Pages Menu
TwitterFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted by on Feb 5, 2015 | 3 comments

Shop Del Ray: Creating a Get-Well-Soon Care Package

Shop Del Ray: Creating a Get-Well-Soon Care Package

I wanted to send a care package to my out-of-town friend to help lift her spirits as she recovered from knee surgery. Pondering the options, I thought – what better way to gather gift ideas than to see what I could find in a few of our Del Ray businesses. First stop, Cheesetique, where I chose some hearty crackers and dark chocolate. Next, I picked out a Valentine’s Day-themed, gluten-free cookie from Happy Tart. From the market at Bon Vivant, I chose a handmade massage bar from our local soap-maker, Mellenie Runion, of Truly-Life. Finally, to round things out, I added a few extra items from CVS – a magazine, some nail polish, and tea. Everything fit just so inside a recycled shoe box filled with shredded newspaper. Off in the mail it went, including a notecard wishing my friend a speedy...

Read More

Posted by on Dec 9, 2014 | 0 comments

Giving the Gift of Inspiration: Nancy’s Journal Cards

Giving the Gift of Inspiration: Nancy’s Journal Cards

Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that make you think. When I discovered this collection of Journal Challenge postcards, I could think of a dozen or so people who would really appreciate them. Del Ray resident Nancy Belmont, who runs a culture- and brand-building agency and is also a certified leadership coach, has created the set of 30 postcards, each with a probing question and an engaging, perfectly paired photograph chosen by Nancy’s art director, Lara Dalinsky. At our meeting at St. Elmo’s, Lara demonstrated how you can make your way through each card one by one, or shuffle them to surface a card that gives you a new, unexpected writing prompt to respond to on the back of the card or in a journal. Nancy says that couples have used the cards to spark conversation topics that help them connect at a deeper level. “We’re learning people aren’t only using the cards for journaling,” she says, “but to connect with spouses, to use as ice breakers, and to inspire...

Read More

Posted by on Nov 24, 2014 | 0 comments

Handmade Scented Milk Bath

Handmade Scented Milk Bath

With scented milk bath, you’re essentially giving someone the gift of soft skin. Legend has it that we can attribute Cleopatra’s radiant skin to regular soaks in milk baths. With that in mind, I made several batches to give as gifts this holiday season. I started with some spice jars from Crate & Barrel outlet to hold about a cup of the mixture in each, which amounts to approximately two bath servings. Then, I gathered the simple ingredients: powdered or nonfat dry milk, corn starch, baking soda, and essential oils. I chose eucalyptus and lavender because I had them on hand. In a bowl, I mixed 1 cup of the dry milk… And a quarter cup each of the corn starch and baking soda. I then added about 15-20 drops of the essential oil, and mixed it in thoroughly with a wisk. Next, I filled up each container with the milk bath mixture. I typed the labels on our old typewriter, which took some practice. And then glued the...

Read More

Posted by on Jan 21, 2014 | 2 comments

Giving the Gift of Homemade Bitters

Giving the Gift of Homemade Bitters

When I prepared orange bitters on vacation with my friend Rachel last fall, she later turned her batch into gifts, each with a personalized label and food and cocktail recipes in each package. I’m sure the recipients were delighted by her charming and thoughtful presentation. Bitters, a mix of botanicals – herbs, roots, spices, and fruits – distilled in a base alcohol, are a nice hostess or housewarming gift, or for any occasion really. In fact, this time of year is ideal to make a batch because you’re more likely to find the Seville oranges in the market, which are ideal for the infusion. Rachel and I completed Part 1 of the project, which was to prep the fruit and create the infusion. Then, 12 days later, in Part 2, we strained and steeped the mixture. Whereas I strained my batch into two larger bottles with stoppers (purchased from Crate & Barrel Outlet) and left it at that… Rachel wisely stretched her supply out by using 8, 1 oz. amber dropper...

Read More

Posted by on Nov 21, 2013 | 0 comments

A Market Gift Basket ‘O Plenty

A Market Gift Basket ‘O Plenty

In preparation for my trip to Charlottesville, I wanted to assemble a gift basket for my weekend hosts. Originally, I had big plans to make some homemade goods, but ran out of time. So the next best thing to homemade is… the Del Ray Farmers Market, of course! First I started with something healthy and kid-friendly – granny smith apples. Then I picked up some pumpkin bread for a sweet breakfast treat. Leaving the market, I made a last-minute decision to grab some kale too. I wasn’t sure how it would come off — does everyone even like kale? — but I thought it might be fun to make some kale chips for an afternoon snack so I took the risk. I also stopped by Cheesetique for a few more items — pimiento cheese spread, rosemary crackers and wine. With everything carefully nestled in a basket lined with a tea towel, we were ready to hit the road. (Our car ride was about 2 1/2 hours, so I wrapped...

Read More