Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chocolate Date at 8: Vintage Confections

I've been enjoying our Chocolate Date at 8. I hope you are as well!
Tonight's treats come from Vintage Confections of the Chicago area.




Chocolate pumpkins filled with pumpkin pie ganache, $12











The chocolate cake in these truffles is brought to a new level with the addition of cayenne and curry.
$5







Chocolate covered fondant assortment, $12







Saving the best for last? Look at these dark chocolate raspberry truffles. Delicious!
$12

Afternoon Tea



I signed up for Melita's tea trade a while back. Participants recently mailed packages and mine was received today!


A wonderful woman named Alison from the UK was the woman chosen to send a package my way and I just adore everything!


There are many teas new to me (I've not tried Pukka before) and others I adore (such as Good Earth). Also in my package--some shortbread fingers and Lipton teas from France. Lots of chocolates were also packaged in the parcel from Alison.


Thank you to Melita for organizing the trade! Thank you also to Alison. It is so nice to have a new friend overseas.












Some of the fantastic items in my tea swap package. I also adore the cheerful card from Alison!



Shop Local: Vintage Bliss




I am having such a splendid day! 


This morning, I had my usual date with Mr. Benjamin after walking Nick over to school. Then I saw Nico for a haircut (I have given up trying to regrow this pixie into a long bob only to get it cut into a pixie again), made lunch for Ben and drove him to preschool.


I decided to drive to Webster after taking Ben to school. This is nothing new. I am in Webster often--either at Ulta or Hobby Lobby, but I headed somewhere new: Vintage Bliss on North Avenue.


I was reading the Democrat and Chronicle this morning and a local shop was featured in the Our Towns section. Truth be told, I am not fond of the D & C's shopping recommendations. This time, however, I am almost tempted to send fan mail to the editors because they introduced me to a place you local readers will adore.


Now, to say I am in love with this shop already would be rather silly, wouldn't it? I am most certainly, though, in lust with it. 


Let me give you a bit of background. I was reading the article about the busy mom to a son Nick's age and two older children. Her picture looked vaguely familiar. I kept reading and realized that Sheryn Kelderhouse, the owner, was the same Sheryn I worked with briefly when I was Business Manager for Lancome nearly 10 years ago. I haven't seen her since then, but was intrigued when I read about her new shop.


First of all, the name says it all. Vintage Bliss is just that--and more. To this Indie & vintage shopping fanatic, walking into the shop was like walking into the best of Etsy--handmade meets vintage wares. The shabby chic white building reminds me of a small house from another era and when I entered, I felt so welcome in the warm heart of that home.


I strolled through this shop, looking at vintage-inspired jewelry, bath and body products (some mentioned on the O List from Oprah Winfrey herself), handmade bags, furniture, stationery and so much more. The atmosphere is warm, welcoming, and oh so chic! It truly is like walking into a shop based on so many of the lovely finds you've seen right here on Chic & Green. There are vintage corkboards, mirrors, and chalkboards, too!  Eveything is just lovelyTo have this locally is fantastic.


Head right over to Vintage Bliss today. It's on Route 250 (North Avenue) in Webster (30 North Avenue to be exact). If you're coming off the Bay Bridge from Irondequoit, exit at Route 250, take a right, and it's just past Dunkin Donuts.


Sheryn also has a website. You can get to it by clicking here.


Something else to mention--Vintage Bliss is hosting several fall workshops at the store. You'll find yoga and journaling with Debbie Smith (whom I had the pleasure of meeting today as well), a Talulah's Fancy Trunk Show, and so much more. Check the store for details.


I cannot wait to return. They have some pillows I adore--black and white--and so much more! I was good, though...I took $3 in cash and left my credit cards at home for this trip. I'll write more after my next visit!


What Have I Been Up To?

I just wanted to share with you some happenings in my life. When I made the decision to close my business earlier this month, I was in desperate need of some me time. I even had an article about seeking "me time" published, ironically, this month.


Things have changed so much in so little time. When I made my closing announcement, it was exactly 3 weeks ago. I fully planned on working for another few weeks and then my inventory quickly dwindled down and I closed last week. The last order has been shipped and I am back to being a stay at home mom who blogs, writes freelance pieces, and makes a face cream only for existing customers and family members. 


A 360 degree change has taken place in such a short time.

I am loving every moment of it.


It's been several days now without KZM Facial Care Boutique on the mind. I didn't realize until now how wrapped up in my business I was. How some aspects of it were on my mind always. Always. Even when we were on vacation, I was wondering how many emails I would have in my inbox and thinking about the sunscreen formula I'd been working on for months to release at some point in 2010.


My mind is able to rest now. I am able to go to bed at night without a million thoughts racing through my mind. In fact, I am able to go to bed at night! Gone are the days staying up until 4am to try to get ahead and stay on top of my orders.


Tonight I am even going out with my friend, Christine. She's the witty one behind one of my favorite blogs, Finding Abundance in Everyday Life. I haven't had coffee with her since the end of June--time has flown right by! I can guarantee, like always, we'll be there exactly 3 hours. That's when the baristas politely tell us that Starbucks is "now closing".


Do you know what else is different in my life? I am able to sit on the sofa with my husband every night for hours--not just for 2 minutes to take a break. It is very nice.


I have unlimited time for Nick and Ben. They are no longer hearing me say, "Just a minute. I am working" or "Mommy cannot take you X, X, or X because I am working." They have their Mommy back full time, not just most of the time.


I'm able to just be present in each moment. I am able to be still. I am truly content--saying I am positively giddy each day would actually be accurate.


I've started some new traditions and returned to other joys such as reading and afternoon tea.  Every day after I drop Ben off at preschool, I go to the library. I have time for long, leisurely strolls. I can sit with a magazine and a latte if I so choose. I make tea everyday and use my best bone china teacups. I even have time to brew some loose tea these days.


I can wander around my favorite thrift shops, stroll down Park Avenue, bargain shop at TJ Maxx. 


Guilt free. No deadlines. And my energy has returned!


I've been able to spend more time on my writing.


I even signed up for two classes! In November, I'm taking a class on making earrings. In December, it's a brooch-making class. How fun!


My big tasks--painting the living room, 3 season room, hallway, and kitchen are going to take place and be all done by mid November. At least that's the plan!


I've decided to do some STRIPES (taupe and a shimmery cream) on at least one living room wall and a very vintage feel to it. In the kitchen, it's robin's egg blue. I'm even going to do something to my cabinets.


The hallway will be a bright, rich yellow. The 3 season room will house my primitives since I am no longer so into them. It'll be VERY country and prim out there.


I'll post some pictures as I get the rooms done--complete with my finds for each area from 1000 Markets, Etsy, and various thrift shops.


In this time that I'm reconnecting with myself, I realize how much happier I am. Life is so much less hectic. I was so worried that I would lose a huge chunk of my identity by closing up shop. I never realized, though, that I would actually be unearthing it.








Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chocolate Date at 8: Bliss Candies

We're having our Chocolate Date tonight at Bliss Candies, a business based in Minnesota.

My mouth waters every time I stop by this shop and I know yours will, too!






Safe to eat Death by Chocolate tub of cookie dough. Am I the only one drooling over this one right now?
$9.95





Oh how I LOVE chocolate combined with coconut! Delicious.
These dipped macaroons look heavenly.
$8.95





Pretzel turtles available in your choice of dark, milk or white chocolate.
$11.99

Halloween at Monster Bug Blankets




One of my favorite shops over on 1000 Markets, Monster Bug Blankets, has some cute Halloween items I'd like to share:







I ordered these for the boys, as the Easter egg ones they had were such a hit! These chunky crayons are perfect for Halloween!
Three for $4

















Afternoon Tea


\

Note: the cup is nearly empty with a lip gloss mark (Carmindy's Natural Beauty by Sally Hansen in Sweet Nectar) on the outside. The tea was SO good that I drank before photographing.

The flavor is one which may have been discontinued, as I don't see it in the shop: Pecan Pie from Tea For All Reasons.

My next purchase from this tried and true shop on Etsy is going to be Celebration, a vanilla cake flavored tea. Sounds scrumptious!


Doesn't it look great?



900 Posts!





I just noticed when I was working on a post for tomorrow that I hit my 900th post this morning! WOW! 900 seems like so many. I guess I didn't think I was that talkative! I expect to hit 1000 by Thanksgiving. 


Thank you, readers, for stopping by each day--some of you for more than 2 years now!

Local Eating

During the week, I am very conscious of our eating. I don't eat processed stuff or things with preservatives as it is, but I am careful not to overindulge. On weekends, though, I splurge and will treat myself to desserts and heavier dishes.


Here's a sampling of some local favorites we had over the weekend:





The Ravioli Shop is a local company. Their Pumpkin Ravioli is divine! We chose the Asparagus with Goat Cheese. There are leeks in it and it is just SO good. I purchased ours at the Pittsford Farms Dairy.
I serve it with the easy marinara I make.





A love of ours? Antipasto from Rubino's  on East Ridge Road in Irondequoit.
Read our in depth look at Rubino's by clicking here.






Bread from Petrillo's Bakery, a local business based on Rochester's Lyell Avenue. Hot and crusty and oh so good. We bought ours at Pittsford Farms Dairy.





A grape pie from Naples was dessert. We found it at Aman's on East Ridge Road right in Irondequoit.





As you can see, it was raining when I went.

A Sunday tradition: a trip to Ridge Donut Cafe on Portland Avenue between Rochester General and Wendy'sMy favorites? Either the Cinnamon Twist or Buttermilk Glazed. Yum. The aroma of freshly made donuts wafts through the parking lot when you pull in and it smells so good.

Edgy Eco Style


Full disclosure: I received a lovely box in the mail earlier this month from a fabulous company called A Lot To Say. They wanted me to try out a selection of products and review it on my blog.

I wanted to be up front with you from the start that I didn't buy these items unlike most products I have talked about here or reviewed (any product which has been sent to me is clearly stated as such). That being said, if you're familiar with my reviews, you know I am not one to hold back--if I don't like something, I say it.

I have a lot to say about A Lot To Say, though! 




First of all, the line brings eco-style to a whole other category. Yes, we can find organic cotton or bamboo these days. That is wonderful and I like both. It's rare to find a line of clothing and accessories, however, that is made entirely of recycled PET bottles.


Not only is this wonderful in that it takes a large amount of bottles out of landfills, but they're using PET bottles as opposed to using PVC, which is carcinogenic.

A Lot To Say's shirt making process also consumes much less energy. The shirts are 100% toxin free. That's a huge plus in my book.

Another great fact about A Lot To Say is that they use ZERO water to dye the shirts. To due ONE shirt traditionally, an average of 20 gallons of water are used. That is for ONE shirt. No water is used in the patented AirDye process.

Did I mention that these are completely made in the USA? Every aspect of A Lot To Say's products--from their initial creation to the sewing to manufacturing and shipping is done right here in America. That in itself is extremely rare these days.


Here are some things I had a chance to try from this company, which was founded by 2 sisters. Note: I also shared a shirt with a friend because I knew she'd wear it well:




One of Chic & Green's loyal local readers, Elizabeth, now is proud owner of the HOT black long sleeve tee from A Lot to Say.

The Unplug tank is really cute in person and, like all A Lot To Say gear, has a positive message.

$38.99 (long sleeved top) and 35.99 (tank)






This eco-friendly tote is great. It's lightweight, sturdy, and very eco-chic.
We are using it as our library bag and tote it back and forth with our books often!

$16





This is what's on my cool scarf from A Lot To Say. It's all about respecting the earth, sustainable living, living more simply without waste and excess. Plus the colors are great with the black and white.

 It's very edgy! I actually wore this to lunch yesterday over a black boatneck sweater. I wore it loosely and it generated many positive comments once people understood the message.

$36


I have been practicing meditation much more lately and plan to purchase a top soon with this message below:




The last thing I'd like to mention about this company is the fact that they give back to great causes.

One of the greatest things we can do on this earth is to give back to others. The company generously donates a portion of their profits to the wonderful charities listed here:

Stand Up to Cancer
Animal Rescue Foundation
Children's Hospice & Palliative Care Coalition
International Green Energy Council


If you're looking for truly sustainable, cutting edge styles on everything from umbrellas to bags to shirts, you need to check out A Lot To Say!



Mystery Giveaway on Chic & Green™! Drawing Tomorrow!




We're having another giveaway on Chic & Greenand tomorrow is the last day to enter!


Last month, the fabulous Lady P. won an assortment of greeting cards and soy tarts from select Indie businesses. The month before, earrings from a handmade artisan were given out.


What are we giving away in September? It's a MYSTERY BAG!


I'll give you some hints, though!


The lucky winner will get 4 items: something to wear, something to light, something to smell, and something to look at.


All will be from handmade artisans and may have even been pictured or mentioned right here on C & G!


Entering couldn't be easier. No need to email me your entry or leave a comment to enter. Simply come to the brand spankin' new Facebook Fans page, become a fan, and you're entered!


Each month, I'll randomly select a FB fan for the monthly prize. No need to enter each month!


The winner will be announced Thursday!












Comfort Meets Luxury

My friend Amy at Barefoot Bling is having a sale right now on the Down Boy from Girl Two Doors Down line of slippers. What a great gift for yourself or to put away for the upcoming holidays!







Unfamiliar with the line? Marcia Cross of "Desperate Housewives" gave Down Boy from Girls Two Doors Down to her bridesmaids. Kelly Ripa and Jennifer Aniston are also fans. I can see why: the slippers are trimmed in rhinestones and satin and are the perfect blend of beauty and comfort.





Photo credit: fashionwindows.com




The slippers are normally $39, but are more than $10 off right now at Barefoot Bling


I was reading the late, great Estee Lauder's autobiography recently (it was actually published when I was just 10 years old), and she stated that no matter what a woman's income level was, her education level, or her outward beauty, that each and every woman wants to feel beautiful and pampered. It is so true. I know this every single night when I slather shea butter on my feet, liberally apply hand cream, and give my face the royal treatment. Having a beautiful pair of slippers makes us feel special and beautiful as well.









Head on over to Barefoot Bling. You'll love Amy's outstanding customer service, selection, and her glass files! If you missed it over the summer, check out my interview and DIY Thursday feature with Amy and my experience with her products right here on Chic & Green.





Monday, September 28, 2009

Chocolate Date at 8: Nicole's Homemade Treats

By the time the evening wears down, I tend to crave a cup of hot tea and a bite of chocolate.

Join me every night at 8 for Chocolate Date on C & G. I'll introduce you to some fantastic chocolate finds from across the globe and even right here locally if you're a reader from the Rochester area.

Here's my very first installment.

I found Nicole's Homemade Treats on Etsy. Nicole uses no artificial ingredients or preservatives, That means you won't find treats full of high fructose corn syrup and other nasties.

I also like the fact that the owner is a fully licensed facility to ensure safety. Another plus? She's an Upstate New Yorker, too!





White Belgian chocolate is used in this Creme de Menthe bark
$7.50










$12






Nothing screams fall chocolate like this Harvest Bark
$7.50








Yum. That's all I can say. We served dipped apples like this as favors at our wedding. Yum! This one weighs a pound and a half, too!
$7.50

Halloween Finds

A couple of cute finds at Cozy Rosies on Etsy:






FANTA-BOO-LOUS banner for Halloween!
I also must say how much I love the milk glass and hobnail pieces on the mantle...
$8



These  would be great for some holiday cupcakes!
$4.50








Let's Have a Date!





Join Chic & Green each night for a new series, CHOCOLATE DATE AT 8!


Beginning tonight, we will explore the finest handmade chocolates around. Tonight's pick will have you drooling.


It all begins tonight at 8pm Eastern.


Afternoon Tea

It's a rainy, breezy, chilly day in Irondequoit and there's nothing better than curling up with a good book and cup of hot tea.


I took Ben to preschool, took myself out for a light lunch, and am now enjoying a hot tea in one of my favorite china teacups. A lovely, lazy afternoon! Each afternoon this week, I'm going to share some favorite teas with you. There are so many out there, from teabags at Wegmans to artisan teas found on the web.


Enjoy!






I adore this loose tea from Anne at LiberTeas. It's Chocolate Rose and is just heavenly!
Chocolate loving tea drinkers must try this one.

Monday Morning Bags!






Quilted shabby chic fall tote from Pink Lemonade Bags, $55









One of a kind altered bag from Treasures N Textures, $20











J'adore this bag from Flirt Bags! It's fabulous. $45









The Bayan Hippo made this chic purple tote for fall. 
$38











A great pumpkin tote for autumn from Sew Mo, $65









The perfect recipe for a fall bag= teal + herringbone.
From Wooly Bison, $85









Chic red tote from Madame Houx of France, $44









Vintage meets couture bag from Mojo Spa Style,
$80







"The Ladies Who Lunch" bag...animal meets demure ribbon from The Princely Collection.
$240












The sweet bow adds a vintage flair to an already chic bag.
From O.C. Styles , $21.99