Island Creek Oyster Farm.

Last weekend I had the amazing opportunity to visit Island Creek Oyster Farm down in Duxbury, MA. My husband is a big fan of oysters and got me into them a few years ago too — now we’re both oyster-obsessed and love checking out new varieties whenever see them pop up on the menu at local restaurants (we’ve even done some at-home-shucking too!). No matter how many we try though, we always come back to Island Creek’s as our favorites. After being invite to visit the OysterPlex and meet the folks that run ICO, I’m even more committed to my favorite oysters now. ICO Farm 5ICO Farm 14ICO Farm 6Chris and his team took us through the history of building the ICO OysterPlex and brand, and showed us how they cultivate and farm the oysters from ‘seed’ to harvest. It all started on the shore where we saw the greenhouses where the team grows their algae to feed the oysters at the seed stage. From there, we followed the seeds through their life cycle and ended up out in two boats on the water where they grow  in trays in Duxbury Bay until they’re ready to harvest.

ICO Farm 8ICO Farm 1ICO Farm 1120140725-102216-37336811.jpgICO Farm 9Duxbury Bay is absolutely gorgeous. After visiting the oyster trays out in the water, we stopped at the ICO float out in the water where they process and sort the harvest each day and enjoyed some of the oysters that had just been plucked out of the water — doesn’t get much fresher than that! A few beers and glasses of rosé wine were enjoyed with the oyster-feast as we met Skip Bennett, founder of Island Creek. My favorite anecdote from the day was hearing about how Skip drove into Boston one day to try to offload a surplus of oysters to local chefs. He showed up at the back door of East Coast Grill in Cambridge with his pick-up truck and his oyster haul. East Coast Grill was the first place to buy wholesale oysters from Island Creek, and the rest was history!ICO Farm 1020140725-102215-37335876.jpg20140725-102217-37337668.jpgICO Farm 4ICO Farm 2

It felt like a once in a lifetime experience to get to visit the oyster farm where some of our very favorite seafood treats come from. I also learned so much from Island Creek team about oysters, (did you know it only takes 18 months to grow a full size oyster shell?! I thought it took years upon years!), the benefit of aquaculture and oysters to the environment, and the great things that ICO does to give back to the community with their foundation. Thanks so much to Skip, Chris, and the rest of the Island Creek team for such an awesome day

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12 Hours in Provincetown.

On Sunday I had an awesome opportunity to take over the Boston Harbor Cruises’ Instagram account as they sent me on a little adventure to Provincetown. We took the BHC Fast Ferry out of downtown Boston and spent the day in P-Town exploring. Most of our time was spent checking out the Commercial Street shopping area, ducking into cute nautical shops and restaurants. We had lobster rolls at The Canteen for lunch, drinks on the porch looking out over the water at The Red Inn, cocktails on the waterfront deck at Pepes, and enjoying a clambake at the Lobster Pot to end our night. All along the way I snapped pictures of the cute Cape Cod cottages and nautical details. Twelve hours of eating and drinking and instagramming is pretty much my ideal day — thanks to Boston Harbor Cruises for the awesome opportunity! 20140721-210959-76199845.jpg20140721-211002-76202831.jpg20140721-211001-76201372.jpg20140721-211000-76200616.jpg20140721-211002-76202100.jpg

 

 

 

 

Tassel Wine Charms.

When it comes to planning a bridal shower, it’s the little extra details that make all the difference in creating a special experience. When my fellow bridesmaids landed on a mimosa bar for the shower, I decided it would be fun to jazz up the rented champagne flutes with a little extra flair. Using embroidery floss and an easy-to-find tutorial from Pinterest, I made tassels in coordinating corals, peaches, and lilacs. Using wine charm findings I attached the tassels with an extra piece of embroidery floss. The result was a bright pop of festive color on the champagne flutes, and an easy way for guests to locate their drinks!
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Modern Geometric Bridal Shower.

I shared a few sneak peeks of a bridal shower for one of my best buds this weekend if you follow me over on instagram, and I have loads more to share here today! I had so much fun planning details for this shower because there are few people in this world that would appreciate them more than this bride-to-be. It was also so much fun because of the all-star bridesmaids involved — these girls pulled out all the stops: from stocking a candy buffet fit for Willy Wonka, to hand-making favor boxes out of coordinating cardstock, to arranging gorgeous blooms brimming with bright pink peonies (this gang was so on top of things that we all showed up in coordinating outfits without even planning!). My favorite detail was the mimosa bar, stocked with Pop-Fizz-Clink drink stirrers and signage from Laura Hooper Calligraphy and a wall of cascading tissue bursts in peaches and pinks and lilacs from Shop Sweet Lulu. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day, it was a sun-shining, mimosa drinking kind of a celebration!

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Farmer’s Market Pasta.

I have started a fun little summer challenge: on Tuesdays and Fridays I have been hitting up the Copley Square Farmers Market on my lunch break and try to make a dinner completely out of ingredients from the vendor stands. There is one particular vendor that makes amazing fresh pastas which has been a great base to feature all of the delicious crisp veggies I have been able to get at the market. So farmers market pasta is becoming a new staple.20140713-193838-70718068.jpg

It’s the same process each week: boil water for the pasta and steam the veggies on top. Then in a pan, melt 1 tbsp of butter and sauté the veggies and a few minced shallots: add 1/4 cup of white wine and reduce the mixture. Then toss the pasta in with a few tablespoons of the pasta water and coat with the sauce and vegetables. Then top with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper, and Parmesan cheese. This week I made it with English peas, heirloom carrots, and yellow summer squash, but have also tried garlic scapes, zucchini, and broccoli. It’s healthy, local and so tasty! 20140713-193835-70715137.jpg20140713-193836-70716109.jpg20140713-193837-70717091.jpg

4th of July Weekend.

This was one of those weekends where I totally forgot to break out my real camera because I was too busy having fun. Hurricane Arthur did little to deter my patriotic celebrations — I went to a friend’s beach house and we had a rainy night in with a lobster dinner, my frozen berry cheesecake jars for dessert, and a whole lot of cards against humanity. Once the weather cleared up we hit the beach for some book reading and sun bathing — it was bliss. I am having some major Monday-blues after such a good long weekend — anyone else? 20140706-200421-72261579.jpg20140706-200423-72263059.jpg20140706-200422-72262320.jpg

 

 

Grilled Peach and Arugula Salad.

Sometimes a few simple ingredients can be combined to make something wow-worthy — and I totally feel that way about this easy to make summer salad of grilled peaches and arugula. I made this salad for a summer rosé party held by The Urban Grape, and it was a hit — the sweetness of the grilled peaches is a perfect balance for the peppery arugula and tang of reduced balsamic. Check out the recipe below and be sure to click over to Boston.com to read the full article with smart tips from Hadley & TJ of The Urban Grape  to throw your own rosé party!

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Ingredients:

  • 6 Peaches
  • 1 cup of Mozzarella balls
  • 8 cups of Arugula
  • 1/8 cup Pine Nuts
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar

Peel peaches and cut into wedges. Heat grill and lightly coat with cooking spray to keep peaches from sticking. Grill peaches until marked on all sides. Set aside to cool. In a small saucepan, heat the Balsamic Vinegar on a medium-high heat, and let it reduce in half, about 5-8 minutes. As the Vinegar is reducing, toast pine nuts lightly in a small pan (be careful not to burn). In a large bowl, assemble arugula, layer mozzarella and peaches on top, and then sprinkle with pine nuts and dress with the balsamic reduction. Toss to serve.

Photography: Brian Samuels Photography

 

Rosemary Sirloin Kabobs.

One of the easiest dishes for entertaining is kabobs — they’re easy to prepare in advance, are pre-portioned, and look really beautiful when plated for the table. When working on a summer rosé party held by The Urban Grape, I made a simple rosemary sirloin version that’s perfect for summer entertaining. Check out the recipe below and be sure to click over to Boston.com to read the full article with smart tips from Hadley & TJ of The Urban Grape to throw your own rosé party!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of sirloin tips
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 red pepper
  • Fresh rosemary
  • 2 lemons
  • Salt and pepper

Marinate steak overnight in a sealed plastic back with the juice of two lemons, salt and pepper, and 3-4 sprigs of rosemary. Soak wooden skewers in water overnight to prevent burning. When ready to assemble the kabobs, begin by preparing the vegetables; slice a zucchini, peppers and red onion into large chunks. Alternate the vegetables and meats until the skewers are full. Use fresh rosemary sprigs and remove the needles from the bottom half of the stalk to create. Press the sprig into the first few pieces of meat and vegetables to thread the rosemary through the skewer. Grill kabobs to desired wellness and serve on a bed of arugula.

Photography: Brian Samuels Photography

 

 

 

 

Rosé Tasting Garden Party.

I had the pleasure of working with some really creative folks a few weeks ago on a rosé wine tasting party held by The Urban Grape. Helping to style a shoot like this really doesn’t count as work because I got to hang out all day with amazing company, eat a tasty lunch al fresco on a gorgeous wrap around porch, and learn all about (and taste!) delicious rosé wines on a warm summer day. I shared a few of my favorite outtakes from the day here, but click over to Boston.com to read the full article with smart tips from Hadley & TJ of The Urban Grape  to throw your own rosé party.

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Wine: The Urban Grape

Photography: Brian Samuels Photography

Flowers: Boston Pollen

Glassware: Farm & Fable

 

A Graduation Fiesta.

It was a very festive weekend — we celebrated my little brother’s high school graduation with a big backyard fiesta! I think my sister and I started planning this party almost a year ago when we realized our baby brother’s graduation was impending — we love to throw a good party and this was a big reason to celebrate. The theme was inspired by some mexican blankets that we found at a thrift store for a few bucks a piece, and thought they would make awesome table linens for a summer fiesta. We had a taco bar for dinner and a make your own margarita station with festive drink stirrers. For decorations I ordered tons of papel picado and we strung the banners all along the backyard fence and above the bar. Of course it wouldn’t be a fiesta without a few piñatas too (and I brought some confetti cannons which were a hit!). It was a perfect day of food, family, and fun.
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