Archive | November, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

28 Nov

fruit wreath

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! It’s early here but the energy is already buzzing as we wrap up final touches on pies and pack up our car in preparation to head to my family’s to celebrate. I posted here and here on the subject of gratitude and giving back but wanted to take a moment to say thank you to YOU, my readers.

Thank you for inspiring me to keep this up. For the encouragement, the feedback, the comments and cheer-leading; the pinning and tweeting and being the most uplifting supporters of my creative endeavors. I’m so blessed!

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving, from my family to yours.

Gift Guide: Ideas for City Commuters

27 Nov

2013 holiday gift ideas for commuters
/kindle/ starbucks/umbrella/honest company hand sanitizer/kind granola bars/coach/lumosity app/hunter boots/ray bans

When I used to commute into Boston for work, I quickly learned how much traveling on your own steam stinks when you’re not prepared! With the holidays approaching I thought I’d share what I learned about “commuting essentials” for the city in case you want to indulge the commuter in your life!

Sturdy bag – I prefer something that carries like a tote so I’m not destroying my back, but with long-enough handles that I could (in a pinch) toss it over my shoulder.  This Coach Legacy tote is so roomy and absolutely stunning with it’s chic metallic accent. The leather can handle wear and tear and will only improve as it ages. I bet it would look pretty with a simple personalization of one or two initials.

Umbrella – A must-have. I’d splurge on something that is super sturdy and reinforced like Iron Man, but still shows some personality. Obviously stripes are my go-to.

Hand Sanitizer – Germaphobia is out of hand today, but I’ll  begrudgingly admit that this is useful in place like porta-potties. And on public transit. This one by Jessica Alba’s company (the Honest Company) is my favorite.

Headphones – For music and emergency situations, like when you overhear someone talking about Dexter and you’re still 3 seasons behind. I can never have too many, but a nice noise-cancelling pair might be a nice splurge item for a commuter.

Sturdy travel mug – A must for others like me who can’t function without coffee or tea in the morning. Aluminum will keep drinks toasty longer and spill-proof lids allow for a safer commute—and let you toss in your bag if needed. I prefer mugs with handles personally. I think a Starbucks gift-card is a nice add-on. Who doesn’t love red cups?!

Portable snacks – Granola bars, trail mix, and nuts won’t disintegrate in a bag packed with a laptop. My health-guru friend Karen of Find Your Beet introduced me to these Kind granola bars and I love them. They’re a little pricey, so they make a perfect gift-able treat.

Re-fillable water bottle – I love my Camelbak beyond measure. If water temperature matters to you, consider an insulated one or something with a freezable core.

Reading Material – I pride myself on always having something to read. I can fall back to just playing on my phone in a pinch, but with options like the Kindle or the Nook today, not to mention good-old-fashion books, magazines and newspapers, there is no excuse to not take a respite from 24/7 tech and improve your mind. On that note…

Lumosity App Subscription – If you know an iPhone fanatic keen on keeping his or her mind agile, gift them this app used by over 40 million people worldwide to train their brains with personalized memory, attention, and brain performance exercises.

Rain boots – The misery of poorly chosen footwear during a downpour can’t be exaggerated. I’d have been overjoyed to receive an honest-to-goodness pair of quality rain boots in a subdued but different color, like these hunter green ones. Honestly, who thinks to buy themselves rain boots? I’ll tell you. It took me YEARS. (And I live in New England.) Still one of the best purchases I ever made. And they’re useful year-round. I wore some pumpkin picking this fall, to muddy summer festivals, and they’re always handy in the garden.

Sunglasses – They hide a multitude of sins. Throwing a pair on helps you look pulled together before you’ve even had a sip of coffee and I’m all about protection from skin-damaging rays. I can’t bring myself to splurge on a really nice pair (anything over $25), but slipping on a sweet pair of shades as I head off to work would be a nice indulgence each morning I’m sure. 

 

How To: Rosemary, Vanilla, + Lemon Holiday Home Fragrance

25 Nov

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One of the most important things to me as a host is making sure guests feel welcome and comfortable in my home. With the holidays approaching, this means I’ve been thinking more about parties, food and drinks, and decor — not to mention the urgent need to really “deep clean” our place so we’re ready for entertaining!

I’m usually careful about avoiding overly perfume-y candles because tastes differ and the last thing I’d want is to drive friends and family out the door for air because of an ill-chosen scent. So I was excited to re-create this delicious-smelling home fragrance inspired by the gourmet cookware and foods store, Williams Sonoma. It’s homey and delicious. I simmered it on my stove all afternoon while I organized our kitchen pantry yesterday and am officially obsessed. I kept making excuses to leave the kitchen just so I could re-set my senses and enjoy the delicate rosemary, vanilla, and lemon all over again upon return. You have to try it.

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DIY Williams Sonoma-inspired Home Fragrance
{ rosemary + lemon + vanilla }

You’ll Need

1 lemon, sliced in rounds
2-3 sprigs (stems) of rosemary
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
small saucepan 1/2-filled with water

Directions

– Smash the rosemary a bit to release some of the fragrance
– Dump everything into the filled sauce pan and bring to a boil on the stove
– Reduce heat to low (no bubbles)
– Add water to the pan as needed; you don’t want to smell burned lemons + rosemary, trust me!

* Tips *

– Plan to start this about 1 hour before company arrives so fragrance has time to develop.
– Play around with the ingredients per your tastes. Orange slices, cinnamon sticks, sage and a few drops of almond extract is one combination I’m excited to try for Thanksgiving.