Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wedding Wednesdays: Before Checking the Dress Off Your List...

We all are eager to 'Say Yes to the Dress' and check it off our wedding to do list. But before you head off to any bridal shop, there are a few things you really should know. From what kind of bra you should bring, to the hidden fees associated with some gowns, The Knot covers all of your dress shopping basics in ten great tips. Here's what you need to know:

1. Limit Your Entourage
Bringing a big group to the salon is a gown shopping don't. Enlist one or two of your closest friends or family members to help you start your search. This way you can find the gown that best suits you and your style and not feel pressured by too many opinions.

2. Hidden Costs Add Up
Remember, your wedding gown budget doesn't just include the dress. Your veil or headpiece, accessories (think jewelry and shoes), undergarments and alterations will also add to your bottom line. Factor in these costs before you give the salesperson your final shopping budget.

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3. Undergarments Are Optional
Most bridal shops have a few different types of bras in the fitting room. If you have a favorite strapless style or plan on wearing a particular body shaper, go ahead and bring it. You'll ultimately need your gown-specific undergarments for your first fitting but not your initial appointment.

4. Salons Take Requests
Just because a bridal salon carries your favorite designer doesn't mean it'll have the exact wedding dress you've been wanting to try on. But, if you phone in advance and request a specific style, chances are that a salon staffer will be able to call for a sample of that gown especially for you. It's these little joys that make your dress shopping experience that much sweeter.

5. Don’t Get Discouraged
There are hundreds of bridal designers out there with literally thousands of designs, which makes the odds of you finding a fantastic gown pretty darn good. We know that coming up empty-handed on your first trip can be a letdown, but don't give up. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Bride with mother trying on wedding dress

6. Shop for Your Body
When trying on dresses, focus less on your weight and more on the shape and frame of your body. Your weight may be constantly fluctuating, especially during highly stressful situations, so don’t let that be the deciding factor in choosing a dress. Concentrate on finding silhouettes that accentuate the features you love and make you feel amazing.

7. Always Book an Appointment 
While you may get lucky and snag a salesperson just by walking in, scheduling an appointment is the only way to ensure you'll get a full hour of undivided attention.

8. It's Okay to Pick Favorites
To help guarantee your gown shopping experience goes smoothly, ask the salon coordinator when you call to book your appointment if she can suggest a favorite saleswoman. Or get recommendations from friends and request a salesperson by name.

Image result for trying on wedding dresses

9. Skip Day One of Any Sample Sale 
We know you're tempted to get there as soon as the doors open, but shopping on the first day of a sample sale can be overwhelming and crowded. Do yourself a favor and call ahead to ask how many days the sale will run. Then go on one of the later dates. You want to make sure you have plenty of time and space to browse and try on.

10. Plan on Playing Hooky 
Sneaking away from work will allow you to hit the stores while crowds are at a minimum. For instances, you'll get more attention from the sales staff if you shop on a Tuesday morning rather than a Saturday afternoon.

Trust us, you won't want to set foot in the bridal salon without reading up on these gown shopping basics. Brush up on these tips and devour the details before slipping into your first dress!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spring Into Daffodil Season!

"Then my heart with pleasure fills...And dances with the daffodils" - William Wordsworth

Spring has definitely sprung and we are certainly starting to see new life bloom. It is getting us excited to spend more time outside enjoying fresh air and sunshine (even though we have terrible allergies). One of our favorite things to do this time of year is photograph flowers! Especially ones like daffodils that really pop against all that is green surrounding them. That being said, we wanted to share some of the best spots around Massachusetts to check out some daffodils that are also perfect photo opps thanks to these seasonal commodities.

Celebrate all things daffodil at the Daffodil Festival on Nantucket
The 43rd annual Nantucket Community Daffodil Flower Show is only part of the island’s weekend-long flower-themed festival. The celebration will also include tours, brunches, art shows, contests, picnics, performances, wine tastings, exhibitions, and parades—featuring kids, dogs, and antique cars. Here’s a complete schedule of events. The festival kicks off this Friday, April 28 and goes to Sunday, April 30. Some events are free and some do charge admission but it's a worthwhile price to pay to see some perfect petals!

Visit Parsons Daffodil Field in Dartmouth
Wear sturdy shoes to this daffodil field, located at the Parsons Reserve in Dartmouth just south of Russell’s Mills Village. You’ll have to travel a quarter mile from the reserve entrance to get to it, and the dirt-covered trails have rocks, tree roots, hills, and wet spots. However, the view is something you won't want to miss. According to the Dartmouth Natural Resource Trust website, more than 12,000 people trekked to the field in 2016. Note that parking is limited, and the trust asks that you follow the daffodil field rules. The Reserve is open from late April through early May from sunrise to sunset. Admission is $2 for non-members and free for members.

Daffodils

Take a guided tour at Daffodil Days in Falmouth
Ask a master gardener all of your daffodil questions and take a guided tour of thousands of daffodils at the Spohr Gardens Daffodil Days. During this daffodil celebration that takes place the last two Saturdays of the month, you’ll also find face painting; performances by the Falmouth Academy String Octet, a ventriloquist, and the Falmouth Fiddlers, items for sale, and a wishing tree. You may even get some advice on how to grow these beauts in your own front yard! Check out this celebration, Saturday April 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is free but donations are encouraged.

Stroll through the Field of Gold in Boylston
The Tower Hill Botanic Garden’s Field of Gold blooms with 25,000 daffodils each year. Visitors can sign a daffodil guest book at the scenic spot, and kids can go on a scavenger hunt through the field. If you like your daffodils and other spring flowers with a guided tour, check out the Tower Hill’s Spring Bulbs Tour on May 3. The tour is free with admission, but guests must pre-register for it. Or, on May 6 and 7, wake up and smell the daffodils at the Daffodil Show, which is free with admission. The garden is open throughout April and May. Admission is $15 for adults and $5 for kids ages 6 to 18. You can really get a new profile pic and some Instagram-worthy shots here!

Daffodil Festival on Nantucket

We hope you're as inspired as we are to get outside this spring and devour the details of the new life blooming across Massachusetts!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday Mashups: Get Ready for Cinco de Mayo with these Dessert Tacos

Cinco de Mayo is on a Friday this year and we can't wait to enjoy a weekend-long celebration. But we're not just in it for the fiestas or cervezas. We love this holiday for the food and most importantly, the dessert! Churros and dulce de leche are two Spanish sweet treats that might come to mind. The dessert we're bringing you today is a new spin on these old classics, compliments of Lauren Conrad, that will definitely have you coming back for more: Churro Double Decker Dessert Tacos!

Churro Taco recipe on LC.com:

Ingredients:

½ cup Nutella
½ can of dulce de leche
3 cups canola oil
gold sprinkles or sprinkle of choice
5-inch circle cookie cutter
rolling pin
For the pie dough, refer to LC's favorite Martha Stewart recipe.

For the cookie dough:

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

Get the recipe to make these churro tacos on LC.com:

Instructions:

1. Whip up pie dough, following the recipe from Martha Stewart.

2. Make the cookie dough while the pie dough chills.

3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars until light and creamy (about 3 minutes). Add in the milk and vanilla and beat just until mixed. While the mixer is on low speed, slowly add in the flour and salt and mix until everything is combined. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to use.

4. In a large pan, heat the canola oil until it reaches 350 degrees.

5. While your oil is heating, take the pie dough out of the refrigerator and roll out until 1/8-inch thick. Cut out 5-inch circles and place them onto a piece of wax or parchment paper.

6. Working with one piece at a time, fold each circle in half and drop them into the preheated oil. Fry for about 3-5 minutes on each side, or until nice and golden brown. Place each fried taco upside down onto a layer of paper towels.

To assemble:

1. Gently smear a tablespoon worth of Nutella onto the insides of each taco shell. Fill each taco with about 2 tablespoons of raw cookie dough. Continue until all tacos are filled.

2. Heat the dulce de leche over a double broiler or in the microwave. Scoop into a piping bag and drizzle lightly over each taco. Sprinkle the tops with your sprinkles of choice!

30 Mexican Fiesta Party DIY Ideas for Cinco De Mayo:

Our only other recommendation? Washing these decadent tacos down with a nice cold margarita! Cheers to you Cinco de Mayo and these devour-the-detail-worthy desserts!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Earth Day Festivities!

This Saturday is Earth Day! The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson in 1970, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Today, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more manifest every day. Earth Day Network, the facilitator of the movement, shares a multitude of ways to get involved on global and local levels. This year, we know of one local restaurant participating in this incredible movement.

On April 22 and 23, Legal Sea Foods will honor Earth Day by offering two specials whose sales will be donated to the Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM). Legal Sea Foods was founded more than 60 years ago by George Berkowitz when he opened a small fish market in Inman Square, Cambridge. Today, President and CEO Roger Berkowitz leads the company toward continued growth and diversification. With more than 30 restaurants up and down the East Coast, Legal Sea Foods has earned scores of honors and awards (its clam chowder has been served at every presidential inaugural since 1981) and proudly carries its well-earned reputation as the nation’s finest seafood restaurant. We know we enjoy a trip to Legals!


Available at all Legal locations throughout the state, the specialty appetizer is a Lobster Spinach Oyster Trio baked with cheese and herbed crumbs ($12) and the entrée is Linguini & Clams sautéed with pancetta, garlic and white wine ($18.95).


Legal Sea Foods has partnered with ELM since 1996 and will generously give 100% of the proceeds of its two menu features on these days to help combat climate change and in protecting our land, water and public health. The Environmental League of Massachusetts is committed to combating climate change and protecting our land, water, and public health by creating diverse alliances and building the power of the environmental community. They use their collective influence to ensure Massachusetts is a leader in environmental and economic sustainability.

The Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM) is a nonprofit educational and advocacy organization, supported by a combination of individual and foundation philanthropy, dues from citizens and organization members, and proceeds from special events. They focus their resources on the state level, where they believe that their knowledge, expertise and reputation allow them to have the strongest impact. ELM also networks and collaborates with a variety of leaders in business, like Legal Sea Foods, and government as well with other environmental nonprofits to achieve effective results.

So if you're already making dinner plans for the weekend, take the opportunity to give back to the environment and devour the details of Earth Day at Legal Sea Foods!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wedding Wednesdays: Bring Your 'A' Game

Since the first episode of the Pretty Little Liars final season aired last night, we thought it was only fitting to share Cosmo's recent feature of bride-to-be Sasha Pieterse--or as you may know her--Ms. Alison DiLaurentis. Hence the "Bring Your 'A' Game". You might recall, Ms. Pieterse got engaged to her fiancé, Hudson Sheaffer, in December 2015. They've been planning their wedding ever since! The big day for these lovebirds is sometime this May. Recently, Ms. Pieterse got to test out some wedding day hairdos compliments of Cosmo and share her love story. Check out this bohemian-chic bride's subtle and sleek style and get inspired to devour the details of your own wedding look!

Baby's Breath-Adorned, Twisted Style


Step 1: Create a subtle wave in your hair with a curling iron. Wrap the hair around the iron in opposite directions so the waves aren't uniform. Remember to wrap the pieces of hair that surround your face back and around the barrel, so they frame your face rather than curl toward it.

Step 2: Take two strands of hair above your right temple (about 1/2-inch thick), and start twisting them. When you reach the area directly underneath the crown of your head, secure the pieces with two bobby pins in an "X" formation.

Step 3: Repeat on the left side.

Step 4: Carefully insert a few sprigs of baby's breath to complete your look. Spray your strands with medium-hold hair spray to keep everything in place.

A Darling Dutch Braid


Step 1: Create a Dutch braid. Start braiding your hair at the crown of your head, crossing the pieces under one another rather than over. This technique gives you that 3-D effect, where the braid appears to be sitting atop your head rather than woven into your hair.

Step 2: Continue braiding until you reach your ends. Secure with a clear elastic.

Step 3: Wrap a sliver of hair around the hair tie to conceal it. Keep it in place with two bobby pins that match your hair color, so they aren't visible.

A Sweet, Milkmaid-Braided Updo



Step 1: Add subtle texture to your hair with a curling iron. Again, wrap your strands of hair around the barrel of an iron in opposite directions to keep the look more relaxed and less polished.

Step 2: Dutch braid a 3-inch section of hair. Start an inch back from your hairline in line with your right temple.

Step 3: Braid it all the way back to the nape of your neck. Use your hairline as a guide and continue to braid it all the way to the ends.

Step 4: Keep it from unraveling with a clear elastic.

Step 5: Repeat on the left side.

Step 6: Take the ends of the braid on the right side, and position the braid so it hugs the back of your head. If you have long hair, fold the braid to create a milkmaid effect, pinning it on the sides and by the nape of your neck. Then repeat on the left side.

Could Sasha be anymore stunning? Just gorgeous! And these Cosmo hairdos are perfect for any bride. Catch Alison on Tuesday nights as the Pretty Little Liars series draws to a close and get inspired by Sasha to devour the details of your very own wedding day style. Wishing the future Mrs. Sheaffer a happily ever after!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

TheWaveVR: Taking Music Apps to the Next Level

TheWaveVR, a virtual-reality music app, launched a beta version last Wednesday that lets users participate, view, host, and socialize at concerts and EDM festivals—anytime, anywhere. They are empowering artists and music lovers alike by transforming the way people connect through music. Upon its launch, TheWaveVR is planning to do weekly concerts in VR featuring real electronic musicians. And though it has so many areas it can still visit as it builds up for a full release, it’s already far more successful at creating a digital music festival than a VR app should be.

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Music creators can fully customize how their audience experiences the music – whether it's by transforming the venue from a realistic nightclub to outer space with a click of a button – or putting on the most unimaginable light show ever. Fans won’t have to travel the globe or miss out on their favorite DJs, musicians or festivals and can experience the music like never before, while socializing in totally new ways alongside their friends.

If you’ve ever been to a trippy EDM rave or have had the privilege of seeing your favorite artist in concert, you’ll know that the glitchy graphics occurring onscreen behind the artist are often a major contributor to the otherworldly vibes.


Folks who've already had the pleasure to enjoy a “Wave” concert deem the experience as almost bizarre how disarmingly intimate/spiritual the interactions felt. You can chat with each other, dance and give high fives, but more interestingly you can share something called “social trips” which take you and the other user into a mini-game-like world where it’s just you two interacting with a universe that’s incredibly wonky. In addition to wandering the virtual desert and socializing, you can also dive behind the turntables and craft tracks with a surprisingly finessed VR DJ setup, spinning tunes while also doing things that just aren’t possible in the real world thanks to pesky gravity.

The Austin-based startup is also announcing that it has closed a $4 million seed round led by Upfront Ventures. Other investors in the round include RRE Ventures, KPCB Edge, Greycroft VR Gaming Tracker Fund, Luma Launch, Boost VC and The VR Fund. With so many investors skeptical of making investments in VR, it’s crazy to see a VR music app raising money from top firms like KPCB and Upfront, but that really speaks to the unique vision of TheWaveVR which manages to get so much right in its first beta release. We only foresee more awesomeness to come!

TheWaveVR is provides an experience unlike any other. We can't wait to see how they continue to devour the details of this new realm of concert viewing.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Marathon Monday!

We are four years from the marathon bombings and we are still Boston Strong! A day of remembrance and celebration, Marathon Monday is one of the best days of the year. If you plan on enjoying it, we have some tips for you provided by Boston.com. Don't miss the opportunity to stand together as one great city to cheer on the 2017 runners!

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What time does the race start?

The start times for this year’s marathon participants fall between 8:50 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. today, Monday, April 17. Runners depart the Hopkinton starting point for their 26.2 mile journey to the finish line in a predetermined order, depending on which category they fall into (e.g., elite men and women). You can track many of the runners online and receive text notifications by submitting their bib number.

Where should I stand?

Find prime viewing points, accessible T stations, and restaurants and restrooms near the route on this interactive marathon map. T.K. Skendarian, the communications director for the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), also shared pointers on the best viewing spots, from the starting line to the finish line on Boylston Street, which was installed on Thursday. If you’re looking to enjoy the atmosphere—and some libations—without standing among the crowds, here are 10 Boston bars where you can see the marathon live.

How should I get there?

The city recommends forgoing personal vehicles in favor of public transportation on Marathon Monday due to road closures and traffic. If you do plan on driving, here’s a list of traffic restrictions that will be happening in and around Boston.

However, public transportation users aren’t exempt from changes. The MBTA’s Copley station will be closed for all of Monday because of its proximity to the finish line, with additional Green Line station closures from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., including the South Street (B branch), Kent Street (C branch), and St. Mary’s Street (C branch) stops. For additional public transportation and commute info, check here.

What should I leave at home?

The BAA has released a list of items that will be prohibited from race routes and other high-security areas, including obvious items like weapons and fireworks, but also everyday items like blankets and backpacks, so please take a look at the full list of banned objects before you head out.

How can I watch from somewhere else?

Whether you’re stuck at work or just want to avoid the crowds, here’s how you can watch the marathon on TV, listen on the radio, or live stream the event online.

Enjoy the big race and stay safe out there. Best of luck to the 2017 runners! We know the Boston Athletic Association and City of Boston will devour the details of another amazing Boston Marathon.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

It's Ladies Night...All Weekend Long!

It's Ladyfest Boston weekend this weekend and we're so excited to hear about the great local organizations being represented! In a world where women across the globe are still fighting for equality, it is important to recognize that the movement can start right outside your front door. Ladyfest is a DIY, community-based and volunteer-run festival that highlights artists that are underrepresented and active in the vibrant arts and music communities around the world. In addition to being a space to showcase said artists, Ladyfest serves as a way of giving back to organizations within the community that support the event year round. This year the proceeds from Ladyfest Boston will be split between Girls Rock Campaign Boston and Rosie’s Place.

Girls Rock Campaign Boston

Girls Rock Campaign Boston

Girls Rock Campaign Boston empowers girls to believe in themselves by providing a supportive community that fosters self-expression, confidence, and collaboration through musical education and performance. GRCB works to eradicate all the limiting myths about music and gender by helping girls speak up, sing out, and make a lot of noise!

They offer a volunteer run summer program for girls aged 8-17. During each session, girls have the opportunity to form bands, learn how to play an instrument (guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, or vocals), compose an original song and perform live at a local rock venue – all in one week’s time. In addition to the band practices and instrumental lessons, GRCB also provides workshops geared towards self-esteem building and self-expression. They also offer Club GRCB, an after school program for girls in 7-12 grades, and Ladies Rock Camp Boston for women 21 and over. Amazing! We hope to catch one of the live performances this summer!

Rosie's Place

Rosie's Place Logo

Rosie's Place was founded in 1974 as the first women’s shelter in the United States. Our mission is to provide a safe and nurturing environment that helps poor and homeless women maintain their dignity, seek opportunity and find security in their lives. How incredible is it that Boston is home to the first women's shelter in the U.S.? Remarkable!

Today, Rosie’s Place not only provides meals and shelter but also creates answers for 12,000 women a year through wide-ranging support, housing and education services. Rosie’s Place relies solely on the generous support of individuals, foundations and corporations and does not accept any city, state or federal funding. Thanks to these donations, 88 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to services for poor and homeless women.

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Check out the lineup of bands and their set times on the event’s Facebook page. Ladyfest Boston takes places at the YMCA Cambridge Theatre in Cambridge, Friday, April 14 from 5 to 9:30 p.m., Saturday, April 15 from 12 to 9:30 p.m., and Sunday April 16 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for single-day tickets or $35 for weekend passes and the event is open to all ages. Both single-day tickets and weekend passes are available for advanced purchase online.

Join us this weekend at Ladyfest Boston and devour the details of gender equality and women empowerment by supporting these wonderful organizations!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wedding Wednesdays: The Dress Shop on Cherry Tree Lane

We're sorry we're doing this again but you know we have Disney fever! Only 18 more days until we check into our Walt Disney World Resort and begin our magical experience. So as you can imagine, we were thrilled to find out that Disney has just opened a brand-new boutique full of princess-inspired semiformal dresses! That's right. The Dress Shop on Cherry Tree Lane in Disney Springs houses a line of princess-inspired cocktail dresses perfect for any bridesmaid or wedding guest!

The Dress Shop Delights with Whimsical Collection Inspired By Disney Parks

A fairytale wardrobe come to life! There's a dotted red fit-and-flare frock inspired by Minnie Mouse, an Aztec-esque print à la Pocahontas, a Snow White dress with a whimsical apple print, and an Alice in Wonderland number with a teacup print. There are even some fun frocks inspired by fan-favorite Disney Park attractions, like the Haunted Manson and the "It's a Small World" ride. Priced between $100 and $160, all the dresses have '50s-style silhouettes, with cinched waists and voluminous skirts—perfect for a twirl around the reception ballroom at any wedding. We cannot wait to get into this store!

The Dress Shop Delights with Whimsical Collection Inspired By Disney Parks

You can take a virtual tour of The Dress Shop (below) and start searching flights to Florida since as of right now, these cocktail frocks with subtle plays on the iconic looks of your fave princesses, are only available at the store. But don't worry, Disney promised they'll eventually be sold online as well. Dreams really do come true!


Matching accessories, such as handbags resembling an apple, the White Rabbit, or a Hollywood Tower Hotel suitcase, will also be released so you'll have a full fairytale ensemble! We are so looking forward to visiting The Dress Shop on Cherry Tree Lane and can't wait to devour the details of our very own princess-inspired outfit. See you soon Disney!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Eight Eggcellent Easter Desserts to Devour

Easter Sunday is almost here! And though it is a day to spend celebrating life and the start of warmer weather with family and friends, it is also a day to indulge. Why else would they make all that Easter candy?! Let your sweet tooth in on the fun and devour the details Sunday with these eight eggcellent desserts!

Glazed Honey Donut Beehive

Your kids will be all abuzz once they see this "honeycomb" tower on the dessert table.Get the recipe.

Donuts: the absolute perfect way to start the day! Stack 'em up like a beehive for an extra springy display. Check out this recipe!

Meringue Wreath

The best kind of Easter wreath is the one you can nosh on at dessert, no?Get the recipe.

Light and airy, this pretty treat is a picture perfect dessert after a big dinner. Check out this recipe!

Bunny Mocha Swiss Roll

A bunny-stamped swiss roll is about as Easter-appropriate as it gets.Get the recipe.

For the chocolate lovers in your life, this scrumptious roll is an Instagram-worthy dessert and real crowd pleaser! Check out this recipe!

Lemon Butterfly Cupcakes

These butterfly-decorated cupcakes may look tricky to make, but they only require a few simple baking tools. Get the recipe.

We love how springy these look and taste. A nice alternative for those that aren't so in love with chocolate! Check out this recipe.

Cookie Dough Truffles

These truffles look gorgeous on the outside and taste delicious on the inside thanks to the homemade cookie dough filling. Get the recipe at Wine and Glue. 

The perfect portion of cookie dough to treat anyone's sweet tooth! Check out this recipe!

Spring Confetti Bars

Use leftover Easter candy, marshmallows, and bright sprinkles to top these white chocolate chip cookie bars.Get the recipe at Chelsea's Messy Apron.

These packed bars are full of Easter candy surprises! Your guests will love these sweet treats! Check out this recipe.

Peeps Skillet S'mores

The perfect dessert for Peeps season.Get the recipe at Delish.

Melty-chocolate-marshmallowy-gooey-goodness all in one dish. We would eat this even if it wasn't Easter! Check out this recipe!

Mini Eggs Brownie Parfaits

Since you can never go wrong with brownies, here's how to give them a scrumptious Easter twist. Get the recipe at The Busy Baker.

Layers of fun and flavor! We love how the mini eggs add a pop of spring color to this dessert. Check out this recipe!

So many options; small and tall, we love them all! Devour the details of Easter Sunday and treat your guests (and yourself) to these eight eggcellent desserts!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Monday Mashups: Fairtytale New England Weekend Getaways

Once upon a time, there was a castle deep in the woods, hidden away, fit for a queen or sleeping beauty...and available to rent for a long weekend. What? You read that right! New England is home to a number of historic and modern architecture that only a princess or woodland creature could dream up! Don't believe us? Check out this list of nine AirBnBs provided by Boston.com and our top 3 below, that will for sure have you living happily ever after (at least until you have to go back to work). Enjoy!

New Hampshire Tree House

https://www.boston.com/culture/travel/2017/04/06/these-new-england-airbnbs-are-straight-out-of-a-fairy-tale

The tale of the Swiss Family Robinson claims that the family built their tree house on a desert island in the East Indies, but this Newbury, New Hampshire, tree house may convince you otherwise. The wooden cabin sleeps four and is ideal for adventurers who want to spend a night above ground, enjoying the solitude this one-of-a-kind home offers. A much more enjoyable camping experience with great views. Count us in!

Cost per night: $456 for four guests
Distance from Boston: 1.5 hours

Vermont Cabin

https://www.boston.com/culture/travel/2017/04/06/these-new-england-airbnbs-are-straight-out-of-a-fairy-tale

This Jamaica, Vermont, cabin is reminiscent of the one Hansel and Gretel might have stumbled across. Who even knew there was a Jamaica, Vermont? Styled like a traditional “tiny house,” the colorful one-bedroom sleeps five on three beds and sits on a garden of lilacs that bloom in June—which you can enjoy from the porch decorated with fairy lights. How can this little cabin sleep five? We're not sure but we're dying to find out. Sign us up for this weekend getaway!

Cost per night: $192 for one guest; $10 for each additional guest up to five
Distance from Boston: 2.5 hours

Historic Connecticut Mansion

https://www.boston.com/culture/travel/2017/04/06/these-new-england-airbnbs-are-straight-out-of-a-fairy-tale

Alice of Wonderland would be delighted by this historic mansion in Norwich, Connecticut. Located in the city’s “Millionaire Triangle,” (insert giggle—we can't get over that name) each room in the home has a different theme, allowing for a stay of exploration and surprises. The Italianate Victorian home received some updates from the renowned architect Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam Memorial, according to New England Today, and can sleep 16 in eight bedrooms. Incredible! This would be an amazing spot for a low-key bachelorette weekend.

Cost per night: $900 for 15 guests; $30 for each additional guest
Distance from Boston: 2 hours

Don't depend on just books to experience a fairytale, create your own with one of these weekend getaways and devour the details of a true happily ever after!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Paint Your Practice This Weekend

This Saturday, Yogaworks Back Bay is hosting a “Paint Your Practice” workshop where yoga-goers, painters, and people who just love to have a messy-good-time can come together for one creative and inspiring afternoon. This unique class was born just four years ago. Local yoga teacher and painter Izzy VanHall brought the workshop to life starting with a small group of her peers and turned it into what it is today! Gaining an immense amount of recognition, last summer, athletic wear company Lululemon got wind of VanHall’s concept and sponsored the first official Paint Your Practice at Levitate Music Festival in Marshfield.

Image result for izzy vanhall yoga

This is the second time that Paint Your Practice will take place at Yogaworks Back Bay. This past fall, the studio had 47 people attend the workshop. To make the event more personal this time around, VanHall is capping registration at 30. She wants this to be an intimate and accessible experience for those who don’t often take time to be artistic.

The class will start with a discussion of yoga philosophies and some spiritual connecting. After she introduces a repetitive yoga sequence, VanHall then adds paint into the process. Using hands and yoga poses, participants will apply paint to a large piece of canvas. At the end of the two-hour session, yogis can cut out a piece of the art and take it home as a reminder of their creativity and relaxation.


Though you won't get super messy, Yogaworks does suggest bringing a set of clothes to change into and wearing something you don’t mind getting a little paint on. Paint Your Practice is open to all levels and is $65 to attend. Sign up today for this exciting workshop and devour the details of an inspiring afternoon this Saturday, April 8 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Yogaworks Back Bay!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wedding Wednesdays: Bridal Shower Games That Aren't A Bore

We've all been to those bridal showers where the gab and gift-opening seems endless. Especially ones that have very little interaction aside from saying 'excuse me' as you head up to the mimosa bar for a refill. Don't let your bridal shower be a bore! Step your game up with these fabulously fun ice breakers for all to enjoy.

Bridal Shower Bingo
The Gist: It's Bingo with wedding-themed pieces.
What to Prep: Create bingo cards, but replace the word BINGO with the word BRIDE along the top margin. Instead of numbers, list facts relevant to the to-be-weds inside each square. For example, one might be the name of the city where the couple is getting married or the place they got engaged.
How to Play: Follow traditional bingo rules: The first guest to mark off a line horizontally, vertically or diagonally wins a prize. And you can definitely play more than one game!

Image result for bridal shower bingo

Wedding Jeopardy
The Gist: Guests choose one of the wedding-related categories and then have to answer a question to win points.
What to Prep: Create a chart by labeling pieces of paper with the bride-to-be's name written across the top margin and then several categories down the left side (flowers, hobbies, pets, movies, colors). Come up with difficult questions that pertain to each category. For example, "What flower has to be flown in from Holland in the off-season?" (The answer is the peony!). Don't worry, we didn't know that one either! Finally, you'll need to set out pens and note cards for each guest to use. Each winner gets a prize!
How to Play: Give each person a turn to pick a category. When a category is called, read out the question. Each guest then has two minutes to come up with the answer (no phones allowed) and write it down on her note card. When time is called, everyone has to put their pens down and show their answers. Give one point for every right answer, and the person at the end with the most correct answers is the winner!

The Newlywed Game
The Gist: Just like the famous game show, put the to-be-wed in the hot seat to answer questions about their fiancé to see how their answers compare.
What to Prep: Before the bridal shower, interview the fiancé with questions about each other and their relationship: "Where was your first kiss?" "What is his favorite meal that you cook?"
How to Play: At the shower, ask the bride the same questions and see if she can answer correctly. To get the full effect, record a video of the answers and play back the responses to each question for everyone to see and hear. The anticipation really builds and it gets all of your guests anxiously awaiting the answers!

Image result for the newlywed game bridal shower

Pass the Love Story
The Gist: Each guest gets their chance to exaggerate the "story" of how the couple met and fell in love.
What to Prep: All you need is pen and paper for this one!
How to Play: The host starts it off by writing a line at the top of the piece of paper about how the couple met. For example, "Ben and Jen met at the office." She then passes the piece of paper to the next player, who writes a line to follow that one. Once that player writes their line, their job is to fold the paper over so that only their sentence is revealed to the next player. After everyone has contributed, the guest of honor should read the final piece aloud to the group. A creative and unique way to get everyone involved (and laughing)!

Vow Collaboration
The Gist: Similar to Pass the Love Story game above, except for this one, the group creates a silly set of wedding vows.
What to Prep: You'll need two clipboards, pens and paper.
How to play: Tell the group they're going to help write the couple's wedding vows. Circulate two clipboards: one with the header "I [insert name] take you [insert name] and promise to" and the other with the reverse. Give each clipboard to one guest and instruct her to write a vow phrase under the header. For example, "I promise to…not hog the shower in the morning." Once one guest has written their vow, they should fold it over so that it's hidden, and then pass it to the second player. Once everyone has contributed to both clipboards, read the vows aloud for all to hear.

Like we said, these games won't bore your guests! Devour the details of these fabulously fun ice breakers and kick the endless gab and gift-opening to the curb. Cheers!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Facebook Takes On GoFundMe

You may have noticed the recent (and what seems like constant) updates to Facebook. One of which has incorporated some new features including a fundraising tool that competes with the ever-so-popular GoFundMe platform. The new tool will allow Facebook users to raise money for personal crises and other campaigns — like school or medical expenses, emergency situations, funerals and more. In addition, the company is adding the ability for Facebook Pages to add a “donate” button to their live broadcasts on the network.

Image result for facebook donate button

Luckily, this won't be a free-for-all. It appears Facebook has really set a structure in place so this feature won't be overwhelming your newsfeeds. The personal fundraisers are also only open to those in the U.S. who are aged 18 or older, and are limited at launch to six key categories: education (tuition, books or classroom supplies); medical (procedures, treatments, injuries); pet medical; crisis relief (public crises or natural disasters); personal emergencies (house fires, theft, car accidents); and funeral and loss (burial expenses, living costs). Facebook says it currently has a 24-hour proactive review process to ensure fundraisers meet category and community policies and they hope to expand the category list over time as it automates more of the review process.

Image result for facebook donate button

In addition to personal fundraisers, Facebook Pages will now be able to include “Donate” buttons on their live video broadcasts. This will allow public figures, brands, businesses and other organizations beyond nonprofits to fundraise, too. They will also have will have a 6.9% + $.30 fee that will go to payment processing fees, fundraiser vetting, security and fraud protection. GoFundMe, by comparison, takes 7.9% + $.30 for personal or charity campaigns.

https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/30/facebook-introduces-personal-fundraising-tools-donate-buttons-in-facebook-live/

This is not the first time Facebook has stepped into the fundraising space. In 2015, it debuted a Kickstarter-like feature aimed at nonprofits that allowed them to set up a campaign page, explain their goals and collect cash. Last year, the company expanded its fundraising tools to allow individuals to collect funds on behalf of nonprofit organizations, as well. Nonprofits do not pay the same fees associated with fundraising as the for-profits will.

https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/30/facebook-introduces-personal-fundraising-tools-donate-buttons-in-facebook-live/

Similar to its other fundraising products, users visiting the personal campaigns can click buttons to invite friends, share the campaign or click the big, blue button to donate money while remaining on the site. This also encourages more payment transactions across Facebook — an area of its business that is still today under-developed, despite the addition of peer-to-peer payments within Messenger (we didn't even know this existed). We guess you could say Facebook has taken on Venmo as well!

Image result for facebook donate button

With the proven success of its donation pages for nonprofits already, we are sure Facebook will have no problem implementing and growing this new feature. It was only a matter of time before a true competitor stepped into the ring with GoFundMe. We are eager to see which platform our friends decide to use and who will devour the details of the future of fundraising!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Sox Opening Day Celebrations

Happy Opening Day to all the Sox fans out there! We can officially celebrate spring knowing that America's favorite pastime is back in action. Certainly you've heard about all the updates to Fenway Park to get ready for the season; including new menu items and a stronger Pesky Pole. But if you didn't get a chance to buy tickets to the 'home open-ah', we've got other ways for you to join in on the fun. Back again this week, City Tap House Boston and Cask 'n Flagon are bringing you their finest franks and bodacious beers to cheers to the Red Sox Opening Day!

City Tap House Boston

City Tap House is about to experience what baseball season in Boston is all about, and they are eagerly on deck. Today, April 3, Fort Point’s new beer paradise will celebrate their first Opening Day as Bostonians by embracing a time-honored tradition at America’s favorite ballpark, the infamous Fenway Frank! Paired with a Narragansett Tall Boy, City Tap’s spin on the old-fashioned treat takes a Kayem Fenway Frank and loads it up with chili and cheese inside a New England-style split-top hot dog roll, served with housemade chips and pickles. The beer-hot dog duo will be available all day for only $8.

City Tap House - Loaded Chili Cheese Fenway Frank (1)

It is said that during the 2013 World Series, Red Sox Nation ate 15,000 hot dogs per game so City Tap urges baseball and frank aficionados that when in Boston, do as the Bostonians! The 117th Opening Day game will be on in all its glory on City Tap’s 11 HDTVs, including three mammoth screens that line the bar’s 60 tap lines. We can ensure you won't miss a single pitch waiting for your new favorite frank!

Cask 'n Flagon

Since 1969, Cask ‘n Flagon has been baseball fans go-to spot for Sox revelry being just steps from Fenway Park. Literally, you couldn't be any closer unless you had an actual ticket into the game! With its walls lined in black and white prints of the most legendary players throughout the decades, it is a haven for Boston’s most loyal sports fans. To mark the start of the 2017 season, The Cask will open its doors early at 8am and shake up a duo of themed cocktails while WEEI’s Glenn Ordway, Lou Merloni and Christian Fauria broadcast live from 10am-1pm. You won't want to miss these festivities!


Created by Cask’s resident cocktail man Eric Hecht, the Beamed with a Ball sees an oversized ice ball made with orange juice and grenadine that is drenched in Jim Beam and topped with Cointreau at $11 while the Green Monstah is a bright concoction of Cruzan citrus rum, fresh lemon juice, Midori and peach liqueur at $9.95. We appreciate the creativity of the Beamed with a Ball cocktail but as someone who has been struck with a foul ball at a minor league game before, we also feel the pain associated with it! Haha! The Cask also will screen the game in all its Opening Day glory on over 60 HDTVs. Get there early, the line is usually around the block!

Join us today in celebrating Opening Day and devour the details of a perfect start to the Red Sox 2017 season. Let's play ball!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Classic Treats with a Modern Twist for Easter

Easter is just around the corner. Different cultures with different heritages celebrate this holiday, well, differently of course! Speaking from our own Italian traditions, Easter is the best time of the year to indulge! At our gatherings, there's always an assortment of classic sweet treats, that require you to unbutton your pants for more room. You know what we're talking about! This year we want to put a modern twist on some of those traditional treats. Check out our take on these classic Italian desserts you can use for your own Easter celebration!

Red Velvet Pizzelles

The traditional Italian waffle cookie gets a red velvet twist in this Red Velvet Pizzelle, perfect for sharing with that special someone!

Hot off the press, these deep red pizzelles steal the show. More importantly, they are delicious! Check out this recipe and take this classic cookie to a whole new level!

Cannoli Bites

Mini cannoli cups mmmmm Ingredients: Crust- 2 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts 3 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon Flour for dusting surface Filling- 1 15oz. container of whole milk ricotta cheese 1/2 cup confectioners sugar 2 tablespoons white sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips:

Cannolis are super rich and super sweet. They are really one of our favorite treats! Make them bite-sized and watch them disappear. Get the recipe here!

Rainbow Cookie Cake

Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake

Everyone's favorite Italian cookie turned into a cake? Count us in! This recipe is provided by the Food Network so you know it's the real deal. Yum!

Pastel Mint Patties

Pretty Pastel Mint Patties are perfect for Easter and spring time! These mints take just minutes to make and the kiddos can help too!:

A bright addition to any dessert table! Whip up this tasty recipe for all to enjoy. We know we will!

Easter Bread Cookies

Cakeyboi: 'Italian Easter Bread' Cookies:

So good you'll want to devour these all year long! Try out this recipe for an extra special Easter treat!

We hope this made you hungry enough to devour the details of your own modern twist on classic treats for Easter! Share your favorite desserts with us and we'll feature them in an upcoming post. We can never have enough sweets recipes!