Thursday, January 31, 2013

Boston Olive Oil Company and Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Recipe!

Do you all remember my friend Amy and her husband Zach?  They shared the Bacon & Oatmeal Dried Fruit cookie recipe in December.  Who can forget this picture!?

Anyway, we were lucky to have them visit us here in Boston a few weeks ago, and one of our activities was a trip to the Boston Olive Oil Company on Newbury Street.  Amy and Zach had been to similar shops before and suggested we go in and try different olive oil and balsamic combinations.  Never one to turn down any sort of fatty snack, I happily obliged!

The little shop on Newbury is filled with rows of gleaming stainless steel containers that hold gallons of unfiltered and settled olive oils and traditional Modena balsamic vinegars, all infused with a variety of flavors.  When you enter the store, you're invited to sample as you'd like after reading the tasting policy (which basically says to taste as much as you want if you're going to buy something, and to limit your tastes if you're not going to purchase anything so they can afford to continue to offer tastes.)  If you do decide to purchase, they bottle your choice right in front of you.

We tried some great flavors, like a dark chocolate balsamic vinegar (would be amazing on vanilla ice cream, I bet), and my favorite was dipping a piece of soft bread into a combo of mushroom olive oil with fig balsamic.  That would be an excellent mix to put on a salad, or as a sauce on a mushroom pizza.  Overall the shop was very cool and unique, and I think olive oil and vinegar sets would make a great gift. 

One of the more unique flavors I saw was a blood orange olive oil.  In the shop, they had a recipe for a flourless chocolate and blood orange olive oil cake made with this oil and I immediately thought of those orange chocolate balls people give out at Christmas.  I am not a huge fan of the blood orange flavor, so I didn't purchase the bottle, but wanted to share the recipe as it was so unique.

Enjoy, and have a great weekend, sweets!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day of Beauty

Sometimes you just need a mid-week pick-me-up, especially in January.  Today, a pick-me-up is what I got when my very first Birchbox got delivered, so I decided to continue the beauty theme of the day with a little trip to Sephora and a stop at CVS on my way home.  These three little biddies turned this dreary Boston Wednesday into my day of beauty!

I only purchased a few items, and the rest of the goodies you see here were free samples I got.  I. Love. Samples.

Today's haul

Since I just got all this stuff tonight I haven't tried it all, but of course a DIY facial and hot shower was necessary to try out what I could.   Here's a rundown of what I got, what I have tested so far and where you could buy it all.  None of these brands asked me to use or review their products, they just happen to be what I picked up today.

Loreal Paris Total Repairs Restoring Shampoo & Conditioner - $7.99 ea for the big bottle at CVS.    (I love that the price tags that tell the price per ounce, the big bottle was $31 per ounce, small bottle $39 per even though it would have been cheaper in the moment to purchase the smaller bottles for $4.99 each, it's a better value to purchase the larger bottle for a couple more dollars!)  I've never tried this brand before, but I love to switch up my shampoos and conditioners to keep it fresh.  I chose the Restoring option because I've been coloring my hair for the last 12+ months and need products that cater to super-processed hair.  Gotta keep the shine in check!  These both have a light, pretty scent and super creamy consistency.  Check out this site to sign up for a free sample. 

Sephora Dissolvant Express nail polish remover - $1.00 at Sephora.  I can't help myself when it comes to $1 bins, and I love to do my own nails so I figured why not.  Impulse buy!

Origins Out of Trouble 10-minute Mask - $23 at Sephora.  I went to Sephora today specifically to find a nice new mask product to try.  Work has been insanely stressful lately, and my face is showing it, so I wanted to find something to give my skin a little TLC.   The package description sounded like exactly what I needed:

When skin is too-slick or when more pressing problems start to pop up, it's Origins to the rescue to keep skin out of trouble. Nature's trouble-shooters, including super-absorbent Zinc Oxide and Sulfur, calming Camphor rapidly responds to problem skin's plight with a three-part plan - sop up oily-shine, slough off sticky, dead cells, and sweep away irksome debris. Together they steer skin clear of slippery situations, refine rough texture and pull the plug on troublemakers to oust potential outbursts. Best for combination oily skin.

I just tried this out tonight and so far, so good.  My skin is super sensitive so I was a little nervous, but Origins makes great products that I usually don't have any issues with.  This mask dries up on your face as expected, but doesn't become painfully tight like some do.  I washed it off with warm water in the shower and while I don't see any clearups yet (usually this takes overnight), I do find that my face feels noticeably smoother and less bumpy.  Happy with this purchase!

benefit for Sephora - Primping with the Stars kit - $32.00 at Sephora.  I picked this up to keep in my desk at work.  I always want to do a little touchup, but never have all of the makeup in my purse that I want to tidy up my face.  This kit seems to have everything except the powder to freshen up mid-day or before happy hour.  My beautiful friend Stef used to be a benefit makeup artist, and has shared the bene-tint and Some Kinda Gorgeous foundation with me in the past, the other products will all be new to me.  It includes:
- 0.08 oz Stay Don't Stray Stay-Put Primer for Concealers and Eyeshadows 
- 0.12 oz Some Kind-A-Gorgeous Foundation in Medium 
- 0.13 oz Benetint Rose-Tinted Lip & Cheek Stain 
- 0.25 oz The Porefessional Pro Balm 
- 0.25 oz Girl Meets Pearl Liquid Pearl for Face 
 - 0.1 oz They're Real! Beyond Mascara in Black

I think this will be a good kit of mini's to keep in my desk, and picked up a cheap eyelash curler from CVS to keep with it. 

Now, onto the free stuff!  Many of these came in my very first Birchbox, which is one of the gifts B-hubs gave me for Christmas.  Once a month for a year, I will get a pretty little box filled with luxury beauty samples picked just for me based off of a profile I filled out.  Very cool company, started by two Bostonians.  Check it out here!

Sampar Ultra Hydrating Fluid - free sample from Birchbox.  Ho-ly-mo-ly this is a gorgeous moisturizer.  It's light, SUPER hydrating, and has a beautiful scent.  I will not buy the full size at $71 for 1.7 oz seeing as that is very, very expensive, but I will cherish every drop of this sample and ask for it for a birthday or Christmas gift.  Love!!

12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment - free sample from Birchbox.  I haven't tried this yet, but it is a leave-in treatment that is supposed to get a handle on frizz and freshen up colored or damaged hair.  Sounds pretty good, I will try it before my blow-dry tomorrow.  The full size product of this retails for $19, definitely doable if it's a great product.  I don't currently use a protecting spray pre-blowdry or style, so it is probably a good idea to get on that.  

Fresh brand samples!  Citron de Vigne Eau de Parfum - free sample from Birchbox, Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream and Soy Face Cleanser - free samples from Sephora.  So far I've only tried the fragrance, and I love it.  The description reads:  pinot-infused, pairs a rich grape core with bright notes of citrus.  I got the citrus, and almost a woodsy undertone (though not manly, even though that sounds it), and find it to be a really beautiful, winter scent.  I may have to shell out the $80 for the full-size parfum spray for this if I still like it after wearing it for a few days.  So far, I love it, and have yet to find a really good winter scent.  


theBalm Hot Mama blush- this is a teeny tiny free sample from Birchbox, and while I haven't tried it yet, it looks very similar to my favorite blush - NARS Orgasm.  Excited to try this one!

Last, but not least, the Birchbox lifestyle extra for January was a dark chocolate peppermint holiday fortune cookie from Emily's Chocolates.  Haven't opened it yet, but certainly will soon!

And that wraps up my longest post every, I think.  Let me know if you have tried any of these products, or if you have other favorites to suggest.  Happy Wednesday, Sweets!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ski Trip Haiku

Snowy Saturday
Coffee, couch, mimosa, fleece
Warm fire, pure bliss!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Skinny Funfetti Cake

Another Tuesday night with a couple of my best friends has come and gone and this week I was on dessert duty. With New Years Resolutions in mind and my Pinterest page exploding with sweet ideas, I decided to try out "skinny" cake.

It came out pretty good! The cake itself was a lot lighter than I was expecting and the frosting tasted great.. For most of the slice anyway! Near the end I started to get a plastic-y aftertaste which wasn't awful but definitely noticeable after eating a pretty big portion.  If you're going "skinny," you should eat less anyway, right?!

As a true "sweetie" I do need to call out that nothing beats real butter, sugar and eggs when it comes to cake.  But, this is a pretty decent alternative when you're trying to give those vices a break.  Lindsay and Shannon both seemed to like it as much as I did, and I will very likely make it again, maybe even try a different flavor combo.

Skinny Funfetti Cake


  • 1 box of Funfetti cake mix
  • 1 can of diet ginger ale
  • 1 small container of light cool whip
  • 1 box of instant white chocolate flavor pudding mix
  • Sprinkles!

Empty cake mix into a large bowl and stir in ginger ale until batter is smooth. Bake according to directions on the box. Do not add any other ingredients, all you need is the mix and the soda.

For the frosting, simply mix all of the pudding powder into the cool whip until smooth. This needs to stay refrigerated, so make sure you have enough room in your fridge for the finished cake.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Natural Wood & Concrete

Today I had the pleasure of going to NYC for the work day.  My boss and I had meetings at our client's lead agency, and it was my first time visiting their office.  I absolutely fell in love with their office look and feel, as it reminded me of an urban office version of Restoration Hardware.  The floors were raw, semi-polished concrete, lights were covered with modern and stylish grey drum shades, walls were stark white, and the desks and conference tables were beautiful, natural, reclaimed-looking wood atop black metal hardware.  It was comfortable and stylish and modern and sleek and professional and AWESOME.   I can't stop thinking about how much I would love to work in a space like that, so thought I'd share some Pinterest images that share that look and feel.  It's a little too cold for what I envision in a home, but I hope someday I can work in an office like this!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Just a thought...

Here's an inspirational thought for today, good things to strive to do!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday, Sweets.  Hope the week is off to a good start.  My work week sure didn't start off great, but thankfully I was one of the 30-something lucky ones to get a ticket to Ride! tonight so I spun off my frustrations and am now sitting on the couch feeling pretty great.

Keeping the happy thoughts alive, I thought I'd share a weekend recap.  I shared a few of these on Instagram this weekend; you can follow me there @staceycl.

First up- sundaes from Cabot's in Newton!  One thing Boston is lacking is a place to get a really good, old-fashioned, classic Sundae.  And no, don't tell me Emack & Bolio's, that place stinks- bad ice cream, worse service and the grossest hot fudge I've ever had in my life.  And I love chocolate.  The real deal is at Cabot's.  I got a frozen yogurt sundae with hot fudge and butterscotch, and the hubs got a peanut butter thing.  I know we're on a health kick, but everyone needs a treat now and then, right?! All in moderation. 

Lulu the Sous Chef, love my kitty :)

Copley Square on a rainy saturday morning was quiet and peaceful.

Saturday afternoon visit with my sweet Grampy.  He's living with Alzheimer's and hasn't been doing too well lately, but we were lucky to have a really great visit with him.  Instead of being quiet and sleepy like usual, he was in a great mood, and though not fully aware of who we were or where he was, his true personality was there, for the first time since he went into the nursing home!  He was cracking jokes, making faces, and was just so sweet.  We felt blessed to have a nice afternoon with him. 

Rainy date night out, took this in front of Woodward at the Ames Hotel.  It was our first time eating there, and we had a great meal.  The charcuterie is excellent, and I got the lamb shank with veggies and herb gnocchi for dinner which was delicious.  I would definitely recommend it. 

Sunday night football food.  Despite spending a lot of my day doing work (boooooo), I took some time to make us a healthier version of a football classic for dinner- buffalo chicken lettuce wraps with homemade blue cheese dressing, both from Skinnytaste.  Check out the recipe here.

That's it for tonight, have a good week, sweets!

Friday, January 11, 2013


It's Friday, and therefore appropriate for a random I FREAKING LOVE THIS SONG post.  I first heard it in spinning and now it's a staple in my workout playlists (and a staple 'get ready' song!)  What's on your workout playlist?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Healthy Dinner: Spagetti Squash Burritos

B-hubs hit dinner out of the park tonight.  I came home from Barre class (my legs are still shaking) to these amazing vegetarian burritos waiting for me.  They tasted SO good, and this was the first time a homemade taco has compared to the authentic ones we ate in SoCal.

The recipe we used is a spin off of the one featured on Cucinetta, which is a spin off of the one on Smitten Kitchen's cookbook.  Lesson learned here - spagetti squash is awesome in mexican dishes, and you will likely love it with your favorite taco or burrito toppings.

Here's how b-hubs did it.  Have your own version?  Tell us about it in the comments below!


  • 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti squash
  • 1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 4 8' Joseph's Flax, Oat Bran & Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons feta
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 whole avocado, chopped


  • Preheat over to 350°F. 
  • Cut the squash in half, scrape out the seeds, and bake both halves for about 40 minutes on a baking sheet covered in tin foil.  We usually place the squash so that the 'open' part is down on the cookie sheet, thinking that the heat will get trapped in there and cook it better.  You'll know the squash is just about ready when you can easily poke a fork or knife through the skin.
  • Now, carefully scrape the spagetti squash into a bowl.  It's best to use a fork to do this to get the 'spagetti' aspect of the squash.  You can throw the shells away.   
  • Now put your frozen peppers on the cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until they are cooked, put to the side.
  • In a small dish, mix up the lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and salt, then stir into the squash. 
  • Make sure your black beans are well rinsed and drained, then heat them in a skillet with a little spray of cooking oil.    
  • Place tortillas on a plate and cover with a paper towel, then microwave for 20-30 seconds to heat them.  
  • Now,  build your burrito!  We did squash, beans, peppers, green onions, cilantro, feta and avocado, wrapped them up and enjoyed.  They were juicy and a little messy but so, so good!!
Makes enough for 4 burritos, about 298 calories per burrito.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Spinning in the Cluuuub

You can find me in the cluuuuub!  Healthworks Fitness Club, that is, (har har)  I just had to post a rave review of Ride! at my gym, and Elise, who is the best spin instructor EVER.  I've been taking her classes at Healthworks for the last five to six months religiously (except for those annoying times when I can't get a ticket) because the workout she leads in 45 minutes is insane, and she has the best playlists.  I always completely sweat through my outfit and feel like a champion afterward.  She really knows how to inspire the class to not only push it and work hard, but also to just breath and appreciate the "you" time that comes with any workout.

This week, Elise brought it to a whole new level by bringing in glowstick necklaces and bracelets for the class, and making it a club-themed night!  I think I smiled like a big nerd through the whole class, even through that 7-minute climb, because I was so into the theme of the night.  I pushed harder than ever because it was so. much. fun!

I am hesitant to publish this post because getting a ticket for Elise's class is getting to be just as hard as winning the lottery, but, she rocks and I want to publicly say thank you.  Elise has her own blog, Eat. Sweat. Balance. and posts her playlists and free downloads- good stuff.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sweet breakfast - Berry Quinoa

Today's post is not my typical sweet, but it is a sweet indeed.  As part of the healthy start for 2013, I tried a new breakfast recipe found on 101 Cookbooks.

Until this, I'd only had quinoa as a savory item, replacing rice or barley as a side.  This recipe confirmed that quinoa is an excellent breakfast food, too!  The finished product is warm, filling, satisfying, healthy, and despite the lack of white sugar, surprisingly sweet!  This will definitely have a spot on our weekend breakfast routine this year.

To try this for yourself, check out the original recipe at 101 Cookbooks here.  I made a few tweaks based on what I had in the cabinets:

  • 1 cup skim milk 
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1 cup organic quinoa
  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 4 teaspoons agave nectar

  1. Combine milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. 
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn down to low once it boils.
  3. Let mixture simmer with the cover on for 15-20 minutes, then turn off heat and let it sit covered for another 5.
  4. While the quinoa is simmering, heat oven to 350F. 
  5. Spread walnuts on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, and toast in the oven for 5 minutes.   
  6. Defrost frozen berries in the microwave, and drain most of the liquid off of them.  
  7. Stir the berries and cinnamon into quinoa, then portion out and top off each with the toasted walnuts and a teaspoon of the agave nectar.
Enjoy!  If you try this recipe, or have other great breakfast quinoa recipes to recommend, let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year, New Plan!

Happy New Year, all!  Hope everyone had a great holiday season and tons of fun ringing in the New Year, I know B-hubs and I did!

As with many of you, we're trying to amp up the health factor here in the Boston Sweetie household.  We have an awesome ski trip with friends coming up later this month, and I want to have my bikini bod ready for the hot tub!

Our Ski Retreat in Vermont - can't wait!!
I've also been becoming more aware of all of the sickness that seems to be everywhere this season and would rather fight that off with nutrition rather than drugs, if I can.

So far the New Year for me has included:
  • Vegan diet Monday - Friday 
  • New organization for the house, with an awesome binder and mail sorter - I'll do a post on this soon!
  • Amped up fitness routine, prioritizing body and health which will help every other aspect of life be more successful.
The vegan diet has been easier than I thought it would be, for the first week at least!  This move was inspired by comedian Eddie Brill and his passionate posts about vegan/raw diets on Facebook.  The health benefits sound unbelievable, and I'm already feeling more energy, just after one week of changing up the diet.  The most exciting part of eating healthier is the idea of fighting off cancer.  Too many people are getting that horrible disease and I want to do everything in my power to avoid it.

New organization is great!  I have a schedule for the week of meals, snacks, workouts and even cleaning.  I'll do a separate post on how I keep it neat and tidy, because I really love it, and it's also a proud Pinterest success story.

Amped up fitness routine has me pumped!!  This week I tried two new classes at the gym; Tabata and Barre.  Tabata was wicked hard, so exhausting, not super fun, but an awesome workout.  I'm going to keep up with that one because it's definitely a results-getter.  Barre on the other hand, I am in LOVE with.  Who knew that such small movements could make your body literally shake.  Un-be-lievable.  I am going to try to do this twice a week, and will continue doing Spin class twice a week as well.

To the my loyal "Sweeties" out there, have no fear.  I'm not giving up desserts and definitely plan to keep baking!!  There will be a new twist on some recipes, for example I will be testing out using applesauce in place of eggs in some of my favorite treats, and I'll be on a quest to see if I can find any desserts that still taste great with no sugar.  Have any in mind for me to try?  Anyone else kicking off 2013 with a bang?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!