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How To Make a Costa Rican Michelada

Costa Rican Michelada

When traveling to new places, I always make sure that I try the local beers and cocktails. In Russia it was vodka, in Bali it was Arak liquor, in Belize it was 1 Barrell Rum (mmm, tastes like maple syrup), and in Costa Rica it was the Costa Rican michelada!

I was introduced to the Costa Rican Michelada (as opposed to the Mexican michelada) during my stay in Tamarindo. I was a little skeptical at first (seriously, ICE and SALT in BEER???) but WOW was it ever refreshing! It’s a must-try if you’re in Costa Rica.

Ingredients:

Serves: 1

  • Sea salt
  • Ice
  • 1 Fresh Lime (or lime juice from concentrate, but fresh is always better)
  • 1 bottle of Imperial or Imperial Light beer (I prefer Imperial Light)

    Note: If you’re making this at home and you don’t have access to Imperial, you can make a “Mexi-Rican” variation using Corona.

[Tweet “Make yourself this refreshing Costa Rican Michelada tonight! #beer #lime #yum”]

  1. Use a slice of lime and to moisten the edge of the glass with lime juice
  2. Dip the glass in sea salt to rim the edge with salt (same way you would for a caesar)
  3. Fill the glass halfway with ice
  4. Squeeze the entire lime into the glass
  5. Serve with a full bottle of Imperial Light to be poured in at the drinker’s pace
  6. Sit, relax, enjoy and (if you’re not near a beach) watch this:

What cocktails ave you discovered while traveling?

Did you love your Costa Rican Michelada? Then like it and share it with the social buttons below.

Easy Thai Curry – Plus Bonus Leftover Recipe

One of my all-time favourite meals is Thai curry, mmm! 

I took these photos back in October and have been meaning to share this deliciousness since before I left Vancouver. I think it’s about time! This recipe is easy to make and you can use pretty much any vegetables you have in your fridge. I’ve made this with chicken and prawns, but you can use whatever type of meat you like.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

Thai Curry Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of curry paste
    (I prefer red curry, but green or yellow is delicious too)
  • 1 can of coconut milk (400ml)
    (Note: I’ve found that organic coconut milk is less expensive than the regular one in Canadian grocery stores. )
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass
    (tie it in a knot to avoid it falling apart while cooking)
  • 2 kefir lime leaves
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 2 cups of assorted chopped vegetables
    (I usually use garlic, onion, red pepper, carrots  and potatoes, plus any other veggies I have in the fridge.)
  • 1 lb of meat – prawns, chicken, beef, pork, whatever – cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (optional)
  • Sambal oelek – hot sauce (optional)

Directions:Thail Curry Simmering

  1. Put the coconut oil into a skillet or saucepan on medium heat. Add the curry paste and stirfry that for about 2 minutes.
    (Note: Curry’s flavours are released through heat, so be sure not to skip or rush this step.)
  2. Add the coconut milk, chicken stock, lemongrass and kefir lime leaves and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the brown sugar until it dissolves.
  4. Stir in the meat and vegetables, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
    (Note: If using prawns, add vegetables first and add the prawns halfway through. Prawns don’t take long to cook and you want to avoid that rubbery texture from over-cooking.)
  5. Stir in the basil, if you have it and serve!

I like to eat it as a soup, but it can also be served over rice.
If you like a bit more heat to your curry, add a dash of sambal oelek to your bowl.

Oh SO delicious! Enjoy!

Bonus Leftover Recipe!

If you have leftovers, I have a super easy, quick and tasty breakfast recipe for the next morning.

  1. Reheat the leftovers in a skillet
  2. Crack a couple of eggs into a bowl, beat lightly to break the yolks and add them to the skillet.
  3. Stir / scramble until the egg is fully cooked.
  4. Serve in a bowl or on a plate with toast and fresh fruit.

Nomnomnom!

12 Natural Headache Remedies

I used to get really bad migraines. I remember the first time it happened. I was in the library doing research for a high-school paper when suddenly my hands went numb, I lost vision in one of my eyes and I completely forgot how to read. I saw the letters on the page but they made absolutely no sense. It freaked me right out! I went to the doctor and he told me that these were migraine symptoms. I was about 14 years old.

I don’t get migraines as often anymore, maybe twice a year, but I do still suffer from regular headaches. In fact, I’ve had one for the past 2 days now and I’m constantly looking for new things to try because I don’t like taking pills.

These are some of the things I’ve tried over the years and I’ve had some success with:

  1. Drink more water – Often headaches are a sign of dehydration. Make sure you drink enough water (at least 2 litres per dar) to avoid unnecessary headaches.
  2. Eat something – Your headache may be due to low blood sugar and simply eating some food may give you relief.
  3. Drink a cup of coffee – Coffee constricts the blood-vessel. I’m not a big coffee drinker (maybe a few cups per week), so this usually works well for me. I’ll drink a strong cup of black coffee and usually by the time I’m halfway down the cup, I’ll feel some relief. If you already drink a lot of coffee, it may not be as effective and it may actually make things worse with a caffeine headache.
  4. Acupuncture For HeadachesMassage Your Hand – Massage the meaty part of your hand between the thumb and forefinger. There are pressure points in this area that have been linked to headaches and headache relief. Massage with medium to hard pressure for several minutes and then switch hands.
  5. Acupuncture – Thin needles are inserted under the skin to realign the flow of energy, or qi, in the body. I have walked into an acupuncture treatment with a nasty headache and walked out with almost complete relief. Treatments can run anywhere from $60-$120, and may be covered by some extended benefit plans. I can recommend an amazing acupuncturist in Vancouver, feel free to contact me for his info.
  6.  Massage – Rub your temples, shoulders and neck to relieve tense muscles and get the blood flowing. If this doesn’t relieve the headache, it still feels nice!
  7. Yoga – The combination of stretching, meditation and breathing can help relieve your headache. I do Bikram’s yoga, which is hot yoga practiced in 40 degrees celsius and 50% humidity. I’ve had great success in leaving my headache in the room when I practice. If Bikram’s is uncomfortable for you, try another form of yoga.
  8. Pay Attention to and Identify Triggers – I have several headache triggers that I do my best to avoid. I’m very sensitive to smells (mostly certain perfumes and colognes) and can be sensitive to some foods as well. One of my triggers is Strawberry Kiwi Snapple. Even just one sip will be enough to trigger a headache.
  9. Ginger Tea for HeadachesTiger Balm – Rub Tiger Balm on your temples and along your hairline. The cooling properties will help relax the muscles in your head and neck. Tiger Balm is magic! (I never travel without it.) An alternative with similar benefits is peppermint oil.
  10. Ginger Tea – Buy fresh ginger at the grocery store, crush it up and mix it with boiling water to make tea. Ginger reduces inflammation and I’ve found that it can work just as quickly and effectively as Advil or Tylenol.
  11. Sleep – Your body may just need to rest. If you are suffering from a migraine, sometimes all you can do is find a dark room, turn off all the lights and try to sleep.
  12. Exercise Regularly – Being active regularly helps reduce the frequency of stress headaches. I make sure I exercise at least three times per week to stay healthy, fit, and hopefully headache free.

 Do you have any remedies to add? Please share in the comments below.

 

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Team Canada & Bronze Medal Hockey

When I bought my Olympics tickets in february 2013, I had bought two tickets to the Men’s Bronze Medal Game, since gold tickets were not available at the time. So now, after the game from the previous night, I was stuck with two tickets for a game that Canada would not be playing in.

I had posted my tickets to the Facebook groups as soon as the Canada – USA game ended, hoping to find some Americans to either sell my tickets to or make a trade with. I had a few responses on the Facebook page, but found that a lot of people were flakey and didn’t show up when they said they would, so I was getting a bit frustrated.

Everyone’s Looking For Tickets!

Canadians looking for Gold Medal tickets at Sochi 2014

These guys were AWESOME!

I headed to the Olympic Park and went straight to the Canada and USA houses. I talked to everyone around the two houses and pretty much everyone was hoping to do the same thing as I was. I found one guy, who turned out to be one of the people I had connected with through my Facebook post. He had a single gold ticket, and wanted two bronze for an even trade for him and his friend.

DONE!

Two bronze tickets for one gold ticket!

Bronze for Gold ticket trade at Sochi 2014

Now What?

Since the bronze event was all I had tickets for that day, I was stuck with no events for the day. I decided I wanted to go to the bronze game anyway. I walked over to the Bolshoy and ran into these guys, who were selling their tickets, but at a price that I was not willing to pay.

Canadians selling bronze tickets

Sochi 2014 Olympic Rings & Cauldron

I hung around outside the arena until the game started. (There were always people selling ticket for less than face value after events started.) I took the opportunity to take some pics of the rings and the cauldron and then I saw a group of people in matching Canada gear walking up to the rings. I thought, “Hey! This is perfect Olympic Spirit Project material!” And when I looked closer…

It was THE CANADIAN MEN’S HOCKEY TEAM!!!

Canadian Men's Olympic Hockey Team 2014

Soch i2014 Canadian Men’s Olympic Hockey Team

Canadian Men's Olympic Hockey Team 2014

Sochi 2014 Canadian Men’s Olympic Hockey Team

Whaaaaat?!?!?!!! I could NOT believe my luck! It was perfect! I nestled into the crowd and stood front and center right beside the team photographer when I took this photo! YES!! I was SO excited!

Bronze Medal Hockey

So after THAT happened, I found a Canadian couple selling a single bronze ticket for half face value. I paid less than $100 for the ticket and headed inside. You would think the day couldn’t possibly get any better and then I got to my seat. The seat I had just bought for 1/5 the price of my original tickets was BETTER than the ones I had traded with the American guy!  He was sitting about 8 rows behind me!

So I once again counted my blessings of yet another fantastic day as I watched the USA lose to Finland for the bronze medal.

My seat for the bronze medal game

Where were you for the bronze medal game?

Olympic Spirit Project postcards are now available! 

BUY NOW!

 

 

 

Sochi Day 8 – Speed Skating Day!

Iceberg Skating Palace

It was team pursuit speed skating day!

I went to the Olympic Park early and met up with some other Canadians to grab a couple of drinks (ok, ok, beers…) in the sun before our day’s events. As we sat on our bench, people watching, probably one out of every three Russians walking by either wanted a photo with us or wanted to trade stuff for our Canada gear! We probably posed for about 20 photos that day!

Canadian Beauties!

This super cute Russian girl came up and asked me if she could wear my Canada gear for a photo, so I handed over my flag, toque and mittens, and she ROCKED it! You’d never know that she wasn’t Canadian!

Russian girl in Canada gear

Team Pursuit Speed Skating

When the time came, I headed into the Adler Skating Arena for the speed skating team pursuit event. The short track was so amazing earlier in the week so I was looking forward to watching a team pursuit event. The speed was insane as I watched both the men’s and women’s events. I still cannot believe the size of the athletes’ legs! Wow!

Sadly, Canada didn’t qualify for the finals, so that was a bit disappointing. I was lucky to have had the opportunity to photography the same team when they won gold in the same event at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

Inside the Iceberg Skating Palace

Team Canada - Team Pursuit Speed Skating Sochi 2014

Team Canada

Team Canada - Team Pursuit Speed Skating Sochi 2014

Team Canada

Team Russia - Team Pursuit Speed Skating Sochi 2014

Team Russia

Team Netherlands - Team Pursuit Speed Skating Sochi 2014

Team Netherlands

After the event was over, I headed toward the Bolshoy Arena to see if I could find a decently priced ticket for the men’s semi-final hockey game. Canada was playing the USA. I didn’t have any luck, so I went to find some food and again, I ran into a group of Canadians in the lineup. This group was a bit different though, in that they had been in Russia working on the Games for over six months already! I chatted with them about their experiences and what it was like to live in Russia and every one of them was looking forward to going home at the end of the month.

Men’s 5000m Relay

After I finished eating, I headed back to the Bolshoy for one last kick at trying to get a ticket to the game and one of that group of Canadians ran after me to give me a ticket to the short track relay event that was about to start. I tried to give him money for it (face value was at $200), but he insisted I just take it and go enjoy myself! Again, I was impressed by how amazingly generous people can be!

When I arrived, the event had already begun. This was a huge event for the Russians and the cheering in the Iceberg Skating Palace was deafening! The relay event was CRAZY! There were so many skaters on the ice all at once, some racing and some circling on the inside getting into position for their turn in the relay. It was a wonder that none of them ran into each other!

Russia wins Gold in the 5000m relay at Sochi 2014

Russia wins GOLD!

USA wins Silver in the 5000m relay at Sochi 2014

USA wins Silver!

China wins bronze in the 5000m relay at Sochi 2014

China wins Bronze!

 

The final result of the men’s 5000 meter relay was Russia – Gold, the USA – Silver, and China – Bronze. It was an unbelievable sight and the cheering and support from the crowd was unmatched to anything I had seen at the Games yet! It was absolutely awesome! Just. AWESOME!

A Perfect End to a Perfect Day

I was pumped after all that fan energy at the men’s 5000m relay event! The Canada vs USA men’s hockey game wasn’t quite over so I sweet talked my way past the bouncer at the House of Switzerland (sweet talking bouncers is much easier to do when you are traveling alone) to watch the last 10 minutes of the game. As we all know, Canada WON! and the Swiss House EXPLODED because as usual, it was FULL of Canadians! It was a perfect end to another FANTASTIC day!

Have you ever watched either team pursuit or team relay speed skating? When and where? 

 

New Website! #BOOM!

Last weekend was all work and no play as I spent Saturday and Sunday revamping my website!

I loved my old design but it was outdated and it has been due for an upgrade for quite some time. There are still a few glitches that need fixing (ie. the Facebook counter isn’t working, arg! And that there are two ‘read more’ links on the home page posts?), and some new graphics that I’m having created for a new logo and header image, but I’m pretty happy with the site overall.

New Website Design

Social Media Optimized

One of the main changes is that the new theme is better optimized for social media (which will come in very handy when I get hired to go to Tobago this summer). All my social profile links are included in the top navigation bar and sidebar (please click to follow!), and there is a social counter widget included in the sidebar as well to make my main social profiles more visible.

New Photography Gallery

My previous site had the photo gallery pulling from Flickr and I was not a huge fan of the way that displayed, so now I’ve included photo galleries with lightboxes right on the site. I still have a ton of photo content to add to the gallery, but there are some beginnings there with photos from my recent travels to Costa Rica, Russia, the Netherlands and of course Vancouver where I lived for over 10 years.

Functionality

There is now much more ease in integrating video, audio and other media to my pages and posts and I’m looking forward to playing around with some of these in upcoming posts. I still have so much content from my past travels that I need to tell you all about, including a bunch of videos that will make my posts so much more fun and interesting!

E-Commerce Shop

This is the part that I am most excited about! I’m going to finally start selling my photos online! I’m still looking for a good service to use for printing and shipping, I would love to hear any suggestions in the comments below, but I can’t wait to get a store up and running! It’s been a dream of mine for a long long time! Time to make it REAL!

What Do You Think?

So I invite you to have a wander around the site and let me know what you think. I always love to get feedback if it means I can improve on something, so bring it on! Please leave your comments below.

All personal and client website themes purchased from ThemeForest.net and built on WordPress.

 

I’m Going to Tobago!

Well… not just yet… but with your help, we can make it happen!

The first step is complete: Application for #60Days in Paradise submitted!!

#TobaGOtime

The Job

If (when!!) I get hired, my job will be to go to the island of Tobago, stay in beautiful hotels, eat fancy food (and sample tasty drinks), do all kinds of awesome activities, learn about the culture, meet the locals, take LOTS of photos and videos of all of it, and then tell you guys (and the rest of Canada) all about it! Oh, and did I mention it would be all expenses paid PLUS salary?! (Whaaaaat?!!!)

I fully agree with my wonderful friend Dave who said I’m “tailor made for this gig!”

So please peruse my application and add your recommendation at the bottom if you think I have what it takes to get this job done!

Where is Tobago?

Tobago is one of the two main islands that make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It is located in the southern Caribbean Sea just outside the hurricane belt. The island lies northeast of Trinidad and southeast of Granada, off the southern coast of Venezuela.

Tobago on Google Maps

What Will I do in Tobago?

With a rich history and a ton of activities and eco-tourism options, there is something for everyone on this beautiful tropical paradise and I want to do it ALL!

  • Scuba Diving, Sailing, Surfing, Wake Boarding, Fishing
  • Hiking, Bird Watching, & Eco-Tourism including one of the Oldest Protected Rainforests in the world
  • Golf, Beaches, Pools & Spas
  • Great Food and Tasty Cocktails (mmm!)
  • Local Art and Music, Jazz Festivals and Local Art

And much much more!  

Tobago Beach

I’ll need your vote between April 21st and May 16th

The application process closes April 4th. A group of travel professionals will then choose the top 10 applicants and then the voting process happens between April 21st and May 16th. Please keep your clicketty/tappetty finger ready to submit your vote! (It’s still unclear if it will be a one-time or daily voting process, but either way I will need YOUR HELP to spread the word.)

So stay tuned and please share with everyone you know (!!) cuz I know we are all imagining ourselves on a tropical beach as we wait for our (short) Canadian summer to arrive. I have selflessly volunteered because one of us should really go do it so that the rest can live vicariously… Hehehe! ; )

Follow Me so you don’t miss a moment of the action:

Facebook – http://facebook.com/mariskarichtersphotography
Twitter – http://twitter.com/mariskar
Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/mariskar
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/+MariskaRichters
Tumblr – http://mariskar.tumblr.com
Flickr – http://www.flickr.com/photos/mariskar
Youtube – http://www.youtube.com/mariskarichters
FourSquare – http://www.foursquare.com/mariskar
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/mariskar/
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariskarichters
Vine – https://vine.co/mariskar

Thank you!

Sending big love and gratitude to you all in advance for your vote and support!

With your help I can get to Tobago and share the adventure with Canada and the world! It all starts when you leave your recommendation here!

It’s #TobaGOtime!

 

Bad Luck Comes in Threes (and then you drink some tea)

Bad Luck Comes in Threes After an incredible month of travel and amazing experiences I guess I was due for a little string of bad luck. They say bad luck comes in threes, so fingers crossed that I’ve come to the end of this crazy streak! 1. Last week my hair dryer exploded. (It scared the begeezus out of me!) It sucked but was not too big of a big deal. 2. Last night my MacBook Pro had a disagreement with my wine glass. It didn’t end well. I thought it was going to be the most expensive half glass of wine ever, but thankfully after MacPro sobered up, she seems to be working fine today. (Altho, her fan is blowing out some serious hangover breath…) Lesson Learned? — Use only stemless wine glasses when working late-night with wine. So after the computer incident last night I was thinking to myself that with the way things were going, the 3rd piece of bad luck was going to be a doozy…

(Warning: this following may be disturbing to some readers.)

3. I was driving home today when the battery light came on and an “Alternator Workshop!” message flashed up in the dash. (I thought it was related to my having left the lights on earlier — oops! — while I attended the CIBC Welcome Home event for Paralympian Braydon Luscombe.) As I drove, I lost power steering, the battery light continued to blink at me and the beeping became more and more frequent. When I got home and we popped the hood to check it out, we found something we were NOT expecting. A broken alternator belt and … … wait for it…. An obliterated RAT splattered all over the hood and motor!

** EWWW!!!! **

Oh, and it got worse! There were 3 little unborn baby rats (thankfully all in one piece,) who had had a very harsh and premature start and end to their lives. : ( We called the mechanic, ordered a new belt.

Mechanic: “Will you be installing it yourself?” Answer: “Um. No. Please send a tow truck.”

VW Passat with hood open VW Passat being towed

I’ve earned a cup of tea…

After that mess was over, I thought I earned a nice warm cup of Don’t Worry Be Happy tea (chamomile, peppermint and licorice root) from Steeped Tea With Jenn to celebrate the end of my Bad Luck Trifecta!

Steeped Tea With Jenn and a wool tea cozy

(Ok… so that may have been a kind of an weird plug for my friend Jenn’s tea business, but it’s freakin’ delicious tea! Get in touch with her to order some!)

Have you ever had a streak of bad luck? Did it come in threes? Please comment below.

 

CIBC’s Welcome Home to Paralympic Athlete Braydon Luscombe

This morning I was invited to attend CIBC’s Welcome Home event for local Paralympian, Braydon Luscombe at the bank’s Duncan branch.

Mariska Richters and Braydon Luscombe

Braydon, a 21-year-old para-alpine skier, began para-skiing at age six at the Mount Washington Alpine Resort in BC, as way to help him overcome his impairment. He had his right leg amputated after contracting necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) as a child and competes in the standing category.

I had a chance to chat with Braydon and it was interesting to hear about his Sochi Paralympic experience. Highlights included competing with his team and the incredible support from his family and Canadian fans. For those of you who may have been wondering, the athletes CAN hear you cheering from the gates at the top of the hill before they begin their races! So next time you’re at an alpine competition event, CHEER LOUD!!

Braydon Luscombe

Braydon’s lowlights were mostly snow related. He said it was either heavy and slushy or hard and icy, which made it difficult for the “one-leggers” as he called himself and his team mates. A lesser lowlight was that his practice and  racing schedules were so busy that he did not have time to attend any other Paralympic events. He said he would have to plan that a bit better next time.

Since being home, Braydon has chopped off his mullet and says he has a full appreciation for what us ladies need to do to maintain our lovely locks. He plans to move to Victoria, BC to be closer to an international airport (as he travels about 12 times a year to train and compete), his training facilities, and his girlfriend. He is still deciding on his summer training plans, but he will either be in Victoria or Whistler to train for next season’s competitions.

Braydon competed in six events in Sochi, you’ll find his race results here. He was presented with CIBC’s Welcome Home banner and a Sochi 2014 Paralympics gold coin at the event.  You can follow his ongoing journey via Twitter at @OneLeggedHustla (love the handle!)

Congratulations Braydon!

Braydon Luscombe Braydon Luscombe

My Face Was On the MegaFon Pavilion!

One of the coolest sponsor displays at Sochi 2014 had to be MegaFon Faces on the jumbotron in the Olympic park. The MegaFon jumbotron wasn’t just ANY jumbotron though…

Remember those Pinart things where you put your hand in to depress the pins so it takes the shape of your hand (or whatever other body part or object you put in there)? So the MegaFon jumbotron was more like jumbo-Pinart! So when a friend asked me is I wanted to go meet the MegaFon representative and have my face on the thing, of course I said yes! (cuz seriously, that’s Awesome!)

MegaFon Pinart Jumbotron

So we were invited upstairs to the VIP area at the MegaFon pavillion, where we were offered champagne (and coffee, but who drinks coffee when there’s champagne??) while we sat on their cushy couches and gave them our info before stepping into the photobooth to have our photos taken for the jumbo-Pinart.

When we were all done, they gave us each a Sochi 2014 branded Pinart souvenir (a perfect gift for my 5-year-old nephew!) and then we had to wait a couple of hours before it would show up on the jumbotron, and they said would text us when it did.

So here is what it looked like (skip to 0:25 to see my face start showing up):

So ya… I thought that was pretty cool!