Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Bringing in the New Year with a Cocktail in hand

What would a SukasaStyle New Year’s Eve post be without an ode to wine and cocktails. This year has been wonderful and the blog has explored everything from wine reviews, lifestyle posts, travel… and we even got up close and personal with a few notables in the community.

We intend to end the year on a celebratory note, so we’re prepping our bar with bar essentials and dozens of recipes of classic cocktails. In case you need a crash course, The Bar Book is a great go-to compendium of cocktail-making techniques. Written by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, The Bar Book is organized in the way he builds cocktails.

“There is no chapter on vodka – in fact there are no chapters on alcohol at all.”

The essence of the book focuses on the cocktail-making process as you would do behind the bar. Included are a few of Jeffrey’s favourite recipes that he’s collected over the years. Classic recipes like the Gin and Tonic and Irish Coffee are included, and I’m looking forward to trying the Sazerac (rye whiskey, bitters, Absinthe), but my favourite part of the book is the techniques.

Here’s one tip to adhere to if you are hosting a New Year’s Bash tonight:

“So here are the basic rules that professionals use when it comes to shaking or stirring cocktails: We want any drink composed entirely of spirits – such as Manhattans and martinis – to be crystal clear and Arctic cold. They should be biting, bracing, and free of air bubbles and ice chips. And so those types of drinks are always stirred, because stirring is a gentler process than shaking.”

Bartending is an art, and although I personally will need lots of practice in order to perfect my hat trick with the martini bottle and shaker (...perhaps I can perfect it for the 2016 New Year’s Eve party..), this book gives me the professional basics to host a fantabulous Happy New Year 2015 party!

Have a wonderful New Year Folks. Thanks for all your support this year. Drink responsibly.

Cheers from SukasaStyle!

You can buy The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique at Amazon.

Published by Chronicle Books, and distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books.

Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative strategist, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a book blog: T: @SukasaReads)

Monday, 22 December 2014

The Little Paris Kitchen

120 Simple But Classic French Recipes

Rachel Khoo moved to Paris, studied patisserie, fell in love with the city, became a restaurateur in a very tiny space, then, a television star, and is now a bestselling author! Not every lover of Paris experiences this career trajectory, but cooks of all skill levels with a taste for French fare will be inspired by The Little Paris Kitchen to try an updated approach to French cuisine. In this charming cookbook, Khoo demystifies French cooking with 120 enticing recipes for simple, classic, and fresh French dishes, from gouter (snacks) to elegant desserts. More than 100 breathtaking photos from celebrated photographer David Loftus shine a spotlight on the delicious food and the City of Light, and capture Khoo interacting with her purveyors and friends. We all can't have springtime in Paris. But we all can enjoy this delectable, do-able food!

Rachel Khoo is a Paris-based food creative and star of the BBC show The Little Paris Kitchen

Sunday, 21 December 2014

These are a few of my favourite things...


Roberto Coin Collection from Birks 
Just a beautiful collection with a neat story behind them. A ruby included in every design for good luck. 

eFFY at The Bay
The designs are exquisite...although I have to say some of my favourite s from their collection have long been retired.

Vivah at various mall outlets 
A bit more affordable but still glam. Don't care too much for their costume 

Moleskine Collection of Books and Journals

Moleskine Smart Notebook, Creative Cloud connected


Books for the Intellectual Types 

Books for those who LOVE Canadian Authors

Books for Mystery Lovers

Every Object Has a Story: Extraordinary Canadians Celebrate The Royal Ontario Museum
One of my most prized collections this year. This incredible book highlights pieces from The ROM, told from the perspective of Canadian celebrities. Twenty one Canadian notables including writers, painters, filmmakers - even an astronaut -- share their unique object from the Museum's collection.


Dior at The Bay downtown

There's a reason I've specified which location of The Bay. Not all Bays are created equal, and especially when you are shopping for luxury products, you go to a store that has a large selection of products. A absolutely wonderful gold flakes nail collection for the holidays.



Furniture Pieces from Home Sense
Lighting from Urban Barn 
Everything to pretty up your dining table from Pier 1 

Thumper Massager


Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative strategist, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a book blog: T: @SukasaReads)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

In Conversation with Beauty Expert and Author Chantel Guertin

Chantel Guertin isn’t Stuck In Downward Dog anymore. She’s also an accomplished novelist, Editor-at-Large of, and a beauty expert on The Marilyn Denis Show. Her work has been published in ELLE Canada, FASHION, Maclean's, TVGuide, National Post, Best Health, Reader's Digest, Tribute, Canadian Family and more. And if you’re lucky to meet her in person, you’ll fall in love with her charm, cool and humility. Her friendly, positive attitude is a rare quality amongst someone so accomplished. But it’s what keeps her grounded and relatable. It’s a pleasure to share with you this interview with a style icon and accomplished storyteller.

Beauty Tips, Writing Advice & Life Lessons With Chantel Guertin…

You’re a style and beauty icon. What’s the one tip you could share to feel like a million bucks every day?

Smile. It makes you feel better, look better and gives you a reason to have wrinkles. 

What came first: the writer or the beauty expert?

I was always writing -- in my bedroom for as long as I can remember. But as far as a job goes I became a beauty editor at ELLE Canada and then started working on a novel that would become my first published novel, Stuck in Downward Dog. 

Any beauty tips that you’d like to give our viewers for the holidays?

Avoid burgundy or wine coloured dresses or tops. That shade too close to your face highlights dark circles--which, let's face it, you're going to have during the festive (but tons of late nights) season!

What’s the one beauty item you should always carry in your purse?

Flower Beauty Makeup & Cosmetics by Drew Barrymore's Kiss Me Twice Lip & Cheek Chubby. The shades are complementary to any skin or lip tone, and you can build the product up so that you can have just a wash of colour on the cheeks or a bright, bold lip.

Any recent style trends that you really thought we’ll look back at and think “Wow, that was a mistake!”

I have never been a fan of the super-arched eyebrow. Unless it's on a clown. 

An accomplished author, a beauty expert, a mom … How do you juggle all these balls in your daily life…and make it look so easy?

Ha! I wish I felt like it was easy! My recent resolution is to be in the moment -- whatever I'm doing. So if I'm working, I'm working (no distractions or guilt) and if I'm with the baby or the older kids, I'm having fun and not being stressed about the other things I need to get done!

Did writing your first book Stuck In Downward Dog come naturally to you?

Writing is something I've always loved and wanted to do. And rough drafts tend to come pretty easily to me -- which means that they're VERY rough. It's the second and third drafts or revisions that are so hard for me. I don't like that step, but I do like the end result when I've put in the time to polish a book. 

Where did the idea for your first book come from?

Stuck in Downward Dog is about a girl who's 25, having a quarter-life crisis. Her best friends have it all--boyfriends about to propose, great jobs, great homes, and she feels like she's stuck in a rut in her life: her boyfriend's broken up with her, she lives in a basement apartment and she has a job she loathes. I've definitely been through all of those stages, though thankfully not all at once, but it was those depths of despair moments of feeling like you're not keeping up that inspired me to write the book.

Your Pippa Greene series has been wildly received. I enjoyed the story of this teen girl on her journey to being an award-winning photographer. Is there a bit of your personality coming out in this book (or in any other of your books)?

Pippa and I share the death of a parent as a teen (for me, my mom died of cancer after a seven-year battle in my teens). That balance of being a normal teen and dealing with death was something I wanted to explore in the series. As for the photography aspect, I did my research since before Pippa I didn't even own a nice camera. Now though, I try to learn as I go to make sure she's authentic - which is fun! 

What else is on the horizon for Chantel Guertin to accomplish?

Right now I'm working on the third book in the Pippa Greene series, which will come out next fall, and then it'll be time to start working on the fourth book. In the meantime, I'm counting down the days to my belated honeymoon (too busy with books and a baby to take it!), which my husband and I are taking in January. 

If you were stranded on a desert island, what are the three things you’d like to have with you?

Good Grief by Lolly Winston, a notebook and a pen. I can't imagine being bored with those three things. 

Chantel Guertin is the author of two best-selling adult novels - Stuck in Downward Dog and Love Struck -- and the teen novels The Rule of Thirds and Depth of Field. She is currently working on the third book of the Pippa Greene series.

Follow Chantel on Twitter: @ChantelGuertin

Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative strategist, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a book blog: T: @SukasaReads)