#FreshLookFriday

#FreshLookFriday: A Falmouth Staycation

When my Mom & I found out my father-in-law and husband were painting the bathroom as part of a full remodel we’re doing, we were OVER THE MOON excited! Just one little problem: this 8 months pregnant lady isn’t supposed to be around fumes, and my Mom gets severe headaches from just a whiff of primer. While we’re not big on traveling right now, we knew staying in the house wasn’t an option (and honestly, after a year of staying home, we could totally use the break to get out!). Luckily, we were able to find a safe way to enjoy a little Mommy & me staycation just down the road that allowed us to play tourists for the weekend.

We chose to stay at Inn On The Square in Falmouth, a cute little place downtown we’d never tried! After spraying & scrubbing the ever-loving-crap out of the room & dragging in our own sheets and pillows like crazy people, we spent Friday night getting settled, ordering takeout & binge watching episodes of our new favorite show, Good Girls, on Netflix.

On Saturday morning, we woke up ready to grab some coffee & explore. We went down to Menahaunt Beach to enjoy our coffee and have a nice walk breathing in some fresh, salty ocean air. While there might have been a slight chill in the air, the view can’t be beat!

Feeling like we wanted to continue exploring, we took a ride down to Spohr Gardens. While I hadn’t been there in ages, going there with my Mom brought back some really amazing memories. As a little girl, she and I used to go there all the time for an afternoon and to enjoy their well-known Daffodil Days! Dressing up & soaking in all the fresh air and natural beauty one of Falmouth’s hidden gems has to offer was always a treat, and though it may not have been daffodil season just yet, it still brought us just as much joy when we returned. I actually have a picture of me as a little girl among the flowers…it’s crazy to think of how young I was when my mother took me then vs. now about to give birth to a baby of my own (still wearing pink though, of course!)

All that walking worked up quite an appetite (especially for me with the little bean jumping around in my belly!), so we opted for pickup from one of our favorite restaurants: Le Bon Jour! I opted for Le Puy, a power bowl that is packed with nutrients. With ingredients like avocado, beets, lentils, and apple, I topped it with some grilled chicken for a little extra protein and modified to sub their apple cider vinaigrette dressing. It hit the spot as a great guilt-free meal that we enjoyed while supporting a local restaurant. It’s a win-win every time!

Digging into Le Puy (with a grilled chicken upgrade),
my favorite dish from Le Bon Jour in Falmouth!

While we chose to snuggle back in with more tv for the evening since it’s easy to get worn out quick when you’re making another human, the next day we woke up well rested & ready to explore again. Checkout at Inn on the Square is at 11, so we slept in, got our things together and grabbed some breakfast to enjoy by the water again. This time, we took our coffee to the Woods Hole Waterfront Park, which this time of year is usually very quiet. Taking in the view and a stroll on the beach, we continued for another walk down Main Street.

This was a bittersweet walk: growing up, my Dad had worked for years at the Marine Biological Laboratory and just retired this year. I’d also gone to preschool at the Woods Hole Child Center, and have spent a ton of time over the years at places like Captain Kidd, the Landfall, Coffee O (which used to be Pie In The Sky!) and made countless trips rushing to the ferry when my husband was living on Martha’s Vineyard. Woods Hole has always had a special place in my heart for those reasons, but also because I just plain have a natural draw to its small-town seaside charm that makes for a perfect gateway to Martha’s Vineyard. Yet strolling past all of the boarded-up businesses that still had Christmas decorations in the window was a heartbreaking reminder of why we’ve continued to be so cautious during this time, and both Mom & I were grateful in that moment to know that there is hope for a (somewhat!) normal future soon.

Overall, it was an INCREDIBLE staycation weekend! It’s funny how different local places you go all the time can feel once you put on a “vacation” mindset. These were places we’d drive past all the time, roads we’d take daily and that we’ve spent our lives calling home. All we had to do was give ourselves permission to enjoy them, and we DID!

#FreshLookFriday

#FreshLookFriday: What’s Inside An S Design Subscription Box?!

The subscription box game has changed so much over the years, you can get nearly anything mailed monthly. From gardening seeds to really good scotch or even hygiene products, there’s no lack of possibilities. So when I first learned one of my favorite small businesses, S Design, was getting into the subscription box game, I was beyond excited and so ready to see what she’d have in store!

When I first talked to Tricia, founder of S Design Jewelry in Framingham, her warm and energetic presence was contagious as she shared with me her passion for matching meaningful pieces to each individual customer. Furthermore, I was touched by her story of how S Design Jewelry all began. “I became a mother late in life, feeling blessed and connected. Sharing the gift of love and connection through jewelry design fills my heart, and allows me to be a full-time mother to my daughter Savannah, the namesake of the brand.”

Once I received my first box, I was instantly in love with the brand’s whole vibe! If you’re drawn to the healing powers of stones, love supporting small businesses made in the USA or even if you’re just looking to up your jewelry game, those are just three of many reasons why this box might be for you. But enough talk: let’s see what’s inside!

WHAT’S INSIDE THIS MONTH’S S DESIGN SUBSCRIPTION BOX

The first thing you’ll notice when you receive any order placed with S Design is the packaging. Yep-Tricia designs all of her own boxes, too. This month’s trove of treasures came in a beautiful keepsake box tied gracefully with a bow that looks so pretty you almost don’t even want to untie it! It’s one of those things where you just know it’s never going to look that perfectly done again, but is timelessly elegant and makes for a great first impression.

Once I opened up my box, the first thing I saw was a beautiful picture of Tricia and her daughter Savannah on a postcard that tells the story of how S Design Jewelry all began. This is an important personal touch: not only because if you are giving it as a gift they are able to get some background on the brand, but it’s also a reminder that you’re supporting a small business that is grateful for each and every sale. Underneath the postcard was a second personal touch: a thoughtful, handwritten note letting me know the inspiration behind this month’s theme: intention & protection.

These onyx earrings symbolize intention, so make sure to set yours for the day as you put them on!

Arranged neatly underneath the welcoming notes, my goodies were waiting! The first piece I picked up was in a neatly tied burlap sack. That’s another thing to note about these boxes – the individual packaging for each piece will be something reusable that you can use to either keep your gems safe in or find a creative way to use around your home! Inside the bag, I gently lifted out a pair of sterling silver & onyx ear wires. The second I pulled them out, an outfit popped into my head of how I could style them and I got SO excited! Little did I know, these beauties would pair perfectly with the next piece in the box: a lucky horseshoe bracelet that arrived just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. (Note: This post is a few days after my initial unboxing.) The sleek sterling silver bracelet with onyx beading and a lucky horseshoe charm had three words printed on its presentation card: lucky, spirited, optimism. The bracelet is intended to be a literal good luck charm!

The perfect pair to those earrings? A lucky horseshoe bracelet that arrived just in time for St. Patrick’s Day!

Why did Tricia choose onyx, and what does it represent? Well, if you remember the opening card, she had let me know this box would be focused on intention & protection. Onyx is known for its healing properties of pulling out your intention, and as Tricia has so gracefully described it to me in the past the goal is to, as you put on your onyx pieces, set your own intentions for the day.

Neatly nestled in the top left corner of the box was another set of surprises that arrived in a small black box also tied with a pretty little bow. Inside, two bracelets had been thoughtfully arranged just for me: the first was a beaded bracelet with the words TRUTH on it. As a reporter, for me this was so incredibly meaningful: every day, I am honored to tell the stories of others, to speak up for those without a voice, and use my natural curiosity for good to relentlessly search for the truth. It was a sweet reminder that what I do has meaning, and I was touched by Tricia’s ability to somehow know exactly what bracelet would speak to my soul.

Underneath my truth bracelet was the second piece to the puzzle from the note she’d transcribed: a beaded turquoise bracelet that brought me all the seaside vibes while representing-you guessed it- protection! Extra protection is something we all could use an unlimited supply of in our lives right now, not only with COVID going around but from all the emotions coming to the surface as we face the one year anniversary of the pandemic. Speaking of which, here’s how Tricia is continuing to give back to those *still* fighting on the front lines of this thing!

THE COVID STRONG INITIATIVE

Originally, I had interviewed Tricia to discuss a campaign she’d launched to give back to healthcare heroes at the start of the pandemic called Covid Strong. Each hematite bracelet in the design represented one of four pillars of strength: community, resilience, courage, and compassion. With each sale, a second bracelet was donated to a worker of your choosing in your community. “We have used hematite in this design for its healing qualities,” she explains in a description on her website. “Hematite helps to absorb negative energy and calms in times of stress or worry. Widely coveted as a protective stone by stabilizing one’s energy with its grounding force, it transforms negative energy into positive vibrations and fostering hope in the wearer.” If you’d like to learn more about the Covid Strong initiative, check out her website here: https://www.sdesignjewelry.com/collections/covid19strong

Want to see the full video of the unboxing? Here’s the video below!

#FreshLookFriday

#FreshLookFriday: Newbury Street Hair Glow-Up (That’s Covid & Pregnancy Safe!)

Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been basically staying home for the whole. Entire. Pandemic. As a germaphobe with a husband who is at a higher risk for COVID complications, this comes as a surprise to absolutely no one and is fitting to my stubborn Portuguese routes that force me to fight fiercely for what I believe in. So for me to come out of the house to get my hair done, it would have to be a really, really good reason and I’d have to do my research on making sure it was safe (especially while being 32 weeks pregnant!). Honestly, I don’t think I would have done it if I didn’t have a stylist that I absolutely trust with my whole heart.

Courtney at Spoke & Weal on Newbury Street has been my go-to gal, and ever since she welcomed me into her chair I can’t imagine seeing anybody else. It was hard to stay away from her during the pandemic as I watched my roots grow (real talk: ALL of your body hair will grow in pregnancy like CRAZY thanks to the hormones!). I knew that once I sat my butt back in that chair, my poor girl was going to have a LOT of work to do. So when my doctor gave me the go-ahead to get my hair done, I was thrilled! Yet for me, that wasn’t the only step to take. I also needed to check in with Courtney to find out what their COVID protocols were and ensure that I would feel comfortable going. As always, she was a gem about it and ensured me two things:

  1. She’d use products that were safe for pregnancy on my hair (yay!)
  2. She actually went as far as to open early so that for the first hour, she and I were the only people in the salon in a chair that was thoughtfully spaced out from where other appointments would be. We both wore our masks (I even double masked), and Courtney made sure to ask if I’d like to stick to just her doing my hair or if I was comfortable with having someone step in to blow dry. (Personally, I felt most comfortable limiting my interaction with others and chose to stick with her.)

The first thing she did was give my mess a spray down with detangler & brush through. Then, it was time to set the color! As she did, we caught up on life & before I knew it she gingerly sat a foil cape over her work as I sat back, relaxed & watched baby boy kick around in there.

Next, it was time for a rinse & hair mask! She used a product called K18 Biommetic HairScience, described as a “professional molecular repair hair mask”. Now, she put a lot of work into my hair, but can confirm that this was definitely a next-level product that left my hair feeling silky smooth and oh-so-in-love with it. Not that I’ll be ditching Drybar anytime soon…but it seriously felt like learning a secret to how they give you that salon-soft feel!

Once I was out of the wash chair, Courtney sprayed my hair down this time with Aveda’s Pure Abundance Style Prep & Nutri Plenish Leave In Conditioner. Now, neither of those are things I use in my daily routine: I usually use a heat protectant when I blow dry, a hair mask once a week and run some invisible oil through my tresses on the days where it feels a bit dry, so there was definitely an opportunity to learn here about products I likely should be adding to my routine. Although we were short on time for styling (my fault for not saving enough time between a doctor’s appointment!), my hair STILL felt like heaven when I walked out the door after my blow-dry.

Here’s the full video that takes you inside Spoke & Weal so you can see for yourself Courtney’s process, kindness and get a firsthand look at what the Newbury Street shop has to offer!

*Video will be aired at 10:30AM (EST) on Saturday, March 14th, 2021

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#FreshLookFriday: Make Your Own Holiday Wreath In 5 Easy Steps!

‘Tis the season to be decorating every inch of the house with holiday cheer, and this year’s big trend is wreath making! Here’s how you can make a unique wreath at home in 5 easy steps. All it took for me was one trip to the Dollar Store to grab everything I’d need!

  1. Select & fan out your wreath – Once you’ve picked out your perfect wreath as a base, make sure to fan out the sides by pulling & adjusting the wire (or branches if you’ve picked a real one!). I chose a white wire wreath as my base.
  2. Stamp ribbon- Select stamps that fit the theme of your wreath, and decorate your ribbon. Make sure to leave time to let the ink dry!
  3. Add the foliage – Grab some super glue (don’t glue your fingers together like me!), and add in some accent branches/flowers. I chose some shiny, gold foliage and a bow in the center.
  4. Glue Ribbon – Glue the tip of your ribbon underneath your wreath’s foliage as a starting point.
  5. Wrap ribbon- Then, wrap it around & make sure to glue the other end at the top once you’ve wrapped back around!

Follow this 1 min tutorial video above to see the step-by-step instructions!

#FreshLookFriday

#FreshLookFriday: Holiday Hot Toddies Recipe

Looking for a recipe to spice up the holidays? We’ve got the perfect festive blend that not only screams New England, but can be made with our without booze to keep that holiday cheer under control (or let it loose-after all, it is 2020!).

While we made this recipe in a small crockpot, it can also be made on the stove as long as you keep the heat on low, keep stirring occasionally, and add an extra cup of cranberry juice.

Here’s the recipe:

2.5 cups cranberry juice

Honey (as desired)

1 inch ginger

peeled 2 cloves (you can sub several dashes of powder)

1/2 an orange, sliced

1/2 cup cranberries

3 cinnamon sticks (save more for decoration!)

Rum (if desired, add as much as you’d like being careful not to overpower other flavors!)

#FreshLookFriday

#FreshLookFriday: How to Design A Living Room You LOVE!

Have you ever been flipping through channels or scrolling through Instagram to come across a perfectly-put together living room and think to yourself, “Nobody’s living room actually looks like that!” Although it might be easier to tell ourselves that, the truth of the matter is that people’s living rooms actually do look that nice in real life. These people that have kids, significant others, dogs, jobs, and everything else also have a living room that looks straight out of a magazine. How do they do it? While they may have hired a designer, if you’re short on budget you too can follow one simple rule that will massively help bring any room together.

The trick? Using the color rule of three. Watch my video below to learn this popular tip I learned from several years of working with interior designers and how you can use it to instantly refresh any room in your home..including that magical, matching living room!

#FreshLookFriday

#FreshLookFriday: Cranberry Apple Muffins (Gluten-Free!)

Watch the video for a step-by-step visual tutorial, or follow the steps using this recipe!:

Ingredients

4 Apples (peeled, cored & sliced)

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup fresh cranberries

2 beaten eggs

1/2 cup vegetable (or sub olive) oil

2 1/2 cups flour (gluten free or regular)

3 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Peel, core & slice apples before dicing into small pieces. Place into a medium bowl with sugar & cinnamon, and mix well. Let sit for 10 minutes and preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Once the 10 minutes is up, transfer the apple mixture to a larger bowl & add cranberries, eggs, vegetable oil, flour, baking powder, baking soda, a pinch of nutmeg & salt. Mix together.
  3. Pour into muffin cups & bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!
#FreshLookFriday

#FreshLookFriday: Nautical Nordic Thanksgiving Table Setting

Looking for a unique Thanksgiving table setting sure to impress your guests? As a woman who is #TeamSummer with our home’s decor all year long, I came up with a way to incorporate that nautical charm into a Nordic holiday table setting that spoke to both my Scandinavian and Portuguese roots.

Our blank canvas is this gorgeous white farmhouse style table and set of chairs I bought at Wayfair. I’m OBSESSED with the back detail on these chairs! Our rug is a bit of a unique piece designed by NuLoom x Thomas Paul & found here, which I bought as a gift to my husband because the octopus is his favorite animal! The silver & white quatrefoil curtains are also from Wayfair.

First, I found a runner to match the all silver & white theme I wanted. (Mine came from Homegoods, but this one by Amazon is very similar.) Next, I introduced the fall theme with these locally sourced white pumpkins and some silver candles. For the centerpiece, I used an inexpensive tall vase from Michael’s and filled it with shells I found on local beaches.

Now, it’s time to set the table! I chose these silver beaded chargers I also snagged from Homegoods to accent these square white plates from Crate & Barrel. (Here’s where you can find similar silver chargers if Homegoods is out.) For the napkins, I selected a plain white set from Pier1 and folded them using a trick I’d learned waitressing in college.

The Napkin Trick!

  1. Lay the napkin flat on the table.
  2. Take the bottom left corner, and fold it to meet the top right to create a triangle.
  3. Fold in the bottom right corner and bottom left so they make a square.
  4. Pull the napkin through the ring so it looks like a squid!
  5. If these steps seem confusing or it doesn’t look right, watch the step-by-step tutorial in the video above πŸ™‚

For silverware, I stuck with the silver nautical theme by using a set we’d received from Christmas Tree Shops (similar set from Bed Bath & Beyond here). I set the utensils according to table setting standards of having the fork on the left, knife and soup spoon on the right, dessert spoon and fork up top. Any glasses should go to the top right of any setting.

We’re leaving room on this table for my favorite serving platters by Mud Pie Gifts, and I added a splash of color by having fun sprinkling cranberries across the table as a finishing touch.

To see it all step by step and take a look at the end result, watch my video above. Happy decorating!