Life Hacks With Alex Hazard: Puffy eyes & chilled wine

Life can be tough!  

Throughout the years, folks have shared hacks with me that make my day to day a little easier…so, I thought it’s my turn to share them with you! It’s like the old saying, “it’s the small things in life”. I truly believe that small changes, or in this case; small hacks, can make a big impact. I hope these Life Hacks can take your life from good to great!  

All my best, 
Alex Hazard

Puffy Eyes 

Do you ever wake up in the morning and have those puffy bags under your eyes? Mine can be so big that I could use them as reusable grocery bags at Target! Here are some hacks: Keep some spoons in the freezer! When you wake up, after you get out of the shower; simply place the spoons over your eyes. The cold is going to lift the collagen to the surface and fill those bags with some nice fatty groceries, making your eyes smile and your day brighter (especially when you look in the mirror!). 

Another Hack for puffy eyes is to place some cucumber over the eyes, just like they do at the spa! To be honest, I’m not really sure why this works, but it does! Maybe it is just one of those mind-over-matter things? I find that this hack works better in the middle of the day if you notice that the bags are starting to develop. Plus, if you’re hungry… now you have a snack… Two birds, One cucumber!  


Chilled Wine 

There are few things in the world worse than warm wine.. except for no wine at all, of course! My hack here is so simple. Always keep a glass dish of grapes in the freezer. The grapes work like ice cubes for your wine, without watering them down as ice cubes would.  They also could impress your friends at a party as a “fancy” garnish, depending on how easily impressed your friends are.  Plus, keeping them frozen keeps your grapes fresh longer, too!  

Smelly Shoes

There are few things that are more repulsive than the scent of a smelly foot. While an uncomfortable topic of conversation, this is something that so many people struggle with… including myself! The hacks to solve this problem are simple! 

First, keep crumbled up newspaper in your shoes when they’re stored away. The newspaper will absorb the moisture and odor in the shoe. 

If you’re like me and that might just not be enough, try this homemade foot and shoe powder! Made with just three ingredients, this could be the answer to all ten of your smelly toe problems. Take all your little piggies to the market and pick-up some corn-starch, baking powder, and essential oils. Mix a little of each together in a bowl, sprinkle in your shoe, or lather your foot. This will keep your shoes and feet smelling great and avoid an embarrassing problem that is easily solved. 

Bug Repellent 

Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, Apple Picking, Hot Cider, and my personal favorite; bonfires on a cool night! Fall is here. As a summer lover, I have a hard time admitting how much I actually love the fall. But let’s just face it, Fall is the perfect season. Except. One. Thing…. you’re sitting around your perfect fall fire, hot cider in hand, and the bugs are eating you alive! Here are some Life Hacks to help with that! 

Garlic. Turns out that bugs and vampires have something in common! They both HATE the smell of garlic. Eat it, keep it around, roast it, throw it in the coals around the fire… whatever you have to do! 

However, if your Fall fire is supposed to be a little more romantic, garlic might not be your best option! Let’s get a little sweeter! Vanilla is another smell that is a good bug repellent.  Just drip a few drops in some water and wear it like cologne. Not only will you smell great, but you’ll also repel bugs as well! 

Signature Cocktails Stir Up Menu Options

Bartender Peter Souch IV, makes a Hunters Cocktail at the Saint Lawrence Spirits Chateau.

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“Hands, Pans, Flames and Heart”

St. Lawrence Spirits Chateau executive chef Christian Ives poses in the dining room of the restaurant.

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Thousands flock to weekend Craft, Food & Wine Show in Potsdam

JASON HUNTER / WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES Barbara Briggs Ward, an author from Ogdensburg, talks to people at her booth Saturday during the 2016 Craft, Food & Wine Show at Clarkson University’s Cheel Arena in Potsdam.

Barbara Briggs Ward, an author from Ogdensburg, talks to people at her booth Saturday during the 2016 Craft, Food & Wine Show at Clarkson University’s Cheel Arena in Potsdam.


Clarkson University’s Cheel Campus Center was the perfect venue for this weekend’s annual Craft, Food & Wine Show, as patrons inside the event seemed oblivious to the wet, windy conditions taking place outdoors.

As a cold autumn rain blanketed Potsdam throughout most of the day on Saturday, thousands of people ignored the conditions to flock to Clarkson’s Cheel Arena complex to check out the goods being offered inside by 120 regional artisans and entrepreneurs.

The annual craft and food show opened at noon Friday, and St. Lawrence Chamber of Commerce officials said at closing on the first day 1,600 people had come through the doors.

Saturday the venue opened at 9 a.m., and a similar-sized stream of people kept the arena bustling with activity as visitors escaped the rain to shop, mingle with friends and make new connections.

Ruth McWilliams, who along with her husband, Joseph, owns and operates the 379-acre Catamount Lodge in the Adirondack Park in South Colton, said the annual Cheel craft event provides an important opportunity for her to introduce the lodge to people from outside the region.

“This gives us a chance to promote the lodge as a local business,” Mrs. McWilliams said.

“We have people who come from Rochester and Syracuse and we used to have a family that came from as far away as the Carolinas to stay.”

She said the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Craft, Food & Wine Show also gives her a chance to sell an assortment of hardwood stools made from maple and cherry trees harvested on their land.

The wood is cut into lumber and kiln-dried before it is trucked to Amish families in the Heuvelton area to be crafted into furniture.

While Mrs. McWilliams used the craft show Saturday to introduce people from outside the region to her Adirondack Mountain retreat, another husband and wife business couple were using the event to introduce north country residents to their family business in the Catskill Mountains.

George A. and Theresa W. Olsen are the proprietors of GTO Woodturning in Richmondville. The town is in Schoharie County, and Mr. Olsen is an artisan who uses regionally harvested wood to create lathe-turned kitchen items and tableware. Items on display Saturday included salt and pepper shakers, coffee grinders and bowls.

Mrs. Olsen said the trip from Schoharie County to St. Lawrence County is a long one, but the craft show in Potsdam helps give her husband’s work additional exposure and an opportunity to introduce shoppers to their online website. She said the couple routinely goes to about 20 craft shows a year.

“The people are very friendly up here,” Mrs. Olsen said. “It’s a long ride but it’s well worth the trip. We get to meet new people and we already have gotten some repeat customers.”

Chamber of Commerce officials said the annual craft and food show at the Cheel Arena typically draws as many as 4,000 people a year.

This year’s show is sponsored by United Helpers Inc. and St. Lawrence NYSARC.

Drink in a bountiful fall harvest

A rainbow appears above the vineyard at Coyote Moon Winery, Clayton.

A rainbow appears above the vineyard at Coyote Moon Winery, Clayton.

Northern New York wineries share ‘labor of love’ with communities

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The sweet success of local wines: New York state varieties are changing the world

Kris Allen with a selection of New York State wines at her Watertown store. Photo by Norm Johnston/NNY Living.

Drinking a glass of wine is a fun and relaxing experience, whether with a meal or sitting on the front porch during a warm spring evening. While picking the right wine can be unnecessarily intimidating, everyone’s taste is as unique as their fingerprint and no one is right or wrong when choosing the type of wine they prefer.

Traditional wine offerings have been categorized as semi-sweet, sweet, dry or semi-dry; however, sweet wines are becoming more popular while at the same time reigning in new wine lovers. It is so exciting to be a part of the wine industry today. The influx of people trying wine is great to see.

Twenty years ago, New York boasted only 54 wineries, most of which were in the Finger Lakes region. Today there are more than 330, which is one reason why New York has evolved into one of the largest players in the wine world and a leading producer of sweet wines.

Due to its micro-growing climates, New York wineries have produced soft, sweet, fruity wines for years. It’s amazing to watch now that the rest of the world is jumping on the bandwagon and offering a sweet alternative to the masses. As this trend continues, it’s exciting to see that consuming wine is no longer for the experienced, but the novice wine drinker can now feel comfortable exploring new territories. Here are a few of my favorite selections from some local wineries. [Read more…]

Local wines, liquor and beer on the way

The Clayton Distillery, located in a new 2,560-square-foot facility at 40164 Route 12, opened on April 1. Owned by Michael L. Aubertine, who engineered and led the construction of the micro-distillery, broke ground for the project in July. The distillery will produce vodka, gin, limoncello and what Mr. Aubertine calls moonshine, a bourbon that has not been aged. Mr. Aubertine will set aside barrels of bourbon to age at least three years before they’re sold. [Read more…]

For the love of all good wines

A handful of blended reds will impress any sweetheart

Mary Miles, owner of Arsenal Wine and Liquor.

Even the most particular wine consumers can be a little overwhelmed when presented with the many choices offered at any wine store. Much like a kid in a candy store, the selections can be exciting at first but overwhelming when trying to match one’s personal preference. Trying to determine what wines will be most pleasing by pairing what we know about wine with what most appeals to the taste buds is the best way to not overwhelm. Simply put, the wine world consists of two types of consumers: those who are seeking a sweet and fruity flavor and those who desire a drier, more subtle experience. [Read more…]

JCC winery marketing and management concentration approved

Students at Jefferson Community College finally can join a degree program to fuel their oenophilia.

The college’s winery marketing and management concentration for the hospitality and tourism associate degree was approved by the state Education Department just in time for the spring semester. [Read more…]

Holiday wine pairing made easy

Palate-pleasing picks that won’t break the bank

Jenny Walker

“Good wine, good food, good company – life’s most civilized pleasures.” – Michael Broadbent

With the holidays quickly approaching, we will all be doing our fair share of entertaining and socializing. Whether it’s a grand Thanksgiving Day feast, a jazzy cocktail party or a simple evening with friends, why not feel like a pro when guests are over and break out one of these no-fail wines that retail for less than $25.

So, you’re invited to Thanksgiving dinner complete with all the trimmings. Here are three suggestions that are sure to please your hosts. Two of them are produced in the Finger Lakes region, just a few hours from the north country. Ravines Dry Riesling from Keuka Lake is a well-done and masterfully balanced Riesling that screams to be paired with poultry. A truly dry and intensely mineral Riesling that is lip-smacking good.

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