Tag 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

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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Filed under Beauty, Food, Life

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.


Filed under Food

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.


Filed under Food

Sweet Treats in Jars

Peach-Raspberry Verrines with Lemon-Thyme Cream

I’ve been struggling with the impending end of summer even more than usual this August. I miss the feeling of going back to school, I remember how bitter cold it turned so quickly last year, and I don’t look great in oxblood… which seems to be popping up all over fall fashion again this season. SO I am doing everything I can to pack as much summer goodness into these last couple weeks, starting with some summer baking!

fresh lemon zest

Maybe you do know this or maybe ya don’t, but my day job is in cookbook publishing. My absolute favorite title we’ve done from the past couple years is food blogger Shaina Olmanson’s Desserts in Jars [ available for purchase here ].

Though there are recipes for all seasons [ hello Pumpkin Cheesecakes + Spiced Hot Chocolate ], this trailer will convince you that the book is the ultimate accessory for a summer picnic:

Desserts in Jars Cookbook Promo Trailer from Ingman Photography on Vimeo.

lemon thyme cream recipe

peach raspberry desserts in jars

[ Peach-Raspberry Verrines with Lemon-Thyme Cream ]

[ ingredients ]

for the lemon-thyme cream::

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Grated zest of 4 lemons, plus ½ cup fresh lemon juice squeezed from about 2 of them
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup heavy cream

for the peach-raspberry verrines::

  • 4 to 6 ripe peaches
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 8 fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish

[ directions ]

1. Make the lemon-thyme cream: Whisk together the egg yolks in a medium-size bowl and set aside. In a medium-size saucepan, heat the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 3 thyme sprigs over medium heat until the sugar completely dissolves and the mixture begins to simmer just slightly around the edges.

2. Whisk in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until incorporated. Temper the egg yolks by whisking 2 tablespoons of the hot liquid into the yolks. Slowly pour the tempered yolks into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Heat, stirring, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat, remove and discard the thyme sprigs, and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate the lemon curd overnight.

3. Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Whisk the chilled lemon curd and then fold in the whipped cream until incorporated.

4. Make the verrines: Thinly slice the peaches and squeeze some lemon juice over the pieces to prevent browning. Fan out the slices in the bottoms of eight 8-ounce jars. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon cream over the peaches. Add a single layer of raspberries, then spoon another 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon cream over the top of those. Finish with a fan of peaches and a sprig of fresh thyme. Serve cool.

Makes 8 individual verrines

Easy Summer Desserts in Jars

mason jars for baking

How are you soaking up the dog days of summer? Any last-minute picnics you’re looking forward to as well?

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


Filed under Food

Mimosa Mornings

I’m a week behind on the Friday’s Fancies train, but hopping back on today with my favorite summer treat!

I don’t think there’s really a time of year in which I’d turn down a mimosa, but their bright citrussy color and inclusion of icy champagne does make them an especially perfect summertime cocktail! Vacations, showers, wedding mornings and brunches— there are so many days to start off with this breakfast drink…


[ Premium Crochet Shift Dress, ASOS, $71 ]
[ Drop Earrings, Lydell NYC, $19 (sale!) ]
[ Nantucket Gold Sandals, Jack Rogers, $110 ]
[ iPhone Case, Kate Spade, $28 (sale!) ]
[ Society Hill Champagne Flute, Kate Spade, $40 ]

What have you been sipping on this summer?


Filed under Fashion, Food

Weekends are for bakeries

tatte bakery

I admit it. I’ve been hibernating this winter. Exploring new neighborhoods and trying out new places just has not been high on my list of priorities in this bitter cold. But Saturday brought us some sun in the morning, as well as milder temperatures, so it was off to a new bakery I went! Tatte Fine Cookies and Cakes has been sweetening up Brookline since 2008, and has that warm rustic feel that makes me want to sit there and sip my chai latte for hours on end.

chair tea latte






[ Tatte Bakery and Café ]
[ 1003 Beacon St ]
[ Brookline, MA 02446 ]

Where have you been snuggled up this winter?



Filed under Food

English Rose

I’ve become a huge coffee drinker over the past few years, but I can’t resist an adorable tea room. These are shots from English Rose Tea Room, which I stumbled upon while visiting Carefree, Arizona, and has become known as the finest tearoom in the Southwest.

english rose tea room

teacup chandelier

vintage teacups

tea party instagram

tea strainer

queen elizabeth poster

tea petit fours

photo 3-1

As usual, I’m always on the hunt for more tearooms to visit. I’m back in New England now, so send more local suggestions my way! xx


Filed under Food

Spots of Tea

london cafe boston

A couple of weeks ago, my mother and I dressed for High Tea at Boston’s London Cafe on Newbury Street. Located beneath the boutique hotel Royalton Suites, the tearoom was intimate and welcoming. It didn’t have quite the cute factor of other tea shops I’ve visited in the area, with their dainty floral china and knit cozies, but it did feel quite traditional.

instagram tea

tea sandwiches

mini carrot cake

lilly pulitzer tea party

london cafe


Any Boston friends have recommendations for other good tea rooms in the area?


Filed under Food

Sweets for Shopping

I am counting the hours until Fashion’s Night Out in Boston tonight! I’ll be sticking to Newbury Street + Copley Place and am ready to pack an unhealthy amount of browsing + shopping into three hours. I’m especially looking forward to recharging at Sweet Cupcakes–  in true stylish Sweet form, they have partnered with local designers Daniela Corte, Michael De Paulo, and Mike&Ton to create limited edition FNO cupcakes for the soiree… how adorable are these?!

fashion cupcakes

Sweet on Newbury is also offering complimentary FNO frosting shots to anyone who stops in!

225 Newbury Street // Open until 9 // See you there!

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Filed under Fashion, Food

A New Cupcake in Town

Newbury Georgetown Cupcake

Georgetown Cupcake, of TLC’s DC Cupcakes fame, has finally made its way to Boston, and I finally had a chance to stop in its new Newbury Street location…!

Heart Cupcake

Georgetown Cupcake Instagram

Georgetown Cupcake

Never have I ever met a cupcake with such a perfect balance between frosting + cake (and I’ve met my fair share of cupcakes). I am now acquainted with Gtown’s Red Velvet, Key Lime Pie, and Lemon Berry flavors– next on my list to try at 83 Newbury Street is most certainly Blueberry Cheesecake though :)

What sweets have you been indulging in lately?


Filed under Food