Playing with Peppermint

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This gallery contains 25 photos.

Cheers to the holiday season! Chilled streets are filling up with spruce and evergreen; snow flurries continue to tease us; and the classic, red and white striped candy is back. Candy Canes & Peppermint! A few of my favorite decorations … Continue reading

Your Not So Average Halloween Decor

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This gallery contains 26 photos.

Walking home the other morning, I determined that I wanted to decorate my apartment for halloween, but don’t want to spend a dime on anything but food and drinks for my guests. After realizing my budget ($0), I stopped into … Continue reading

Fresh Produce at Farmer’s Markets!!

There is no refuting that Wholefoods inspired a new appreciation for full and ripe vegetables, dew-misted greens and the idea of responsible shopping for fresh food.

That being said, there is still the fair-trade option (albeit a little less fresh) at Trader Joe’s or the slow and labor-intensive task of growing your own veggies!

Oh wait, there is one more option… have someone else do it for you and buy direct from farms!

Here are some great websites and apps that connect you to shop local!

Localharvest.org

  • Type in your zip code to find farmer’s markets near you.

Harvesttohand.com

  • A mobile app that helps guide you to farm stands, farmer’s markets, and locally made products.

Gusta.com

  • Enables you to find, reserve, and prepay for local culinary events by local chefs. Great for travel!

Grownyc.org

  • Many cities have their own version of this website that lists the city’s green markets.

If you can’t get to a local market, you can still eat like it using mobile apps aimed towards eating well.

Fooducate allows you to see a letter grade instead of attempting to decipher confusing labels by scanning your products with your smart phone!

Gojee helps you utilize what you already have while putting less known ingredients to use. Finally, you can use star fruit like you do oranges!

In West Tisbury on Martha’s Vineyard there is a Farmer’s Market every Wednesday and Saturday from 9am – 12pm. Below, you can visually experience my journey visiting the Farmer’s Market, “honor system” stands sprinkled on streets nearby, and the Flea Market in Chilmark.

Tonight… We SAIL!!!

In celebration of my mother’s birthday, twenty of her closest friends will be setting sail on The Alabama for a sunset cruise. 

We will be bringing our rain jackets for protection from the cool ocean spray and crackers and seafood spread from Larsen’s Fish Market, Menemsha, Martha’s Vineyard. 

In honor of our evening I have a wonderful collection of nautical inspired fashion, food, & decor.

…Please enjoy!

Ahoy…

First is a gallery of appropriate sailing apparel. Make sure to include ‘boat shoes,’ something warm (preferably waterproof), and something with a hint of sailor-fashion.

Tom’s are a great style that support a great causeBeautiful Driving Moccasins by Tod’s

Mossimo’s flats are also a fun find 

Bensimon USA’s lightweight, tennis shoes are another great, colorful, and quick drying option

The cake goes to Mast’s unparalleled waterproof loafers! 

My look today is:

A cute shift from J. Crew with a light blue and white striped pattern, adorned with yellow stitching on the shoulders.

This raincoat from Zara will compliment my outfit while keeping me warm and dry as the evening progresses.

And let’s not forget accessory totes: Raybans, chap-stick, towel, etc. I will carry in this great color-blocked tote.

Other fun combination pieces are shown below.

  

Now back to land!

Decor

Include great seat poofs that are lightweight and easy to maneuver.  

You can also use ground and wall covers to add depth without wasting footprints. Starting as a decorative touch to seating, this cashmere throw will be priceless as evening temperatures dip in outdoor locations. You may also provide some blankets around the property in galvanized bins. The Macbeth Collection has literally hundreds of designs and options to suit your needs.  Click for designs!

Instead of going wild with the nautical theme, include key pieces to accent your summer event.  You may also trade in usual coolers for specialty picnic coolers, available in hundreds of designs.

 This amazing 60 hour candle rope always reminds me of kerosine lanterns and fishing villages of years past.  A floating oil candle could act as the lighthouse beacon in centerpieces.

 Hanging miniature metal oil lamps add the seafaring atmosphere to evening lighting

 As for hors d’oeuvres…

Use small nautical flags to label dishes (DIY using paper, glue, & toothpicks!) Great for any party, especially ocean inspired cocktails (try to consolidate serving dishes)

This cheese tray also incorporates dipping sauces to save space and reduce the risk of spillage.

Wine trays are also a wonderful idea for cocktail parties with limited seating. 

As you can see, ranging from true boating parties to themed events, nautical influenced party ideas are endless! Have fun with bold patterns and preppy colors and don’t forget to include the ocean in your plans!

4th of July Family Reunion!!!

Spending the 4th with my boyfriend’s family this year made me appreciative of how this holiday tends to bring America’s families together. So I thought what better time, than the kids’ summer breaks, a holiday where many professionals get off to host a Family Reunion!

Invitations

  • A ‘Save the date’ should be sent out 6 months prior to an event. Since this is a summer, destination party you must consider your guests’ travel arrangements, summer camps, and holiday plans.
  • Green save the dates are especially popular now electronically
  • Formal invitations should be sent 3 months out to remind people and encourage RSVP’s

*** NEW IDEA ***

For this party, a unique idea is to include postage and request that your guests send a red, white, or blue shirt that symbolizes their family. These shirts can be their hometown, favorite family vacation souvenir, sports team, or something new.

You can use these shirts to create your own Independence Day Flag or as a prize for relay races, event competitions. 

Decor

For the kids to play with, and engage your guests, include a range of games. Dominoes are great for those who want to sit. Croquet or Badminton for the lawn. The tent below can add accent and shade for little children and if the property is near a lake or pool remember to always provide towels in a container easily accessible to guests.

Floral

Recently as a houseguest I wanted to bring something more updated than my usual bouquet so I went to the local antique barn and found a lovely pail that I then planted some petunias in for a festive approach. Using some beautiful twine for the finishing touch you can create your own custom floral pieces for well over 70% savings. And they last all summer long!

Table Top

Incorporating colors sometimes reads better than literal interpretations of the flag. Below is a gorgeous charger and plate combination that adds style to this classic country event. 

To facilitate better conversation and sometimes avoid conflict, table assignments can be helpful.

  • Assign by generation so cousins may relate to certain shared memories
  • Make sure that table seatings are age specific for comfort (smaller chairs and benches, plastic cups, and high-chairs for children – extra cushioning and shade for elder guests)

A great idea for helping children with glasses that can become slippery are applying rubber bands to the glass or preparing with drink bands. I have to recommend color coordinating with red and blue of course!

To organize your place cards, use a recovered shutter, painted in whichever color you choose, slipping the names amongst the slits. Place some recovered bud vases and antique forks to hold table numbers and tie the metal pail floral arrangements together.  I have recently become fascinated with old postcards, both written and mailed & printed in the 30’s- 70’s. The world and vacation spots have changed so much that the messages and pictures return a sense of nostalgia to popular sites. At antique stores, these gems are organized by state and range 25 cents to $2.00 a card.

  • Use the postcards you provide as seating assignments, including postage and your mailing address encouraging your guests to write you as they travel through the summer.
  • Use saved postcards your guests may have sent you to signify seating assignments
  • If you don’t want to limit people to specific seats just lay a few on each table tied with leftover twine as gift-bags.

Lighting

I fell in love with these lunch pail inspired votive holders as well to add sparkle to each table. You can also place some individually wrapped bug repellant in them on each table, better for inhalation concerns! Adding some lanterns (powered not candle) and of course mosquito killing lights can add some color too without the fire! 

Another great idea are these origami, DIY, paper lantern christmas lights.  Food & Bar

Anything you choose to serve is great, but some grilling tips!

  • Always keep the grill open until you are sure it is lit
  • Don’t smoke while grilling! Or at all!
  • Don’t use matches or lighters to check for propane leaks
  • Don’t pour accelerant such as lighter fluid or gasoline on the grill

Cocktail

The Old One- Two

Naomi Schimek created a beautiful and tasty punch, perfect for large groups.

Muddle 40 blackberries into 1 cup superfine sugar until well mashed and sugar has dissolved.

Add 1 cup strained fresh-squeezed lemon juice and whisk, strain again and discard seeds.

In a punch bowl, add 1 cup cognac and some ice. Let sit for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Top with 750mL bottle of brut champagne.

Serves 6

Dessert

Chop some blueberries, strawberry, banana (electrolytes for hot day activities!) and place in these delightful dishes! for cups of fruit and add whipped cream for sweet.  Carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, strawberry shortcake, or blueberry muffins can be served in decorative  A FAVORITE vendor who bakes fresh daily the most amazing cheesecake I have EVER been blessed to have (it is that good) is The Great American Cheesecake is Lawrenceville, NJ.

To serve ice cream cones without too much of a mess and line while scooping, pre scoop and serve your favorite flavors (black raspberry Mmmm) in an old milk container!  For a GREAT catering option, based out of Brooklyn, NY and willing to travel are People’s Pops. Their flavors are ingenious and their historic take to popsicles amazing. BIG THUMBS UP HERE!!!

Happy Summer & enjoy the ideas!!!

Marisa