Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Vision in White

Vision in White (The Bride Quartet, Book 1)
If you've ever dreamt of going into business with your "besties" or being in the wedding business, then you will love Vision in White (The Bride Quartet, Book 1) by Nora Roberts.  The four main characters are childhood friends who loved to play "wedding day" and turned it into a reality.  The four of them are single and doing what they are most passionate about, photography, baking, flower arranging, and planning.  The business they created has grown and has an excellent reputation.  This is the first book in the series and has a little of everything - friendship, humor and romance.  I have recently finished the 2nd book, Bed of Roses (The Bride Quartet, Book 2) and it didn't disappoint.  I love the characters and the dynamics of their friendship.  It emphasizes the importance of having girlfriends to laugh and cry with.  I will keep you posted on the rest of the series!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Look Out Broadway!

As the proud Mama of a singing and dancing little girl, I need to post this clip of my little Cruella De Vil's performance in 101 Dalmatians.  This was her first play ever and I think she did a fantastic job and my heart just swells every time I watch it!  Enjoy!

video

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Newest Toy

I am so in love!  If you like to make sugar cookies then you need to get the Message-in-Cookie Cutter from Williams Sonoma. 
Message-in-a-Cookie Cutters
It's amazing and super easy to use.  My 10 year old daughter used all three to make cookies to celebrate her new baby cousin.  So cool!

Not bad for a 10 year old!  You can use these for so many different occasions.  Thank you cookies, Get well cookies, Congratulations cookies or how about I'm sorry cookies.  I love it!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happiness

I don't know about you, but I've been hearing a lot of talk lately about happiness.  Maybe it's the economy or maybe technology, but people seem to be seeking happiness in much simpler ways.  Most of the talk I am hearing isn't from people who are sad or depressed, just people who in the rat race of life are looking for ways to be happier.  I have just finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, which is a memoir of Gretchen's search for what brings her happiness. 


I found the book to be very insightful and inspiring.  It all just made so much sense to me.  A couple of things that resonated with me were doing things that didn't bring you happiness, but that you thought SHOULD bring you happiness.  That was eye opening.  There are so many things that I wish I loved to do.  I wish I enjoyed being active and the "outdoorsy" type, but that's not me.  Gretchen came to the conclusion that if it didn't bring her happiness then she shouldn't try to be something she's not.  Through this project, she became more mindful of the things that did bring her happiness like her family and her writing and so she spent time nurturing that. 

As I was finishing the book, I saw on Gretchen's blog that her book is going to be made into a TV series and Kristin Davis (Charlotte from Sex and the City) will be playing the lead role.  I was so super excited and so happy for Gretchen.  I will continue to read her blog and I just may start my own happiness project.  If you are interested in starting your own happiness project, Gretchen has a "happiness toolkit" available for free on her blog.  You should also sign up for her monthly newsletter!

Cake Boss

My daughter, Julia, and I went to a book signing in Boston for Buddy Valastro from Cake Boss, the hit TV show on TLC.  We got to the Barnes & Noble in Kenmore Square at 10:30 AM and waited in line for 2 hours to meet Buddy and have him sign our book.  To our amazement, we were the first in line and well, that has its benefits.  There was a picture of Julia and Buddy in the Boston Herald and we were just so excited.  I have started reading his book Cake Boss: Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia and I am loving it so much.



He is so nice in person and such a cutie!  It was fun to meet him and such a great day!!

The Secret Life of Bees

The Booktini gals got together to discuss The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.  We all enjoyed this beautifully written heartfelt story about a mother-daughter relationship, forgiveness and friendship.  Lilly is an amazing young girl seeking answers to the questions she has about her mother.  Her journey leads her to three sisters who have a honey bee farm.  It is there that she learns the truth about her mother and also learns to forgive herself.  It is such a moving story.  My favorite character is August.  She is comforting, wise and patient and exactly what Lilly needs right now in her young life.  This is Sue Monk Kidd's best work and I highly recommend it!  I also loved the movie, which stars Queen Lahtifa and Dakota Fanning. 

So, keeping with the bee theme, I made these adorable honey-lemon cupcakes:



Bernadette, another Booktini gal, brought a bottle of honey for each of us.  So fun!!  These are the little things that make book club so much fun!  We also have our next pick thanks to winning a book giveaway over at Book Movement!  We will be reviewing A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman in January.



We are each reviewing our own pick for November.  This is the first time we'll be doing this so I'll let you know how it works out!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Canobie Lake Screamfest

I have a love/hate relationship with autumn.  I love the colors of the season, the pumpkins, the foliage, and the smell of apple pie!  However, the thought of summer being over, winter right around the corner and the days getting shorter makes me sad.  I love the month of October - it's my birthday month, but I'm not a fan of Halloween, you know the scary stuff and all!  I hate horror movies, in fact I don't even like the commercials for them.  I'm such a wimp!  One thing that I did with my family and friends was go to Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire for their Screamfest and it was a blast!  My kind of scary. 






If you live in New England you should definitely check it out!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More cupcakes!

So I got this great recipe from the Hostess with the Mostess blog - Pina Colada Cupcakes.  They were so super cute, but I wasn't crazy about the taste.  Maybe it was the texture, maybe I wasn't in the mood for it, but I just didn't like it.  However, ALL my girlfriends loved them and even my husband loved it - he prefers all things chocolate.  I am going to do my own version of pina colada cupcakes and if it turns out well I will post the recipe.  In the meantime, these look so impressive and are the perfect thing to bring to a girl's night get together and everyone will ooh and aah.  Love that!


And for all you New Englanders, yes, those are straws from Dunkin Donuts.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sarah's Key

Sarah's Key

I just finished reading Sarah’s Key and it was such an amazing book. The book is about a girl in 1942 and a woman in the present day and how their lives come together. The book toggles between 1942 and the present, which is something I liked very much because I could only read about the holocaust for so many pages before it was just too much to bear. Going to the present every so many pages made it easier to read on an emotional level. I have always been highly affected by emotional books, especially those having to do with children. I couldn’t get through The Lovely Bones because I just couldn’t deal with what happened to the main character. So I was a bit afraid that I may not be able to read this, knowing that the premise was the holocaust and knowing that it was about a girl named Sarah. Thankfully I decided to give it a try otherwise I would have missed out on a great story.

I fell in love with the characters and the easy-going writing style of the author.  One page just flowed into the next and it was quite beautifully written.  I don’t want to give any spoilers because I think it’s important to read it knowing very little and it would take away a bit of the mystery.  I will say that when I got to the end of book I was sad that it was done.  I didn’t want it to end.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Inspired

So, after my trip to Shabby Chic I just had to make some gourmet cupcakes of my own.  I tried my hand at some pink lemonade cupcakes and they were pretty good!  I made sure to share them with a couple of the booktini gals - people who enjoy fine baked goods!!  Here's the finished product:


Shabby Chic

We went to the cutest cupcake shop this weekend!  Shabby Chic is a lovely cupcake shop in Windham, NH.  I fell in love with the decor, the owners, AND the cupcakes.  They make gourmet cupcakes and wonderful baking classes.  A little girl's birthday party was in full swing when we arrived.  Little girls in white aprons and chef hats all making cupcakes, my heart just swelled!  They have adult baking classes too and I will definitely be going back with my besties!!










Phantom Gourmet loves them and New Hampshire named them one of the best.  Make sure you check them out!  

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Girl Loves to Bake

Who doesn't love baked goods?  I love to bake cookies, cakes and pies!  Yum.  Recently my daughter and her girlfriends decided to bake a cake - without my help.  Well, they learned that you need to grease and flour your pans.  It was a very important lesson that I don't think they'll forget anytime soon.  So, while their cake wasn't the prettiest, they certainly didn't let it stop them from enjoying it! 


Friday, September 24, 2010

Exciting News!

A picture of the Booktini girls can be found on Michelle Moran's website here.  When you scroll down we are the 5th picture.  How exciting!  We are also very excited for Michelle's upcoming new book, which is due out in April, 2011.
Madame T
We can't wait to include this on our list of books to read for 2011! 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Do you love the European Charm bracelets as much as me?  They are so much fun!!  This is the Pandora bracelet we gave my Mom for her birthday.  She loved it and she can't wait to add to it!  Do you mix and match your charms?  Do you have charms from Pandora, Troll, and Chamilia?  I see everyone wearing them lately and love them!

Autumn Colors

I love this time of year... school starting, weather changing, pumpkins, apples and all those good things!  I especially love fall decorating.  I got this fabulous idea from Becky Higgins, whose website I absolutely adore!  How festive is this?  And the best part is that you can change it for each season.  I plan to get 2 more of these containers and create a little centerpiece for my table.
My next favorite thing is the beautiful autumn flowers.  I love the sunflowers and daisies and mums!  I bought these the other day and have been enjoying them.  They are even more beautiful in person.
An lastly, I have been making these glasses for the booktini girls.  Our next book club gathering is this Friday and I wanted to give them a little festive treat for the upcoming month. 
I hope they enjoy them!  I think they're adorable and who couldn't use another wine glass? 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What we're reading

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's NestWe are currently reading Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.  I am about halfway through and it is quite the page turner!  This series is not my normal taste in books and if it wasn't for book club I never would have read the first one, which is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I think it's such a shame that Mr. Larsson has passed away.  From what I've read in the news, there is a draft of a 4th book in his laptop and a terrible feud between his estranged family and his girlfriend of many years over the rights to the book.  Well, maybe someday a 4th book will emerge, but until then I will savor this last book in a great series!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Have you got swagga?

Being a parent of tweens/teenagers is sometimes like being in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and you’re not familiar with the natives’ customs. Should I approach? Am I standing too close? What are they saying? They keep telling me “You don’t understand!”


On American Idol the other night, Miley Cyrus told one of the contestants that his voice had swagga. He was very pleased with this comment and I had no clue what it meant. Now, I’m a pretty hip Mom. I’ve read the Twilight series, I watched the Jersey Shore, I know Goths, Posers, and Emo and the difference between them. I know most of the IM acronyms like LMAO, POS, BTW, JK, GTG, and BRB. I have a face book, a blog, and a farm!!

Well, I stumbled across this little gem today on the internet and need to share it with my fellow Moms: http://www.urbandictionary.com/ Click on it now! You need this! It is like a tween/teen translator. Bookmark this on your computer and iphones! You will understand your kids once again!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Feeling Blu?


Okay I love Blu at the Ritz… It is restaurant week in Boston and my friend Sandi and I went to Blu. Blu is located at the Sports Club LA adjacent to the Ritz on Avery Street in the theater district. This is also the same Ritz Charlton that was home to Red Sox slugger David Ortiz!

The menu is somewhat limited for the week and I do have to say I had my hesitations when Sandi booked the reservation. However, the service was fantastic the portions very generous and the food was out of the world.

It was a 3 course menu for $20.10, I had steamed mussels, with tomatoes, basil pesto cream and grilled texas toast , followed by salmon with wild rice, arugula and maple chipotle vinaigrette and for dessert… dear god, Carmel Apple Napoleon, crispy phyllo, mascarpone cream and brandied apples. My tummy is in heaven!


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Booktini Gathering














What a great night!  The Booktini gals got together to discuss Michelle Moran's book, Cleopatra's Daughter.  We started our evening with some pomegranate wine, pita bread, hummus, and very tasty olives. In keeping with our Egyptian theme, we had Egyptian music in the background, place cards with our names in hieroglyphics, and modern Egyptian food (that didn't turn out so great except for the Baklavan - yum).  

We all enjoyed reading this fascinating novel.  The story begins with Cleopatra and Marc Antony's suicides and tells the story of what becomes of their children.  The Romans have taken over Egypt and the fate of these children, in particular Cleopatra's daughter Selene, is very uncertain.  The development of these characters and vivid descriptions of Egypt and Rome transport the reader to this tumultuous time in history. 

We had the opportunity to speak with Michelle and enjoyed hearing how she came to telling this previously untold story.  It is a story of survival, loss, power and love.  Michelle's passion for these characters and this story is evident in every page.  So, if you are at all interested in Ancient Egypt, Rome, or Cleopatra then you would love this book!  Michelle also revealed to us what her next book is about and we can't wait to get our hands on it, but you will have to keep checking back - we aren't going to spill the beans!

The next book we'll be reading is Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Our next Booktini gathering will be April 23rd and it's going to have a Swedish theme.  IKEA anyone?