Friday Eats: BYOF

June 11th, 2010 by admin | Permalink

Outdoor Parties, image courtesy of Martha Stewart

Well it’s no surprise that the weather has warmed up quite a bit.  It’s been luring people out to parks and club houses and porches.  Parties that were once held indoors are now held by swimming pools and sandy beaches and in backyards under thrown frisbees.

A lot of invites for these occasions go something like this: “Yay!  We’re having a party.  We can’t wait for you to show up.  By the way, bring your own covered dish/ entree/ snack/ side dish/ dessert/ drink, etc.”  In most instances, it’s perfectly all right (and even fun) to bring something to a party.  It helps foster a sharing attitude, and also relieves some of the pressure from the event organizer or host.

But, what do you bring?  Not everyone has a famous bacon and cheese dip recipe that they got from their Aunt Debbie.  Not everyone can make the melt-away bars of the century late on a Friday night for a Saturday get together.

Fear not!  Consider us the party brigade, and we’ve rounded up just a few recipes you might choose to put into action for a little party this coming weekend.

First off, Savory Baked Ricotta from one of my new favorite blogs, Seven Spoons.  Any recipe with cheese, especially if it’s a dip, gets bonus points with me.

Second, a quick and super easy Shrimp Dip.  Using pretty basic ingredients, you can create a savory, tasty dip that won’t require any heating up.  Add crackers and you’re good to go.

Buttermilk Bacon Pralines, image courtesy of Ezra Pound Cake

Third, something for a sweet tooth, Ezra Pound Cake (we love her, too!) delivers Buttermilk Bacon Pralines.  It doesn’t even seem right that such a thing should exist, but it does, and we are forever thankful.  Seriously, it seems that bacon has made its way around to every arena of food these days.  No longer just for breakfast, or BLT’s, or even a hearty potato soup, now we see bacon in ice cream, in mayonnaise, on donuts, and there is probably a bacon cocktail lying and waiting somewhere.  Maybe it’s just that we’re Southern folks down here, but pralines can’t be passed up at a party.  Sweet, crunchy, and small enough for handfuls so there’s no evidence of how many you’ve consumed (unlike cupcake wrappers), these are great to prepare ahead of time for your next party.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and begin enjoying the warm weather, friends, and good food that’s headed your way this summer.


DIY: Origami Gift Boxes

June 9th, 2010 by admin | Permalink

Some of you may be thinking, “why would I make boxes when I could buy them?”  I know.  It feels like there’s less and less time these days, so we have to find shortcuts and faster ways of doing things.  But sometimes, I think it’s nice to slow down for a minute and make something, even if it’s small.

Origami Gift Boxes, image courtesy of Prudent Baby

Today’s DIY post is courtesy of the good people over at Prudent Baby.  I love the idea of these boxes because while we may not have the time or resources to make someone an actual gift, we can place the gift in one of these boxes.  I always find it nice to give a gift with an extra little something made by me.  Whoever you’re gifting to, you can cater this project to any interests or themes, using practically every kind of paper to create these boxes.

They’re perfect for Father’s Day gifts or even for favors at showers and weddings.  And for kids, these are great keepsakes to make with their friends or give away when camp is over this summer.

For easy, step by step instructions on how to make these cute and fun boxes, click here.  And thanks again to Jacinda and Jaime over at Prudent Baby for the great post.

Friday Eats: Pie for anytime, anywhere

June 4th, 2010 by admin | Permalink

Pies in jars, image courtesy of Our Best Bites

Some of you may have been thinking: why on earth are you talking about food on this blog?  While this is a valid question, let me explain.  People work.  People get hungry.  And working people especially get hungry–even us label-making, gift-personalizing, email-writing people need to eat.  So, we love to eat and share good recipes that you can bookmark for later or try out this weekend.

I recently stumbled on Our Best Bites blog, run by two very charming ladies, Sara and Kate.  With busy schedules and a hunger for tasty food, they’ve been posting great recipes and ideas for the past two years, including today’s recipe for single serving pie in a jar.

Imagine the possibilities.  Pie in the car.  Pie on the camping trip.  Pie at the laundry mat.  Pie in the movie theater!

Cherry pie in a jar, image courtesy of Our Best Bites

And not only are these perfect to eat all by yourself (note: we are not responsible if your pants don’t fit tomorrow morning), but they make great gifts as well.  Adding just a touch of personalized ribbon can make these ideal for friends, family, or anyone.

To see the step-by-step recipe for creating these awesome pies, check it out here.

And a big thank you to Kate and Sara for the recipe and images!

8 Natural Cleaners In Your House

June 2nd, 2010 by admin | Permalink

Jar of Rice, image courtesy of Jen Gotch via Real Simple

Some of you clean when you’re totally forced to do it.  Others clean because they’re nervous or bored.  I used to clean before parties, but never after… which I know doesn’t make much sense.  And we all have our favorite cleaning supplies we use everyday.  But what about the big messes that we don’t ever plan for?  Like getting bike grease on your carpet?  Or finding your gardening tools rusted end to end, buried beneath a pile of leaves?

Well next time, before you run out to get grease or rust removers, or heavy duty soaps, see what you have readily available in your pantry or underneath your bathroom sink.  Real Simple has provided 8 great natural cleaners that can solve some of your toughest messes and on the cheap.  For the full read, click here.

Featured: Jackson & Connor

May 31st, 2010 by admin | Permalink

Jackson & Connor Shop, Northampton, image courtesy of Jackson & Connor

Tara Tetreault and Candice Connors, the duo powerhouse hailing from Northampton, Massachusetts, are the subject of our first feature on  We love what they’re doing, think they have a stunning product line at their store, Jackson & Connor, and we’re thrilled that we’ve had the opportunity to do work for them.  Part of the interest in interviewing Tetreault and Connors was also to showcase the success of two women who ventured out into a seemingly daunting project in early 2008 and are now becoming a household name in New England.

Interview with Tara Tetreault:

Beth: It’s a really neat story of how you both came to know each other, and eventually co-own the store.  What prompted you to venture into business together and leave your respective jobs?

Tara: It had always been a dream of ours to own a store separately.  It was nice to find Candice again while she was at Yale and I was a Rep. It sort of came together after I lost my job and couldn’t find another one. I decided to go for it but I did not want to do it alone and that’s when I began to hard sell Candice. Yale Genton was closing so it made sense for her to try something new with me.

B: How did working in New York change your perception of men’s wear and influence what you’ve done in Jackson & Connor?

T: It was great to have a view from the otherside of the biz. It was great to have the entire East Coast as my territory because it gave me a chance to see a lot of the speciality men’s apparel stores that are out there. It is so great to see how different each one is and their interpretations of men’s apparel.

B: Coming up on your two year anniversary of opening the store, what have been two of your best moments in business so far (victories, large or small)?

T: One of my best was winning an award called 40 under 40 put out by BusinessWest Publication in Springfield, MA. They choose from the areas under 40 population and pick 40 who are really moving and shaking out here. It was quite an honor to be chosen especially after only being open for less than a year.

If you google myself, Tara Tetreault or the store Jackson & Connor in Northampton, MA you can find some great goodies there…

Being a part of the community serving on boards and committees to make this a better place is a huge victory for ourselves and the town.

Tara Tetreault, image courtesy of Jackson & Connor

B: Since Northampton is a small town and you both had history there, did you feel more comfortable opening Jackson & Connor there, or more nervous considering you were essentially replacing Taylor Men?

T: Way more comfortable, this is my home and we had a good base from here to start a business.

B: You’ve outlined styling for a Jackson and a Connor, but what inspirations do you draw from to continue building on your styling choices for the men of Northampton and its visitors?

T: Nature, magazines, fashion blogs, the locals, the celebs.

Jackson & Connor Style, image courtesy of Jackson & Connor

B: What have you found to be your most valuable resource, other than customers, for creating a successful and happy business?

T: Being a part of the community.  Putting yourself  out there for people to get to know you.

B: What can we expect from Jackson & Connor in the next few years?

T: More greatness.  More selection.  Perhaps a different location.  Perhaps a shoe store.  Perhaps a women’s store.  WHO KNOWS!!!


Great thanks to Tara from Jackson & Connor for taking the time to answer our questions and give us some insight into her and Candice’s store.  Please check out the latest from them here and also on Facebook, here.

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