Author: Carmen Broder

March Madness Party
Mar05

It’s that time of year again: March Madness! College basketball fans unite. Here is what you need to know to plan the best March Madness party (or parties) this season. 

What’s the #MarchMadness schedule look like this year? 

Here are the important dates for March Madness that you might consider planning a party around. 

  • Selection Sunday: March 14 
  • First Four: March 16-17
  • First Round: March 18-19 
  • Second Round: March 20-21 
  • Sweet 16: March 25-26 
  • Elite Eight: March 27-28 
  • Final Four (national semifinals): April 3 
  • National Championship: April 5  

This means that you have plenty of dates to schedule a get-together. If you are looking to book venues for Elite Eight, Final Four, or National Championships…best get started now! Those dates are always the first to go.  

Brainstorm Session  

First, you will need to sit down and decide on the basics. How many people do you want to invite? Do you want to stay home, go out, or book a private venue? What will the food and drink situation look like? Make a detailed plan about your expectations and goals. You’ll want to consider: 

  • What is being served to eat? Will there be a meal or just snacks? 
  • Is it BYOB or bar provided? 
  • What is the maximum number of people you can host? 
  • Which basketball game are you focusing on? 
  • What is the maximum amount of money you intend to spend?  
  • Will you expect others to pitch in on the cost?  

Create a Budget Plan 

Parties can get out of control quickly so you need to decide ahead of time how much you want to spend and whether the other guests will be expected to pitch in. Do you want to funnel money into a private venue, maybe with a large screen and sound system? Do you want to focus on decorations and accessories? Do you want to spend on a great food spread or bar? Here’s a simple party budget template to use.  

Build a Guest List & Send Invites  

How many people can you feasibly host? How many people were you hoping to invite? Build a list of potential guests and whittle it down if you have too many. A consideration: If you have a large group of people, consider splitting the cost on a private event space. Secondly, decide how you want to invite people. Physical invitations? Facebook event page? Group text? Get RSVPs as soon as possible.  

Source Supplies & Décor 

You’ll probably need bowls, cups, decorations, banners, and so forth. Start figuring out where you want to get them from, giving yourself time to order online if needed. If you are on a tight budget, give yourself plenty of time to shop around and find the best price for each item.  

Do You Need an Event Space? 

If you are hosting a large group, want a big-screen experience, or just want to be the host of a party to remember, you might consider booking a private venue for the party. For example, La Casa Mirador Guest House can sleep 26, hold a lot more, and has everything you need to host a party built-in. We also have a 130 seat private media theatre center with a 10 x 20 ft screen and 15 surround-sound speakers. 

Food for Travelling
Feb26

What is a road trip without a cooler full of snacks for the drive? And why settle for dry cookies and soda if you’re travelling by plane? There must be a better way! Follow this guide to become the master of the Travel Snack. In this article, we’ll cover non-perishable travel food, food to eat while travelling in a car, and meals that travel well. Everything you need to know to stay nourished in motion.   

What is the best food for travelling?  

The best food for travelling will be something compact, something that can last without refrigeration, and something that won’t leak or spill. However, you’ll also want something healthy. Part of the challenge of eating on a trip is finding healthy food items that travel well. After all, you could just pack potato chips and candy…but you’d probably feel pretty sick a few hours in.   

How do you pack food for travel?  

Try to use reusable containers, where possible. Plastic or glass Tupperware with well-sealing lids are best. If you need to wrap something, consider using “beeswax” wrap as a more sustainable option than plastic. If you have room in your vehicle, consider packing a cooler with a few ice packs to keep everything fresh. This will also lessen the likelihood of the food being damaged by a sudden turn or brake.   

What can you NOT eat on a road trip?   

You’ll want to avoid any food that sloshes, sticks, or otherwise makes a mess. Also, food that might get damaged by the journey is a no-go. Food to eat while travelling in a car needs to be sturdy, well packaged, and hearty. Some people made ahead meals for travelling…and sometimes this works! Often, though, you’re plagued by big messes and cold leftovers. Stick to something simple, like sandwiches!  

What should you eat on a flight?  

Depending on the length of the flight, you might not need to eat at all. Or you might be served an in-flight meal. However, if you feel like you will need food with you, consider options that will make it through security (no liquid) and won’t bother the other passengers with strong scents. Focus on non-perishable travel food if you are packing for longer than a day’s trip.   

A sample road trip grocery list might include:  

  • Trail mix, dried fruit (apricot, banana)
  • Granola bars, pretzels
  • Fruit that doesn’t crush or bruise easily (apples, plums, mandarin oranges)
  • Breakfast shake or smoothie
  • Snacking vegetables (sliced carrots, sugar snap peas).  

Sample food to pack when traveling abroad:  

  • Anything from the above road trip grocery list
  • Dried oatmeal packets for quick meals
  • Wrapped sandwiches for the plane (nothing smelly, no eggs!)
  • Homemade baked goods that remind you of home 

It’s never too early to start planning your next trip. Think La Casa Cottages for a luxury vacation experience right here in the Okanagan.   

travel green
Feb19

The realities of climate change are something we in the travel industry cannot ignore! That’s why we encourage our guests to travel green when they visit us at La Casa Cottage Resort. Here are just a few ways that you can do so:   

1. Don’t Litter (and DO Recycle)  

Whether you are road tripping, sitting at a beach, or hiking…never drop your garbage on the ground. It’s a good idea to carry a receptacle that can temporarily hold garbage until you can dispose of it. Additionally, take time to sort paper, plastics, bottles, and cans and deliver them to an appropriate recycling location. Ask your host for suggestions or do a quick Google search.   

2. Respect Wildlife  

Listen to all signs telling you to stay off the path, don’t feed wild animals, and so on. Keep your distance if you see wildlife in their natural habitat and respect food storage requirements so as not to attract them. Don’t approach them for any reason, especially not selfies! Pack binoculars so that you can observe them from a safe, respectful distance.   

3. Use Reusable Water Bottles (not plastic)   

It’s tempting to purchase a beverage in plastic cups on any long journey. Instead, bring a few reusable water bottles and refill them when you can. You can also pack tea bags and instant coffee to resist the urge for a coffee run that might result in additional waste.   

4. Cut Back Meat Eating   

Worried about the impact of your travelling? Cut back on eating meat while you are away or the month before or after. This simple action offsets a ton of carbon emissions and can “neutralize” any additional impact you might have during your vacation.   

5. Carry Reusable Bags Everywhere   

During your trip, you are likely going to pick up a few souvenirs or stop somewhere for snacks. Make sure you have a reusable bag with you so that you don’t have to waste paper or plastic. You can even get reusable bags that fold into tine squares or rolls that fit right in your pocket or purse.   

6. Use Public Transit Where Possible   

Skip cabs and Uber and opt for public transport instead. It’s more environmentally friendly and cheaper, too. You can also try bike rentals, walking tours, and other green methods of sightseeing.   

7. Eat Local Food   

Eating locally is a trip to be green anywhere you are and that carries over into any trips you take. This includes looking for drinks, like beer and wine, that are made in the area. Perfect if you’re travelling to B.C.—AKA Wine Country.  

8. Skip Daily Room Cleaning   

Do you wash your bed sheets and towels after every use at home? No? Then why do it when travelling? It’s a huge waste of water so keep the Do Not Disturb sign on the door and skip daily cleaning.  

9. Unplug your home  

Before you go anywhere, unplug and power down everything in your home. Removing plugs from sockets can save energy, as can turning heating and hot water off. Tripple check that no lights are left on and power down any electronic devices.   

Valentine's Day Cocktails
Feb12

Ahh, Valentine’s day—love is in the air! And it can also be in your best martini glasses with these 5 Valentine’s Day cocktails!   

What is a Valentine’s Day cocktail exactly? Well…anything that feels romantic. We know that’s broad, but Valentine’s Day drinks are a “you’ll know it when you see it” kind of deal. Typically, they will be sweet, maybe pink or red in color, and will have a feminine flourish.   

Here are our picks:  

The Pink Rose  

  • 50ml French dry vermouth  
  • 25ml Kirschwasser (cherry brandy)  
  • 1 tsp Natural raspberry syrup  
  • Garnish: Brandied cherry  

Roses are a common theme around Valentine’s Day. They are given as gifts and adorn hallmark cards celebrating the season. This drink plays on that theme with its pinky-red hue. Raspberry syrup and a brandied cherry will make it as sweet as your S.O.   

See how to make it at Taste Cocktails 

Seductive Strawberry Cocktail  

  • 2 Strawberries  
  • 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice  
  • 1-1/2 ounces Kentucky straight bourbon  
  • 1/2 ounce Bénédictine liqueur  
  • 1 barspoon simple syrup to taste  
  • Strawberry for garnish  

Made with strawberries and champagne, this cocktail screams Valentine’s Day! The luscious red colour pairs well with the season. Plus, you’ll have strawberries left over for chocolate fondue. The bourbon gives it quite a kick and makes it something that everyone will enjoy.   

See how to make it at All Parenting.   

Sparkling Frosé  

  • ½ Bottle of Sparkling Ice Cherry Limeade  
  • 8 Rosé Ice Cubes  
  • 1oz lemon juice  
  • Mint, for garnish  

Rosé slush is just a great idea all around. This rich, sultry cocktail can be easily adjusted for potency by adding or removing the number of rosé cubes before you blend it together. The Sparkling Ice Cherry Limeade can be substituted for your favourite sparkling fruit beverage if you don’t have any on hand.  

See how to make it at Moscato Mom 

Blushing Geisha  

  • 4 ounces Ty Ku Liqueur  
  • 2 ounces pomegranate juice  
  • 4 ounces rose nectar  
  • Garnish: lime wedge  

This drink is as beautiful as it is tasty. The main ingredient, Ty Ku Liqueur is made with pomegranate, honeydew, yuzu, and Asian pear and is considered an aphrodisiac. Replace the rose nectar with rose simple syrup if you can’t find any (hint: your best chance is probably a natural food store).  

See how to make it on The Spruce Eats 

Chocolate Cherry Delight  

  • 6 ounces chocolate almond milk   
  • 4 ounces cherry juice  
  • 3 ounces vodka  
  • honey for garnish  
  • dark chocolate sprinkles for garnish  

Chocolates are a traditional romantic gift so why not have a cocktail to match? This rich, scrumptious drink is perfect for Valentine’s Day. Use honey or simple syrup on the rim of your martini glasses to make the chocolate sprinkles stick.  

See how to make it at One Country 

Give these Valentine’s Day cocktails a try and let us know what you think!

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be the only time you celebrate your love. If you’re thinking about a spring or summer getaway, maybe an anniversary or birthday, book with La Casa Cottage Resort. We have luxury vacation rentals that will make any trip special.   

Staycation Ideas banner
Feb05

COVID-19 has changed how we think about travel. Vacationers are sticking close to home and putting a pin in international travel for now. That’s why a “staycation” is such a great idea—it lets you enjoy some time to yourself without the hassle of crossing farther distances.  

But what exactly does a 2021 staycation look like and how can you make the best of it this year? First, let’s cover some basics.  

What is the difference between vacation and staycation?  

Vacation means you are traveling abroad, maybe taking a cruise or staying at a resort. A staycation means you are closer to home, maybe exploring attractions in your own city or taking a quick road trip to a neighbouring community for a long weekend.  

Why is #Staycation popular this year? 

Thanks to the Coronavirus, people are wary about unnecessary travel this year. That’s why staycations are becoming more popular. Not to mention they are often cheaper, less of a time commitment, and much easier to plan.  

How can I spend my staycation in B.C.? 

Considering a staycation this month? Here are some fun staycation ideas that you can try.  

Staycation at Home 

You don’t even need to leave your house for some of the best staycations. Here are a few things you can try:  

  1. Do a spa night with a face mask, long bath, nail treatment, and anything else you can think of 
  2. Enjoy some summer-themed cocktails with a partner and order takeout  
  3. Buy a cheap projector and watch films set in your dream destinations around the world  
  4. Treat yourself to a home-visit masseuse, if there are any ones in your area  
  5. Give yourself a whole “day off” to just lounge at home with no responsibilities  

Staycation in Town 

A staycation can also mean exploring your own backyard in ways you hadn’t thought to do before. Here are some ways you can do so: 

  1. Go out for a fancy dinner somewhere you have never tried before 
  2. Take a day trip to an outdoor market and sample new, local foods  
  3. Check out a tourist “hotspot” in your city that you’ve never visited before  
  4. Go for a walk in a park or hiking trail that you’ve never been to before 
  5. Stay overnight in an Airbnb just to get away from home life for a night  

Staycation Quick Trip  

Sometimes a staycation means taking “stay” lightly. Traveling to a neighbouring town or city can be a safe faux-vacation idea this year: 

  1. Book a cabin or yurt somewhere a few hours away from home for some new scenery  
  2. Visit a friend or family member in another city within the province 
  3. Go skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing for a long weekend  
  4. Stay overnight in an Airbnb the next town over to get away from it all  
  5. Plan a road trip somewhere scenic, stay the night somewhere fun, and then try a new route back home 

Thinking about booking something this spring or summer? See what we have to offer in the Okanagan area at La Casa Cottage Resort. And if you’re already a local, might we suggest a #staycation?