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Inspiration for living a luxuriously and balanced life

Friday, April 29, 2011

Folar da Páscoa (Massa) ~ Portuguese Sweet Bread

This is truly my all time favourite holiday bread.
  Portuguese Sweet Bread is typically called “Massa”
and at Easter time, the addition of brown eggs on top is
referred to as “Folar.”  The eggs represent life.

3 3/4 cups Flour
1 1/4 TBsp Fresh Yeast or packet yeast
1/4 cup Caster Sugar (Icing Sugar if you can’t get Caster Sugar)
6 TBsp Butter
1 Egg
1 1/4 cups Milk
1 Tsp Aniseed
1 Tsp Cinnamon
pinch of sea salt

2 or 3 hard-boiled eggs (left in their shells) - optional
1 beaten egg for brushing

In a bowl combine the yeast, 1/4 of the flour, a 1/3 of the milk (warmed) and half the sugar. Mix together to form a dough, cover and leave in a warm place for 1/2 hour . In another bowl whisk egg with salt,spices and remaining milk and sugar.

Gradually kneed remaining flour and egg mix into the dough. Then kneed in the butter.

Cover the dough and leave it to rise for about 3 hours in a warm place.

Take a small piece of dough and roll into lengths, which will be used to hold eggs in place.  Separate dough into two (or leave whole) and plant the eggs on top. Make a cross with the lengths of dough on top of eggs to hold them in place.

Brush the bread with the beaten egg.

Bake at 425 F until golden brown

Great served as a dessert with a shot of Port wine after a meal. Or serve with tea or coffee.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Taking Time ...

With everything we have to do on a daily basis,
 it's important to remember to take "ME" time. A day at the spa or a
retreat on your own or with some Besties is both relaxing and fun!!!

How do you take "ME" time and what do you and your
Besties do to spend quality time together?

Joining various linking parties .. check the Blog Hop tab and join in the fun.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Giveaway WINNER IS ....

Thank you to everyone who entered the wonderful giveaway of an autographed book by Sonia Choquette.

Sonia Choquette is a world-renowned author, storyteller, vibrational healer, and six sensory spiritual teacher in international demand for her guidance, wisdom, and capacity to heal the soul. Her books have sold over a million copies world wide including her New York Times bestseller The Answer Is Simple.

Congratulations Nathalie of Dolce Dreams!!

You are the winner of Ask Your Guides by Sonia Choquette
and the wonderful NEW online course too!!
Please email me your address and I will get it off to Sonia's office.

I would like to thank Sonia for writing this wonderful book, it was a wonderful read and a book that has helped me in my quest to move forward. And also for agreeing to award this book and an online course to a lucky reader of High Heeled Life .

Click here for original giveaway post  to order your own copy of Ask Your Guides or learn about other books by Sonia Click here.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter ...more than chocolate bunnies

When Mr. G. and I gather with family and friends during holidays I find it interesting that many children (and some adults) when asked why we are gathered to celebrate often respond with "to get presents", "it's a family traditon", very seldom especially from a child do you get a response close to why we are celebrating. I am always excited when someone brings up a fact that I had not thought of or known before.

So, as you sit around the dinner table this Easter, take a few minutes to ask others why you have gathered. Here are some interesting points you can add to their response;

Pre-Christian Easter

Easter thought to originally have been named after "Eostre", the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe, she was the Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, to whom April was dedicated. Her name derives from "Eastre" which is the ancient word for spring.  The festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox. Traditions associated with the festival have survived the passage of time:

Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility;

colored Easter eggs, originally painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring:

Current Christian Easter:

Easter is the annual festival commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the principal feast of the Christian year. It is celebrated on a Sunday on varying dates between March 22 and April 25 and is therefore called a movable feast.

The legend is told that when the Virgin Mary’s tomb was visited three days after her burial, it was found empty save for bunches of majestic white lilies. Early writers and artists made the lily the emblem of the Annunciation, the Resurrection of the Virgin: the pure white petals signifying her spotless body and the golden anthers her soul glowing with heavenly light.…

1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...

HAPPY EASTER from our home to yours!!

see Blog Hop tab for various linking parties

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

If It's Good Enough for Sophia...

That's Sophia Loren, I'm speaking of...
There is no dening that she is one of the most beautiful women in the world!

Sophia at 64

at 71

 at 76
( front row at Giorgio Armani 2011 Spring collection in Paris) 

 What's her secret to great looking skin?

Would you believe "the odd bath in virgin olive oil " and eating "pasta".. Yes, you read  correctly! So, once in awhile don't be shy, add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to your bath water.

As for the pasta, Sophia says " Serve it with a sauce made from tomatoes and unrefined olive oil, with perhaps some shredded carrots added for natural sweetness."  I'll be saying YES, next time Hubby asks "Pasta for dinner tonight?" and I won't be insiting on an alfredo sauce. The homemade tomato sauce will be good enough enough for me ~ after all it's good enough for Sophia!

Why it works...
because it contains omega fatty acids and significant amounts of Vitamin E and Vitamin K, it proves to have excellent hydrating and anti-aging properties. Extra virgin olive oil is worth the extra pennies. While other bottles of olive oil have been chemically processed, extra virgin olive oil is in its purest form with the most health benefits.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Eating for a Heathy Glow...

Part Three of  Three
Putting Your Best Face Forward....

If you want to have young and supple looking skin with a healthy natural glow it is important to take inventory of what you are putting into your body. Here are some foods that I am trying to incorporate into my eating habits to help get my body back on track and to get healthy glowing skin.

WATER: The more water we drink, the more we help our system to flush all toxins out of our body and the healthier our skin is going to look.

Green Tea: Green tea is rich in antioxidants which help reduce inflammation and protect cell membranes. It is important to remember to get the most benefit - do not add sugar or milk to green tea.

Berries:  Are rich in antioxidants ... strawberries, blue berries, black berries and raspberries add to yogurt or eat on their own.

Salmon: This yummy food is high in healthy fatty acids that are key for achieving healthy skin... Omega 3s. Flaxseeds are alos great way to get the healthy fatty acids.

Spinach: A fav food of mine is great for clearing up acne and promoting skin repair. Vitamin rich foods such as carrots and broccoli are also part of my veggie increase.

To help achieve and maintain healthy skin I am working on eliminating: sugar, white flour, saturated fats and fried foods from my "LifeStyle" eating.
Please share what food changes you have done to help improve your health and skin!

You can read part one Putting your best face forward here and part two Everyone wants great skin ~ facials and masks here

Don't forget to enter my Giveaway for your chance to win an autographed copy of Ask your Guides, by Sonia Choquette... Click here to enter.
For some great linking parties click on the Blog Hops tab under blog header.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Role People Play in Our Lives ... Part One

Toxic People ~ when people really aren't your friends...

As I move towards my future and the new person/life that awaits me, I have been looking back at all the people who have taken a walk with me in life this far. I have been truly blessed to of had at any given time many  People I called "friends". Having very little family here in Canada (parents and 2 siblings) some friendships developed into Extended Family. While others took on the various forms that friendships do ~ school friends; professional friends; social friends; etc.

It's interesting to note the social friends were the ones too quickly exit, after my accident - after all we no longer had much in common I was bedridden while they were out travelling, networking, having a great time. Over time the professional friends started to recede, especially when it became apparent that I would not be returning to my career. School friends, well they drift in and out and always ready to relive the "good old days" stories; it provides an escape from their current lives as well.

The Extended Family Friends ~ are the smallest group, but the ones that have remained constant. They have been the ones who don't take it personally when I go through dark times and need to retreat from the world. They understand just because I need time (its about me healing, not them or anything they have done or not done) and are there when I'm ready to rejoin the world, with open arms. I can't begin to tell you how grateful and appreciative I am of this small group.

Having been privileged and blessed with good People in my life (even the one's who are no longer an active part of my life) I have not encountered or if I did, the positive energy that surrounded me, made the presence of Toxic People very short - that I often had not noticed they had been Toxic People until they were no longer around. I can not say I have been as lucky post-accident, it appears (from discussion with my psychologist about people in my life) that I have left myself open to:

The Misery Lover
This type cares more about my bad news than my good news days. These people  rally when a crisis hits and some how are even able to turn small incidents into bigger challenges, at times. This friend is consoling whenever things are on a forty-five, –  my weight gain from Meds or lack of interest in food (thus turning to  , often junk food) or feel lost, questioning my choices post accident, or am suffering bouts of dark days–when the situation improves, she distances herself. If I've been able to retreat during these times, this type of friend will punish me for not letting her play a role in the misery, often when I'm returning back to the land of the living, she is all of a sudden unavailable.

The Discloser
Although there should be an assumption of confidentiality and trust between friends, this type can't help herself. When I say, "This is just between us," she nods her head but unfortunately that promise will last only as long as it takes her to get to her phone or e-mail. What this friend doesn't realize is often the people she has shared personal things regarding me - like themselves can't keep their promise and through the proverbial "grape vine" it makes it's way back. I'm slowly learning who I can trust and be completely open with.

The Up One
This type starts out with good intentions (or so they make it seem), compassion for what I am going through, understanding, encouraging and supportive. Then without warning they become someone who when I open up about the rough day I'm having or the difficult time I'm entering ~ instead of the friend they have been - all of a sudden its about how "bad" things are with them. The conversation becomes almost like a competition of who has it worse. I want to remain the Glass is Half Full in my life, so I will let this friend win. After all I only died, lost my self and life - while they have bigger things like what to cook for dinner, or social activity they are hoping to get an invitation for and lets not forget the friend they have at work, who is always trying to up them one.

The Debbie Downer
This type seems to always find the negative part of everything, whether it's my life or hers and will spend the whole conversation about how unhappy she is, and when offered GOOD solutions ... responds with " but you don't understand" ( like my life in peaches and roses). Often this friend is a really good person with a great heart and one I really would like to have in my life, unfortunately the place I am in my own life - makes this friend extremely emotionally and energy draining.

The above are Toxic People and we all have them in our lives, its how much we allow these people into our lives that will determine the impact they have on us and our everyday lives. After all they could be just going through a rough patch themselves and hide their fears and lack of confidence in the Negative/Toxic.

Have you found that you have been able to keep such a person(s) in your life, and over time they have become a Positive friend?

Next time (part two) ~ When Good Friends Happen!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Marzipan Treats

With Easter days away these are a fabulous rich treat that will tickle the taste buds of young and not so young alike!!!

You will usually see them in speciality stores around Easter and Christmas, shape of fruits and holiday related shapes.

You will need:

1 LB blanched almonds, very finely ground (this is most important)
1 LB confectioners sugar
2 egg whites
3 tsp. almond extract
rose water

In a bowl mix the ground almonds and sifted confectioners' sugar. Add egg whites and almond extract. Sprinkle enough rose water over the mixture to make a thick paste.

Shapes are only limited by your imagination
Lightly dust a working area of your counter with confectioners' sugar. Place the almond mixture on the prepared counter and knead until the paste is no longer sticky, but holds together. It may be neessary to add more egg white. Shape into small balls or into other shapes and decorate as desired. Store in fridge.

Don't forget to enter my Giveaway....



Other great linking parties found under Blog Hop tab, below header.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Angels, Guides and a GIVEAWAY too!

Ever have one of those moments were you feel like the universe is trying to tell you something? Well chances are it’s your Spirit Guide trying to get your attention and keeping you on the right path.

During the past couple of month’s I have started searching, for what I’m not really certain. What I am certain is that something does not feel right, is missing. In my search I came across Sonia Choquette’s book “Ask Your Guides ~ Connecting to Your Divine Support System” in reading this book I would come to understand that I didn’t just stumble across this book, it was meant for me to read.


I enjoyed reading ASK YOUR GUIDES so much that I had to share with you. I decided to contact Sonia and ask if she would be willing to provide and autographed copy as a giveaway to one of HHL readers. Her Assistant Ryan , responded with a yes! and added one better, along with the autographed book the lucky giveaway winner will also receive a free on-line course for Ask Your Guides.

To enter is simple:
be an existing or new follower of High Heeled Life ~ leave a comment ~ 1 entry

Additional enteries (Optional)

- Post this giveaway on your blog ~ 2 additional entries
- Tweet about this giveaway ~ 1 additional entry
- Visit Sonia's Website and tell me another book that would also interest you ~ 3 additional entries
- Friend Sonia on Facebook or follow her on Twitter ~ 1 additional entry

You can leave one comment listing all your enteries..

Giveaway closes April 22, 2011 ~ Winner will be announced April 25, 2011

Sonia Choquette is a world-renowned author, storyteller, vibrational healer, and six sensory spiritual teacher in international demand for her guidance, wisdom, and capacity to heal the soul. Her books have sold over a million copies world wide including her New York Times bestseller The Answer Is Simple.

What I learned from the book

The book helps understand the differences between Guardian Angels, Archangels, the Ministry of Angels, Spirit Guides and how to connect with each. It further goes on to teach you about the various Guides, helpers and runners.

What I learned is that our Guides send us messages throughout the days of our lives, but we tend to think it’s our own thoughts. They use our inner voice to send the messages. With patience we can learn to decipher which are our own thoughts and which are theirs. They tend to use signs, you may hear a song or see something or read something at a specific time that relates to your situation. It is not chance, you were directed to that radio station or reading material for a reason.

Until I read Ask Your Angels, I had not heard of “runners”, though I’m certain now that I have been using them often, without actually knowing. They help you find misplaced or lost things; things that you are looking for… that parking space; that perfect gift for someone.

After reading the part on runners in the book, Mr. G. and I were driving into the city for a specialist appointment. The traffic had been rather heavy that morning and the grips of winter threaten road conditions in a random manner. I quietly asked my runners to please guide us through the safest road conditions ~ I was amazed that during our 2 hour drive the roads we were on were safe and free of black ice, while the traffic reports pn the radio kept reporting spun out cars everywhere.

As we approached the hospital I noticed the time and that we were already 10 minutes late. Again I asked my runners to please help with a good parking spot and if one was not available to encourage Mr. G to let me off at the front door so I could get to my appointment while he found a parking spot. To my surprise when we approached the entrance Mr. G suggested I go ahead while he looked for a parking spot and would join me in the Fracture Clinic as soon as he could (he always insists on me waiting for him, in case the chaos of the hospital or memories over come me, as they have a few times during some visits).

When Mr. G finally came into the waiting room (literally minutes after me)… he said “I found a spot right out front and the meter was broken, I spoke to the attendant and he said not worry about the parking fee”. The broken meter – free parking was their (runners) way of letting me know they were on the job. I quickly thanked my runners for all the hard work they had gone to, so that I could have a safe journey to my appointment.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What's Up with Blogger?

At first I thought it was my computer, then when I tried to follow new blogs I noticed under their Follow Button, the actual button to follow was missing .. the space is actually empty. So either many of us are having computer problems or it's BlogLand wide....

Has anyone else noticed missing things on their blogs like the Followers button? Or the photobucket
box ... where images use to be? If anyone knows how to fix or what is happening I would love to hear from you....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Can we get some Quiet ... please?

It has been explained to me that meditation is about being in the present moment. It's about focusing on quietening the mind while directing your concentartion to one healing element - a sound, a word, an image or your own breath. When you manage to fill the mind with the feeling of calm and peace, it cannot drift off on its own and worry, stress out or get depressed.

So, with all the peaks and valleys I have been feeling, I've been trying to attempt meditation as a means to lessen the strength of my melt downs and get some control of my darken thoughts.  I have been trying the "simple meditation" technique for awhile now. Basically it involves closing my eyes and slowly relaxing the whole body. Then keeping count of the breaths I'm taking by counting from ten down to one and keep repeating this action for about five minutes. If any (when) other thoughts enter my mind, I'm to push them out and carry on counting in time with my breathing. If (when) I lose  focus, I'm to simply start over. After about 5 minutes, I'm to stop counting. Next, breath calmly for a few moments and slowly open my eyes. Wow, this has not been an easy task.

I also tried a guided meditation class, which  I found to be more helpful in keeping the busy thoughts under control. Unfortunately it is not an ongoing class.

I'm determined to not give up, as I believe meditation can be helpful to ones healthy existence...so next I'm going to try some meditation tapes.

I would love to know if you meditate and what has worked for you.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Everyone Wants Great Skin!!! Facial ~ Masks

Part Two of 3 ~ Putting Your Best Face Forward

Many of us perform partial facials daily, we cleanse our face and apply a moisturizer/treatment or cream. Some may even add an exfoliate in the cleansing process. What may be missing is the Facial Mask. There are a variety of  Facial Masks ~ hydrating, exfoliating, lightening, nourishing or deep cleansing facial masks depending on the needs of your skin.

To obtain maxium benefit from a facial mask it needs to be applied to a freshly cleansed face; left on for 10-20 minutes; as you gently remove the mask the top layer of dead skin cells (which cause our complexions to look dull) is whisked away, exposing younger, healthier skin (cells). Leaving your face with  a tighter and brighter looking complexion. regular facial masks can also help reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

Do at home facials work as well as spa facials?

While the spa facial offers many pampering perks, including being able to completely lay back while someone else selects the appropriate ingredients; applies the mask; watches the clock and cleans up afterward, if you know your skin's needs, you can get equally satisfing results results at home. 

If going the home route ...take the time to enjoy this process; relax and even if for only a few brief moments escape the stress of the day. Let everyone in house know that you will be unavailable for at least 30-40 minutes. This should avoid ~ husband banging on the bathroom door asking if you know where his lucky shirt is? or the children or furbabies trying to get in the bathroom wanting you. Also take in a timer so that you are fully enjoying your relaxing not worrying about checking the time.

When I was working in the corporate world, I would treat myself to a professional spa facial every couple of months. This was a great way to have an expert let me know how my skin was doing and if there was something I was over looking - like: mistaking dry skin for dehydrated skin or oily skin for using a too rich cream or if the products I was using were clogging my pores. 

Not to mention the added benefit of relaxing and fully enjoying the benefits of a facial and the pampering. Sometimes work and social obligations made it impossible to keep up with monthly visits, But I made it a point to schedule (and not miss) a facial at the change of each season.
One of my favourite ways to relax at the end of a work week use to be with a bubble bath, glass of wine (or bubbly), some classical music and soft scented candle. (since I lived alone at the time I did not have to worry about anyone bothering me ~ I did make sure that my black-berry and home phone ringers were turned off). I would cleanse my face thoroughly and then apply a mask and just lay back in the warmth of the water for 15-20 minutes and let the cares of the week escape.  

Ready to use masks and facial products can easily be found at your store drug store or beauty counter of your favourite department store and are available in all budget ranges. You may also choose to use home products from the Spa line of your favourite spa retreat. Masks can be used to sooth or energize, and the actions and rituals involved with applying a facial mask can be an effective stress reliever.

I use to make my in~home facial treatments a little more special by turning to the creations of Cleopatra and Marie Antoinette,  who used natural ingredients to create masks and baths to help nourish and rejuvenate their skin. These are a couple of the recipes I used and am looking forward to adding to my weekly routine again.

Marie Antoinette's Honey Facial Mask

2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup honey, warmed in the microwave

Combine all ingredients until well blended. Gently rub honey mask onto dry, cleansed skin. Let settle for 10-15 minutes and rinse off with tepid water. Or for an extra special facial treatment, dampen a towel (make sure to ring out completely). Microwave the damp towel on high for a few minutes until it is warm and steamy. Place the towel over your face and enjoy ! (about 5 minutes)

To add exfoliation to the honey moisturizing treatment, add 1/4 cup granulated sugar. The sugar will act as a gentle abrasive, helping to slough off the layers of dead skin that can make your complexion look dull.

Cleopatra's Honey & Milk Bath

The Legendary Queen of Egypt was known for her exquisite complexion and soft skin. One of her secret beauty treatments, the milk and honey bath are still being used today.

¼ cup of honey
¼ powdered milk or whole milk (Cleopatra used goat's milk)

Mix ingredients together; add this to your bath water. Soak for 15-20 minutes, let your skin absorb the ingredients. Finish with a tepid water rinse, to wash off milk bath. Enjoy your soft, nourished and beautiful skin.

Why these are fabulous for your skin:

Milk, contains lactic acid, which helps to exfoliate your skin. The lactic acid in milk is an alpha hydroxy acid, which helps to cleanse the deepest layers of the skin. Honey is rich in vitamins and minerals (glucose and fructose) - nutrients that seem to be perfect "food" for your skin.

What wonderful skin care secrets do you have?

you can read part one here of Putting your best face forward.
For some great linking Blog Hops check tab under Blog header.

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