Category Archives: My Favorite 3

My Favorite 3…French Finds

I recently came home from a week in France and am still daydreaming about it! After two days in the Champagne region, we traveled to Paris for a taste of city life. We stayed in the St-Paul and Le Marais neighborhood, one of the oldest and most charming areas in Paris. Just north of the Isle St Louis (“the little island”), we strolled through open markets, played tourist seeing the city’s highlights, explored art and culture, and of course ate a lot cheese!

This neighborhood is known as being one of the most trendy and fashionable shopping streets. Lined with boutique shops, the storefronts presented everything from clothing and home goods, linens and soaps, and so much more! It was hard to come home empty handed, and I found a few favorite items that will forever remind me of this trip!

Ema Blue’s Silk Blouse
The Marais has many chic and stylish clothing stores. I found this colorful, floral, pinstripe silk blouse by Ema Blue’s and immediately fell for it. It’s billowy and tunic style, which makes it comfortable in addition to fashionable. And it’s made in France, something I found special!

Jonak Gold Flats
There is no shortage of shoe boutiques in Paris. As I walked past Jonak (near the Bastille) these gold flats popped out to me! I love the metallic gold—perfect to dress up a pair of jeans and coordinate with a dress for a night out!


Mariage Frères Tea
My husband introduced me to Mariage Frères Tea shortly after we first started dating—he brought this tea home for me from Paris, and I savored every bag. It’s by far my favorite tea, and so I was excited to visit this specialty shop during this trip. The scents and tastes were all incredible, but I decided on The A L’Opera (red fruit and vanilla green tea) and Blanc & Rose (white tea & tender rose petals).

I love travelling, and especially enjoy finding a few special items to bring home with me, to remind me of my experiences and memories abroad!

My Favorite 3…Homemade Hostess Gifts

Summer is here and for me that means lots of opportunities to catch up with friends and family! Whether it’s gathering together for one summer birthday or holiday weekend, or simply a weekend BBQ, I find myself constantly thinking about good hostess gifts to bring.

The older I get, the more I appreciate homemade and edible gifts. While my friends and family have plenty of space for an extra item or two in their homes, I’ve come to appreciate not having ‘another thing’ to add to a shelf or cupboard (even if it’s too cute for words!). Homemade (and preferably edible) gifts are a great way to pass along a small token of appreciate to your host, but minimize the ‘stuff’ that gets added to their homes.

Not to mention, summer is a great time to get into your kitchen and enjoy some of the best flavors of the season. Below I’m sharing three simple ideas for homemade hostess gifts.

Seasonal Homemade Jam

I was fortunate to grow up with a mom who loved to make her own jam, so for my first 18 years of life I really didn’t have much awareness of Smuckers. Enter college…when I forced to fend for myself on the food front…and well, my standards dropped a bit. No really, for my entire 20s, I’d say. Now that I’m in my 30s, I’ve been reintroduced to the joy that is homemade jam and preserves. It truly is just a notch better than anything you can buy in the store, and it’s a great way to take advantage of seasonal fruit.

Fresh-Baked Homemade Bread

I know the first thing that everything thinks about when it comes to homemade bread is….yikes! yeast is scary and unchartered territory! I had the exact same thoughts, but then was introduced to No Knead Bread from Brown Eyed Baker and boy did that help breakdown my fear of how to make bread. This is an incredibly simple recipe that only takes a round or two to get the hang of it. It turns out delicious and can be wrapped up in parchment paper and seasonal ribbon for a festive touch.

Crunchy Homemade Peanut Butter

My dear friend Sarah and her husband came over to our home for dinner and in her bag of treats she gifted me an adorable jar of homemade peanut butter (I know, she has the best handwriting and presentation skills). I’ve always enjoyed natural peanut butters, and was super excited to try this one out. It was amazing, and since it went right into the refrigerator it did not separate, so no mixing was needed.

Even though the summer season can be incredibly busy, it’s a great time to pull out your pots and pans and experiment a bit in the kitchen. Plus, it’s a great way to put together a cost-effective and personalized gift for friends and family.

Happy cooking and baking!