Low-Stress Holidays: The Art of the Gift Basket

2017-12-01_13-04-42via ApartmentTherapy.com – Growing up, I remember the time leading up to Christmas being weeks that my mother had the makings of her annual gift baskets strewn throughout our infrequently used formal dining room. Baskets or buckets, Carrs crackers, pepper jellies, candied pecans were a few of the items. Oh, and rolls and rolls of cellophane and ribbon. Our dining room became her own little elf workshop where she carefully put together anywhere from 10-50 gifts for the people in her life – co-workers, teachers, neighbors, and distant relatives who might unexpectedly drop by for a holiday visit.

While I personally couldn’t stand the look of cellophane and curled ribbons (I know, what 10-year-old isn’t into curled ribbons?), I did appreciate the attention she put into making the perfect gift basket. It is, in fact, an art.

If you’ve turned your nose up at gift baskets in the past, I’m with you. They can be tacky, impersonal, and sometimes just full of, how shall I say, crap. But knowing how much time and effort my mother put into creating the perfect assortment, it might just be the way to go this holiday season – especially if you’re gifting to the masses.

Follow these simple guidelines for the best gift basket:

  1. Pick a theme. Having a game plan helps guide you in all your purchases. Think themes like A Cozy Night At Home, Family Game Night, Gifts for Hosting, or End-of-Semester Teacher Survival Kit to get you on the right track.
  2. Start with a good container. Pick something that can easily be reused or repurposed. And by all means, don’t just go for a brown basket! (See our favorite picks below.)

 

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5th Annual Bars and Stripes Morristown Pub Crawl

https3a2f2fcdn-evbuc-com2fimages2f360920112f364158429282f12foriginal5th Annual Bars and Stripes Bar Crawl is a pub crawl around Morristown to help benefit the Nine Line Foundation.

Come out and enjoy with your friends for what will be a fun night for a great cause!!
Please purchase tickets in advance as this year spots are limited due to the increasing attendance from years past.
For Tickets, Please visit the following:
Please note that the cost of the event includes a donation to the Nine Line Foundation, open bar for the first hour of the event at Horseshoe Tavern (4pm – 5pm), T-shirt which will allow you access to the open bar and drink specials at all the participating bars, and a souvenir koozie commemorating the 5th year of the event. All drinks after 5pm must be purchased separately. All members of the bar crawl must be 21 years or older with a valid form of ID.
The Nine Line Foundation is a 501c3 charitable organization, dedicated to meeting the financial and specialized needs of severly injured soldiers and their families. In combat, a Nine Line is an emergency medevac request, and is often the difference between life and death for the most severly wounded soldiers. Nine Line Foundation aims to serve in a similar manner, offering a lifeline once wounded veterans return stateside.

Top 5 Coffee Shops In The Morristown Area

4632382536_165ce81baf_o-1504275645-5368After a long summer of iced coffee and lemonades, fall is fast approaching and with it, pumpkin spice everything. Love pumpkin spice lattes? Just looking for a really great cup of coffee? Here are some local coffee shops Morristown Yelpers love.

The Artist Baker: “The cutest little bakery and café that is tucked away on a busy but still a side street off of the green. The bike hanging as decoration out front is what caught my eye at first and I’m glad that it drew me in. I had a freshly brewed iced tea with my baked cheddar & kale scone one late afternoon.”

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First Night® Morris County celebrates its 25th anniversary – bigger and better than ever!

2016-12-21_10-31-52December 31, 2016 marks the 25th Anniversary of New Jersey’s biggest and brightest First Night, a New Year’s Eve family-friendly, alcohol-free celebration of the arts – with nearly 200 artists, over 85 events in 26+ venues – representing dance, theatre, music, world cultures, visual arts and children’s events.

For the last quarter century, Morris Arts has served as First Night Morris’ artistic programmer, securing topflight talents who attract thousands of people from throughout the state and beyond.  More than half of the program features new artists (or artists returning after several years), many of whom have performed at top venues (the White House, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Ringling Brothers, Madison Square Garden), won international recognition, performed on national radio/TV, in major films and/or collaborated with superstars of performing arts.

On that night, for a remarkably affordable price ($17.50-$25!), one can experience everything from Broadway stars to a comedy dog circus!

Three visual arts exhibits (displaying over 300 artworks) and two sets of fireworks top off that magical evening known as First Night® Morris County. To check out the full lineup of artists, visit: www.firstnightmorris.com.

Best of the Best: @JockeyHollowBK

The NJ Monthly’s annual list of the absolute best restaurants to eat in New Jersey. Congratulations Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen

2016-08-31_11-49-20Chef Kevin Sippel, 39, oversees one of the most multi-faceted and ambitious restaurant under one roof in New Jersey. JHBK, as staffers call it, is actually three restaurants on three levels.

All serve food as deep in flavor and steeped in tradition as it is informed by modern cooking techniques and ideals like local, seasonal ingredients, meat produced without growth stimulants and so on.

Top floor is the fine dining, mainly prix-fixe Dining Room; main floor the hip, casual Oyster Bar and Vail Bar; ground floor the German-themed Rathskeller (live music on weekends).

Delights range from a superb raw bar to entrancing pastas, a roasted carrot soup beyond all expectations, pork schnitzel with mushroom cream sauce and one of the most atavistically satisfying burgers around. All this plus terrific wine pairings—a specialty of owner Chris Cannon—and great cocktails from mixologist James Gelmi. Read the January 2015 Review. 110 South Street, 973-644-3180.

Morristown’s Downtown is Tops!

2015-09-10_11-16-25This month’s issue of New Jersey Monthly magazine names Morristown’s Downtown as their pick for “Favorite Downtown”.

Joanna Buffum reports on the social heart of our town:

The Morristown Green, established in 1715, is the heart of downtown, and adjacent South Street its main artery. You’ll find Revolutionary War landmarks throughout town and a National Historic Park, Jockey Hollow, where Washington’s troops shivered through the frigid winter of 1780, just to the south.
By day, South Street draws the local lunch crowd; at night, the area booms with out-of-towners who mingle at such watering holes as Sona Thirteen, Iron Bar,Grasshopper, Tashmoo, Hops and the Famished Frog.

The downtown is so walkable, the Morristown-based Seeing Eye has used it as a living classroom for guide dogs and their blind companions for more than 50 years. Jim Kutsch, president and CEO of the Seeing Eye, and his wife Ginger, are both blind and happily call Morristown home. The “no car, two-dog family” walks everywhere. “I really haven’t been able to do so much on foot since I was on a university campus,” says Kutsch.

Morristown has a proud history of caring for the needy. Downtown includes numerous soup kitchens and the historic Market Street Mission shelter, established in 1889.

READ THE FULL STORY

Local Chefs Embrace Sustainability in Many Forms

Interviews with 5 chefs who will be preparing farm-fork tastings at Sustainable Morristown’s Locally Grown Gala on Sunday 9/20

2015-09-03_14-01-23Sustainability is a hot topic with the chefs who will be preparing farm-to-fork tastings at Sustainable Morristown’s 5th annual Locally Grown Gala. Five participating chefs recently shared their thoughts on sustainability as it relates to their cooking and businesses. While all place an emphasis on sourcing local ingredients, sustainability is incorporated in many other ways and includes practices such as the use of reclaimed materials for seating, implementation of a “no waste” policy for food, cooking over an open fire, and the exclusion of endangered species on menus. All will be showcasing their talents at the Gala to be held on Sunday, September 20th from 4 – 7 p.m. at the Hyatt Morristown. Early bird discounts are available until September 9th.

Each chef discussed the importance of using local ingredients whenever possible and cites New Jersey as one of the top places in the country to source from. Mike Carrino, Chef and Partner of Trois Cochons, operators of Pig & Prince Restaurant and Gastro-Lounge, has worked in many other states but says “They don’t call New Jersey the ‘garden state’ for nothing. I love New Jersey. It has everything to offer from a chef’s point of view. We have the best produce, some of the best breeders, and we really have some of the best products in the country.” Similarly, Jeff Powell, Executive Chef at the Hyatt Morristown has worked in California, Hawaii, and Texas. And although “There are certain areas such as Hawaii where the land is fruitful,” in New Jersey “We have a giant network of farms within a 100 mile radius that we can pick and pluck from. We have access to the Atlantic Ocean. I have all these farms, and have local purveyors for chicken and for cheese.” Ben Walmer, Founder of Highlands Dinner Club ties the increasing availability of locally sourced products to the recent trend of New York City chefs launching restaurants in New Jersey, stating “This is very exciting and bodes well for New Jersey.” And Bill Hedge, Executive Chef for Kings Food Markets highlights the demand for freshly picked produce when talking about the company’s exclusive “24 Hour Just Picked Promise.” The program gives shoppers the benefits of a local farm stand by offering locally grown, farm-fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs within 24 hours of being picked. Continue reading