I was at an event the other night where some delicious artisanal cocktails were being passed around. A few of the guests I was with weren’t drinking, so the bartenders made them a mocktail version of the same caliber. It got a conversation started among us that we were so appreciative to find more restaurants offering delicious mocktails as part of their menus. Now that I have a kid, I understand how nice it is to have a special drink for everyone to enjoy at parties; I always try to come up with a fun recipe that can taste just as delicious in mocktail form as it does in cocktail form. With the 4th of July holiday coming up, I thought I’d test a batch of a new mocktail recipe for festive patriotic entertaining. read more

June is flying by in the blink of an eye, thanks to lots of time spent on the road this month. I spent almost a week in NY visiting family and working out my parents’ house, came home and turned right around for a weekend getaway with my best girlfriends in Portland, Maine, and then I spent an overnight in Boston for a fun work event. Phew! I’m getting really really good at packing (still obsessed with packing cubes!) and even better at ignoring the growing piles of laundry. That’s how summer always seems to go though, gone in the blink of an eye as we cram all of our adventures into these few short weeks of warm weather. Sharing a few more of my summer adventures, warm-weather recipes, and reading list: read more

As soon as the weather turns warm, we are on an all-grilling-all-the-time dinner kick! I’ve been making grilled chicken, charring up steaks, skewering shrimp, and kabob-ing just about every vegetable under the sun for the past few weeks. After all of these delicious grilled meals, I’ve been thinking of ways to push myself outside my comfort zone and experiment with some new dishes that are packed with flavor from this cooking method.  Every time I pass the fish counter at my grocery store, I notice a display of cedar planks and finally decided to give them a try with this new dish: cedar grilled salmon and potatoes with creamy lemon Dijon. read more

I had the opportunity earlier this week to spend the most amazing day in Copley Square with the team at Yankee Magazine. This year is the 40th anniversary of Massachusetts Farmer’s Markets, and the Copley Square market (one of my favorites) is one of the oldest continuously running markets in the state. We got the chance to tour the market with the Executive Director and meet with many of the farmers and vendors, and even enjoyed a big picnic lunch thanks to the chef at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen in the Fairmont Copley Plaza. The sun was shining, the food was tasty, and it was the most inspiring summer day.  read more

Last week we were visiting my family in New York for a very special occasion (and my favorite summer tradition) — my hometown’s fireman’s parade. Growing up we lived across the street from the local firehouse and our house was the prime viewing location for the parade. My parents always threw a big party, invited tons of friends, and put out a fabulous spread for guests. The party always signaled the ushering in of summer vacation for me and is one of my favorite childhood memories. The annual event definitely influenced my love of entertaining today! This was the first time I’ve been back to see the parade in several years so I knew I wanted to make some special bites to bring with us to the viewing party.  read more

Of all of the times to entertain throughout the year, I think that summer entertaining is my favorite. It’s typically casual and laid-back, means we get to fire up the grill and eat outside, and often uses my favorite color palette: red white and blue! The easy DIY chambray napkins I have to share today are perfect for all of those elements that make summer entertaining so special. This set that I made for upcoming Fourth of July celebrations has a patriotic twist, but they could be customized with monograms for bridal showers, dates for anniversaries or birthdays, or even some simple shapes for a graphic design.  read more

I spent this past weekend up in Portland, Maine celebrating one of my best friend’s bachelorette weekend. We had a blast — eating lobster rolls, taking in a baseball game, soaking up the most gorgeous summer weather, and of course, enjoying some cocktails and bar hopping. I’m still recovering — apparently it takes 3-4 days to recover from bachelorette parties once you hit your thirties — here’s hoping I’m back to normal by Thursday of this week. The good thing about bachelorette parties in your thirties though is that we have quite a few of these girl’s weekend celebrations under our belt. All of that experience adds up, and makes it much easier to put together perfect activities, itineraries and party swag!  read more

I have been singing the praises of grilling season now for a few weeks. For good reason: there is no better way to quickly pull together a tasty dinner. In fact, I haven’t turned on our oven since we pulled our grill out of winter storage and onto the patio! One recipe that has been on near-constant rotation at our house recently is a simple grilled shrimp dish with a garlic basil marinade. I serve it with grilled veggie skewers of zucchini, red onions and tomatoes (brushed with the same flavorful dressing) and some warm couscous and fresh herbs. read more

I have been craving a fresh, fruity summer drink and mixed up a batch of this easy raspberry mint lemonade to quench my thirst! It’s such an easy recipe — just a few muddled fresh raspberries and mint leaves in the bottom of a glass, topped with ice and filled to the top with some good lemonade (sometimes I look for a sparkling version at Trader Joe’s!). If you’re serving it as a cocktail — which you totally should — add about an ounce of vodka to the glass before you top it with the lemonade. It makes a refreshing beverage to batch prep in a big pitcher for summer parties, and it looks so very festive with the bright green mint and red raspberries muddled in the glass. Leave the vodka on the side so guests can decide to spike it (or not!) to their desired drink strength. And set out some festive straws and long sprigs of more fresh mint to let everyone garnish their cocktails! read more

Ignore what the calendar says – it’s officially summer over here. The temperature has been rising, my favorite sundresses and white denim pieces have made their way out of the closet, and we had our first after-dinner walk to the ice cream shop. I also spent more time than I’d like to admit researching kiddie pools today (I can’t decide: the watermelon or the donut pool? Tough choices!). I’m sharing a few of our recent and upcoming summer adventures below, as well as a few more links and updates in this week’s download: read more