Green Beer!

 

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Saint Patrick’s Day will soon be upon us. Many people simply use the day as an excuse to suck down some green suds with their buddies, dress in green clothing and act a little goofy, however to others the day is a day of Celebration of Irish Heritage. So I dug around and looked up some interesting facts about Saint Patrick’s Day and I also reviewed the original meaning of Saint Patrick’s Day.

The reason Saint Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17th is because this is the date  Saint Patrick, the foremost patron Saint of Ireland, passed away. Originally the holiday began as a religious celebration. Saint Patrick’s claim to fame was how successful he was at converting the pagan Irish people over to Christianity. When he passed away the Irish began celebrating his honor by having a day of feast, thus became the beginning of many Irish Traditions. (This is not a celebration day for Pagans, but a day of sadness)

A few facts about the Irish and Saint Patrick that I learned while reading up on the history of Saint Patrick’s Day.

  • Until 2015, LGBT Groups were not allowed to march in Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parades, and only one year earlier were they finally allowed to march in New York City Parades.
  • Saint Patrick used the three leafed shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to Irish pagans.
  • St. Patrick wasn’t Irish. He was from Wales.
  • Every year, the leader in Ireland hands a crystal bowl full of shamrock to the US President. The shamrock, grown in Kerry, is immediately destroyed by the Secret Service after the exchange.

st-paddys-day-2049042_1280         So What About that Green Beer?

Saint Patrick’s Day is often viewed as a day of people consuming copious amounts of alcohol, often drinking things such as green beer. A doctor named Dr. Thomas Curtin of the Bronx is said to have been the person who first colored beer green for the St. Paddy’s day celebration back in 1914. Many believe the inspiration of the green beer was due to the centuries old Irish custom known as “drowning the Shamrock” in which people would add green shamrocks to their drinks on Saint Patrick’s Day.

Lastly where did the tradition of drinking large amounts of alcohol on St. Paddy’s day came from? Many religions have a period called Lent. Lent is forty days of prayer and fasting in preparation for Easter. Saint Patrick’s Day happens to be observed during Lent. Many religions would lift the Lenten restrictions for the day since Saint Patrick’s Day was originally meant to be a day of feast. Since the restrictions that prohibited drinking were lifted for the day, people would take advantage of the day to get their fill on alcohol beverages before returning to the preparation of Easter by fasting and prayer.

So there you have it. Convert everyone to Christianity, or Drink some Green Beer! Personally i will pick the later.

Peace, love and happiness – Pragma

Birchbox

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Hello Ladies!

I am so excited to share with you today my very first ever Birchbox! I have been toying with the idea of getting a Birchbox for a while now (since I have been subscribed to Ipsy for a few years, which I will share next week!)

Since this is our first product review, I wanted to come up with a way to rate these and future products. I am an avid makeup “explorer”. I will try any new product and tell you my honest opinion, so here’s how they will be rated.

One Heart: I did not care for this product.

Two Hearts: This product was okay, but I can live without

Three Hearts: A very good product. Would probably buy

Four Hearts: I love this product! Would buy and recommend

So let’s get started!

The first product I received was the Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator. This product is great! It’s relaxing with its micro-crystal beads and it’s not a heavy formula, so you won’t feel like you are covering your face in Elmer’s glue. The texture feels soft and smells of Aloe and Papaya. Just make sure you don’t use this as a makeup remover, but use after you have removed any excess makeup from the day. I recommend right before bed as a deep facial cleanser and exfoliator. Full-Size $34   Three Hearts

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My next product is Supergoop! CC Cream in Fair/Light. First things first, the name “Supergoop!” gave me a bit of hesitation. I’m not very fond of putting heavy, goopy things on my face, but I tried it anyways. The container states “Daily Correct CC Cream with Omega-3 and Omega-6” It also has SPF 40. If you don’t know what a CC Cream is, it is a formula of concealer that is supposed to blend well with your skin tone and has SPF. This product, although the color is decent, just sits on top of the skin. It is very thin and it blends ok on the edges, but if you are looking for a natural look, or anything besides a porcelain doll look, I would not recommend this product. Odorless and a good color, but not a long lasting product. Full-Size $32    One Heart

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The Balm”. I adore The Balm products. (I have received quite a few in my Ipsy bag!) This one is hard to write about because I was sorely disappointed. The Balm Stainiac in shade Beauty Queen. Description states “A hint of tint for cheeks and lips.” When you look at this product from the outside, it looks slightly intimidating, possibly dangerous, but adventurous! As soon as I put this on, I had to take it off. What I was expecting: A bright bold fuchsia lip stain. What I got: An almost colorless water-like formula. So disappointed. Full-Size $17    One Heart

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Okay, so this has been a roller coaster. I am going to leave you with one last product that didn’t disappoint!

Dr. Lipp Miracle Balm. Oh My Goshness! This product is fabulous! It states “Dr. Lipp Miracle Balm 100% Natural. For dry skin, luscious lips and glossy bits!” AHH! So this product is thick, like thicker than Carmex thick. BUT! So extremely moisturizing and you can use it anywhere! The back of the product container: “One product, a hundred uses. Use everyday for beautiful soft glossy lips. Treat dry, rough, sore or sensitive skin. Get creative with your Dr. Lipp & use as a cheek shine, tame eyebrows, mix with pigments or glitter etc. Tasteless, odorless & so kissable…”. #iLoveDrLipp  (yes, the hashtag is on the container!) $16.50 for a full-size and worth every penny!    Four Hearts

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There you have it Ladies! Not too bad for my first Birchbox. If you are not familiar with what Birchbox is exactly, check out their website at www.birchbox.com . You can also use this link in case you decide you want to try it out (and if you use the link then I can earn more products to review for you all!) Next week I will be reviewing IPSY so you can see the similarities and differences in these two companies, and make your decision which one you want to try, or maybe both! The great thing is it’s only $10 a month (for each) and you get a box or a makeup bag full of goodies and coupons!

I hope you liked this product review of February Birchbox and I can’t wait to share more with you next week! Please feel free to comment with questions or opinions. I love hearing from you all!

XOXO

-Rebel

 

Sexy Food

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Foodgasm: The euphoric sensation upon eating amazingly delicious food.

But why not combine this with sex? Food and sex are two of the most basic needs for animal behavior. In many primal cultures, you can even see partners sharing food with each other to help the survival of procreation.

I don’t have to remind you of societies hidden jesters of the local fruits and vegetables. Even nature is obsessed with our sex.

Sex and food go hand in hand. Think about it. From the insect world of the male sagebrush cricket, who allows the female to feed on his hind wings during copulation. To the grew wolf who hunts and supplies food for his alpha female. If we want sex, we all hope there is some food involved.

Spice up the bedroom (excuse the pun) and incorporate simple finger foods like strawberries, cherries, cut up melons or blue berries.  I would suggest prepping them by cutting off the stems and placing them on a plate to serve. Or get wild with Popsicle’s, gummy bears or Pop-rocks. Keep it light and fun in nature. You want to lick your fingers because of the sweetness and not the BBQ sauce.

An important note ladies, be careful about food and your love buttons. Many a women have found themselves with a yeast infection (and no not the bread kind) a few days later. Finishing off with a sexy bath or shower will aide in clean up.

Above all, have fun. Enlighten your sense with taste, smell, sight and feel of the food.

cherry

-Alice

 

 

 

Southern Gumbo

One of my favorite southern foods, especially around the time of Mardi Gras, is Gumbo. (Although I seem to be the only one in the house who will fully enjoy every item i place into the simmering pot.) History shows us the African meaning for gumbo is “Gombo” which translates into Okra. Not everyone uses Okra to thicken their dish some may use file powder. There are so many ways to start out this savory dish. One may add chicken, duck, beef, seafood or sausage, but we all must add the “Holy Trinity” which is Bell Pepper, Onion, and Celery.

Imma from “Immaculate Bites” presents the perfect recipe. The only thing i leave out is the tomatoes. For more info on this recipe, click here. Gumbo Recipe

-Alice

Prep time  30 mins      Cook time  80 mins
Total time
1 hour 50 mins
Author: AfricanBites

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 8 oz. Smoked sausage
  • 2 pounds chicken skinless chicken thigh
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 medium green bell pepper diced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 3 sticks)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 14oz. can tomatoes(chopped)
  • ½ pound crab legs
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning.
  • ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon powder or 1 cube
  • 1-tablespoon thyme fresh or dried
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups chicken stock(sub with water)
  • 1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 1-tablespoon gumbo file
  • 10 cups cooked rice
Instructions
  1. Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed Dutch Cook the chicken until browned on both sides and remove. Add the sausage and cook until browned, and then remove. Set aside
  2. In a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan combine melted butter, oil and flour until smooth.
  3. Cook on medium heat, stirring continuously, for about 20-30 minutes or until it turns a rich dark brown color – just like chocolate. Don’t walk away from the stove during this process. It might burn.
  4. When you have achieved your desired color. Remove from stove and let it cool.
  5. Return the Dutch oven back on the stove. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper and celery and cook for 8- 10 minutes –stirring frequently.
  6. Then add chicken, sausage, crab legs, creole seasoning, chicken bouillon or cubes, paprika, thyme, bay leaves and let it cook for 5 minutes. Followed by can tomatoes about 6 cups of chicken stock, bring to a boil and let it simmer for about 45 – 50 minutes .Add the shrimp, simmer for 5 more minutes.
  7. Stir in file powder, green onions, and chopped parsley.
  8. Adjust thickness soup and flavor with broth or water and salt.

Mardi Gras

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This year Mardi Gras falls on February 28th, 2017. That should give our livers just enough time to recover before St. Patrick’s Day.

There are many places across the world which celebrate Mardi Gras, although we can only find one state that actually calls it a legal holiday, Louisiana. The following history is shared from the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau. Although a little long, it is a good read.

Origins and History of Mardi Gras

When Iberville first set up camp near the future La Nouvelle Orléans,
he named the site Pointe du Mardi Gras. The date was Mardi Gras day, 1699.

Original Revelers

The revels began (where so many revels did) in ancient Rome. Long before the Christian era, young men in disguise roamed the streets making merry during the winter Saturnalia. In the third century A.D., the emperor Aurelius fixed December 25- the winter solstice under the Julian calendar- as the birthday of the Invincible Sun, which the Romans worshipped. The dates of the Saturnalia and the Sun festival roughly collided, making for a weeklong, merry midwinter holiday season.

A couple of centuries later, the early Christian Church cleverly consolidated and converted these pagan feasts (as it had so many others) to a Christian holiday, declaring December 25 the birthday of the Son of God and Man. They called it “Christ Mass,” or Christmas. The Epiphany, the visit of the three kings to the Christ Child, was then celebrated on January 6, the twelfth day after Christmas.

In medieval Europe, the Twelve Days of Christmas became a series of celebrations presided over by an impromptu king of the festivities, the Lord of Misrule.

During the revels, small tokens were distributed, suggesting the gifts brought by the three kings. The goodies dispensed by the Lord of Misrule and his court prefigure current carnival throws.

Bals masqués, or masked balls, became the pinnacle of Twelfth Night revelry in Renaissance Italy and spread to France and England. Early New Orleans Creoles called them les bals des rois, for the kings who presided over the masked merrymaking. A mock king for the night was chosen by chance: whoever found a coin or a bean in a piece of special “king cake” (named for the three kings and the king of Twelfth Night), was crowned monarch of Twelfth Night. He would choose his queen or a queen would be chosen through the luck of the draw: the girl who found a pea in her cake was crowned consort. The cake, bean and pea are ancient symbols of fertility.

Later, the masqués and entertainment continued through Shrove Tuesday, which the French called Mardi Gras or “fat Tuesday,” the day before Lent. Ironically, the solemn and austere period of Lent created Carnival, which literally means, “farewell to meat.” All carnival revelries began with the frenzied overindulgence of people about to bid a temporary, but very fond, adieu to the pleasures of the flesh.

Another irony is the date for Easter (which determines Lent and therefore Mardi Gras). Easter was determined by the Spring Equinox, a major pagan festival of ancient Rome, which the early Church characteristically morphed into a Christian feast day.

Mardi Gras falls between February 3 and March 9, always 46 days before Easter- the total of the 40 days of Lent including the six Sundays in that period (no abstinence on Sunday). The date for Easter falls on the first Sunday after the full moon following the Spring Equinox.

Carnival Comes to the Crescent City

When French explorer Pierre le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville, set up a camp about 60 miles south of the future La Nouvelle Orléans, he named the site Pointe du Mardi Gras. It was apropos, since the date was March 3, 1699, Mardi Gras day.

The Europeans brought their carnival customs, and Creole society was soon masking and dancing at private balls while revelers in disguise roamed the streets.

The year 1837 marked the first documented procession of masked revelers in New Orleans. By the mid 1840s, the carousing and drunken streetcapades had grown so wild, relatively sober citizens lobbied to ban all public carnival celebrations.

But six men from Mobile, where Mardi Gras celebrations had been held as early as 1708 and parades since 1831, stepped in. Together with thirteen New Orleanians, they founded the first Mardi Gras organization and named it for a reference to “Comus with his crew” from John Milton’s poem, “A Mask Presented at Ludlow-Castle.” In Roman mythology, Comus was the god of mirth and revelry. A follower of Dionysus, he was represented as a drunken youth bearing a torch. In Milton’s poetic masque, Comus is a rascal, the son of wine god Bacchus and Circe, daughter of the Sun.

With a little whimsy and archaic spelling, the Mobile Six formed the Mistick Krewe of Comus and in 1857 paraded by torchlight on Mardi Gras evening on two mule-drawn floats.

They decided the parade wasn’t enough. The Krewe of Comus wanted something grander to celebrate Mardi Gras, so they formed a secret society in keeping with their Masonic origins. They issued 3,000 invitations to a ball which became the event of the year for New Orleans society. The first queen of Comus was Mildred Lee, daughter of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, whose exploits the city still venerates with a monument at Lee Circle.

The parade and ball, with themes from mythology and literature, became so successful that party-minded New Orleanians decided more was better. Thus, the krewes of Twelfth Night Revelers, Proteus, and Momus were formed. Their parades rolled through dusky evenings and dark nights lit only by torches but that was about to change.

Russian Rule Yet

It was by sheer chance that Alexis Romanov, Grand Duke of Russia, landed in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. The year was 1872 and he was in single-minded pursuit of his latest amour, actress Lydia Thompson.

To celebrate his visit, a group of 40 businessmen funded a daytime parade and called it “Rex,” Latin for “king.” The first arrival of Rex was a surprise to most citizens. They learned of it on Lundi Gras (the day before Mardi Gras) through an announcement in the local newspapers ordering that normal business be shut down and the city handed over to “Rex, King of Carnival.”

In the duke’s honor, the newly formed Rex organization adopted the Romanov family colors of purple, green and gold (which represent justice, fidelity, and power, respectively). They commissioned a band to play the Duke’s favorite love song, “If Ever I Cease to Love,” from the play Bluebeard.

After Alexis left, the colors stuck, the gala day parade continued and a masked ball was added the next year in 1873. The song became the Mardi Gras anthem and theme of Rex, who mounted a permanent throne as King of Carnival and Monarch of Merriment with the motto Pro bono publico, “For the common good.”

Amazingly, Rex’s first arrival via riverboat, at the foot of Canal Street, is still repeated every Lundi Gras. The mayor turns the city and its keys over to him in a public ceremony. That’s how Mardi Gras became a legal holiday in New Orleans.

The King of Cakes

King cakes came to New Orleans with the French, who substituted a tiny baby Jesus for the medieval bean. The cakes began as round, custard-filled pastries decorated with crowns. (These have lately become popular once again, made by French pastry shops around the city.)

Later, a brioche pastry was rolled into an open circle like a crown, decorated with jewel-like sugars, and it was in this form that the king cake became a New Orleans carnival staple, made and served only between January 6 (the Feast of the Three Kings) and Mardi Gras.

Within all New Orleans king cakes, there is either a bean or a small plastic baby. At the Twelfth Night Revelers ball, which kicks off the carnival season on January 6, whoever gets the golden bean is the queen. Her maids are designated by silver beans. (Currently, the court is chosen in advance, unlike their medieval counterparts who found the tokens at random.)

For two centuries, king cakes have been served at the Queen’s breakfasts which follow private Mardi Gras balls. Guests at any party given in the Mardi Gras season are almost guaranteed a slice of king cake. King cakes are even appearing at New Year’s Eve feasts, a sweet finish to the fireworks.

For decades, the king cake set off a round of parties in the teen crowd. Whoever got the baby or bean at the first soirée threw a king cake party the following weekend. The chain continued until Mardi Gras. In some circles, the tradition lives on.

-Alice

 

National Drink Wine Day

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This Saturday, February 18th, 2017 Is National Drink Wine Day! Many of us love the thought of opening a chilled bottle of wine to end the day with or to share with our friends, but do we really know anything about wine? Of course everyone can say they have at one point drank some nasty tasting wine. ( and no i am not talking about MadDog 20/20 or Boone’s Farm from high school. And no that is not me) fans16_big There are many choices of wine for every palate but if it is stored wrong or has a bad cork, it can leave an ugly taste in your mouth. Temperature can also play a big part in taste. A good rule of thumb is any sparkling wine or champagne should be 40degrees, a Chardonnay should be 50degrees and a Merlot at a warm 65degrees.

This last week I ventured to the store and picked up a new wine that caught my eye, “Apothic DARK” Red Blend California 2014. The bottle reads: There’s romance in darkness, it draws our curiosity and beckons a desire to taste the unknown. Apothic Dark blends dark fruit flavors of blueberry and black berry with opulent notes of coffee and dark chocolate for a rich, yet silky smooth, wine experience. 

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The very first thing I noticed about Apothic Dark, was the cork. Never have I seen such a supreme BLACK Cork.   The next was the aroma of coffee.  Although I didn’t get the dark chocolate or the berries, I could taste them. The color is a deep purple, no light is able to penetrate this wine.  Pairing this with chocolate makes it smooth.

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Apothic Dark isn’t to just drink alone, you can also mix a cocktail with ginger.

Apothic Dark Ginger Cocktail

So enjoy your wine this weekend. Drink responsibily and venture out to the unknown.

-Alice

Vixen Tactics is giving away two small Wine Accessory package.

Enter here to win.

Wine Accessories Giveaway

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We do love you

A few years ago we set up Vixen Tactics with an excitement to reach many viewers. Life gets busy but we haven’t forgotten you. We once again are thrilled to be able to entice you back with a new blog. In 2017 we want to lure you in. To appreciate your desires of life. Come here. Unwind. Grab a cup of coffee, tea or vodka. Enjoy the thoughts of many and the secrets of few.

-Vixen Tactics