Looking for something new to do with your friends on the weekend? I got just the thing for you whether it is a special event or even just a Friday night catch up, dinner parties are your new go to. After the numerous bar nights one can tend to get a bit bored of their usual weekend routine with friends. This past New Year’s we tried something different and had a fabulous time. By having a fun dinner party at your house you get to enjoy everything from the food, company, decor and on top of that spend a lot less money then heading out to the club.
What we did was each couple had to come up with their own idea for a meal. Luckily we had 3 couples which meant one couple was assigned to appetisers, the next was the main meal and then last but not least someone had to tackle the dessert. For our dinner party we had bruschetta for an appetiser, halloumi (special type of cheese you fry), barbecue sweet chilli chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and lastly we topped it off with apple crumble, chocolate mouse and vanilla ice cream. The best part about the night was that we didn’t have to go to a restaurant to get top quality food. Everything tasted great and we had many laughs through out the night. Add some Moet and strawberries to your evening as well as pink roses for the table and then you are set to have a fun dinner party your guests will love!
Carly Jensen xo
Calling all spice lovers! I have a chilli for you that will literally knock your socks off. If spice is your thing then this chilli and you will get along great. It is a pretty easy recipe it just takes time to strengthen the flavour. The best part about this chilli is that you will have leftovers for days and the taste gets better as the days go on.
1) Ground Beef (500 g)
2) 1 Large Onion
3) 1 Red Capsicum (Pepper)
4) 1 Green Capsicum (Pepper)
5) Kidney Beans (3 Cans)
6) Mixed Beans (1 Can)
7) Crushed Tomatoes (2 Cans)
8) Corn (1 Can)
9) 1 Carrot
10) 1 Celery
11) Chilli Powder (2 Tablespoons)
12) Cayenne Pepper (Half a Teaspoon)
13) Cumin (1 Tablespoon)
14) Grated Cheddar Cheese
15) Sour Cream
16) Salt n Pepper
17) Sourdough Bread
Start by cooking the ground beef and chopped up onion together in a large saucepan. Cook the meat thoroughly so it is completely brown (10-15 minutes). Cut all your vegetables into bite sized pieces then add all ingredients into pot except the celery, corn, sour cream and cheese. Cooking on medium heat, stir all the vegetables and spices together. Leave this to cook for about 45 minutes to an hour. Add the celery and corn into the pot during the last 10 minutes. Final steps are to dish the chilli into bowls, garnish with grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream then serve with your heated up sourdough bread and butter. You are now officially ready to enjoy your delicious spicy chilli!
Carly Jensen xo
Food Credit: Nick Thompson
One of the best traits you can have is enthusiasm. It changes your world from dull and boring into a place that dances with excitement. Some people think you either are enthusiastic or your not, however, I believe enthusiasm can be created on your own terms. People have always said to me that I get excited about things very easily. I sometimes get confused after people say that because inside I genuinely think most things that I have to do are great. Now don’t get me wrong, cleaning dishes daily isn’t the greatest nor is having to go for a daily run but I believe with most things if you think about the outcome, enthusiam starts to grow.
Why be enthusiastic?
Some of the happiest and most successful people are the ones who are excited to live. They wake up with a zest for life and bring that into everything they do. When you have enthusiasm in your life it brightens you up and gives you hope that you too can get excited again. Some of you might be reading this right now and are thinking that you have to be all daisies and sunshine. The more I thought about it I realised that enthusiasm is a choice. The ones who aren’t enthusiastic are choosing to see their life and situations as negatives. With that all being said, here are my 3 easy tips on becoming more enthusiastic:
1) Think about the outcome – Obviously you get excited about things you like, but what about getting excited about even mediocre things? For instance, by having to clean the dishes and tidy up your house rather than thinking about the not so fun task at hand, how about think about the outcome. After you get through the short term pain, your house will be cleaned and you will feel better. Same goes for when you have to hit the gym, rather than making it a big hassle, think about how good you are being to your body that will help you in the long run.
2) Think about how fortunate you are – For those who know me, I almost fall off my chair in excitement when someone mentions food. Whether their is a pizza box in front of me or someone is talking about a new restaurant I go mental. Now I know everyone doesn’t get as excited about little things like that but instead of just rubbing the small things off, express gratitude. While you shrug your shoulder to that same pizza you get weekly, think about how many people in this world would kill for just a bite. The more you start feeling enthused towards minor things the more you will understand how lucky you are to be able to have them.
3) Accept it, make the most of it – No matter what you are doing, good or bad, accept it and make the most of it. If you are stuck at a function you can’t get out of, you have two choices. A) Be angry and sulk all night B) Enjoy yourself and have fun. Fake it till you make is one of my favourite quotes and it is so true. Wherever you are, be completely there and make the most of it, enthusiasm will come naturally later.
Carly Jensen xo
Photo credit: paloma81.blogspot.com, agirlsrighttodream.tumblr.com
Minimalism? Now what the hell does that mean? As I sat during my shift at work I did my usual scan of every interesting website I could get my eyes on. I came across an interesting topic I had not really heard much about. For a good 5 hours I read as many blogs about minimalism as I could and I found that it can be something everyone can apply to their lives. Now before I go ahead, I know some of you may be thinking that this whole concept seems crazy and too difficult to apply. You have probably read that you must only own 100 items, walk everywhere, become a vegan hippie and never do anything that involves money. I will be the first to say that yes that may be an extreme way of looking at minimalism but just like anything in life there are NO RULES on how to do something! Now that we have that out of the way we can start to adjust to the feeling of living with less.
Okay time for the official definition from my favourite minimalist blog the minimalists.com. They sum it up into one simple sentence “Minimalism is a tool used to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.” The more I thought about the idea that becoming minimalist seems brilliant, I remembered a story I learned in high school about a very rich king who had every material possesion and he loved each one like they were his own children. He wasn’t a very nice man and all he cared about was being rich and owning all these marvelous possessions. As he lay on his death bed there was no one there to say goodbye to him and once he died there was a very valueble lesson to be learned. That lesson was that it doesn’t matter how many possessions you have, once you die they don’t come to the grave with you. When your laying in the cemetery there is no competition for who has the most possessions.
With this all being said does that not excite you that you can finally put that wallet away, relax and be happy! You are no longer bound by the stress spending brings and you no longer have to be in competition with the people you know about who has more stuff. You can walk outside and smell the roses again and smile at that neighbour you were always in competition with and think to yourself “well I finally have it all! I’m happy.” You can walk down the streets while watching people carry their excess shopping bags and feel absolutely free. So if you are ready to free yourself from the obsession that material items bring then follow my easy tips to simplifying your life.
1) Say NO to constant shopping – Okay, I will admit it this will be definitely hard for me especially since having new clothes and looking good is something I value but I am going to make a goal that unless it is something I desperately need then there is no reason to buy it.
2) Declutter your home and work space – This one is huge, most people probably don’t realise how much added stress is put upon them as well as the amount of time wasted when things aren’t clean. Start by going through each room of your house and start throwing away things that you no longer use or no longer need. As well go through that large clothing closet of yours and throw out all those silly items that you don’t even wear. Trust me you don’t need 500 t-shirts, you only wear 4 anyways.
3) Choose 1 day a week to wipe your schedule clean – I think having a schedule for your life is important to some extent because you need to get things done on day to day basis but that being said minimalism is all about finding more time for important things in life and the things that matter. Start small by wiping your schedule once a week and try and do nothing at all. You will have more time to enjoy yourself and spend time with the people that really matter. By doing this you will get to know yourself better and who better to get to know than the one person you spend your whole life with.
Carly Jensen xo
Photo credit: stylizimoblog.com, romanceonadime.com, blog.freepeople.com
Tucked away in the suburb of Fitzroy North is the relaxing yoga studio that goes by the name “Kundalini House.” With an atmosphere that screams de-stress and hot Yogi teas being served, you are welcome to unwind and find yourself. For those who don’t know what kundalini is all about, it is a system of meditation directed towards the release of kundalini energy. You awaken each chakra of the body which in return brings your spirit and peace of mind an overall happiness and new found energy. Those who are up for a challenge and a new way to wake up in the mornings, take the 6:30am class for a real calming and spiritual experience. You don’t have to be a spiritual person to reap the benefits of kundalini yoga. I can tell you from experience everyone I have taken to a kundalini session is always changed by the class and are always back for more. If you are looking for a new and exciting way to workout then kundalini yoga is your go to.
Carly Jensen xo
Photo Credit: yogateapot.com.au, kundalinihouse.com.au
Looking for a last minute costume idea? This DIY Halloween Costume is perfect and it doesn’t take long to put together. Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction is an absolute classic and you will surely turn heads. All you need is black pants, a white button up blouse and black flats for your outfit. As well as a black bob wig, fake blood, a fake syringe, fake cigarette, red lipstick, grey eyeshadow and some tape.
Once you are dressed unbutton your shirt and tape the fake syringe to your chest (clear tape is best). Around the syringe apply the fake blood and on top of that add a grey eyeshadow and blend it in so it looks like a large bruise. Tie your hair in a flat bun and put the black wig on. In the movie, Mia overdoses on heroin so you need to run some fake blood coming out of your nostrils. I chose to do only one side to make it look more realistic. Lastly, add some red lipstick and hold that fake cigarette and you will look just like a 90’s movie icon.
If you are ready to be transported straight to Italy then make your way down to Etto in South Melbourne. Grab a table outside and twirl some delicious pasta on your fork in any shape or size you want. Whether you are into Bolognese, Napoli, Pesto or Alfredo there is something for everyone here. With a laid back atmosphere and quick wait times, the food will be in front of you in a matter of minutes. Wherever you are in Melbourne, there is no excuse not to get yourself to Etto and indulge in carbs galore. I love all types of pasta but I would recommend trying the Wagyu meatballs with a nice Napoli sauce over your choice of pasta.
Hope to see you there,
Carly Jensen xo
Photo Credit: marketingmag.com.au, richyvong.com, urbanspoon.com
Now if you guys are like me then you will agree there is absolutely no better dessert than red velvet. Whether it is cake or cupcakes there is just something about that cream cheese icing I just can’t get enough of. I recently stumbled upon a cute cafe that served red velvet muffins so I thought I would find a recipe that will let us all be able to enjoy these delicious treats.
Red Velvet Muffins:
75g butter, softened
¾ cup caster sugar
1½ cups flour
¼ cup BOURNVILLE Cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon no taste red food colour
1 teaspoon white vinegar
½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda
250g PHILADELPHIA Block Cream Cheese, softened
2/3 cup full cream milk powder
2/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
CREAM the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Add the sifted dry ingredients and combined buttermilk and food colour and beat just to combine.
COMBINE the vinegar and bicarbonate soda and then stir through the cake mixture.
SPOON into 12 x 1/3 cup capacity patty paper lined muffin pans. Bake in a moderate oven 180oC for 20 minutes or until cooked when tested. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out of pan to cool completely.
BEAT together the remaining ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread frosting over cooled muffins and serve immediately.
Carly Jensen xo
Recipe from cadburykitchen.com.au
Calling all ladies of Melbourne! This hidden gem just opened and it is sure to make your nails go crazy. Miss Nail Bar is located inside the South Melbourne Market and it is my absolute new favourite spot. With 450 + colours to choose from your nails will be summer ready in no time. Some nail salons can make you spend half your day their but at Miss Nail Bar they will have you in and out in half the time. The staff are all funny, talkative and make you feel welcome. The manicure I got was only $22 and it included a vanilla and coconut scrub. Once your arms were all soft you got to soak your hands in either a rose or lavender water that smelt delicious and felt luxurious. Not only do they do a great job you also get a nice massage included, who could say no to that? Open on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 8am-4pm and on Fridays from 8am-5pm making a stop by here is the perfect way to spend your weekend and have some me time. If you need some relaxation then stop by “Miss Nail Bar” in the South Melbourne Market.
Carly Jensen xo
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Healthy food and drinks can be quite daunting to people when they have grown up on Kraft Dinner, chicken nuggets and cupcakes but for all those worried they won’t like a healthy organic smoothie let me reassure you, if I can drink one and enjoy it, so could you. Now let me first start by saying, yes there are a lot of crazy ingredients you will probably roll your eyes at but once everything is blended together it is quite a delicious and healthy alternative from your regular milkshake. Smoothies are good to have for breakfast, snacks, and they are packed with nutrients and they taste great! I have recently discovered a delicious little place called Combi that understands exactly what people want when looking for a smoothie. Not only do they look good, they are so healthy you wouldn’t believe it and everything they use is organic. I am always in search of cute places to eat and so for someone like myself Combi is the perfect place. For all those who are not lazy and could make these delicious smoothies themselves here is the recipe for my favourite smoothie called “Liquid Passion.”
Passion fruit, berries, mango, coconut
flesh, raw fermented protein powder,
house made nut mylk
Hope you enjoy,
Carly Jensen xo
Photo taken off Google – broadsheet.com.au