Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Pop-Up Makery at The Street

I love to craft and learn new skills, you probably know that already. Being local to some wonderful lady makers has made learning those new skills easy peasy so you can imagine my excitement when I learned that the folks at The Street Chestnut Hill are taking their pop up space and bringing in the makers! The Pop-Up Makery, an event-driven space devoted to interactive classes and workshops, led by six of Boston’s most creative and locally grown brands: Alice’s Table, The Paint Bar, The Third Piece, Sip & Script, Niche and Artists for Humanity. Students will learn to master new skills, create beautiful works of art, or perfect existing talents through drop-in sessions and classes that cater to all levels. The Pop-Up Makery is open from February 24, 2017 through March 26, 2017 at 49 Boylston Street Chestnut Hill MA. From lessons in flower arranging to knitting to calligraphy to painting to cartooning, classes at The Pop-Up Makery include the following. Several classes are kid-friendly and each class welcomes all levels. I am thinking that I will need to sign up for a Niche terrarium class since I've already done multiple sessions with Alice's Table, The Third Piece and just recently took part in a Sip and Script evening!

Floral Arrangements with Alice’s Table: Learn how to make beautiful floral arrangements with this lifestyle brand that empowers women to live the joyous life. Class includes an apron, vase and all florals. 
www.alicestable.com; Instagram: @alicestable

Painting with The Paint Bar: Pairing paint brushes with social soirees, The Paint Bar brings out the artist in everyone with step-by-step instruction for all ages. Classes will range from those suited for adults to mommy and me to kid-friendly fun. All include a canvas, acrylic paint, brushes, easels, and apron.
www.thepaintbar.com; Instagram: @thepaintbar

Calligraphy with Sip & Script: Learn hand lettering and modern calligraphy with two of Boston’s top calligraphers. Each class includes a calligraphy kit, writing material and note cards, plus instruction and demonstration.
www.sipandscript.com; Instagram: @sipandscript

Knitting with The Third Piece: Learn beginner knitting techniques from this innovative fashion brand creating luxury, hand-made knitwear. Instruction will include how to cast on, knit stitch and cast off, and students will leave with the makings of their very first scarf. All materials are included.
www.the3rdpiece.com; Instagram: @thethirdpiece 

Toon Night with Artists for Humanity: Boston’s leading non-profit for award-winning youth arts teaches students how to draw their own cartoons and comics in this fun-filled workshop. 
www.afhboston.org; Instagram: @afhboston

Build Your Own Terrarium with Niche: Award-winning urban garden supply, Niche teaches students about super trendy plants and how to create a terrarium using a selection of mini tropicals or succulents, complete with figurines, funky rocks and other awesome terrarium accessories. The class includes one terrarium, plants and materials. 
www.nicheboston.com; Instagram: @nicheboston

The calendar for The Pop-Up Makery is below!

Friday, February 24, 2017  
Learn to Knit with The Third Piece

Tuesday, February 28, 2017  
Intro to Calligraphy with Sip + Script

Wednesday, March 1, 2017  

Learn to Knit with The Third Piece

Thursday, March 2, 2017  
Delightful Daisy with Alice’s Table
Saturday, March 4, 2017  
Learn to Paint the Boston Common Walk with The Paint Bar

Thursday, March 9, 2017 from 6:30-8 pm
Learn to Knit with The Third Piece

Friday, March 10, 2017
Toon Night with Artists for Humanity

Saturday, March 11, 2017  
Mommy & Me Class with The Paint Bar
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Build Your Own Terrarium! with Niche

Sunday, March 12, 2017  
Intro to Calligraphy with Sip + Script

Tuesday, March 14, 2017  
Sunflowers at The Street with Alice’s Table

Thursday, March 16, 2017
Intermediate-level Calligraphy & Hand-Lettering with Sip + Script
Sunday, March 19, 2017 
Kid-Friendly Fun; Mermaid Painting with The Paint Bar

Wednesday, March 22, 2017  
Specialty Watercolor Workshop with The Paint Bar 

Thursday March 23, 2017  
Learn to Knit with The Third Piece

Friday, March 24, 2017
Build Your Own Terrarium! The Airplants Addition with Niche

Saturday, March 25, 2017 
Intro to Calligraphy with Sip + Script

Which classes will I see you at?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Shoes with Soul

I love shoes, that should come as no surprise. I have long since thrown out my husband's silly rule of getting rid of two pairs for every new pair I want to bring in. I am just far more conscious about what I'm bringing in an who I support. I love brands that have great people working for them and also support great organizations. I love brands that use recycled materials and also want to be a part of important conversations. Whatever it is that resonates with you, if you do a little research, there are shoes that you can feel good about bringing into your home and adding to your collections. Here are some of my recent faves!

Rothy's Why I love them: They've created a go to shoe made from recycled fibers with low waste, low impact materials, hand assembled for high quality and durability. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Common Ground Why I love them: Common Ground is a shoe company whose mission is to find a path for progress on important social issues through empathy and authentic, constructive conversations between real people, reinforcing the message that people, just like two feet, must work together to make progress. Follow Common Ground on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Indosole Why I love them: They re-purpose indestructible tires into the soles of some of the most durable footwear around. Want less tires in the landfill and comfy shoes on your feet, then these are for you! I totally want to be one of their "Good Humans".  Follow Indosole on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

White Mountain Shoes Why I love them: Besides being local to New England (out of Lisbon NH), this portfolio of brands prides themselves in their integrity, quality and loyalty. There are employees who have been with the brand since it's inception in 1979 and to this day they are one of the biggest employers in Lisbon, NH. They've partnered with the National Breast Cancer Foundation, which I love! Follow White Mountain Shoes and their brands on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Sseko Designs Why I love them: Sseko Designs is a fashion brand based in Uganda. Sseko began as a way to generate income for high potential, talented young women to continue on to university. And it is working! Every woman who has graduated from Sseko is currently pursuing her college degree or has graduated from university and is on her way to making our world a more beautiful place. Follow Sseko Designs on Twitter and Facebook.

Do you have any favorite shoe brands that you believe in? Please share!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Bring on the Brunch: Lincoln Tavern Boston

Since I'm on maternity leave, a brunch on a Friday morning is not completely out of the question people, so when I was invited by Lincoln Tavern to try their Brunch Test Kitchen menu, I grabbed my baby and was like "bring on the brunch!" I love food, that's no secret and the brunch test menu is like inventive and creative, delicious and drool-worthy... and that's just the alcohol. 😂 I'll give you the play by play because, I mean, don't you want to live vicariously through my dining adventures?

I was like Gina (our super sweet and attentive server), Gina get this Mama some coffee. Everyone "don't you want a mimosa?" nope, give me the coffee. I knew I would have two cups, because I was living large! Nothing is wrong with mimosas, actually quite the contrary... but when you're still not getting tons of sleep (read: infant), mimosas early in the day will make you tired. Coffee came and the coffee was good!

I did take a picture of Christy's Brunch Punch because it looked truly tasty/refreshing/satisfying/all of those types of adjectives. She enjoyed it and recommends it in the future (makes mental note). Some of the other girls (hi Annie, Robin, Leah, Kim and Kim!) partook in the bubbly and all the individual juices that they brought out for mix your own mimosas. It was widely a hit.

Then the food, the glorious food, started making it's way to our table. Nutter Butter type parfaits, fancy hot pockets, calamari, Fruity Pebble pancakes and the deliciousness goes on. The table enjoyed photographing our food, blogger style and then sharing everything tasty with one another. While everything that I had was delicious, hands down, my favorite thing on the Brunch Test Kitchen menu was the Smoked Salmon Pizza: house smoked salmon, everything spiced crust, Boursin cheese, baked egg, shaved red onions and capers... literally this was my everything and more. I cannot recommend it enough. I hope that Lincoln Tavern adds this to their permanent brunch menu because this woman can't stop thinking about getting her next salmon pizza fix.

All in all, this was a fantastic, affordable meal. I'm told that the restaurant is family friendly though the area does get louder and more adult as the day goes on so if you're bringing the kids, I'd recommend hitting the brunch early (they do have highchairs and boosters). The food is great and you can take my word for it.

Lincoln Tavern is located at 425 W Broadway, South Boston, MA 02127

Monday, January 30, 2017

I Tried It: Bottega Organica + a Giveaway!

You know I have so much love for the W.E.L.L. Summit and something that was a treat upon little treats was a sample in the luxe gift bag, a little sample of the Bottega Organica face balance. The stuff is what dreams are made of. I had to know more about this brand so I totally reached out to them. The great thing about green/clean/eco beauty is that it is becoming easier and easier to find but now that there are more brands offering these safe, non-toxic options, you've got to be interested to see what they are about! I'm super happy that I discovered Bottega Organica for a multitude of reasons. First of all, they're creating their products on a farm in upstate NY, not far over the Massachusetts border, like, hello dreamy. If I didn't have a newborn, I'd take a day, make an appointment and see what they're doing all over there. And then there are the fantastic products. Seriously.

They were nice enough to send me some products to try out. In my rotation now are the Bottega Organica Nourish Face Oil, Calm Face Mist and the Body Contour Formula. Each fits into my current beauty lifestyle seamlessly. Post pregnancy motherhood has been different this time around and so I've sort of been searching for new items that fit my new needs. I have to say that I love each and every one of these products for different reasons.

The Calm Face mist is definitely something I use daily and would recommend for general use. It's a cucumber mist that cools and soothes, something I have needed for my face's tendency to dry out during the day and the most recent occurrence, post partum blemishes and blotchiness. I haven't been wearing a ton of makeup lately so this spray has been on hand for use whenever I feel like I need it.

The Nourish Face Oil is on par with the quality face oils/serums that I've tried and use regularly. Rosemary, lemon balm, grape leaves and French lilac deliver skin-purifying and soothing antioxidants to the skin. The smell is delightful. If you know me, you know that scent, or lack thereof depending on the product, is a big deal to me. I don't like something on my face that I will smell all day and inevitably annoy me. The nourish face oil has a light lavender smell with a hint of herbiness which pleases this Mama. Moreover the oil doesn't sit greasy on my face. It soaks in nicely, allowing me to move on with my face routine, moisturizer then makeup (if I'm feeling adventurous) with no problems with absorption.

I specifically requested the Body Contour Formula because the thing that I've most been searching for in the eco-natural-green beauty realm is a product that I can use to combat my cellulite prone areas. This product touts "Pure organic chili peppers are rich in capsaicin molecules that enhance micro-circulation in cellulite-prone areas while peppermint stimulates and energizes the skin. This synergic action favors deep tissue penetration and rejuvenation from the activity of prawn sage and natural vitamins from carrot and apricot." I was intrigued. The smell is killer, like I love it, so good. I've been using it after my morning showers and it works as a basic body oil. The only difference to what I might daily use is that it is a darker orange color and does include chili peppers which could sting if you get it in your eyes so I would caution that. That being said, I really do feel like this is going to be one of my faves, if not my favorite body oil. It's really a high quality product and I'm already dreading running out of it!

Bottega Organica wants to share what they're creating with Prim and Propah readers! Are you excited? Well, you should be! One reader will be able to win the following Bottega Organica products: one bottle of Nourish Face Oil, a bottle of Comfort Hand Balm and also a sample strip of some of their most popular products (Cleanse face oil, Morning face oil, Redefine eye contour serum, Cherish face balm, Comfort hand balm.) all a value of over $130! Enter in the Rafflecopter below. US residents only!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 27, 2017

Local Lovin': Thorn & Bloom

I was first introduced to Thorn & Bloom at this past W.E.L.L. Summit and actually purchased a fragrance from them (Savage Garden, Thank you!). Finding a fragrance that isn't filled with chemicals is as important to me as finding a face oil that is safe and non-toxic so as you can imagine, I was really drawn to Thorn & Bloom for their dedication to using natural ingredients to provide a long lasting, quality scent... when I found out that they were out of Somerville, MA I knew that I wanted to reach out to the founder/creative mind behind the brand, Jennifer Botto, to catch up and give her some Local lovin'. She'll be hearing from me soon, since I regret not grabbing the Orange Blossom scent as well... I mean, a girl has to have options! OK, now let's chat!

Give us a little background as to how Thorn + Bloom came about. What initially drove you to start your brand?

I'm very sensitive to synthetic perfumes and could never wear them without experiencing discomfort. When I switched to natural perfumes, I found many 'aromatherapy' style blends on the market but nothing that really spoke to me. I missed the complexity, sophistication and longevity of synthetics but could do without all the harmful ingredients and 'synthetic' olfactory qualities. I started Thorn & Bloom as a way to bridge the gap between aromatherapy and fine fragrances, naturally. Since then, I've found that many of my customers have gone through the same search and are thrilled to see a brand that addresses these issues. Perfume is often the very last item in a person's beauty repertoire to be replaced with a natural formulation because wearers are so reluctant to give up on the qualities they've grown accustomed to in synthetic perfume. Thorn & Bloom strives to make that switch easier, offering truly fine 100% natural fragrances that rival the very best synthetics.

When creating your products, where do you take inspiration from?

I often rely on memory and nostalgia when formulating. For instance, Stranger in the Cherry Grove is an homage to my father's cherry pipe tobacco that I remember so vividly from childhood. Scent can be such a powerful trigger; it's very satisfying to recreate those memories in the form of an ether, almost like bottling a memory.

I love that you have shaped your business to be authentic and ethical in the creation of botanical perfumes. Why is this important to you?

Integrity is extremely important to me. So much of what is on the market is misleading when it comes to the terms 'natural' and 'ethical', especially in the world of perfume, as labels don't require full disclosure. This is why I joined the Natural Perfumers Guild and became a Guild Certified Natural Perfumer. The Guild defines and identifies natural perfume and has the strictest certification requirements of any organization in the world. For instance, the Guild does not approve the use of GMO isolates, which are commonly found in many 'natural' perfumes. These isolate are often derived from a complex genetic modification procedure in which bacteria are designed to produce a certain aroma. So many commonly known brands that consumers trust as 'natural' are using these isolates without having to explain their GMO origin status to consumers. When formulating for Thorn & Bloom, I knew that I wanted to keep the ingredients as pure and whole as possible. While we do use isolates derived from fractional distillation (stopping the distillation process at different times to collect various stages of an essential oil), we do not use GMO isolates. We also choose not to use animal musks and source endangered aromatics from ethically harvested sources (our Sandalwood comes from cultivated groves in Australia).

What do you love to do in New England, when you aren't busy running your business?

I love to eat! I'm constantly find new and interested places to dine out and love trying 'strange' food. My passion for fragrance spills over into taste and mine is insatiable! 

You have certainly found some fantastic early success! Where do you see Thorn + Bloom headed in the future?

I'd love to expand the line into body care and candles. Scented bath salts will be available in the spring 2017 with scented body oils to follow. I'm currently getting my certification in aromatherapy and will use this knowledge to formulate more therapeutic blends for the body, mind and soul.

You can find Thorn and Bloom online, on instagram, facebook and twitter!