gift guide, local style


A few weeks ago I grabbed a cup of coffee with the duo behind Lo and Behold, a luxurious and all natural body care line made right here in Durham, NC. It reminded me how much time I’ve spent online in the last few years, and how a lot of the connections I’ve made are so far away. In keeping with the theme that is running through my life these days (SIMPLIFY), one of my resolutions for 2015 is to feel more connected to the creative community right here where I live.

I’m also hoping to buy as many of my holiday gifts locally, and this weekend there are a ton of opportunities to do just that. On Friday night, The Carrack will host its Annual Red Dot Community Art Exhibit, with art priced at $25, $50, and $75. Also on Friday, Spectre Arts will host their second annual 20 Buck Chuck, with art for just $20. And then there’s the Retail Happy Hour at The Makery with White Whale mixers. On Saturday, the Patchwork Market at Motroro & Fullsteam (thanks Corinna!) AND the 6th annual Guglhupf market, and on Sunday there’s Yelp’s Holiday Bazaar at The Cotton Room. If you’re not local, most of these items are available online, too.


Where to buy (many of these can also be found in local shops or at the bazaar on Sunday):

Top image: Martha Clippinger (studio at Golden Belt; participating in the Spectre Arts event tomorrow night) / Lo and Behold at Parker and Otis (or on Etsy) / White Whale / The Apothecary’s Kitchen peppermint bark at Gather / Bird + Beau earrings / Jordan Grace Owens kitty cats

Second image: Flytrap / Big Spoon Roasters / Geoflora earrings / Truly Aesthetic bath salts / food gifts from NC Made / leather tote from Hawks and Doves

Bottom image: Wit and Whistle / eqv / Mia & Louise / This Paper Ship / Elijah Leed / Harriet Bellows



christmas star


I found this four foot wooden star at the Raleigh flea market this weekend. Its made of old tobacco sticks, which were used to hang-dry tobacco in barns all over North Carolina. I’m a sucker for old wood, and I love the dramatic scale of it, so I couldn’t resist. Strung with chunky Christmas lights, its merry and bright!


–Melissa P.

minted here: shaved roots


This doesn’t even qualify as a recipe, and I got the idea from Sunset magazine, but it’s too smart not to share. Thanksgiving might be over but we are still smack in the middle of party season, and this one will come in handy. Shaved roots! That’s it. It’s so easy, but they are a perfect addition to your appetizer menu. I used watermelon radishes (gorgeous!), turnips and kohlrabi. Use a mandoline or thinly slice them and you’re done. The turnips and radishes have a little natural spice, the kohlrabi is earthy sweet, but all three are light and flavorful; just the thing to clear the palate between cheeses or creamy dips.

The photo above is courtesy of my talented brother in law, Dylan Chorneau…below are a couple more he snapped last week during the thanksgiving prep.

thanksgiving3 thanksgiving2 thanksgiving4

–Melissa P.

this week’s recipe: cranberry margaritas


Leftover cranberries? Leftover house guests? Keep things merry with Cranberry Margaritas, courtesy of Sweet Life.  Happy thanksgiving!

–Melissa P.

thankful tree


Last year we started a new Thanksgiving tradition – the Thankful Tree. Going around the table and announcing the things you’re grateful for doesn’t always work well at a crowded table, but you can still help your guests pause and remember the gifts in their lives. If you’ve got kids coming to your turkey day, a Thankful Tree is also a wonderful activity to help them participate in the preparations and keep them busy. Have the kids collect sticks from the yard, cut out “leaves” from scrap paper (I used leftover Hello Tenfold envelope liners), and set-up a station for people to record their blessings. Depending on your family, the kids may also enjoy forcing the adults to participate!


“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”  – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

–Melissa P.