Archives November 2018

Last-Minute V-Day Gift Ideas

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Giant stuffed bears line the grocery store, candied hearts are making eyes at would-be dieters, and love is simply in the air. 

Valentine’s Day is a chance to show someone special that they’re always on your mind. You could go with the expected gift: a two-layer box of mystery chocolates (not knocking it.) Or you could choose to go head over heels with these amazing, albeit non-traditional gifts for Valentine’s Day. 

1. Realistic heart jewelry 

Can an anatomic heart be more pretty in this rose gold setting? This Etsy seller even pairs it with a custom printed gift note. 

2. Cooking Class

This Valentine’s Day, make a 3-course meal with your special one. Many cooking classesfeature specialty chefs from your local area, cocktails, and guided sessions on knife skills and plating. Then enjoy a candle lit dinner. 

3. Citrus Scents

Totally a favorite on a normal day, grapefruit is known to boost confidence and … ahem performance. Wink. Wink. This grapefruit + cardamomscent will also enhance mood and decrease stress so you are kept in the moment.

4. Shadow Box

  Swoon! Fill a shadow boxwith tokens from your relationship: photos, tickets, notes. Parent?  Make this romantic family tree

5. Chocolate!!!

Yes! Chocolate! But you can take it beyond sweets, like these fancy hot chocolatecanisters sourced from South America or the Dominican Republic. 

And yes! Etta+Billie has you covered in the chocolate realm too. Every one of our main products has cocoa butter in it (aka the main ingredient in Chocolate). We also use cocoa powder in our Geranium Patchouli Soap (double the chocolate).

Want more information on this chocolatey goodness? Check back next week for our ingredient spotlight on cocoa butter. 


Go-To Tips: Goal Planning When You Just Aren’t Feeling Motivated

It happens: One week we are motivated and killing it at work, at home, and out in the world. The next week, it feels like we’ve been hit by a freight train and we are not motivated to get anything done. It’s a shame too … your to do list is sitting pretty, written in gold pen on top that hilarious Emily McDowell notepad you treated yourself to last year. But what happens when you are just struggling to check any of it off?

1. TAKE A BREAK

If you’re unmotivated because you’re burnt out, take a break before starting up again.  There are many things you can do when finding yourself in a slump that might recharge you: 

Take a little “you” time to regroup, recharge, and get going again. 

2. BE AMBITIOUS (BUT NOT TOO AMBITIOUS)

If you are finding yourself in a pattern of being overwhelmed, revamp your to-do list. Set actionable daily goals and stick to the list. If you get done early in the day, instead of moving on to tomorrow’s list, take the rest of the day off to prep, plan, and envision what you will be doing tomorrow. Be ambitious with your goals, but don’t be overly ambitious in trying to achieve those goals in one day. Make a list and plan on doing at least one thing a day that gets you to your goals. 

3. CELEBRATE SUCCESS

Celebrate the victories, both big and small. If you are moving forward, then you are succeeding. Its cliché, but progress is progress. If you stay positive about the execution of your goals, it’s easier to stay motivated. Sometimes just making this shift to a more positive outlook can make all the difference. 

Want more ideas? Read our article on Go To Tips: 8 Simple Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself.


Recipe Roundup: Cozy Winter Dishes

I admit it: I’m pretty anti-traditional when it comes to resolutions. People generally pick something and then beat themselves up about not doing it, or just have a hard time incorporating it into their lives because it’s something really intense – like going from never exercising to setting a goal to go to the gym 5 days a week! It’s not very sustainable or easy to accomplish. 

But I also love that the New Year sparks the imagination for improving your healthy and happiness. And it’s one of my favorite times of year to try out new (somewhat healthy) recipes. 

I’m talking about the kind of meals you eat while wearing fuzzy socks. These Winter recipes are the ultimate in soul-warming comfort food. And healthy (ish) too! 

So, park yourself in front of the fireplace and chow down on these amazing cozy dishes. After all, the New Year is about improvement, not deprivation. 

Roasted Winter Vegetable Bowl

Pepper-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Lemon Chicken Piccata

Apple Crisp in a Mug


Where to Go? What to Eat? Manhattan, NY

Manhattan is known for many things—theater, shopping, dining, sightseeing, you name it—making it a very popular spot for both visitors and residents. With everything New York City has to offer, it can be overwhelming knowing where to start. Where should you go? What should you see? Where should you eat?

Sylvia Parker, owner of Magpie and a native New Yorker, has you covered! Sylvia’s shop—located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan—offers unique, beautiful, and practical gifts that are frequently handmade, organic, and locally made and designed. “We’ve been on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for six years,” says Sylvia. “We love our neighborhood for its mix of people, our proximity to two wonderful parks (Central and Riverside), the cultural richness, and old-time architecture.”

river and manhattan skyline

Where to Go?

American Museum of Natural History

Just a few blocks away from Magpie lies the American Museum of Natural History, a city landmark with world-famous exhibits. “I’ve always loved the old-fashioned dioramas and the giant blue whale suspended from the ceiling there,” Sylvia remarks. One of the largest museums in the world, the AMNH offers spectacles and exhibits for children and adults alike.

Central Park Rambles

A wooded area within Central Park, the Rambles are a restored area of the park that have been fitted with nature trails, gardens, and bird feeders. Located between 73rd and 78th streets, the Rambles offer a beautiful outdoor space full of both native and exotic plant species as well as views of a pond where visitors take out rowboats when the weather is nice.

Shakespeare Garden

Also in Central Park is the Shakespeare Garden, located near the Delacorte Theatre, the site of the annual “Shakespeare in the Park” series held in the summer. A less-frequented part of the park, this serene and picturesque part of the park is perfect for a relaxing stroll on its winding paths. Full of seasonal flowers, the garden is particularly lush in the spring and is a popular spot for outdoor weddings.

Museum Mile

A fifteen-minute walk across the park takes you to Museum Mile, which features one block after another of incredible museums including the Guggenheim, Cooper Hewitt, Frick, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “which I consider one of the best (if not the best) museums in the world,” Sylvia adds.

Riverside Park

With four miles of park, from 72nd to 158th street along the Hudson River, Riverside Park is frequently considered one of the best waterfront parks in Manhattan. With sunset views, a bike path, outdoor cafes in the summer, a skate park, and other sports courts and fields; this park is a must-see when visiting the city.

food and drinks

What to Eat?

Zabars and Fairway Market

Two longtime favorites, Zabar’s and Fairway Market are both famed for their selections of cheese, coffee, and foodstuffs from around the world.

Orwashers, Maison Kayser, and By the Way

“Orwashers and Maison Kayser have particularly delicious bread and pastries,” notes Sylvia. “I also like a bakery called By the Way that sells homey gluten-free and dairy-free cakes and cookies.”

Murray’s Sturgeon

Murray’s Sturgeon, a gourmet deli, sells everything from dried fruit to smoked fish and has “the sweetest counter service ever.”

Amelie Wine Bar

A French bistro that was recently cited by Michelin, Amelie has phenomenal brunch and dinner menus as well as a wine list that is updated daily.

Mermaid Inn and Pizzeria Sirenetta

Mermaid Inn and Pizzeria Sirenetta are sister restaurants that both have terrific happy hour food. Pizzeria Sirenetta serves Neapolitan pizzas and rustic Italian fare while the Mermaid Inn is known for their seafood.

Jin Ramen

Another good spot for happy hour food, Jin Ramen offers delicious Japanese food and—of course—multiple kinds of ramen to choose from.

Shake Shack

The second Shake Shack to have ever opened its doors, this Upper West Side staple is popular among tourists, residents, and folks who work in the neighborhood. “There is always a long line outside for the burgers at Shake Shack.”

Amorino and Van Leeuwen

It’s also a good neighborhood for ice cream lovers,” Sylvia notes. “Amorino sells Italian-based gelato, while Van Leeuwen is local and features vegan ice cream in its shop.”


Go-To Tips: Surviving the Holidays

The winter holidays are a fun and festive time of the year, but they can come with their fair share of stress and headaches too. Instead of letting yourself get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, these tips can help you relax, be present, and enjoy the time with friends and family.

holiday self care with tea

Tips to Help You Stay Merry and Bright

  1. You may have plenty on your to-do list this holiday season, but you better make sleep a priority too! Without adequate sleep, your stress levels are likely to go up and you may wind up not getting to fully enjoy the holidays. Sleep deprivation can cause or contribute to fatigue, overeating, forgetfulness, and other ailments you probably don’t want coming with you to your holiday party.
  2. If the idea of being around certain coworkers at your office holiday party makes you want to tear your hair out, or you’d rather be alone than be around a certain few family members, gently remind yourself that it’s only for a short amount of time if these get togethers are unavoidable. It’s not ideal to spend your free time during the holidays around people who cause you stress, but you are in control of how you react to the situations around you. Take a deep breath, enjoy the parts of the festivities that you can, and remind yourself that it’s just one time a year.
  3. If you’re dreading going to a holiday function alone, bring a friend or significant other! Having company that you can turn to for stress relief, comic relief, or just to roll your eyes at when your uncle says that dumb joke for the 30th time can mean the difference between getting to relax and staying wound up all throughout dinner. If you can’t bring anyone, bring some entertainment (a book, for instance) so you can enjoy some quiet solo time.
  4. Don’t forget to make time for self care! While the holidays are a time to think of others and spend time with them, it’s important to remember to consider your own needs as well. Even if that means taking a break from holiday shopping to enjoy a hot cup of tea in a relaxing bath, watching an episode of your favorite TV show in your softest and fuzziest slippers, or making a batch of decadent cookies just for you; make time for yourself this season so you can be your best self when it comes time to celebrate with other


In the Kitchen: Evergreen Tangerine Inspired Cocktails

The combination of pine and citrus is classic. Its aroma brings instant warmth, comfort, and distinct character to any room it permeates. An easy way to have the rooms of your home smelling like this delicious blend is with our Evergreen Tangerine Room + Body Spray, but if you feel like getting crafty in the kitchen instead, these refreshing and festive cocktail recipes can lend a hand.

Photo by: Parsnips and Pastries

Rosemary Citrus Gin + Tonic

This drink makes use of winter citrus fruits and rosemary not just for garnish, but to masterfully compliment the flavor of gin. The rosemary adds a not-quite-pine yet herbal hint of flavor. The Meyer lemons used in this recipe are sweeter than regular lemons, and their rind carries a highly fragrant and spicy aroma that combines beautifully in this cocktail.

Ingredients:

1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 clementine
½ Meyer lemon (juiced)
2 ounces of Tropicana tangerine lemonade (or tangerine juice)
2 ounces gin
3 ounces tonic water
Clementine and lemon slices, additional rosemary sprigs for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle half of your clementine with a large sprig of rosemary.
  2. Add the juice from half a Meyer lemon, gin, and some ice.
  3. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass.
  4. Top with tangerine juice/tangerine lemonade and tonic.
  5. Garnish the glass with slices of clementine and/or lemon and add a sprig of rosemary as a cocktail stirrer.

Photo by: DRAM

The Jockey

If you’re in the mood for cocktail that utilizes actual pine rather than more standard herbal flavors, this is the one for you! A twist on the Mint Julep, this flavorful and refreshing drink is sure to be a hit at any holiday party.

Ingredients:

1½ ounces of bourbon
1 ounce of pine syrup
2 lime wedges, muddled
Handful of mint leaves, muddled
Citrus bitters

Directions:

  1. Fill a pint glass or martini shaker with mint and lime wedges Muddle well.
  2. Add the bourbon, pine syrup, and citrus bitters and pour over ice.
  3. Shake well and pour into a fresh glass with crushed ice.
  4. Garnish with fresh mint.

In the Kitchen: Hot Toddy Recipes

Nothing says “warm” and “cosy” like a hot toddy on a cold day. These cocktails—typically enjoyed when the weather begins to get colder and wetter—are even rumored to help cure the common cold! A simple blend of liquor, hot water, honey, and occasionally herbs and spices; this classic drink is not only a winter staple but can be dressed up to impress even the pickiest of cocktail connoisseurs.

classic hot toddyPhoto by Meg Baggott, Styling by Dylan Garret

The Classic Hot Toddy Recipe: Use this recipe to make a perfectly simple and classic hot toddy, or use it as a base to work with to add your favorite tea, spices, or other ingredients.

Apple Cinnamon Hot Toddy: Inspired by the taste of delicious apple pie, this drink will have you feeling like you just drank a spiked version of your favorite winter dessert (just without the crust)!

Hot Toddy Caramel Popcorn: Looking for that hot toddy flavor, but not in the mood for a drink? This popcorn recipe combines classic caramel popcorn with hot toddy flavors for a creative take on both!