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Archive for December, 2016

Celebrating the Holidays in Style

Posted on: December 19th, 2016 by Leah No Comments

Tis the season for cookie baking, tree decorating, and Christmas caroling.  It’s also the season for party planning, menu prepping, and all around celebrating.  There is no better time of year for getting together with friends and family while counting your many blessings.  To help you get into the holiday spirit, I’ve prepared a few tips to help you turn up the sparkle this holiday season.

Get Dressed Up

Glitter, gold and everything bold should be your mantra this holiday season. In the Florida Keys, we don’t have a lot of opportunities to get dressed up but the holidays are a perfect time to do so.  Accessories are a great way to sparkle over the holidays.  Add some statement necklaces with extra bling or a sequin clutch bag to your holiday party attire.  Instead of an LBD, look for flirty dresses in metallic shades for a glammed up look.  My favorite bold accessory is lipstick.  The holidays are a great time to try a new shade in a deep burgundy wine or bold red.  Although Keys Casual is the norm, I believe its always better to be over dressed than under – so go for it!

Come Bearing Gifts

Attending the many fetes this time of year will certainly put you in the festive spirit, but it also means finding the perfect hostess gifts. Your best bet is to always have a few things on-hand so as not to show up empty-handed.  In lieu of a bottle of wine, opt for a bottle of champagne which is more special and festive.  I always keep a few bottles of champagne in the fridge as life’s great moments should always be celebrated with a toast and some bubbly.

For a more unique gift, opt for a Christmas ornament for your host.  Shell World in Key Largo carries an array of ornaments that are both traditional and Florida Keys themed.  I love to gift high heeled shoe ornaments for my fashionista friends and beachy Santa ornaments to my friends up north.  I know each year when they see that ornament, they’ll think of me and the friendship we share.

Key Largo Chocolates

Key Largo Chocolates

Another great hostess gift can be found at Key Largo Chocolates.  Buy a box of handmade truffles in decadent flavors including Key Lime, Sea Salt Caramel and Caribbean spice. These chocolates are sure to be the gift the hostess will enjoy the most.  If you’re traveling over the holidays, I highly recommend bringing a box with you to your destination.  Your host will be grateful for the delicious treat.

 

Holiday Spirits

If you’re hosting a party, serve a festive themed drink as guests arrive.  Or if you prefer your holiday drinks made to order, head to Old Tavernier Restaurant and have them shake up a Candy Cane or Christmas Thyme martini.

Old Tavernier Restaurant Candy Cane and Christmas Thyme Martini

Old Tavernier Restaurant Candy Cane and Christmas Thyme Martini

Christmas Thyme Martini Recipe from Old Tavernier

Frist, you’ll want to make your Rosemary Thyme simple syrup.  Boil 2 cups water, 1 cup sugar, 4 sprigs rosemary, 6 sprigs thyme and then let steep 10 minutes to dissolve sugar.

Mix ½ oz. of your rosemary thyme simple syrup with 4 oz. vodka and 1 oz. cranberry juice.

Shake, then strain into sugar rimmed Martini glass. Top with Prosecco or champagne and garnish with cranberries on a rosemary sprig.

Cheers and happy holidays!

 

My Favorite Things

Posted on: December 5th, 2016 by Leah No Comments

It’s that time of year to pick out a few special gifts for your family and friends.  Holiday shopping can seem stressful but remember that these gifts are meant to show your love and appreciation for the special people in your life.  No matter the gift, large or small, it’s the thought that counts.

When considering which gifts to purchase this year, I decided to create my own favorite things list for some holiday inspiration.  I have a few hard-to-buy-for people in my life that make gift buying a challenge.  When considering gifts for these people, I opt for experiences.  After all, life isn’t about the things we have, its about the stories and things we’ve experienced.

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Here are a few of my favorite things.

  1. Celebrations are meant to be enjoyed with champagne and there is no time better to enjoy bubbles than over the holidays.  Head to Corks & Curds, the new wine shop and wine bar in Key Largo with gourmet cheese and meats, wines by the glass, and a great selection of wine and champagne.  Also, be sure to check their event schedule, as they frequently host tasting events.
  2. One-of-a-kind handmade jewelry. If you’re looking for something unique for those on your holiday list, head to Peace of Tibet at their new location next to Chef Michael’s at 81661 Old Highway in Islamorada for gorgeous handcrafted jewelry by Renzen Dekiy.
  3. Key lime pie with meringue. The key lime pie from the Blonde Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory in Tavernier is simply the best and I’m not the only one who thinks so.  They were voted by travelers on TripAdvisor as having the best key lime pie in the Florida Keys!  Consider key lime pie as a hostess gift for your next holiday party or pick-up some of their sweet key lime candies for stocking stuffers.
  4. Embrace your inner artist. Head to uCumbe Boutique in Islamorada for an array of adult coloring books sure get the creative juices flowing.  In addition, The Banyan Tree in Islamorada offers group paint sessions on Wednesday evenings.  Bring a beverage and $25 to paint.  Fun for you and as a way to celebrate the holidays with friends.
  5. Hazelnut Lattes. Café Moka makes the best hazelnut lattes.  Their extra large mugs and comfortable chairs are divine for lazy Saturday mornings.  Don’t skip the pastries and if you stay long enough for lunch, make sure to try the Prosciutto Brie sandwiches. I’m drooling just thinking about it.
  6. Red lipstick. Feeling put together is a struggle when you’re raising a toddler. Applying red lipstick makes me feel instantly fabulous.  My favorite is NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Vesuvio- full bodied red.  Its stays in place for most of the day and its skinny tube makes for easy application.  If you’ve yet to go red, its time to try this festive color.
  7. Sunset on the boat. When friends and family visit, we always try to help them experience the best of the Florida Keys. Taking in a sunset from the boat is pretty spectacular.  If you’re looking for gift ideas for your relatives, send them a picture of a sunset and a nice bottle of wine and let them now that your gift includes hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and a sunset by boat on their next visit.
  8. Fabulous sunglasses. Sunglasses get a lot of wear in the Florida Keys so why not find a few pairs that are big, bold and in a fun color.  After all, a girl can never have too many accessories.  Head to Miss Monroe Boutique in Islamorada for a variety of pairs for you and those on your list.
  9. Luxurious soaps that smell great, leave my hands soft and don’t cost a fortune. Stop into Morada Pure for their organic liquid castile soap in your choice of scent including lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, lemon + mint and key lime.
  10. Family and Friends. This time of year, I’m always incredibly thankful for my wonderful family and friends.  My husband and 15-month old son are my two favorite people and I’m so grateful to have them in my life.

I hope my list of favorite things gave you some gift ideas.  If you’re still stumped on what to buy, try making your own favorite things list.  There is nothing more fun than receiving the gift of trying a new place or new experience recommended by someone you love.

Happy Holidays.