A sad I’m sorrowful day for the royal family as Queen Elizabeth husband has passed. I admittedly have not followed the gossip and lives of the British family for quite some time outside of the most recent Prince Harry and Megan Markel debacle.
As a child I remember watching the royal wedding between prince Charles and princess Diana. I’ve come to understand that prince Philip had shown Diana some kindness when she had undergone the cruelty and maltreatment from the rest of the royal family. This would be one of the highlights I commend him for.
I have also Have a fond memory of playing with my grandmothers royal dalton figurines. They were adorned in lavish old-fashioned dresses and The men in their handsomely decorated Royal Uniforms. I’d pretend it was Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, and they would dance and twirl amongst the ornate China I had set up as props for the ball. Rest In Peace Prince Philip, may you continue to promenade in clouds.
If I could have one wish it would be for all my meals to sustain a level of savory and sweet choices that have an infinite array of combinations. And if you have ever hovered over the meat and cheese platters as I have at most social engagements, you could appreciate the delight when the Maple Mustard pairs beautifully with the Cured Rabbit Sausage. It is not only the array of flavors that is appealing to the senses, but the vibrant variation of colors and textures.
Charcuterie boards, or let’s simply call it charcuterie, is not a new thing. They have been around for hundreds of years. It’s only until recently that America has got caught up in the trend.
Before we get to the here and now, here’s a little bit of a history lesson. Charcuterie is derived from the French words for flesh (chair) and cooked (cuit). The word was used to describe shops in 15th century France that sold products that were made from pork, including the pig’s internal organs. However, the practice of salting and smoking meats to preserve them dates back about 6,000 years to ancient Rome. Charcuterie is rooted in the belief that nothing from the animal should be wasted; not even the heart, lungs, kidneys, fat, or brain.
But lets look beyond the meats and cheeses for a quick minute and consider alternatives.
Whether you are dining, entertaining, or cuddled up on the couch for a night in these Charcuterie alternatives will most definitely not disappoint!
1. Dessert Charcuterie
You can apply whatever holiday theme you like with this idea! Whether its a Valentines, Easter, or you are need of an Ice Cream Sundae extravaganza-the options are limitless!
2 Hot Chocolate Charcuterie
No matter how old you are, this board will be sure to bring the brightest of smiles to the coldest of hearts. Pro Tip: Add some flavored liqueur shots like Bailey’s Red Velvet Cake, or Kahlua and let the good times roll!
3.Breakfast in Bed Charcuterie
Probably my hands down favorite as breakfast is my personal cup of tea- especially when it looks like this! You won’t want to skip this meal of the day. If your a total genius, serve this as a Breakfast for Dinner option as well.
4.Hot Diggity Dog Charcuterie
Bring the Ball Park Nostalgia to your backyard this summer. Hot Dogs can be as gourmet as you desire with an assortment of Honey Garlic, Chorizo, or Smoked Cheddar Smokies.
5.Grilled Veggie Charcuterie
Charcuterie doesn’t always mean heavy on the salts and fats-Grilled Veggies can be marinated and seasoned in so many ways that provide you with the same variations of flavors that any traditional board can offer.
6.Wing Night Charcuturie
Wing Wednesdays never looked this appetizing. Take a classic pub food favorite and put your own twist on it in the comfort of your own home. Go ahead, lick those fingers and spill that hot sauce on yourself, there’s no one there to judge!
7. Seafood Charcuterie
Such a perfect option for a romantic beach picnic or brunch at home with close friends. Serve your oysters with a little red wine vinegar and shallots, or opt for rock salt and lemon? There is no wrong combination with these choices.
Pickle Lovers UNite Charcuterie
There will be no sour faces despite this pickle platter party. As an alternative take your pickle platter to the next level with some Asian inspired pickled delights like Kimchi and Oi Muchim.
9. Chip TruCk TRAY CHarcuterie
This savory buffet of carbohydrate delights would be anyone’s late night munchie dream. But with a little bit of prep your dream can come true with the flick of an oven switch and raiding the condiment shelves of your refrigerator.
Let me start by saying congratulations, you made it through the Winter in the middle of a Pandemic. Winter months in Canada are already tough if you live in any Province with the exception of British Columbia. As if the frigid blustery winds and hazardous icy roads aren’t enough to keep you home, the government Covid-19 lock downs reinforced that. Then if we weren’t already up against enough with the isolation, our bodies took a further beating as we still indulged in a series of holiday meals. In Alberta, gyms and recreational facilities were closed for almost 2 1/2 months which would be the nail on my coffin for myself, as my weight ballooned upwards rapidly. Seeing as this was my first winter in a pandemic, I admittedly was not prepared to cope in the best way, but I should be thankful that the worst that happened to me was a doughy belly and a double chin. I’m blaming my inability to adapt accordingly and find alternative ways to motivate and prioritize better nutrition and exercise.
Home work outs have never been my thing, but as I’ve come to find out, sometimes we need to force ourselves out of the familiar. It takes some time, especially if your stubborn like myself who gets discouraged easily when I lack the presence of reinforcing elements. One of those elements is having an active presence in the outside world, where our interactions can often validate the hard work we are putting into our personal fitness and appearance. My interactions have been mostly with clients who are for the most part strangers and have an already pre-existing sense of loathing towards me as child welfare worker. I’ve also admittedly been using my mask to hide my fuller chipmunk cheeks. So with less social outings happening under the current circumstances I feel it is more important than ever to authentically find validation from within ourselves, namely Confidence.
Transitioning to a place of practicing personal validation through other means is no simple feat. I imagine this could be a lot harder for my generation as we are far more cognizant of the differences between what is sincere interaction and the superficial world of likes and followers. I would never typically support the idea of subscribing to the practice of validation through selfies and half naked thirst trap photos, but a fluffy blonde like me even has her breaking point. If I hadn’t become totally bored through the first wave of my social media feeds I may have just likely began an OnlyFans for some compliments now and again. But for the most the most part, many of us adults aspire to channel our energy and attention to a small few so that to not distract us from our goals and responsibilities that absorb much of our time. The majority of my network uses social media platforms mostly to post pictures of their animals, new furniture, DIY projects or children. Which leaves me with the conclusion we need to work even harder to tap into that self love and confidence at all costs, and here’s my How To Guide to get yours rolling!
1. Get Your Butt Outside
You don’t need to be the outdoorsy type or the adventurous weekend warrior-while these for many seem to be perfect opportunities for Social Media Content. The art of being outside doesn’t actually always have to be about gruelling hikes up mountains or even overtly physical at all. This time of year always offers up ways to draw you outdoors whether its doing yard clean up, gardening/planting, washing your car at home, or enjoying the dog park which by the way you don’t need to have one to still enjoy those playful paws. Take a book on a lunch break and have a coffee on an outdoor patio, or simply just people watch. Exchange smiles with new faces you pass by while you take in a new neighborhood stroll, popping in and out of local shops. How about dusting off the ol’ cruiser bike and taking it somewhere scenic outside your neighborhood, or organize a squad bike beer tour through downtown? You can even cook all your meals outside by BBQing as much as possible. There is movement and social interaction happening in all of these options that are sure to get your that much needed vitamin D and Dopamine back into that ailing spirit of yours.
2. Make your Meals Colorful
Spring and Summer months invite a broader range of delicious produce options, and there is a need to support our local farmers and markets even more than ever. According to the Hello Fresh Blog, our brains respond to light energy, aka color, by stimulating the pituitary and pineal glands. These endocrine glands regulate hormones like serotonin, which is responsible for making us feel happy. Research has shown that different colors also affect blood pressure, pulse, and respiration rates as well as brain activity and sleep/wake cycles. These color triggers set the mood for us to feel more energetic, happy, and relaxed and are strong enough to even have an effect on people who are blind!
Additionally it is mentioned that we are also influenced by the visual cue of color when it comes to our perception of how something will taste. Colorful food can influence our brain to create an expectation that specific colors will taste a certain way. For example, the more vibrantly colored a food is, the more intense we expect its flavor to be.
If you are even somewhat of a meal planner, aim to prepare meals that have at least 5 or more colors in them. Whether it be a pasta salad that is loaded with spinach, red onion, cherry tomatoes, orange peppers and Hemp Seed- the challenge of not duplicating color can offer a variety of nutritional benefits that boost your energy as well as fill you up with all the good stuff!
3. Dance to your Favorite music
I know I can’t speak for all, but as a result of my vegetative state along with the extra pounds I’ve packed on; movement can feel sometimes painful or uncomfortable. My joints and body need some time to recuperate and I can quickly become fed up if I take on something too rigorous. Additionally when the body hasn’t done any kind of significant exercise its not uncommon for you to experience muscle tightness and soreness that can also prevent you from being active the next day. Consistency is key when developing a habit, and getting active again can be admittedly hard enough without being reminded how out of shape you’ve allowed yourself to become. So start with movements that don’t feel like work, and help to loosen those hips and shoulders. Throw on a belly dancing tutorial, or flail around like I do to some House Anthems like its 2005 again. Many fitness apps offer short dance movement classes that are easy and fun to follow. If you are an Albertan like myself maybe you need to brush up on your line dancing and prepare yourself for Calgary Stampede festivities we have been missing.
Just like our beloved Aaliyah sang how “Age Aint Nuthin But a Number”- so is your weight. Because just like age, you are as old as you feel and same goes for your weight. Our bodies listen to our negative self talk and also revolt when we put it under too much stress. Stress can significantly impact your ability to maintain a healthy weight. It can also prevent you from losing weight. Whether it’s the result of high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, unhealthy stress-induced behaviors, or a combination of the two, the link between stress and weight gain is glaring. Hovering over numbers on a digital scale completely derails and undermines the idea of being good to your body. Numbers on a scale can never reflect the fun we experience and sense of achievement when doing our bodies good. If you are not convinced then perhaps use how your clothes fit as a means of measurement, but whatever you do stay off the digital confidence killer.
Or consider an alternative like the Shapa Scale that keeps the positive elements of the scale while removing the negative ones. This unique system gives you feedback about your weight, but not in pounds.
Instead of sharing a number that provides little to no insight, Shapa gives you useful feedback through a more meaningful 5-point color system.
Blue = losing weight Teal = starting to lose weight Green = maintaining your weight Light Gray = starting to gain weight Dark Gray = gaining weight
Shapa looks at your trend over the past few days compared to the past few weeks to determine your color and lets you know if the changes you’ve been making recently are getting you closer to, or farther from, your goal.
5. Wear The Bathing SUit
There is no prep involved here. If its cute, wear it. If its a bikini, wear it. Then finish it off with some Sexy Sunnies to block the haters.
6. Don’t forget your Vitamins
I have a tendency to learn things the hard way, just like when I failed to get regular oil changes on my BMW. I came to find out after a very expensive lesson that things can’t run optimally without the combination of chemically engineered elements. Turns out our bodies are the same and can pay the price if we don’t fuel it properly with the nurtients and minerals it needs. Vitamins that support weightloss such as Vitamin B, Magnesium, Vitamin D, Iron, and Green Tea Extract all have vast benefits. Vitamins and Herbs that support energy are Vitamins B12, CoQ10, Rhodiola, Citrulline and Beetroot powder also compliment the need to fuel an increase in activity and movement.
I was out at dinner the other night at a new Calgary restaurant Orchard celebrating my 43rd Birthday with a couple of friends who were in town from Montreal. It was one of those occasions where we were definitely not short of anything fascinating to talk about. Namely one of my girlfriends who is a prominent and well respected professional Domanitrix who goes by the name Alexxa_Von_Hell offered lots of interesting insights. And after several in-depth topics it got me thinking about how damn Vanilla my own sex life is in comparison to how in tuned so many people are with regards to what makes their libido roar. Not only do I marvel at their intuitive preferences, but I’m in awe of the commitment and courage they have manifested in order to seek out what pushes their sexual buttons.\
So there we were giggling about an incident from earlier on that day whereby I had decided to take off my running shoes. I had been in such a rush that I failed to put socks on. You can imagine what happens when you wear your gym shoes with no socks. It’s a sure way to marinate your toes in what I would say is the closest thing to smelling like zesty Doritos. So when I unleashed the beasts, I couldn’t help but be the first to comment that my cute and freshly pedicured toes may be transmitting their fragrance faster than the Covid Variant. My one gracious girlfriend dug her face in my feet and swore they smelled good as if I would be lying about the embarrassing moment. So when I failed to believe her, she encouraged Alexxa to come take a whiff of the nacho platter that was my feet. Not surprisingly, Alexxa assured the two of us that she doesn’t do the smelling, and could never be caught in this position of submission. With interests further piqued she enlightened us more on the subject of feet and foot play. I am not completely naïve to the world of foot play and fetish but it was fun to hear about the purposeful Parfum De Toe Jam that she assaults her consenting subs with. In fact she shared that she has spent a healthy penny on acquiring the most pungent of shoes that had adorned the feet of some of the sexiest feet.
As the conversation continued to gain traction, I was reminded of a time in my own sorted dating history whereby my feet were the center of his admiration. I probably should have been more perceptive from the beginning when he’d request that I wear open toed shoes, or shoes that showed “Toe Cleavage.” My oblivion continued where I somehow failed to notice that while laying on the couch, watching TV, he’d peel my socks right off and place them against his skin, neck and face. I was apparently too into The Kardashians to notice that my feet were being used as fluffer’s, and they were noticeably doing the job for him. It wouldn’t be until he came out and told me that he “Liked Feet.” Which I would come to find out was a fairly minimized depiction of his voracious kinky appetite for my piggly wiggly’s.
I was initially enthusiastic to brave the unchartered waters of foot erotica as I was already flattered by the idea that my feet were something to be desired. With my feet being the new object of desire and focus, I was no longer worrying about how the rest of my body looked draped across a bed. The cruelty of Gravity could not get in the way this time as my tootsies showed no sign of wear and tear that aging can have on a woman’s body over time. In fact I grew a new appreciation of this body part that I had not acknowledged previously as a powerful source of seduction. As I had begun to assess my feet and toes, I’d developed a sense of gratitude towards their pleasant size 8 stature. Not too small, and not too big. A shoe size whereby its common enough to borrow your friends shoes in a crunch, or always have your size available in stores. Upon further observation, I’d identify the unique details of my toes and how the 3 middle appendages seemed to connect as their own unit. I’d try to wiggle them separately but they would continue to move as a unified threesome unwilling to let go from their co-dependency. Upon further examination, evidence of my figure skating career emerged as my feet had been molded into the undeniable delicate boot shape with my toes pressed tightly together in a uniform pattern. I conclusion, I loved my feet more than ever and felt they were deserving of some long awaited love and affection.
As I had embodied my new found pawsitive outlook; my pre-date rituals were favorably cut down in half. Face Masks and Razors would be replaced with a good heavy pumice, deep moisturizer and fresh coat of red nail polish. Refining the focus onto one specific area of the body was not only less time consuming, but far less exhausting. In all my years I had never heard one person not love getting a pedicure or good hot soak and scrub. I thought to myself could the days of painful waxing’s and workouts be replaced with the kindness of a podiatrists care? I was beginning to think that being a participant in someone else’s foot fetish could turn into a career at this pace. What could go wrong?!
Well it turns out a lot.
The day would come where my feet would be debuted in their first serious intimate interaction. With the same level of conviction that a good pair of Spanx has in a form fitting dress- my feet were feeling fierce and ready to rock his world. So as the evening transpired as it had before, my socks would be peeled off the way one would experience the tender touch of a finger sliding a pair of panties off the hip. The anticipation would build as I’d watch my feet be stalked like a lion crouched in the grass waiting to devour his prey. Then the moment I had been eagerly preparing for happened and he went in for the kill. My three amigos would enter his mouth first, popping their proverbial mouth cherry. Within a split second they would make their displeasure known with a violent involuntary reflex that resulted in a ninja kick to the roof of his mouth. His teeth would penetrate my virgin flesh, where one incisor would set up shop in the tissue binding my amigos together. My precious feet now adorned a gruesome and recognizable bite mark clear across my previously perfect foot cleavage. As I describe this, I’m flooded with the same level of discomfort and nausea, as if it had just happened to me all over again. And while my feet had consented to this, they clearly had a change of heart as soon as they’d feel the warm wet touch of his tongue which slightly grazed between my tripod toes. It did not seem to matter that they had already hit 2nd and 3rd base as it became abundantly clear they were not ready to go all the way. They would never be ready because this experience would be the last. And not surprisingly, the last time I’d see the guy too.
Now you can either choose to believe me and heed the warning of my personal failures- or look at me as the aggressor who foot raped a mans mouth. And if its the latter I can assure you that I am adequately rehabilitated with an aversion to any type of foot play. Moving past this, I do not intend on discouraging anyone from fulfilling or being open to share what makes them tick as my example is merely a tale of sexual exploration that was just not a good fit for me. In fact I think we should continue to push our conventional limits as there is valuable untapped areas of ourselves that have yet to be discovered and appreciated. Perhaps if I could offer any additional words of wisdom, I would strongly recommend a helmet, mouth guard or any kind of protective equipment necessary to safely proceed in any kink exploration going forward. Nothing worse than trying to explain to the emerge doctor who’s administering a Tetanus Shot how your foot got a human tooth lodged into it. There’s no easy way to explain that one, trust me.
I don’t know about you all, but for this gal, it’s the time of year I indulgingly buy myself the gigantic bag of Cadbury Mini eggs and find some quiet corner where I can be left alone to eat them. How they faithfully fulfill my taste buds with their unwavering and familiar mixture of textures, both crunchy and creamy. The powerful sacchariferous flavor ignites a bouquet of cocoa and sweetened condensed milk that dulls the pangs of the sugar coated shells slicing into ones gum-line. The bag continues to seduce the senses until all is gone and your left sitting their with a tummy ache with no one to blame but yourself. Chasing the mini egg dragon can lead you into a diabetic coma if your not careful.
But for someone as visceral as myself, it is the pleasingly soothing collaboration of pastel colors that make holding them such a blissful experience. To watch them roll about in your hand as they begin to soften from the warmth, each shade starts to compliment the other so effortlessly. Their shape also hold such a disarming presence, and if you place them down, watch how they wobble their cherub like bodies.
What I wanted
VS. What I got
Nonetheless…my fingers now make me want to eat them.
But my admiration for all things Spring, colorful, and soft, don’t end with just the nails. I’ve come across so many beautiful and creative fashion and accessory pieces along the way. This spring one of my favorite fashion houses Dolce & Gabbana have launched a kaleidoscope of passionate prints and whimsical pieces that call my name.
Dolce & Gabbana- Spring/Summer 2021 Faves
Lets start with this Floral Appliqued Flower Headband- You can channel your inner Eva Perone in this easter bonnet!