holidays

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I hope you are having a nice holiday season! I’ve been busy visiting family and wrapping up a very busy work year but wanted to share a few favorites from the Christmas season to keep the cheer alive, especially as the weather in Boston has turned downright gross! Wishing you all a Happy New Year . . . see you in 2016!

Four Seasons Boston Wandering Boston and taking in the decorations at the Four Seasons

 

Old South Church Boston

Listening to choir practice and feeling thankful at the Old South Church

 Christmas lights

Driving around Milton looking at the beautiful Christmas lights Christmas tree

bubble lights

Loving the old fashioned Christmas decorations on my mom’s Christmas tree

milk and cookies Milk and homemade cookies every night before bed

kerrygold cheese  Incredible food gifts like this package from Kerrygold, makers of the best Irish butter and cheese ever. I received this as part of the Kerrygold blogger network, but we basically don’t buy any other butter ever. It’s the best.

 

family Spending so much time with my niece and nephew! I spent a week at home, which is the longest amount of time I have spent there in many, many years.

 

kitten

Cuteness from my mom’s new rescue kitten, Gabby

 

pomegranate for Champagne

wine Pomegranates and Champagne, what a delicious and festive combo!

 

IMG_1958 Christmas dinner prime rib string bean casserole Christmas dinner favorites, including prime rib with horseradish sauce and the classic string bean casserole. I love it.

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Tags: Christmas, family, holidays, lifestyle, NJ, Travel

A few weeks ago, I sampled and loved Just Add Cooking. It came at a time where cooking was just not something I was loving, and the box took the thinking out of meal planning and preparation, which was amazing. I loved that the food was sourced locally, and it was delicious.

And now I love that Just Add Cooking is giving back to the Boston community this holiday season.

Just Add Cooking

First of all, first time customers receive a special trial price starting at $39. More importantly though, this week, Just Add Cooking will donate $1 per box sold to the Greater Boston Food Bank; each dollar  will allow them to provide three meals to people in need.  Hunger hurts year-round, but winter makes it even more unbearable, and every meal counts. I hope you will help me spread the word so that this initiative can reach as many people interested as possible. If you were thinking about trying a meal service, there’s no time like right now!

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Tags: Boston, charity, events, holidays, Just Add Cooking

I know it isn’t even Halloween yet, but it is mid-October and time is flying. I don’t usually get into holiday shopping until much, much later. . . think mid-December, but since I am working with a really great client this year, I wanted to share a different idea for your holiday shopping this year, if you live in the Northeast.

Hampshire County of Western Massachusetts is a perfect spot for boutique and artisan shopping. From art and handmade jewelry to antiques to specialty food gifts, you can find it all in this beautiful place.

Pottery work by Christy Knox | Photo by Lynne Graves

Pottery by Christy Knox. Photo by Lynn Graves (Source)

One of the great things about holiday shopping in Hampshire County is that special events for artisans are sprinkled throughout the fall, making it easy to plan a visit even if you have a busy schedule.

Get an early start in October with Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton and continue into November and December with an assortment of open studio events like Cottage Street Open Studios in Easthampton (December 4-6 & 12) and pop-up artisan shops at places like Snow Farm: The New England Craft Program in Williamsburg, which hosts “Seconds Sales” (November 13-15, 20-22 & 27-29) for almost-perfect items at a discount. I am really hoping to get to Snow Farm this year; it sounds beautiful.

Food gifts are delicious and easy to come by in Hampshire County. The County has six breweries and six wineries, including Black Birch Vineyard, a winery I visited last summer. I love their wine! There’s Heavenly Chocolate, Esselon Coffee, bakeries, maple sugar houses, and a ton more for foodies.

And since Amtrak now goes directly to Northampton from NYC, Hampshire County is easy to reach. It’s a great spot for a weekend getaway, with beautiful outdoor scenery, not-to-be-missed restaurants, farms, five beautiful college campuses (UMass Amherst, Amherst College, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, and Hampshire College) and so much more. Plan to get away to do your shopping, then stay the night for some relaxation in one of the most beautiful places in New England.

Hampshire County is a client, but it is also one of my favorite places in New England, and I am thrilled to be able to share this little piece of heaven with you.

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Tags: Hampshire County, holidays, Massachusetts, New England, shopping, Travel, Western Massachusetts

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