Beauty Bag to Go!

(This post contains affiliate links )

Every women should have beauty to go bag for those unfortunate mishaps and unexpected accidents. You know, those mornings you are dressed up and meeting your boss for a meeting and drive over a bump in the road and spill your coffee on your lap. Or when you realize the hem of your pants decided to come down and hang out for the day.

How many of those unexpected have happened to you? I know it is too many to mention for myself! So learning from my mistakes, I have a beauty to go bag on me with all types of essentials that can help with a beauty emergency or mishap while traveling or at work.

This should be separate from what is in your handbag but can fit into your handbag or desk at work. It does not have to be large either!

Beauty Bag to Go essentials

Of course this is just a small list to get you started. As you find yourself having these beauty emergencies, you will naturally add other items in your beauty to go bag that you know will save the day. At least you will feel better knowing you have prepared a bit for what life can through on us!

What is your must have beauty emergency item?

Red Bee in Weston is All the Buzz

Red bee honey, red bee, honey, CT, weston, blogger, all naturalThis past weekend I ventured out in the wintry weather to Red Bee in Weston, CT in the cold with my fellow CT Blogger Babes of CT Blogger Collective to experience a variety of natural and locally sourced honey. I have been hearing the “buzz” about Red Bee for quite some time. I was excited to visit once the opportunity came my way.

About Red Bee


Carla Marina Marchese is the designer and beekeeper behind the iconic brand Red Bee Honey, and the author of Honeybee: Lessons from An Accidental Beekeeper and the co-author with Kim Flottum (editor of Bee Culture Magazine) of The Honey Connoisseur: Selecting, Tasting, and Pairing Honey. She is a Member of the Italian Register of Experts in the Sensory Analysis of Honey and founder of The American Honey Tasting Society.

Red bee honey, red bee, ct, weston, blogger, all natural

Marina discussing Red Bee Honey

The products

Red Bee Honey as a unique flavor depending on the types of flowers the bees visited. We were pleased to try Blueberry, Buckwheat, Creamy Clover and Orange. All were very distinct and special. Marina provided us with cups of ricotta and yogurt to mix the different honey with as well as cacao bits, oranges, bee pollen and pomegranate.  My favorite was the Creamy Clover and Buckwheat which was darker than the others and had a bold flavor.

red bee honey, red bee, weston, CT, blogger, all natural, honey

Buckwheat Honey

red bee honey, red bee, honey, ct, blogger, all natural, honey

Honeycomb

In addition to the tasting we were able to try a large array of naturally made beauty products named Rosape Skin Care. Products such as lip balm, foot cream,  facial cream and even a natural bug spray! I know from experience is hard to find a good bug spray that can be natural and be effective.  All the products were handmade using fresh plant-based ingredients with no animal products, Parabens or alcohol. Very impressive!

If you are interested in coming to visit Red Bee, Marina has a variety of tastings and workshops available here.:http://www.redbee.com/events. She also does private events! If you are interested in visiting the shop, it is by appointment only. The shop has a large variety of soaps, beauty products, small gifts and of course HONEY!

To contact Marina or visit, please go to http://www.redbee.com/contact.

For more things from Marina on honey and recipes click here

 

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Eve Cocktail Considerations

We all know that New Year’s and champagne go hand in hand. But how many of you other than on New Year’s are drinking champagne other than at midnight?

New Year's cocktail considerations, New Years Eve, cocktails, Dec 31st, Happy New Year, drinks Why not toast in the New Year with some different cocktails and save the champagne for midnight only. Most of the time we don’t get creative with our drinks because we just have not taken the time to research a recipe or take the initiative to buy the needed ingredients. I’ve found that many of the handmade craft cocktails in my favorite restaurants are pretty simple to make at home with the right tools and 2-3 ingredients. And by no means do they have to have alcohol! Do some research as there are plenty of “mocktail” recipes out there! I listed one non-alcoholic option below.

Here also are some suggestions to have for a basic well stocked tool kit for your bar so you can make them with ease. Don’t feel you need to buy everything. Start small with a cocktail shaker and jigger. Other things will come as you get more creative like a muddler. Oh and don’t forget those garnishes! I am a sucker for a nice piece of rosemary, a berry or lemon peel decorating my drink!

Bar Essentials

  • Cocktail Shakers
  • Bottle opener ( duh)
  • Cocktail Strainer
  • Muddler ( for muddling fruits into your drinks)
  • Jigger for measuring
  • Variety sizes of glassware like tall , martini, and highball
  • I have listed some of the best cocktails to consider here for you from some of the webs most popular sites. Take a look!

New Year’s Eve Cocktail Considerations

Cranberry Spice Cocktail

Apple Cider and Rum Punch

Peach Cosmo

Citrus 75

Strawberry Sombrero

Peppermint Egg Nog Punch

Cranberry Sparkler (non-alcoholic)

I am looking forward to New Year’s Eve with a homemade dinner and quiet evening in reflecting on this past year. Life has brought me so many joys so that when things don’t go the right way, it definitely softens the bump. I guess that is what life is anyway. A series of memories and experiences. Here is to having more joys than sorrows and more laughs than cries. Wishing all of you a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Manchester Holiday Get Away

We decided a quick getaway to Manchester, Vermont was the perfect way to kick off the holiday weekend. Many would think.. who would go away the night before Christmas Eve? Well, sometimes you have to get away to recharge, renew and reconnect. And that is just what we did. No plan, no agenda, just the open road and a hotel reservation.

Manchester, Vermont, Get Away, Holiday, CT, blogger

Downtown Manchester

Manchester is a bustling town in Vermont and unlike many of its serene, quiet and woodsy ski towns that surround it, Manchester is full of life and excitement. About 5 miles from Stratton Ski Area and Bromley Mountain, Manchester is where you can go for more food options, sightseeing and shopping.

We started by checking into our hotel at Homewood Suites by Hilton. A beautiful and newer hotel with gracious space and free breakfast in the morning. The hotel was full of ski families and folks like us getting away for Christmas. We headed out to our favorite restaurant The Copper Grouse located in The Taconic Kipton Hotel. Another gracious and more high-end hotel that is pet friendly and has beautifully decorated hallways and lobby.

manchester, Vermont, the copper grouse, get away, holidays, CT, Blogger

The bar at The Copper Grouse

The Copper Grouse is crafted American Fare with authentic local fare. Everything to the buffalo sauce and salad dressing was homemade and you could tell. Using locally sourced and flavorful ingredients, The Cooper Grouse takes American dishes to a new level. We tried the Cheddar Ale Soup which was perfect for a rainy day that we had. We also tried both types of chicken wings. Maple Siracha and Sesame Maple. Both were just as good as the other! They came with a fresh homemade blue cheese sauce that was not too overpowering.

They also have beautifully complemented cocktails. The Fireside and War of the Roses were our favorites. Both have fresh garnish of lemon or rosemary. 

After we replenished, it was time to shop. One of my favorite places is the Northshire Bookstore. Books of every kind for young and old as well as gifts, stationary, candles, scarves and an extensive children’s section on the second floor with a hideaway bunk to read. Their is all kinds of reading nooks in this bookstore. You could hide and get lost in a book all day if you wanted to.

Northshire bookstore, manchester, vermont, getaway, travel, holiday, CT, blogger

Whimsicle and beautiful gifts and stationary

Manchester, Vermont, holiday, CT, Blogger, travel

Northshire Bookstore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If books aren’t your thing, fret not! Manchester is known for its high end  outlet shopping. The Designer Outlets has something for everyone! Here is just a list of some of the stores you can browse! Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Michael Kors, Theory, Armani, Crabtree & Evelyn, Ann Taylor and more. Click on the link above for a full listing of stores.

Manchester, vermont, get away, outlet shopping, CT, Blogger, holidayWe were not able to hit them all but I got some deals at Chico’s, Loft and some gifts at Crabtree & Evelyn and The Kitchen Collection. If you go to their website above, you can see weekly specials and coupons to use at the Outlets when you plan your visit.

Once we were shopped out we went back to the hotel to rest and headed over again to the Copper Grouse for dinner. This time it was Caesar Salads for both of us, their roasted warm nuts and the Copper Grouse Burger. We kept the cocktails the same for dinner. Creatures of habit I guess!

 

Last year after first going to this restaurant I was obsessed with the Roasted Warm Nuts so decided to make a copper cat version you can find by clicking on the link.

Manchester is a great weekend get away to see scenic Vermont, take in the dining and shopping and maybe even skiing at nearby Stratton or Bromley. I know we will be back soon.

Manchester, Vermont, get away, holiday, CT, Blogger, travel

 

Best Holiday Treat Recipes

What is your best holiday treat? Mine is peanut butter blossoms!

If you have not started baking for the holidays yet, you still have time. Last night I was elbow deep in making peanut butter blossoms and cookies and cream bark for the weekend festivities! I like having some baked goods completed for family holiday gatherings or unexpected friends who pop over to send their holidays greetings. The Chocolate Pumpkin Bread and Blueberry Lemon Scones are a great addition to Christmas brunch or the day after when you clearly have filled your kitchen time quota for the holiday. Make ahead and enjoy.

Best Baking Recipes, DIY, Gifts, Holiday baking, cookies, I have curated a list from blog post past of my favorite holiday treats. Some are breads, some edible gifts and then there are cookies! Click on link for full recipe and posts. Happy Holidays!

Best Holiday Treat Recipes

  1. Holiday Madness Bars 
  2. Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread:
  3. Wholesome Homemade Granola Bars:
  4. Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies:
  5. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies:
  6. Gone in a Day Granola
  7. No Bake Peanut Butter Squares:
  8. How to Create a Mason Cookie Jar:
  9. Blueberry Lemon Breakfast Scones:

Best holiday treats, DIY, holiday baking, holiday cookies, christmas cookies, gifts

What is your all-time favorite holiday treat? Season’s Eatings! 

5 Sanity Saving Tips for the Holidays

We all love the holidays.  However sometimes the stuff that comes with it can be stressful. Shopping, baking, cooking, decorating, holiday parties, work functions, family disagreements to name a few.

I actually love most of these things minus the family disagreements. However, I feel like all these things get crammed up in one month and can cause a large amount of overwhelm. After the holidays you can sit back and not even remember enjoying special moments or time with family because you were so consumed with events, planning and “doing”.

To help minimize the stress and keep your sanity, I created 5 Sanity Saving Tips for the Holidays that you can easily sprinkle into your day and week to help you calm down and enjoy the holiday season.

5 Sanity Saving Tips for the Holidays!

Carve out me time. I know it sounds simple but it is so important. Self care is often overlooked as other family members needs take precedent. Treat yourself to 20 minute of reading a book alone, a manicure, take a special class at the gym you have not made time for or call your best friend and just gab.sanity saving tips, 5 tips, holidays, stress, destress

Put thought into your gifts. Sometimes we buy because we have to. We feel obligated perhaps or run out of what to get someone. Take some time ahead of the holidays to think a bit more about your shopping list, who is on it and how they best could be appreciated this year. It might not be something bought at all! Perhaps they need a day off from their kids and you can volunteer to be the babysitter. Thing outside the box!

Scale down the kitchen time. I know I have done this recently and it helps. Don’t feel the need to have everything homemade or bake for every single neighbor. It is fine to buy treat and bring that store-bought pie to your holiday party.  I recently bought several holiday boxes of Andes Mints, tied bows on them and gave them out to my son’s after care staff. They were under $2 but most importantly saved me time as well as money.

Savor the moment. Hit pause! Put your phone away at your childs holiday concert and take it in. Many moments we can never take back. I always think of life as a series of moments. Some good, some bad. Many right in the middle! Make them count.sanity saving tips, 5 tips, holidays, destress

Eat, Sleep, Repeat! Yes. Eating well and not filling up on too much sugar and junk is always a struggle at the holidays. Plan ahead a bit and make sure you are making some healthy choices along with the occasional indulgence. This will help you feel better mentality and physically. And by all means get enough rest. When you are well rested, you can take on anything.

In closing, the holidays are always going to be stressful to some degree. Learning how to hit the pause button and incorporate some of these tips each week will help put a bit more joy and less stress into your holiday season.

Lastly, I want to THANK YOU my loyal readers, fellow bloggers and anyone new to my blog for your support and engagement. I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season!

 

Mason Jar DIY Gifts

As if the holidays are not stressful enough with having to decorate, shop for family and friends and attend holiday functions, you also have those other important people to show your appreciation during the holidays.DIY, homemade, holiday gifts, teacher gifts

I’m talking about the babysitter, teachers, mail carrier, neighbors, bus driver.. you catch my drift. By all means if you bought an actual gift for all these people you likely would be broke by New Years! Something small, affordable and homemade is always easy. Besides most people just want to know they are thought of and appreciated!

I was lucky to get mason jars 50% off at the craft store.  Mason jars are so versatile. I bought several as well as paper shreds for stuffing, tags and raffia. You could also use holiday ribbons or bows. Be creative. The stuffing is great for a filler and to ensure the contents don’t shift in the jar. I filled my jars with http://laurenslatest.com/cookies-cream-christmas-bark/  I loved that it only needed 3 ingredients! I changed the name to holiday as I was not sure which holidays my recipients celebrated. Either way it is the perfect 3 ingredient treat to make fast. I love using raffia during the holidays. I think it gives the item a rustic vibe! I tied the raffia around the jars and put a tag through it labeling the bark.

 

Mason jars, DIY, homemade, holiday gifts, teacher giftsMason jars, DIY, homemade, holiday gifts, teacher giftsmason jars, DIY, homemade, holiday gifts, teacher gifts

Other suggestions to fill Mason jars.

  • Holiday M&M’s and Kisses
  • Chocolate covered pretzels
  • Manicure Jar! Fill with nail polish, file, hand cream and other manicure items for the babysitter
  • Homemade cookies or brownies( Buy larger size jars for full size cookies)
  • Money Jar! Lottery tickets and gold chocolate coins
  • Hot cocoa, chocolate spoons and marshmallows
  • Coffee Break Jar! 2-3 coffee pods, sweeteners, chocolate spoons
  • Tea Time! Mini jar of honey, tea bags, sugar packets, silver spoon
  • Cookie Mix! Layer all the dry ingredients to someones favorite treat
  • Breakfast in a Jar! Create an overnight oats in a jar with oats, nuts, dried fruit, cinnamon and coconut
  • Homemade Jam. ( I mean they are mason jars. 🙂 )
  • Office supplies. Post-It Notes, fun pens or pencils, stickers, colorful paperclips and tacks, mini planner or calendar
    Mason jars, DIY, homemade, holiday gifts, teacher gifts

Most Popular Christmas Candy By State

It may not seem like a huge sweets holiday, but the Christmas candy season really is. Think about all the baking and decorating and making fun crafts with kids that happens in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

For more state by state fun candy facts click here:

https://www.candystore.com/blog/holidays/christmas-candy-popular-state

Christmas Candy List by State
Christmas candy list by state by CandyStore.comSource: CandyStore.com

 

Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Holiday shopping season is officially on! For your picky family members to the difficult secret Santa, I got you covered with a few  unique and practical gifts all under $100. I was given some of these  sample products to review in return for this blog post. All opinions are my own.
 

Gifts under $50

Luxe Pocket Planners

These are beautiful and glamorous! Make a plan and stay on schedule with these Luxe Pocket Planner from Galison. This conveniently sized planner (4.5 x 5.75″) fits in your handbag or backpack and allows you to easily plan your weekly and monthly activities.  They feature an embossed foil cover as well as 192 gilded page edges. Planners are undated. ($9.99)

 

Galison Pocket Planners

Christian Lacroix Maison de Jeu Collection

Christian Lacroix Maison de Jeu features art depicting the atmosphere of vintage French gambling houses.  This collection includes a playing card set, porcelain tray, pencil pot, and 500-piece two-side puzzle. ($25-$50)

Christian Lacroix Maison de Jeu CollectionChristian Lacroix Maison de Jeu 500-Piece Two-Sided Puzzle

Porcelain Trays

Galison’s porcelain tray collection includes designs from Patch NYC, The Berkley Bestiary, Frank Lloyd Wright and more.  Packaged in sturdy gift boxes, these trays are perfect for keys, jewelry, change, and other trinkets or desktop items.

($12.99 – $50)

Galison Porcelain

 

William Morris Gift Collection

William Morris is well known for his unmistakable tapestries, fabrics, wall paper and even stained glass. His work has been used for over 150 years on decorative as well as functional products. The William Morris Celandine and Dove & Rose patterns are used for these handmade embroidered journals, cotton zipper pouches and playing card set. ($13.00-$15.99)

William Morris Gift Collection

Practical Gifts under $99

Ninja® Precision Processor™ with Auto-Spiralizer™ powers through tough ingredients with its unique stacked blade design. Its dough blade makes up to one pound of dough, while its auto-spiralizer easily transforms ordinary fruits and vegetables into fun noodle styles. Its stainless steel chopping blade mixes, chops, puree’s and more.

I used this at Thanksgiving to do my sweet potatoes. Powerful and came out creamy and smooth!Available at retailers nationwide at an MSRP of $99.99.

The Shark® Steam Mop effortlessly cleans sealed hard floors with the power of steam, cutting through grease and grime while keeping floors clear of unwanted film and residue.

S1000_SeafoamPOPfront

Available at online retailers at an MSRP of $79.99.

WalletHub Thanksgiving and Holiday Reports

The countdown to holiday shopping is here! Check out WalletHub’s recent holiday studies and reports, highlights of which you can find below.

holiday shopping, black friday, gift guide, holidays