May’s Wish List

My Wish List

Friends… only 20 days till Christmas Eve! As I sit here wrapping gifts for those nearest and dearest to me I realize I should probably shed a little light on what this island girl is hoping for this year. I have been told I am quite difficult to shop for so hopefully this list will help.

– I am in desperate need of this closet staple.

– Because I really can never have too many bags. I love this one, this one, and this one too.

– I have a few more spots to fill on my bedroom gallery wall. Think this piece would be just perfect.

– I hope to entertain lots in the new year so a few new Jill Rosenwald pieces would be a lovely gift under the tree. I like this cocktail tray, this sugar and creamer set and I would die to open up this yellow caviar tray!

– You might be shocked to know that will all my cooking and baking, I don’t own an apron. Think this one from Anthropologie should be my first.

– I finally had to retire my favorite cozy black sweater this year after many good years. When I saw this one from Emerson Fry, I knew I found the perfect replacement.

– I think the best gifts to receive are those that help others. Love the gifts of compassions from ABC Home.

But if I’m really honest, all I really want this holiday season is to spend time with my dear family and friends and perhaps a certain someone special. Here’s hoping!

An Island Holiday

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I know I am biased but there is no better place to celebrate Thanksgiving than Nantucket and you know what, the Vice President thinks so too! I have only missed two in my entire life. This year, with my parents being out in California, my sister and I decided to host our very first Thanksgiving dinner at our family home and what a day it was. The prep started Wednesday with Michelle mastering the art of baking a pie. After getting home from the shop, I took to the kitchen to make my Aunt’s delicious cranberry mousse and apple butter for my sister Marie’s Thanksgiving brunch (and checked another two items off the fall bucket list). Check out the recipes below.

While waiting for the apple butter to bake, I turned to our tablescape. I knew I wanted to incorporate the collection of beautiful gourds in yellows and greens I purchased at Bartlett’s Farm so decided on a purple, yellow and celdaon green color palette. I placed my favorite John Robshaw table-cloth on the table with our Simon Pearce belmont dinning plates and my “only for special occasion” Kim Seybert napkins. I have these fantastic yellow bud vases for Bodega that I turned into candle holders for our green tapers. Feeling a bit DIY, I made place cards and the menu from old Rifle Paper pieces I had on hand. We made little wreaths from rosemary and Michelle added a personal touch by writing each of our guests a little note letting them know we were thankful for them. I just loved the way it all came together.

I was a bit hesitant to handle the actual bird… 16 pounds and all. I guess I know why I call myself a selectarian (raw meat totally squimishes me out). Luckily I had some help and got the bird cleaned, filled the cavity with oranges, lemons, garlic, thyme and onions and put her in the oven. I used Ina’s recipe as a guide cause really, the Barefoot Contessa has never failed me.

My absolute favorite sides with my Thanksgiving meal have always been stuffing and butternut squash so I knew I wanted to try something different. I had seen a picture on Pinterest for a butternut squash bread pudding with leeks and prosciutto and I knew that was the winner. Absolutely sinful (2 1/2 cups of half and half) but well worth it. For the stuffing, the verdict was in that sausage is a must so once again I turned to Smitten Kitchen to be my guide. Add in some roasted carrots and brussels sprouts, mashed new potatoes and a kale salad with roasted acorn squash, pomegranate seeds and a Dijon cider vinaigrette and we had ourselves a feast.

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Hope you all enjoyed a lovely day with your friends and family. And now for those recipes!

Auntie Deb’s Cranberry Mousse
– 1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple
– 2 3 oz. packages of raspberry gelatin
– 1 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries (Nantucket has one of the largest bogs on the east coast)
– 1 large navel orange
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 cup sour cream

Directions
1. Open pineapple and drain liquid. Reserve 1 cup of juice.
2. Bring pineapple juice to a boil and stir in gelatin until dissolved.
3. In food processor, chop cranberries, sliced unpeeled orange and sugar to make a relish.
4. Combine relish and pineapple with gelatin in large bowl. Chill 1/2 hour, or until slightly thick.
5. Fold in sour cream and pour into a 2 quart mold. Chill until firm.
6. Unmold onto a serving plate.

* I should note I couldn’t find a mold so just poured into a large serving dish. Not as pretty as my aunt does but let me tell you, this cranberry mousse brings a leftover turkey sandwich to a whole new level.

Apple Butter
– 4 pounds assorted apples, peeled and chopped
– 2 cups apple cider
– 1 cup packed light brown sugar
– pinch of salt
– 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
– 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
– 1 tsp. vanilla extract
– pinch of ground clove

Directions
1. Preheat over to 250 degrees.
2. Combines the apples, apple cider, brown sugar and salt in a dutch oven (I’m obsessed with my Le Creuset) over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook until apples are soft, about 20 minutes.
3. Remove apples from the heat and stir in lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla extract and cloves.
4. Puree the mixture in a blender in batches until smooth.
5. Return the mixture to dutch over and bake uncovered, stirring every 30 minutes. The total cook time is about 3 hours. The mixture will become thick and a deep amber color.
6. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Transfer to n airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

* My sister Michelle used the remaining apple butter on Saturday night when she hosted friends for turkey soup. She spread it over brie, wrapped it in her pie crust and baked. Absolutely delicious!

Gratitude

Gratitude
Indeed. I am so very grateful, and especially on this day of thanksgiving. And thus, first and foremost, I want to say thanks to all of you out there who read this little blog and let me share my life with you. Your comments, words of encouragement, actually clicking a link to read a story… still blown away by it all.

One of the things I value most in my writing is the actual act of putting pen to paper. For once the written word is down, it can never be erased. I believe it was Hemingway who wrote “write hard and clear about what hurts.” Well, today I am not going to write about what hurts but instead write hard and clear about what I am most grateful for. And there is so much.

My sisters – Megan, Marie and Michelle. Since returning to the island, I have come to realize that we are viewed as a package deal… The Soverino sisters. What a force to be reckoned with we are. And while I know we are all so different in how we view and approach this life, I want you to know that I am who I am today because of you. I can’t imagine life without you.

My brothers (from another mother) – Todd, Travis, Connor and Will. All I ever wanted as a little girl was a brother. And then, life brought me four. You have set the standard for what a man should be in my eyes. You guys are the best. And Will, thanks for looking down on me. I feel your presence always.

Nantucket – My sweet island. We have always had this push/pull relationship. Thank you for wrapping me up in your beauty and tranquility this past year and nurturing me through this year of discernment. And if I should leave you again, know you are always home and I am so very grateful for that.

My grandparents – Later on today, I will be enjoying dessert with my dear grandparents, Gladys and Malcolm, two of the sweetest people you will ever meet. Just last month, they celebrated 68 years together as husband and wife. Can you believe it?! My grandfather is known around town for always having a plentiful stash of lifesavers in his pocket to share and my grandmother keeps everyone at the nursing home on their toes with her laughter and charm. You both are a testament to all that is good in this world and have taught me that life really is about the simple things. So grateful to still be able to share these holidays with you both.

My friends – I began to list you all out by name but then realized that would probably bore my readers so I hope you know who you are. From San Diego to Germany, I am blessed to know some of the greatest people who walk this earth. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for always being there for me and making me laugh when I need it.

My little people – My sweet nephews, god-daughter, friends’ little ones… you all have returned my childhood innocence to me. Playing Candyland, or dolls, or riding bikes together, life really is sweet through your eyes.

New beginnings – We have all had them… ups and downs and moments where we think we can’t go any further. But then, the universe opens herself up and reveals a new beginning and you can’t imagine your life being any other way. These moments take my breath away and make me oh so thankful.

The little things – Dark chocolate with sea salt and almonds, a delicious latte with extra foam, a good book, my iPod, my Netflix account, the fast ferry, the slow ferry, my Volvo, a cozy sweater, my kitchen knife, my cookbook collection, my passport, an afternoon movie at Kendall theatre, Flour bakery, macaroons from Miette… the little things in life that warm my heart.

I hope you enjoy this day surrounded by the ones you love. And remember “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” Wise words indeed, President Kennedy.

Holiday Gift Guide – For the Men we Love

Holiday Gift Guide - Men
From brothers to fathers to the one who makes your heart melt, I hope my picks will be well received under the tree.

– A new watch… so they always know it’s time to come home!

– A cozy sweater that you might just be able to steal.

– A man in driving mocs certainly makes this girl’s heart melt.

– A crisp new button-down.

– Just a few grooming essentials… shaving cream; after shaving balm; deodorant; and moisturizer of course.

– New whiskey glasses and whiskey stones for his bar.

– Cause really, what man doesn’t love to grill.

Holiday Gift Guide – For the Stocking

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Cozy flannel pj’s, wool socks, Bing Crosby on repeat and my stocking… one of my favorite childhood memories. I just love the thought that goes into finding those perfect little gifts for the ones you love. Here are just a few of my stocking picks…

– Made in Japan, this little blue tray made from a real piece of hand-spun linen is the perfect catch-all for a desk, dresser or bathroom vanity.
Reusable straws for the bar. Why yes!
– Happy New Year means a new calendar.
– O-Check, a Korean based paper company, makes some of the coolest paper products I have seen. Wouldn’t it be great to get this recipe notebook filled with new recipes to try throughout the year?
– These zodiac notepads from Anthropologie may just be my top pick for the stocking.
– Cold weather means chapped hands so a nourishing hand cream is always a good idea.
– And really, who doesn’t love hot chocolate!

Holiday Gift Guide – For the Little Ones

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I love, love, LOVE shopping for the little ones in my life. My nephews, my sweet little H, the newest additions to my wonderful family of friends. I just can’t get enough. This was a hard list to narrow down but here are the best of the best in my opinion. Hope you agree.

For the Worldly OneThis elephant handcrafted in Nairobi using recycled flip-flops will not only add a pop of color to a child’s room but will spark of love of adventure and travel to distant lands.

For the Inquisitive One – I have always loved wooden blocks. They were always my favorite as a little girl. These USA Blocks, handcrafted in Michigan, not only provide an educational tool for your little one to learn about the 50 states of the good old US of A but will also make a beautiful family heirloom.

For the Book Worm The World According To… When I first saw this book on Pottery Barn Kids I thought… brilliant! First you will receive a gift box complete with markers and questions to ask your little one about his friends and relatives, favorite toys and more. Once this step is complete, simply mail the drawings and interview answers in the return envelope.
The pages will be printed, bound and mailed back to you as a completed book, making a fun read now and a treasured keepsake in years to come. Doesn’t get much better in my book!

For the Future Builder/Decorator – A few years ago I was so excited to give my little nephews a teepee but then I saw this and said to myself, now the ante has been raised. I could live in this thing for sure.

For the AdventurerA sled. Because really aren’t we all hoping for a white Christmas!

Holiday Gift Guide – For the Ladies

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Less than 40 days… yikes! To help ease the stress that comes with the holidays, I wanted to provide to you, my sweet readers, just a few ideas for the ladies in your life. Whether a sister, a mom, a girlfriend, or the love of your life, I promise you won’t fail with any of these under the tree.

– Rebecca Atwood came onto the scene earlier this year with an incredible line of hand painted pillows inspired by not only her current home in Brooklyn but her childhood on Cape Cod. This zip pouch is that perfect bag that can go day to night, can be used on its own or to hold all the loose ends in that oversized tote. And at $58, it won’t break the bank.

– Oh Fresh. I have been a fan for oh so long and each year, your holiday gift sets just keep getting better and better. My pick for 2013 is the Sugar Cherry Charms. Seaberry lotion, a roller perfume and the ever so addictive sugar lip balm for $32. Thanks Fresh.

– I don’t know about the women in your life but I for one can never have too many scarves. J.Crew knocked it out of the park with this one.

– What lady wouldn’t love a beautiful robe to wrap herself up in? Plum Pretty Sugar has so many choices but this one might just be my favorite.

– I truly believe you can never go wrong with giving a beautiful gift of paper and Kate Spade’s 2014 Agenda is a great gift for your A-type girlfriends (I think that is me in my group) or a beloved co-worker.

– For the gourmet in your life I just love this idea: a custom watercolor painting of a favorite family recipe. Now, I just need to figure out which recipe to use!

– But let’s be honest. The best gifts are those of quality time together so I’m always a huge fan of a trip away. That’s right boys, do a little planning. Some of my favorite romantic getaways include The White Barn Inn, The Woodstock Inn, and The Bedford Post Inn.

Holiday Cheer

holiday cards
One of my favorite ways to gear up for the holiday season is to find that perfect holiday card. My tradition began my first year of college, dare I say 1997. I remember that first year, my dear friend Tracy told me she had never seen a more beautiful card. I set quite a precedent so now must be sure that my card selection is just right. Here were a few contenders for this year:

Sugar Paper… need I say more!

– I just love the whimsical illustrations from Mr. Boddington.

– I know, I know. I always write about Rifle Paper but this 2-in-1 card is pure genius.

– Paper Source… where my addition to all things paper began. Thank you for still making beautiful cards like this one all these years later!

– 1 Canoe 2 and I were just recently introduced and I am grateful for that indeed. Loving nearly everyone of their holiday cards but this one takes first place.

– I was beyond impressed while perusing Minted’s website. So many choices and I love that you can customize the shape of your paper. I love this one and this one too.

So, which one made the cut for May’s 2013 card? You will just have to make sure I have your address on file to find out! Oh and the picture above, just a few of my favorite holiday cards I have received over the year. Notice the one on the bottom left… yes, that is from my very first Christmas from my sweet Grandpa Ben.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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Friends… can you believe we are just a few weeks away from Thanksgiving? You know what this means, Christmas is right around the corner! This week, I’m excited to share with you my holiday gift guides. To kick things off, my gifts for the hostess.

I was beyond honored when Kate from The Shopping Mama (and also my dear MHC sister) asked me to curate a list for her annual holiday gift guide. Do let me know what you think and also, if you need any gift help, know I’m here!