the lounge. WHO by the way, run food to the dining room with their bicycle cleavage and wide belts…So even though there is a kids menu available, I think I will keep mine away from the “Big Box” restaurant. The only people on the floor NOT wearing high heels where the male servers…With their snappy black chinos they were gliding comfortably across the floor in plain black loafers. That seems hardly fair.
So…because I am me and just HAVE to know…I ask our server..
Me- “Do they MAKE you wear those shoes?”
Her- “Yes, we all have to wear heels, 2 1/2 inches or higher.”
…………………………………………(insert the sound of my jaw hitting the table)…………………………………..
Her- “Yes, their dress code policy is super strict here. All the girls have to wear their hair, down, heels, a necklace and a watch.”
………………………….(again Gobsmaked silence)……………………….
Ok..let’s just take a health and safety break here..
ALL GIRLS HAVE TO WEAR THEIR HAIR DOWN……….
Now that I am passed the ICK factor..
The lovely server can see the look of “Are you F%$#ing kidding me?” that is not so well hidden on my face and quickly tries to back peddle.
Her- ” Oh it was painful the first few weeks but now I don’t even notice the heels or the uniform policy. Can I get you another beer?”
Nice trying to distract me with booze…cus it normally works…that and shiny objects. But my experience is now totally ruined. By this time my husband was called away and my meal was about as interesting as math class…I have now Googled Moxie’s Uniform Policy…and to my lunch time delight I found this little gem of an article from the Toronto Sun…I know I know, using the Toronto Sun as a reference point is like fact checking on TMZ..but it is worth the read none the less.
I think I have lost my point and turned this into a hap hearted restaurant review slash What do you think?
Are restaurants STILL getting away with sexism, ageism, racism? Doubt Moxie’s would hire you if you could not show your long flowing hair…
Do you pay attention to this when choosing a restaurant for you and your family?
For the record I have not dined at a Boston Pizza in years because the “Family Restaurant” has girls my daughters age working in what I would call “Wide Belts”. The last time we were there my then 4 year old daughter commented…
“Mom I saw that worker girls underwear and these crayons are crappy…”
The Boston Pizza uniform is not surprising when you see the way the owner Jim Treliving ogles and drools when women come on the Dragon’s Den.
So concludes my rant…Was it a rant? I have no clue… What I do know is that I have added yet another sad “Big Box” restaurant to my list of places NOT to eat…