Magic Beans

Ready for Easter?

In my family growing up,  Easter was a big deal. My mom made our Easter outfits (I know, pretty incredible), dresses in sprigged cotton and matching lining in the pastel wool coats. Yes, she made us coats. And new shoes and frilly ankle socks for me and my sisters, my brother got a new suit or new shirt and tie.  I particularly remember our footwear, especially the one year that white patent go go boots (to be clear, only we called them that), replaced the usual patent leather Mary Janes. Oh, we were mod.  I wish I could find a photo to show you the awesomeness.

There were Easter services, an excruciatingly painful time away from our candy, and we had awesome candy. Always an Easter egg hunt with plastic eggs filled with candy, and peeps, because there must always be peeps, and a solid chocolate bunny. Bunnies were special, and if your bunny was touched, you knew it and if it was defiled, you could tell by the teeth marks left behind. Or was that just us? It took years of hurled accusations to realize that the cleanly cut off tail was certainly the handiwork of our father, who would stoop to steal a bit of Easter candy but never in such a base manner as to actually gnaw on the bunny, and he always used a sharp knife. We should have known.

When I had children of my own, the week before Easter we dyed eggs (always fun and messy), and Easter morning had an Easter egg hunt (my favorite thing), and I made up pretty baskets and stayed true to solid bunnies. And just in case you think this is picture perfect, it’s not. Here’s how it usually goes around here, the night before Easter, I dig out the plastic eggs from last year to fill with the candy I have managed not to eat, and I go to the present cabinet for the few non-edible gifts I stashed there over the past few weeks. Seat of my pants, people, seat of my pants.

My blogger/friend/cohort team that makes up @GoLocalBoston, all approach holiday preparation with a purpose – some of us are just better planners. And for Easter, with a quiet (okay, not quiet), certain, and thoughtful focus, we curated gorgeous gift baskets. Why do we do this? For you, dear reader.

In general, we got together because we all like to support local businesses, and we like each other, and we all really like sweets. So this was definitely not a bad gig. Most of my work involved unwrapping candy, arranging hard to wrangle lollipops, and bolting down most of the Cadbury mini-eggs (sorry, Debbie). As we took pictures of the beautiful items from local companies, we called out orders to each other, laughed, sampled candy, and talked about the work at hand, other business, food and families. What a fantastic group of women to work with, and as we are all slightly opinionated and not afraid to share our thoughts, some people might need a lie down after a session with us. We are funny, too. Just ask any of us.

So for this project, we started off with baskets in the following themes: Nautical, Spring, Sports, and Farm. If that’s not your style, simply grab your favorite from each, and mix and match.

Want to round out the baskets with non-food items? Ideas abound and some of our favorites include:

Sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, bouncy balls, a frisbee or two, stuffed animals, art supplies, markers, pens, or colored pencils with sketch pads or journals, picture books, twinkle lights, phone cords, portable phone chargers, a cute new case, ear phones, a tea cup or coffee mug and fill with small treats, or add a small flowering plant. Since there is no shortage of cute baskets, pails and other containers, just go to local drug store or market to find the just right sized basket.


Easter basket treats are not just for the kids any more – I’d love to bring one of these as a hostess gift or use as Easter brunch centerpieces or even make small baskets as party favors.

Want to learn more about these local lovelies who helped us fill these baskets? Check out Leah’s Life, A Little Bit About A Lot of Things, and Kim World.

Featured brands include:

A Dozen Eggs


E Frances

eh chocolatier



Gray Mist

Harbor Sweets

la Burdick

Magic Beans

Pao de Brasil

Phillips Candy House

Pure Sugar Candy

Royce chocolates

Seacoast sweets

Spindler Confections

Wilson Farm

#Easter Capability Mom

Amd P.S. I steal their candy, too. Only I know better than to cut the tail off.

There’s School Tomorrow…Finally!

There’s School Tomorrow! Now that you’re dug out…time to get all your errands done!

Like going to the grocery store, the pharmacy, maybe pick up some Valentine’s Day gifts. I, ahem, may or may not have eaten some intended gifts during the hunkering down time. Note to self – next year buy non-consumable items like the ones at Linden Square. Don’t worry – they have chocolate, too.

Roche Brothers and CVS are both in Linden Square which makes shopping there practical, too. Here is a lovely gift-buying guide to help you with some ideas. Just don’t get snowed in and decide you are going to keep them for yourself – more snow coming on Thursday – you may not have time to replace them, and for goodness sake, don’t get edible gifts! Check out some sweet ideas below and then scroll down to see what else is happening in the Square. I got the sweetest newsletter and copied it for you – you are welcome.

Shop our Sweet Deals and Gift Ideas.
We promise we won’t kiss and tell. Enter our Valentine’s Day Sweepstakes
by Feb. 14 to win one $25 gift card from Sara Campbell and Tobey Grey.
No purchase necessary to enter; must be 21 years of age or older.

Body in Motion

Powerful love!

First Barfusion Class FREE and new client special $99 unlimited. Only available to new clients; expires 30 days from purchase.


Give a little Ceri love for your loved ones and receive 14% off your accessories purchase from 2/12 through 2/14.

California Pizza Kitchen

SWEET Deal for 2 just $32

One appetizer, two entrees, one dessert. Available only Wednesday, 2/11- Sunday, 2/15.

Fitness Club for Women

Give the gift of HEALTH.

Purchase a 10 Visit Class Card for only $75 (a $75 savings). Only available to first time members.


Gifts from the heart

Lemon Tee Shirt with Sparkle Heart, sizes 7-14, $46
Ribbon Bracelet with Heart Clasp, tween sizes, $26
Gold Foil Heart Poster from Natural Curiosities – Call for pricing and details 781.237.3666

Impulse by Adamas Fine Jewelry

Shower her with hugs & kisses

Heather Moore “I love you” Charm, Sterling Silver and 14k Yellow Gold $1,040
Private Collection 14k Yellow Gold and Pave Diamond “X” ring $1,410
Rebecca Lankford Yellow Gold and Pave Diamond “XO” Bracelet $385
Suzanne Kalan 14k Pink Topaz and Black Diamond Studs $616


A sweet for your sweetie!

#SharetheLove with a Pinkberry Gift Card


Get Saucy on this Valentine’s Day!

On February 14, Buy One Smothered Burrito, Get One Smothered Burrito Free — for just a kiss!

Salon Maleah

Love is in the hair. Give the gift of style.

Foil Highlight, Cut & Blow Dry & Conditioning Treatment for $200.
Blowout Bundle – Buy 4, get one FREE for $140.
Marula Products $25-40

Tobey Grey Boutique

Put a ring on it!

Printed Village Scarves, the perfect price points $38
Vita Frede Bracelets and Rings ranging from $154-$460
Joie top, sexy and comfortable $298

Tiny Hanger

First crush

Wee One’s Valentine’s Day Bows $7-10
Tiny Hanger Heart Shirt & Heart Luna Leggings $28 & $46
Valentine’s Day Trumpette Socks $12.50
Bambeeno Heart Cashmere Sweaters $70
Tiny Hanger Heart Shirt & Heart Tutu $28 & $28
Rock Candy Bracelets $16
Tiny Universe Valentine’s Day Dress $62

Unleashed by PETCO

Decorate your own heart-shaped cookie for your furry friend.

Come in 2/14-2/15; while supplies last.
or call 781.416.1800.


Linden Square – Lovely All Year Round

Linden Square – Lovely All Year Round

When my children were little, I was in Wellesley every week for my wonderful Tuesday playgroup and I was introduced to Roche Brothers for groceries, but really, I went for the drummies,  and the Linden Street Deli for fantastic sandwiches. Then when Linden Square was added, I still went for drummies groceries, to The Cottage for lunch, or to work at Starbucks, and to pick a baby gift at Magic Beans and I knew there were other shops there – I just hadn’t explored them yet.  So when I was invited to explore Linden Square as part of a blogger event, I said yes without even checking my calendar.

Our first stop, Roosters, a charming  men’s grooming center (shaves, haircuts and more) where they handed me a straight edge and let me shave a person’s face balloon. I was nervous at first and although I did lose the straight edge in the towel – only once! – my instructor was kind and patient.  I really liked how the warm wood of the shop gives it an old-timey feel. This would be a great gift for Dad or your father-in-law (I’m adding it to my best gifts to give) and a great father-son outing for big boy haircut time!

Nest up was Tobey Grey Boutique and I did know this was here because I managed to fall into a pre-inventory sale here this past summer while I was supposed to be working with Leah, but I digress. Great graphic tees with positive messages, super well-fitting jeans and a slew of yummy cashmere sweaters and pretty, flowy tops.

Then on to CERI Boutique for more fashion and accessories. Another gorgeous store with some sweet jewelry and accessories. I like the little bags and am buying a few to fill with fun things – maybe make a winter survival kit with lip balm, hand cream, a headband, and some cozy socks or mittens? There were too many pretty clothes to try on in the time allotted so I’m heading back next week.


Next stop, Pure Barre.

I have friends who take classes here  – really fit friends, I might add – and I have always been a little intimidated by the idea of a mirror and a barre – but not after visiting Pure Barre! The staff is warm, enthusiastic, welcoming and reassuring that there are accommodations made to the program for all fitness levels and abilities and even injuries. I have been wanting to up my work out routine for a while so this looks like a great place to try that.

Sara Campbell was our next fabulous stop – what a pretty store! Gorgeous sweaters, dresses, gifts, and at a variety of price points – an incredibly helpful staff. We met the store model who was a lovely spokesperson and Shift Your Style was running a pop up and they can help with anything from closet editing to dressing for a special event. I was actually complimented by their stylist on my color choice of sweater and scarf – wow! and to think I was going to go with a basic black sweater.



One of my favorite toy stores has long been Magic Beans. This lovely local shop always has toys of great quality and their staff is friendly, well-trained and incredibly helpful with suggestions for gifts. Take my recent assignment – get Legos for a 6 year old. Easy, right? Umm, no. Have you seen the vast array of Legos lately? I was out of my depth until I asked the salesperson for advice. I knew only Lego and something possiblt artic. Suffice to day, all set! And good that I know my nephew doesn’t read my blog because his present is pictured below.


Changing it up and moving onto home decor, next stop Bonsoir Fine Linens. Our group watched in amazement at the napkin folding demonstration and I even tried it despite my skill set normally limits me to folding  napkins into rectangles. And I could do the fancy folds, well, one of them. And I do so want this shiny gorgeous table runner for the holidays – it adds a touch of glam to any table.  Another gorgeous store with a great variety of items in all price ranges – gorgeous candles and ornaments to full bedding sets. I can’t wait to try out my new mad napkin folding skills on my unsuspecting family.


Next stop, adorable Kenzie (formerly Kenzie Kids) a terrific shop for tweens. It’s a great place to find occasion dresses, shoes and accessories that aren’t too much for a tween (you may not be ready for the juniors department, I know I wasn’t). The day to day wear is cute as a button but on trend in a way you and your tween will appreciate. They even carry women’s clothes now, too, and I really like this beautiful Bogner coat modeled by the incomparable Charlene DeLoach from Charlene Chronicles. This coat is luxe enough for her new website, Cleverluxe! And they had donuts for us which, yes, I tried, and yes, they were worth it.

And tiny hanger with the cutest clothes for kids ever. Their tagline is curated cuteness and I won’t even try to improve on that. Check it out.

then came lunch at The Cottage! What a lovely room and such delicious food. I love the stuffed avocado with chicken salad and hats off to Kim for remaining calm when I almost upended the entire table. One cool mama, that one. My phone was charging at the front desk – so accommodating!  – during lunch so no food pics –  it was all delicious and gorgeous.


I was also out of battery for Belle Sante  but I am going back soon and will make up for it then. There was a prettily packaged gift card in my gift bag and I am going to use it toward one of their signature treatments. I have been to the Boston location – my mom took us all one year – and I can’t wait to try Wellesley, and maybe I should bring my mom.

Unleashed by PETCO dropped by at lunch with gift bags for our pets – am I ever going to be popular with my dog!

Then, off to dessert at IMPULSE but we were all distracted by the something shiny and didn’t really eat (although I did take a coffee for the road and a Quebrada cupcake for my daughter).

The Sisco & Berlutti line of bracelets are perfectly stack-able and a great gift. Started by two sisters from Westwood, these beaded bracelets are a fantastic gift. I also loved the Heather B. Moore line – personalized or stock items – these wonderful handcrafted charms are a warm and personal keepsake.

I missed getting a gorgeous updo at Salon Maleah (that was Emily Roach with her post here), but there was a gift card tucked in my gift bag so I’ll happily head back to Linden Square for some pampering!

So, a whirlwind day filled with laughter, shopping, great food and fun! And after this day in the Square, the well-designed Linden Square, I ran into Roche Brothers to pick up ingredients for dinner. No drummies, this time, though.

The place to go for great gifts for everyone on your gift list! Also Linden Square is running the cutest Elf on the Shelf Contest from December 1-19 (there’s still time!) Three people will win – so if you find him in any of the stores, take a pic and post on social media – the shoppers with the most ‘likes’ win! More info on the Facebook Page below for another contest, too! What fun!

Linden Square Wellesley
181 Linden Street
Wellesley, MA


Disclosure: I attended this blogger media event and left with a lovely gift bag, and all opinions are always my own.

Halloween Preparedness

Halloween is tomorrow and I am putting up decorations a bit late this year…as in today (maybe this had something to do with Hurricane Sandy, maybe I just didn’t get to it). I like this time of year, carving pumpkins, apple picking, trick or treating – although I’m not into the scary movies and I love that there are people who are trying to present healthy alternatives to this sugar laden holiday. Check out my finds!

From a recent study conducted by the ADA and Popcap games:

Approximately 94% of all American children participate in trick-or-treating, but the survey results signify parents of kids that age want more and better options where treats are concerned. Among the top findings, the average child receives just over 90 pieces of candy on Halloween and 70% of parents agree it would be good if their children received less candy and more non-candy treats.

Yikes. Most people would agree that this is entirely too much candy. Even I think this is excessive and I like my candy. What to do? It is a holiday tradition, true, but there good ways to change it up and not get your house egged. None of them involve bringing the candy to me but, as always, my children’s candy remains in my care, custody and control. I mean, of course I wouldn’t eat any of their candy while they are at school.

1. The PopCap and ADA “Stop Zombie Mouth” campaign (which I am proud to be a part of) and includes the giveaway of millions of coupons redeemable for free copies of the family-friendly hit PopCap® game Plants vs. Zombies®.
Use the code from your trading cards or coupon to download Plants vs. Zombies free for PC or Mac. (offer expires Nov. 11). The free codes can be redeemed at starting Oct. 30, but no later than Nov. 10 for PC or Mac version of the super-popular game, which usually retails for $19.95. Take the fun ADA Stop Zombie Mouth quiz here and download some coloring pages here. Get cards at your dentist’s office or go to
2. From one of my favorite stores, here’s another way to say goodbye to some of the candy in your house, do good, and get a toy instead.
Magic Beans is proud to announce its annual Candy Buy-Back program – a fun way for kids to trade in candy for something more wholesome – high quality toys! From November 1-5, 2012, families can bring in at least one pound of Halloween candy to any Magic Beans store and receive 20% off a toy.
Great idea! The fun part is collecting and counting (and maybe organizing by color or type) and trading the candy anyway. Click on the image above for a link to their great blog – there is a post with local Halloween activities for kids.
3. Give a snack (hermetically sealed is always best) Try giving individual bags of popchips as a healthier option. popchips arpopchips trick or treat candy alternative capability mome never fried (unhealthy), never baked (undelicious), just popped and only 100 calories per single-serve bag and they contain no preservatives, trans fats, fake colors or flavors. You can buy them in a multi-pack at most grocery stores. I am a fan of the original but the other flavors have their merits, too. Yes, I taste tested them for you. The sweet potato is mild, the salt and pepper are pretty peppery and the nacho flavored are frankly addiciive.

4. Operation Shoebox – Support our troops by making a donation. Click on the link to see what they need. Candy works (not melt able) and stationary, toiletries and books – See the list here. Priority Boxes from the Post Office are free. Fill one up today.

From the website:
If you would like to show your support… you can send them through us and include a card or note to the troop. We will make sure it gets to someone that needs it and out mailing address is:

Operation Shoebox
PO Box 1465
Belleview, FL 34421-1465

The post office will accept any size box for us.

Here are the links:


Magic Beans Candy Buy Back Program

Full Disclosure: I was given some cards and posters and popchips for promotional purposes. No other compensation was received and opinions are, as always, my own.
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