Wednesday, December 31, 2008

And the winner is...

The Entertaining with Booze contest is officially closed and I have chosen a winner. But, before I tell you who it is, I want to explain how I chose this winner. Because I wanted it to be totally random and fair (and because I cannot at all be trusted to do so), I had to enlist the help of my assistant, Mr. Baz.

And he came up with a brilliant idea, so that I would not cheat.

Here's what we did: First, we took pieces of paper and cut them into squares. Then we wrote the names down of everyone who left a comment on the blog. Then, we wrote down all the names of the people who emailed their entry. (I mostly did this, while Mr. Baz invigilated the process).

Then, we went to Mr. Baz's treat cupboard, which is where he keeps all his snacks that he got from Santa. And we chose a bag of Temptations.

Then, we took one Temptation and put it on top of each square of paper and then folded the paper around the cat treat. Then, I was going to put all the treat papers into a fish bowl filled with water so that Mr. Baz could fish for one, as though each paper-wrapped fish-flavoured Temptation were really little fish...

...but then Mr. Baz reminded me that if we put the papers in water the ink would run and we wouldn't be able to read the winner. So instead, I hid the treat papers around the entire house and let Mr. Baz go to it. And the one he opened first was...


Congratulations, Cavan!

Now, my work is done, but Cavan, your work has just begun. What you need to do is send me an email to chantel (at), telling me who you want the book to be dedicated to or if you want any special message (or just want Ryan & David to write whatever their little boozy brains desire), and your mailing address. Then, Ryan & David will sign the book and their publicist will ship it off to you!

Thanks to:

-Whitecap Books for donating the books for the contest
-Meisner Publicity for arranging everything
-Everyone who entered
-Mr. Baz for randomly choosing a winner
-and of course, Ryan Jennings & David Steele, for writing the most fabulous hostess cookbook ever!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Last chance to make your New Year's Resolutions...

Or eat more chocolate. Whichever's easier.

My dad said that if you haven't made your New Year's Resolutions by mid-November, it's too late for you.

Too late? Aren't New Year's Resolutions supposed to start in the New Year? Did I miss a memo?

But then I got to thinking about it, while eating chocolate-covered peanuts from Manitoba Santa that I am addicted to (To be honest, when I got them I wasn't really all that excited because I'm not a huge fan of peanuts and definitely not Glosettes and so I was fairly certain that I would not even eat one single chocolate covered peanut. But then I tried one. And then I realized that I was always thinking of Glosette Peanuts as chocolate-covered peanuts and saying I didn't like them, which is basically like thinking of salmon from a can or crab as the stuff in california maki or burgers from McDonald's and saying you don't like those things either). Anyway, real chocolate-coated peanuts are actually very yum. The package is practically empty, so clearly I do like them alot.

Right, so I got to thinking about the resolutions and maybe it's the fact that you need a bit of time to work yourself into the frame of mind that you're going to be able to conquer the resolution in the New Year, which is why you need to make the resolution back in November? Which, come to think of it, is sort of like the chocolate covered peanuts, because I didn't think I'd eat them but after a few days, I brought myself around to trying one. I mean, come on, they were chocolate after all, and if I have any pre-New Year's Resolutions on the holidays it's to eat as much chocolate as possible. So far so good with that resolution.

Now the only problem is that I'm almost out of chocolate-covered peanuts and the package says they're from The Peanut Shop in Williamsburg, Pennsylvania. I just checked Yahoo Maps and apparently Williamsburg is 701 miles away. Or 11 hours and 28 minutes.

I should probably use that time to make New Year's Resolutions. Like eat less chocolate.

Anyway, say your New Year's Resolution is to eat more! Or to drink more! Or to entertain more! Well then you're set, because you officially have 2 days left to enter to win Entertaining with Booze! I'll announce a winner on December 31.

Happy Holidazing!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Giveaway!!

So the holiday bake shop is closed this year, because I am on a writing deadline (more on that in the new year!) and, as though reading my little Betty Crocker mind, my agent called the other day to say that she had not received my box of holiday baked goods yet, and that, if I had not baked them I should take off my oven mitts and return to my pink laptop.

So here I am, not baking, while visions of gingerbread men dance through my head. It is sad, because I love to bake, and I got the most adorable Martha Stewart boxes to give away my Christmas cookies...

Seriously. Could these be any cuter?

... but I will not be using them, because I have to learn that I cannot do it all and do it well. So there will be no gingerbread men running around my house. 

But perhaps YOU are not on a writing deadline and are looking for some inspiring new recipes to try out over the holidays! If so, then here's your chance to win a copy of my friend Ryan Jennings and his partner-in-the-kitchen David Steele's latest book, Entertaining with Booze.

Designer Drinks, Fabulous Food and Inspired Ideas for your Next Party

It's the followup to Cooking With Booze, which came out a couple of years ago and which I gave to everyone I knew because it's the perfect hostess, birthday or holiday gift. But now, I'm obsessed with Entertaining with Booze, because it's not just a book full o' recipes. Oh no. It's PARTY-THEMED!! That's right. Ryan and David have devised 31 soiree ideas–from the Spread The Cheese Party (my personal fave) to the It's All About Me evening–complete with menu and signature cocktail recipes. 

Want to win your very own copy so you can start planning your puppy's first birthday bash? 

I'm giving you a chance to win your very own copy, which Ryan and David will personally dedicate to you, your grandma or your pet turtle. 

I'll be giving away TWO copies of the book. For your first chance to win, send me an email to chantel (at) or leave a message in the comments. For your second chance, head over to my new website, for a sneak peek at Ryan's favourite recipe. Leave a comment, and you'll get another chance to win!

Happy Cocktail-Making!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Staycation...All I Ever Wanted

For the past week I've been on Staycation.

What did I do on my Staycation, you ask?

Well, I will tell you. Because I lead such a fabulously exciting life:

I marked papers for school.

And went to the doctor.

Sadly, he did not look like this.

Then I read the article in Toronto Life about Ashley Madison -- you know, the cheaters' version of Lavalife? The slogan is "Life is Short. Have an Affair. And then I became a paranoid wife. Thanks, Toronto Life! Then I hid the issue from The Hubs so he doesn't get any ideas. Then I made cupcakes and pumpkin bread because a fat husband is a happy husband, right? Right, people?

I also invited the Rogers phone guy into my home because our phone was not working. At which point he told me, Your phone doesn't work. You need a new one. Oh hmm... That's what I get for buying a US phone at Target. And how can I return it when I threw out the receipts so the border guy wouldn't make me pay duty? (Just kidding, Super Customs Men! I would never ever do that.) So then I bought a new phone at Best Buy. You can tell there's a recession by going into Best Buy. It was a ghost town. I couldn't even find the cash desk because there was no lineup. The only lineup was at the Returns desk.

I also invited the plumber into the house. Our ongoing shower problems have now reached a four-week record and he still didn't solve the problem. Instead, he told me to rinse my shower head with vinegar, which seems very suspicious, even if I did as I was told. I mean, what do I know about plumbing? I can't even understand the Plumbing for Dummies book.

On the same day, our bed mysteriously half-broke when I was making it. Note to all wives: When the bed somehow decides to break, it should not be on the same day that you stay home because the plumber is coming over to fix your shower. It will look very suspicious to your husband, trust me. Especially if the plumber leaves and the shower is not fixed. Even if you tell your husband that the plumber was 65 and bald. Ew.

But you know what I missed while on my Staycation? Meeting TOM CRUISE at one of the beauty events I didn't go to because I was at home with the plumber. Okay, I know he's sort of crazy and everything, but I had the HUGEST crush on him during his Top Gun days and sometimes I just can't get over that.

IceMan: "I don't like you because you're dangerous."
Maverick: "That's right. Ice. Man."

Now if the plumber had looked like that... I'm kidding, people! Sheesh.

But now, sadly, the exciting Staycation has come to an end and it's back to work. Which isn't that bad--it's almost Christmas! Which means everyone is sending chocolates and beauty products that I don't have to write about but can just use for fun. Who can complain about that?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I have whiplash and sore muscles but I am alive...

Last weekend we went to Tremblant, and because I have not skiied in more than six years and have the memory of an antelope, I decided that I am just SO good at skiing that it would be impossibly boring for me to ski while my husband learned, and so, I should snowboard.

#1. I should not snowboard. Because

#2. I am not 18 or cool.

#3. I am not as fit as I think I am.

#4. I have only snowboarded about 3 times. And

#5. I have the memory of an antelope so I did not remember that those other 3 times were p-a-i-n-f-u-l because... refer to items #1 through #5. Repeat.

But anyway, I snowboarded. Or rather, I strapped my feet into a snowboard, then proceeded to stand, move five inches, fall onto knees, hit my fist into the ground, stand, move five inches, fall backwards onto my butt and slam head into side of mountain, cry a little bit. Repeat for 5 hours then drown sorrows in bottle of wine.

Meanwhile my husband and brother-in-law bonded on the slopes.

Skiing is a breeze!

On day 2, I awoke full of pain. Everything hurt. But I decided that magically overnight I had osmosed everything I needed to know to be a first-rate boarder and so, I tried again. I did one run in the same fashion as I did on day 1, then proceeded to swiftly swap my board for skis. I had to rent skis though because when I went to my dad's to get all my ski gear he allowed me to take my ski outfit and boots, but prohibited me from taking my skis from the premises.

He: "Oh no you don't."

Me: "Why not? I like my skis." I was sure he would be thrilled that the hundreds of dollars he'd spent on all my equipment would be put back into use after such a long hiatus.

He: "No one has skis like that anymore."

Me: "They DON'T?"

He was right. When I went into the rental shop to get my skis, the rental guy asked me what length I wanted.

"185," I said confidently, sure that despite six years off, I could still manage my race-team length skis. I'd show that hill that I may not be able to snowboard, but I could still ski.

The rental guy started laughing at me. "They don't MAKE 185s anymore. Your skis must be OLD. They only go up to 175 now, and that's for experts."

"Oh," I said sheepishly, slunking down into my pink neckwarmer. "I'll take whatever then."

I couldn't have been happier to be back in skis.

Me, minus the bikini and blonde hair.

And because he's so sweet, the Hubs couldn't stop saying how amazing a skier I was. That is the glory of skiing on green circles with your husband who has never even see a ski mountain let alone been on one before -- everyone looks like a pro if they're not snowplowing. The Hubs of course, didn't realize that. He's a keeper, that one.