Monday, December 11, 2017

Local Stops: Yankee Candle Village


If you are a fan of Christmas, then visiting the Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield, MA should absolutely be on your list of things to see in Massachusetts. The Village is one of New England's largest travel attractions with a 90,000 square foot location. On average, people travel 1-2 hours to come and experience the flagship store. There is something for everyone, and it makes a great family trip. Year round, there are 260 different fragrances for you to choose from including a wall of "returning favorites" that you can't find anywhere else. You can visit The General Store where they have lots of treats, gifts, baking mixes, and maple goods. There are thousands of ornaments throughout the store, I mean literally tens of thousands of them. Santa is here year round and there are hands-on activities for kids and a candy shop. There's a man-cave section for the men to enjoy and if you get hungry you can savor gourmet popcorn, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, homemade fudge, and sandwiches from Au Bon Pain. This isn't just a candle store, it's so much more.


Wax Works is a fun hands-on and interactive activity for kids or adults. You can create your own custom jar candle by dispensing colored and scented wax into a jar, however, you want. They put it under a heater for you to melt the top layer and in about 20 minutes, once it's cool, you can come and get it. You can also get creative and make a wax mold of your hand or dip wax critters in colored wax 


Both whimsical and charming, the Bavarian Village is my favorite part of the flagship location experience. I vividly remember visiting the store as a child and this part stands out in my mind the most. This is where the magic of Christmas comes to life. You can experience it snowing indoors and visit Santa all year, see a waterfall, a castle, and a 6' tall nutcracker. No, seriously it snows indoors year-round every four minutes:


There is a 25' rotating Christmas tree under a starry ceiling and model trains going around above your head. Enjoy looking at the suits of armor, nutcrackers, ornaments, and a huge miniature Christmas village. They have a Halloween one too, but it isn't quite as large. You can then enter Santa's toy shop where you will find him a lot of the time and a big countdown until Christmas day.  


A new addition to Yankee Candle Village, you can now personalize any large candle right in the store in under 20 minutes. The process is really simple, you just email your photo to the email address provided in the store and then the employees will walk you through the rest of the process. They pull up the photo and help you crop it to your desire and then you can add 1-2 lines of personalization to each candle. There are also 6-8 photo ops set up throughout the store including a sleigh, thrones in the Bavarian Village, and a tugboat where you can snap a photo to send in if there isn't one on your phone that you want to use. This service is available in all the Yankee Candle stores, although they don't all have the photo ops. You can also personalize a candle on their website here if you aren't near a store. This is so much fun because you can mix and match a scent to a specific memory in a photograph or a pick a color candle that goes with your photo for complete customization. These make such a wonderful gift for any occasion. 

In addition to the personalized candles, you can also customize Christmas ornaments. These are a great way to commemorate special events in your life like a baby's first Christmas or add to your collection each year. 


Yankee Candle Village also has a candle making museum which offers an entertaining and educational demonstration of candle making in a recreated 1830's shop at no charge. Live candlemaking demonstrations happen daily at 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:30 pm. The candles in this section are handmade of pure beeswax which are a great allergen-free alternative to the other candles in the store. There is also a wide selection of German traditional beeswax ornaments in the museum.


In addition to all of the candles, there is also a huge section of the flagship store that includes other items to shop including jewelry, home decor, and beauty products. Here, you get a chance to see how to incorporate Yankee Candles into your interior design and find gifts for just about anyone.

There are always events and seasonal happenings at Yankee Candle Village so make sure you check out their event page before you head there. You should set aside at least two hours to explore the location, most people stay two to four hours. Just a random side-note, the staff are always really friendly and helpful at any Yankee Candle store I've ever been to including this one, and the bathrooms are clean. This location is special any time of year, but there's something extra enchanting about it during the holidays. 

Yankee Candle Village | 25 Greenfield Road | South Deerfield, MA | Website 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Seeing Stars

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend! I was in Boston for the Annual General Meeting of the International Dark-Sky Association. I volunteer a few hours a day with them and was helping to update their social media accounts during the conference and also moderating a panel for them. You all know that I have a love affair with the night sky, so it's a cause that means a lot to me. Since I love it so much, I take any opportunity I can get to wear stars on my clothes or something space themed. Here are some of the things that are currently on my wishlist:



Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thanksgiving Wine Pairing


Thanksgiving is a pretty big holiday for my family. We always get a huge turkey that is no exaggeration around 50 pounds. My mom cooks dinner and I'm usually in charge of the appetizers, dessert, and choosing the wines.

Pairing wines with your Thanksgiving dinner can be a tricky task. Turkey is poultry, but there are also lots of rich and heavy sides. Before I get into anything too specific it's important to know that there is no "right" or "wrong" when it comes to pairing wine with your Thanksgiving dinner. This is really more of a loose guideline for you to help you get started so that you don't get overwhelmed and find yourself in the middle of the store and completely lost. Just keep these things in mind and maybe ask an expert at the liquor store what specific wines they recommend that go along with your taste and the kind of wine you're looking to serve.

First and foremost, it's important that you consider your guests and their taste. You don't want to only have red wine if you know you have a guest who only likes white, or only serve dry wines if you know that you have guests who prefer sweeter wines. Personally, I like to give guests a couple of options rather than choose for them what they want, so I find a good strategy to be to set out one red and one white and then let people choose which they would prefer.

Champagne is always a bright and festive choice for any occasion. There's a certain je ne sais quoi when you pop the cork on a bottle of sparkling wine that makes it the perfect pairing for any celebration. Prosecco or a great sparkling wine from America can be a more budget-friendly option to serve that's still very cheerful and just as tasty. If I was only putting out one wine for guests, this would be what I would serve.

When you think of pairing red wine with food, you typically think of pairing it with red meat and hearty dishes. But, when it comes to finding a red to go with your Thanksgiving dinner you're going to want to pick a lighter red wine. My go-to is a pinot noir. This is the classic choice, and admittedly not very adventurous; but the classics are the classics for a reason. Pinot noir is softer on your palate than other kinds of red wines like cabernet sauvignon; the lighter body pairs well with poultry making it the perfect choice. If you want to be a bit more creative try a slightly chilled Beaujolais or a plummy and peppery zinfandel.

As far as white wine goes, think of pairing something with a little acidity to cut through all the richness of the traditional Thanksgiving feast. I wouldn't go with any white wines that are too sweet, save that for dessert. Mind you, I'm not a fan of sweet wines at all, I find them undrinkable but if you are a fan or have a guest that's a sweet wine drinker, go for it! An oaked chardonnay that has a little more body is a great and time-honored choice. Two other good options are a dry riesling or a light and crisp sauvignon blanc.

Personally, I'm not a huge rosé drinker but I know it's trendy right now and a lot of you are probably into it so I tried to do a little research for you. This can be a good option because rosés have an easier time standing up to all the flavors in a traditional Thanksgiving meal than a white wine and they're lighter bodied than a red wine. I recommend going with a dry rosé for the same reason I would go with a dry white instead of sweet. A drier selection offers more versatility when it comes to food pairing than a sweeter wine. 

Whatever wine you end up going with, I wish you all a wonderful holiday and I'm sure it will be fantastic! Let me know how your pair wines with your Thanksgiving dinner down in the comments!

Monday, November 6, 2017

A November Afternoon


Happy Monday! November afternoons are one of my favorites, with the warm sun and the chill in the air. I openly hate summer. It's hot, it's uncomfortable, I hate shorts because I hate my legs, I always feel like I need to shower because I'm sweating. I can't ever find a bathing suit that fits and I'm not crazy about the beach. I'm miserable when I'm hot, so I am exceedingly happy when I can finally have on a coat or a sweater in October and November. This weekend was probably the first time I was able to do that this season, so I was thrilled! 

I have had these Kendra Scott earrings on repeat, and I'm not even sorry about it. I love any kind of statement earrings, but I also have a really tough time finding a pair because my ears are super sensitive so most pairs are either insanely expensive or end up giving my ears a crazy rash. I never have an issue with Kendra Scott earrings so I snagged this pair when I first saw them. They give me a very Edie Sedgewick vibe. I don't think I have ever mentioned it on here before, but she's one of those people I am super fascinated by and look to for fashion inspiration. Also, just an FYI the top I'm wearing here is currently on sale for under $35 and the coat is also on sale! 

What I'm Wearing: 

Shirt: Loft (Only a couple sizes left but similar here and here.) | Coat: Eliza J c/o | Pants: Old Navy | Earrings: Kendra Scott | Booties: Nine West (Similar

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Your Complete Guide To Giving Hostess Gifts

Now that Halloween is over, we are fast approaching the holidays. With this time of year comes lots of social gatherings and parties. This year, I have teamed up with Karen Thomas, known professionally as the CT Etiquette Expert to bring you a complete guide to hostess gifts including advice from her and some specific gift ideas from me. Karen is a certified etiquette educator and has been speaking professionally on the topic for 16 years. She is also an expert segment provider for tv and radio, and a best selling author. Without further adieu, let's dive right into her tips:

Going to a party or holiday gathering at the home of a family member or friend can be great fun, but don’t forget the hostess gift. Putting thought into this endeavor can often be a painstaking decision. However, with a little thought and creativity, you can be the hit of the holidays!

While the usual standbys are perfectly acceptable such as a plant, flowers (always in a vase), a bottle of wine or photo frame, here are few suggestions to get the creative juices flowing. Think about the host/hostess and these simple clues before selecting a fabulous gift...what home décor do they enjoy (country, loves specific animal, is an artist, etc…) Another idea to keep in mind,  do they enjoy cooking/baking, meditation, outside activities, etc... Keeping these things in the back of your mind while choosing a hostess gift can make it quite easy. And, if you don’t know them quite as well as you’d like, these choices are often a hit as well:

        - Food item to serve at a later date – Cutting board, assorted cheeses, gourmet jam
        - Decorative or unique set of martini, wine, or drinking glasses
        - Champagne and an ice bucket
        - Pasta strainer/bowl filled with gourmet items
        - Gourmet tea or coffees with mugs

One thing to never attempt is re-gifting. While by etiquette standards it is certainly acceptable, too often people are caught off guard by not remembering who gifted what, and end up with an epic re-gifting nightmare!

And remember, if you don’t feel overly confident with your choice - It’s OK – gift giving is a thoughtful idea and should be received graciously by the host or hostess.  Happy Holidays!









You can learn more about Karen on her website here.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Fall Scenes Across Massachusetts


If you have a deep love and appreciation for autumn, then a visit to New England during this time of year should be on your list of things to experience. Leaf peepers come from all over to experience the fall that we do here. This annual explosion of color is accompanied by charming architecture, sprawling landscapes, and rich history. If you're wondering why the autumn foliage here is much more colorful than other places, it's because only certain varieties of trees produce such spectacular color and they need the right soil and weather which just happens to be right here.

There are many suggested scenic foliage drives that you can take through all of the New England states. Although, one of my favorites is right in my own backyard, through The Berkshires. On any day I love to visit The Berkshires; the gilded age mansions, culture, history, and scenery have me heading there any chance I get. However, in the fall the scenic byways are even more breathtaking. There are plenty of museums, farm-to-table restaurants, and antique shops along the way. If you have never been, I highly recommend it especially at this time of year.

Do you have a favorite place to visit during the fall? Let me know down in the comments!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Sophisticated Halloween Look


Our leaves have finally started to peak around here! After the reports that it would be one of the best years for foliage in a long time, I was starting to get nervous when a lot of the leaves weren't changing. Apparently, the heat delayed things, but it has absolutely been worth the wait! I hope you were able to catch some of it over on my Instagram stories from the weekend. If not, I'm working on a post with some scenes across Massachusetts over the last couple of weeks for you. 

Halloween, the one time of year that you can take fashion inspiration from Elvira and Morticia Addams and it's 100% socially acceptable. It can be hard to find an elegant and sophisticated Halloween look that isn't boarding on a costume. I had been waiting to whip out these shoes, which I'm actually in love with, and when I saw this top on Nordstrom I knew it would make a perfect look. A friend of mine told me I looked like the Queen of Halloween in this outfit, and it was probably the greatest compliment I've ever gotten. 

Do you like to dress for the Halloween season on a daily basis in addition to costumes? What are you going to be for Halloween? Let me know down in the comments! 


What I'm Wearing: 

Top: Vince Camuto | Pants: Nine West (Similar) | Earrings: Kendra Scott | Flats: Charlotte Olympia (Similar, SimilarSimilar, Similar)  
 

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