Category Archives: Food

The Chestnut Hill Experience

I’ve got a whole smorgasbord of fun things to show you today! Last week, I spent the better half of my Sunday with little seester Morgan at Chestnut Hill Square, just minutes outside of Boston. Talk about supercenter! CHS has a little bit of everything– fitness, shopping, pampering, and somuch wining and dining… basically, something for every section of this blog.

Here’s a little taste of how we spent our day…

Equinox Fitness Chestnut Hill Square

Equinox:: Pilates
Anddd the photos stop here, because after Megan Fitzgerald’s amazing pilates class, I was a hot mess! I’ll be the first to admit I’m no fitness buff and would much rather start my weekend mornings snuggled in bed with a latte thank you, but waking up with a class that’s somehow both challenging and relaxing really put me in the right mood for the day. Equinox is beautiful and has so many options for classes and group fitness.

Another option for exercise in the square (besides the cardio you get from shopping, that is):: SoulCycle.

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Drybar Chestnut Hill Review

Drybar:: Blowouts
I can’t say enough great things about Drybar– 4o bucks for a cocktail, hour of pampering, and a blowout that lasts multiple days? So worth it in my book. I’ve given a more thorough review here, but I also tried a Floater for the first time on this visit– a 10-minute scalp massage during your shampoo. Hi, bliss.

Drybar Cosmo-Tai Style

Gray + Yellow Color Scheme

Drybar Parties

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – -Brio Tuscan Grille Chestnut Hill

Brio Tuscan Grille:: Lunch
I live in the North End = I love my Italian. Brio totally lived up to expectations– my Shrimp Mediterranean was packed with flavor, but didn’t leave me feeling like I needed to detox for three days like I do after most heavy Italian meals. Fun atmosphere, and I can’t wait to go back for their brunch menu!

Shrimp Mediterranean with Risotto

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The Sail Loft Chestnut Hill

Shopping
Already a great variety of stores here (I visited the beautiful Anthropologie back in December), with new ones popping up each day. Most of my time this weekend was spent between Francesca’s and Sail Loft.

Francesca's Jewelry Sale

Francesca’s has one of the best selections of costume jewelry I have seen around here. Any color you need, from mint to tangerine to pearl– they’ve got it. I grabbed these quirky earrings and adore them! It’s really an accessory-lover’s heaven in there.

Nautical Sunglasses Case

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Sail Loft Chestnut Hill

Being overly obsessed with all things nautical and Nantucket-related, I was crazy excited to check out Sail Loft. This is the only location off of ACK, and it’s home to so many brands that you do usually only see in resort areas– Kiel James Patrick, Maui Jim, Smathers & Branson, Trina Turk… I’m having a love affair with my new GiGi New York Clutch that co-owner Peter helped me personalize.

Nautical Clothing Boston

Pearl Starfish Bracelet

Smather's & Branson Bow Ties Boston

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Seasons 52 Chestnut Hill

Seasons 52:: Flights & Flats
And to refuel, wine and flatbreads! This is a fantastic deal– $15 for a full-sized flatbread and a 3-wine tasting, plus a full glass of your favorite. How perfect would this be for a date night or Girls’ Night Out? We also indulged in some incredible mini desserts… quite positive that the chocolate caramel one changed my life permanently for the better.

Flights & Flatbreads at Seasons 52

Mini Caramel Chocolate Desserts in Jars

Seasons 52 Chestnut Hill

Many, many thanks to Chestnut Hill Square for giving us an unforgettable day! Tons more things are still to come, and I can tell this is going to be a frequent destination for me this summer.

Have you been to CHS? What are your favorites there?

Full disclosure: I was treated to a complimentary day at Chestnut Hill Square; all opinions expressed are genuine and my own. 

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Farm & Fable

You guys. I have discovered my new happy place.

Farm and Fable Boston

Farm & Fable is a new[ish] vintage cookbook and kitchenware store in the South End [if you like Anthropologie's home section, you'll never want to leave this shop]. Owner Abby hosted the best little get-together for some Boston Bloggers in the space, and I already can’t wait to get back there.

Vintage Cookbook Kitchen StoreWe made mulled wine + spice sachets and just had the best time. I’m dying to return for one of Abby’s cooking classes or Cookbook Club! This is a Boston gem really not to be missed.

I should mention they carry new cookbooks in addition to vintage ones, so please oh please for the love of all things holy and endangered, buy your cookbooks at a place like this. There are so few independent bookstores left and it hurts my heart to hear you say that you can get it cheaper on Amazon! #shoplocal

[ Farm & Fable ]
[ 251 Shawmut Avenue ]
[ Boston, MA  02118 ]

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Tipsy Tuesday No. 12: Italian 75

I thought about searching for some indulgent, chocolatey Valentine cocktail to style + share today, but then I realized it’s also my #birthdayweek… and birthdays are more of an excuse to drink anyway :)

I love most things about being a February baby, minus the winter weather [fun party dresses are always accompanied by lotsa layers]. But THIS COAT. This is a party coat! And with an Italian 75 in hand–one cocktail that embraces my love for Prosecco + lemon but also looks toward brighter, summery days with the addition of pear–I’d be a happy birthday girl.

French 75

[ wear this ]
Dorothy Coat, Kate Spade, $698
Indico Pump, Ivanka Trump, $100

[ drink that ]
french 75 from good spirits by a.j. rathbun
serves one

[ ingredients ]
ice cubes
1 oz gin
1/2 oz pear grappa
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
chilled prosecco
lemon twist for garnish

[ directions ]
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes. Add the gin, grappa, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake as if you were standing in line for the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and could only get to the front by demonstrating prodigious shaking ability.
2. Strain the mix into a flute glass. Top it off with chilled Prosecco, and garnish with the lemon twist.

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Tipsy Tuesday No.10: For All the Lovers Out There

The true January temperatures are back this week… meaning the only sort of social drinking I will be doing in the foreseeable future is most likely going to have hot chocolate as a base. This spiked mocha-like drink is the perfect mix of coffee, chocolate, and spirits, and—looking ahead to Valentine’s Day next month—is quite seasonally themed.

Valentine's Day Mugs | West Elm

[ drink this ]

lovers’ hot chocolate from hot chocolate by fred thompson
serves 2

[ ingredients ]
1 ounce creme de cacao
1 ounce amaretto
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
4 tablespoons chocolate ice cream
8 pecan halves, chopped for garnish

[ directions ]
Divide the creme de cacao, amaretto, and coffee between 2 Irish coffee glasses [cheating here!], stirring to blend. Top each with 2 tablespoons of the ice cream and half of the chopped pecans. Serve immediately.

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[ in that ]

[ Pad Printed Mugs, West Elm, $8 each ]

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Tipsy Tuesday No.9: Gatsby-Goers

Emily’s Tidbit Tuesday: when I’m not blogging, working, failing at cooking, or exploring, I’m usually at dance. My bi-annual show is this weekend, and I am thrilled because I get to perform  spend time with my best friends  work out in the most fun way possible  be in a Great Gatsby-themed number. SO I have the roaring 20s on my mind all week long… lots of pearls, fringe, feathers, and other flapper details and costumes, plus a themed champagne cocktail waiting for me as my reward at the end of the week…!

French 75

Fulton Dress, Lilly Pulitzer, $129 (sale!) ]
Knock Out Leather Envelope, Lilly Pulitzer, $168 ]
Bella Sandal, Lilly Pulitzer, $69 (sale!) ]

psst! The Lilly sale only runs until tonight. If you miss out on anything online, be sure to check your local signature store! For Boston gals, that’s In the Pink on Newbury.

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Tipsy Tuesday No.8: Spiked Hot Chocolate

Ok ok, it’s technically already Thirsty Thursday– we’re a little behind here in the chaos of the holidays this week!

On Christmas Eve, I love nothing more than curling up in some themed pajamas with a mug of hot cocoa… spiked just a tiny bit if possible :) Cliche much? What’s your Christmas Eve tradition?

Christmas Eve Outfit

[ wear this ]
The Debling Dressing Gown, Jack Wills $98.50
Plaid Lodge Moccasins, J.Crew, $49.50
(plus 30% off with code GIVENOW)

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[ drink that ]
christmas eve hot chocolate from hot chocolate by fred thompson
serves 8 in regular cups or 16 in espresso cups

[ ingredients ]
1 1/2 cups dark roast hot brewed coffee
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
3 ounces Kahlua
3 ounces creme de cacao
2 ounces brandy
1/4 cup heavy cream
whipped cream or marshmallows for garnish

[ directions ]
1. Place the brewed coffee, chocolate, and sugar in a medium-size saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, until the chocolate has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Do not boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the Kahlua, creme de cacao, brandy, and heavy cream.
2. Pour into cups and serve immediately, topped with whipped cream or marshmallows.

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Friends + Fun at Pasta Beach

Pasta Beach Boston

Right before Thanksgiving, I had such a fun the best night out with some Boston Blogger gals, wining and dining at Boston’s Pasta Beach on the waterfront. The story behind this dee-lish restaurant is enough to make your heart flutter. American girl moves to Italy. Girl meets boy. [Italian Boy]. Girl + boy marry. Girl + boy raise children in Italy but spend summers in America. Girl + boy + children cannot live without the taste of Italy here. Alas, Pasta Beach was born.

Asparagus Prosciutto Parmigiano Pasta

Tagliatelle agli Asparagi e Prosciutto 

I’ve been incredibly lucky in that I’ve visited Italy myself twice, and while I love a good North End dinner over here, my meal at Pasta Beach was the first in years that really reminded me of the authentic Italian I tasted in Rome, Florence, and Tuscany. So fresh, and while understandably filling, not too heavy by any means. You can just taste the quality in the meals here.

Margherita Pizza Pasta Beach

I usually never opt for Margherita pizza and prefer more toppings [go big or go home right?], but this one had so.much.flavor. on its own that no additional toppings were necessary!

Authentic Creme Brulee

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse // Creme Brulee

Boston Blogger Events

Bloggers will be bloggers! Lovely Smita + Rachel

It was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time, and instantly took me back to my studies in Italy. Many thanks to Susie, Gianni, and Tyler for hosting us, and Elizabeth for setting this up!

[ Pasta Beach ]
[ 30 Rowes Wharf ]
[ Boston, MA 02110 ]
[ 617-439-6900 ]

Pssst! Any Rhode Island folks here? You must also visit their location in Newport!

Read the rest of our group’s reviews here::
Alex, Literally, Everything
Ana, Scavengenius
Elizabeth, Little Moments of Happiness
Janee, Yellow Bird Yellow Beard
Rachel, Postcards from Rachel
Smita, Hogger & Co.

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All Dressed Up with Lindt Chocolate & Cheer

Lindt Christmas Chocolate

I distinctly remember the year the first LINDT store opened in my town. From then on, each Easter my mother would gift my brother and me with a LINDT GOLD BUNNY, and each Christmas with a LINDT BEAR. We always open our stockings last, and between the practical items like mini shampoos and new pens, it was always the best treat to find that decadent chocolate bear.

LINDT BEAR // Holiday Party Nails

I am so thrilled to be partnering with LINDT this season to show off this favorite holiday indulgence of mine. As you can see, LINDT BEAR makes the perfect accessory for a holiday party look, as it’s the hostess gift every party-giver wants to receive!

Red Plaid Christmas Dress

You’re never too old to give or receive LINDT BEAR. From a stocking stuffer to a hostess gift, it’s a present sure to put a smile on the recipient’s face. And my personal favorite thing about this festive holiday treat? No matter where I’m spending Christmas [and I've spent it in a lot of places!], one bite of the smooth milk chocolate, and I’m instantly back in my childhood home, unwrapping gifts with my parents and brother under our long-gone family tree.

LINDT BEAR

Gold Sequin Clutch // Forest Green Stocking

Jack Wills Plaid Charlton Dress

Plaid Charlton Dress, Jack Wills | Knit Sweater, American Eagle [similar 1; 2] | Skinny Bow Ring, Kate Spade | Clutch, Zara [similar] | Glitter Heels, Kate Spade [similar]

LINDOR Chocolate Truffle Sticks

Another perfect item to stuff a stocking with is the Lindt LINDOR Milk Chocolate Truffle Bar. It’s the same smooth, melting milk chocolate that we know and love as truffles, but in on-the-go form perfect for carrying around in your purse during long afternoons of Christmas shopping, or for sneaking into a Christmas stocking!

LINDT Chocolate Stocking Stuffers

Lindt Mini Chocolate Bears

Christmas Plaid

How does Lindt Chocolate fit into your holiday memories?

Full disclosure: This post was sponsored by LINDT Chocolate USA. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Tipsy Tuesday No.6: Spiked Cider

This hot, spiked cider is one of my favorite things to serve on Thanksgiving. It doubles as a delicious post-feast nightcap and an apple-cinnamon kitchen-filling aroma that beats any holiday candle.

Steaming Spiked Cider

[ wear this ]
Foliage Lace Dress, Anthropologie, $138
Steven Intyce Boots, Steve Madden, $126 (sale!)
Forstal Mini Satchel, Jack Wills, $248

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[ drink that ]
steaming spiked cider from party drinks! by a.j. rathbun
serves 10

[ ingredients ]
4 quarts fresh apple cider (the cloudier the better)
16 ounces white rum
20 ounces cinnamon schnapps
1 teaspoon whole cloves
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
cinnamon sticks to taste
apple slices for garnish

[ directions ]
1. Pour the cider into a large nonreactive saucepan, turn the heat to medium, and let cider warm for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the remaining ingredients except the garnish, Bring the heat up to just below boiling, and let it simmer for 15 minutes. You want it piping warm, but not so hot that it burns a guest’s mouth.
3. Ladle into large heatproof mugs, adding a cinnamon stick or two to each mug, and an apple slice, if desired.

What’s your favorite drink to sip on ’round the Thanksgiving table?

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Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

photo 5

Before you judge me, hear me out— I know it’s not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. But sometimes it is fun to add variety to the dessert table, and these mini pumpkin cheesecakes in mason jars are a rich take on the Thanksgiving classic, plus look super adorable when served individually. The gingersnap crust is also melt-in-your-mouth yummy….. tempted yet?

mini pumpkin cheesecakes

how to make a gingersnap crust

pumpkin mason jar desserts

[ Pumpkin Cheesecakes with a Gingersnap Crust ]
Desserts in Jars by Shaina Olmanson

[ ingredients ]

for the crust::

  • oil for greasing the jars
  • 3 cups gingersnaps, ground into crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons [3/4 stick] unsalted butter, melted

for the cheesecake::

  • 3 [8-ounce] packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch of cardamom
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

for the topping::

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • cinnamon, for sprinkling

[ directions ]

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease the bottoms and sides of sixteen 4-ounce jars or eight 8-ounce jars. Make the crust: In a medium-size bowl, mix together the gingersnap crumbs and melted butter until all the crumbs are coated. Divide the crumb mixture evenly among the jars and use a wine work or other small flat-bottomed object to press down into the bottoms of the jars to form the crusts. Set aside.

2. Make the cheesecake: In a large bowl or in a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the pumpkin puree. Add in the sugar and spices. Bean for 1 minute until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Mix in the sour cream and vanilla. Spoon or pour the cheesecake filling over the crusts in the jars to 1/2 inch from the top.

3. Arrange the jars 2 inches apart in high-sided baking pans, such as 9×13-inch cake pans, with each pan lined with a clean kitchen towel. Place the pans with the jars in the ovenm and carefully add hot water to the pans to come halfway up the sides of the jars.

4. Bake the cheesecakes for 25 to 30 minutes, or just until their centers are almost set. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecakes and water to cool slowly in the oven for 20 minutes. When the cheesecakes and water have cooled slightly, remove them carefully from the oven and remove the cheesecakes from the pans. Allow to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

5. Before serving, whip together the cream and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Spoon over the tops of the cheesecakes and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Serve cold.

Makes sixteen 4-ounce cheesecakes of eight 8-ounce cheesecakes

alternative Thanksgiving desserts

Is it pumpkin-pie-or-bust at your Thanksgiving dinner, or do you consider mixing it up from year to year?

Full Disclosure: I work for this cookbook’s publisher; however, all opinions expressed are my own.

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