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Dec 4

Singing in the Rain

Posted on Thursday, December 4, 2008 in Gift Guide, Shopping Spree, Wallet Wise

I have the fondest memory of a spring time torrential down pour at the age of 8. The rain came for hours. Every house I lived in growing up always had the best puddles after a storm. At this house, the pools were deceivingly deep between the ridge of the lawn and the street. The dark green grass camouflaged the quick drop in elevation and set up the perfect setting for pretend play. My mom was home and for whatever reason that day granted my brother and me carte blanche to play outside in the rain. We were outfitted with thick slicker coats, boots and umbrellas. I remember being overcome by excitement and fear as the large rain drops hit my umbrella. I felt chills run down my back as the rain dripped down my coat. Between shrills and laughter I remember looking up at my mom under the overhang of the house smiling down on us.

 When dressed properly, being caught in the rain can be the time of your life.  

The rain boot provides a purposeful function and is no longer reserved for toddlers and Paddington Bear. Today, many designers have youthful patterns to remind you to get out and play or opt for the fashionable styles to match your most posh outfit. 

from left to right: Hunter  $115 / Tretorn   $42 / Chinese Laundry  $48  / Chooka $60 

EMU Australia  $59 / Kamik  $40 / SPERRY  $75 /  Lily Pulitzer $69 / Burberry $195

Dec 1

CYBER MONDAY

Posted on Monday, December 1, 2008 in Gift Guide, Wallet Wise

In search of an original gift? How about a gift that fits the personality? In a credit crisis, we are all looking for quality verses quantity. So Shop Smart & Be Thoughtful! 

For the traveler
Lingo Look, http://www.lingolook.net/home.html
Flight 001 http://www.flight001.com/store/index.htm?SID
Kindle, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000FI73MA/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=2510749105&ref=pd_sl_20wgx685w_e

Those who are going green
New London Pharmacy Beauty Products, http://newlondonpharmacy.com/organic/
Whole Foods Market Better Bags, http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/abetterbag/index.php
Vegan Nail Polish http://www.sparitual.com/

Foodies
Personalized Taste Books, http://www.tastebook.com/
Everything Food, http://www.chow.com/stories/11390

Winos
Bargain Bottles, http://domaine547.com/
NYC Winery, http://www.citywinery.com/winemaking

Hostess with the mostess
Home Décor, http://velocityartanddesign.com/
Paper Products, http://www.carrotandstickpress.com/ 
Gracious Home, www.gracioushome.com

Babies & Moms
Sling, http://www.serenaandlily.com/Gift/Gift-Market-Sling
Clothes, http://www.teacollection.com/site/index.htm
Toys, http://www.giggle.com/index.aspx

Sisters (-in-Laws)
Lotions & Potions, www.kiehls.com Grapefruit Smells Awesome
Unique Gifts, www.wrapables.com
Unique Gifts, http://wishingfish.com/
Vintage Sunglasses, www.vintage-sunglasses-shop.com
Anthropologie, http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/index.jsp

Co-Workers & Everyone Else
Great Gift Ideas, http://spoonsisters.com/
More Great Gift Ideas, http://charlesandmarie.com

Grandparents & Parents
John Derian, http://www.johnderian.com/index_decoupage.html

Yogis & Athletes
Personalize Yoga Mats, http://www.yogamatic.com/home.php
Everything Yoga http://www.gaiam.com/
Apparel, http://www.activasports.com/
Apparel, http://www.athleta.com/
EVERYTHING, http://www.sportsbasement.com/
Apparel, http://www.titlenine.com/
Looking for art
Posters & Prints, www.allposters.com
Rob Miller, www.millervisuals.com
Alphabets, www.gregoireganter.com
Judith Greenberg, http://jtgreenberg.com/

Check out museum shops
Whitney Museum, http://whitneystore.stores.yahoo.net/info.html
MOMA, http://www.momastore.org/
MET, http://www.metmuseum.org/store/
Guggenheim, http://www.guggenheimstore.org/

I love my pets
Strictly Pet Supplies, http://www.strictlypetsupplies.com
Sky Mall, http://www.skymall.com/shopping/dept.htm?c=10700&cm_sp=TopNav-_-DeptHOL08-_-PetProducts

For the guys
The standards are all they want!
Brooks Brothers; http://www.brooksbrothers.com/
Best Buy; http://www.bestbuy.com/
Orvis; http://www.orvis.com/
Amazon; http://www.amazon.com/
Antique Maps, Books, Prints; www.vjduncan.com

Before you purchase
http://www.mybargainbuddy.com/

Nov 29

Left Over Herbs

Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2008 in Deep Dish, Wallet Wise

Left over Herbs

If your thanksgiving menu looked anything like mine you have to have some left over herbs. My recipes Thursday called for rosemary, thyme, savory and chives. It is always a shame for them to go to waste. So before they begin to loose color or wilt do one of two things, freeze them or dry them and you will have fresh seasonings all winter long.

There are many methods to keeping herbs for the coming months and these I found very easy and quick.

Freeze whole leaves

Boil water in a 3 Qt Sauce Pan and blanch the leaves of parsley/ cilantro/ basil etc. for 3 -5 seconds. Dry off in a cloth and separate the leaves from the steam and lay flat in a freezer bag and place in the freezer.

Ice Cube Trays

Pulse the leaves of the herbs in a food mill. Mix in oil and fill each cube ¾ of the way full and freeze. Pop out frozen cubes into a sealed freezer bag. Another option is to keep the leaves whole and fill the tray ¾ full of water.

 

Microwave

Pull the leaves off the stems and lay the leaves between two paper towels. Microwave on high for 2 minutes 20 seconds and brush the leaves on to a cutting board and chop. Place dried herbs into a spice shaker and they should keep for 6- 12 months.

 

Cheese Cloth

Place the whole stem and leaves across the cheese cloth and wrap tying off at each end. The herbs should be loose for good air circulation. Place them either upside down in a dark place or in your refrigerator. It will take 2 weeks to fully dry out. Untie the cheese cloth, discard any molded stems and shake the dried herbs to loosen them. Place them in an airtight storage container.

Nov 24

Cheers to a Purple Tongue

Posted on Monday, November 24, 2008 in Gift Guide, Ticket Trips, Toxic Twists, Wallet Wise

As a right of passage from young to mature adult you will inevitably trade in your pilsner for a merlot.  I think that the best practice for learning about wine is to DRINK. Living in San Francisco afforded me the luxury of napa valley day trips. These trips broadened my appreciation for the grape growing and wine making process. It also gave me the confidence to open the restaurant wine list and buy cases at a time. Never forget that while there are some wine connoisseurs, it is all about personal preference.

 

Here are some of my favorite Napa & Sonoma valley vineyards:

Gloria Ferrer  

Chateau St. Jean

Peju

Robert Mondavi Winery

Artesa

 

If you are fortunate enough to live in a state with permitted wine shipping laws, http://wi.shipcompliant.com/, step up and buy a case or join a wine club. I totally underestimated this gift until I had received it.

 

Ordering Online? I can personally recommend Wine.com & Bottle Notes. The Wines of the World with Wine.com mixes one red and one white each month and membership can be for 3 – 12months. This is a great way to hone in on vineyards considered to be the greatest wine regions in the world. Bottlenotes.com offers the one stop shop for personalized and social driven packages. I personally benefited from picking a region like Argentina and get to know that county’s varieties inside and out.

 

I recently joined the Wall Street Journal’s Wine Club. The special introductory offer averages $7 per bottle in the first case. There is no penalty for cancelling so if you are unhappy you can get out before the price hikes to $11 per bottle in all future orders. We were happy with our red & white selection in the first case.

 

If shopping locally never pass up a Trader Joe’s, Stew Leonard’s Wine or BevMo store. Go with the intention of taking home a case, because there are many choices. No matter where you shop you should receive a 20% discount when you buy a case and if they don’t switch suppliers. WineSearcher.com is a great resource if you are trying to track down that special Boekenhoutskloof Chocolate Block bottle.

 

 * Not all Trader Joes and Stew Leonard’s sell wine so be sure to check out online.

 

Enjoy Sipping,

K

 

P.S. FREE THE GRAPES

If you live in a state that has strict ship to customer laws join the FREE THE GRAPES campaign, http://www.freethegrapes.org/ to get change.