Where to be James Bond for Halloween

Martini - 007

Go undercover this Halloween at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar with An Evening of Espionage on October 31 at 6:30 p.m. Be James Bond for Halloween with this 007-themed dinner event will be one to remember, featuring hors d’oeuvres and four courses paired with classic cocktails at $95 per Guest. To celebrate the new movie, Guests are encouraged to dress as any 007 character – villain, agent, leading lady, or the man himself. Throughout the evening, Guests can sip on a 007 Martini, Bombe Negroni and more, featuring Belvedere vodka. For more details and menu, click here.

5 Superfoods for Flu Season

Spinach

Flu season is around the corner, and you can sleep and sanitize religiously, but the best way to fight off germs and sickness is through proper nutrition. Medicine will temporarily alleviate your symptoms but can’t equip the body to kill off the illness inside of you and doesn’t have the healing power that food does. Stock your kitchen up with the following infection-fighting superfoods and keep your family’s immune system strong all through the winter.

1. Almonds
Vitamin C tends to get all the spotlight when it comes to fighting off the flu and other illnesses, but Vitamin E plays just as a crucial role in protecting your immune system. Almonds are packed with this fat-soluble vitamin and provide a good source of healthy fats to help Vitamin E be best absorbed into your body. They are also excellent vegetarian sources of zinc and selenium. Almonds can be great additions to a variety of meals and taste delicious covered in antioxidant-packed dark chocolate for twice the flu-fighting power.

2. Kombucha
Kombucha isn’t a food but rather a fermented tea that has been used by the Chinese for over 2000 years to fight infection and disease. Its popularity has skyrocketed in the past few years and for good reason. Kombucha tea is loaded with probiotics, B-vitamins and antioxidants that detoxify the body, energize and boost immunity. It is a great probiotic option when compared to yogurt because it doesn’t enhance mucus production like dairy products do, so it’s safe to drink when both trying to prevent or fight an illness.

3. Oats
The American Institute for Cancer Research has reported that oats may have even more antioxidant power than fruits and vegetables. Oats’ combination of antioxidants, soluble fiber, and energizing carbohydrates all provide the body with the defense, strength and digestion it needs to stay healthy. They also protect your heart against cardiovascular disease. Try steel cut oats with cinnamon for extra anti-inflammatory power.

4. Oily Fish and Shellfish
Fish oil and other supplements can be beneficial when taken alone, but obtaining the nutrients directly from the source itself proves to be much easier and helpful for your body to absorb their nutrients. The omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish such as salmon and tuna, protect the body from inflammation, white blood cell damage, and help to alleviate stress. Shellfish provide the most zinc of any other food, which is one of the key elements in fighting colds.

5. Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens are one of the most nutritionally-dense foods on the planet, packed with iron, zinc, copper, and other nutrients that help keep the body’s defenses at their best. The antioxidants in spinach function to develop white blood cells and prevent oxidative stress on the body. If you’re not like Popeye and don’t enjoy eating spinach raw, try putting a handful into a homemade smoothie for a sneaky serving of this powerful food.

Your body will reward you when you make an effort to fill it with nutrient-dense food by not only keeping you from being sick but also giving your long-lasting energy throughout your day and keeping stress and anxiety at bay. A nutritious diet reflects from the inside out and will keep you strong through flu season and beyond.

This guest post is welcomed by Lauren Lane, a junior at the University of Alabama majoring in journalism. She is pursuing a career in food and health writing, and is passionate about plant-based living. Lauren is a Florida native and loves fresh waves and food. She is a staff reporter for the university’s school newspaper, The Crimson White and enjoys writing about campus and local culture. I hope to feature more of her talent in the near future!

Homemade Plum Jam

Homemade Plum Jam

 

I have never made jelly or jam before, but I had some leftover plums and attempted my first ever Homemade Plum Jam. This recipe came out fabulous, and if you like Port, it’s wonderful with that unexpected addition. While I know this recipe has sugar, it also contains cardamom which is super healthy for you including gastrointestinal protection, cholesterol control, control of cancer, relief from cardiovascular issues, and the improvement of blood circulation in the body. Plums are also a great source of Vitamin C, K and filled with fiber. Serve on biscuits, toast and even crackers or bruschetta with a touch of goat cheese for a sweet savory appetizer.

A Great time to go to Casa De Campo is…

Casa De Campo

A Great time to go to Casa De Campo is….soon! On September 7-13, 2015, Casa de Campo, the 7,000 acre luxury resort in La Romana, Dominican Republic, is hosting a Holistic Living & Yoga Retreat. Boasting its holistic reputation and a plethora of treatments and sessions waiting to be indulged in, Casa de Campo’s Community Detox invites guests to experience a week of ultimate relaxation and tranquility in the heart of the Caribbean. My husband has been there before to play golf and relax, and he has told me it’s one of his favorite resorts and destinations.

Starting at $315.57 per night (based on double occupancy, not including $130 mud and juice cleanse or $450 full detox fee), the week-long Holistic Living & Yoga Retreat will feature a variety of options for guest rejuvenation, including hip baths, meditation and yoga, detox massages, a bonfire dinner, and juice, herbal colon and mud cleanses. Check out the schedule below. It sounds awesome!

Caso De Campo pool

 

Check out the schedule below:

Casa de Campo Yoga Retreat copy

 

The Beach Club by Le Cirque LR

How to Prevent the Flu

IMG_3972 copy It’s 25 degrees this morning in Birmingham, Alabama. I think it’s colder here today than New York. When the temperature fluctuates, everyone starts to get sick. I am so thrilled that Children’s of Alabama was willing to share some tips and great information on how to prevent the flu.

“Helping to prevent the spread of germs and viruses is important in making sure that your child does not get sick,” said Brenda Vason, Manager of Infection Prevention and Control at Children’s of Alabama. Hand washing is the first line of defense. This simple practice protects against the spread of infectious germs. It is important that hand washing is performed properly to ensure that germs are scrubbed away.To make sure your children are getting the most out of their wash:

  • Wash in warm water, but make sure that it isn’t too hot for little hands.
  • Use soap and lather for about 20 seconds. Make sure to get in between fingers and under the nails where germs like to hide.
  • Rinse and dry well with a clean towel.

Be sure that your children know to wash their hands before eating, after using the bathroom, after cleaning, after touching animals, after contact with someone who is sick, after sneezing or coughing or after being outside. Getting a flu vaccination is another important way to keep from getting sick. The flu is a highly contagious virus of the respiratory tract. The flu vaccine does not cause the flu and keeps children and parents from getting sick. It is now recommended that everyone 6 months or older get the vaccine. 2- Be aware of signs and symptoms Viral Infections can cause many symptoms that can differ from child to child. These symptoms can also change as the illness progresses. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine if your child is experiencing a common cold or the flu. Typically flu symptoms present themselves suddenly and are more severe than a common cold. However, you should not brush these symptoms off. Symptoms, which normally begin about two days after contact with the virus, can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Ear pain
  • Diarrhea

3- Know when to call the doctor For the most part, these viral infections will go away on their own with a little rest and relaxation. However, there are some cases that require medical attention. You should call the doctor if your child:

  • Has flu symptoms
  • Has a high fever or fever with a rash
  • Has trouble breathing or rapid breathing
  • Has bluish skin color
  • Is not drinking enough fluids
  • Seems very sleepy or lethargic
  • Seems confused
  • Has flu symptoms that get better, but then get worse

Children who are sick should stay home from school or daycare until their fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. For more information on this or other health and safety topics, visit www.childrensal.org. 2014pikhheader

Saint Lucia Hosts November Health and Wellness Month

Caribbean; St.Lucia uncrowded expanse of beach, Pigeon Island

Saint Lucia invites travelers to experience new levels of rejuvenation and adventure this November during the island’s annual Health & Wellness Month. Inspired by the vast array of wellness-related activities, Saint Lucia’s leading hotels will offer value-added packages and discounted rates. Those seeking quality time with the great outdoors can fly through the rainforest canopies and zip-line with Rain Forest Adventures, explore Saint Lucia’s pristine coral reefs by SNUBA, cruise the rugged trails at Anse Chastanet on a jungle bike, and hike forested paths leading to the peaks of the iconic Piton Mountains. Basking in the ocean spray, yoga on white, sandy beaches, luxurious spa treatments, and the naturally healing Sulphur Springs mud baths will leave you completely refreshed. Here are 4 resorts and offers I recommend checking out:

SaintLucia_spa

1. Jade Mountain – Soufrière

“Tropical Tranquility”

·         Receive a fifth night free in the Sky, Star and Moon categories

·         Five night package rates start at US$6,876 per couple in a Sky Jacuzzi Suite; additional nights can be added at US$1,564 per couple per night in Sky accommodations

·         Includes breakfast and dinner, all tax and service, airport transfers both ways, welcome cocktail, drinks package in room fridge, tropical fruit display, an escorted walk of Anse Mamin Plantation, two one hour classic spa treatments per person, sunset celebration (bottle of champagne with appetizers delivered to guests room once during stay), two Anse Chastanet handmade bathrobes, usage of tennis court and equipment, watersports equipment and complimentary resort water taxi to Anse Mamin beach

·         Book by November 30, 2014 for travel from November 1 through December 19, 2014 and January 5 through December 19, 2015

·         Visit www.jademountain.com for resort information; call 1-800-223-1108 or emailjademountain@ansechastanet.com for Health & Wellness offers

2. Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort – Soufrière

“Linger Longer 5”

  • Stay four nights and receive the fifth night free for a total of 20 percent savings
  • Rates start at US$385 per night for a Luxury Sugar Mill Room
  • Includes complimentary breakfast for two daily
  • Available now through December 18, 2014
  • Five night stay minimum required; offer available in all room categories
  • Visit www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/sugarbeach for resort information; call for Health & Wellness offers

3. The Landings – Rodney Bay

“Body & Soul Wellness Package”

·         Rates from US $325, for savings of up to 45 percent

·         Includes US$100 spa treatment credit, healthy recipes booklet, daily beachfront yoga, guided hike to Pigeon Island National Park, windsurfing, sailing, kayak and tennis instruction

·         Book by September 30, 2014 for travel from September 1 through November 30, 2014

·         Website Booking Code:  BODYSOUL

4. Anse Chastanet – Soufrière

“Tropical Tranquility”

·         Receive a fifth night free

·         Five night package rates start at US$3,924 per couple in superior accommodations; additional nights can be added at US$826 per couple per night

·         Includes breakfast and dinner, all tax and service, airport transfers both ways, welcome cocktail, drinks package in room fridge, tropical fruit display, an escorted walk of the Anse Mamin Plantation, two one hour classic spa treatments per person, sunset celebration (bottle of champagne with appetizers delivered to your room once during stay), two Anse Chastanet handmade bathrobes, usage of tennis court and equipment, watersports equipment, and complimentary resort water taxi to Anse Mamin beach

·         Book by November 30, 2014 for travel from November 1through December 19, 2014 and January 5 through December 19, 2015

·         Visit www.ansechastanet.com for resort information; call 1-800-223-1108 or emailansechastanet@ansechastanet.com for Health & Wellness offers

SaintLucia_pitonwater

Wine and Food Pairing 101

Food and Wine Pairing

A simple guide to wine and food pairing

I am stepping out of my typical blog box today to write about food and wine. I used to write a wine column years ago for Southern Living Magazine, and I actually attended a Mastering wine class at the Culinary Institute in Greystone. I learned that being able to match up basic flavor combinations is a critical life skill, and can be applied to a variety of scenarios. Whether you’re ordering food in a restaurant, hosting a dinner party or pursuing a career in hospitality, it’s important to know how to create flavor fireworks with your favorite bottle of Chateuneuf du Pape or Chardonnay.

Champagne

If you do plan on serving some proper fizz with your canapés, know the flavors that go well together. Go above and beyond the obvious and often inappropriately decadent choices of oysters and caviar.

Instead, achieve something more subtle by pairing a delicate stem glass of champagne with cucumber and crab canapés for a successful pre-dinner nibble that’s evocative of the sea froth, viewed from a windswept coastline.

White wine

Bright, sparky whites like Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc zing through creamy sauces and elaborate on the zesty characteristics of dishes like lemon chicken, ceviche and salmon. A vegetarian tipple of choice, Chablis makes a cool partner to a salad or avocado-based starter. Desserts, on the other hand, will pair lovingly with a delicate, yet rich glass of sweet Moscato.

Rosé

This dynamic mix tends to display the best of both worlds – the delicacy and fragrance of a good white, fortified by the substance and heart of a red. Dry rose contrasts well against creamy, rich cheese dishes like fondue. Try pairing with soufflé, carbonara or goat cheese salad for an unexpected treat. Berry dishes will sing out from the plate when partnered with a blushing Zinfandel, as will pork loin.

Red wine

Try something bold, rich and deliberate, there’s nothing like letting a darker wine loose on a well-seasoned cut of red meat. Anything with peppery characteristics: duck, steak and the like will tussle joyfully with a brooding glass of Syrah, while velvety Merlot should eke out the indulgence of any dark, chocolatey dishes. Light reds work a charm with meatier fish as an alternative to white; try Pinot Noir with salmon for a sophisticated coupling.

While there are certain, specific guidelines for pairing wine with food, the real joy of the exercise is in experimentation and discovery. Don’t be too rigid in your attitude, or feel that you have to adhere to a perceived rule of thumb. Being experimental is all part of the eccentricity of being a gourmand. Make your own discoveries, because at the end of the meal, it’s your palate that you’re trying to satisfy, and no two are the same.

Money Saving Tips for Kids: Family Friday

So I will be honest here. We actually won those prizes in this picture of my daughter, Leigh at Disneyland this summer (thanks to her older brother). Anyway, having 3 kids is a fabulous challenge, and teaching them the value of money and saving money is truly important. My kids usually want to spend their allowance immediately upon receiving it – I can almost see the money burning a hole in their pockets! I have learned that regardless of your children’s age, the best way to teach them the importance of budgeting is to start small and keep it simple. Here are some of my top money saving tips for kids. See my post over at SC Johnson for more.

1. Set an example: Keep a piggy bank at home and use it. I make weekly deposits of small bills or coins and show my kids the savings after a couple months. I also talk to them about the importance of saving and staying on track when it comes to weekly deposits.

2. Match them: To try and keep things fun, match the amount of money save by 50 to 100 percent. This idea helps kids stay motivated to save money.

3. Make a list: I ask my children to make a wish list of the items they would love to own. This helps them to prioritize the things they really want and ensures they think through how much they should budget for in order to afford it.

See more at SC Johnson

5 Free Summer Activities for Kids

Summertime can get SO expensive with camps and activities, eating out and vacations. As a mom of three children, I am always looking for ways to save money, especially around this time of year. As my kids grow older, these budget-friendly, free summer activities for kids have stayed on the top of our list!

1. Geocaching: Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor, treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS enabled devices such as a smart phone. Check out Geocaching.com for more information.

2. Culture: Spend a half-day at your local museum exploring and learning about the scientific, artistic, cultural or historical importance of the artifacts and collections available in your city. This will be a great way for your young ones to learn about some of the unique facts and stories surrounding your hometown. If your local museums charge admission, check your local library as some allow you to “borrow” membership passes for free entry.

3. Biking: Plan a bike outing on the next warm, sunny day. This is a great way to get some exercise, while changing up your every day scenery. Pack food and enjoy a nice picnic midday.

4. Hiking: Find a local hiking trail or make a hiking path around your own neighborhood! It’s a great way to get outdoors and spend quality time with your family.

5. Cooking: Entertain your kids on a rainy day by getting them in the kitchen to bake their favorite recipes. Once you’ve worked together to choose a recipe, teach them how to measure, bake or customize the ingredients to make it their own. Some great summertime recipes to try include Better-for-You Blueberry Muffins!

For more ideas, read on at SC Johsnson

5 Tips to Handle Stress

Whether it’s family or work, life can be stressful no matter what stage you are in. Being that I am a single mom of three active children and experiencing the everyday challenges of living with an ill parent, I have been searching for various ways to help me relax. Below are a few of my favorite tips that have helped to relieve my stress. If you have any others, please share!

1.    Identify the problem: Ask yourself what is triggering your anxiety and write down possible solutions for each. Having a list in front of you will help you understand and identify the issue.

2.    Exercise regularly: Even if it is taking a walk with a friend, stay active! Head to the gym and try a Pilates or yoga class. These classes teach various ways to meditate, while helping loosen tight muscles and facilitate deeper breathing.

3.    Get some rest: Sleep helps your body replenish. Try going to bed even 30 minutes earlier, you’ll be able to handle stress better if you’re well-rested and nourished.

4.    Travel: If possible, plan a getaway and take some personal downtime in a new setting. Even staying with a friend or family for a night can help give you a new perspective on things and give your mind a night off from stress. Or, make it a family trip and spend some time with your loved ones! If you’re traveling with kids, check out my tips on how to make your vacation stress-free here.

5.    Do what you love: Read a good book, see a movie, go get your nails done or simply watch your favorite show. Make time for a favorite activity at least once a week to help take your mind off your problems and put a smile on your face!

See more on my blogpost for SC Johnson. I loved being on the SC Johnson Blogger Panel this year!