Top 10 Lists x Cheap and Chic Ways to Entertain with Mason Jars!

From the whimsical snow globes in Anthropologie to cute glassware at rustic weddings and everything in between, innovative uses for the mason jar seem to be popping up left and right. 
 
An affordable and ohsocharming decor trend, mason jars are the perfect way welcome in the summer!  I’ve compiled my Top 10 List x Cheap and Chic Ways to Entertain with Mason Jars (some of them may surprise you!):
 
10 | mason jar x drinking cups
 
Swapping out your regular glassware for cute mason jars is the easiest way to incorporate this trend + add a touch of personality to your party.  To keep this trend looking chic rather than cheap, try decorating glasses with coloured straws, vintage labels, ribbon or twine.    
 
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9 | mason jar x party favors
 
Why not try mason jar party favours?  Your guests will adore taking home a unique sewing kit or a batch of pre-measured cookie mix.  For the sewing kit, add padding + fabric to the lid to make an instant pin cushion—hot glue the fabric underneath leaving space around the edge of the rim.  If opting for the cookie mix, don’t forget to include instructions on how to bake the cookies. 
 
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8 | mason jar x vases and terrariums
 
Skip regular vases and use multiple mason jars to display fresh flowers.  Take it a step further and try mason jar herb gardens or terrariums!
 
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7 | mason jar x serving options
 
Mason jars are excellent for setting out straws or separating cutlery for your guests to take.  They are also perfect for serving accompaniments and look even better with the attachment of a simple tag labelling the type of sauce, dressing or dip.
 
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6 | mason jar x salad in a jar
 
Mason jar salads are not only a unique way to shake things up (sorry, it was too hard not to say it!), but they are very convenient and can be prepared up to 5 days in advance.  Either keep the dressing separate, or layer the ingredients in such a way that those at the bottom won’t get soggy while marinating in the dressing.   
 
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5 | mason jar x chandeliers
 
One of the more complicated ways of decorating with mason jars, these chandeliers are perfect for the DIY pro.  They provide a unique mix of rustic pieces in a contemporary design that is guaranteed to be a conversation piece. 
 
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4 | mason jar x cocktail shaker
 
A DIY version be made by either (1) finding a cocktail shaker lid with the same circumference as the mason jar lid; or (2) punching holes in the top of one lid—swapping it out for an unpunched lid when shaking.  Easier still, pick up a readymade one at West Elm for a little over $30 CDN.
 
 
 
3 | mason jar x dessert in a jar
Dessert? Amazing.  In a mason jar? Even better.  Perfectly portion almost any dessert into individual servings by preparing them directly inside mason jars.  Two of my Vancouver favourites are the lemon pot de crème in Fable Kitchen on W. 4th Ave and the nanaimo bar in a jar at Oakwood Canadian Bistro on W. Broadway.
 
 
2 | mason jar x table centerpieces
 
Get creative and fill mason jars of all shapes + sizes with an assortment of candles.  Floating candles on water add an elegant touch and using tea lights turns any jar into an instant hurricane lantern for patios + outdoor events.  
 
 
 
1 | mason jar x magic bullet
 
This one tops my list because who knew that almost every blender can be turned into an instant magic bullet?  Amazing, right?  The glass rim of a mason jar is the same size as almost all blender jugs, which means you probably already own single-serve blender that is not only more powerful than a magic bullet, but also has an unlimited supply of cute and trendy cups!  Try it out for a margarita night or a unique brunch-time build-your-own-smoothie bar!
 
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BONUS x chalk board paint
 
Using chalk board paint is a pretty and versatile way to label mason jars.  I recommend usingPebeo Porcelaine 150 China Paint in Chalkboard Black, which once baked will make the painted section microwave-safe and dishwasher-safe.
 
 
So pick up a pack (I got a set of 12 at Canadian Tire for $7.99) and try incorporating some of these cheap and chic ideas into your next party or event.  At 66¢ per piece, you really can’t go wrong! 
 
Keep in mind, this trend can walk a fine line between trendy and tacky.  You’re aiming for simple and charming, not “I’m a college student and these jars are all we have in our kitchen”, so make sure to take the extra effort to decorate and add little touches to make everything seem put together!  Remember, it’s all in the details…
 
 
With Love,
 
Veronique♥
 
 
What do you think about the current Mason jar trend – Like it? Love it? Hate it? Do you know of any other fun uses for Mason jars or have any noteworthy jar-recipes? Share them below!
 
 
[Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post.  These opinions are my own and are in no way indicative of the opinions or positions of any of the companies mentioned.]

How to Guide x Perfect Wine Pairing

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I never gave wine pairing much thought and mostly chose wines based on a combination of my mood and the general rule of “red wines with meat, white wines with fish”.  While that old saying may still ring true, there’s really so much more to it and it was only my recent experience at Vancouver Urban Winery that my eyes were opened to what pairing is really about.

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I had the Sommelier’s Choice Wine & Food Pairing ($24), a seasonal selection of local meats, cheeses and even an espresso brownie paired with 5 wines curated by their Wine Sommelier.  Our party was instructed to taste the wine, have a bite of the food and then take another sip of the wine—and WOW, it was surprising what a difference it made!  Maybe it was that the combination was exceptional (probably) or maybe it was because I never paid much attention or took the time to truly savour the flavours (HA, probably true as well!), but I finally understood what all the fuss was about.  Wine pairing is so much more than simply finding things that go well together, but when paired correctly (or incorrectly!) food can change the flavours within wine and wine can change the flavours within food.  Now a changed woman (apparently an overdramatic one as well! Haha), I realize what a huge difference it makes when you are able to find the perfect wine to complement your meal. 
 
While wine pairing can be tricky, I came across a fantastic article by Wine Folly with 5 Tips to Perfect Food and Wine Pairings that I knew I had to share with you.
 

5 Wine & Food Pairing Guidelines

Champion the Wine  The number one guideline is to bring out the best characteristics of a wine. A high tannin red wine will taste like sweet cherries when paired with the right dish. Focus on the characteristics that you want to champion and make sure that the wine will shine instead of fighting against the food.

Bitter + Bitter = Bad  Since our tastebuds are very sensitive to bitterness, it’s important to pay special attention to not pair bitter food and high tannin wine. Green Beans with Cabernet Sauvignon will multiply bitter tastes. If you want to pair a high tannin wine, look to foods with fat, umami and salt for balance.

Wine Should be Sweeter  As a general rule, make sure that the wine is sweeter than the food and you will have a successful wine pairing. If the wine is less sweet than the food it’s matched with, it will tend to taste bitter and tart. This is why Port wine is perfect with dessert.

Wine Should be More Tart  A wine should have higher acidity than the food it’s matched with otherwise it will taste flabby. For instance, a salad with vinaigrette is better with an extra brut Champagnethan a buttery Chardonnay.

Improve an Earthy Wine  Ever hear that Old World Wine is better with food? On their own, Old World wines can be very earthy and tart. However, when you pair an earthy wine with something even more earthy like mushroom stroganoff, then the wine tastes more fruity.

     

Whether hosting a large event, holding an intimate dinner party or simply pouring yourself a glass with your meal, it is always useful to know a little bit about selecting the right wine.  For some reason, there is something about food and wine pairing that can leave even the most confident foodie feeling completely out of his or her element.  Did you know that chocolate is one of the hardest things to pair with wine? Or that asparagus contains methyl mercaptan, which gives wine a vegetal flavour? What about the fact that the tannins in red wine interact with the high iodine content in some seafood (like cod, mackerel and shellfish)resulting in a metallic and unpleasant taste?Wine Folly’s tips can help less-than-savvy wine drinkers navigate these complex waters – that are made even more confusing by the sheer number of international wines and modern cuisine’s fusion of ethnic styles and unusual ingredients in one dish! 
 
To take it one step further, Wine Folly has created a handy chart on how to create the best pairings, based on the sommeliers’ principle of opposing taste profiles (e.g. sweet and sour).  This chart is a helpful (and cute!) resource for your next event or dinner party.  Also available as a poster, it makes the perfect gift for the wine-lover on your list! 

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So crack open a bottle (or two!) and try some of their suggestions out!  After all, it’s all in the name of research, right?
 
 
With Love,
 
Veronique♥
 
 
Do you have any wine pairing tips or advice? Share your experiences with and/or recommendations of places to go for interesting food and wine pairings! 
 
 
 
[Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post.  These opinions are my own and are in no way indicative of the opinions or positions of any of the companies mentioned.]