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November 20, 2013

Thanksgiving Worksheets & Hostess Gift Ideas - Order by Thurs for Thanksgiving!

About three years go, Mike and I hosted our first Thanksgiving just weeks after our wedding.  I had all of my new wedding gifts and was thrilled to be hosting.  I shared a set of worksheets that I had made for myself to get organized - they are very similar to the worksheets I used in my catering/event business... without the budget part.

Those worksheets have somehow been lost out there (and I have received a ton of emails requesting), so I recreated them for you.   They can be downloaded, here.

I styled them to match my Thanksgiving Place Cards (now on sale).

This worksheet lists everything you'll need to set the table, self-serve bar, kids table, and details you should prepare for the house - guest towels for bathroom, rake leaves, etc.

Every time I throw a party, I make a list similar to this... for my friends who have hosted showers with me, are accustomed to receiving a couple of spreadsheets with my plans : )    I just find that it makes the day of the event so much more fun if everything is planned for ahead of time.  And written down.  If it is written down, my brain can go on auto pilot during the party and I just have to follow my own instructions for cooking times, what platters to use, etc. 
Because everyone's Thanksgiving is a little different, I've also included blank worksheets you can use to fill out.   Here is the preview of the blank cooking schedule, too.

All of these worksheets can be found to download, here, and are formatted in Numbers (for us Mac users), Excel and PDF's.  Hope they make your Thanksgiving planning fun and easy.

If you're not hosting Thanksgiving, here are some ideas from my store for great hostess gifts.

I also now have a very limited supply of Fig & Cedar Candles, $16, my new scent for November (that sold out in the first 12 hours!). 

Of course, the My Everyday Candle, $16, is always a good option, too.

This is the idea I shared a couple of weeks ago - coffee cake baked in a Kraft Loaf Pan, a linen tea towel, wrapped in a large Cello Bag, tied with Edgartown Sand Ribbon.

The Tablet + Le Pens, $14, is another great gift - now packaged ready for gifting.

And remember, place your order by this Thursday to be able to receive it by Thanksgiving!

November 18, 2013

Nantucket, Beacon Hill & Concord, Ma | Our trip back

A couple of weeks ago Emma and I tagged along with Mike on a work trip back to Boston.  We hadn't been back since we moved back home last year.  There are so many reasons that I'm glad we're home, but so many things I miss about the entire New England area.  One of the biggest things I miss is being able to get in the car (or ferry...) for an hour or two and be someplace amazing.  

Nantucket was the one place that was on my "list" when we lived there that we never made it to.

Here is the view of the island as we pulled in on the ferry right at sunset.

This is the old, old street right off of the ferry dock - old, old.  Everything on the island is charming, old, weathered and fabulous.  It is known as "the little grey lady" and you can see why in this photo.  

 This is a photo of the town, as we walked just a couple of blocks in from the ferry dock.  See those cobbled streets?  They were made from the stones used to weigh down the empty ships that were coming from England to fill up on whale oil.  I love the history of this little place. 

When we arrived, it really felt like we were entering into a private secret place... does that sound weird?  It is so comfortable and grounded feeling - you can tell that the people there feel like it is their favorite place in the world... this little village out in the sea, all by itself.

We stayed at The Roberts House Inn, a lovely old group of homes in the center of town. 

 This is our room - just as I had envisioned it.  Stately, old, cozy and charming. 

 The view from our window on a chilly November day.

This is one of the new buildings that are a part of the Roberts House.  I love everything about it - I took a lot of notes (and sent a lot of photos to our architect...) for our new addition while we were there.  

 Emma's favorite part of Nantucket?

This umbrella.

Talk about a lesson in keeping life simple... after a plane ride and a ferry boat ride, she loves the umbrella.

We spent just one night there (not even 24 hours), but I'm so glad we finally got to be a part of it.  It was so lovely -  I can't wait to go back during beach season... I put it on my list of places to have a home in my dreams.

Emma watching Cinderella on the ferry ride back to Cape Cod.  Oh, and she loved that we called the ferry boat the "fast flying fairy" - for those of you who also watch the Disney Fairies : ) 


We returned to "the mainland" and checked into our hotel, The Taj, just off of the Boston Public Garden. 

I forgot to take photos of the hotel so I borrowed these so you could get a feel for it.  It was amazing.  It was formerly the Ritz-Carlton - actually the first and original.  It is everything you imagine an old Boston to be - elegant, warm and stately.

Emma and I spent our afternoons having hot chocolate while we watched fancy dogs go on walks in the park.   (borrowed photo)

For dinner that night, we went to one of my favorite spots - 75 Chestnut in Beacon Hill.  It was just a short walk from the hotel - straight thru The Public Garden.

The next morning Emma and I went back to visit the "Make Way for the Ducklings" ducklings just as we had done a year ago : )

And we looked at all of the leaves - while Emma rode her "horsey" otherwise known as the shoehorn from our hotel room.  We would've been lost on this trip without the fun accessories from the room... we barely needed the ipad.  Kidding - we definitely used the ipad.

 Just through the park is Beacon Hill - my favorite neighborhood in Boston.

It is what you think of when you think about a classic Boston street.  

One afternoon, Emma and I headed back out to Concord to visit some friends and favorite spots.

I'm sure it is no coincidence that these privet berries caught her eye...

I love this little town - I think it is the most quintessential New England town.

 Emma loved her old toy store - but the last time she was here she was still in the stroller.  Now she's rocking out on the guitar....

...and "tinkering" (as she said... another Disney Fairies reference) with the work bench... Santa, are you taking notes?

Sorry to have been away from the blog so long, I've been crazy busy packing up packages for the store - a good thing!  There is relief in sight, as I have my first employee starting tomorrow morning.  I'm looking forward to having more time to spend writing (again!) and researching more fun products to feature.  I'll be posting Thanksgiving planning worksheets this week to help everyone get ready for Turkey Day!  Have a great week : )

November 11, 2013

Simple Micro Flower Arrangement | Oak Leaves, Paperwhite Bulb & Cabbage

Last weekend Emma and I tagged along with Mike back to the Boston area for a work trip.  He travels there often, but we haven't been back since we moved back "home" last year.  We had a fabulous time visiting some of our friends and old favorites - Concord, Beacon Hill and Back Bay.  We also took a little trip out to Nantucket for the night - the one place we never got to go that was on my list.  I'll be sharing more (a lot more...) photos later this week, but first I wanted to share this little tiny arrangement inspired by our trip.

My Mother-in-Law is a fabulous traveler and always does a ton of shopping on their trips.  Their house is filled with pieces of art, blankets, pottery, china, etc. that all have special meaning and were collected along the way - not gift shop type souvenirs, but beautiful things that they love from specialty boutiques, inns and farms.  I recently noticed a new engraved pewter champagne bucket at their house - apparently, they ordered it while at Blackberry Farm this last Fall on a trip for their anniversary.  Now every time she walks by it she's reminded of their special weekend. 

In the past I'd never been one to stock up while away, but I have found that the "souvenirs" we buy always bring such great memories back to us when we get home.  So, I started taking cues from Joy and buying treats on our trips we can use in our home that will take us back to those special moments.

One afternoon, Emma and I went out to our old town, Concord, Ma, for a visit.  We had coffee with an old friend and stopped by all of my favorite shops.  The first on my list was Winston Flowers.  You might remember my posts about Winston's when we lived there.  It is in the middle of the quaint town center and filled with really inspired, lovely flowers.  Once a week I used to stroll Emma there to pick out flowers.  They have the most beautiful things - and most are very simple and common items, but are designed in special ways.

When I saw this arrangement I knew it would be the perfect "Joy-style" souvenir to take home with us.  It is a cabbage rosette (the center of a cabbage, stripped of most of the big leaves), mini preserved oak leaves, rosemary sprigs, white hydrangea and a paperwhite bulb.  I love that all of the elements are so seasonal, but presented in a unique and modern style.

I asked them to deconstruct two arrangements for me so I could carry them on the plane, then reassemble them when I got home.

It starts with a small sprig of hydrangea broken off from a larger bloom.

Then I added the cabbage.

Next, I tucked in the oak leaves on one side, then added the paperwhite.  Keeping the colors together makes it very natural and gathered looking.

I just love this arrangement.  My rosemary plant isn't looking as good as it was when we left, so I still need to add some of that when I make it to the store later today.

The best part of this arrangement is that it will keep for weeks, all I have to do is replenish the hydrangea after it wilts with a new one - the other elements are really long lasting.

I've included other photos of Winston's below - enjoy!

Here is the Concord Town Center - the most charming little New England town.  Here is a link to my Fall Foliage post in Concord from two years ago with lots of photos of the town.  I'll be sharing the rest of my photos from our trip this week and some new hostess ideas for Thanksgiving.

I hope everyone had a relaxing and rejuvenating weekend!
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