Love

Valentine's

For all you love birds out there, I wanted to share some of my favorite gifts to shower the one(s) you love with.

  • Art is always the way to my heart and this MAGIC neon sign is awesome!
  • Silky pj’s… yes please!
  • Pyrrha jewelry, handcrafted in Vancouver, will certainly score you some points. Their love collection is timeless.
  • A gift for everyday of the year. Gathered Truths.
  • You can never go wrong with a leather pouch. Especially this one from Cuyana’s partnership with my girl Garance Dore.

My girl and I are keeping it easy this year. A home cooked meal on Valentine’s Day followed by a morning at The Mandarin Spa.  Remember, that it really is the thought that counts when selecting a gift. As Van Gogh said “What is done in love is done well.”

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In the Kitchen

cookies of the world

This past Sunday, I was lucky enough to join a wonderful group of women at my friend’s charming South End shop for a cookie swap. And what fun we had. While searching for the perfect holiday cookie recipe, I came upon a Cookies of the World post on Food52 and decided on the homemade mint slices from Australia. I was sold on these as the author said these cookies are better than thin mints. I wasn’t sure such a thing existed!

The truth is in the pudding as these cookies were delicious and a huge hit not only at the cookie swap, but at my office and Kristen’s office. Do you need to bring a little something to a Christmas celebration, I suggest you try these!

Homemade Mint Slice Cookies

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

For the filling and the coating:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon coconut or vegetable oil {I used vegetable oil}

Directions

Cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl, add the egg, and continue beating until the egg is incorporated and the mixture lightens in color. Add the cocoa powder to the egg mixture and beat until there are no lumps. Finally, fold in the flour until it is all incorporated. You should expect the dough to be very soft.

Turn it out onto a piece of baking paper, roll it into a log about 1 1/2 inches thick, and wrap the dough. Place the log into the freezer to chill for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

When the dough is finished chilling, take it out of the freezer and slice it into 1/2-inch pieces; you should get about 20 rounds. Place the cookies onto the baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and leave them to cool completely on the baking sheets.

To make the mint filling, simply stir together the powdered sugar, the peppermint extract, and 1 tablespoon of water {I used a little more than 1 tablespoon and used my hands to incorporate}. Take a scant teaspoon of the mint filling and use it to top each cookie, patting and smoothing it with your fingers so that it covers the top but stops shy of the edge of the cookie.

To coat the cookies, melt the chocolates and vegetable oil in a metal bowl over boiling water {my version of a double broiler}. Make sure the water is not touching the metal bowl. Once the chocolate mixture has cooled slightly, dip each cookie in the chocolate, coating it completely. To speed up the process on my second batch, I just dipped just the tops of each cookie and let them set.

Once complete, make sure to store cookies in the fridge. This will help the chocolate harden as well.

Image Credit: Food52

My Wish List

My Wish List

Truth be told, I’m difficult to shop for. When I need something, I buy it for myself and I tend to have an eye for {not sure how to write this without sounding bad} expensive things. As the Turkish man in the markets told me, while trying to select a suzani in my price range, “you have very expensive taste lady.” It’s true. And I feel gauche asking for expensive things. I think that’s why I much prefer gifting. But, to help a few who have asked, here are a few items I’ve had my eyes on.

We are down to 32 days till the big day! How is your holiday shopping coming along?

Holiday Gift Guide – For the Stocking

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And as promised, my final holiday gift guide for the week: items for the stockings hung by the fire with care.

Have a wonderful weekend, sweet readers!

Holiday Gift Guide – For the Little Ones

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Happy Friday, y’all! I ran into a bit of a technical difficulty yesterday so today you are getting two gift guides. The first includes gift ideas for the little ones. Enjoy!

  • The Cartographer. My nephew Tucker is all about U.S. history, presidents and state trivia. We have had many a conversation around which states I have traveled to. This map from Land of Nod will keep him entertained for hours and help him track my travels. My favorite part is all the removable landmarks and state capital names.
  •  The Conductor. My nephew Casey is still in-love with all things Thomas. Fortunately, PBS has a wonderful assortment of Thomas gifts. I’m leaning towards the personalized nightlight and backpack, as Casey starts Kindergarten next fall.
  • The Builder{s}. My nephews Oliver and Simon live in Maine so I don’t get to visit with them as much as I would like. But when I do, I think we will have hours of fun with this block set!
  • The Star.  Anyone who has seen me lately knows I’m a little obsessed with my little niece Emma. I can’t get enough of her. This year, I am giving her this star chair, which matches the shape of the chairs I gave her brother on their second Christmas’.
  • The Scholar{s}. My goddaughter Henrietta loves a good book. A few of my favorites this year that I’ll be gifting include: The Day the Crayons Came Home, Dragons Love Tacos, Rosie Revere, Engineer, and Babar and Father Christmas.
  • The Sweet One. Our next door neighbor’s daughter loves blowing bubbles. We may just leave this set on the back porch for her!

 

Holiday Gift Guide – For the Gents

Holiday Gift Guide - Men

Happy Wednesday and welcome to Day 2 of my holiday gift guides. As promised, today’s list is focused on all things for the men we love.

  • The Mixologist. My brother Travis knows how to make a mean cocktail. To help with his efforts, I thought this 10-in-1 bar tool would come in mighty handy.
  • The Foodie. My brother Todd, on the other hand, knows how to make some killer BBQ. His pulled pork turned this vegetarian right around. This grilling bundle will be under the tree for him.
  • The Student. My brother Connor is completing his studies and so I thought the best gift for him would be a gift card to his favorite restaurant so he could have a date night with his lady. While I shy away from gift cards, sometimes they come in handy to those with limited funds. I did give him this set a few years back. I attribute it to helping him find his lady!
  • The Techie. While I don’t really have a brother who fits this category, I’m sure many of you do and I think this leather cord organizer might just be the perfect gift for the techie in your life. Come to think about it, this would be the perfect gift for my stepfather who is brilliant but sometimes a bit scattered.
  • The Minimalist. I have never known my father to carry a wallet. He typically has his card and money in a neat fold held together by an elastic. After all these years, I finally found the gift to help him upgrade.
  • The Metro. A piece of art and bottle opener? This gift might just make it onto my list.
  • The Workaholic. Working in the legal field for 10+ years, I’ve encountered many a workaholic. Should you have one of these in your life, I think this essential kit is a great gift to help them stay organized and perhaps be able to wrap up their day a bit sooner to get home to you.

I hope this list has provided some help for gift ideas for those crazy men in your life. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing gift ideas for the little people. What fun I’ve had pulling together ideas. Can’t wait to share!

Help

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Help! For the life of me, I can’t seem to pick out a holiday card this year. Might you be able to help? There are just so many choices. My favorites include:

Which one of these would you like to receive from me?

Picks

Easter Basket
Happy Friday! A week from today is Good Friday, which means you have exactly one week to get all the elements to create the perfect Easter basket. I don’t know about you, but I always love getting a bunch of little gifts no matter the holiday. Some practical, some funny, some delicious. My grandmother had a special talent for finding those little items that always came together and were so much fun to open. Inspired by her, I thought I would share my picks for an Easter basket that is sure to please those nearest and dearest to you.

First and foremost, you need a basket. I think this lunch box from the ever so talented Lulie Wallace will do the trick. And will certainly serve as a reminder to bring your lunch to the office and save a few extra bucks for your next getaway.

I am sure it comes as no surprise, but I have a sweet tooth. I’ve had to curb my addiction just a bit as I recently had my first cavity filled but I will allow myself to indulge for these holidays. My sweet picks include these candy bars from one of my new favorite sites Provisions, these sour gummy eggs and my all-time favorite mint candies that always remind me of my Nana.

I love introducing friends to new products or lines that I adore. A few that I know would be well received and fit the occasion perfectly include: a market pad from my all-time favorite stationary company, an egg-shaped soap from the one and only Fresh, my new favorite spring scent, and a travel book for one of my favorite cities.

I hope you have a lovely weekend and I look forward to seeing you back here next week!

A Little Love

Valentine
Valentine’s Day. Whatever your relationship status may be or feelings on this “hallmark” holiday, I think it’s important to show a little love, no matter the month. If you are in need of some inspiration, look no further. I have highlighted my favorite gifts that say I like you/I love you below.

– I don’t know about you, but I love to get a little something for the single ladies in my life on Valentine’s Day. I think this rain African heart soap from Terrain is just perfect.

– As I’ve mentioned in the past, I have a thing for sleepwear. My sweet pick and my sexy pick for your Valentine’s Day night.

– Why not write your love a letter. This little kit includes everything you need to create a gift that will last the test of time. The best gifts really are those that come right from the heart.

Love to Love You print… a great addition to any gallery wall in my humble opinion.

– What is it about women and jewelry? We somehow can never get enough. This sweet necklace from Sundance is a simple piece that could easily go from day to night and also won’t break the bank.

– As is custom with most good things, Clare Vivier began making bags in response to a need and that need was a lack of a functional yet fashionable laptop case. Since then, Claire has created a handbag line that has an almost cult following. Simple, chic, and oh-so French, Clare’s bags are sure to please your lady. And lucky for us, she has launched a love shop. The sweetheart clutch in red is my personal favorite.

Love potion. Why the heck not! An aromatic blend of ten of the world’s most potent aphrodisiac essential oils to stimulate the senses, heighten sensuality and immediately inspire an inner sense of beauty and confidence. I think I would use this everyday.

– Oh and how could I not include chocolate. The way to this lady’s heart is certainly through food.

And please do remember, I am always sending a little love and light to you!