Thursday, December 30, 2010

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

I think it's safe to say 2010 has been a difficult year for all of us - job losses, sickness, bankruptcy, deaths, break ups, breakdowns and the list goes on...  I believe 2011 will be better and brighter.  The adversity in our lives and the difficult times only makes us stronger.  It is during these challenging times we have the greatest wisdom to learn.  Problems won't disappear, but we can navigate a new path to make things manageable.  Lets look forward to a new year with optimism of new good things to come.

I wish you health. And more than wealth. I wish you love. 

Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas in Vermont

This year my family wanted to do something different for the holidays.  My brother gets a place in Killington, Vermont for the skiing season every year and he graciously invited us to come stay with him.  The scenery was absolutely gorgeous.  The snow covered mountains and wooded bridges were so charming.  We checked out the skiing resort, the quaint small town Woodstock VT, and hung out at his house by a famous trout stream.  We kept the wood-burning fireplace full stocked.  As we were driving across New York State into Vermont a billboard read, "Yes, even gas stations are nicer in Vermont."  I thought it was pretty funny, but it's seriously true!  Christmas night was spent stargazing.  The darkness in the woods surrounding the house was free of light pollution so we really had an amazing opportunity to enjoy the winter sky.  I had an amazing time with family - old and new.

What's the best gift for the holiday season?

KINDNESS!  This is the kind of gift that doesn't cost anything, you can give it everyone, and it keeps giving.  It's limitless.  The other day I was brushing the snow off my little 1997 compact car after work.  It only takes me a minute because my car is so small. After I was done I realized the women next to me in their 40s-50s were still trying to clear the snow off their cars.  I quickly jumped right in and started brushing the snow off.  It brought me such joy to see their reactions.  They thanked me and smiled.  It's these little actions that make us feel like a community and help to spread joy to everyone around.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Healthier Gingerbread Cookies

Above are some of my gingerbread cookies - freshly cut out dough.  The aroma of gingerbread fills the air when you bake these babies.  I used a Betty Crocker gingerbread cookie recipe but substituted honey for brown sugar and used whole wheat flour instead of white.  Instead of using sugary frosting I used raisins to decorate the cookies.  This is a guilt free way to enjoy the holidays!  mmm delicious!

The Gingerbread Man Story
Run Run Run as fast as you can
You can't catch me
I'm the Gingerbread Man

To make cookies from scratch:


  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 stick butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 3/4 cups whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting work surface
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Cream the honey and butter until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs and molasses and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and combine with a spoon or spatula.
Remove the dough from the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap; place in the refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, until pliable. Take about 1/2 cup of dough at a time and roll onto a floured board until about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out with gingerbread boy and girl cookie cutters. You can re-roll the scraps. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies from the board to the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 minutes, until just beginning to brown at the edges. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
To decorate, add three raisins down the front of the cookie to serve as buttons.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Holidays from Rice Rafferty!

Do you have any fun plans for the holidays?  The holidays can be a magical yet stressful time.  Try to remember nothing is perfect and to make the most of every moment! Are you baking any special treats?  To me the food makes the holidays.  I made some thumbprint cookies and plan to make gingerbread cookies and spritz.  I love the traditional recipes passed down in my family.

Have you wrapped any gifts yet?  Here's an eco friendly gift giving idea - try wrapping your presents in fabric this year to eliminate waste.  You can use the fabric again and again.

We have lots of new hand dyed velvet devore skinny scarves on our website.  Don't forget our devore is completely homemade, so your scarf is one of a kind. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Evening Look for Winter

I'm not one who wants to look like everyone else especially when I'm going out for a special evening.  This is the look I choose for a winter party.  This look can take you from Christmas to February parties. I believe in investment shopping.  I want clothing and accessories I know will last, so I can mix and match the items for years to come.  All of these accessories above can be added to a casual look like jeans and a t-shirt to dress it up.  I know this look is best for warmer climates, but a gal can dream, right? :)

Grey Dress - Jcrew Silk Chiffon Juliet Dress - $180
Purple Red Devore Scarf - Rice Rafferty Handmade Devore Hand Dyed Velvet- $45
Metallic Gold Shoes - Alexandre Birman
Metallic Silver Snake Skin Embossed Hand Bag - BCBGeneration Maya Clutch - $48
Rhinestone Cluster Earrings - Ann Taylor

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Buffalo Botanical Gardens

A beautiful sleigh filled with Christmas gifts at the Buffalo Botanical Gardens

me - dancing around
During the cold and snowy Thanksgiving 4 day weekend I felt like hibernating and designing.  I managed to get out a few times though.  One of my favorite visits was to the Buffalo Botanical Gardens.  Being in the warm, earthy environment makes you feel alive again.  The gardens included desert, jungle, and Japanese style gardens.  Christmas decorations were all around - toy trains, poinsettias, sleds, Christmas lights, and Christmas trees.  Winter is such a great time to check out your local Botanical Gardens for some inspiration.