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Tomato, Basil, and Bocconcini Skewers with Balsamic Reduction Sauce

The title of this recipe sounds far more fancy and complicated than it actually is!

The less elegant version of the title could be “Salad on a Toothpick”, because that’s what I think of when enjoying these little bites of intense summer flavour!


– Bocconcini cheese balls (you can usually find them in the deli section of most supermarkets, or at an Italian supermarket)

– Cherry tomatoes

– Bunch of basil leaves

– Toothpicks

– ¼ cup balsamic vinegar

  1. If you have regular-sized bocconcini cheese instead of the mini sized ones, cut each cheese ball into quarters.
  2. Wash tomatoes and basil and pat dry.
  3. Using toothpicks as skewers, put a tomato, a basil leaf, and a piece of cheese on each toothpick.  Make as many as you like!
  4. Pour balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan.  Heat on medium low until the vinegar has a slightly syrupy consistency.
  5. Drizzle the balsamic reduction on a plate.  Layer skewers on top of the vinegar reduction.
  6. To eat, dip skewer in a bit of balsamic reduction sauce and enjoy!

Happy summer entertaining,


Before I die I want to…


At the TEDxCalgary event in October 2012, one of the TED talks featured was “Before I die I want to… by Candy Chang”.

Candy Chang is an artist who creates installations that people can interact with in meaningful ways.

She made a giant chalkboard on the side of an abandoned house in New Orleans with stenciled words spelling, “Before I die I want to _________.”

Hundreds of people have walked by, picked up a piece of chalk, and filled in the blank.

Her idea has spread into a phenomenon of people making “Before I Die” walls in their own communities around the world.

Perhaps thinking about this is a little bit morbid.


It’s a question that makes me stop and think.

As Chang says in her TED talk, “Thinking about death clarifies your life.”

I don’t know of a chalkboard like this in Calgary, but sometimes it might be worth taking a minute to pause, reflect, and fill in the blank for yourself.

Before I die I want to…

Wishing you many meaningful moments,


Cinnamon Pitas with Strawberry Salsa

Here’s a sweet spring treat that is the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon cup of tea!  It is also a nice appetizer to bring to a party or potluck lunch, and you can easily scale it up or down as needed.


–          6 white pita bread rounds

–          6 tbsp butter, melted

–          2 tsp cinnamon

–          2 tsp white sugar

–          2 cups strawberries, finely diced

1. Preheat oven to 350oF.

2. Using kitchen scissors, cut pita in half across the diameter.  Then peel the pita halves apart at the edges.  One pita round will divide into 4 half circles.

3. Mix cinnamon and white sugar in a small bowl.

4. Brush melted butter onto the inside of each pita half circle.  Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture

5.  Use kitchen scissors to cut each half circle into 4 triangles.

6. Arrange triangles in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 5 minutes, or until golden brown.  Watch carefully to make sure they don’t burn.

7. Dice strawberries finely, place in a small bowl, and sprinkle a bit of white sugar on top if you like.

8. Arrange pitas on a plate with the strawberry salsa nearby, and serve.

Happy cooking,


Foodie Friday: Cinnamon Pitas with Strawberry Salsa » Teresa Rehmann Photography - […] recipe is on my friend Joyce’s blog – […]

Trena Laine, Makeup Artist: Bridal Beauty Tips

Posted October 2, 2012 by Special Guest Author in Beauty Essentials, Wedding Essentials, The Bride, Family and Friends

Loving & living in Calgary, Alberta, Trena Olfert of trena laine, Makeup Artist, has several years in the industry educating women about how to bring out their BEST from skin care to makeup. She specializes in professional makeup application for fashion runways, fashion editorials, commercial, bridal, grad and private consults. Check out these these tips for brides – Enjoy!

Hydration, hydration, hydration!
Moisturize your skin because there is nothing worse then putting makeup on dry flaky skin – even if you’re oily you need to moisturize.
Foundation is so important!

Seal with concealer on areas you need extra coverage and then dust with powder. Foundation can be your best friend if used correctly (blend with little tinted moisturizer or your daily moisturizer). Foundation creates the look of flawless skin but also provides a base for the rest of your makeup. From shadows to bronzers to blush to lipstick, foundation provides something to stick on.
Smoky Eyes

You can create smoky bridal eyes using earth tones and deep browns. Stay clear of purples, pinks, reds around the eyes as it can pick up the redness in one’s eyes if there have been tears or lack of sleep. Ssing reflecting light shadows are fun when used correctly, but don’t use everywhere as this can make it look you’re sweating or crying. A little bit can be used in the corner of your eyes, above the lip and that’s good enough.

Always wear a blush and fill in the brows. Blush should be complimenting; baby pinks or peaches are usually great with any skin tone and applied to apples of cheeks. Brows should be one – two shades deeper than your normal colour and applied softly into the arch and brushed out for a more natural effect.

Dust your entire face with powder again; you can use your mineral powder. Give your face an hour or two for natural oils to kick in and your makeup to set to look flawless. You should only need powder and gloss for touch-ups for the entire day!
Trial & Private Consults
Book a trial with your makeup artist to discuss the look you wish to achieve, or book in for a private consult if you wish to do your own makeup.



Be Inspired

While working with a fantastic volunteer team to promote the TEDx Calgary event that just happened in May, the question inevitably came up – “What is your favourite TED talk?”   Two new friends both said, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action, by Simon Sinek”.


I hadn’t yet watched this talk, but since it was twice mentioned, and has close to 11 million views online, I figured it was worth 18 minutes of my time.


The talk was really interesting and quite thought provoking.


Sinek’s main idea comes down to:


Everyone knows what they do.


Some know how they do it.


But few people know why they do what they do.

However, starting with the “why” will inspire others, more than the “what” or the “how”.


Sinek applied this idea to creating an inspiring business, in which the why is not “to make money”.  Rather, the why is about what you believe and the reason you get out of bed in the morning.  Because people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.


I think his insights are worth considering, no matter what you do in life!


What is your why?


Be inspired,