Baking Style

So excited to have this baking beauty as a contributor on the blog! WOOT! I got to experience these amazing cookies and cupcakes over the holiday! So pretty and YUMMY!! Next up, some healthy baked treats to get us into the Livingholiisstyle – 14 Day Health Challenge I hope. Her baking looks and tastes so good – I can never say NO 😉

Hi Everyone. My name is Tiffany and I am a cookie fiend. Or a cupcake fiend. Whichever one strikes my fancy but usually both. From time to time I experiment with cheesecakes when I have more patience! I’ve always enjoyed experimenting with cooking and baking. Growing up with two other sisters, I was always the one hanging around the kitchen watching my mom cook and bake. I would sit around and play with my own little dough balls and taste all of her food before it was even ready! As I got older I would partake in Home Economics classes in high school and when everyone else was moving onto other extracurriculars I stuck with my baking and food studies classes. Now I bake in my free time when I’m not slaving away in the hospital as a nurse. My hobby centres around baking for big holidays because I love to experiment with different themed decorations. I’ve always been artistic and creative since childhood (despite my dad’s dearest wishes for me to become a genius mathematician doctor).

I will be sharing some of my baking creations through Jody’s blog! For this past Christmas, I made some sugar cookies and themed cupcakes. Every year I do a huge 2-3 day baking job (with help from my younger sister). Some years I’ve also made gingerbread cookies but it takes an extra half day for that. My favourite sugar cookie recipe comes from a blogger Sally’s Baking Addiction. She always produces amazing recipes and I’ve never once made anything from her site that wasn’t a hit! I followed the sugar cookie recipe exactly:

I decorated using her royal icing recipe and just played around with different colours and designs! The best thing about decorating is that it’s all up to the baker. You can do whatever you want.

I also made her amazing gingerbread cupcakes with cream cheese icing:

These have the perfect consistency and the cupcake tops are completely flat when finished! (Which you want for decorating, otherwise they are muffins, not cupcakes). The cream cheese icing is tangy and not too sweet. I also made my own fondant icing using just two ingredients: melted marshmallows and icing sugar. I would recommend to NEVER do that again unless you plan on using all the fondant on making an elaborate cake. It was extremely messy and so much leftover fondant I ended up chucking out. Instead you can get a decent sized amount already made at Michael’s for around $5. I was just trying to save money, but the trouble was not worth the few extra dollars I saved.

Recipe Credit:


  • 2 and 1/4 cups (280g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks; 180g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • optional: 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (yields an outstanding flavor!)

Royal Icing

  • 4 cups (480g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 Tablespoons meringue powder
  • 6 to 8 Tablespoons room temperature water
  • black, orange, and red food coloring (I love this food coloring kit)
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract (if using) and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. If the dough seems too soft, you can add 1 Tablespoon more flour until it is a better consistency for rolling.
  • Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat (I prefer the nonstick silicone mat) to about 1/4-inch thickness. The rolled-out dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly 1/4-inch thick.
  • Stack the pieces, with parchment paper between the two, onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours and up to 2 days. If chilling for more than a couple hours, cover the top dough piece with a single piece of parchment paper.
  • Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and using a snowman cookie cutter, cut into shapes. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd dough piece.
  • Arrange cookies on baking sheets 3 inches apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating. I like to decorate cookies directly on baking sheets so I can stick the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator to help set the icing. So place the cooled cookies back on baking sheets.


Victoria Distillers – Empress 1908 Gin

A friend of mine bought me this beautiful bottle of Empress 1908 Gin for Christmas. It was so lovely to share some Christmas Cheer with this unique drink with incredible colour over the Holiday Season. I also think it is very cool that it is produced locally by Victoria Distillers.

Empress 1908 Gin – Original Indigo

Our distillers worked with the mixologists of the new “Q at the bar to create a unique gin that is perfect for a G&T.

Empress 1908 Original Indigo Gin is 100% authentic and all-natural. It’s infused with the vibrantly hued butterfly pea blossom, adding a singularly distinct expression – an impossibly lush and vivid indigo blue, with a stunning secret to reveal; with the addition of citrus or tonic, Empress 1908 is transformed from its breathtaking indigo to a soft pink.

The butterfly pea flower gives the spirit its vibrant colour, and mixed with tonic or citrus changes from deep indigo to soft pink.

Tasting Notes: More juniper than our Victoria Gin, with robust citrus notes come from grapefruit peel. We also use rose, ginger, coriander, cinnamon and Fairmont Empress Blend Tea.

Gold Medal, New York World Wine & Spirits Competition, 2017
Best Alcohol Drink, World Beverage Innovation Awards, 2017
Judge’s Selection, Alberta Beverage Awards, 2017


Our Story – Victoria Distillers

Well-crafted spirits are the essential building blocks of cocktails. At Victoria Distillers, these ‘liquid bar tools’ are made with one, pretty basic goal. We want people everywhere to be able to make great drinks.

We know bartenders are the cocktail experts. They understand that a great drink requires spirits that are singular and distinctive in taste. So we collaborate with incredibly talented mixologists to create both classic and innovative cocktail spirits, using the world’s best-tasting water (found right here on the Canadian west coast), and the best ingredients from around the world.

As one of Canada’s oldest, small-batch spirits companies, we’re influenced by history and driven by innovation. For us, there’s no other way.

What’s with the grid of 9 dots?

We’re inspired by the idea that, when there’s the right combination of spirits and ingredients, the possibilities for innovative cocktail production are virtually limitless. Since there are 9 main categories of spirits, we look upon this grid of 9 bottle tops as a reminder that we are creating the tools for innovative cocktailers everywhere.

Victoria Distillers unveils their new Empress 1908 gin

Here’s the rundown of the brand new, one-of-a-kind gin from Victoria Distillers made in collaboration with the Fairmont Empress hotel.

Posted May 12, 2017

For gin lovers, there is nothing quite as exciting as discovering that a new micro-distilled gin has hit the market. As Canada’s microdistillery scene continues to boom, new spirits are almost a dime a dozen these days. Thus, it takes something thoughtful and unique to stand out behind the bar.

Since opening just over 10 years ago, Victoria Distillers has become one of the country’s most well-known spirit producers. If you’re having a drink at a quality cocktail bar in any major Canadian city, it is highly likely that its namesake gin will be on offer. The hemp vodka, also a signature, but more popular in Western Canada, is another notable notch in this distillery’s boozy belt. This week, the company has further added to its liquor lineup, unveiling its newest and royal purple gin, the Empress 1908, which is made in collaboration with the Fairmont Empress.

Fairmont Empress 1908 gin

Being one of the country’s most famous hotel properties, most people know that the Fairmont Empress has plenty of regal ties. Both Queen Elizabeth have graced the hotel with their royal presence, as have Prince Charles and Camilla. The noble history is apparently just as filled with gin as it is with royal visitors and tea services. What you might not know is that almost 100 years ago, Sir Winston Churchill sat in the Empress lobby lounge, secretly sipping on gin poured out of a teapot during prohibition. I’ll take that little historical visit over a queen’s wave any day of the week.

Jumping closer to present day, the hotel and Victoria Distillers have also had quite a close relationship as the same lobby lounge played host to the launch of the distillery’s first batch of gin in 2007. After years as an essential part of the hotel’s bar program, the two entities decided to collaborate on a special spirit that could pay homage to the hotel’s history–a custom cheers, if you will. The resulting botanical blend consists of rose, coriander seeds, grapefruit peel, ginger, juniper, cinnamon as well as the signature Empress blend tea.

But, wait a second. What’s with the colour?

Fairmont Empress 1908 gin

There’s no need to fret over bizarre food colourings and chemicals as the beautifully dramatic transformation (shown above) comes naturally, courtesy of dried butterfly pea flowers. Because of the infusion of the flowers, when the gin interacts with anything acidic, like tonic and lemon juice, it will change from a deep indigo to light pink. It’s a charming effect that will no doubt be welcomed with oohs and aahs from unsuspecting folks watching their drinks being made.

The colour change is reminiscent of the “unicorn effect” that’s running rampant in the North American food and drink scene. Rainbow shades and hues of purple and pink command people’s attention, whether it’s from a smoothie bowl, bagels, beer or, most prominently, Starbucks famously gimmicky Unicorn Frappucino.

Unlike that myriad of tacky creations, the metamorphosis doesn’t detract from the quality of the gin itself, which drinks like a London Dry with a little twist. Try it simply with a good quality tonic and a grapefruit peel garnish to see it shine.

The Empress 1908 gin is now available in select liquor stores across Canada and will also be shipped to American markets as of June. It’s rare to see a Canadian-made spirit available for purchase in the United States, so it will be interesting to see how the Empress 1908 is received by our southern cocktail-mixing neighbours this summer.

Beautycounter Boxing Day Sale – Mists

Beautycounter+ Mists added to the boxing day Sale-30% off!

Targeted treatments formulated to enhance your daily skin care regimen.

No. 1 Brightening Facial Mist

47 ml / 1.6 fl. oz. U.S. | Item #1038C – $43

Active-infused and alcohol-free, this revitalizing mist preps skin, sets makeup, and refreshes throughout the day. Antioxidant-rich vitamin C helps reduce the appearance of age spots, while lime pearl extract gently promotes a brighter complexion. Perfect for all skin types and those concerned with dull, uneven skin tone.

No. 2 Plumping Facial Mist

47 ml / 1.6 fl. oz. U.S. | Item #1039C – $43

Active-infused and alcohol-free, this revitalizing mist preps skin, sets makeup, and refreshes throughout the day. Replenishing peony root helps plump skin, while rye seed minimizes the appearance of fine lines. Perfect for all skin types and those concerned with dryness, loss of elasticity, and fine lines.

No. 3 Balancing Facial Mist

47 ml / 1.6 fl. oz. U.S. | Item #1040C -$43

Active-infused and alcohol-free, this revitalizing mist preps skin, sets makeup, and refreshes throughout the day. Specially formulated with charcoal powder and kaolin clay, it absorbs excess oil, refines skin texture, and helps calm redness. Perfect for all skin types and those concerned with clarity, calming, and balancing.



When it comes to beauty essentials, you might think of items like foundation, mascara, moisturizer, and sunscreen. There’s another essential product that belongs on your radar that’s been a long-standing Korean beauty trend and it’s finally landed here: facial mists. We love facial mists, and for good reason! Regardless of your skin type, a mist can help you achieve a vibrant complexion and improve your makeup staying power throughout the day. Here’s what you need to know about mists and how to incorporate them into your skin care routine.


Mists Can Feel Like Magic

Facial mists are packed with vitamins and revitalizing ingredients. A good mist will restore the pH balance of your skin and maintain hydration. Depending on your skin care needs, pick an alcohol-free mist from our Beautycounter+ Collection for brightening, plumping or balancing ingredients. Before grabbing one off the shelf, first check out The Never List™ on our website to learn more about common ingredients that might be harmful.

Facial mists are great multi-taskers and easy to layer into your daily skin care regimen. One option is to prep skin before layering on your moisturizer and makeup. This will hydrate your skin—especially if you’ve just cleansed—and provide an additional layer of protection from environmental stressors. Simply shake your mist, close your eyes, and spray an even layer across your face. For the best results, give the mist a few seconds to work its magic, then apply a day cream or serum while your face is damp. You’ll be perfectly primed and ready for makeup.

Also, you can use the mist as the final step in your routine to set makeup. After you’ve applied your makeup, spray a layer of mist over your face to prevent a mid-day makeup meltdown. You can also use it for instant hydration and a dewy glow throughout the day; a great perk if your skin tends to be dry!

How to Choose the Right Mist

If you’re ready to give this versatile skin staple a try, make sure to choose the right facial mist that addresses your skin care needs. Here’s what ingredients to look for depending on your complexion concerns:


Looking for a product that will revitalize and brighten dull skin. Look for ample antioxidants, like our No. 1 Brightening Facial Mist. It’s made with vitamin C, apple extract, and lime pearl extract, which all work together to even tone and give skin a luminous, youthful glow.

Skin Plumping

If you have dry skin or think you’re losing elasticity, try our No. 2 Plumping Facial Mist formulated with peony root to replenish and plump skin. Not only does it smell amazing, but it also has the nourishing power of rye seed to minimize the appearance of fine lines. Spritz, then bask in ultra-hydrated, youthful-looking skin.

Balancing and Oil-Fighting

Need a mist that can balance your skin and help prevent shine during the day? If so, a product with charcoal will be your favorite new skin-saver! It’s a powerful ingredient that’s highly absorbent, and can balance and purify your skin. In addition to charcoal powder, our No. 3 Balancing Facial Mist contains kaolin, a soft clay that will absorb excess oil to keep your skin looking flawless.

Once you add in the luxury of an active-infused mist to your skin care routine, you won’t want to go back. This multi-tasking product will bring the nourishment you’ve been looking for, and before you know it, a facial mist will be at the top of your beauty essentials list.

Backfit Style

Are you a fitness person with an injury? I am. 🙁 I never had a major event but over the years with slip and falls, consistent long-distance running and really not taking the time to stretch, I am now one of those people who deal with chronic low back pain. I love fitness and can’t live without it but I also can’t do the same things I once did, especially running, without pain. I still consider myself young but my body lets me know I’m not. After having problems just getting out of bed in the morning and it being a process to get my underwear on, I finally said enough is enough. I left the best running clinic, Westcoast Running with Jason Ball (I hope to be back someday with this amazing group of people) changed my fitness routine to include a lot of spin and I did a program with Dr. Craig Bentham at Backfit Spinal Health and Fitness Clinic.

What Backfit did for me that other health providers couldn’t or didn’t do was to give me the ability to see what was going on with my back. It wasn’t just an explanation that I didn’t really understand but they took the time to show me. Being a visual learner, I never had a clear image in my mind of what my spinal health looked like and I never understood what it should look like until after my consultation/evaluation at Backfit. I had X-rays to look at and with other tools, like a plastic spinal cord, I finally got it. I understood why my injuries were happening and I could compare my spinal health to what healthy looks like. For me, this information was invaluable.

I may not have been the best at doing my foam rolling 😉 but I am a huge believer in the pain relief from Chiropractic care and the programs for back/neck health that Backfit provides to clients. I also know the owners and many of the doctors at Backfit – they don’t just “talk the talk,” they are true believers in Health and Wellness. I know they work hard to give the best to their clients and that they love seeing people feel better. And WOW their new facility is top notch. I just did an early morning HIT class at Backfit’s fitness facility Livfit and it was great! High Intensity Interval Training with the knowledge and care from instructors who understand injury and modifications for everyone to have a safe and intense workout. I look forward to doing more with this fantastic posse. Can’t wait to check out their yoga too!

Here’s a little more about Backfit and Livfit on their website:

Backfit Assessment

What’s your BackScore?

BackScore Assessment:facility (43 of 46)

Before we can tell you exactly what is happening with your spine, we need all the information. That’s why we have designed such a thorough exam. We need to know about your Lifestyle:

  • Activity habits
  • Nutrition habits
  • Mental/Emotional habits

We also need to know about your physical state:

  • Nerve health
  • Posture
  • Joint health
  • Muscular strength and endurance
  • Disc health

You may also receive Xray’s if required.

facility (21 of 46)

BackScore Review:

We believe in empowering you regarding your spinal health. To us, that means giving you all of the information regarding the health of your spine. When you come back to the clinic for your BackScore review, you will be given a comprehensive report to take home. It is a spinal health report card!

score report 4 pages

BackScore Solutions Workshop:

Have you ever wondered how you can ensure your best quality of life well into your 80’s? During the BackScore Solutions workshop you will be given information and concrete tips to keep your spine functioning at its best. For more info contact us.

The $149 initial visit fee includes the complete BackScore exam
(BackScore assessment,  BackScore review and Backscore Solutions workshop)
and x-rays (if recommended).


Getting started

Getting started is simple.  Give us a call, set up a time and meet with a Backfit chiropractor. We are good listeners and experienced clinicians. Learn what we can do to help you. Simply contact us to give us a call or send us an email to find out more.

Is Chiropractic care safe?

Research has shown time and time again that Chiropractic care is not only safe, but also effective at relieving pain, correcting spinal misalignments and increasing the health of your nervous system. If you have further concerns please consult our chiropractors.

Will treatment begin during the first visit?

Your spine is completely unique.  Therefore, your chiropractor will be as thorough as possible in determining what exactly is going on, before commencing treatment. Treatment will begin once you have seen your chiropractor and the BackScore review is complete. During this time your doctor will be able to provide you with diagnoses and recommendations for treatment. Once that is done it is up to you to decide what treatment frequency will work. It is important to know exactly what your spinal health status is, before commencing treatment.

What time should I arrive?

We recommend that patients arrive at least 5 minutes early to read new patient documents.

Who will be treating me?

The Backfit team is comprised of experienced Chiropractic Doctors, Kinesiologists, and Exercise Therapists. We’d love for you to meet our Doctors and our team.

HIIT Training and mixing is up

I wish that I would of known about HIIT training in my university days. Back when I used to slave away on the stair climber at the gym everyday with the latest Cosmo magazine and my Discman as my distractions to help pass the time. That was literally what I was doing, working out and trying to pass the time until it was over. It was not fun and I could of used that time to move my body so much more efficiently. Steady state cardio, as I was doing on the stair climber is beneficial when trying to increase or maintain your aerobic fitness but if it’s all you do, you will plateau and stop seeing improvements.

HIIT training in contrast, is anaerobic training, which will elevate your heart rate during short bursts of high intensity intervals and can give you an incredible workout in a short amount of time. Researchers are finding that this higher intensity level of training also leaves us burning more fat AFTER the workout is complete then steady-state cardio.

The misconception that existed for years was that you needed to exercise for 45-60 minutes to get any benefit. That hour can be difficult and daunting to fit in and therefore can lead to more people just foregoing exercise because “why bother if I don’t have 60 minutes?” Well, HIIT could be the answer as studies are showing just 15 minutes of higher intensity exercise can often burn as many calories, if not more, then an hour of steady state cardio.

Because HIIT training is more rigorous and requires you to operate at such high intensity levels, it is not recommended for everyday. Three times a week or every other day is a good rule of thumb to allow your body to recover from working so hard. Those days in between could be when you go for a run or walk, bike ride, weight train or take a Pilates or yoga class. Mixing in aerobic training on those off HIIT days is important to help increase your endurance and to minimize the risk of injury from too many challenging workouts. So in other words- mix it up, both are good!

I don’t like to use the phrase “no pain, no gain,” when talking about fitness training. Yes it’s important to push yourself and move your body but the idea that you need to be crawling out of the room every time you complete a workout is dangerous and ineffective. Find a balance that works for your schedule and works for you. To see maximum gains in your fitness, challenge your body in different ways so that you never really adapt to just one form of exercise. Lastly, whatever it is you do to move your body, make sure you take time to celebrate it after. It’s a big deal when we take that time for ourselves and take a minute to marvel on that. You are worth it. You are awesome.


New Years Style

What are your New Year’s Eve Plans? Looking for a dress or something spectacular for that special occasion to look incredible in 2018?

Here is my beautiful friend and blog contributor Sandi Piercy on the cover of Tweed Magazine, Oak Bay, ( with some Style ideas from fantastic local boutiques in Victoria, BC.

I just love her in the Michael Kors cream lace dress available at Tulipe Noire Boutique.

Photos above by Kari McLay at Tulipe Noire Boutique (