Cheesecake Baby!

Spice up a Basic Cheesecake Recipe


Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts, and has a reputation as being notoriously difficult to make.† My husband purchased a recipe book for my called The Cheesecake Bibleî which seemed like it must be pretty good (people donít throw around ìBibleî haphazardly, do they?† Maybe they do). While you have to have a cheesecake pan, of course, you donít necessarily need the stand mixer or even a tool to help you make the crust (you can hand crush the graham crackers for the crust). Once I worked through a few of those recipes, with varying degrees of success, I realized why. There is a pretty narrow ìsweet spotî to making perfect cheesecake.† Take the cake out too early, and it will never set.† Leave it in too long, or cool it improperly, and it could have huge cracks on top. Now, some recipe books will tell to just cover the cracks with toppings, but that never worked for me, because I knew they were there even if no one else did.

Perfect One Recipe

There are so many varieties of cheesecake to make, that it can be overwhelming, but I finally decided that I needed to pick one basic cheesecake recipe and bake it over and over until I knew I could hit that sweet spot every time. It takes experience to be able to look at your cheesecake and know just when to take it out, and this can be affected by your ingredients, the humidity, and whatever else, so that there isn’t always an exact amount of time to leave it in the oven.In fact, my oven time sometimes varied by as much as 50% of what was listed in the recipe book. Who knows!?! Maybe my oven wasn’t as hot, even though I use an oven thermometer.

I know making the same basic cheesecake recipe over and over again sounds a little boring, but I guarantee it will make your efforts to expand forward to more challenging recipes with different ingredients more successful. In the meantime, here are some easy things that you can do to spice up your basic cheesecake recipe so it has some variation without affecting the filling.

Try New Crusts

The first thing you can do is experiment with the cheesecake crust. This is very easy to do with almost any basic food processor. Examples of crust ingredients are graham crackers (of course), chocolate cookies, butter cookies, nutter butters (for a peanut butter crust), vanilla wafers, and even gingerbread cookies. Most crusts are just a combination of cookies and butter, but I have seen some crust recipes that add a bit of seasoning or sugar. Flex your creative juices here, and that can make your cake unique.

Cheesecake Toppings

The second way you can make your basic cheesecake stand out is by adding a variety of toppings. Whipped cream is always a popular one, so try making it from hand instead of buying it at the store or try a cream cheese whipped topping. There are also a variety of fruit toppings you can try, like raspberry, blueberry and strawberry. If you are a chocolate fan, experiment with making a truffle fudge topping. With a great crust and a tasty topping, that basic cheesecake recipe that you’ve perfected won’t seem so basic at all!…

Getting Creative – Redecorating Your Home

It’s is truly amazing how you can change the look and feel of an entire space simply by making small changes. For example, when you move furniture around it can give the room an entirely different look and feel. It is pretty remarkable. Whenever I host friends or family (which is a lot, I love entertaining) I usually mix up the room.  It’s amazing how many times I’ve been asked by friends if the couch is new, or if we got a new TV stand just because we simply made some small but powerful changes.

Buckets of Paint

Small Changes, Big Impact

One thing did recently, which has gotten rave reviews is change the door. I found an antique door and a really cool door knocker. Sometimes you can find really cool knockers on Etsy. This really helps set the stage, an impressive door makes everything else feel widely more impressive. If you don’t have the budget to do this I would suggest re-painting your front door. I had professional Vancouver Painters, re-paint the exterior of my home this summer and I had them repaint the door that I had just purchased. A new door, fresh paint and a knocker really goes a long ways. You could even repaint your existing door, just make sure you prep it correctly.  If you’re not going to hire someone to do make sure you get the right tools. You’ll need  a high quality foam roller and a good paint. I recommend an oil based paint for doors, it’s harder to work with but leaves a better finish.

Speaking of Painting – How About Changing The Color On the Walls?

One thing I do every spring is repaint at least one room. Now that might be a bit crazy, but it doesn’t take that long. I enjoy doing one or two rooms but if you’re planning on re-painting your entire house consider going with professionals. Remember that company that re-painted the exterior? I hired those same Painters in Vancouver to re-do the interior of my entire house. Let me tell you, if you’ve never re painted an entire house I would suggest you keep it that way. It starts out fun and after about the third room it becomes a massive chore. Hence why I stick to a feature wall or one room at a time.  Splash a bold red or burnt orange on a feature wall, you’d be amazed by how effective this can be.

Change the Furniture

I’m not talking about buying an entire living room worth of new furniture. I’m simply suggesting that you mix it up, swap the love seat and the sofa. This will give the room an entire new feel, you’ll be amazed. Best of all, it’s free!…

Creative Cosmetics & Cosmetics for Creatives: Adding Your Own Style to Makeup


eye shadowWith so many different makeup products, it can be hard to figure out just how exactly to use these cosmetics, and while most of us aren’t professional makeup artist, we look for the Internet for help. To learn technique is one thing, but if we only stick to the techniques taught through YouTube tutorials or style blogs, we’re all going to end up looking exactly the same!

What’s the fun in that? Makeup in some ways is a like a paint, and we are the canvases. We should use the makeup to express ourselves creatively; all while achieving that desired look to is unique to our personalities.

First, let me say that extremely creative or out there makeup is usually not what’s in trend. The girl who is wearing a natural look is going to get fewer stares than the girl who isn’t afraid of an eyeliner or eye shadow pigments. While there is a time that “out-there” makeup is desired, however, sometimes you’re done with the typical application process and want to add your own touch to every day makeup styles.

Color choices and application styles and techniques tell whether the look belongs to someone bold, shy, natural, sophisticated, modern or old-fashioned. Makeup allows us to have self-expression and individuality. Yet, often, makeup wearers get caught in a rut even though they may want to change it up. Breaking out of this rut can easily be accomplished by getting creative with makeup.

An easy way to first change up your look is take a look at your color choices. Choose colors that will make your eyes pop, or just choose a color that is your favorite for the day! Break away from neutral, beige tones that will seem washed up or overlooked. Eyeshadows with more pigments will offer color that will hold true all day.

If you’re lost for what colors to use, think of themes instead. Feeling tropical? Use tropical colors like pink or teal for eyeshadows, and a pink/ orange hued blush to create a warm effect.  Colors aren’t the only way to change up a look. Application of the color can give a creative feel as well! Usually, eye shadow colors are applied in a horizontal pattern, from inner to outer corner of the eyelid; a more creative choice may be to apply the shadow in a vertical pattern, from top to bottom of the lid.

And for the days you want to truly stand out from the rest, don’t be afraid to play with your eyeliner. Create longer wing tips and extend lines to create butterfly wings, cat eyes, or more definition. Adding eyeshadows and face concealers with glitter can add an extra shimmer.

Really the possibilities of creative makeup go as far as the imagination of the applicator! Don’t be afraid to explore and allow your makeup be as unique and different as you are!…

Cooking to Help Creativity and Relieve Stress


Creativity Improvements through Cooking?

With the rise of two income homes, food preparation and cooking has taken a back seat to microwave ovens, processed foods and fast food drive-thrus. This shift away from the kitchen was first initiated in an attempt to alleviate the stress of working moms forced to juggle the multiple roles of work and family. However, the pendulum has swung too far from our knives, counters and cutting boards leaving many forgetting that, in reality, cooking is a wonderful venue to enhance creativity and subsequently, relieve stress.


Cooking is Calming

There is something meditative about chopping an onion or peeling a potato. It is a return to that quiet place within us that nourishes our soul along with our bodies. Food heals.

If this sounds ridiculous or corny, try it sometime. Hone your skills at cutting a carrot, absorb the wonderful smell of garlic slowly sautéing in a little olive oil, enhance your creativity by adding or subtracting ingredients to make a recipe truly your own. Before long, you will not be able to wait to get into your kitchen.

Connect with Your Food

Our culture has seen a disconnect between ourselves and the food we eat, and this is not without consequence. Americans as a whole have become more obese, and our food contains a plethora of additives and ingredients most of which we have never heard of. Our meals are processed, made in assembly lines with the intent to be prepared and ingested quickly, and with that the fine art of cooking has been relegated to a luxury.

cooking for stress relief

Cooking as Creative Expression

Cooking is not just a luxury for those with time. It is a wonderful means of expressing ourselves, relieving the stress of our hectic days and reconnecting to the basic sustenance of our existence. The more time we spend in the kitchen the more we crave the opportunity to experience its lure. Fresh foods cooked by hand, or even recipes our grandparents were familiar with, will take the place of those quick alternatives designed to be nuked and consumed without any thought to the taste or nutritional value.


The more you cook the more you create and relax in the comforts of the kitchen.


Give it a try!

Cooking is more than just a means to an end. It is a cathartic art that when done right, can heal us of more than bad eating habits. So take out a cutting board and heat up some oil. Some people even find calmness in sharpening knives with a whet stone. It is now time to start enjoying the creative and relaxing benefits preparing and cooking our food has to offer.…

Unlocking The Right Side of The Brain

Left Versus Right


left versus right


Have you ever heard of the right side versus left side of the brain theory? To sum it up, the left side of the brain is the analytical side. It’s the side we usually operate in, when we make decisions we analyze and we’re objective.

If I do X, the possible outcomes are A,B,C,D, however if I choose Y the outcomes will be E,F,G. We do it all the time. Even the most trivial decisions often come from this type of thought processing.

Should I attend my friends birthday party?

Yes, because if I don’t she’ll be really mad at me. But I’m not really in the mood to spend the evening in a loud bar. I can’t really afford it either. But she came to celebrate my birthday even though she was sick. It wouldn’t be very fair of me to not attend.

Even, simpler decisions go through this process. What you eat for breakfast is often weighed and calculated.

Right Side of the Brain


The right side of the brain is where our creativity lives. When we tap into the right side of the brain we can often have realizations and ideas that otherwise wouldn’t have come to us. Elizibeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love did a wonderful Ted Talk about creativity and our muses or genius. If you haven’t watched it you should. Seriously it’s really good. She discussed a famous author who would be out in the field working and she could literally feel an idea coming to her. She described it as though the entire ground would shake, and she had to get a pen before it passed her. If the idea swept through the area before she could grab her pen, that was it, she’d lose it.

Where Ideas Come From


Have you ever noticed that ideas come at the strangest times. It’s as if they were ushered from some higher plane to you by some divine entity. There is no logical thought process, it just appears. That is the right side of your brain working. And it’s been argued that the only time, the right side of the brain is allowed to work is when the left side is quieted. This could be during yoga, or meditation. Perhaps, while you’re walking, clearing your mind. A lot of my best ideas occur while I’m relaxing. I lie on a foam roller and gently massage my muscles. It’s essentially a form of meditation for me, I quiet the left side of my brain and allow the right side to drift into thought.

We all have access to creativity, and for some it comes easier than others. But, the critical take away is find an activity to turn off the left part of your brain. Allow logic and reasoning to drift away. Find an activity that allows you to do this. For some it’s doodling, for others meditation or yoga. Allow yourself the time to not think, and you’ll find this is where some of your greatest ideas come from.


Boosting Your Creativity

Creativity is something that can be useful for all people in all walks of life. Whether you are a baker, a writer, a computer programmer, a teacher or you could be, just someone who wants to create greatness, being creative can help you attain new ways of finding or solving problem.

Creative MuseCreativity is not a requirement or something that is gained because you need it. Creativity is an attribute that every person possesses. The only difference between the creativity of a great person and yours is that they have been successful in boosting theirs. You are creative, but it is not in the level of Albert Einstein, where he accomplished great things that changed the world.Wait, I am not saying that we need to reach the same level of creativity like the one Einstein had; I just want you to awaken yourself and maximize your creativity.

The purpose of this article is to help you create solutions for everyday problems and come up with ideas that can help pave your way to success.

Ways to Boost your Creativeness


Take Care Of Yourself. Getting enough sleep will help your mind process information. Our brain has two hemisphere: the left and the right, which takes care of different functions. The right is for creative tasks while the left is for logical tasks. When you are asleep, these two hemispheres join to process information (which does not happen when you are awake). It will enable you to have a bright light bulb flashing above your head when you wake up in the morning. Try this: before going to sleep, think of a problem you want to solve and voila, when you wake up, you will have a rush of ideas. Sleep isn’t the only aspect that will affect your creativity, eating a healthy diet will increase your creative capacity as well. I’m currently participating in a green smoothie challenge to help me eat right.

Learn and experience new things. Go on and explore new things. If you are doing things such as programming or art, try doing some physical things like basketball or mountain hiking. You can always see that there are interconnections between the skills that you use from programming and basketball: analytical skills. You need to analyze a problem to create a programming solution; you need to analyze enemy team in order to create an effective play in basketball. “If you want something you’ve never had you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.”

Restrict yourself. Look at this quote from Stravinsky: “The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self”. As a writer, when I need to write something in 400 words when I ought to write it in 700 words, I need to be creative. This forces me to come up with something that I would not be able to think when there’s so much room. Remember the inventors; do you think they will come up with something if they aren’t restricted? If Edison can already communicate to people thousands of miles away, do you think he would come up with great invention? No, therefore, restrictions or limitations allow us to gather ideas and compile them in order to come up with something great.…