picnic inspiration.

today was a happy day in blog land for lots of reasons - it's friday, the sun is shining (seemingly everywhere!) and warm may days are just around the corner. and with all these happy circumstances, came lots of happy blog posting, including quite a few about a fantastic summer tradition - the picnic.

so, needless to say, i had to hop on board the picnic trend. with april showers on the outs, and nothing but may flowers ahead, i totally see where my blog friends are coming from and i for one am totally on board.

one of said friends (ok, i think we are friends, she might not know that yet) at cup of jo came up with the idea of a summer picnic club and i really think she is on to something. her concept:
inviting friends to meet at different locations every other weekend, bringing their own blankets, some snacks to share and some games to play. sounds pretty doable, don't you think?
and luckily for us here in vermont, there are dozens of great picnic spots all across the state. so if this idea alone doesn't make you think happy summer thoughts, see below for a little more inspiration...oh the fun we could have...

happy weekend!


invitation excellence.

my best friend (of super burbs fame) is tying the knot this summer in what is sure to be a wedding to remember. she is marrying the love of her life in one of the most beautiful places on earth - excluding anywhere in vermont of course. plus she is the ultimate planner and has the best taste ever, which together will make the whole event so incredibly magical. i can not wait!

so, when i was given the honor of being one of her bridesmaids i was thrilled (i mean how could i not be? just look how she asked me!) and i couldn't wait to start celebrating and party planning with her. my first task - the bachelorette party. the first priority - the invitation.

let me explain, both superburbs and i loooove stationary (perhaps more than most) so that was clearly the place to start when concocting what i hope to be a sinful and indulgent weekend that our seven friends will remember for years to come. and i could think of no better person to put to the task than the ever talented kayla hodgdon, a super talented graphic designer, based in, you guessed it - vermont! all i gave her was the theme, colors and voila - invitation excellence!

to see more of kayla's brilliance stop by her blog or email her at kaylahodgdon@gmail.com. she is tremendously talented, soo soo fun to work with and the best part is she is up for anything. oh the projects i have in store for her! xoxo



i just finished reading the help - the amazing best seller by kathryn stockett. and i looooved it.
but quick, before i lose my reclaimed love for reading i need a new book suggestion!
help me, please! i need you all and your literary guidance...


may day floral basket.

check out this fantastic DIY may day project brought to us by the talented vermonter jaime giorgi of the monkey flower group - a floral studio currently based in burlington, vermont.
...and i say currently because they are relocating to california next month, so we will sadly be losing this great talent. but i was thinking, maybe if we ALL make these magical flower baskets and leave them on her doorknob she will be tempted to stay in the very friendly and generous (although very snowy) state of vermont...what do you think, are you with me? let's shower her with love and her own DIY project! to see the project from start to finish visit design*sponge. (it even uses mason jars. love. love. love.)


wine wednesdays & restaurant week.

you all know by now how excited i am for the upcoming vermont restaurant week. although, i have to admit i am so overwhelmed by all the delicious options and new spots i want to try that i have yet to make a single reservation...whoops!

however, the special wine dinner being hosted on may 20th by 156 bistro & vermont wine merchants, just might be the event that kicks me into gear and motivates me to sign up for not only that evening, but others as well.

the special event features a 4-course dinner, paired with a selection of wines from "the other guys" plus, there will be a guest speaker to teach us all a bit about the vino (and you know i need all the help i can get!)

here's what the evening's menu looks like:

  • chef's cheese plate, featuring st. andre and chevre & the white knight viognier
  • roasted littleneck clams with chorizo-herb broth & moobuzz chardonnay
  • boyden farm petite filet with crispy shallots, potato-celeriac purée and roasted tomato ragout & plungerhead old vine zinfandel
  • chocolate and black cherry bread pudding & leese - fitch cabernet sauvignon

can you say yum!? c'mon...who's with me? we should hurry and sign up as this tasty event is sure to fill up soon. not sold yet? go here to learn more.


top ten tuesdays - may to dos.

it is a dreary dreary afternoon here in vermont, and i am pulling out all the stops to try and brighten my day. my mood this morning was lifted thanks to kate spade's lovely polka dots, but this afternoon required me to take some extreme measures...yes, that's right, friends. it's to do list time.

you all know that nothing makes me happier than a good list, especially when it is filled with so much anticipation and excitement about all that lies ahead in the wonderful (and celebratory) month of may!

may to dos...

  1. run the dandelion half marathon in derby, vermont. how can you NOT want to participate in an event named after - and in support of - the cutest weed there is?
  2. indulge in a little vermont restaurant week gluttony. soo many yummy choices. how is a girl to choose?
  3. shop the simon pearce tent sale for wedding gifts for all the brides to be in my life. (it's not posted yet, but it will be soon. and trust me, it's worth the research!)
  4. experience the water & wine tour at boyden valley winery. a canoe trip down the lamoille river followed by a tasting and a tour. yes, please.
  5. two words - farmers. markets. (opening day in burlington is may 8th)
  6. take a ferry ride across lake champlain. just 'cause it sounds like fun.
  7. enjoy the view (and the yummy drinks) at splash & breakwaters.
  8. go to the sunset drive in.
  9. enjoy every painful second of the vermont city marathon with the rest of the american cancer society runners! i love you all (-:
  10. say good bye to 27 and welcome the big 2-8 with open arms. i think it's going to be a very good year.

alright, folks, there you have it - my may to dos. what am i missing? what's on your to do list?


VTuesday Shoesday.

it is snowing out right now. really snowing. last night, dinner on the porch and today, snow.

oh vermont, you little trickster.

but atleast it's tuesday and that means i got to spend the morning looking around cyberland for the perfect pair of shoes to lift my dreary spirits. and thank you, kate, you have made my day, yet again!

polka dots + rosettes + a nice low heal = kate spade perfection.


a very pretty town, indeed.

thanks to my wonderful boston friend for alerting me to this morning's breaking news -burlington, vt just got ranked by forbes magazine as one of the prettiest towns in america. the third prettiest town to be exact.
oh, vermont, once again, you make me proud.


colchester causeway.

the ONLY good thing about my loooong run today was the discovery of the colchester causeway. quite possibly the best road to nowhere ever. and a great way to spend a saturday afternoon - no matter how you make the trip.


hello, weekend!

it's the perfect friday afternoon....the sun is shining, the grass is (finally) green and the tables are out on chuch street! which means it's officially spring here in vermont and as my dad would say, "it doesn't get any better than this!"
and on my to do list this weekend, is, well, nothing! except for a pesty 18 mile run and a party in a barn, i have 2 whole days to soak life up and celebrate this very welcomed change of season.
the collage above is just a little taste of what i am hoping the weekend will look like - complete with homemade pizza, flip flops, sunsets, mr. frederickson, quiet dirt roads, patio drinking and maybe a little day trip to lake dunmore - one of my favorite secret vermont destinations.
*i couldnt resist including the photo of my lovely mother and kevin, the best waiter in all of jamaica, as i will certainly be giggling about that moment all weekend and wishing (just a litle bit) that there was still an umbrella in my drink...

happy weekend and happy spring!
make it a great one. xoxo


i spy cartography.

this is simply the coolest thing ever.
i love maps and i love the i spy personals in seven days - where folks can write in about missed opportunities, unrequited love, and crushes in general and it is often specific to location - ie. "the smile that you flashed me with my breakfast sandwich at hunger mtn coop more than made up for forgetting the tomato. i would love to see you again in something other than your chef whites"
and marty schnure, a geography major from middlebury college, combined the two into the most clever and eye catching map i have ever seen. she describes this creation as “a spatial representation of something not often thought of in spatial terms, or as mappable data: human interactions.”
marty's i spy map is a finalist in the national bizarre map challenge. click here to view the maps and vote for your favorite. just make sure to do it by april 26, at 3pm vt standard time.
if the image alone hasn't captured your attention just listen to her reasoning behind it...“(i chose this i spy map) because it is both unique to vermont and universal; while the map is ostensibly very regional, it transcends its regionalism by representing universally recognizable human needs and wants: connection, intimacy, infatuation, making eye contact with the cutie in the produce section, etc.”
yet another brilliant vermonter among us.


more earth day love...

isn't this just the most precious image?
happy earth day to all and to all a good night (-: (via little garden)


an earth day conundrum.

i was overwhelmed by the pressure of an earth day post. i do truly feel that every day in vermont celebrates all the magic that nature has to offer, so to honor the holiday feels in someways like celebrating a random thursday (which i DO appreciate) but also has tremendous pressure because really we should be celebrating more than most because we have so so much to appreciate up here in the woods.

so, needless to say, the anxiety got to me and resulted in total brain paralysis. and in an effort to redeem myself, i have decided to just share with you all some of the cyber earth day brilliance (is that an oxymoron?) that i discovered today...


the awesomest thing.

the awesomest thing ever is the book and blog combo of 1000 awesome things. it is a blog chronicling - yup, you guessed it - awesome things. and to top of the awesomeness of this concept, it was just released in book form as well! what better book to have on your bedside table?

for example, yesterday's awesomest thing was dancing when you are home alone. they are correct. that is pretty awesome.

"yes, we’ve all been home alone and sometimes it’s fun to lose yourself in the moment.
after all, maybe you’re hanging with a heavy heart, burning with a hot temper, or just snowed in after a bad day. if there’s a black cloud hanging ugly over your head there’s no cheaper cure than having a solo dance party in the comfort of your place. so come on and turn it on, crank it up, and just shake it baby, shake it baby, shake it like that. AWESOME!"

some of my other recent favorites include - mastering the art of the all you can eat buffet, grass stains, when someone holds your keys and wallet in your purse, the night before a really big day, sleeping with one leg under the covers and one leg out, bed head all day long, and getting out of the car at home after a really long trip....
so please, sign up immediately to get an awesome thing sent to your inbox every morning. a pretty good way to start your day if you ask me (along with the ubiquotous messages from jcrew and the nytimes)

ps - ok, i lied, the awesomest thing ever is collin, the best boyfriend ever (besides mr. frederickson, of course) who was so inspired by this concept that he wrote his lady, abigail a song about the awesomest things about her. how awesome is that!?

if you have trouble viewing this link - click here

ps - clearly it's time to bring back to vermont the word awesome.


wine wednesdays

alright friends, please mark your calendars for saturday june 26th for the first annual burlington wine & food festival. that's right - a wine festival right here in vermont! what could be better!? this just might be the best thing to happen to wine wednesdays, since, well, since the invention of wine wednesdays!

this wine extravaganza is replacing the much loved green mountain chew festival that expired last year after 24 seasons as the waterfront festival of choice for the month of june (may has the vermont marathon, july has brewfest)

so, how does it work, you ask? well, it's simple - for $40 a head, you will get a wine glass and 15 swigs from any of the 350 showcase winess, a voucher for one food item from a featured restaurant (so far l'amante, miguel’s on main, the belted cow bistro, trattoria delia and souza's have signed on) and unlimited artisan bread and vermont cheese, all while strolling the beautiful waterfront park.

i'm sold!! who's with me?


VTuesday Shoesday

in honor of yesterday's speedy and inspiring boston marathon and in hopes of getting my training in gear for the vermont city marathon, i want to take a moment to salute the pair of shoes that i wear most often and love more than most - my running sneakers.

they are the best shoes ever - comfortable, loyal and will always get you where you need to go - whether you are traveling just a mile up the road or are braving the full 26.2.

and the very best place in the world to purchase these wonderful sneaks is fleet feet in essex, vermont. the folks there will watch you run, analyze your stride, measure your feet and fit you for the PERFECT pair of sneakers. i promise they will make anyone feel like a marathon runner.
tell tim i said hi (-:


comfort food thursday (on a monday)

while it is so great to be home, there are a few things that i am missing from vacation...
sunshine, spa robes, rum punch, pineapple, flip flops and jamaican jerk chicken.

so, in an effort to capture some of this vacation spirit i think sometime this week i will attempt to recreate at home the fabulous jerk chicken that we munched on all week. it is just so tasty! plus, it's finally grill season up here in vermont (which is my very favorite time of year) and i have to say, mr frederickson looks pretty cute on grill duty. it won't be the same, i know, but i'll do my best! maybe, ill even grill up some pineapple and put an umbrella in my water glass tonight...just to keep myself in the vacation state of mind.

jamaican jerk chicken
what you need:

  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium scallions, chopped
  • 2 Scotch bonnet chiles, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon five-spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries, coarsely ground
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • two 3 1/2- to 4-pound chickens, quartered
what you do: in a food processor, combine the onion, scallions, chiles, garlic, five-spice powder, allspice, pepper, thyme, nutmeg and salt; process to a coarse paste. with the machine on, add the the soy sauce and oil in a steady stream. pour the marinade into a large, shallow dish, add the chicken and turn to coat. cover and refrigerate overnight. bring the chicken to room temperature before proceeding.

light a grill. grill the chicken over a medium-hot fire, turning occasionally, until well browned and cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. (cover the grill for a smokier flavor.) transfer the chicken to a platter and serve.


wine wednesday (a few days late)

one of my new favorites spots (and one i am very happy to return home to) is the burlington wine shop.

a delightful little shop right downtown with a wonderful range of wines (with cute labels) at every price plus their staff knows when to steer you away from the cute labels and towards a wine that is perfect for any occasion!
and the best part is they celebrate wine wednesdays as well! in their world, wine wednesday means partnering with drink (the fantastic bar next store) and selecting four wines and pairing them with four cheeses and bread from august first bakery. so, for $10 you can treat yourself to a little mid-week wine & cheese party! gotta love that.
this week, they are likely to feature their wine of the week - anne amie, muller thurgau 2007 - which is a "cold weather white grape variety created by crossing riesling and silvaner. oregon's cooler climate creates this beautiful wine that teases of sweetness but remains dry and light bodied with lots of white fleshy fruit flavors."
and if you can't make it on wednesday - there is a free wine tasting on saturday, april 24th!


a confession & apology.

please accept my apology for having gone missing the last week.
i am deeply sorry.
to be completely honest, i thought i could sneak away for a few days and still stay connected with you all and the blog world. i had every intention, i promise! but, much to my surprise, i was able to unplug and to tune out the rest of the world and focus on the few things that really matter - my first class family, sunshine, umbrella drinks, mr frederickson, gazebos & the always important afternoon nap.
however, i have missed you all greatly and couldn't be more excited to get back to my real (and cyber) life in vermont. and in an effort to get back in all of your good graces, the next 48 hours will be full of the blog posts that i have missed - top 10 tuesday, wine wednesday, comfort food thursday, plus a few other treats i have waiting in the wings.
it's so good to be home.


VTuesday Shoesday

oh happy tuesday shoesday to all!
after the torturous saturday night i spent in high heel party shoes, this week, is all about comfort and helping my poor little toes recover.
i think this precious pair of sunshiny yellow slippers from london sole will do just that
i have a feeling they will bring a little spring back to my step too!)

can't wait to see what my shoesday friends are up to today!


the mason jar attitude.

i think mason jars are pretty fabulous.
i have no idea when and where this obsession began, but i can't get enough of them.
and as my brother so eloquently put it "the mason jar is all about attitude." and he's right.
mason jars and outdoor gatherings are a match made in heaven.

they are as celebratory as a champagne flute, but as relaxed as a beer mug.

they can be the vessel for your morning orange juice just as easily as they can hold your vermont microbrew.

casual but utilitarian. simple yet versatile. rustic and elegant.

the mason jar is welcoming, friendly and a darn good multitasker. from pasta sauce to peonies, from candles to cookies, from whole grains to whole wheat, from milk to mint juleps - everything and everyone feels right at home when they are around.

and there is nothing better than feeling right at home.


local wisdom.

this made my heart happy this morning. (local wisdom cards via etsy)


wine wednesday.

as i admitted last week, i know very little about wine. and since my catholic guilt forced me to go for a run rather than go wine tasting on tuesday - i unfortunately bring no additional knowledge to the table this week.
but, what i do know about my beverage of choice, is that i love a clever label, and this refreshing and sarcastic wine from boyden valley winery really got my goat (or cow in this case. haha. get it?!?!)
according to those who know, "this white table wine is fruity and semi-dry like a riesling. it is a delightful summer wine, and makes a fantastic sangria! cowtipper’s hints of apricot and pear go deliciously with chicken and seafood, grilled tuna being a favorite."

happy wine wednesday! sangria anyone..?


mr. frederickson

the man in my life has many wonderful qualities, the best of which may be his unbelievable nicknaming ability. he has single handedly renamed every family member, dog, friend and coworker that he has encountered. some stick and some evolve and multiply. for example - i have about 20 nicknames that seem to rotate based on moods, seasons, time of day and other random variables. (admittedly i prefer some names much more than others!)

so, when i decided to start this blog and knew that he would undoubtedly be mentioned a few times, the pressure was on to come up with a cyber alter ego that suited him and that kept him ever so slightly anonymous and intriguing. i was paralyzed by the pressure, but knew that one day it would just come to me...

and then it did. so, world - meet my mr. frederickson. mr. carl frederickson.

let me explain - if i had to pick a movie - a love story - that captured what i hope life to be like, it would be that of ellie and carl in
UP. their shared sense of excitement and adventure, their enjoyment of the little things and the routines, their ability to tackle lifes curve balls and make the best of them, the way they feel about certain pieces of furniture, and the way their whole story can be told just through pictures and charming melody.

so - take a minute and watch this and i hope this explains the name. make sure you have tissues handy.


VTuesday Shoesday

here at love vermont, we couldn't be happier that flip flop season is (nearly) upon us. we have been waiting since the first september frost to peel off our wool socks and winter boots and slip into a pretty little pair of summer's favorite footwear. and i think it is just about time to make it official - there is no snow left on the ground (although we've been known to celebrate the season even if our bare toes have to step over snow piles) and the weather forecast is looking like the temperature will stay about freezing for the foreseeable future...so in anticipation of the glorious days of summer, this tuesday shoesday is all about flowers and flip flops and this pair of perfectly summery sandals.
i think i might do a little destination shopping and venture down to well heeled in stowe to pick up a pair..and perhaps a celebratory and much needed pedicure along the way as well (-:
happy flip flop season to all!


outstanding in a field.

i dream about dinner parties.
i dream about long banquet tables covered with crisp white linens.
i dream about the conversations that happen around this table.
i dream about having a vegetable garden and a vineyard in my backyard.
and this dream of mine is about to come true.
well, it will on august 17th @ petes greens in craftsbury, vt.

outstanding in the field is a magical tour bus, aka a roving culinary adventure aka, a restaurant without walls, that travels far and wide bringing this very dinner party (complete with white linens and mason jars) to communities across the country. they play host to the celebration that honors the local people whose good work brings food & wine to the table.

so, how does this magical dinner party work? well, its simple, really. it's a celebration of local ingredients prepared by a talented chef of the region and enjoyed by everyone -from the farmer to the artisans, to regular people like me - at a long, splendid banquet table, under the stars.

have i captured your attention yet?! to learn more about the event here in vermont, or one at a farm table near you, visit their site and prepare to be amazed (or in my case want to hop on the party bus and go with them!)


the happiness project.

this holiday weekend was full of so many things i love - leisurely homecooked meals, the smell of spring, mr. frederickson (more on him later), perfect running weather, afternoon naps in the sun, cadbury mini eggs, and some time to get settled into my new book, which is a luxury in and of itself.

if you are anything like me, you have a pile of books cluttering your nightstand, just taunting you and begging to be read. and in my case, they are a constant source of guilt (i really should be reading these, but i really just want to fall asleep) and annoyance (dust seems to gather on my nightstand around said books more than any other place in my apartment!) so, i am going to challenge myself this spring to tackle this reading project (book club, anyone!?) and it seemed only appropriate that the first book be "the happiness project" by gretchen rubin.
i think gretchen and i might be soul mates...but even if you and she have very little in common, you will love this book. it is entertaining and full of helpful bits of wisdom (and lists!) to help even the happiest person get a little bit happier. and who can argue with that? plus, she has a blog, so you can stalk - i mean, follow - the happiness project everyday!

one of my favorite lists was her secrets of adulthood. clever, concise and i am fairly certain that this list alone will carry me well into the next chapter of life, whatever that may be.
  • the best reading is re-reading.
  • outer order contributes to inner calm.
  • the opposite of a great truth is also true.
  • you manage what you measure.
  • by doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished.
  • people don’t notice your mistakes and flaws as much as you think.
  • it's nice to have plenty of money.
  • most decisions don't require extensive research.
  • try not to let yourself get too hungry.
  • even if you think they're fake, it's nice to celebrate mother's day and father's day.
  • if you can't find something, clean up.
  • the days are long, but the years are short.
  • someplace, keep an empty shelf.
  • turning the computer on and off a few times often fixes a glitch.
  • it's okay to ask for help.
  • you can choose what you do; you can't choose what you LIKE to do.
  • happiness doesn't always make you feel happy.
  • what you do EVERY DAY matters more than what you do ONCE IN A WHILE.
  • you don't have to be good at everything.
  • soap and water removes most stains.
  • it's important to be nice to EVERYONE.
  • you know as much as most people.
  • over-the-counter medicines are very effective.
  • eat better, eat less, exercise more.
  • what's fun for other people may not be fun for you--and vice versa.
  • people actually prefer that you buy wedding gifts off their registry.
  • houseplants and photo albums are a lot of trouble.
  • if you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough.


state jewels.

once again, i got lost in blog world today. whoops. several hours - and with several dozen internet explorer windows open - i came across the most lovely designer - maya brenner. she is based in southern california and has been designing jewelry for the past decade and it has been seen on all sorts of fancy, famous folks. but the recent addition of state necklaces has been her most successful and loved. clearly, i will be needing the vermont version asap...also in my blog stalking today, i found the brightside project (love, love, love) and if you stop by their supercute site before april 8th, tell them why you love vermont (or any home state) and enter to win a custom made sterling silver state necklace with a diamond placed in your hometown!


april is...

(celebrate the nest via etsy)

april collects umbrellas and rainbows.
she has translucent feelings.
april loves the blues.
she loves the mood of spring.
april loves to get its feet wet.
she understands the clouds.
april gets thank you cards from may.
she dances with the wind.
april lives in the spaces between being and becoming.
she watches the birds return.
april loves to tease the weatherman.
she takes long walks in the rain.
april wears a moodstone.
she can experience things emotionally.
april always springs forward.
she has thoughts that turn into poetry.
(who is april? - courtesy of a 2006 KOCO NY Calendar)

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