DIY Lightup Skull Vase

When that crisp air comes back I waste NO time starting to plan for fall. Especially Halloween!

DIY skull vase

I've had this Crystal Vodka skull sitting around my house for a year or so now just waiting for the inspiration. I decided to go with something classic- I nice light-up vase!

Crystal vodka skull- DIY skull vase

Crystal Head Vodka is locally made in Newfoundland, I always have a special place in my heart for locally made drinks.

Supplied is pretty straight forward:

1. The skull

2. Battery operated lights

3. Flowers

 

Was able to track down some skull shaped lights at Michaels!

Was able to track down some skull shaped lights at Michaels!

Fishing the lights into the bottle was tricky... You are guaranteed to not get is as perfect as you'd like!.. The top is too small for a lot of control, but I liked the chaos.

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For the flowers I chose some purple and black beauties that I'd gotten as a gift last year, snipping the stems so they won't take away from the lights.

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Fall Fashion Pick

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This post contains affiliate links, I may receive a small commission if a product is purchased from the link. 

Apologies for the terrible bedroom shot.

Apologies for the terrible bedroom shot.

I only promote products I've tried myself and enjoy.

fall poncho

This is my new fall staple piece for 2018! This adorable and comfortable poncho from Amazon.

It's available in multiple different colors depending on your style, I chose the orange one to support my pumpkin spice addiction. This time of year give me orange everything! I grabbed it on a lightening deal and it appears that deal is here to stay (at least for a little bit) I highly recommend picking one up for yourself! 

fall poncho

The Beginners Guide to Automobile Insurance

So this post is going to be a little different... We're going to talk about automobile insurance (I know, I know....) but as I go through my day job (As an Insurance agent) I realize that first time drivers/ car owners really have no idea what they're purchasing.

The Beginners Guide to auto insurance

Disclaimer: Although I am a professional Insurance agent, every insurance company and provincial regulation is different, so to get proper advise you should speak directly with your broker or agent. 

I am hopeful this post will give some clarification for new drivers (or even experienced drivers that just pay that bill every year and don't think much of it) It's an odd feeling paying for an invisible protection so I'm hopeful I can give people some peace of mind.

The Coverage (What are we paying for)

Automobile Insurance coverage's are divided into 2 different sections.

1. Mandatory Coverage's- Third Party Liability;

2. Optional Coverage's- Loss or Damage to your vehicle and other optional endorsements;

Third Party Liability

This coverage has multiple subsections including Liability, Accident Benefits, Uninsured Motorist, Direct Compensation Property Damage (In some provinces), and lastly Family protection.

Liability coverage: Simplest way to put it is that this will protect you if you cause an accident or damage to someone else's property or (heaven forbid) the other person. If you are held responsible for damage and expected to pay to repair/ compensate the other person your liability insurance will react and pay on your behalf (up to the stated amount).

Accident Benefits: This provides you with access to medical funds if you're injured in an accident (regardless if you caused the accident or not).

Uninsured Motorist: This coverage extends your accident benefit coverage to situations where the other motorist can't be identified or was uninsured at the time of the accident.

Direct Compensation Property Damage: A coverage in place in some provinces that ensures that you'll only ever deal with your own insurance company- regardless of who caused the accident. This coverage was put in place to avoid those lengthy (and costly) investigations before people would be compensated. To summarize: Someone hits you (so it's not your fault)- You call your insurance company- you arrange a repair with them-  The vehicle is repaired and you go on with your life.

As opposed to what it used to be like (and still is in some places) Someone hits you- you call your insurance company- you wait for the other person to call their insurance company- you then wait for the insurance companies do an investigation to determine who is to blame (this still happens to an extent on DCPD but not to the inconvenience to the client)- Fault is determined (eventually)- Repairs are arranged and paid for by the other insurer. 

Finally, Family Protection: This coverage will protect yourself and your family against motorists that are under insured or not insured at all. The sad thing is that minimum provincial requirements are simply not enough sometimes so this coverage will fill those voids if need be.

Loss or Damage to your own Automobile

This coverage also has subsections: All Perils, Collision, Comprehensive and Specified Perils.

I will start with the most common coverage's: Collision and Comprehensive

Collision: If you cause an accident (even a single vehicle accident like backing into a pole) and your vehicle is damaged- the collision coverage will repair your vehicle (subject to a deductible) 

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Comprehensive: This is for claims that aren't really "collisions" like fire, theft of the vehicle, vandalism, falling objects, cracked windshields or that dang deer that came out of nowhere! Also subject to a deductible.

Now for the coverage's that are less popular:

All Perils: This is essentially collision and comprehensive coverage combined. It has one deductible for everything and comes with one extra coverage - If someone living in your home steals your car and crashed it there is coverage. 

It's scary to think that a coverage like that isn't included in the more popular coverage's however if you live with good, trustworthy people HOPEFULLY this isn't a concern to begin with.

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Specified Perils: It's a list of specific things that will be covered, it's unpopular as it excludes falling objects which is pretty much how everyone gets a crack in their windshield.

 

Finally the last sections of coverage I'll talk about briefly today is optional endorsements: there's a ton of approved endorsements out there to get you a rental vehicle after an accident, extension of coverage for rental vehicles, protection for new vehicles, protection against your first at fault accident- the list goes on! These endorsements will enhance your policy to work for you.

That is all I'll talk about today, insurance is far from interesting but it is a necessary protection in our society and I hope I can help more people understand what they're protected for.

Fall Bucket List 2018

With another autumn underway comes another fun list of must does! Here is my bucket list for Fall 2018.

Fall is my favorite time of year so I always try to get the most out of it! It's such a breath of fresh air after the hustle and bustle of wedding season, and combating humidity.

Fall Bucket list

Many of the items on my list this year create memories along with a few art and baking fun for the days the weather may not cooperate.. 

Fall To Do List 2018

O Fall manicure!

O Coordinate a fall photo shoot with friends or family (it doesn't need to be a huge event, just a couple of smiling shots with a pumpkin or some leaves will live long in your memory)

O Go visit a local pumpkin patch and buy your favorite pumpkin (road trip plus supporting local farmers? Yes please!)

O Rake a big pile of leaves and jump into them

O Find a fall cross stitch and make it ( Pinterest is a great tool)

O Catch up with an old friend over a pumpkin spice latte

O Bake some pies with some local fruits and squashes!

O Go for a hike in the woods, take photos of the changing leaves

O Go apple picking

O Visit a local corn maze

So many fun ways to create memories this fall! 

Download the Checklist right here to print it out!

Ketchup Cake

I had the honor of getting to make a really fun cake for my friend's kid's 4th birthday. All he wanted was a ketchup cake! You heard me.. A ketchup cake!

I had very strict instructions that it was not to be ketchup flavored simply shaped like a ketchup bottle.

I ended up using a wine bottle cake pan for the cake itself. I had bought this pan for my own birthday cake this past year and figured I'd never have a use for it every again!

My black forest wine bottle cake!

My black forest wine bottle cake!

I was actually thinking about selling it.. Glad I didn't as it worked perfectly! The pan itself is not quite as big as 2 8" cakes so with the leftover batter I also made a couple of cupcakes that made for great tomatoes.

The ketchup cake!

The ketchup cake!

 

I decided to mimic the President's Choice Ketchup bottle- as much as it was tempting to mimic the classic Heinz Bottle- I really wanted to showcase a Canadian product in my cake (even if the 4 year old has no idea) considering the exposure the cake would get and my strong stand on locally sourced products... It just seemed right.

Ketchup cake

I got some great feedback on my facebook page on this cake! 

Scott said: Thank you Nicole for this kick ass, amazing, non-ketchup made ketchup-cake you made for Ronan’s 4th Birthday cake. It was awesome and delicious

Judy said: Ronan loved his cake! Great job Nicole!

Kathryn said: Thank you Nicole, he loved it!

Angela said: Such a great idea for my kids next birthday lol

Natasha said: Love it it looks fantastic.

Colin said: I am really glad that cake wasn't actually ketchup flavored. Thanks.

Mighty Good Pickles

Strolling through the grocery store on my lunch the other day I stumbled across a nice big basket of local cucumbers. In a moment of impulse I grabbed them because (no word of a lie) the basket was adorable...

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As I'm sitting in my office sitting next to the basket of little cucumbers I realized I better think of something to use these for... Even my clients were putting me on the spot "oh! What will you make!?" Me: "Uhhhhh"

That's when it hit me, I had an old family recipe stored away for just an occasion! So I got my ingredients together and did a small batch of Mighty Good Pickles!

Mighty Good Pickles

12 medium size cucumbers, chopped into bite sized pieces

3 lbs onions

Chop and leave overnight with 3/4 cup salt.

Drain the onions and cucumbers (my aunt puts this in a pillowcase and hangs it in the basement for about half a day. I opted to wrap in cheese cloth and place in a strainer in a sink for half the day... felt better...)

( You can also leave the cucumbers and onions with salt for half a day, then drain overnight... Whichever works better for you.)

Cook in:

4-1/2 cups cider vinegar

1-1/2 cups cold water

6 cups sugar

1 cup flour

1-1/2 tsp celery seed, 1-1/2 tsp ginger, 2 tsp turmeric

Boil approx 1/2 an hour. Makes approx 5 quarts of pickles.

Some of the instructions made me laugh, who knows if "overnight" is 6 hours or 8 and "half the day"... 12 hours? Maybe 8 hours? Wing it, just wing it and be prepared for a strong onion smell during the first step aand a strong vinegar smell during the cooking.

This recipe is a staple on my families dinner table.

Review: Benefit Mascara

I received a sample size of Benefit mascara in the mail! Kay so... I don't remember being advised the sample was coming.. It just kinda showed up haha but hey I'll never complain about free stuff!

All the opinions in this review are my own.

Benefit cosmetic review

I was very impressed with this mascara. It's smooth, didn't clump, and gave my lashes a nice little boost.

Benefit mascara

Overall" I was pleased with this sample. It had all qualities that you want in a mascara so it's no wonder it's among the top mascara going right now. A plus as well, the products sold in Canada (according to the internet) are cruelty free! I would purchase this product again.

Review: Quaker Overnight Oats

I got the opportunity to test out Quaker's new overnight oats for free to test out from Sample Source, although I got the products for free all the opinions are my own.

Sample Source sent me a coupon so that I could pick out my preference of flavor- I chose the Walnut, Raisin & Honey flavor as it seemed like the least sweet out of the options.

Quaker Overnight Oats

I was a little hesitant to try this product as I'm not the biggest fan of oatmeal (just can't stand that squishy texture) but the crunch of the walnuts balanced out the texture quite well.

Ingredients:

WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, SUGAR, WALNUTS COATED WITH ROSEMARY EXTRACT (TO HELP PROTECT FLAVOR), RAISINS, QUINOA, FLAXSEED, SALT, HONEY, NATURAL FLAVOR

I'm always a fan of products that you can read and understand all the ingredients.

Quaker Overnight Oats
Quaker Overnight Oats

Overall this was a solid product, the convenience is certainly there with the service size and easy prep however it was way too sweet for my liking- plus I'm actually trying to reduce my plastic usage so these little cups really don't encourage that.

I personally wouldn't buy it again however for someone who enjoys sweet oatmeal and someone who is on the go this would be a perfect addition to their pantry.