Redheaded French Blonde

Hallelujah you guys, I’m emerging from hibernation after a crazy long cold snap here in Edmonton. The past two weeks have been so cold. I’m talking windchills of -50C cold. I basically stocked up on food and wine and hung out at home for a week, which means I’m now stir crazy and my kids are driving me nuts 😂.

One reprieve in my hibernation was a visit from Holly (@chandeliers.and.champagne) for a little cocktail creation date. We decided to bring a little taste of summer to our lives with a fresh, citrus drink that would be perfect on the patio (or in our case hiding behind frosty, snow-covered windows).

I’ve had a bottle of Lillet sitting in my liquor cabinet since the summer. I saw the aperitif popping up in a lot of different cocktail recipes and knew I wanted to play around with it and see what we could come up with. If you’re wondering what it tastes like alone, it was similar to a really sweet white wine. Definitely not something I’d want to drink on it’s own, but it was delicious in this cocktail, especially combined with fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice!

This drink is a pretty stiff one, with three different types of liquor in it, but it was delicious and a perfect treat to get Holly and I through day 100 of being trapped inside with four kids three and under 🥶🥶🥶.

Redheaded French Blonde

Yields 2 cocktails

You’ll need:

1 oz elderflower liqueur – we used St. Germain

4 oz Lillet Blanc

2 oz dry gin – we used Bombay

4 oz fresh-squeezed Ruby Red grapefruit juice

2 dashes of orange bitters

1 sprig of rosemary and 1 lemon rind, to garnish

Ice, to shake

Directions:

Vigorously shake all ingredients (except for garnishes) in an ice-filled cocktail shaker for about 30 seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with a small piece of lemon rind pierced with a sprig of rosemary. Enjoy, and call yourself an Uber if you’re drinking more than one 😉.

Xoxo Alex &Holly

How to style a slip dress 4 ways

I’ve officially hit the age where the fashion cycle is repeating itself. While some trends like bell bottoms, acid wash jeans and butterfly clips are better left in the past, the resurgence of some familiar 90’s styles makes me excited to try my hand at updating the look and incorporating it into my everyday style.

The slip dress is so beautiful in its simple, slinky glory. It can be dressed up or down and is versatile enough to be worn year-round with the right accessories.

Here are four ways to style a slip dress, perfect for casual or dressy occasions:

1. Tone-on-tone duster cardigan

I love this look for a date night. Generally speaking, I’m always a fan of a monochromatic look. One peek into my closet and you can tell I’m not big on colour. It’s just a sea of tan, black, white and denim. I know what I like, and I stick with it!

2. Knit turtleneck

This is another monochromatic look. You could totally use a different coloured turtleneck, but I like how this outfit came together. It both dresses up the turtleneck and dresses down the slip dress.

3. Oversized v-neck sweater

An oversized sweater is such a great way to wear your dresses into winter. You just have to make sure your sweater hits you in the right spot. I had belt this one underneath to make it shorter.

4. Leather jacket

A leather jacket is one of my favourite accessories. It instantly makes any outfit feel cooler and more out together. And I love the juxtaposition of silk and leather together.

Do you own a slip dress? What’s your favourite way to style it?

Xo Alex

Slip dress: H&M

Duster cardigan: Dynamite

Knit turtleneck: Banana Republic

Black Sweater: H&M

Leather Jacket: The Bay

Yule Mule: Festive Pomegranate Moscow Mule

There’s less than a week till Christmas now, and if you’re anything like me, your to do list is about as long as Santa’s delivery list.

One thing I’m in charge of this year is the Christmas cocktail, and I think we’ve got a winner! This Pomegranate Moscow Mule is as delicious as it is festive.

This cocktail is fresh, easy to drink and relatively easy to assemble. And the the red and green colours make it scream Christmas. So, check one item off that to do list. Your Christmas cocktail is officially covered!

Yule Mule: Festive Pomegranate Moscow Mule

Yields 1 cocktail

You’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup Ginger Beer
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice
  • 2 oz of vodka
  • 1tsp fresh juiced ginger
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Pomegranate seeds for garnish
  • Mint for garnish
  • Ice

Directions:

Fill your cup with ice. Add the ginger beer, pomegranate juice, vodka, ginger and lime. Stir well to combine then garnish with pomegranate seeds and mint.

Cheers, enjoy your cocktail (and get started making round two because you’re going to want more than one of these)!

Happy Holidays! Alex and Holly

Instant Pot Potato Leek Soup

Well, it’s official, the snow is sticking to the ground. Pumpkin spice has morphed into peppermint and egg nog, and the nights are now long and dark. Winter is here for the long haul which means it’s time for soup season!

There’s something so comforting about a hot bowl of soup or stew on a cold winter day. One of my favourites is potato leek; it’s creamy, hearty and goes absolutely perfect with a warm slice of homemade bread (that’s a post for another day). One of the things that made me hesitant to make this soup in the past was how long it took to cook, but thanks to my trusty old Instant Pot I can whip this up while the boys are napping.

Instant Pot Potato Leek Soup

Servings: 5

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts 1/8-inch slices
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 cups unsalted vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives

Instructions:

  1. Select Sauté on the Instant Pot. Allow pot to heat until the display reads “hot” 
  2. Add olive oil and butter to the pot, once hot add the leeks. Sauté until softened, stirring frequently and not allowing to brown, 8 minutes
  3. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds
  4. Add potatoes, vegetable broth, salt, bay leaf and thyme; stir to combine
  5. Make sure that the release valve is in the “Sealing” position, place the lid on the Instant Pot and turn to lock 
  6. Press “Manual” button on the Instant Pot and set the timer for 7 minutes 
  7. It will take about 10 minutes for the pot to heat up and build up the pressure. You will see some steam release from the lid, and then the time will start on the display and count down
  8. Once the cook time is complete, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release the pressure for about 15 minutes
  9. Carefully remove the lid, opening the top away from you as steam will be released from the pot
  10. Remove and discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs
  11. Use a hand immersion blender to puree the soup until just smooth, or transfer to a blender and puree. Careful not to splash as the soup will be hot
  12. Add in milk and black pepper, stir to combine 
  13.  Garnish with chives and additional black pepper

Hope you enjoy! What’s your favourite type of soup? I’m always on the lookout for a new one to try. 

Happy eating, Alex! 

Tips for weaning from breastfeeding

Writing this post is bittersweet for me. I’ve officially completely weaned Austin off of breastfeeding at 19 months old.

The time was right for me; I’ve been pregnant and/or breastfeeding since 2015 with no break. That’s about 4.5 years now that my body hasn’t been my own. So, while I’m happy to be able to enjoy a cocktail whenever I want, use skincare products without reading the label and to take the good cold meds when I’m sick, it’s still sad to close the chapter on this phase of my life.

Weaning Austin was definitely a bit more difficult than weaning Colton. My guess is it’s because I went back to work after Colton turned one, so he had that separation from me. Austin is a Stage 5-Clinger with pretty much no separation from me in his short little life, haha.

So, without further adieu, here’s how to wean your baby in 100 steps or less:

1. The first thing I did was to stop breastfeeding on demand. I fed both my babies on demand. It was for me as much as it was for them. Fussy baby? Boob. Hurt yourself? Boob. Overtired? Boob. This was the hardest step of weaning for me. Instead of feeding on demand I cut Austin down to feeding when he woke up, before both naps and before bed. It was sooo hard for me to not nurse when Austin was fussy for no reason or to use it as a crutch when he got hurt.

2. After about a month we moved onto phase two of our weaning journey, which was to quit nursing before naps. This step pissed Austin off; oh man did we struggle with this step. For nearly two weeks Austin barely napped. He’d just sit and cry in his crib until I caved and went to get him. Eventually he accepted his new normal and his naps went back normal.

3. The next step I took was to drop our morning feed. This step was pretty easy for us; Austin didn’t seem to be phased too much by it. The only downside to dropping this feed was that sometimes I would feed Austin in bed and he’d fall back asleep for another hour. I miss that, haha.

4. Finally, our fourth and final step—kicking that bedtime feed. I held out on this one for awhile. Partially because I wasn’t quite ready to be 100% done and partially because I don’t think Austin was quite ready. In the end, I used a 3-night girls trip as the final push to kick the feed. I don’t think Austin was even getting much milk in the end, which I think helped this step go smooth. When I came home I just didn’t offer to breastfeed Austin again, and he didn’t ask.

And there you have it, the end to my breastfeeding journey. All in all, we probably spent about 6 months weaning. I wanted to take my time on each step to try and make it as easy as possible for a Austin.

Hope this helps if you’re starting the process of weaning your baby. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments!

Alex

Wicked Blackberry Margarita

Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldrons bubble. While I’m no sorceress, I would like to consider myself an amateur mixologist. Mixing up cocktails and experimenting with flavours is so much fun. Sometimes it works out great, other times not so much (let’s just say Holly and I will never be adding cognac to anything again 😂).

For Halloween, Holly and I wanted to mix up something dark, moody and thematic. We settled on a blackberry pomegranate margarita, and it’s absolutely delicious guys! I promise, you don’t even taste the eye if newt in it 😉.

The blackberry juice was a bit hard to find. If you’re in Western Canada, I found it in the specialty drink aisle at Save on Foods. If you can’t find it where you live you could always just juice some blackberries yourself.

Holly and I did some quick research before we whipped this drink up about which tequila is best for margaritas. The short answer is a blanco or silver tequila. These tequilas have a more pure flavour that does best when mixed in a margarita. If you want the long, detailed answer feel free to look it up on our old friend Google.

Now that you’re an bonafide tequila expert, it’s time to mix up a drink!

Wicked Blackberry Margarita

Yields 1 pitcher

You’ll need:

  • 3 oz of blanco or silver tequila (we used Casamigos Blanco)
  • 1.5 oz of Triple Sec
  • 1.5 oz of simple syrup
  • 6 oz of blackberry juice
  • 3 oz of blueberry pomegranate juice (we used Pom brand)
  • Large handful of blackberries
  • 4 large handfuls of ice
  • Lime wedge and salt to rim (we used hibiscus pink salt)

Directions: Put some salt on a plate, then rub the wedge of lime along the rim of your glass. Dip the rim of glass on the salted plate until it’s coated.

Next, add all of your ingredients into a blender and blend until you get a nice slushy consistency (add more ice if necessary). Pour into your salted glasses, top with a festive stir stick and prepare to make a second round, because these will be hit at your Halloween party!

Hope you enjoy our festive cocktail, be sure to follow along on Instagram (@alexandtribe, @chandeliers.and.champagne) to see what else we come up with next and tag us in you pics if you recreate any of our cocktails.

Cheers! Happy Halloween 🎃 👻

Alex & Holly

Apple Cider Sangria

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all my fellow Canadians. For all my American friends, I’ll be jealous of your turkey dinners next month 😉.

Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays. Food is my love language and there’s nothing better than a great meal with friends and family. Give me all the turkey sandwiches, pumpkin pie and apple cider I can stomach. I also love the reminder to be thankful for all the amazing things I have in my life. I couldn’t be more grateful for my health, my home, my family and my friends. I’m a lucky girl let me tell ya!

I don’t have to host any Thanksgiving meals this weekend (yay), however I know how stressful preparing a big dinner can be, so my girlfriend Holly and I have whipped up a festive drink that you can throw together for your thanksgiving gathering. At least one item will be easy to check off your to do list!

What I love about this Apple Cider Sangria is that you can make it in advance and let it sit in the fridge. The longer the flavours muddle together the better. I also love the fact that it’s an easy sipper. It’s definitely the least boozy-tasting cocktail I’ve posted on here to date. I don’t know about you, but I’m not looking to get drunk at a family get together, so a nice light, refreshing sangria is the perfect way to go.

Apple Cider Sangria

Yields 1 pitcher

You’ll need:

  • 1 bottle of dry white wine (750 ml)
  • 1 can of Strongbow (500 ml)
  • 2 oz Triple Sec
  • 1 Honeycrisp apple
  • 1 pear
  • Large handful frozen cranberries
  • Cinnamon stick to garnish

Directions:

Thinly slice your pear and your apple and place them in your pitcher. Add a large handful of frozen cranberries, your bottle of white wine, can of Strongbow and your Triple Sec. Stir well to combine. Add a couple of cinnamon sticks and put the pitcher in the fridge to allow the flavours to combine for 30 minutes.

When you’re ready to serve, arrange a couple slices of apple and pear in your glass. Add in a few cranberries and a couple pieces of ice and top with your sangria. Add a cinnamon stick for garnish and enjoy!

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving long weekend! Be sure to follow along on Instagram (@alexandtribe, @chandeliers.and.champagne) to see what cocktail we come up with next (hint: it might be a Halloween one 😉) and tag us in you pics if you recreate any of our cocktails.

Cheers! Alex & Holly

Alberta Iceberg Gin and Tonic

I’ve been hearing the dreaded f-word popping up more and more lately…fall. Our mornings are starting to get crisp, the leaves are turning yellow and Starbucks released their Pumpkin Spiced Latte. I flat out refuse to drink a fall drink in August though, call it a principle thing. Instead I’ve decided to honour the dog days of summer and have come up with a delicious drink to celebrate my favourite season.

My favourite part of this Alberta Iceberg Gin and Tonic is the Parlour Gin from at Eau Claire Distillery, an Alberta producer that I’ve grown to love over the last couple years. I used their Prickly Pear Vodka in this cocktail earlier this summer and their Gin is just as delicious. At it’s core this drink is a Gin and Tonic, only a bit more over-the-top, just the way I like it.

I had no idea that Alberta is home to over 10 wineries and meaderies, 17 distilleries and 121 breweries. Although some ALberta beers have made it to the shelves of liquor stores, the majority of Alberta products remain unknown by the public and liquor retailers.

I’ve tried beers from some local companies like Toolshed Brewing, Alley Cat and Wildrose, but I was excited to learn just how many local liquors our province has. I love supporting local, so I plan on whipping up way more local craft cocktails in the future now that I know how much selection there is. To find out more about Alberta liquor products check out the Just Add Alberta website.

Alberta Iceberg Gin and Tonic

Yields 1 cocktail

You’ll need: 

  • 1.5 oz Eau Claire Distillery Parlour Gin
  • Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic
  • 1 cup of lemonade
  • 2 large handfuls of ice
  • 5 raspberries
  • Lemon to garnish
  • Mint to garnish

Directions:

In a blender add lemonade, ice and raspberries. Blend until you get a slush consistency.

Add gin to your glass and top with Elderflower tonic until your glass is about 3/4 full. Top with the raspberry lemonade slush. Garnish and serve.

Hope you enjoy this delicious summer cocktail, be sure to follow along on Instagram (@alexandtribe) to see what else I come up with over the course of the summer and tag me in you pics if you recreate any of my cocktails.

Cheers! Alex

Layered Grapefruit and Rose Vodka Soda

Hello summer, my old friend. After approximately 700 consecutive days of rain the sun has finally come out to play.

This is one of the rainiest summers I can remember in Edmonton. The last time it rained this much was eight years ago and Justin and I were so over it we spontaneously booked a trip to the sunny Algarve in Portugal.

Eight years and two kids later, spontaneous European vacations are about as likely as my kid sleeping through the night, so it was time to get a bit more resourceful and do something to make it feel a bit more like summer…and for Holly and I that meant drinking a refreshing cocktail out in the sun.

This cocktail came together rather haphazardly late one afternoon. Holly (@chandeliers.and.champagne) and I were hanging out with our wild toddlers and didn’t have a whole lot of time to make a fancy drink. So, Holly busted out a bottle of Grapefruit and Rose Vodka she had just picked up and threw a quick cocktail together.

We had no idea how pretty the drink was going to look but the colours layered themselves beautifully and we knew we had to recreate this drink for our blogs. Not only does this Vodka Soda look great, the taste is fantastic too. It’s a refreshing, citrusy cocktail perfect for a summer day, and a great option for those who like to avoid sugary concoctions.

Layered Grapefruit and Rose Vodka Soda

Yields 1 cocktail

You’ll need: 

  • 1.5 oz Grapefruit and Rose vodka (we used Ketel One Botanical)
  • Juice of half a grapefruit
  • Club soda
  • Large handful of ice

Directions:

Fill your glass with ice. Juice half of a grapefruit and add to glass along with 1.5 oz of vodka. Top with club soda. Voila, it’s that’s easy!

Hope you enjoy this refreshing summer cocktail, be sure to follow along on Instagram (@alexandtribe, @chandeliers.and.champagne) to see what else we come up with over the course of the summer and tag us in you pics if you recreate any of our cocktails.

Cheers! Alex & Holly

Tips for a great Dîner en Blanc experience

I’ve never met a theme I didn’t like. I’m always down for a great party, but one with a fun dress code? Even better! I’ve now been to three Dîner en Blanc’s in Edmonton so I feel like I have a good handle on what to expect and how to make it a great night.

If you’ve never heard of Dîner en Blanc before here is a bit of history. The event was started in Paris, 31 years ago when a Frenchman invited a group of people to an elegant picnic and asked them to all dress in white so that they could easily find each other. Now, the event is held in 80 cities in 30 countries around the world.

This year, Edmonton’s event was held on the field at Commonwealth Stadium, where our professional football team plays. Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side. It rained so hard. And not a quick, light shower. It was a torrential downpour, with thunder and lightning and wind. It was a gong show, but you know what, we still had such a fun time. Attitude is everything (refer to tip 4) and our group had a great one.

If you’re getting ready for your first Dîner en Blanc here are five tips to make it a great experience.

1. Make sure you wear white. I know, sounds obvious, that’s the dress code, but there are always people who show up in cream or have another colour on their dress. You stick out like a sore thumb, so look for an outfit that’s all white. Also, it’s a dressy event, so leave the white jeans and sneakers at home.

2. Have fun with your accessories. I love to wear flower crowns, so that’s my go-to for this event, but I’ve seen people in fascinators, white wigs, tutus and boas. It’s not everyday you get to have so much fun with your outfit, so don’t waste the opportunity! Also, ladies, please wear flats. Sometimes the event is held in the grass, sometimes you have a 15 minute walk to get there, regardless you’ll be so much more comfortable in flat shoes.

3. Prepare for the weather. I’ve been rained on at two out of the three events I’ve been to. Like I mentioned above, it torrentially poured on us this year, so I’m so happy I had my clear poncho and umbrella with me. Yup, you read that right, even your rain gear needs to be clear or white, so make sure you’re prepared in advance.

4. Go into it with a great attitude. I’m not going to lie, this event is a lot of work and planning. They’re also always held outdoors rain or shine. Obviously weather isn’t something you can control, but your attitude is. We got totally rained out but had such a fun time this year. I was with fun people, we had wine and dessert (we made sure to grab both when we sprinted for some cover) what more do you need!

5. Pack light. You have to pack your whole life for this event (kidding, sort of), so obviously you can only pack so light between your table, chairs, linens, food and decor, however be smart where you can. Bring collapsible table and chairs and small but attractive decor (flameless candles, flowers etc). This is even easier the larger your group. We had a group of 6 going this year and divided up responsibilities so everyone was bringing something.

Hope this helps prepare you for your first Dîner en Blanc experience. It’s really such a fun event, you just have to make sure you put in the pre-planning work. If you have any other questions about the event, or some tips of your own please share them in the comments!

À votre santé!