Tuesday, February 25, 2014

5 Pure and Simple Bachelorette Party Ideas!

It's your party. We just make it sweeter for you. 
I understand that wedding season is still a little bit away but as it will suddenly appear when we are least expecting it, I thought it would be a suitable thing to discuss my personal favorite alternatives to the traditional booze and scandal ridden bachelorette party. Now, you are welcome to choose the booze and scandal, but I'd like to offer a few pure and simple bachelorette party ideas for the more reserved folk.

Grab a latte and morning muffin and peruse the following elegant suggestions:

  • Get Centered.   Ever thought of taking your lady crew out for a personalized yoga class?  I promise, the fees involved there are much more valuable and memorable than the alternative possibility of an acquired bar tab. Yikes!  Release the stress of wedding planning with yogic relaxation.   The benefits are numerous and proven to be a dependable way to calm your nerves before the wedding.  Don't worry if your group is at different levels.  It's not about getting your work out, it's about taking the time to ground and breathe before the chaos begins. 

  • Pamper Me Silly.  No, seriously.  If you opt for this option, let me know - I'm absolutely ready for a night out at the foot spa.  This could be your one stop hub or the appropriate 'after yoga' indulgence hour. I have yet to come across a woman (or man) who doesn't like a little mani-pedi.  Skip the polish if that's not your thing, but by all means, grab that rub down! While you're at it, why not bring a bottle of champagne and toast the lovely bride? 

  • Main Course Please.   All that relaxation has probably worked up quite an appetite for you fabulous ladies.   Why not get all dolled up, like Audrey Hepburn when she graces the Parisian cafe in Sabrina?  Dress up in your best haute sophisticate and head to a luxury wine and dine.  Order the best, as you are the best in show and enjoy your rare evening of uninterrupted womanly banter.   

  • Ladies in the Kitchen.  No, not in the chauvinistic way!  Here's the thing.  You can do the above and fully embrace the moment.  OR you can be more frugal with your spending and have just as much fun in one of your own homes.  Think of a few dishes ahead of time and then enjoy preparing them together.  I love cooking with my close friends and love when people incorporate this into their celebrations!

  • Sleepover! Have a sleepover!  Clutter up on the living room floor with blankets, mattresses, extra pillows and cheesy rom-coms that play into the night.  Recall those conversation of when the bride met her match and all the heart throbbing and infatuation filling the months that followed.  Share your own embarrassing love stories or that moment when you knew that he was 'the one'.  Share love advice, croon about romance and dream of what is to come. Then top it off in the morning with a DIY smoothie bar to feel refreshed and ready for the festivities to come.  
Set up candles and dim the lighting.  Let the lady of the house feel like a queen before her big day. Cook together.  Laugh together.  Enjoy your night of sisterhood. 

Remember, this is mean to be a special day and time.  Again, how you party is up to you, but if you are looking for a way to connect with your closest girl friends, consider the above quality alternatives. 

We at Ontario Bakery , would love to make this time even more special with our personalized cakes and treats.  Please, call us now and tell us how we can best serve you.

Happy Celebrating!

By: Navae Fiona

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sweet 16... Not For the Faint of Heart!

Whether she's daddy's little girl or not, I think the anxiety that comes with your little girl turning 16 is enough to make your heart drop in to your stomach.  

While society places expectations on parents to go all out and invest in limos and stilettos, I'm thinking that deep in our hearts, most of us parents would like to do something a little more... say, 'innocent'?  

But then, are we the boring parents?  Would we have then earned the long dreaded title of 'lame parents'?  Or are we just looking to celebrate the life of our budding daughters without drowning them in an unnecessary need to be sexualized with mini dresses while warding off rubber necking college boys the whole time?  I believe it's safe to say that most of us prefer the later.  So here are a few ideas I wanted to share for that fun and exciting time. 

What about taking a group out to a black tie dinner?  You could still get dressed up.  Think Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's.  Your little lady will look stunning in a sleek black cocktail dress and pearls.  She will feel she is becoming a woman, all the while, learning the value of a luxury dinner with friends and the conversation it allows. I'm not assuming she's ready for discuss philosophy but it's good to teach our teens how to spend their time investing in quality relationships and activities; a lesson they can definitely use in their twenties. 
Another idea is to gather a few of her closest friends and go up to a cabin for the weekend.  This can be done in the summer and winter alike and will leave great memories to hold. 
In the end, it's vital to remember all that your daughter is going through. Her body and hormones have been changing constantly for a few years now.  She has the pressures of school on her shoulders, possibly athletics and the distraction of her heart's interests on top of that.  (Being 16 and having a crush can turn your world upside down!)  
That's why I'm suggesting keeping the celebration beautiful without adding to the already mounting peer pressure to be older and sexier.  She is allowed to enjoy this special day and so are you! 
Of course, we would love to provide your celebration with our delicious cakes because celebration is what we know best!  
Kudos to you for doing your best to raise a daughter with values, education, love for herself and love for others.  These lessons will pay off and her life should be celebrated.  

Please, leave your comments below and let us know what your favorite Sweet 16 traditions are; we love hearing from you! 

From us at Ontario Bakery to you....   Live Well & Enjoy Life.

by:  Navae Fiona

5 Ways to Celebrate Turning 10!

Turning 10. It comes with reason to celebrate.  There’s only one time in your life when you turn from single digits to double digits, so be sure to make that time fun for the lucky kids in your life!

Here are some ideas to make the most out of that special day - and year!!

1. Three parties. Not one. Not two. But three.  Really.  One with your family. One with their older 'more grown up' friends. One with their friends from the younger crowd. With 3 parties - be prepared for three cakes (lemon, chocolate, and another lemon) and five flavors of ice cream. For each party.  Why? Because this individual is feeling both old and young.  He/she needs to feel safe in that and able to be given balance for the confusion that can come with it.  

2. Either get them a pet or commit to caring for a neighbor's or family member's, if you can't do that.  10 year olds love knowing that they have something/one to nurture and with this idea also comes responsibility.  If you decide it's best to donate your time and love, encourage the child to feed, walk and play with the nearby animal on a scheduled basis!

3.  Give back to the environment. Ask your child how they would like to help take care of the earth.  Learn to recycle, clean up the park once a month, or gather a group to volunteer to clean up around the school.

4. Encourage their personal style.  Sure, they may not always get the colors and textures right, but giving them the freedom of self expression will increase their confidence and self esteem.

5.  Ten year olds get more frustrated and angrier when things don’t go right.  It's called asserting yourself and growing up.  Give them space to have their own opinion and voice.  It will prove it's return later on.  Be patient.

So as that day approaches, try not to fear it, rather embrace it for all it has to offer.  Plan and prepare for the parties.  Ask your child what *they* want and don't be surprised if it's filled with contradiction.  In fact, that's the best time to filter each request and place it into the most suitable party.  Expect high imaginative moments and extreme emotions as they subconsciously deal with this milestone. They won't fully understand what they are going through, so be supportive and be excited. Grab the baby photos and reminisce about their baby years.  Remember that first lost tooth.  Find time to be thankful for the current blessings and relationships.  Ask what their goals and aspirations for the future are.  Maybe even set a plan in motion now that activates their dreams and talents.  

Of course, we'd love to hear from you as you plan for that exciting time!  Stop by Ontario Bakery and let us know how we can make your celebration as memorable as possible.

Your child is entering another phase of self discovery and it won't occur overnight.  While it may be trying at times, remember the beauty and gift that it holds and create space for that. 

Celebrate growth.   It's a beautiful journey. 

by:  Navae Fiona

Friday, February 21, 2014

7 Reasons to Celebrate Turning 40

For whatever reasons that society has deemed worthy,  turning forty has gotten a bad reputation. But why is that?  Why can't we embrace stacking up our years and building our stories?  I think it's time that we rethink the forty year old curse and take a moment to reflect on its beauties and blessings.  
Here you have it.  

7 Reasons to Celebrate Turning 40. 

1. Alright,  let's face the undeniable fact, 40 is the new 30 because people are living longer. Centenarians will become unexceptional within your lifetime, and the average life-span around the world is double what it was 200 years ago. So instead of getting all down, thinking your life is half over, think again!  Get in on the exciting (late) trends in modern healthy foods and exercise and you'll realize that being 40 is prime time for supreme living. 

2.  You can SKIP facebook!  After all, you're finally done finding yourself and better yet - you already have seasoned friendships.  You're the lucky person that gets to skip cyber-game invites and popularity polls, to see people face to face and have some good old fashioned, quality conversation.  So there.  One more thing, you don't need to waste your life doing. 

3. You know analog and digital.  You get to laugh at the current generation's obsession with touch screens and motion sensing video games, while reminiscing on the simplicity of a hand written letter and the joy it brought in both sending and receiving such a token of affection.  You remember records, cassette tapes and cd's but are still tech savvy enough to be apart of the download generation.  The best of both worlds. 

4.  You've grown much wiser.  After spending years - decades even of bending over backwards to please family, friends and workplace, you have finally found the strength and freedom to start saying 'no'.  There are only so many hours in the day and days in the week.  You are only one person and it's vital for you to care for your own needs too.  It's ok to say 'no'.  Why can't we learn this at 30?

5.  You've got time.  For the ladies, take comfort.  It seems the biological clock is ticking slower these days.  Hale Berry and Nicole Kidman both had babies after 41!  It may not be too late.  And hey, in the meantime if life calls you to a different path, feel free to dote on your friend's little ones.  They probably need a break and being 40, you're full of tricks, wisdom and all around cool nature.  You are a powerhouse dream come true.

6. One more for the ladies. The experts think you have great potential. Psychotherapist Dr Susie Orbach, of the London School of Economics, says women in their 50s are more confident, financially independent and healthier than ever before. So, get out those legal pads and start your mind mapping!  You have to prepare for that incredible success waiting in your fifties! Better yet, just do it now.  Why wait?

7.  Just celebrate.   You are an incredible person with an even more incredible story.  You and your family alike, no matter the story, are filled with rich history.  You've risen and fallen.  You've loved and you have lost.   In the end, you have grown and the value of love, patience and forgiveness.  I didn't say you mastered it but I'm sure we at least agree that it's within your awareness, which is an improvement to the ego days of your 20's!  

If you or your loved one is taking that step in to a new generation, remember that it's a transition to be valued.  You are being promoted and that deserves to be celebrated.  

At Ontario Bakery we are proud to celebrate life with you.   Please stop by our website or our Southern California location and tell us how we can help.  

Please, let us know about your favorite birthday in the comments below!  We love to hear from you! 

And remember, 
"You can be gorgeous at 20, charming at 40 and irresistible for the rest of your life."
- Coco Chanel

by: Navae Fiona

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Is Chocolate Good for Your Health?

Ok.  Don't freak out.  I'm not going to sit here and say that you should daily consume a brick of chocolate or replace your nightly meal with 3 cakes and some caramel topping.  What I am saying is that at Ontario Bakerywe love chocolate as much as the next person. Why not smile about the benefits that come from including a little bit into each day?  

So grab your coffee and some chocolate nibs, sit down and relax.  You are going to love we have to share with you. 

First things first.  Let's start by making sure we are on the same page.  If you're hoping and waiting for me to hand you snickers and say it's 'good for you',  you're going to be sorely disappointed. Chocolate in it's purest form, when it's closest to the bean, has loads of health benefits.

The magic is in the pure cacao! The good news is that there are still candy bars your craving heart can reach for in your time of need.  The goal here is to find a bar with the highest cocoa/cacao content.  The higher the content, the less room there will be for unhealthy fillers and fats. (The things that make other candy bars so cheap and damaging to your beautiful health.. and skin!) 

Chocolate is loaded with winning antioxidants.  And what are antioxidants good for? They rid the body of free radicals; those menacing little molecules creating the havoc in your body responsible for aging, disease and even cancer! The antioxidants bond themselves to the free radicals and pretty much walk the plank with them to make sure they are disposed of properly.

Can you think of some other foods that contain antioxidants?   Pomegranates, blueberries, green tea, red wine, gogi berries?  ...  Would you believe that chocolate beats all their numbers??

The USDA published a chart of antioxidant foods measured by ORAC's (Oxygen Radical Absorbent Capacity Units).  For each 100 grams, the cacao in dark chocolate has 13,120 ORACs while blueberries only have 2,400! That's absolutely incredible! So, consuming a balanced diet that is rich in antioxidants has the ability to lower the risk of heart attacks, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, cancer, asthma, Alzheimer's and more.

While I could dedicate a whole page to just the antioxidant benefits, I'm going to move on the the exterior perks you are free to enjoy! 

The cacao bean also contains various essential nutrients which help you to stay healthny and beautiful. With great sun protection properties, it has the power to shield your skin from harmful UV rays, preventing sensitive conditions like sunburns and skin cancer. Regular dark chocolate consumption also helps you achieve that sought after smooth, problem free glow, as it keeps your skin moist and well nourished.

Not just for eating, this magical bean can be used in combination with coffee beans for efficient exfoliating! It detoxifies and sloughs off the dead skin cells and allows the newly exposed, fresh skin to breathe freely.

Stress can really mess with your work, home and general quality of life. Dark chocolate boasts wonderful stress-relieving qualities and works wonders in getting you a glowing skin (more skin benefits!) by reducing elevated stress hormones. .....ah...  dopamine! 

Cacao is a great aid in promoting blood circulation in the scalp which leads to increased growth of healthy, lustrous locks, reducing hair loss. In addition to that, it's anti-inflammatory nature helps minimize the odds of getting scalp infections.  Infused with the goodness of several hair-benefiting ingredients, dark chocolate improves the overall health of your tresses, making them shiny, sleek and voluminous.
I hope you found this article helpful and inspirational toward better care of your overall health. To be honest, there are even more benefits that I encourage you to explore on your own and please, share them in the comments below! 
In the meantime, if you so find yourself wanting to indulge a little bit more into your sweet tooth and have a celebration to prepare for, please let us know!  At Ontario Bakery we are always ready to make your life a little sweeter. 

By: Navae Fiona

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Have a beautiful Valentine's with the 5 LOVE LANGUAGES. ... what's yours?

As Valentine's Day rolls around, we can sometimes feel stuck about what to do for our special someone.  I thought it would be nice to write about the 5 languages of love and hopefully inspire you all to give the best Valentine's gift possible - the gift of speaking to the other person's heart in the language it naturally hears.  

First of all, it's good to try and assess what your own love language is.  We often times assume that our loves speak the same language and more often than not, it is not so.  So let's see what your love language is and how it can best walk hand in hand with someone else!

What's Your Love LanguageEither take the assessment right here, or simply discover your own love language by asking yourself the following questions:

❤ How do I express love to others?
❤ What do I complain about the most?
❤ What do I request most often?

It probably won't feel totally natural to you, when speaking in your spouse's love language. Dr. Chapman says, "We're not talking comfort. We're talking love. Love is something we do for someone else. So often couples love one another but they aren't connecting. They are sincere, but sincerity isn't enough." 

Moving right along...

The languages of love

Words of Affirmation
People say that actions speak louder than words, but that isn't always true.  If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing “I love you,” is so important—and going farther - hearing the reasons behind that love skyrockets your heart to the sky. Equally, insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

Here are some examples: 

Encouraging words: We all have areas in which we feel insecure. We lack courage, which often hinders us from accomplishing the positive things that we would like to do. Perhaps you or your spouse has untapped talent or potential in work or creativity.  That creative potential may just be waiting encouraging words to set the inspiration free.

Kind words: If we’re to communicate love verbally, we must use kind words when we speak. “I love you”, when said with sincerity and tenderness, can be a beautiful expression of love.

Humble words: Love requests, not demands. If we are to develop intimate relationships, we need to know each other’s desires. If we make our needs known in the form of a request, we’re giving respectful guidance, not just stubborn expectations.

Valentine's Tip: Think of some encouraging, kind and humble words that are meant to appreciate and inspire your loved one.  Have them placed on a candy graham, write them on a decorated card or simply leave affirming statements on sticky notes to be found all over the house! 
Quality Time
For this person, nothing says, “I love you,” like complete, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there with all distractions of home, work and life set aside, makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be incredibly hurtful.

Keep in mind that quality time does not usually mean TV, movies or hanging with a bunch of people. It means just the two of you!  Go on a walk, hike, enjoy dinner together - maybe even at home - make eye contact.  Eye contact is HUGE for this person. Quality + Time = deep connection in this language. A relationship calls for sincere and sympathetic listening with a view toward understanding the other person’s desires. We must be ready but not waiting to give advice, remembering to be supportive and never condescending. 

Valentine's Tip: CREATE a dinner for two.  Make it for your loved one and show them that they have your full attention!  (make sure it's a dish they like!) Turn all electronics off and don't talk about your stresses.  Ask how he/she is doing ... dive in and learn more about the one you love!

GiftsThis one is not about materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and mainly - the effort behind the gift. If this is your language, then the perfect gesture shows that you are known, cared for, and prized above whatever money/time/effort was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be painful and insulting; as would forgetting simple gestures in the day to day.

Valentine's Tip: You don't have to go to Tiffany's.  But you can think through the list of things she's been coveting.  Maybe that one thing he has been wanting but accepts that 'we just can't afford it right now'.  

Acts of Service
Can doing the dishes really be an expression of love? Of course! Anything you're able to do to ease the burden of responsibility from the shoulders of an “Acts of Service” person will speak with mass volume. He or she feels such relief and care with the words, “Let me do that for you.” Additional mess, laziness, flakiness, and creating more work for them will translate as a lack of regard and that their feelings don’t matter.

So be of service to this person and express love for them by easing their stresses with things such as cooking, preparing the table, doing the dishes, putting the kids to bed or dealing with annoyances. Please, also do these things with a positive spirit and as a lover.  Don't be walked on by any means - but serve out of a desire to connect and show your partners value to you. 

Valentine's Tip:  Come home early and surprise your lover with a clean home.  Pick up the groceries. Make the dinner reservation and be the luxury chauffeur. Make all the arrangements for your special evening as a surprise relief of obligation.  Trust me, this way, your receiver will be able to enjoy the night much better with the lessened stress. 

Physical TouchThis isn’t bound to the bedroom, although that's a wonderful and beautiful place to touch beyond the heart. The person who responds to touch most is also - no surprise - very touchy. Hugs, holding hands, a gentle touch to the neck, shoulder, or face are all ways ways to show how you feel. Physical presence and accessibility are vital to any relationship, while neglecting touch or forceful touch is opposite - abusive and destructive.

Holding hands, kissing, cuddling and sex – all of these are necessary someone who speaks a love language of physical touch. It helps the love feel secure and do not take too much time. The touch requires thought and intention though if it isn't natural for the giver. 

Valentine's Tip:  Touch.  Really.  Sit closer.  Kiss on the street.  Hold hands.  Place your hand on the small of her back.  Gently rub the stress away from his neck.  Nest into each other and breathe into the closeness.  You are a blessing to each other and you both deserve to know it. 

So there you have it!  Over here at  Ontario Bakery we are in full support of love in bloom.  Please tell your partner that you love them in the way that speaks the loudest to them.  While you're at it, a great compliment to those love languages can be found in the form of chocolaty decadence at our California bakery!  Stop on by and have a wonderful, love-filled weekend!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Baker's Choice? Valentine's Day History

Every year, February 14th seems to bring either excitement or dread to hearts around the world. If you are in love, you will likely devour the sweetness of the day like the truffles you are given, but if you are single, you may be inspired to mutter a stream of bitter comments about the mass display of public affection. But what’s behind the candy, flowers and gifts exchanged? 

The name behind the ritual belongs to St. Valentine.  The story itself is still quite a mystery. How did a man of the Roman Catholic faith inspire an entire month of romance? Well, To be honest, there were a few different St. Valentines – even a Valentinus.  

One Story in history suggest that during the crusade against the Christian’s, St. Valentine was one who rescued the hunted people and hid them to spare their lives.  The legend goes on to suggest that while in prison, Valentine fell in love with his jailer's daughter and began to communicate with her through secret notes signed, “from your Valentine”.

I have to say, that it’s this next speculation that grabs my attention the most.  In third century Rome, Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than the married men.  He then made a decree forbidding young men to marry.  Outraged at this ridiculous new rule, Valentine is said to have welcomed and secretly performed marriages for young lovers, desiring that all live a life of love. However, once discovered, Valentine was sentenced to death for his direct violation of the decree. 

The history, regardless of which story is true, is interesting in entirety.

The moral is simply this: Love is worth celebrating.  Whether you are fighting for a cause, fantasizing about your marriage or remembering your first kiss… those flirtatious attempts are a beautiful way to share our excitement for the other person. 

In a world with plenty of broken hearts, I believe love should be all the more spoken of and lived.  Whatever your stance of the holiday may be, I ask that you take the opportunity to show someone love.  Be it friend, family, enemy or lover, there isn’t a person in the world that’s couldn’t use a little extra. 

For you romantic types and the affectionate over confections, we have a delicious variety of baked goodness, including our top seller, chocolate dipped strawberries, to warm the heart of your loved one at Ontario Bakery.

So give a few more hugs.  Make a precious phone call.  Write a letter.  Smile.

Let each day count. Enjoy the love in your life and celebrate with cake.

Monday, February 3, 2014

She'll Love/He'll Love Gourmet Specialty Chocolate Dipped Strawberries for Vanlentines Day at Ontario Bakery

Special Item - Order Now for Pick-up Feb 13 or 14

 Valentines Day Gourmet Chocolate Dipped Whole Fresh Strawberries

Want a Valentines Day gift that’s sure to leave your Valentine pleasantly surprised? Consider a sweet delicacy that whispers romance? Plump, juicy, fresh hand-dipped strawberries so fruity and chocolaty that your gift will be remembered long after the last delicious morsel passes their lips. You can start the Valentine's Day off right with this succulent and tasteful treat.

Chocolate Drizzle Dipped Strawberries - Order Now to Insure Availability

Our specialty dipped chocolate covered strawberries seen above are only available on February 13 and 14.  You may visit the store on those days to pick out some sweets for your sweetheart.  However, we would highly recommend that you place your order in advance to make certain that you are covered.

Our Drizzle dipped strawberries are available all throughout the strawberry season, but may sell out on Feb 13 and 14.  Please order in advance on these, too.

Specialty Gourmet Chocolate Dip Strawberries are packed in four for $12.95 or six for $19.95. (Sprinkled with Chocolate Chips, Almonds, Coconut, or Sprinkles)
Drizzle Chocolate Dip Strawberries are packed in four for $9.50 or six for $13.99