romantic gifts

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

This story is from a local friend of mine. Her name is Rachelle and the man we are applauding is her man, Tyler. In her words:

“You may know I LOVE a good surprise.  In my husband’s quest to surprise me AND get me something I would love he bought SIX (yes, I said six) red purses.  When he arrived at the checkout the woman smiled and then he explained.  Indeed buying a woman a purse is an impossible job and is as personal as picking out a tie for a man!  She totally agreed.  Tyler told me to close my eyes displayed the purses and then kindly reminded me I could choose one.  I am not a purse collector, as in I usually use one (two tops) at a time, brown and/or black.  Red (wow!) and then the choices…no wonder I love him so much!”

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We will be sharing this Sunday with some very special Valentines, great grandma and grandpa. I can’t think of anything sweeter. So yesterday we got to work making my hot chocolate on a stick recipe in an appropriate form to enjoy on Valentines day. I was very pleased with how they turned out. Do you like them? And I thought they were a perfect treat for my kids too, a few other people who melt my heart.

And I wanted to share this with you, a garland I saw on PurlBee and whipped up on my sewing machine this morning to share with the readers over at SEI. It took me about 25 minutes, and that includes cleanup time. That’s my kind of sewing project.

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Select Registry

02.08.10

My favorite vacations are the ones where I have a local show me around. I just love being shown a little fish place they know or supporting the independent book shop or ice cream parlor. And I love getting to see a place more like the locals do.

Which I why I am in love this association. Brent and I learned about it a couple years ago while staying at one of their B&Bs. The company is called Select Registry, and it is a list of nearly 400 premier B&Bs spread across the United States and Canada, all of them crazy-beautiful and all of them independently owned. (You can browse all their inns here.) And making the registry is kind of a big deal.

Select Registry sends independent inspectors to visit the inns on their list. Inspectors do everything undercover, they’re like Select Registry’s minion of spies. They arrive as any other guest, spend the night, enjoy the inn and the breakfast, and only then do they reveal their secret identity. The inn needs to pass the detailed questionnaire to remain on the registry.

Do you realize what this means for you and me? It means we can pick any inn on the list, show up and be treated like royalty, then saunter down to breakfast the next morning and get personalized recommendations of the most delightful way to spend the day. (These are B&B owners, they know how to live.)

Greystone

happy inn browsing!

Geneva on the Lake

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Yesterday we decided to combine two of our favorite things about Valentines: paper + cake (singing along to sappy love songs is also on that list).

We stopped by a local bakery and asked if they had any wafer paper. They did. We’d never tasted it plain before so we all snipped of a slice. It tasted like, um, paper.

When we got home we poured out a little food coloring. I dug out my calligraphy pen…

and the kids ran for their paintbrushes.

We made and frosted some cakes (we baked them in ramekinsand used this trick for keeping the frosting smooth), snipped our designs
a bit, and found ourselves with

three edible Valentines.

I think my 4-year-old’s turned out to be my favorite.


Stop by tomorrow to see what we came up with to display them on.

UPDATE: Since this was our first time every playing with rice paper, I thought I’d add a few extra words of advice from here: “In order to make the rice paper stick to the cake…, you need to use some clear gel.” (Note, I didn’t use anything! I just stuck the paper right on the frosting.) “Carefully cover the bottom (the rough side) of the paper evenly with a layer of clear, edible gel. Then, turn the rice paper over and position it on top of the iced cake. …The rice paper should disintegrate after a short time of being on top of the cake, but even if it doesn’t completely disappear, don’t worry! It is completely tasteless and odorless, so it won’t be detected.”

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If you want to proclaim your love and you’re a little bit country you can always climb the water tower and paint your message there. But here are a few other, more legal (and every bit as poetic) options.

in the shower

in the snow

on your sandwich

on a banana

on your arm (via here, get custom  temporary tats here)

in your hair

in the sky (get a price quote here)

in the night sky (via here, get instructions here)

on dessert (image from here)
(UPDATE: for those of you who are pie people, cupcakes for clara
just dropped by and shared where she proclaimed her love on a pie)

in dessert

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A few of my favorite things you can mail via USPS first class, that is, they weigh 13 ounces or less.

the smile mask card

DIY flipbook


a post card you can carve your innitials into

DIY mini boomerang (I’m totally trying this)

assemble-able post cards, found via here

custom silhouettes available here

magnetic paper dolls, via here

pretty hair pins

pretty socks

your own personal hot air balloon, available here or get the DIY here (found via here)

magnets that turn your fridge into an aquarium

the hexbug, found this guy via here

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I picked up some new winter picnic gear. Yes, this metal coil can plug into your car and heat up a mug of something yummy (!!) I get easily bored with the same old meals around the table and often like to pack everyone up for a day of adventure and picnics in the car. These chocolate mugs I picked up for my honey at Crate & Barrel. Perfect sized for a really rich cup of hot chocolate on a stick (my latest favorite is making the recipe with dark and white chocolate, and adding cinnamon and cayenne).

And you know, the more I think of it the more I’m dreaming of the perfect winter picnic.

I’d start somewhere isolated but not too isolated. With a chill in the air but still enough winter sunshine to warm my hair and shoulders and back. I’d start with this menu. (Love the part where she says “The girls and I picked the nettles for the soup on the heath.”)

Of course everything would have to be toted on a sledge (who loves sweet paul? i do, i do!)

I’d bring along a cozy blanket.


And a mini hottie.

I’d use this crazy cool kettle. It boils “1.5 litres of water in three minutes using only a handful of twigs, or a dried cow-pat, newspaper, an old bird’s nest.”

And windproof matches to get that cow-pat fire going.
I’d go for this hot cocoa (which I’m dying to try) recommended by this talented woman who I promise you would know a good hot chocolate when she met one.

I might even get fancy and buy a little of this yummy, melty stuff

and broil it on one of these. A pocket raclette grill. I need to tell you about our once-a-week family raclette night. Remind me to some time. It’s been pretty great.

I have one more surprise I’m working out for you, and if it goes as planned, I’m just sure it will become a winter picnic essential. But it may be a week or two. Plus I’m thinking this little gadget will coordinate nicely with a guest post I’ll be doing elsewhere in a few weeks. In the meantime, happy winter.

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chocolate covered oreos stack

I noticed several of us have something in common, we really like chocolate. So I thought we’d talk a little chocolate. Are you on board? Today we’ll talk melting, tomorrow we’ll talk buying.

I know that when I first started working with chocolate I was totally bewildered. But after doing enough research, I realized that melting chocolate and dipping fun things in it is pretty simple, it just takes practice. So for those of you with chocolate experience (or a good chocolate recipe), I’d love for you to chime in, and hopefully we can convince anyone who’s hesitant that playing with chocolate is worth a try.

chocolate

SIX THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CHOCOLATE BEFORE MELTING
Let’s get acquainted with chocolate, shall we?
1. You can not over stir. Melted chocolate loves to be stirred.
2. Keep water and alcohol away. One drop will ruin a whole batch of chocolate, making it seize up and turn into a stiff grainy mess.
3. Chocolate does not like heat, just warmth. If you can keep your chocolate below 90 F while you melt it (88 F for milk or white chocolate), it will stay pretty and in temper. If you get it above 120 F (110 F for milk or white chocolate), you risk doing bad things to the chocolate.
4. Chocolate chips are not designed to melt, in fact, they’re designed to not melt (so they can hold their shape in your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe). If you want to melt chocolate, buy a baking chocolate bar or another bar. More on that in my post on buying chocolate.
5. Move slowly. Chocolate is the boyfriend you do not want to scare away. Stir slowly, heat slowly, be patient and it will all turn out for the best in the end. A bigger batch of chocolate will heat and cool more slowly and evenly, so it is easier to work with than a small batch.
6. If you really want to start out easy on yourself, buy cocoa-flavored candy wafers (aka confectionery coating). They’re not real chocolate, and you can tell, they taste a bit waxy, but they are super easy to practice with, And do not need to be tempered because they’re made with vegetable fats instead of cocoa butter. More on that in my post on buying chocolate.

milk chocolate dipped oreosOne of these things just does not belong here.
Chocolate chips are not meant for melting. The chocolate goes on thick and muddy and takes much longer to cool. Can you spot which poor, sad Oreo was dipped in chocolate chips?

seized chocolate
It’s such a tragedy when chocolate meets moisture and seizes (chocolate seized on the left). If this happens to your chocolate, use it to bake yourself some brownies or scoop it into hot milk for a nice rich cup of hot chocolate, or make any recipe that mixes chocolate and mix liquid.

HOW TO MELT CHOCOLATE IN A MICROWAVE
The microwave is a totally legit way to melt chocolate. Serious chocolatiers do it and so can you.

Equipment:
1 Rubbermaid-type container
(You need a bowl that will stay cool in the microwave, so it will not get hot and scorch the chocolate. If you’re not sure if a bowl will work, microwave something in it and take it out to see if it’s still cool enough to handle. If it is, it’s good for chocolate.)

Directions:
1. If your chocolate is in a block, chop it into almond-sized pieces (or into small shreds for milk or white chocolate, which are extra sensitive to heat). Put all of your chocolate in the bowl or cup.
2. Microwave on 50% power for thirty seconds to one minute (shorter if you’re melting just a cupful). Take the chocolate out and stir.
3. Return it to the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds more on 50% power. Take it out and stir.
4. Continue cooking in 5 – to 20-second intervals and stirring until the chocolate is 2/3 melted. Remember, you do not want your chocolate getting too warm. Do not go by sight, the chocolate will still hold its shape until you stir it.
5. Once it’s 2/3 melted just stir until it is completely melted. If it’s still not quite as liquid as you like, even if it’s all melted, put it back in for just 5 seconds or so at 50%.
6. Your chocolate is now ready for dipping. Take the time to stir every few minutes as you dip. The cooling chocolate on the outside of the bowl can affect the still melted chocolate in the middle.
7. Dip to your heart’s content until the chocolate starts to thicken. Then just throw it back in the microwave a few more times for just a few seconds and stir in between. If you want to keep the chocolate in temper, try to keep the chocolate between 88 and 90 F.
Tip: You can also melt chocolate right in a ziplock bag. This is great if you’re going to be piping the chocolate from a ziplock bag anyway. Follow all the same directions, only squish the chocolate around in place of stirring.

Note: Some recipes will call for a tablespoon of shortening to be stirred in the chocolate to make it thinner and more workable (the ratio is usually one tablespoon to every 6 ounces of chocolate). If you start with good chocolate it will have a high cocoa butter content and this should not be necessary. But if you feel like your chocolate needs thinning, it’s okay to add a little extra vegetable fat, just not ideal for the taste. And know that once you add shortening or another ingredient, the chocolate can not be tempered again.

chocolate melted in the microwave
When melting chocolate in the microwave, do not go by sight, the chocolate will still hold its shape until you stir it.

HOW TO MELT CHOCOLATE IN A DOUBLE BOILER
This is my favorite method. I guess I just like chocolate watching the entire time. You just have to be careful, since it’s a little dangerous having water around chocolate. What can I say, I I thrive on danger.

Equipment:
1 sauce pan
1 stainless steel or glass bowl that can fit snug on the pan to make a tight-fitting seal and still leave room for an inch or two of water in the pan below

Directions:
1. If your chocolate is in a block, chop it into almond-sized pieces (or into small shreds for milk or white chocolate).
2. If you’re melting more than just a little chocolate melt 1/3 of the chocolate at a time.
3. Warm a couple inches of water in the pan to just below simmering, then take the pan off the heat.
4. Place the bowl over the top to make your double boiler. It’s totally fine if your bowl touches the water, as long as the water is warm, like 110 degrees, instead of hot. Dump 1/3 of chocolate into the bowl.
5. Let the very edges of the chocolate begin to melt before you stir your first stroke. Once you see the edges melt, stir as the chocolate melts.
6. Once the first third melts, add the second batch, gently stirring and scooping the new chunks around so everything gets to touch everything else and the heat stays even.
7. If the water starts to cool, put the pan back over low heat for a minute or so. To be extra safe, you can take off the bowl full of chocolate and wait to put it back over the pan of water until you’ve taken the pan off the heat.
8. Add the final third of chocolate. Once it’s gotten a good start to melting, take the bowl off the pan (always dry it with a towel when you do this) and keep stirring off the heat until the chocolate is fully melted.
9. Dip away. Stop every few minutes to stir, and if the chocolate gets too cool, put it back over the warm water for a minute or two.

(Remember, if you can be super patient and let those chunks melt slowly, keeping them from getting more than 90 F or 88 F for milk and white chocolate, the chocolate will reward you and stay “in temper” and will still be nice and pretty when it cools.)

makeshift double boilerMy double boiler. I have a real one but prefer my bowl over a pan.

melting chocolate
Let those edges melt slightly before you stir your first stroke.

double boilerStirring, my favorite part. Do not forget to scrape the sides.

Why should I TEMPER CHOCOLATE?
I spent years bliss fully dipping things in melted chocolate chips and not even knowing about tempering chocolate. Well, it was blissful as long as I ate my creations right away. I’d get frustrated when I’d wake up the next morning to find my chocolate streaky or spotted and have no idea why. If only I’d known. Here’s what tempering will do for your chocolate:
1. Your chocolate will go on smoother
2. It will have that nice snap
3. It will be pretty and glossy and not have the gray spots or streaks called fat bloom
4. It will better resist melting when handled

WHEN SHOULD I TEMPER?
Any time your chocolate has to look pretty coated over something or molded on something, you should temper. Chocolate that comes from the factory is already tempered. When you melt chocolate past 90 F (88 F for milk or white chocolate), the fats in the cocoa butter lose their structure. You can get an ugly batch of pure chocolate back into temper, you just have to heat the chocolate high enough so it breaks up bad structures cocoa butter, then cool it just so to  allow good cocoa butter crystals to form. If you let the chocolate cool at the wrong temperature, the cocoa butter will form loose crystals and your chocolate will bloom and will not be in temper. We want nice, tight crystals to form. You need to temper with real chocolate and white chocolate, because both are made of coacoa butter.

fat bloom appears on the surface of untempered chocolate

Fat bloom can develop because you did not prepare your chocolate correctly in the first place, or because you didn’t store it correctly so the cocoa butter had the chance to separate. If you find a block of chocolate with fat bloom, you can temper it and transform it back into pretty, yummy chocolate. You cannot temper (a.k.a. fix) chocolate that has been scorched or that has had any ingredients added to it so it is no longer pure.

TEMPERING EQUIPMENT
To temper chocolate you’ll need
1. A double boiler or sauce pan and bowl if you’re going to do it stove top, or a bowl that stays cool in the microwave if you’re going to nuke your chocolate
2. A chocolate tempereing thermometer that ranges from 70 to 130 F, like this one, you want the sensor to be at the bottom of the thermometer
3. A rubber spatula for stirring (a wooden spoon can retain mosture and smells)
4. Parchment paper for laying out your creatiions once dipped

equipment thermometer for tempering chocolate

TEMPERING SHORT CUT
I like to avoid tempering all together by just buying good chocolate and being super patient the first time I melt to keep it below 90 F (88 F for milk or white chocolate). It takes practice, because it is very easy to over heat the chocolate. So it’s good to know how to temper so I can salvage chocolate on the days I just could not be patient enough.

HOW TO TEMPER: SEEDING METHOD
This one is my favorite. You’ll need some apricot-sized chunks of chocolate that are already in temper. Bigger chunks are easier to get out at the end. They’ll act as a good influence over the other chocolate and bring it into temper. Chop up the chocolate that needs to be tempered into almond-sized pieces as usual. You need about 1 part tempered chocolate to 4 parts untempered chocolate.

1. Melt all the chocolate that needs to be tempered using the microwave or a double boiler as described above. Reserve your good, tempered chocolate chunks. Melt the untempered chocolate to 115 F (110 for milk or white chocolate) to break down the bad cocoa butter structures. Always put the thermometer in the middle of the chocolate when measuring, don’t let it touch the bowl.
2. Add the chunks of good tempered chocolate. Stir until the temperature gets down to 90 F (88 for milk or white chocolate). Stir well so they touch all the untempered chocolate.
3. Remove the extra chunks, either with a spoon or by passing the chocolate through a sieve. The chocolate should now be tempered and ready to go.

TEMPERING: THE CLASSIC METHOD
I’ve had less luck with this method, but you can give it a try. It just a matter of heating, cooling, then reheating the chocolate. Chop up the chocolate that needs to be tempered into almond-sized pieces as usual.
1.
Melt the chocolate to 115 F (110 for milk or white chocolate).
2. Take the bowl off the double boiler if using one and place it over a towel on the counter (the towel acts as an insulator). Stir and cool the chocolate until it reaches 84 F (82 for milk and white chocolate). If you get good at this, you can put the bowl in a bath of cooler water to speed the process.
3. Warm the chocolate, ever so carefully. Microwave on extra low power or put the bowl over a pan of mildly warm water. Warm until it just reaches 90 F (88 for milk and white chocolate). A couple degrees below is okay, but not one degree higher. The chocolate should now be tempered and ready to go.

ONCE TEMPERED
While your dipping, stir occasionally and warm the chocolate occasionally to keep it workable and between 88 and 90 F.

chocolate dipping

After dipping, gently shake your treat back and forth to help the extra chocolate drizzle off

hot chocolate

mmm, rich chocolate poured right into frothy milk, so French
(only in France I’m thinking the cups would be about one eighth this size)

chocolate dipped cone

dipped waffle cone, my favorite
chocolate covered oreo

chocolate dipped oreos, oh ya
chocolate covered gummi bears

yum. enrobed gummis

If you need a good chocolate book, I’ve gone through dozens over the years, but one that stood out was Elaine González’s The Art of Chocolate.González does a great job of explaining how chocolate works without going over your head, or mine at least.

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SKATES

12.02.09

I have something important to tell you. Did you know you can go ice skating in the middle of Yosemite? It’s pretty fantastic. We happened across the rink while searching for a geocache there. When we saw the rink, my daughter and I looked at each other like “are you thinking what I’m thinking?” We rented some skates and got on the ice (the boys opted out). It was her first-ever time ice skating, and she was delighted by every part of it. She kept pointing out how pretty her skates were, and was in the most infallable mood the entire time. Of course it wasn’t hard to feel blissful, gliding across the ice in the shadow of half dome in the setting sun, with Journey playing over the loud speakers.
F-smallIMG_6161So partly in honor of that and partly because these are just some really cool ideas, here are some skating ideas that would make pretty great gifts.

-flashback_rollerskates_katieCraftzine posted a tutorial a while back for making skates from sneakers. I think a little skate-making kit would be about the coolest gift ever.

classic roller skates gifts

And here a few more:
Classic skates from here (men, this would make a pretty romantic gift with a date),
Skate pendant from here,
Skate booties from here, they also come in hockey skates (!)

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-clear packaging boxesStop by Marta’s shop to pick up very fun packaging

I bring up the talented Marta of Marta Writes so often here, that I thought I’d better get on with it and ask her for an interview. Lucky, so very lucky for me, she said yes.

Marta’s blog is an absolute favorite. Marta is an Idaho girl (I grew up an Idaho girl), and let me tell you, homegirl can write. I see a block of text on her blog and can’t wait to dig in, to watch how she tousles and arranges the words. If I have a day when I don’t get to read a piece of serious and illustrious literature, but I’ve had a chance to read something on her blog, I’m satisfied. Yup. It’s that good. Oh, and she also takes inspiring photos, has super cute handwriting, and runs a great shop full of packaging and her graphic design work. Plus she always gives the best gifts. What more could you ask for? And since it is Thanksgiving week, be sure to stop by Project Thankful on her blog and join many others, including me, in listing a thing or two you are thankful for.


-sheep

Meet Marta
hello. i am marta dansie from martawrites. i live in idaho with my little boy and my husband. i am a graphic designer and specialize in book layout and announcements and invitations. i love to be with family, to write, to read, to bake, to wrap gifts, to plan parties, to roadtrip, to practice yoga and to purchase candy from the bulk section.

And now that we’re acquainted,

a few gifts that WOULD or DID make Marta happy

tickets to a broadway show. a few years ago my husband surprised me with tickets to Lion King and then again, another surprise to Wicked, both such happy occasions. he knows i live for musicals and is always such a good sport to escort me. i told him the gift of surprise broadway tickets should become a tradition.

-dpackagea set of photographs. my husband commissioned our niece (an amazing photography college student) to snapshot all of our newlywed places; where we lived, where we ate, the streets we walked and so on. i am still in awe whenever i see these incredible photos. not only are they beautiful, but they speak volumes.

-yoga001a book of yoga wisdom. my darling cousin whitney put together a custom yoga workbook for me to brush up on my skills. she is a yoga teacher and is my go-to source whenever i have questions about certain poses. she always has the best advice for technique and makes me feel encouraged and strong. she was so sweet to put together a thoughtful book full of photos and quotes that i can open up again and again.

a day for a getaway. it was ever so romantic when my husband surprised me one saturday with a getaway to the big city for a weekend last december, just so i could get all the christmas shopping done in my favorite shops. we had nothing planned other then purchasing a few christmas list items, so everything else (even our meals) were spontaneous and lovely. we even went to watch ice skaters downtown at night.

a jar of grandma bernice’s strawberry jam always gets tucked into my purse every time we visit her. she is such a classy woman, in her nineties and still incredibly on top of it. she is my hero. it not only tastes delicious but it reminds me of all the qualities i love about her.

-stamps
a package of stamps from my dad.
one day i blogged about vintage stamps and soon thereafter i found my dad’s amazing stamp collection in the mailbox for me. he said he was happy for me to have them!! (he is the best gift giver because he is always paying attention to details.)

anything from a local bakery or gift shop is always a fun surprise.

a few gifts that WOULD or DID make someone else happy

a stack of magazines. i love taking a big pile of my favorite glossy magazines to a friend who loves them as much as i do.

tickets to tokyo. i’d love to take my husband back to one of our favorite ramen shops in tokyo, japan. i dream of surprising him one day with our luggage already packed in the trunk of the car.

a copy of favorite family recipes. i made a binder of traditional recipes from our family along with magazine cut outs and online recipes and empty page protectors for new recipes too. it’s a perfect bridal shower gift, a great way to welcome a new member into the family.

a book of adjectives. i created a mini accordion book for my cousin’s 25th birthday featuring 25 words that describe her.

a jar of homemade bath salts. i love making martha stewart’s bath salt recipe with eucalyptus + mint oils and tying a string around it with a small scoop attached. it is a perfect hostess gift, get well soon gift, new mama gift, going away to college gift, etc. i should start making that recipe in bulk. it would be fabulous in mini jars for favors at a girls night out party!

a visit from the whole family. this last september, the entire cast (meaning all seven kids and spouses) surprised my mom for her 60th birthday. since we are spread all over the country, it is near impossible to get together often, but we pulled off the task of being together again for the special occasion. the look on my mom’s face was truly priceless. our reunion was better than any material gift we could’ve given her.

anything wrapped in bakers twine looks so charming to me.
-st.nick

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A BAG TO HOLD

09.30.09

So what’s your take on anniversary gifts for other people? Generally I figure an anniversary is a good time for the couple to shower gifts on each other, and they don’t really need interference from me. Other than the milestone years, of course. But I never really found any use for the traditional anniversary gift list. (I have to be married 13 years and then, if I’m British, I get a barometer?) Do you use it? But I do like the idea of congratulating friends after their first year of marriage with something like this.

to have and to hold bag

(From here via here.)

And here’s what I suggest you do with it. On your friend’s wedding day, pick up that day’s paper. Wait for one year. On their anniversary, give this clever clever bag along with the newspaper you’ve diligently saved for a year, and add fresh flowers in colors of the wedding reception. It even fits the traditional material of the list: paper. You like?

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Just a little warning, if you read on, you may never be fully satisfied by another hotel again. Just thought I’d warn you.

inn at the round barn 1inn at the round barn best bed and breakfasts

I mentioned Friday that Mr. Fawson and I had the most fantastic weekend at a nearby B&B last fall. Our last morning there, our host let us in on some privileged information. Okay, he actually gives the same info to all his guests. But I felt like I was being let in on some great secret known only to the select few.

He told us his inn was a member of Select Registry, and then went on to tell us what that entails. (Aspiring honeymooners, pay close attention,) It means every now and then, a secret inspector checks in and spends the night at the B&B under the guise of being an every day guest. Only after he or she has spent the night and breakfasted at the inn do the innkeepers discover his true identity (just like a super hero). Inspectors are independent agents with years of experience in hospitality (where can I sign up for that job?) and report back to Select Registry.

Select Registry is the leading B&B directory for the U.S. and Canada. Each year they publish a guidebook that makes for some very fun browsing. I could spend hours leafing through it, imagining my next getaway. You can buy it online for $10.

Visit Select Registry B&B directory
Purchase a guidebook
Browse their inns

Just for fun, here are a few inns on the registry. You may need something to catch the drool.

greystone best bed and breakfasts 1greystone best bed and breakfastsGreystone

pentagoet

pentagoet best bed and breakfasts

Pentagoet Inn

bee and thistle

bee and thistle best brf and breakfasts

Bee and Thistle

bentwood

bentwood best b&bs

Bentwood

geneva on the lake

geneva best b&bsGeneva on the lake

guide best bed and brakfasts select registry

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B&Bs

09.18.09

I was just thinking back to a year ago on my bday. My husband took me to this B&B. It was amazing—hiking and picnicking by the river, finding quiet sunny spots for reading, coming and going in the evenings as we pleased. We swore we’d give up bday presents forever and do B&Bs every September instead. It didn’t happen this year, for good reasons. But I am ready for next year. And very adequately prepared. Last year we came across a little treasure that made us just itch to get to more B&Bs. I am getting it ready over the weekend to share with you, and should have it up on Monday. I’m quite sure it will have the same effect on you as it did on me.

F-IMG_4531smallF-IMG_4587small

And here are a few more pics of lovely B&Bs to send you on your way. Hope you have a great weekend!

zarzuelaZarzuela

rhett houseRhett

cooperstownhomecollageCooperstown

dorsetinnDorset

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A few bits of thoughtfulness I’ve read about or been privileged to receive lately.

bulbs

When my parents came to visit, my dad brought bags of bulbs from his garden. Daffodils and tulips. He got to work tucking them away in little spots around my yard so, come spring, I’ll be looking out my window to see some of the same flowers he’ll see from his.

Amber from Where the Wildings Are had a husband appreciation day. She put balloons all over the house, each one with a note tied to it of why she appreciates him.

Anna of Hey Bubbles took morning tea to a family just moving in.

Jo-Ann of Pumpkin Petunia surprised her kids with flags skewered into their school lunches.

Jenn from ambrosia girl had a friend stop by with pizza and treats from a favorite bakery.

On Oh, Hello Friend, Tina of Happy Tape recounted when she gave her husband a book of 40 haiku poems from people who loved him as a gift when he turned 40.

Emily of Wide Open Spaces found the love stamp for each year with her husband, and made it into a wall art.

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