Super Bowl for People Who Don’t Care

Super Bowl is this Sunday. Huddled up in front of the screen are the ones who’ve watched the whole season, placed bets, and waited for the kickoff. Then there’s people like me, who don’t actually care. I’m there for the Halftime show and guacamole. Luckily, you don’t have to be into the game to get into the Super Bowl spirit! Here are a few tips to host a Super Bowl party for the uninterested, and impress the fanatics.

Photo:http://tipjunkie.com/best-super-bowl-party-ideas/

1. Set up a Photo Booth

Who doesn’t love a corny photo booth? Holding chalkboard signs and wearing stupid hats make for happy times. For a basic DIY photo booth, just cover the wall with a black sheet. Then give your photo booth a Super Bowl spin using football props. This includes football helmets, pom-poms in team colours, life size cutouts of your favourite players, etc. Photo booths are always guaranteed fun.

Photo: mydomaine.com/superbowl-party-ideas/slide10

2. Make a Chilli Spread

Photo: http://catchmyparty.com/photos/2178579

People love making their own variations of food. Having a chilli bar is an interactive way of serving food to your guests and everyone’s happy with their own customized chilli bowl. The first thing you need is of course, the chilli. It’s simple enough to make and is a versatile, hearty food made to satisfy everyone. You can lay out base ingredients such as tortilla chips, french fries and even hotdogs. Toppings include shredded cheese, sour cream, green onions, diced tomatoes, jalepenos, olives, guacamole- the list goes on. Don’t forget the condiments for the hotdogs if you choose to have them! You’ll end up with a massive spread that will look impressive, but took hardly any effort.

3. Decorate- A Little Goes a Long Way.

Photo: organizeyourstuffnow.com/football-banner

It’s the little things that make up the entire atmosphere of your party. Hanging garlands and bundting are a party staple that’s sure to get you in the spirit. It can be as simple as cutting triangles out of construction paper in team colours and stringing them together.

Photo: www.countryliving.com

You can get crafty at the snack table also. It’s amazing how 4 pieces of white washi tape can turn anything into a football. Stick one long piece of tape down one side of a mason jar or clear plastic cup. Then stick three other shorter pieces of tape horizontally under each other so it looks like the stitching on a football. You can pretty much do this to anything, including the jars you can use to hold utensils.

 

4. DIY Your Own Concession Stand

Photo:http://tipjunkie.com/best-super-bowl-party-ideas/

This is a cute idea, especially if you’ve got a sweet tooth. Chocolate covered strawberries never get old. Dipping strawberries in melted chocolate is simple enough. Super Bowl them up by making them look like footballs by drawing on football stitching with melted white chocolate or white candy wafers. Use a piping bag with a really small tip or just cut a tiny hole at the end of a Ziploc bag to draw the lines. You can do this to brownies, cake pops, pretzels the tops of cupcakes, etc.

Photo: www.redbookmag.com

If you’re tired of the white, green and brown and looking to add a bit of colour, make Rice Krispie balls in team colours (learn how to make them here). You can also make some gourmet looking popcorn using sugar, corn syrup and food colouring- recipe here. These are all extra touches that will make your party delicious for the eyes and mouth.

 

 

Whether you love the game, or the only thing you’re watching are the commercials, time spent together with family and friends is always a good time. Hopefully these ideas will give all of you Martha Stewart wannabes (including me) some inspiration. Happy Super Bowl-ing!

LAST MINUTE GIFT IDEA: SAY HELLO TO HELLOFRESH

Christmas is literally right around the corner and I’m sure everyone is scrambling to get their last minute shopping done. With jam packed malls and crowded stores, it makes you not want to get up and head over to your favourite shopping centre. But an amazing gift doesn’t have to be sitting on a heavy duty rack, surrounded by people fighting over the same item. Shopping online definitely has its perks and the best part is, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own bed. So this is where I introduce to you, HelloFresh.

HelloFresh is an international meal delivery company that offers sustainable packaging and delicious, healthy meals. There are three different plans to choose from; the Veggie Plan, which offers delicious vegetarian dinners; the Pronto Plan, filled with a variety of farm fresh ingredients; and the Family Plan, which feeds up to four people. Every plan is assembled with three different meals in one box. You never know what type of veggies or meats you’ll be receiving each month, which makes the whole process even more exciting.

To keep all of the ingredients nice and fresh, everything is packaged into 100% recyclable and biodegradable cardboard. It is then insulated with silver box liners and filled with recyclable plastic icepacks. To ensure freshness, certain ingredients are then placed in food-safe plastic packaging. Once you receive your box, you want to store everything directly into your fridge or freezer right away, unless you can’t wait and decide to whip up a quick meal. If you’re not too sure how to make the best out of the ingredients you are given, HelloFresh has recipes for each meal on their website. If you’re not one to follow recipes, get creative and put your own twist on it.

This subscription box is absolutely perfect for anyone who loves to spend time in the kitchen, or enjoys experimenting with new foods. And you never know, maybe you’ll get a tasty Christmas dinner from it.

If you are interested in trying one of these delicious subscription boxes, visit www.hellofresh.ca and have your pick. When checking out, use my code ‘NOVELLA60’ for $30 off your first box. If you decide to order another one, use the same code to receive $30 off your second box! So lets get cooking this holiday season. Cheers, and enjoy.

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HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING SIMPLIFIED

It’s officially Christmas and your social calendar is filling up quickly. Chances are, you’ll probably have to do some holiday entertaining yourself and stress levels are rising. Well you don’t need 12 Drummers Drumming and 11 Pipers Piping to host a hearty, satisfying Christmas dinner party. Here are some tips to simplify your holiday entertaining this year:

1) Don’t decorate the whole space.
If you’re like me, then you like it when it looks like Christmas threw up in your house. But you don’t need the festive couch cushions and themed plates to have a holly jolly time. You really only need to spend time on one or two focal points. If you have a mantel, then concentrate on that. A pretty holiday table centerpiece can also give your space the festive feels without being overbearing. Start with some moody fresh florals, throw in some candles, fill the gaps with some fall fruit and call it a day.

centrepiece
Photo:http://static.weddingchicks.com/2015/10/12/deep-and-luxurious-wedding-ideas/

2) Only clean where your guests will be.
There’s no point in deep cleaning your closet when your guests probably won’t be lounging in there. Tidy up the main spaces where your guests will be. This usually means the living and dining room, bathroom, and kitchen. Scrubbing down the rest of your home might just be a waste of time, better spent doing something else.

Photo:https://www.pinterest.com/source/stephaniesterjovski.com
Photo:https://www.pinterest.com/source/stephaniesterjovski.com

3) Minimize your table setting.
Sometimes, you don’t need a different cutlery for every bite of food. A plate, a fork, and a knife go a long way for the main course. If you’re plating dessert, use a smaller plate and spoon to serve it. Matte black plates help modernize your place setting (Ikea usually has these and they’re affordable). Mixed metals silverware will also bring in an understated festive element.

christmas-table-setting-ideas-italianbark-8
Photo: http://www.italianbark.com/10-christmas-table-setting/

4) Create a foolproof cheeseboard instead of hot food appetizers.
We’ve seen enough of the Instagram posts, but cheeseboards are easy to put together and require no cooking. Get 3-4 different cheeses, usually one soft cheese, one semi-soft, and one hard. It’s good to have variety. I’m not that adventurous so I stick to the milder flavours. It’s brie, gouda, and a log of herb coated goat cheese for me. You can always ask for help when picking out cheeses at the deli — they’re experts. Use crackers and bread that won’t overpower the flavours of the cheeses, such as water crackers. Accompany the cheeseboard with olives, prosciutto, and nuts and make sure the cheese is room temperature before serving. There really is no right or wrong when putting together a cheeseboard, but it makes you look real sophisticated.

cheese
Photo:http://pizzazzerie.com/diy/diy-food-treats/17-appetizer-boards-to-up-your-hostess-game/

5) Ditch the figgy pudding and have s’mores for dessert.
Put out some bowls with Graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate (the good kind — it’s Christmas). Give each of your guests a skewer and gather ’round telling stories of Christmases past. Now, if you want to be fancy, you can purchase a Pu Pu Platter.  It’s a mini Hibachi grill that comes with compartments to place all your s’more essentials. The more common way to roast marshmallows inside is using ethanol gel cans. Tea lights will probably work just as well. Serve a cup of hot cocoa on the side and you’re good to go!

Photo:http://blog.homedepot.com/dining-room-christmas-decorations-in-teal-red-and-mint-green/
Photo:http://blog.homedepot.com/dining-room-christmas-decorations-in-teal-red-and-mint-green/

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HOW TO KICK THE WINTER BLUES

Now that moody skies are an everyday thing, you just want to stay curled in up in the cocoon you made with your duvet more than usual; summer is long gone and no longer can you throw on a T-shirt and bike to wherever; you don’t want to think about how many layers you have to pile on to stay warm, and the last thing you want to do is trudge through dirty slush to get to work. Yes, seasonal depression is a thing. So, I’ve compiled a list of five things to help combat this lack of motivation and dreariness.

1. Stay Active

Yes, I know. Maybe not the first thing you wanted to hear, but now is not the time to lose your workout motivation. Although it may be horrid outside, it’s important to get out there, even if it’s just for a brisk walk. Half an hour outside will help provide a little bit of mood-boosting Vitamin D. If you want some motivation, there are plenty of motivational YouTube videos. But remember, nothing happens if you don’t actually get off your butt and do something.

Trying something new will also help boost your mood and fight total hibernation. Sign up for a workout class you’ve never tried or buy some new colourful leggings to help get through the dreary colour scheme of the next few months. After all, summer bodies are made in the winter.

Photo:sosasha.com/tag/running/
Photo:sosasha.com/tag/running/

2. Plan a Staycation

I can’t stand the cold but some of us don’t have the funds to run away to California to warm our toes for a week. That’s not to say you can’t still get a change in scenery staying where you are. Get away from the city and escape to a cozy cabin for a weekend, or go on a ski trip. Even a trip to the spa will boost your mood.

Or literally stay right where you are, at home. There’s no harm in taking a day off and wrapping yourself up in a blanket, tea in one hand and a book in the other. Just remember to relax. It’s not a day for running errands or catching up on work you didn’t finish. It doesn’t count when your staycation includes you deep-cleaning the house.

Photo: http://www.tiphainemarie.com/2015/12/a-cozy-winter-night-at-home/
Photo: http://www.tiphainemarie.com/2015/12/a-cozy-winter-night-at-home/

3. Eat Chocolate

Let me explain. People who go through Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or the winter blues, are more likely to crave a natural amino acid called trytophan, which helps produce the feel-good hormone serotonin. This is produced in our bodies when we’re exposed to sunshine, which, in the winter months, is obviously not as abundant. If you don’t produce enough serotonin, you naturally crave trytophan. The important thing is, it’s found in chocolate. So yes, chocolate can replace sunshine in this way. The amount of trytophan also depends on the amount of cocoa bean content and usually, the more expensive the chocolate, the more cocoa bean content. They also contain less sugar. This means they’re healthier right? So go ahead, indulge.

Just balance it with leafy greens, avocados, oats, eggs and anything rich in vitamins, B, C, and D that will also help boost your mood. 😉

Photo: http://www.godiva.com
Photo: http://www.godiva.com

4. Give

‘Tis the season after all, and what better way to spend it than giving to other people. It’s not just about monetary donations. Spending time at the local shelter helping prepare lunch and volunteering your time not only makes you feel satisfied but also really improves mental health.

Photo: cruxnow.com/
Photo: cruxnow.com/

5. It’s the Holidays. Embrace it

As much as you may want to hibernate all winter, don’t fight the holiday feels. Just give in. Put on an ugly Christmas sweater, make a gingerbread house, play Christmas music on loop and watch Home Alone at the same time. Do all the cliché Christmas things.

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, there are plenty of things to do around this time you probably don’t get to do the rest of the year. Going out with friends and family will brighten your mood on the darkest of days, even if it’s just for a hot chocolate or a round of ice-skating at Nathan Philips Square.

Photo:http://anotherangle.eu/posts/christmas-nathan-phillips-square-toronto/
Photo: http://anotherangle.eu/posts/christmas-nathan-phillips-square-toronto/

 

What Novella Loves This Week #1

NovellaLoves-June24th

Drew Brown – Editor-In-Chief

Before Frank Photography Book

Before Frank is a photography book that portrays the artist Amy Winehouse in the months leading up to the release of her debut album FRANK. The book consists of images from two shoots, one in London and the other in New York. Only a few of these pictures have been seen previously; the majority have remained unpublished — until now.

Celia Fernandez – Managing Editor

Lia Huang Silk Peplum Top from Sashion

From Lia Huang, this peplum top is made with grade-A silk that is soft, high-quality yet easy to take care of.  The second we saw this piece, we knew we had to share it with you—it’s just that good. This style also comes in pure cotton.

Isabel Mundigo – Fashion & Lifestyle Writer

Vaseline Lip Therapy, Rosy Lips

I discovered this lip balm while living in Scotland and was heartbroken to find out that we didn’t have it in Canada when I moved back. I would desperately ask anyone I knew to ship it to me or bring it back from a holiday. I even ordered a ten pack on Amazon! At long last, Shoppers has finally come to its senses and begun carrying it. It has the moisturizing quality of original Vaseline, with a touch of pink, and the tin is super sweet. For me, it’s the best lip balm on the market.

Jennifer Lee – Marketing Coordinator

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream

Juice Beauty recently became closer to our reach at Holt Renfrew and Sephora beauty counters. This 12-in-1 multi-tasking CC Cream protects nourishes and transforms the skin with consistent use. Derived from the brand’s organic plant cell technology, the benefits of this cream include evening skin texture, reducing the appearance of fine lines, and improving elasticity. It’s the dream solution to your morning- a primer, moisturizer, colour corrector, and UV protectant with SPF 30 in a single tube. On top of that, it is also available in a range of five shades, and 100% anti-oxidant-rich vegetable juices.

Liat Neuman – Fashion & Trends Writer

Anya Hindmarch Tennis Sneakers

There is no doubt that white sneakers are a staple wardrobe item that never go out of style. It is one of the most versatile pieces that any woman needs to have in her closet. They suite perfectly almost any outfit, so I would suggest to invest in a high-end pair of sneakers, such as the ones by Anya Hindmarch that I picked.

Natasha Grodzinski – Arts & Culture Writer

Pomegranate Scrub, Lovefresh.

Gorgeously scented, obscenely rich and made from all-natural ingredients. The Toronto-based beauty brand Lovefresh crafts lotions, deodorants, body scrubs and more in nine signature scents. A particular stand out is their body scrubs, especially for those with rough skin. Their products are always available at the One of a Kind show, but can also be found in select local stores, such as Polish Nail Bar and The 10 Spot.

Snigdha Koirala – Arts & Culture Writer

Athena-inspired Hair Band

This gold Athena-inspired hairband from Call It Spring has made a feature in nearly every one of my outfits since I’ve purchased it. It’s the perfect way of adding a feminine twist to jeans and a t-shirt or complimenting a frilly A-line dress. The gold enhances nearly every colour palette, whether it be black and white or pink. And it’s the easiest way to make it look like you’ve put some effort into doing your hair.