Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hotels for Adventure Seekers

Wild Canopy Reserve Hotel 

This Canopy Reserve Hotel, located in south India reminds me of the Swiss Family Robinson tree house! My 8 year old self would kill for this -- monkey butler and all. I even remember writing in my voice activated diary about how I wanted to live in a tree house of my own. Funny thing is...I still would if I could.

(pictures from busyboo)

Mirror Cube

The Treehotel is a new hotel in northern Sweden consisting of multiple tree houses designed by different architects. This Mirror cube allows you to enjoy nature from a bird's eye view. The refection of the forest gives you the perfect camouflage. The interior of the cube is simple and sweet -- you even have a little look-out deck on top.

(Pictures from Gizmodo)

 Ice Hotel

Situated in village JukkasjÀrvi, 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden, this little gem turns a quaint arctic town into a world-renowned attraction. The whole hotel is carved out of ICE! With rates as high as $800 a night, you can stay in an artist suite complete with an  ice bed, hand carved ice sculptures and sparkling ice chandeliers. They even have their own ice Chapel and Absolute Ice Bar, offering a massive array of flavored vodka in glasses made of, yup you guessed it, ice. Guests sleep in thermal sleeping bag atop reindeer skin and are awaken in the morning with a cup of hot lingonberry juice by their bedside. How fun! Count me in!
(Pictures from Thisisliv)

Yunak Evleri

Yunak Evleri of Cappadocia has been dogeared in my travel file for a long time. This place is definitely on my list! Yunak Evleri has a combination of six cave houses with a total of 30 private cave rooms dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries and a 19th century Greek Mansion. I can see myself now...walking through a labyrinth of narrow passageways and lounging on the rooftop terrace with my mint tea in hand. YES PLEASE! 

(Pictures from Yunak)

The Giraffe Manor

            Knock  Knock  -- Good morning, may I come in?

Giraffe Manor is set in 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of indigenous forest and is only 20 kilometers from Nairobi city center. Built in the 1930's, this luxury boutique hotel has maintained all the charm of the era and is now famous for its resident herd of Rothschild Giraffe. Giraffe Manor offers you an unparalleled experience of the giraffes, with them vying for your attention at the breakfast table, the front door and even your bedroom window. I love it! I've always wanted to eat breakfast with a giraffe!
P.S. I've been to Kenya -- it's phenomenal (I will post on adventures from Kenya soon)!

(Pictures from Giraffe Manor)


It’s hard enough to pronounce “Kakslauttanen” while sober—don’t even think about attempting it after a drink from their ice bar.  Kakslauttanen is a Finnish resort near the North Pole, popular for its glass igloos. These cute little igloos provide a one of a kind opportunity to admire the northern lights and millions of stars.  Each igloo is built from a special thermal glass so you won't freeze your toosh off.  Every igloo is equipped with a bathroom and luxury beds. Kakslauttanen has a variety of  log cabins, snow igloos, glass igloos and large log cabins to choose from. Too cute to boot! I want to cozy-up in that rocking chair with some hot cocoa and enjoy that stone fire place. Mmmm Heaven.

(Pictures from kakslauttanen)


Palacio de Sal

If you’re one of those people who believes you can never have too much salt, then this is the place for you. From floor to ceiling, including the walls, beds, and chairs, it’s all salt! This 16-room Salt Palace is located on Bolivia’s vast salt flats.

(Pictures from Tripadvisor)

Free Spirit Spheres, Vancouver Island, Canada

These Free Spirit Spheres are set among the tall trees of the west coast rainforest of Vancouver Island, Canada. The five-acre property is an old-growth forest with three pods (made of cedar, spruce, or fiberglass, respectively) suspended 10 to 15 feet in the air and accessed by staircases that wind around the trees. In addition to overnight stays, Free Spirits will also sell you your own premade sphere! Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Ewok village!
(Pictures from Freespiritsphere)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Best Martini EVER! Key Lime Pie Martini

These are a huge hit whenever I make them for our parties! It's creamy and tangy -- definitely a dangerously tasty drink. It tastes exactly like key lime pie, no joke!

Key Lime Pie Martini
1.5 ounces Licor 43
1 ounce Key West Lime Juice
1 ounce half and half
½ cup whipped cream (from a canister)

½ ounce of Simple Syrup
crushed graham crackers

(Optional: Lime wedge for looks)

-Rim your martini glasses with fine graham cracker crumbs, and then put your glasses into the freezer for 30 min or more before drinks are made
-load a martini shaker ½ full of ice
-Add licor 43, key lime west juice, half and half and simple syrup into the shaker
- Add 3 rings of whipped cream from a canister into the shaker
-Shake well
-Pour into chilled martini glasses rimmed with Graham crackers

Licor 43, simple syrup and Key West Lime Juice can be found at BevMo. 
You'll LOVE it!

Picture: 1

Vanilla Bean Toffee Popcorn

 My neighbor made this the other day and I'm crazy for it! I asked for the recipe and added my own twist (vanilla bean). Right after I took these photos, I brought the popcorn to a friend's party. Someone said it was like "being kissed by heaven." This is SERIOUSLY good stuff. Here is a step-by-step guide. Super easy. I'm loving how you can see the cute little specks of vanilla (but, if you don't have a vanilla bean handy, extract will do just fine)!

8 cups of popped popcorn (2 microwave bags of popcorn are perfect)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or one vanilla bean scraped if you've got it)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 300F
Place 8 cups of popcorn in a large deep bowl. (I used Orville Redenbacher's Buttered Popcorn) Make sure that no unpopped kernels fall into the bowl!

Split one vanilla bean (lengthwise) and scrap out the vanilla caviar with your knife. Add the vanilla caviar to the brown sugar and mix it in with your fingers, to break-up the clumps of vanilla.

Cook over a medium heat while stirring:
1 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of light corn syrup in a pot over medium heat.
* Hold the baking soda until later...
Bring the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup to a boil. Keep stirring!

Now, let it sit for 5 minutes WITHOUT stirring. It will begin to look like this...

Remove from the heat and add your 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. This is when the magic happens!
Stir until you get this creamy looking color.

Now pour that heavenly stuff onto your popcorn. Stir until the popcorn is evenly coated.

Place the popcorn on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or wax paper. Bake for 30 minutes at 300F.
After 30 minutes, take it out of the oven and place it on a windowsill or someplace where it can cool off.
The toffee should harden in 5-10 minutes.
Once it has cooled off, break the popcorn into bite-size pieces and enjoy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Quote to Live By

For what its worth it is never to late to be whoever you want to be. Theres no time limit, you can stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing; you can make the best of worst of it. And I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you – I hope you feel things youve never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life youre [humbly] proud of, and if you find that youre not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Amen to that

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Some of My Favorite Teas

I am a sucker for teas. Savoring a nice cup of tea is the perfect way to unwind and enjoy the moment. In no particular order, here are a few of my favorites! They will make your taste buds smile!

Today I made an wonderful cup of Vanilla Bean Tea. I mix mine with a little half & half and a spoonful of sugar. If I really want to get carried away, I'll scrape 1/3 of a vanilla bean pod into a saucepan along with cream and sugar to simmer on medium heat for 5 min before adding it to my die for!

"Vanilla Bean black tea, a deep blend of black tea leaves with Madagascar vanilla, conjures up images of inhaling the heady aroma of wild vanilla as you hike the tropics near Mt. Maromakotro. A full-bodied and fruity cup, Vanilla Bean flavored black tea, a blend of Ceylon and China black teas, makes a deeply satisfying impression.  Enjoy the whole loose leaf flavor in the silken tea pouch, our twist on the gourmet tea bag."
$9.95 for 15 pouches


This Tea is a definite crowd pleaser. Everyone I've ever made it for becomes an instant fan! So... if you are looking for a tea that will impress or to give as a perfect gift, this is it! I like to sip it and pretend I'm in Paris.

"Mike has enjoyed many a pot of tea at the famous Paris tea shops. In homage to Paris, he has created this blend reminiscent of one of the most popular blends in Paris. It is a fruity black tea with vanilla and caramel flavors, and a hint of lemony Bergamot."

  • 20 Sachets in a tin

  • From our Classic Collection

  • Each sachet brews a 12oz cup of tea

  • Caffeinated

  • Our 20ct tin of Paris is Kosher

  • $8.00 for 20 Sachets in a tin


    This tea is great! I personally like it iced and mixed with Teavanas Bluberry Bliss Rooibos Tea. So fruity, you'd think you were drinking fresh juice! Love the taste, perfect for summer!

    "Irresistibly fragrant strawberries infused with tart lemon slices creates a new twist on an old favorite! This wonderful herbal tisane is the delicious strawberry lemonade you've been waiting for. Great hot or iced, it also is a great choice for kids, since it is caffeine-free."
    Price reflects 2oz (25-30 teaspoons per 2oz)
    Ohhhh my my, this is a special one. I have never been able to find a tea quite like this magnificent masterpiece! It’s spicy and sweet with a cool mint finish! No sugar or cream needed! Drink it plain – hot or cold. It will cost you a pretty penny but it’s worth EVERY cent!

    Care for the Earth as you care for yourself: our blend is 100% certified organic, and its soothing herbal infusion—naturally sweet, with licorice root and peppermint—steeps you in calm.”
    no caffeine, sugar or added flavors
    $26 for 4.9oz


    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Welcome Friends

    Cheers to LIFE and cheers to YOU! Welcome to my life and to the people and things I love. Grab a cup of tea and join me.