Thursday, February 11, 2016

Painting to Relax with Muse Paintbar

Last night, I picked up a couple of friends, hit the road to Muse Paintbar at Assembly Row Somerville, MA and painted a snowy love themed scene. It was hip, there was wine and I was able to get my husband something for Valentine's Day that wasn't a gift certificate to a craft beer store or Steam (think video games). I won't lie, I have been to similar experiences before and left with similar results (a fun night out with friends and a painting I created myself) but maybe it was the location, the fact that I had space to work (high top table FTW), the swoonworthy instructor (he had great shoes and chatted Mandy Moore OK?!) and a pretty decent selection of drinks that helped make Muse different from the rest.


The session was collaborative, everyone was super complimentary of one another and the music was super spot on for the crowd! They have locations all over the Northeast from Maine all the way to New York so if you're up where it's cold and snowy, there's likely an event to keep you busy for the next few months... while we wait for the weather to become more reasonable, obviously! Check out the events calendar at a location near you. Plus, if you're looking for something to do with your honey this weekend? I hear that they have some cool couple's events going on at the MA locations. Here's the deets:


Muse Paintbar is hosting Couples’ Nights from February 12-14th in honor of Valentine's Day and making for a fun, interactive date.Couples create their own paintings with step-by-step instruction from a local artist all while enjoying a menu of wine, beer, and small bites. Each person receives a canvas to paint, and upon completion of their painting, their canvas will form a larger piece of art when positioned next to their date’s.

WHEN: Muse Paintbar is offering Couples’ Nights from Friday February 12 through Sunday February 14, 2016. Muse offers multiple sessions throughout the day and evening. All evening sessions on Saturday, February 13th include a glass of Prosecco. COST: $35-$55; www.musepaintbar.comWHERE: Muse Paintbar's has four Massachusetts locations: a newly opened location at Assembly Row (461 Artisan Way, Somerville), a newly opened location at MarketStreet Lynnfield (600 Market St, Lynnfield),  Hingham Shipyard (15 Shipyard Dr 1C, Hingham),and Patriot Place (217 Patriot Pl, Foxborough)


*My friends and I were able to paint for free but these opinions? Yep, they are still 100% my own.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

UncommonGoods


Uncommongoods recently contacted me to introduce me to their site, an as an avid internet user, I was surprised that I had missed one that is so cool with such interesting offerings. The site is basically a "community" of artisans with a lot of different stories, creating a ton of different things (jewelry, gifts, art, beauty products + more) and what's also cool is that they seem to have customers that love what they are doing, come back for more, supporting the community, therein becoming a part of the community. Was that confusing? Well, it shouldn't be. There's a lot of love for the products on Uncommongoods... and you can add me to the list of people who love what's happening.

I knew that I was looking for a new necklace, perhaps something with mixed metals. I perused the site and happened upon the jewelry handcrafted by Kathy Bransfield. To say that I was instantly in love would be an understatement. Her Protection Hamsa Necklace spoke to me and Uncommongoods helped bring a little of this artist into my life. The necklace is gorgeous and the compliments have been pouring in non-stop. I looked into the rest of her jewelry and it's just so special. You can officially add the Children are the Anchor Necklace to my Mother's Day Wish List. It's miniature perfection.

So here is what I think about uncommongoods. It's awesome because I feel like I can connect with an actual maker rather than buy something from a store, never knowing who put it together. You can read people's stories and sort of make a connection. It's kind of like UG introduced me to a new friend of sorts, a new favorite jewelry designer. So UG if you're reading this, please tell Kathy she's like my new fave and if she ever wants to collaborate on a meditation piece, I'm just putting that out there, Amanda is up for the challenge! ;-)

*uncommongoods provided me with the Protection Hamsa Necklace for review purposes but all opinions are 100% my own.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Skincando Review


I think it was when I first visited Follain in Boston's South End that I received a sample of the Skincando Combat-Ready Balm. Being a blogger, I'll be honest. I receive samples for a lot of different things so for a product to stand out, it does mean something. The Combat-Ready Balm really did make an impact in our home over the last Winter where 6 feet of snow "blanketed" our sweet New England region and now that it's Winter again, I have found myself digging for that sweet relief for my cracked + dry hands. While our Winter has been MUCH milder this year, the air is certainly different and our skin reacts to it, no doubt. You know, if you read up on the Combat-Ready Balm it was originally used by soldiers in harsh regions to help relieve severe dryness, eczema, chafing, scars, bug bites, burns and so much more. It's the kind of salve that you want to have on hand, and literally, on your hands, because it's the real deal.


I really hadn't done much research on what else Skincando offered because I am starting to get settled into the green beauty products in my regimen but I just recently received some of the Skincando Luxe line and gave it the good old college try. I replaced my normal moisturizer with the miracle cream and have to say that with the colder weather, and the subsequent drier skin, it paired nicely with my face oil and absorbed quickly. A little goes a long way so even a light layer kept my skin moisturized all day without feeling greasy. On those days where it was just oil and miracle cream, my face felt good. On the days when I wore this combo under my makeup, it held up nicely and didn't complicate my normal routine of getting dolled up aka evening out my skin tone with something lightly tinted.

The eye balm, well, I don't currently use an eye balm but I am pushing 34, oh wow, yeah so maybe I should be looking into this in more detail? The Skincando luxe eye balm is very similar to the miracle cream in consistency and how it wears on the skin. The balm has green tea and lemon grass essential oils but is not heavily scented, which is a major pro in my book. I'm going to continue using the eye balm and will start looking at those fine lines and wrinkles a little closer to see if there are any results. Both the miracle cream and eye balm are handmade to order, so it's a very personal process that I admire. My friends and I are always talking about authenticity and where you spend your money is like casting a vote, and you want your vote to count.


The products are legitimate and in the very least, the combat balm will earn it's spot in your battalion but bonus for people who like brands that give back and want to make the world around them better, Skincando's founder, Sara Damelio created Operation Sand Flea, a means of donating the combat ready balm to troops overseas, which can soothe flea bites, sunburn and dry skin all at once. It's how the combat balm came to be and it's how Sara and her team are giving back. It's really special and I love when a line has a story like this. I can get behind a brand where I respect the people and love the products. Skincando has found a place in my beauty cabinet and that is not a lie. I can't wait to snag a jar of the Combat Balm especially for kids, since, well, I have one!

You can find Skincando on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. If you're local, pick up the combat balm at Follain or visit the Skincando site for your goodies.
*Skincando provided samples but all opinions are 100% my own + I will spend my own money on future Skincando purchases.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Alice's Table at The Pop Up



This past week, I was once again blessed with the opportunity to friggin' get my flower arranging on with Alice's Table. You know I love The Street in Chestnut Hill, so the fact that Alice's Table is taking up residence in The Pop-Up until February 16th, well, that made this Mama very happy. Alice invited some local bloggers to check out the space and learn how to arrange some garden roses with eucalyptus and wax flowers and more! It's really easy (and fun) when you're hanging with your girls making pretty things. You might remember my Thanksgiving arrangement but this was a different set up and with girls I knew/could chat it up with (I mean, Miley and Liam are back together!). There are so many great opportunities to learn the art of flower arranging, not just at The Street but at events that Alice's Table has coming up (umm hello, Jonathan Adler!)



It was so great to see some fellow bloggers and compare our creations. Even though we used the same "ingredients", we still managed to create different arrangements. It was just a cool experience. So great to see Emily of Shell Chic'd, Annie of Once Upon a Plate, Jenna of Boston Chic Party, Meghan of Surviving the Suburbs, Jessica of Champagne Thursday, Kerri of Haven Way + Descriptive Apparel, one half of Slow it Down Girl and  Lindsey of Oh Buoy Boston!

If you're looking for a new night out with the girls (or even guys), I can't recommend Alice's Table enough. The gals are friendly, helpful and don't mind you gabbing. The atmosphere is fun and you actually learn flower arranging skills that you can use on future, at home creations. Doesn't my arrangement look masterful? That could be you, too!



Thursday, January 28, 2016



We only recently started getting snow here in the Northeast. It was sort of a blessing until we were all like, snow and cold, what is happening?! Well, here in the Propah household we like to make the best of things, even a snow day at home with the boys. Wayfair.com asked me to share with you a "Snow Day" activity that keeps things SPECTACULAR! You gotta keep kiddos + dogs + husbands alike busy on a snow day and what better way to do that then by baking cookies and then feeding them? Not only does food speak to the soul but the work you put into it is greatly appreciated! This vegan oatmeal cookie, with cranberries and walnuts, is a little more time consuming of a recipe and has some specialty ingredients but totally worth it in the end. We love it because #1 it is delicious #2 it covers some bases when baking for friends with dietary restrictions and #3 it is delicious.  I really like Veganbaking.net for some amazing tips and recipes if this is the type of thing that interests you. This recipe was tweaked from one of their's and it does NOT disappoint... so as the snow is falling, and the husband is clearing it, the babe and I get to baking! Note: If you're letting your kids help with the baking, wash those grubby little hands until they are squeaky clean!


Ingredients:

2 ½ Tablespoons golden flax meal (an egg replacer)
6 Tablespoons water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1-2 pinches cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) Earth Balance margarine, room temp
1-3 teaspoons vanilla, almond or orange extract, I've use them all and all are great!
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)



Preheat your oven to 400F (204C). Mix the flax and water in a small bowl and let it gel up.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a medium mixing bowl.


Beat the Earth Balance in a separate medium mixing bowl until softened. Beat in the flax meal mixture until well combined and then add your vanilla/almond extract then adding the sugar. Mix in the flour with a rubber spatula then mix on low for 5 seconds. The batter will be thick and believe me when I say that this is where the muscles come in unless you plan to use a counter top mixer, which isn't completely necessary.


Stir in the oats, cranberries and pecans. In my opinion, just wash your hands really well and dig in to get everything combined really well. It's the quickest way to reach your end goal, delicious cookies!




Drop by the rounded Tablespoon onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, roll into balls and place 2 inches apart. If you have extra dough, try to keep it cool between batches. Bake for 11 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure to watch your sheets just in case as the parchment paper will eventually start burning if left baking too long. Cool the cookies on their sheets for 1 to 2 minutes then transfer to cookie racks and cool completely. This recipe makes 15 to 20 Vegan Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies which are great as a snack, for breakfast or well, anytime really... especially a snow day!