Welcome 2016

Welcome 2016


After my New Year’s photo shoot with the pups, I thought the mylar balloons would be a great addition to our lockers for the new year. Adorned with a few party hats and a feather boa, we’re ready to ring in the new year!

Holiday Foam Cup Inspiration 

Holiday Foam Cup Inspiration 

Sometimes you never know when inspiration will strike, and this year the designs for our two most popular foam cups were sparked at random.  Often people ask “How we come up with these things?”, so I thought I’d give you a little behind-the-scenes look.As I was breezing through the grocery store to grab lunch one afternoon, I saw this apron.  I immediately thought it would be fun to have cups that say “Team Naughty”, but to be fair, you would also need some that say “Team Nice”.  So we developed a mixed pack of cups (with 5 of each), so partivipants can choose which “side” they want to be on.  It makes getting a party beverage interactive AND  a great conversation starter! Our most popular foam cups this season was a nod to pop culture – and it sold out as quickly as we predicted it would!  With all the  “Whip/ Nae Nae” craze this year, I though it would be fun to put the idea on a cup.  After seeing an image on Facebook with a horse-drawn carriage with the lyrics, my creative juices started taking over…  And once I started creating the artwork in Adobe Illustrator, it just seemed funny to have Santa at the reigns – so I added him! Fun, right?

Thanksgiving Dinner Game Plan

Thanksgiving Dinner Game Plan

I love planning a holiday meal.  As new food magazine issues emerge on the shelves, I start collecting them – and scouring them – using page flags and sticky notes to mark interesting recipes.

I’m lucky that my family is laid back when it comes to holiday meals.  They usually leave the menu up to me, and I love the responsibility – it lets me get a little creative!

A decision on the protein comes first – turkey, ham, duck, Cornish game hen, seafood?  From there I plan the sides carefully… and yes, I write it all down on one big list.  (Normally I make a list of possible sides and then mark them off based on relevance to the protein.)  Once I’ve narrowed down my sides and desserts (the two hardest categories to whittle down), I make a shopping list.  I go through the ingredients in each recipe and check it with items I have on hand.  If I need something, it goes on the shopping list – with amounts needed jotted out to the side.  So, if for example, I need butter for the green beans, butter for the mashed potatoes and butter for the dessert – I might have a side note of 1/2 cup + 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons… Before heading to the store, I do the math so I buy the right amount of each ingredient.

**My Holiday Grocery Shopping Trick – Buying in bulk (especially when everyone else is) can be a waiting game.  Instead, plan out your shopping list early and conquer it by making more frequent, quick stops during the week leading up to the holiday.  Plan to buy 10 items or less so you can go through the Express Lane – it’s a breeze and you’ll have all you need in no time, without having to wait 30-45 minutes in a long register line! **

I’ve made TWO free printables to help you with your Thanksgiving Dinner planning and shopping – just click on these links to download a thanksgiving menu planning and a thanksgiving shopping list.

Another clever idea for your holiday (and everyday) entertaining is to keep a Cooking Journal.  I got this one years ago at Anthropologie, but any journal or notebook will do.  In my food journal,  I keep track of menus for holidays and other special get-togethers.  It’s kind of like in the movie High Fidelity when John Cusack’s character reorganized his record collection in chronological order.  If I remember that we loved the potatoes from last Easter but our favorite turkey was from Christmas 3 years ago, I can mix and match to create a better menu for the next holiday.  It’s a good way to keep beloved recipes close at hand (if they’re well received I jot down the recipe in the book) – and I love to look back on what went over well and what didn’t.

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Here’s a peek inside my cooking journal.  I make notes of the event, date of the meal, who was in attendance and where the dinner was for future reference.  I also include a rating out to the side of experimental dishes – stars if we loved the dish and X’s if we hated it… keeps us from repeating culinary mistakes.  In this journal, I also experiment on recipes I’ve had and want to duplicate or recipes I’ve thrown together and liked.  It’s where I keep track of my culinary adventures (and misadventures too).

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I would recommend a cooking journal to any aspiring foodie… in fact, if you know a foodie who doesn’t have one, it might be a great Christmas gift idea.

It’s back to Thanksgiving dinner plans for me.  Happy Thursday!

New Fall Stationery?  Check.

New Fall Stationery? Check.

buffalo check stationery

Buffalo check, in fact.

This summer we basked in the glory of cabana stripes, but as we transition into fall – we knew it was time to switch things up a bit.  The design inspiration for this collection came from a few different sources.  First, the current series of Target commercials.  They’re just so… PLAID (and fun)!  In fact, once we noticed their commercials, we started seeing plaids/checks everywhere (including Glamour magazine and this great calendar from 1 Canoe 2).

1Canoe2 Calendar

A simple plaid or check pattern is perfect for fall.  It reminds us of flannel shirts, cozy wool blankets by a bonfire, or a stunning statement jacket.

Can you dig it?  If so, pick up your initial for just $12 (10 cards and envelopes), and if you need a quick gift – add a matching Le Pen for just $1.99!

buffalo check stationery

Want to see the Target commercials that got our creative juices flowing?

this http://ispot.tv/a/AY7Q

and this http://ispot.tv/a/ALWd

and this http://ispot.tv/a/ALOz

Back to School Locker Makeover

With our Back to School SALE ending Saturday, we thought it was time for  a mini-makeover on our locker display behind the register!

Books, chalkboard, a globe and a paper airplane? Yep! Gang’s all here!  School is IN session.

On Trend NOW – Perfectly Pineapple

On Trend NOW – Perfectly Pineapple

As summer comes to a close, it seems like some of us are holding onto visions of palm trees and pineapples to keep the feel of summer alive.  Or maybe it’s just because pineapples have been such a HOT trend this season?  The pineapple has been a sign of hospitality for centuries – it symbolizes warmth, welcome and friends – so of course it’s been a staple in the South for years!  Now the trend is spreading, and we couldn’t be more pleased about it.  (How could you not like a pineapple?  They’re sweet, colorful and downright cheerful.)

Here are a few of our favorite pineapple picks for this trend report:

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Want even more Pineapple inspiration?  Check out the fresh picks from Stationery Trends Magazine here.  Want pineapple crafting ideas?  This post by We Are Scout is a must-see.

{Bored?  Find more pineapple history here if you’re interested}

Shown above:  Pineapple Lamp, Pineapple Socks, Pineapple Maybooks (in-store), Personalized Stamp (in-store), Pineapple Boxed Note Set, Custom Pineapple Stationery (exclusive, in-store), Pineapple Thank You Card