Monday, February 23, 2009

OBX Taste of the Beach

Off topic from the usual "green finds" I'm throwing in another shameless plug. This time to promote the Taste of the Beach here on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. If you have never been to one of these events you’re missing out on something big. You don’t have to be a “foodie” to enjoy the festivities. I guarantee you will find a venue to dazzle your taste buds and brighten up an otherwise a gray weekend at the beach. Albeit a gray beach day is better than no beach day at all.

Peter and I attend the event every year. With so many venues its impossible to participate in them all, although we give it our best shot. Our personal favorite is the Tapas Crawl in Duck (yes, that really is the name of the town). It’s a social event that takes place in four of Ducks finest restaurants. They indulge us with a scrumptious tapas dish, cocktails and good company. Last year we closed the last stop after having a tasty martini at each restaurant and a designated driver on call.

The weekend events culminate at the Taste of the Beach Expo which takes place at the Hilton in Kitty Hawk. All of the best restaurants come together to compete and give us a taste of their finest dishes. Come hungry. The wineries and breweries are also there to compete and quench our thirst with tastings. Not to worry they'll let you sneak back for more than one. It's a lot of fun and a great way to end the weekend.

Its all for a good cause. It's a charity event hosted by the Outer Banks Restaurant Association with proceeds going to the The Culinary Education Fund.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Pretty Green

The latest trend in re-usable totes has led to the creation of some very pretty bags. Some of the most eye catching bags I’ve seen are from Pretty Green. The bags are the result of designer Truc Tang’s eco-friendly vision. She has taken practical and functional to a whole new level. Made from fashion savvy organic fabrics these well constructed bags have my attention in both solids and prints. Brightly colored and fanciful, I had a difficult time choosing just one.

The bags are not only useful for my daily chores but sturdy enough for groceries and slightly larger loads. Its amazing how much I can fit into one of these bags. They conveniently fold up small and flat to fit into tight places. Great for traveling, they slip right into my luggage without taking up any additional space. On a recent vacation to warmer climates my bag was the most useful item I brought with me. We rented a scooter and drove it every where, I know, I know, a tee shirt with the word TOURIST would have been less obvious. None the less I enjoyed my little scooter as much as my Pretty Green Bag. While driving the bag fit perfectly inside the seat of the scooter then it easily slipped over my shoulder while walking through the local shops. I was able to fit all of my acquisitions inside as well as my wallet, sunglasses, water, and keys. All of my essentials were with me at all times. The colorful bag was a great up grade from my usual plain canvas tote.

Although I would have a hard time giving up the Pangea patterned bag that I’ve come to love, shopping for one of the new spring patterns is not out of the question. These bags are made of 100% certified organic cotton canvas and each bag is lined with the “pretty green” signature lining. These eco-conscious bags are not just reasonably priced, a portion of the proceeds go to international clean water projects. This means we get to carry a pretty bag and help the save the environment at the same time, what could be better than that!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Elizabeth Lord Naturals.... soaps that make a difference

After hearing several friends rave about Elizabeth Lord products I thought it was time to give them a try. My first impression of Robin, the creator of these fine products was “she glows”. Seriously, her skin is radiant. In her own words, “Elizabeth Lord has a passion for purity and wholesomeness in the things we live with, the food we eat, and the things we put on our skin. Our personal care products are Pure, Simple & Fresh!”

I have always made the effort to take care of my skin and I have my grandmother to thank for it. She was a stickler for good skin care and she used all natural ingredients. As a young girl she would tell me to take care of my face "clean and moisturize". Then she would add “don’t forget your neck”. Anyone over the age of 30 knows she was right. There isn’t a day that I don’t wash my face and moisturize without remembering my grandmother’s words. There is something to be said for good, wholesome skin care.

At Elizabeth Lord each batch is made from scratch using only the finest natural, organic and vegan ingredients like extra-virgin olive oil, shea butter and jojoba. The fresh scent is intoxicating, derived from only pure aromatherapy essential oils.

I took Robin’s recommendation and first tried the Shea Butter Soap. Have you every heard your skin squeak? I used it from head to toe, even washing my hair with it. I’ve never felt so squeaky clean. It moisturizes even the most sensitive skin. With the subtle scent of lavender you’ll leave the shower feeling like you just walked out of a spa. The Vetiver and Bay is a masculine soap for bathing and shaving. My husband and sons appreciate that it smells clean, not flowery. Give it to a man who appreciates the finer things or to a woman who appreciates a fine smelling man. Use the Oatmeal and Honey for a facial soap. It’s wonderful for sensitive skin and I’m told from a few reliable sources that it works well on acne. The soaps are elegantly packaged. They look as if they came from Provence, each hand wrapped in blue toile paper. Leave one on your night stand for a bit of bedtime aromatherapy!

The Dead Sea Salt Soak is a spa favorite. It’s rich in magnesium and other essential minerals needed for skin health. Each cobalt blue jar is packaged with a natural shell for scooping. The facial scrub is my personal favorite. Just add honey and it turns into a mask.

Elizabeth Lord products are currently sold in distinctive boutiques, shops and spas. No matter where you find them, you’ll be glad you did. Take some time out of your busy life for some well deserved luxury and pampering.

Bragging Rights....

This post has nothing to do with the environment, saving the world or decorating our lives. It’s more like a shameless plug regarding my sister Michelle’s blog. I have spent the last 30 years of my life surrounded by foodies. My husband is a chef, my oldest son is studying to become a chef and now Michelle, a lover of fine food has become a food blogger. She and I subscribe to different writing styles, I’m cautiously moderate while she has an unrestrained point of view. Although I appear more conventional, don't let it fool you. I embrace her rakish humor and high regard for a good four letter word.

This is where the bragging rights begin. The Well Fed Network nominated her for their “Best Food Blogger – Humor” award. Which she did win, beating celebrated chef and blogger David Lebowitz by a landslide...and she won some cool stuff, for which I am a tad jealous. To put the icing on her cake, she has a second nomination. This time for the highly acclaimed Web Blog Awards a.k.a. the Bloggies. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the bloggie…. it’s the academy award among bloggers. So here’s the rub; she needs votes to win. It’s my hope that your curiosity will take you to her blog site; Thursday Night Smackdown. Enter cautiously; her writing is not for the bashful or demure. When you like what you read and you’re chuckles subside please go to the Bloggies and cast your vote. Oops, I almost forgot, Thursday Night Smackdown is in the "Best Kept Secret" catagory. Thanks for indulging me.

Bungalow Scout Re-usable Totes

Like most woman I love bags, almost as much as I love shoes. My first introduction to Bungalow Scout was in a quaint shop in Nags Head over a year ago. What I saw wasn’t a bag at all but one of their faux rugs. This very cool little rug charmed me so much I needed to learn more about the company that created it. Bungalow Scout has been a great discovery as they make an abundance of fabulous products.

As it turns out Bungalow Scout is a fairly new company. They’re a fashion forward lifestyle designer whose products combine iconic patterns and crisp colors with a splash of whimsy.

How strange is it to become infatuated with a tote bag? When I first spied the Mini Deano Tote it was love at first sight. The Mini Deano is a lightweight tote, the perfect size for carrying files and books back and forth to work. It’s a bag that makes my day a little easier. I can throw a bottle of water inside and not worry about the bag getting ruined should it leak. I use this low maintenance bag day after day as it easily wipes clean looking as new as they day I bought it.

I was clueless to the popularity of these bags until I started stocking them in my shop.
Woman of all ages have flocked in for these totes. Usually in groups, I’m not kidding. There is power in numbers, especially in girlfriends. I once had 4 pre-teen girls walk past my display window, notice the totes and run into the store screaming in shrill voices. You would have thought they had seen the Jonas Brothers, but no, they went straight for the Zip and Tuck Totes (did I mention all the products have catchy names?). After seemingly endless giggles, they each picked a favorite and went home with a new tote. But not before standing proudly in front of the mirror modeling for one another. I smile when I think of them.

I credit my sister for bringing the Pocket Rocket Tote to my attention. She is a faithful farmer’s market shopper and always carries her tote. The pocket rocket holds all of the main essentials. It’s my new “everything bag”. At the beach it will fit water, flip-flops, towel and a good book. Picnicking with that special someone? The six side pockets are large enough for wine bottles and a few baguettes, then drop your blanket inside. I have one customer that uses hers as a diaper bag. The versatility of these totes is only limited by your imagination.

So many products worth mentioning, so little room on this page. You’re just going to have to check them out for yourself. Have fun shopping