Monday, November 23, 2015

My One and Only Gift Guide: For People

I am pretty focused this year on spending my money where it will make an impact and if I want to give a gift that might not be super practical, I'm going to make sure that it is with thought + taste that I choose those perfect gifts for that special anyone. I am going to break it down for you, the four types of gifts that I am giving this year, in case you want to be inspired to organize your gift giving however you see fit. It really does help when you have it narrowed down what you need so you can make your Holiday shopping as stress free and fun as possible. And yes, these are actual gifts I am giving so there will likely be some spoilers in this post for those of you in my real life.
The Fancy Candle... why would I dedicate 1/4 of  my one and only gift guide to "The Fancy Candle"? Well, for starters, I love a good candle and secondly, I was totally inspired by the candles at Jonathan Adler. Just a few weeks back, I was invited to a press event at The Street (Chestnut Hill if you're local) and I first experienced the Jonathan Adler store in all it's glory. The bathroom had a candle lit that was like a dream and as I wafted out on a gorgeously scented cloud, the manager introduced me to an entire line of candles, where you could burn them then reuse the glass as, well, a glass. Genius for those who love to collect pretty things! I mention this being one of my four gifts because I know SO many candle lovers out there who would totally appreciate a fancy candle but would never treat themselves to one. It's not every day that you get a yummy smelling candle from the likes of design geniuses over at Jonathan Adler. (Who for? Sisters, besties, co-workers, kids' teachers, girl squad membersPicturedLike a lot of Jonathan Adler's Candles.

The DIY Kit.... I am like super into cleaning out the chemicals in my house and bringing in more natural cleaning products. I met Devin of the Optimist Co a few weeks back and she was surely a breath of fresh air and literally wants us to breathe  more fresh air. She creates all natural cleaners and something that I thought was super neat was her DIY cleaning kits. I loved learning how to mix up my own batches of kitchen cleaner and knew right off the bat that my Mother in Law + Sister in Law would totally appreciate it. They just recently did a Vegan challenge so I think of this as similar? Yes? No? Whatever, I really like it and I think they will too. (Who for? Anyone who loves natural remedies, mothers, sisters, other family members, messy men, hippies and those you love because GET THOSE CHEMICALS OUTPicturedThe Make Your Own Cleaning Products Kit from Optimist Co

I want everyone to stop putting sh!t on their number one biggest organ, their skin. It is really one of my new ventures in life, to convince those I love to get rid of all the garbage in their beauty routine and replace it with natural, organic + ethical products that not only work, they are pretty darn good for you. My family is a tough sell on face oil and cream deodorant but I'm making it my holiday's work to bring them over to the green beauty side. The best way to do this? Give them free green beauty products! No better way to try then when you didn't pay for it yourself! My idea, give them 4 or 5 great products and place ever like so in a darling basket, with some sort of message/gift tag. I promise you this will be well received and who knows, you might make someone aware of an amazing product that is the catalyst for beauty change. Too lazy to put together a basket? Try a subscription beauty box like Petit Vour or Beauty Heroes. Just make sure your people know that green beauty is SO accessible and there is nothing to be tentative about!  (Who for? Everyone in your life though giving deodorant to a coworker or your mail carrier might be uncomfortable/offensive) Pictured: Meow Meow Tweet Facial Kit, Vapour Organic Beauty, Organic Bath Co Body Butters, Josh Rosebrook Haircare, Soapwalla Deodorant Creme, Thesis Organic Face Serum

I love my dog. Sometimes, I love my cat. As someone who cares less and less about the things that I am accumulating as personal possessions, I would be totally stoked to get something for them instead of myself. Often, I look at all the things I have around me and know that I already have so much. We feel very fortunate. The dog, however, tells me pretty frequently how he has felt very neglected in the gift department ever since the human child arrived. I mean, I have to step up my "Dog Mom" game I guess but I know that I would love to have someone come bearing gifts for the furchildren. When the UPS guy leaves a milkbone with a delivery, I make sure to get that dog excited because I really loved the thoughtfulness (thank you UPS guy!) and I love my dog. (Who for? Anyone who has an animal that they love and have kept alive, which proves said love) Pictured: Polka Dog Bakery Peanut Butter Medley Biscuits

What are your gift giving tips this year? I'd love to hear them!

Friday, November 20, 2015

A few nights ago, I kissed the baby and man goodbye and went on my own, to a Girls Night Out with Alice's Table. I had only very vaguely explored the art of flower arranging (like trimming store bought flower and plopping them in a vase like "so") so when the opportunity arose to do some legitimate flower arranging in the fine city of Boston, well, I didn't hesitate. It was held on Newbury St at the Met Bar Back Bay and you know what? Even though I was by my lonesome, I had a great time and talked to a lot of new ladies and drank some fancy adult lady drinks. It was very enjoyable so I can just imagine how much fun I would have had with some of my gal pals.

When you head to an event, it's about one thing: having fun learning to do something that is of value to any crafty/fun/creative/flower loving lady... Oh, and also? There's cocktails (be still my heart) and they show you how to make them. Oh, and they give you the recipes for both the cocktail and your arrangements to take home. The gals at Alice's Table just want you to have fun, maybe learn something and then if you're so inspired, do some creating at home. There were definitely some things I learned in my gin haze (yes, I treated myself to TWO G+T's) that I can use when I grab a bouquet from my local farm stand or even grocery store but even if you're having too much fun to catch everything, the gals have you covered with their recaps. Want to check out my event, Thanksgiving Harvest, click here.

Cabbage Flowers, artichokes, sunflowers, seeded eucalyptus, magnolia leaves and more filled a tiny container of love that I built fueled by a yummy rum drink (recipe to come next week just in time for the holiday) and a night away from responsibility. I managed to get it home in one piece and the arrangement looked amazing on our dining room table in the morning light, I just had to snap a shot. I would most definitely sign up for another event from the team at Alice's table. They seem to love what they are doing and want to expand by bringing on ambassadors. I urge you to check them out if this kind of fun night out it something that piques your creative, cocktail loving interests.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What can I do? It's a question that I asked myself after we heard the news break on Friday evening. It was about 600pm EST and we had just finished dinner. I was reading Wes a book while Sesame Street was playing in the background. Brandon was puttering around on his phone when he said "There were terrorist attacks in Paris." A little distracted at that moment, I said "Oh man, what happened?" and to be honest, I was only half paying attention to his answer. You know how life distracts you in that way. We didn't have details right that moment but as it became clearer what had transpired, I just couldn't shake the feeling of helplessness... actually, I still can't really shake it. After putting Wes to bed, I took to social media to, I don't know really, find some answers, find some comfort but what I found was so many of us felt the same... confused, sad, angry, scared... in some cases (like Newt below), this type of tragedy brings out the worst in people. Politicians making outlandish claims, getting their base fired up... but in more serious situations, the fear that people feel fuels something different. Fear makes people irrational and I saw a lot of tweets in my feed about good and decent Muslims who were afraid of retaliation because when folks don't stop to think before acting, it can get ugly. Fear makes people put up walls. Discussions all over the US are being had about whether or not to allow refugees from Syria to enter the country for fear of allowing terrorists into our home. There are points to both side and then you have to ask yourself how you feel and where you land on things.

It's all so confusing and scary and sad and what the hell am I supposed to do about it all?

Well, first, I am writing this post. I am starting a conversation with myself (and maybe others) about what we can do and how I/we feel. We can have intelligent dialogue, looking at all angles of this before jumping to conclusions, making rash judgements about a certain religion or people. Do some research. Read news articles. Be educated and don't be hateful. Don't shy away from the human side of the attacks. It would be so easy to ignore the individual reports about those that were killed in the terrorist attacks, to save myself from being sad but if you read about their lives, their light wasn't extinguished so fast. In a way, we are honoring them by learning about them and who they were. We can spread love. Call your Mom, call your Dad, hug your people, do it up. Tell them you love them. As Holly said, Fill the World with Kindness. You know I'm all about being kind but seriously, add a dollop of kindness on top of your normal amount of kindness because the world needs it this week. 

I wish I had a good way to end this post. I wish that I had all the answers and knew exactly what to do to be the catalyst for change and peace but we all know that is wishful thinking. I guess I will leave this as my reminder to (try to) always be cognizant of my feelings, embrace them and then use them to better me/my personal world/hopefully someone else's world.


What are you thinking?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Breakfast at Tiffany's Brunch for Charity

This is one of those fundraising events where you just curse that you (me) have to work a day job and can't take the time off to attend what will sure to be a super fun brunch for the girly girl in you (me) that loves to brunch and shop! The Street and Jenny Johnson, Founder of Champy and Producer and Co-Host of NESN's Dining Playbook, will host the ultimate feel-good event, a Breakfast at Tiffany's Bellini Brunch in support of Boston Children's Hospital League on Thursday, December 3rd from 10am-12:30pm.
The festive party will offer brunch during a screening of the classic Audrey Hepburn film at Showcase SuperLux (umm super posh!), along with complimentary polish refreshers by MiniLuxe (such a treat!), a glamorous photo booth, a trunk show with both The Third Piece, a locally-owned luxury knit-wear line, and Good Charma, a jewelry collection with a celebrity following. Jenny Johnson’s new sparkling wine Champy (yum!), produced in Sonoma County, will also be for sale at the event with a percentage of proceeds going to Boston Children’s Hospital League.
Tickets to Breakfast at Tiffany's Bellini Brunch are $50 and available on EventBrite. A ticket includes:
  •  Admission to a Breakfast at Tiffany's screening within Showcase SuperLux.
  • Brunch, served during the screening, including Bellinis and Mimosas featuring Champy, a new Sonoma sparkling wine from Jenny Johnson.
  • A gift bag filled with contributions from boutiques and eateries at The Street, including MiniLuxe, J.McLaughlin, skoah, Eyespot, Polkadog Bakery and more.
Following the event, The Street will host Shop for a Cause, a stroll that is open to brunch guests and the general public. A percentage of proceeds from all purchases made at participating stores on Thursday December 3, 2015 will be donated to the Boston Children's Hospital League. Those stores will be listed on The Street's website in the weeks to come. 

Let me know if you have plans to go so I can live vicariously through your social snaps!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

This past weekend, you may have been following my social snaps of a new event in Boston, the WELL Summit. I have been talking about this "conference" for many months now and was extremely excited to have the weekend finally arrive. I guess I would say that my main reason for buying a ticket was that I've been very much into Green Beauty and making sure that there are less chemicals coming into our home and more natural products that are good for the Earth and our Family... but my expectations for the event were blown out of the water. Of course, there were breakout sessions geared toward green beauty and there was even a breakfast panel dedicated towards it but what surprised me the most were the breakout sessions that I didn't know what to expect but ended up receiving some very thought provoking "gifts" from.

On top of making soap with a master, getting my DIY on with a fellow mom, beauty tips from a green pro and learning about herbs for the urban dweller from an actual herbalist, there were sessions geared towards finding your sacred beauty, meditation and following your intuition. I will be completely honest that I wasn't as excited about these sessions as I was the DIY + beauty ones because my goals for the conference were somewhat superficial at the beginning but what ended up happening, was that I let myself be open to the entire experience + what I received was a great gift of self reflection + some thought provoking realizations about my own personal happiness... I need to make my personal world a better place to be.

  • Rebecca Casciano helped me look at beauty in a different way and then verbalize it with complete strangers, which was perfect. The insights that others had was amazing and it totally set the tone for the rest of the weekend. Rebecca is a beautiful person, inside and out, and I will always appreciate meeting her in this way. 
  • Josh Rosebrook, in addition to being just a plain joy to be around, led a meditation session that really helped me get a grasp on what I wanted to achieve with meditating at home and also find a peace, even if it's only for a few moments a day. Every time that Josh and I spoke over the course of two days, I felt more of a connection. This connection, like all of the new relationships over the course of the weekend, is something to be treasured.
  • Rachel Winard, led the last session that I attended and shared her story about following her intuition/gut feelings. Let's just say that her story had me feeling all the feels. She inspired me to be vulnerable, she inspired me to look inside and ask myself what I can do to make myself a happier person and to trust my feelings about all the choices + the trajectory of my life. All of the people in her session shared personal experiences that resonated with me and I thank her for starting the conversation for all of us.

The order with which I took my sessions was no mistake, as it turns out, since I believe that every message I received was one that helped me have some emotional release at the end of the whole thing (yeah, I cried in front of some people). Each step of the way, each person that I talked to, I was looking at myself and my own personal happiness a little more + more. If you were there, you would have seen/met all manner of person who was either working at their happiness/wellness, doing what they were meant to be doing and/or trying to help others do the same. It was a truly multi-dimensional experience where all involved were of like minds and souls (cheesy, so sue me). Authenticity and truthfulness is something I hold dearer now than ever before. There was no competitive, self promotion at WELL Summit but rather a collaborative atmosphere where everyone was learning from one another.

Thank you to everyone who hugged me, encouraged me (I'm looking at you, Tara), listened to me, shared their stories with me, helped me find which room I was supposed to be in and hung out with me in between (Hi Jessica, Quiana and Cam!). Plus, a huge thanks to Gianne of Organic Bath, whose "brain child" came to fruition in the most wonderful way. I am so excited to take part next year and see each and every one of the people that I can now call friends.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

I live in New England. In New England we like to complain about the weather. It could be sweltering hot or frigidly cold and we will always have something to say about it...but that doesn't mean that we aren't prepared for anything. I love yoga and I love doing yoga at my local studio, but once it gets cold here, especially when it starts to snow, going out of the house and getting comfortable in a yoga class is a little bit annoying. I have found some key things to make sure I am keeping motivated to get my zen on as often as possible

Leggings: We're not talking capris, we're talking all the way down to your ankle, covering all your skin, yoga leggings. I love these MPG Warrior Thermal Jersey Yoga tights because they keep me toasty in class even when people are coming in, getting the joint all drafty. I mean, it's like, c'mon people, it's cold, what do we do yoga in a barn? (High Waisted Legging Love --> Onzie + Beyond Yoga )

Yoga Blanket: Most studios have blankets to use as bolsters or your savasana but I like to have one for home as well as yoga in non traditional spaces. There are lots of affordable options and there is no right or wrong "blanket", just something to keep you warm and comfortable. (Keep the cost low options --> Flaza Mexican Blanket + Native Diamond Design)

Grip Socks: Grip socks are great not just for sweaty hot classes, they're also great for the cold weather, too, I mean, because heat escapes from your feet, y'all. I have grip socks for yoga and the occasional (and I do me mean, very occasional) barre class. Winter, let's keep the toes on like these Toesox Full Toe, alright? (Toe-less socks if you fancy those --> Ballerina Half Toe + Low Rise Half Toe)

Easy ON and OFF Pullover: At the start of class, you're going to be all like Brrrrr, it's cold in here, there must be yogis in the atmosphere but by about 20 minutes in, you're gonna want to strip some layers off as quickly as you can without disrupting your flow. I personally love a little tie dye action for the Winter since it's always going to be cold and get dark early so might as well liven things up while you can! (Tie Dye Action --> City Light Best Pullover Ever + Pure Karma  Naomi Sweatshirt)

Easy ON and OFF Boots: Just like the pullover, your easy on and off boots are key to keeping your zen when coming and going from yoga class. Gone are the warm Summer days when the flip flops were the go to when hitting class. I wear the same Sorel Winter boots that I was gifted a few years ago, fur lined, slips on and off so you're not clogging up the works after class. (No Snow Options tend to be cuter --> Rocket Dog Suri Boot + Blowfish Chippy Boot)

What do you keep on hand to make it through your cold weather fitness routine?