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Stepping out in Style with Two Stylish Sisters

“Jewelry is like the perfect spice, it always compliments whats already there.” – Diane Von Furstenberg

In a recent sit down with Aubrey & Nicole from Two Stylish Sisters I had the opportunity to revel in gorgeous, handmade jewelry and get to know them a bit more. Based in Massachusetts they have recently opened up a shop in Western Ave Studios a local spot for artists to come together and showcase their wares.

It was a Sunday afternoon filled with laughter, good conversation and a glass of wine (or two) 🙂 They have set up their shop beautifully, with care to details such as vintage jewelry boxes that came from their grandmother or wooden pieces that were handmade by Aubrey’s husband that compliment the displayed pieces perfectly. From making sure their customers who come in are always made to feel welcome, to crafting their jewelry these two boss ladies have taken the meaning of “small business” to a new level, keep reading to hear what they had to say…

Question: What inspires each of you?

A: I am such a color person when shopping for rocks. I get so much inspiration from the different colors that I see.

N: A lot of my inspiration comes from texture- for example, quartz and its spikes. I just love how textures interact together.

Question: What is your vision for Two Stylish Sisters?

A: I think learning to metalsmith would be amazing because it would give us a chance to express ourselves in a more creative way which is what we want.

N: I would also love to learn how to metalsmith, I think learning to set stones so we can create a whole new line would be the next step.

Question: Favorite Band/Musician?

A: David Bowie

N: I love badass women like Beyonce, Stevie Nicks; just strong females.

Both: Our childhood is Motown and Soul so we still love those sounds as well.

Question: What makes you feel feminine?

A: Being myself in the strongest way possible. The most concentrated version of myself. Individuality.

N: The ability to be soft and strong at the same time. I mean look at motherhood- to have a child requires so much resilience but when raising a child you require a softness and nurturing.

Question: Favorite Food?

A: I love Indian Food

N: I have a huge sweet tooth, so breakfast food is a big must for me, like waffles!

Question: what would you say is your favorite piece of clothing?

A: I have a coat collection…why? Why not, they are so cool and pretty. I am a maximalist, ornate pieces/weird pieces. I love to mix all sorts of things together

N: I am more edgy, with classic rock and roll elements. Leather and ripped tights.

Question: Favorite Activity?

A: Shopping would be my number one and eating. Also reading and of course making jewelry.

N: Hiking, being in nature. Listening to music and dancing

These sisters are yin and yang and perfectly describe themselves as polar opposites. This makes their business unique and inspiring- pulling elements from each other and creating soft, edgy, rock & roll jewelry.

Check out the pictures to see their delicious jewelry and make sure to check them out during Shop Small Saturday November 25th!

Great wooden displays, with dainty jewels

Love this aesthetic

Entrance!

These earrings have such cool features…

Love this detail! Heirloom 🙂

Check out that wall!

The details are just so beautiful in both of these pieces

🙂

Right outside their shop- love the display

The two sisters and I

The pop of color these bracelets have is so pretty!

 

Livin that Maven Life…..

 

 

Apple-Pumpkin Bars

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching (and Christmas right behind it) I wanted to share a recipe with you all that I delighted in making and will absolutely be a kicker in all your holiday functions.  I had the opportunity to attend a brunch with some other amazing Boston area (super talented) bloggers that was sponsored by Autumn Glory Apples and was hosted by fellow blogger Hunger Thirst Play. We all made different dishes featuring some pretty great apples and had a jolly old time.

I decided to go with a sweet, slightly spicy dish in these bars. Often we see two components of this dish together but not all three and I loved how the kick from the gingersnap cookie crust just went so well with the caramelized apples. With apples, pumpkin and gingersnaps how can you go wrong?

I hope you all will venture to make these and let me know what you think. Also check out the blog post that Hunger Thirst Play just posted up about our delicious brunch and a recipe for her dish that she made, which was out of this world!

Print

Apple-Pumpkin Bars w/Gingersnap Cookie Crust


Course Dessert
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 15
Author Timna

Ingredients

Filling

  • 1 Can Organic Pumpkin Puree
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/8 Tsp Salt
  • 1/8 Tsp Black Pepper (I got this idea from Sally's Baking Addiction)
  • 1 Can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar

Topping

  • 3 Peeled & Diced Autumn Glory Apples
  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • Dash Salt
  • 1 Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

Crust

  • 1 Bag Tate's Gingersnap Cookies
  • 3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 3 Tbsp Brown Sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350

    2.)We are going to prepare the crust for so that its ready for the filling. I crumbled my cookies by hand, but if you have a food processor work the cookies into a fine grind. 

    3.)Add the butter and brown sugar and thoroughly mix through. Press into a 9 x 12 pan and put in the oven to bake for 10 minutes.

    4.)While that is baking (and making your house smell like the Holidays) you can quickly prepare the filling. 

    5.)Mix all the ingredients together and once the crust is out of the oven you can go ahead and pour over warm crust. 

    6.)Pop the bars back into the oven for around 35 minutes or until the middle is solid.

    7.)While the bars are baking away in the oven you can start on that yummy apple topping. Peel three apples and dice. In a pan, melt the butter, brown sugar and spice until simmering.

    8.) Add the apples and cook for around 10 minutes. Stir every so often, but not too much. We want to see some of that sticky, yummy caramelized magic happening.

    9.)Once the apples finish cooking, you can set them aside. I cut the bars first and then topped them with the apples. It made it easier and I avoided any extra mess. 

    Voila! Delicious bars, perfect for dessert, breakfast and even dinner (hehe)


Photo Credit: HungerThirstPlay

Below are some pictures I took of the yummy brunch we had. Hope you enjoy these bars soon! 🙂

 

Our menu! How cool is this?

Such a great table full of goodies

Gorgeous and delicious

This cocktail was killer – Apple Cinnamon Whiskey Smash (you can find the recipe here)

 

*Photo credit for featured image goes to fellow blogger Hunger Thirst Play  🙂

 

 

 

 

Lowell Fall Dining Guide 2017

It seems that the second Fall hits we all want soup, a nice warm drink and comforting food. Throughout the fall and winter in New England the flavors go between pumpkin to maple to peppermint to sage and any other myriad of seasonal combinations you want to make. In dining out, many restaurants come up with a fall/winter menu that complement the flavors of the season and this makes it super exciting for me as a food writer/blogger because I love trying new ways the flavors can be incorporated into new dishes.

What makes the Canalway Cultural District a dining destination? The history in Lowell is rich and along with eating a great meal you can take in some of the surrounding sites such as the Whistler House Museum of Art, The New England Quilt Museum or the National Streetcar Museum. Because Lowell is a walkable city the restaurants and things to do around them make for a great day outing or a full weekend trip.

Some great new restaurants have opened up recently and with this in mind I wanted to share a dining guide of my favorite spots (both new and old) to check out in Downtown Lowell.

Cobblestones of Lowell Historic restaurant, that brings American classics to life while also providing modern takes on beloved dishes.  1981 Ramen Bar Lowell’s only Ramen spot, their big bowls of savory broth, noodles & toppings, great drinks & fun atmosphere make for a great dining experience.

Fabianos Pizzeria & Café Not just a pizzeria, they take American classics like pizza, burgers, pasta and more to a different level by incorporating Peruvian flavors. Mandarin Asian Bistro Delicious sushi, as well as hot dishes make this spot ideal for when you can’t make up your mind- they also have great drinks and live music on the weekends.

El Potro Mexican Bar & Grill Fresh, delicious Mexican food in a welcoming environment. Everyone is friendly and there is always something yummy to eat. Lowell Burger Company  New to the food scene in Lowell, LBC takes burgers and makes them exciting- also that special sauce is to die for!

Fuse Bistro This delightful restaurant makes delicious, unique dishes while incorporating local flavors. Their drinks are interesting, delicious and the atmosphere is always warm. Warp & Weft International comfort food is what this restaurant strives to do and it does it, well. With a complete redesign of their restaurant it makes this the new go-to.

It was so wonderful collaborating with  LikeLowell on this and stay tuned for a full dining guide (with some extra treats)  that they will make available soon!

 

Life as a Maven wishing you a happy and merry season!

 

 

 

 

 

5th Annual Massachusetts Cheese Festival

I love cheese. It is the one thing I refuse to give up in my mostly healthy lifestyle because cheese is a universe of flavors with the ability to wake up the senses and make you experience things you haven’t before. 🙂 Huge shout out to my local cheese monger ( Mill City Cheesemongers). I say all of this to talk about my amazing experience at the 5th Annual Massachusetts Cheese Festival which took place a couple weekends ago and how much of an experience it was for me.

This festival is run by the MA Cheese Guild (make sure  to check them out) and this year the festival was overflowing with people from all over who wanted to experience different cheeses, wines, classes and more. There was an incredible amount of things to do and every table I went to was engaging and informative.

This bread was so good- sourdough based- Check out Nashoba Brook Bakery

These were so unique and delicious: Westport Rivers Winery

Refreshing and a bit fruity: Notch Brewing 

The first session was packed!

So obsessed with this company- bought the Spicy Pickles!! Fox Point Pickling

The cheeses from Grace Hill Farm were rich and flavorful

The Gooseberry Chevre was out of this world – Dancing Goats Dairy

So good!

The meats were so incredible – New England Charcuterie

I attended a cool class led by Raymond Robinson, of Robinson Farm which was so informative. We tried some cheese and learned about the history of the farm. It is so refreshing to learn about our local producers who work tirelessly on their farms to provide us with the best products they can.

Guiding us through a Q&A

Cheese and their descriptions- loved this class!

There were also demonstrations happening on stage and cool giveaways happening (your girl won one for a wine tasting at Aaronap Cellars!!!)

Butter Churning!

So great to learn about this

All of the Mozzarella

I had a great day and I can’t wait until next year to experience another festival. This has got to be one of my favorites so far. Check out all the pictures and click on the links to learn more about the different tables I stopped at!

The Maven signing off…

 

 

 

Sofra Bakery & Cafe – Cambridge, MA

On a cozy corner in Cambridge there is a delightful cafe called Sofra Bakery & Cafe and I am in love. With  unique flavor combinations influenced by Greece, Lebanon & Turkey and a warm atmosphere, Sofra takes cafe dining to a different level. Everything I had from beverage to dessert was delightfully fresh and so delicious. They also sell ready made to go items such as meals, spices, jams and more.

On their website they tell you the reasoning behind their name which I thought was so beautiful. In roaming around Turkey and asking people what “Sofra” meant to them it brought smiles to their faces- “Sofra” in Turkish means a picnic, a special table preparation of food or a small square kilim rug used for eating.

Although small, we were still able to find a seat quickly after placing our order. Shout out to the gentleman  at the cash register who suggested beverages and gave us some insights on flavors. Everyone was super helpful even though it was incredibly busy when we went on a late Saturday afternoon.

If you get a chance, please make a trip to this delightful place, I can’t wait to go back and experience more of their flavors!

We ordered the following items:

  • Bulgur Dumplings
  • Tahini Hummus
  • Kunefe
  • Brown-Butter Tahini Donut
  • Dukkah Crunch Donut
  • Orange-Blossom Lemonade
  • Sharbat (Seasonal Fruit- Grape)

 

Order area, good sized menu & lots of yummy treats

Tray of pastries

Dukkah Crunch Donut- Airy, light donut with frosting that melted in your mouth

Kunefe w/Spiced Syrup- Light &delicious

Brown Butter Tahini Donut – The cream inside was perfection

The whole spread!

Tahini Hummus w/Lamb & Pine Nuts – side of Crackers

Bulgur Dumplings- flavorful, light & delicious

Sharbat & Orange Blossom Lemonade- both amazing drinks

As we were walking to our car we stumbled across a coffee shop across the street called Intelligentsia Coffee because I saw a “Coffee” sign and thought it looked quirky. We were right; the coffee was so smooth, it was prepared perfectly and my Matcha Latte I had was incredible.

Coffee Sleeves 🙂

Barista

This Matcha Latte was so good!

The presentation is right on!

Exterior

The Coffee sign I saw that got me to  come over 🙂

Check these places out if you get a chance, they are both stellar and deserve a visit. I myself cannot wait to get back to Sofra so I can try more of their yummy treats and more food!

 

Livin that Maven Life!

 

 

 

Offbeet Compost – The Foundation Mixer

Collaborations between small businesses, myself &  The Foundation Mixer have been happening on a wider scale this year,  collaborations I am proud to be part of and keep learning from. Last week we all had the pleasure to not only learn about a local compost company but we were all introduced to sunrun a solar energy company who sponsored the event.

Mandarin Asian Bistro was our wonderful host and provided snacks for us during the event. Check them out for live music on the weekends and great food and drinks.

OffBeet Compost, founded by Kesiah Bascom is the edgy, eco-friendly type company I find myself loving more of every day. Along with Kesiah, Derrick Jamison, the Operations Manager of OffBeet provide composting capabilities to local business (including restaurants) and individuals. During this event we learned of the hard work and passion that goes behind a company like this, which in turn keeps our environment clean and recycles back what we don’t use for better sustainability.

I look forward to learning more about how I can compost and help the environment during my interview with OffBeet which will be hopefully coming later on this year. We should all strive to make the world cleaner and safer to live in and it starts with movements such as this to get the ball rolling. If you want more information I have included social media below and you can also click on the links above to go directly to their website.

Instagram @offbeetcompost

Check out the pictures from this great event and hope to see you all at the next one!

 

 

Great drinks/great atmosphere

With some local business owners and innovators

Kesiah talking about OffBeet Compost

Moses from sunrun talking to us about solar energy

Kesiah and I

Derrick, Kesiah, myself and Warlene a local fashion designer

Great plate of food from Mandarin Asian Bistro

 

Stay tuned more food, travel and events coming soon!

Life as a Maven

The Fern & The Feather – Humanity Style

“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.” 

The celebration of new business adventures was what we came together to do last Thursday at Humanity Boutique in Downtown Lowell.  Melissa  of Bohemian Beads and Bangles and Rebekah of Rebekah Hope Design came together to create a brand called “The Fern & The Feather a new pop up at Humanity. With beautiful jewelry and softly scented candles the brand is reminiscent of boho style with a splash of femininity  and fun.

This private event was the kick off of this beautiful brand and between the gorgeous displays, amazing women and delicious snacks & drinks we had a great time. Empowering one another to reach our goals and succeed at accomplishing the dreams we all have was a big part of this event. Rebekah and Melissa have been friends for an incredibly long time and this was the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. Ani, owner of Humanity provided an outlet for them to display their wares but also to help them create and imagine how far they could go.

It was a beautiful night and I look forward to seeing more of what “The Fern & The Feather” has in store.

Check out the great photos from the event below 🙂

Beautifully created wall 🙂

Delicious sangria, one of the many treats of the night

Table of snacks for guests

Cute printed bags for purchases

The maven picking out her piece  😀

Admiring their hard work

Lots of laughs

With the talented designers and owner of Humanity

Live Wondrously!

 

Church St. Coffee at Connector Cafe & Grill

I had the opportunity to check out an incredible pop up this past weekend at Connector Cafe & Grill a local favorite cafe of mine. As you all know by now coffee is my go to for just about anything, not only does it give me a push to start my day off right but I really just love the flavors of coffee and always look for different kinds I can check out.

Church St. Coffee Company specializes in cold brew coffee & nitro cold brew coffee – what is cold brew you may ask? Well it’s coffee that is never exposed to heat and the steeping process is a bit different than a normal hot brew. Denis Toomey, owner and founder of Church St. explained to me how it works, what they do with their own coffee, where it comes from and then of course I had several samples and had a full cup of their original brew.

For a little history, Church St. started back in 2015 and was named after a street that Denis grew up on in Martha’s Vineyard. Because of his love for his native country of Costa Rica he wanted a connection between them and the coffee you drink right here in Massachusetts. With connections to the small “fincas” or farms they are able to create a sense of community and also produce some  high quality cold brew.

Church St. Facts:

  • 100% Arabica Coffee in their cold brew.
  • Locally roasted and all batches are handcrafted.
  • Almost 70% less acidic than hot coffee and easier on the stomach.
  • More caffeine than a hot cup (about 27 mgs of caffeine per fluid ounce).
  • Cold brew is steeped in cold water for 24 hours and double filtered for a crisp and smooth finish.
  • Nitrogen infused cold brew has a creamy, sweet, chocolate/vanilla flavor
  • There’s no need for dairy or sugar in their Nitro & Cinnamon cold brew

So what did I think? Well I have had a lot of coffee and have tried quite a bit of cold brew. This is by far some of the best I have had. It is smooth- like really smooth; no bitterness whatsoever and gave me a much needed wake up. What flavors did I try? Well ALL OF THEM 🙂

  • Original Nitro Brew
  • Chai Nitro Brew (tea and lightly sweetened)
  • Cinnamon cold brew
  • Pumpkin cold brew
  • Original cold brew

They were all delicious, and especially with the cinnamon and pumpkin (two of my fave flavors) there was just a hint of the flavors- not overpowering at all. The Chai is done already sweetened, it was delightful and creamy.

As a wonderfully delightful sidenote I had a special breakfast while having my delcicious coffee. The weekend special was Captain Crunch French Toast w/Maple Glaze- it was as good as it sounds!

Check out the photos and make sure to visit their respective websites to get all the information you want!

Look at that Nitro Brew set up!

My delicious Nitro brew 🙂

This french toast though….

Perfection

Finished my visit off with some Nitro Brew Chai- delish!

 

-Life as a Maven

Spicy Noodle Challenge- Twelve Hours

Twelve Hours in Brighton, MA is one of my favorite restaurants and ever since I had been there this Spring I had been wanting to go back. After seeing them post about a mega spicy dish they have on Instagram I decided to challenge myself to try to eat it. I live streamed it on IG and did my best but in the end it conquered me. It’s not very often I write twice about restaurants unless I have such unique dining experiences that I just have to- which in this case I did.

This time we brought some friends and we ordered lots of appetizers, and just had such a pleasant meal. Although the spicy noodles conquered my tastebuds and I everything else was incredible, fresh and so tasty. Twelve Hours redefines Asian Fusion by providing unique mash-ups with traditional food dishes and they keep exciting your tastebuds. From Blueberry Crab Rangoons (remember those from last time) to Curry Duck & Avocado you are sure to find something to excite the senses and enjoy your meal.

For appetizers we ordered:

  • Chicken Satay Buns
  • 12 Hours Wings(Basil Sauce)
  • Blueberry Crab Rangoon
  • Mango Crispy Rolls

The buns were delicious and I loved the peanut sauce

Plenty of sauce and goodness

The wings were so good and flavor was throughout the chicken not just the skin. Loved the basil flavor.

Great chicken wings!

The Blueberry Crab Rangoon was delightful as usual and felt like you were eating a sweet treat in the middle of the meal 🙂

Filled to the brim with filling and deliciously crispy

The Mango Crispy rolls were vegetarian and filled with mango, cabbage, carrot and vermicelli. Really light but still flavorful.

Perfect size & texture

I can’t pick a favorite- they were all good in their own unique way.

For my noodle challenge I ordered the Madness Lover which consists of Udon Noodles, basil. onion, egg & bell pepper in a spicy basil sauce. I went up to Spicy Level 3- even with all the spice the flavor of the dish was still so good and when I eventually had to stop because of the spice level I was so sad because it was good! With tears falling out of my eyes I managed to eat about 8-10 bites before I finally had to stop. Do you DARE? 😀

Doesn’t look so spicy does it?

Proof of my crying eyes, swollen nose and lips! I Tried! 😀

Friends & my love had the Korean Noodle w/Chicken, Duck Avocado Curry, & Dragon’s Whisper w/Chicken- I had bites of the Korean Noodle and Duck Avocado- delish.

The duck was so tasty and the sauce was delicious

Dragon’s Whisker- loved the presentation with the egg on top 🙂

Also as a note I had the Taro Tea and it was delicious. I just had to throw that out there 🙂

To end this delicious meal I ordered some coconut ice cream- due to the fact that my body was still riding the spicy high and I needed some comfort. The coconut ice cream was everything I needed and more. Creamy, rich and delicious with bits of coconut throughout. So good!

Ice Cream is best shared with friends 🙂

Once again I left happy and content – I will definitely be back.

Signing off,

Life as a Maven & Mr. Teddy

 

Food Truck Madness – Kerouac Park – Lowell, MA

Last Friday I went to a super fun event hosted by Made in Lowell – Food Truck Madness, where a bunch of Food Trucks come out, vendors are set up, live music is playing and delicious drinks are served. This is the third year and honestly, it was my favorite so far.

Put me in a place with food and I’m happy- add music, friends, and drinks? Even more happy and that s what so great about where I live. Local organizations that are about community engagement always inspire me and in turn help me become closer to my own local community. This event was no different and between trying out different food trucks and chilling with friends it was a great night.

Have you been to a Made in Lowell event? check out the FB for more information on all their events and see how you can become engaged in your community. Check out the photos below of my food and other fun stuff 🙂

Pork & Bean Arepa from Galeria Cafe – with them sauces!

Ginger Chicken Dumplings & Sriracha- so so so so good

Mediterranean Burger- Delicious, flavorful – so good!

This spread of desserts from Clyde’s Cupcakes was incredible- Apple Crisp Brownie, Cherry Cheesecake, Salted Caramel Cupcake, Carrot Cupcake, Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, Oreo Mini Cake & Reeses Brownie

Close up of the deliciousness

My reaction to a good Pumpkin Whoopie Pie 😀

Sippin on a Hibiscus Lemonade from Shuck Food Truck

I never noticed how beautiful these Willow’s are….

 

Livin that Maven Life