Monday, December 31, 2012

End of Year Survey (and giveaway!)

As we wave goodbye to 2012 and say hello to 2013, I thought it might be fun to hear from you!  Here's a quick survey to help me make Maryland Pink and Green the best it can be for you next year.

Please take a moment to complete the quick survey embedded into this post.  As a thank you for your input, I'm offering a new Lilly Pulitzer bow ring to one lucky person, chosen at random, who completes the survey.  To enter the contest, answer the short survey and then leave a comment below this blog post with your contact information.  I'll leave the survey and giveaway open until Saturday, January 5 at midnight and will announce the winner on Sunday, January 6, 2013.

Update!  The response for the survey has been amazing today, but the form I used only allows 100 responses and we are quickly approaching that number.  If you are unable to access the survey, it means that 100 responses have already been recorded.  If you're not able to complete the survey, please feel free to leave a comment to tell me what you would like to see in the blog in 2013.  The winner will be announced as soon as we reach 100 responses.

Thanks for your input.  Your comments mean the world to me!

Fill out my online form.

Best wishes for 2013!


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Julep New Year Mystery Box 4

When I saw that Julep was offering a New Year's Mystery Box for $19.99 and free shipping, I decided to give it a try.  It's always a bit of a risk with mystery boxes because you don't know what you will get, but I am pleased with the items I received.  The box arrived much faster than I had expected, too.

When I examined the goodies inside the mystery box, I was very pleased.  The Pedi Creme ($22, on sale for $8) smells light and fresh and I do notice that my feet are softer after using it for a few nights with fuzzy socks.

Julep's Boho Glam Lengthening Mascara ($24, on sale for $10) goes on smoothly and is not flaky.  I'm honestly not sure that I would buy this instead of my regular mascara, but it's a great addition to my make up bag since I am constantly refreshing my mascara.

Mystery Box #4 had 5 fabulous nail polishes that retail for $14 each!  Dendrie is a shiny silver color.  Part of the Trina Turk '12 collection, Annie is a blue polish that is pretty for my toes.  Lauren is a standard pink shade and Cindy is a green sparkle polish.  The additional sparkle glitter polish must be a special edition because I cannot find it on the Julep website.

As an extra treat, I received 3 nail polish remover pads, a nail file, and age defying hand brightener.

Although I wouldn't have purchased all of these shades in a store, they're all pretty and are something that the minnies or I can wear.  With a retail value of  around $120, I think that $19.99 with free shipping was a steal for Mystery Box #4!

Have you ever purchased a monthly beauty box or mystery box?  How did you like the experience?  Did you like the products that were sent to you?  


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Play in the Snow

By Maryland standards, we've had a good amount of snow this holiday season.  Near white out conditions cancelled Christmas Eve services and parties, but we were blessed to enjoy a white Christmas.  It snowed again the day after Christmas and more snow is expected today.

Although making snow angels is fun, you can't do that all day.  Have fun in the snow with some fun snow toys and tools that I have for you in today's post.

The Snow Castle Snowball Maker set from L. L. Bean is just like the old school snow molds I used to have as a child.  I remember making fabulous snow igloos with the smallest red brick mold.  So much fun!

If you have a long driveway and sidewalk to shovel like I do, you should shovel it in style!  This preppy pink snow shovel makes the task a little bit brighter, don't you think?

Natalia loves the pink sled from C. Wonder.  The disc sled is perfect for sliding in your front yard or favorite neighborhood hill.

After the snow has settled, and you are looking at the icy, half melted stack of compressed snow, your children might be reluctant to play outdoors.  Now is the perfect time to pull out some toys you might not expect to use in the snow.

1.  "Paint" the snow with watercolors, washable paints, or sidewalk chalk.  The paints work perfectly, but you do have to press firmly on the sidewalk chalk to coat the snow in color.

2.  Use beach toys and sand molds to create starfish, castles, and other beach creatures in the snow.  Pretend you're enjoying a day at the beach!

What activities do your children like to do in the snow?  


Friday, December 28, 2012

Lilly Pulitzer Estee Lauder Collaboration

I'll admit it.  I'm hooked on beauty Gift With Purchase bags and adore the newest collaboration from Estee Lauder and Lilly Pulitzer.  If you're looking for a lovely Lilly Pulitzer make up bag and full of some fabulous beauty products visit Lord and Taylor.

Stay tuned for more details about this unique Lilly Pulitzer collaboration and check out the Lilly Pulitzer Facebook page for a chance to win in some fantastic giveaways.  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

After Christmas Thank You Notes

The heart of the giver makes the gift dear and precious - Martin Luther

Natalia and Alexia wrote their thank you notes today.

After the hustle and bustle of wrapping, giving, and unwrapping has passed, we took some time to write notes of thanks to the thoughtful people who gave gifts to us this holiday season.  It's always important to thank people for their kindness whether it was a gift or the gift of their hospitality.  A hostess will surely invite you to next year's festivities after she receives a sweet note from you after the party!

Even the smallest child can draw a simple picture as a thank you note or write a few words and sign his or her name.  My girls have been writing their thank you notes for quite a few years now on their own.  The rule in our house is that they don't get to play with the toy or spend the gift money until the thank you note has been written.

Is it difficult for your child to get started with thank you notes?  Here is a set of sample thank you notes that might help with this task during the holiday break.  Sometimes it might be difficult to write a thank you note for gift cards or cash gifts because you may not be able to describe the gift well.  I always tell the minnies to think about the specific item that they would like to purchase with the gift and then write the thank you note.  I tend to not include the specific dollar amount of gift cards and cash gifts.

For Gift Cards and Cash: 

Dear Aunt Mary,

Thank you for the Barnes and Noble gift card.  I received a Nook this Christmas and have a long list of books that I would love to download and read.  A Wrinkle In Time is the first book on my list to read; I'll be sure to let you know what I think of the book the next time I see you.

Hope you had a very Merry Christmas.  Thanks again for your thoughtfulness!



For Cash Gifts:

Dear Aunt Mary,

Thank you for your lovely Christmas card and generous gift.  I am going to get a pair of sparkly silver Sperry loafers that I saw earlier this season at Nordstrom because of your kindness.  Once I wear them, I'll post a picture for you so that you can see what they are like.

It was wonderful to see you at Christmas this year.  Wishing you a joyful New Year!



Thank you notes can be folded or flat cards of any size.  When the girls were younger, large sized paper was ideal for their big handwriting.  Now that they are older, smaller note cards are appropriate.  We picked up these adorable notes at Target and Kate Spade.

Are you and your children writing thank you notes this week?  Do you have any tips to share with Maryland Pink and Green readers to make the task easy and fun for children?


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

5th Avenue Christmas Window Shopping

New York City shines with the elaborate window displays during the holiday season.  After the tree at Rockefeller and the Rockette Christmas Spectacular, window shopping is a major attraction in the city.  We took a leisurely stroll down 5th Avenue to see these incredible Christmas decorations.  Today I'm going to share some highlights of our trip.

The department store windows merit a post or two of their own and draw quite a crowd.  In fact, handrails are placed in the sidewalk to keep foot traffic moving while others observe the gorgeous displays.  From jewelry stores to clothing, every store has a unique twist on the holiday theme.

Although I'm hardly a fan of snakes, I love the facade of Bulgari.  2013 is the Year of the Snake, so Bulgari wrapped their entire building around these theme with two huge serpents.  The window displays also featured jewelry and watches with a snake motif.

Harry Winston maintains the elegance and grace of their brand while perfectly showing the holiday spirit.  The huge green ribbon was covered with oodles of lights that evoked images of sparkling diamonds (surprise, surprise!) that illuminated the day and night.  Gorgeous gems accented the windows.

Tiffany & Co.  is an American icon of style.  Their window displays traditional Christmas scenes and the gifts that everyone treasures.

Cartier delights visitors of all ages with the elegant display and robotic windows.  Sleek panthers, an iconic symbol of Cartier, sit gracefully on a balcony ledge and climb the edge of the gift wrapped facade.

An innovative robotic system at Cartier entices visitors to open the magic fancy boxes by moving their hands in front of  sensors.  Alexia told me that she felt like she was Mickey as the Sorcerer, controlling the jewelry boxes!  Pure Christmas magic!

If you have a little girl, then a trip to New York is not complete without a visit to the flagship American Girl store.  Their windows feature beautiful dolls in holiday attire, winter scenes, and outdoor sports!  Love!

Look for other store windows that I discovered on my recent trip to New York on Facebook or Instagram.

Which display do you like the most?  


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Christmas Proposal

It was a cold, blustery day in New York City just days before Christmas.  John and I were enjoying the scenery and people watching at Rockefeller Center.

As we were walking towards the tree, John suggested that we get closer to the tree.  As we reached the bottom branches of the 80 foot Norway spruce, I was mesmerized by the bright shining lights that sparkled even during the day.  

Then something amazingly wonderful happened.

In an incredibly romantic way, John told me how much he loved me.  He said that he wants us to be a family and that he wants to spend the rest of his life with me.  At the foot of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, he asked me to be his wife!

Immediately, I started to cry and said YES!  A million times yes!  Then there was a moment of humor because John said,

"I need a finger without a glove to put on a ring!"

Here's our picture just moments after John popped the question!  So happy!

We celebrated with a delicious lunch at Rock Center Cafe and enjoyed the view of the ice skating rink from our window table.  The entire weekend was magical and is a memory that I will always treasure!  I've always loved New York, but it is now officially one of my favorite places, full of special memories of my 40th birthday and our engagement.

We have not chosen a date yet, but of course, I'll be sure to include you in the planning process for the pink and green wedding!  So much fun.

Merry Christmas to you all!  Wishing you a year filled with happiness and health!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Lilly Pulitzer Giveaway

It's a good mail day when an unexpected surprise arrives in the mail!  My friends at Lilly Pulitzer sent this adorable Bermuda Bag to me as a thank you for covering the opening of their Tysons Galleria store.  As a special treat, they're going to give the same bag to one lucky winner, too!

The Fallin In Love print is one of my favorite prints.  This bag is certainly unique and one of a kind.  The Bermuda style handles are shaped out of wood into a whimsical fish design.  The interior of the bag offers little pockets for your cell phone, keys, and other small items.

There are many ways to enter to win!  Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lilly Pulitzer at Tysons Galleria plans the Grand Opening for the store in February.  Stay tuned for more details about giveaways, gift with purchase opportunities, and more!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gingerbread Rowhouses

The minnies and I enjoyed a delicious brunch at Gertrude's at the Baltimore Museum of Art.  The gingerbread houses make a dramatic display in the restaurant for a fun and unique contest with the theme of "Baltimore's Christmas Street."  Employees at Gertrude's carefully and creatively decorated the gingerbread row houses and hope to get votes from restaurant patrons.

As we considered the choices on the ballot, we walked around the houses from front to back for a fantastic view of the detailed work.  These are choices 1-5.  The detailed lights on gingerbread row house #1 remind me of the Lite Brite that I had as a child.  Row house #2 is an amazing tribute to Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.  

Choices 6-10 are a myriad of color and candy.  Choices 6, 7, and 8 are oh so sweet!  The gnomes on the 10th gingerbread row house are silly and fun.

Even the back of the gingerbread row houses sparkle with incredible detail.

The gingerbread row houses feature wreath decorations in windows, porches, and landscaping!  Absolutely amazing.

After a delicious Chesapeake cuisine brunch from John Shields, we explored the museum.  Alexia appears to be deep in thought!

If you were voting in the gingerbread row house contest, which house would get your vote!  I'd love to hear which designs you like the best.  


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Terrific Holiday Trees

Why have just one Christmas tree in your house when you can fill every room with holiday spirit?  Even if have a small space to fill, I have some fabulous suggestions for trees that will fit on a table top in every room in your house.  A group of trees also makes a stunning addition to a buffet table.

Nautical themes are perfect for any time of the year!  Bring a bit of beach flair to your Christmas decor with the Ballard Designs Oyster Shell Topiary.  This trio of trees is simple, yet shiny and is sure to receive lots of attention on your mantle.

Earlier this month, I fell head over heels for a gorgeous display at the DAR Holiday Party.  I kept wondering how the gorgeous fruit topiary was created and tried to wrap my brain around a DIY that was ecologically friendly, allowing people to enjoy fruit from the display.  Luckily I found the perfect solution with the Williamsburg Stackable Iron Apple Cone Forms.  Simply place and arrange fruit in the forms for a Colonial centerpiece.

Retro or Modern?  These Feather Topiaries are so fabulous and eclectic!  But I can't decide if they're a retro 60s inspiration or a modern take on the tree.  In either case, I love the light and airy look of these trees.

Of course, I have to include a little pink and green in my Christmas decorating scheme.  The set of Bordeaux Red and Green Cone Christmas Trees from Horchow is a pretty, traditional way to incorporate color into your decorating.  Although they are technically red, the red looks like a pretty pink to me.  What do you think?

Do you have trees in different rooms in your house?  What is your favorite holiday decor?

Shopping Guide

Oyster Shell TopiaryIron Apple Cone Forms, Feather Trees, Pink and Green Trees


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mexican Holiday Ponche

As you prepare for your next holiday fiesta, you may want to consider a unique Mexican twist on the traditional holiday punch.  

In Mexico, the holiday season begins on December 12 on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe and ends on February 2 with the Candlemas.  It's a whirlwind of festivities, fun, and food with a strong emphasis on the story of Jesus' birth.

In the days that precede Christmas, from December 16 through December 24, people celebrate Las Posadas.  The nine night novena represents the 9 months of Mary's pregnancy.  The word posada in Spanish means lodging.  Children and adults re-enact the Biblical story of Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem, asking for lodging with traditional songs and music before being welcomed into the host's home to celebrate.

At the posada, people celebrate by breaking a star-shaped piƱata, while singing songs and enjoying traditional food and drinks.  One of my favorite holiday drinks from Mexico is ponche.

Here's my recipe for this delicious holiday drink that will warm your body on a cold winter evening.

3 cups water
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 cups pineapple juice
1 cup orange juice
10 cinnamon sticks, 2 to use and 8 for garnish
A handful of dried hibiscus (jamaica) flowers
2 oranges
Bottle of red wine

1.  Put the water, brown sugar, pineapple juice, and orange juice in a ceramic or glass pot.  Do not use an aluminum pot.
2.  Add 2 cinnamon sticks.  Put the hibiscus flowers in a strainer, infuser, or tea bag and add to the pot.
3.  Slice the oranges (unpeeled) and add to the pot.
4.  Heat to a rapid boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.
5.  Add the wine and heat to a boil.  Then remove the ponche from the stove.
6.  Serve warm with a cinnamon stick in a heat proof glass.

In Mexico, everyone's grandmother has a different ponche recipe and there is no one right way to prepare it.  Feel free to improvise with ingredients you have on hand.  You might want to try this with guavas, tamarind pods, apples, or pears.

Ponche re-heats well over the stove and can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Although traditional pottery is commonly used to serve ponche in Mexico, you may want to try a serving mug such as the Irish Coffee Mug from Crate and Barrel

What is your favorite holiday drink?  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gifts for Guys

Today's guest post is from the Rebecca, the Towson Town Center GURU.  Please leave a comment to welcome her to Maryland Pink and Green and let her know what gifts for guys you like the best.  

Looking for a standout gift for your boyfriend, husband, dad or brother?

We all know how tough it can be to find gifts for guys!  Read on for my picks from The Art of Shaving, Pottery Barn and The Sport Shop.

How about treating him to a skincare or shaving set from The Art of Shaving (Level 4)? It's an entire store dedicated to helping guys get The Perfect Shave™.

He can use this Travel Kit at home or on the go. It comes with travel-size pumps of Pre-Shave Oil, Shaving Cream, After-Shave Balm and a Pure Badger Travel Shaving Brush. Choose from unscented, sandalwood essential oil, lemon essential oil, or lavender. If he's never used a badger shaving brush before, he'll probably never turn back. The store manger tells me that using one helps to create even more lather. If properly cared for, it can last for more than a decade!

You can also spoil him with one of The Art of Shaving's handcrafted razors.  The Art of Shaving breaks The Perfect Shave™ into four steps — Prepare, Lather Up!, Shave, and Moisturize — and offers products to go with each step. GURU Tips: Talk to an associate about your recipient's shaving needs, such as battling in-grown hairs, in order to get customized suggestions. You can save money by going for a bundled gift set. It can be of better value to buy a set instead of individual products.

My next store pick may not be what you would expect... One guy I know seemed surprised when I mentioned Pottery Barn (Level 2) as a destination for gifts for guys. You'll find unique bar themed items and more!  This vintage race car houses an extra large cocktail shaker! If he doesn't have a bar, he can park it on a coffee table or book shelf. It's a guaranteed conversation piece!

Whisking him off to Paris may not be in the cards right now, but you can stir up some ideas for the future or serve up a souvenir to remind him of a past trip with this Eiffel Tower shaker. If you want to do something really over the top, this shaker can also be a vessel for surprise plane tickets!

With so many games on the video screen or in plastic form, it's not everyday that you see a game board that can double as a piece of art. This leather backgammon set, available at Pottery Barn as well, makes for an inviting coffee table display. You can also have the set monogrammed.

Say see you later alligator to trouble getting those shoes on! If you're looking for stocking stuffers for him, check out these fun shoe horns. Pick from a dog or the gator.

You can't go wrong at The Sport Shop (Level 1), with a gift straight from "Ravens Country!" Along with classic NFL licensed jerseys and tees, you'll find endless accessories. There are mugs, a toaster that allows you to toast the home team and mark your breakfast with the Ravens logo, a set with a Ravens ice bucket and four cups, and MUCH MORE!  This purple and white checkered button down with the Ravens logo has been flying out of the store.  Or, you can go for a purple tie!

Hope that helps make MISSION GUY GIFTS an easier one!

Coming up throughout the week, watch for more gift ideas. Here are links back to some other gift posts. I recently featured Out of the Box toy ideas and gifts for the grandparents. Plus, here are more ideas for stocking stuffers for everyone in the family. Need a Secret Santa gift for the office party? Here are a few tips. 

As always, if you need help tracking down a gift for someone on your list, just leave me a comment and I'll jump on the case!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Lilly Pulitzer Tysons Galleria Opens

Lilly Pulitzer at Tysons Galleria opened doors for Lilly lovers yesterday.  The store is very large and has an amazing selection that you'll love!  Be prepared for picture overload in today's post.  The images I have to show to you are narrowed down from over 50 pictures that I took at the store.  After visiting dozens of Lilly Pulitzer stores, I can assure you that this store is pure eye candy.  

So after braving a little rush hour traffic on 495, the first logical stop on our tour is the bathroom!  You Gotta Regatta wall paper trimmed with nautical rope details and a Jonathan Adler chandelier brighten this space.

The partridge bowl from Jonathan Adler beautifully displays bangles.

The octopus is made out of little tiny starfish!  (And yes, he has 8 legs.  One is hidden behind his back!)

The design team from the Pink Palace painted all of these wall decorations and murals by hand!

Two lovely ladies in their Lilly!  I love the Harvey and Tate skirts.  Perfect for holiday parties.  

The jewel of the store is the dressing room area!  The wall paper is amazingly gorgeous.  I adore the colors that remind me of old school Palm Beach.  As soon as I saw this space, I felt like I was transported to the lobby of the Colony Hotel in Delray.  If I could find some of this wall paper for my home, I'd be such a happy peep!

Every Lilly Pulitzer corporate store has a dressing room that tells the story of Lilly Pulitzer.  At Tysons Galleria, the story room is decked out in the pink toile print that you may have seen in the tissue paper that is now used to wrap your goodies.  

Another dressing room squeezes the sweetest juice out of life!  The fruit on the ceiling is covered in a glittery gloss and the murals on the walls are painted by hand.  

Lilly Pulitzer's Facebook fans voted on the theme of one of the dressing rooms and this was the winner!  Another recurring dressing room theme at the corporate stores tells the color story.  Pretty painted conversation hearts adorn the walls of this sweet dressing room.  

At Lilly Pulitzer life is a party!  Celebrate every day in the party themed dressing room.  From the champagne bottles, corks, and glasses on the ceiling to the gold confetti, you'll feel festive in this space.  I especially love the memory boxes complete with correspondence and memorabilia from Lilly Pulitzer herself.  

Every store is different and shows local influences.  Take a road trip from Washington, DC to Palm Beach on the walls of this dressing room!  

On your way to sunny Florida, take a break in Charlottesville, Raleigh, Atlanta, and Jacksonville.  

Once you're in Palm Beach, a visit to The Breakers is a must on your agenda!  

Glittery details and pretty accessories are everywhere!  

As you checkout with your purchases, you're sure to notice the gorgeous painting from Paige Smith.  A duo of shell sconces illuminate the pink wall.  

The custom made shell sconce is a natural beauty!

Caitlin and I love our Lilly!  

Of course there were cupcakes and champagne for Lilly Lovers to enjoy as they shopped, too!  I predict that my car will be on auto-pilot quite a bit now that the Tysons Galleria store is open.  



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