gifts that give

Looking for a way to give back this holiday season, while still checking off items on your shopping list?
Check out Gifts That Give.

You choose the charity,  then browse hundreds of gifts by well know designers and manufacturers.
When you purchase your item, $1 of every $5 goes directly to that charity.

Designers include Lilly Pulitzer, Johnathan Adler, Riedel, Tech Candy, and many, many more. Happy shopping!


L.A. Burdick

Chocoholics rejoice!

L.A. Burdick Chocolate Shop & Cafe in Walpole, NH has the most heavenly hot chocolate I've had to date (and chocolate is not something I consider lightly). It's a sign of my disease that I am even thinking about hot chocolate during a heat wave.

Walpole is located near the Vermont border so it's a hike from most places. The trip is definitely worth taking if you:

a) dine at their incredible restaurant while you're there
      (check out their menu)
b) need a unique gift for a chocolate lover
c) are a chocolate lover yourself who just deserves it

If you have time to (and let's face it, you probably do since you drove all the way out to Walpole for chocolate), the town is beautiful and worth taking a stroll through. There's a beautiful park and gazebo right around the corner that, if you ask me, just begs for a picnic.

L.A. Burdick does have two other stores, one in Cambridge, MA and the other in New York City. Though lacking the old town New Hampshire setting, I'm confident the chocolate there will not disappoint.

Bon appetit!


Can't say I love her fashion, but boy do I enjoy her music.


Sparkling Margaritas

Served this at my first book club meeting. It was a hit.

Sparkling Margaritas by Joanna Weir, compliments of Better Homes and Gardens

1 C blanco (white) tequila
2/3 C lime juice
1/3 C agave nectar (Check the natural isle at your local grocery store.)(In a pinch, you could substitute sugar, but you'll need to use a little bit more because agave is sweeter.)
sparkling wine or champagne (about 1 1/2 C)
lime peel strips or very thin lime slices

Combing half of the tequila, lime juice, and agave nectar in a cocktail shaker with lots of ice. Shake & strain into 3 glasses. Repeat, filling 6 glasses. Top each glass with sparkling wine. Garnish with lime.
Makes 6 servings, 188 calories, 0g fat, 1mg sodium, 1g fiber



A perfect trench

Ah, to be a princess.
The hat is (insert British accent here) quite lovely, but how gorgeous is that coat?
Anwar Hussein/ WireImage

Here's a version more suitable for those of us without royal connections........but with huge wallets.


Though I adore this Burberry trench, it's not realistic for a frugal New Englander like myself to spend that kind of money on a coat, so
let's go cheaper, shall we? 

OK, and cheaper still! Bow-tie Trench

Hopefully you've found something stylish to protect you from these gloomy rains.

I heart Coldplay

A new favorite:

quick rainy day workout

If you're not a flower, rain sucks.

Here's a three and a half minute workout you can do in your house when the rain foils your outdoor running plans. All you need is a set of stairs.

First, warm up (I do some of those Tracy Anderson webisodes from earlier posts).

1. Run up your stairs (single steps)
2. Do 10 jumping jacks
3. Run down the stairs (single steps-  so you won't trip and break something)
4. Repeat step 1.
5. Do 9 jumping jacks.
6. Repeat step 3.
7. Repeat step 1, then step 2 but reduce the number of jumping jacks each time. Repeat step 3.

*Do the whole cycle three times in a workout if you're feeling strong, but interweave circuits of sit ups and arm exercises.

You'll be tired. I promise.



Today we threw a sunflower tea for Sonya, our bride-to-be.

                       Got this idea from a fabulous blog- Hostess with the Mostess. Check it out!

Tea Tin Vases

What's a tea without scones?
We have the most fabulous baker on our staff who made this cake-- three of them actually. To DIE for!
Posted by Picasa


3 hoots for this baby shower

This is from one of my favorite blogs, Hostess with the Mostess. They've got loads of party themes and ideas for the creatively-minded. Enjoy!

Winter Owl Baby Shower 




Truffle butter orzo with broccoli & parmesan cheese.

Posted by Picasa



Voted Best Meal of the Trip!

by me.

If you're planning a trip to Orlando, I HIGHLY recommend dining at Kouzzina by Cat Cora. You foodies out there will recognize her as the only female iron chef. She's proved her status as far as I'm concerned.

What's funny is that we ended up dining at Kouzzina out of frustration at the ESPN club on Disney's Boardwalk. Kouzzina was the only restaurant there that didn't have a ridiculously long wait. Our impatience paid off (I guess that does happen every once and a while)!

Here's a link to the menu. I admit, we took one look (after we'd already been seated and ordered drinks so there was no turning back) and were overwhelmed. Don't be intimidated though. There are plenty of delicious dishes to try, even if you're not used to Greek food.

Naturally, booze was high on my list so, given the classy atmosphere, mom and I ordered the Sparkling Poinsettia - Domaine Spiropoulos Greek Sparkling Wine with a splash of PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur.

It was fabulous.

As was the Kouzzina Trio - Tasting size portions of Greek-style Lasagna, Char-grilled Lamb Burger (below), and Cinnamon-stewed Chicken with Orzo.

The portions were a perfect amount of food.

The setting isn't anything special, but it's open and clean and the service was very good. There's always a slight mark up for a Disney World location, but the food at Kouzzina made this place was surly worth it.


Planet Marshmallow

A coworker recently started a business making specialty marshmallows. As a designated taste-tester, I can attest that they are out of this world (okay that's lame, but it's true)! They killed it at the Made in N.H. expo but if you missed it, they are available both online and throughout southern N.H. Find them at The Meat House (see previous post) and Angela's Pasta & Cheese Shop among other places.

 Peanut Butter Swirl and Mint Chocolate Chip are my personal favorites but, seriously, every single flavor is delicious.

Check out their website for a unique gift or just a sweet treat for yourself. Hide the bag if you don't want to share... they'll go quick!
Planet Marshmallow.com 

New Flavor- Strawberry Lemonade!

Photos by yours truly! Check out their site for more!


Spicy Lettuce Wraps

Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Pea Puree
~A recipe by Erin~

(makes ~ 8 wraps)

cilantro-lime marinated turkey tips, sliced thinly
bib lettuce or lg. leaf lettuce
1/4 red pepper, diced (for garnish)
1/8 t mixed-up salt

Spicy Pea Puree:
1 C peas
~1/4 C olive oil
4 basil leaves
1/2 T Garlic Chili Sauce


Puree peas, basil leaves, and garlic chili sauce in a food processor, adding olive oil as blades spin. Set aside.
Dice red peper and mix in mixed up salt (or salt and pepper). Set aside.

Saute sliced, marinated turkey tips over medium heat until brown. Assemble turkey slices in center of lettuce leaf. Top with pea puree, then red pepper. Fold in from both ends and enjoy!
Posted by Picasa


Unruly Curls

This product is a life changer from the forehead up.

Moroccan Oil has transformed my frizzy, unruly curls into soft, shiny spirals. I'd recommend it for those without curly hair too though. It's does a number on the wallet, but it lasts a long time. (I'm still using the large bottle I bought last summer and I've got a least a few more months to go.)
I've heard that the shampoo is fabulous also. Magazines rave about this brand, and now I suppose I am too.

Cuteness Cure-all

If you're having a bad day, watch this. It's absolutely the cutest baby clip. Enjoy!


tea time

This is the most delicious tea.

Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice 

I am embarrassed to say that a dear friend (and self proclaimed "tea purist") made this same claim months ago and I ignored it on the grounds that I do not usually enjoy cinnamon flavored things. Who wants to chew hot & spicy gum for example? I mean, really?

Call it spring fever perhaps, but I rebelled against my inner instinct and went for something bold, something new and
- be it a bit dramatic-
it has changed my life.  Well, my mornings anyway.

It's not 'hot' spice wise (despite the name) and it has a surprisingly rich, sweet flavor instead. No sweetener needed. SO delicious.


sit ups anyone?

If you need some workout music that has a good beat but isn't techno and isn't too fast, here's some. Great for ab workouts.


This video is insane, but you'd just be listening anyways.

body fabulous

You may have heard of Tracy Anderson- she's the celebrity trainer for stars like Gweneth Paltrow. I have tried a whole bunch of Tracy's workouts and thought I'd share my favorites.

Below is a clip from people.com where she teaches some moves. They're all good, but at 1:16 she explains the double attitude lift, which is a super ab exercise.

Here is a fun arm exercise that you'll like if you are a dancer (even if you're a closeted one). It doesn't even feel like your working out. Warning: You will look stupid, so close the blinds.


Facebook Me

I finally saw The Social Network. The story was interesting and the acting was good. The neatest part was watching a social revolution play out before you that is still recent history.

Watch a clip from the movie


the bravery

I love The Bravery. Here's a song I can't stop listening to.


It annoys me that it's on the Eclipse soundtrack, but it's still a good song. Guess I can't blame them.

driving music

If you are looking for some driving music, I recommend Boy, by Ra Ra Riot.

It's uptempo but not cheesy, a little funky, and it's got some fun bass riffs in the middle. So I ask, how can it not lighten the mood? Suck it, traffic.


Kors commandments

In the latest issue of InStyle magazine, Michael Kors shares his style commandments.

Here they are, straight to you (well, sort of), the boiled-down version.

1) Don't dress to go with your age. Dress to go with your body.   See Helen Mirren.

2) Your cloths should be the same shape as you- don't hide behind them.     So many people break this one. Be proud of your shape and own it.

3) 3/4 length sleeves make your arms look longer and thinner.

4) Heels with a thin ankle strap slim your ankles.

 5) To be a "fashion editor" like Jackie Kennedy, focus on basic shapes, don't go crazy with pattern, and buy quality fabrics.   Kate seems to be channeling her inner "fashion editor."

6) Halter-tops and racerback tanks work for those with broad shoulders.

7) Stylish dressers play with opposites. Mix and match and it won't look like you overdid it.    Rachel Bilson does this like it's her job... well, it kind of is her job, seeing as she has a column in InStyle. Check out the leather jacket over a sundress. So chic.



If the snow is making your heart ache for someplace warmer, I'm with you. This is the time of year when I dream of warm waters, sun, and sailing. How timely that a friend of mine recently shared this fabulous fashion find that is perfect for just that kind of nautical setting.

These are totes from Sea Bags. They are classic, chic, and handmade bags made from recycled sails.

The totes made in Portland, ME and, although this idea of recycling sails is nothing new, this company gives back too. Not only does Sea Bags donate to SailMaine Scholarship for kids, but they're also working with Maine Cancer Foundation.

They make baby bags...
...and wine bags (not that I live the kind of lifestyle to make these a worthwhile purchase).

Or, you can even design your own.

Are they expensive? Yes.
Is it worth it? I think so. My inner shopper is telling me,
                    "Consider it an investment piece, both for your wardrobe and your attitude."


tables with style

Can you spot the stylish Oreo truffles below?
Well, they're not technically Oreo Truffles, but they sure do look like 'em! What better way to serve them at a party than this? I only wish I had seen this sooner.

This is from one of my favorite blogs, Hostess with the Mostess. It's a phenomenal resource for inspirational entertaining ideas. This particular photo is from a Damask New Years Eve theme. I could definitely see it being used for a birthday party or wedding shower too though.

The most exciting thing just may be that I happen to own this table cloth (the inspiration for the theme) and it only costs- get this- $15 at Homegoods.
It IS possible to entertain chic-ly and cheaply!