From the time that  I first heard about Farm and Fable’s Cookbook Book Club,  I was sold — what is better than hanging out with a group of friends and chatting about cookbooks? Oh right, eating the recipes from them! I finally was able to join one of the meet-ups this weekend and it was a ton of fun. This month the book was Huckleberry, the new cookbook from the famed Santa Monica bakery. While I love cooking, I’m actually not the most skilled baker (sticking to proportions and instructions can be tough for me, I always want to add more butter, oops!), so I ended up picking one of the more savory recipes from the book, a tomato goat cheese cobbler. It was really tasty, and so were the 10 other recipes that book club attendees made. My favorite? The chocolate banana bread bundt cake — holy yum. I loved getting to hear their experiences with the recipes and even got a few new tips and tricks to use next time! IMG_5217.JPGIMG_5226.JPGIMG_5227.JPGIMG_5234.JPG

Last weekend was one of my proudest moments while running Boston Bloggers with Alison. We worked with the creative and passionate team at Wayfair to host a full-day conference for local bloggers to kick off the holiday season. It was an amazing group  of ladies (over 100 bloggers came from all over Massachusetts and Rhode Island!), and we had so much fun. There were great speakers, DIY sessions (one of which was hosted by me!), awesome blogging tips, including a session about SEO from the expert team at Wayfair and conversation with Alison that asked us “why are we blogging in the first place?” A special shout out to Third Eye Chic Studio for sharing these photographs with me — I was so busy leading my DIY session that I didn’t have time to take any pictures — a few of my favorites from the day are below, and if you’re interested in checking out more, visit the hashtag #HFTHboston on twitter and instagram.
Wayfair Wayfair 2I was setting up for my DIY session and just caught a few minutes of the keynote opening session with Heather Armstrong of Dooce and Christiane Lemieux of Dwell Studio, but what I heard blew me away — these are some amazingly inspirational women that have followed their dreams and made it big. We were so very grateful to both of them for joining the event and sharing their expertise with us (and so thankful that the Wayfair team brought them to the event!).

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The absolutely charming and talented Abby Larson of Style Me Pretty hosted a tabletop styling session using products from all of the Wayfair brands; it was so great to meet her and her team in person and see them in action — they were  truly talented and the results of the tabletop styling were gorgeous!

Wayfair 8Wayfair 9As a huge fan of Island Creek Oyster Bar, I fan-girl-ed out meeting Chef Jeremy Sewall. Chef Jeremy brought the group through his tips for planning holiday meals. I really loved that it had such a local focus on seafood and ingredients that you can find from New England. I learned so much about seafood (did you know that longer antennas on lobsters indicate they’re fresher? And that all of the lobster from ICOB and Row 34 come from Jeremy’s cousins in Maine?). It was also really enlightening to hear him talk about the process of writing his new cookbook: The New England Kitchen — which I snagged a signed copy of at the end of the event!Wayfair 10

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My session was all about getting crafty — the Wayfair team and I worked to create five different DIY gift tags that represented the five major Wayfair brands. It was great getting to demonstrate the DIY ideas and create with the bloggers, but for me the best part was that the groups got to network and chat with each other while working on their projects. I got to catch up with some old blogging friends and finally put a few real-life faces to blog names with new friends too. Wayfair 4Wayfair 7Wayfair 5Wayfair 6We ended the day with an amazing cocktail hour and yankee swap that Wayfair generously organized with dozens upon dozens of amazing gifts from their sites. It was a little bit like the Oprah Christmas Special (you get a gift! you get a gift!) and everyone got to swap, cheers, mingle, and enjoy themselves after a long day of getting into the holiday spirit. Wayfair 13Wayfair 1Wayfair 12Interested in reading some more recaps from the event? These fabulous bloggers have shared their pictures and impressions of the event too:

I love Fall fashion as much as the next girl, but I tend to put off new clothing purchases until that first super chilly Autumn day when I realize none of my jeans from last season fit me and my old coat has a coffee stain on it that I never got dry-cleaned out. Well, that first extra-chilly morning arrived this week in Boston, and just like that, I’m on the hunt for some closet updates to get me through the season! On my radar: a crisp new quilted barn coat, cozy Parisian-chic striped tees, and a fresh pair of skinny jeans to tuck into boots! joules Fall

Quilted Jacket | Parisian Stripe Tee | Skinny Jeans | Wellies | Satchel Bag | Pearl Earrings | Bracelet
Please note: I have received compensation for partnering with Joules on this post, all opinions are my own.

One of the things I love about Boston is the amazing food scene we have here — I get a little burst of pride opening up Bon Appetit magazine and seeing some of my favorite local spots getting more and more shout outs these days. One of the restauranteurs that is synonymous with the Boston foodie scene is Ming Tsai. I’m excited to be joining Ming at his launch party for Season 12 of his cooking show at Blue Dragon on October 21, and you could join me too! The fine folks at Breville are giving away 2 tickets to the event, as well as a signed copy of Ming Tsai’s cookbook. To enter just head over to Instagram and follow @breville and @domestikblog, and then find their post about the party and comment, tagging a friend you would bring. Good luck!

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My cellphone has been alerting me that I’m just about at the max for storage space, which is a little bit how my brain has been feeling the past few weeks. I hate the glorification of ‘busy’ — so no complaints here about having a lot of stuff going on. It’s more that I have been on the go so much the past few weeks that I’ve slipped a little behind on things like cleaning my apartment and writing blog posts.  I spent this weekend (the first one home in a while!), unpacking bags, catching up on projects, and finally uploading a few of those phone photos here for a little update…

I got to experience my very first NY Fashion Week this year — including pampering and mimosas at DryBar, and then partying it up with my sister at the Reward Style blogger party. I have to admit, I was embarrassingly excited about getting the invite to the event. I’ve been blogging for over 5 years, and like I’m sure many others do, I never feel like I’m really ‘legit’ — the comparison game is inevitable, as hard as I try to avoid it! I always tend to worry that I’m not big enough, or have enough followers, or wonder if I’ll ever feel like a ‘real’ blogger — silly, right? But going to that event and rubbing elbows with people who I know are ‘legit’ gave me a little boost of confidence, and we could all use a little of that! My sister and I walked over to Lincoln Center after the party and snapped some selfies — a little pinch-me moment as we realized some childhood daydreams as grown-ups.

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Another big event that took me away from home for a few days up to Vermont was my best friend’s wedding! I joined the bride-to-be a few days prior to the wedding up in her hometown to help a fellow bridesmaid-slash-florist with flower prep for the big day.  It is such a nice feeling to be surrounded by your best girlfriends, rolling up your sleeves and getting to use your hands to make something beautiful — I learned so much about flowers over the course of the weekend and so much fun doing it. The wedding was gorgeous and filled with so many perfect little details that only someone as talented as my friend Taz could come up with. Oh and I got to give my first ever wedding speech — great news, I didn’t trip, fall, or drop the microphone — success! IMG_4078.JPGIMG_4130.JPG

Somewhere in between all of that traveling and celebrating, I’ve also been working on some content collaborations that I’ll be able to share here soon, as well as prepping for my upcoming DIY Recipe Box class at Farm & Fable in the South End (there are still a few seats left if you’d like to join! More information here: http://farmandfable.com/collections/classes)IMG_4340.JPG

A few weeks back I surprised my husband with a brewing session at Hopsters in Newton for his birthday. I wouldn’t consider myself a big beer drinker, but ended up having so much fun just going through the whole process of brewing and bottling it. We picked a recipe (crystal wheat beer) and the brewers at Hopsters helped us measure our ingredients and work through the brewing process. Then we went back after the beer fermented for a few weeks and got to bottle it — which I found to be the best part (look at those American flag caps!). You can even design your own label, and my husband came up with a very clever name — don’t you think?IMG_3497.JPGIMG_3512.JPGIMG_3513.JPGIMG_3514.JPG

 

 

Boston Bloggers had the pleasure of hosting a preview of the Fall bridal collection at BHLDN in the Chestnut Hill Anthropologie this month. Even with our wedding already behind us, I can still appreciate the gorgeous dress selection at the BHLDN boutique — the good news is that the bridesmaid dresses, shoes, and accessories are all still in my sights to wear as a wedding guest! And the decor items are just so cute, they’re perfect for parties and the home too. The Anthropologie team pulled out all of the stops for our group — sweet treats, Mumm Napa champagne, gorgeous florals by Ladies of Foret, and darling little paper flowers in gold leaf vases for guests to take home at the end of the night! (A special thanks to Katie Noble Photography, who captured images of the event shown here).

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I’m so excited to have been interviewed by the folks at Occasions Magazine recently, hop on over there and read all about my entertaining style, tips, and inspiration!

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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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I tried spinning once before a few years ago and it was not for me — I vowed never to go back. But last week The Handle Bar hosted our Boston Bloggers group for spinning class and I decided to give it a second chance. Jess, the lovely owner of the studio, totally changed my mind. First off –I’m a sucker for design and the studio is the kind of place you actually want to work out in — bright cheery yellow walls and adorable details like the neighborhood specific logos. Before we got started, the staff were hands-on helping everyone get set up so they felt comfortable on the bikes and with the terminology they’d be using during the ride. When it was time to start the lights dimmed down super low — which I loved! (Yay for not having to worry about looking like a sweaty mess!). I think the best part was that the music was perfectly synced up to the movements of the ride, and  the time flew by with the variety of exercises you did while on the bike. So overall, I think they converted me! Thanks to Jess and the Handle Bar Fenway for hosting our group!
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The Handle Bar offered this class complimentary to members of Boston Bloggers, all opinions are my own.