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Mary Helen
Austin, TX
I can Haas Avocado?
Interests: Mary Makes Good is a lifestyle blog featuring whole food recipes, DIY projects, natural beauty, and a parenting diary.
Recent Activity
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Disclosure: I am being compensated for working at The National Honey Board's Benefits of Honey events mentioned below. The first time I saw fruit on a salad I was quite skeptical. Even though I am a big fan of all things sweet and savory it gave me pause. Could that really work? Aren't salads meant to be slathered in fatty accouterments like bacon and cream dressings? How could fruit beat croutons? Eventually my curiosity got the best of me and I gave it a shot and discovered that the bursting sweetness of fresh fruit is incredible in salads. I was hooked immediately. It started with cranberries on a waldorf. Then there was my first strawberry spinach salad, and that watermelon feta combination. Before I knew it I was piling fruits of all kinds over beds of lettuce. Grilled peaches? Mandarin segments? Yes please. If you haven't tried making a salad with fruit in it yet, today is the day. This recipe combines tender baby spinach with crisp jicama and juicy raspberries. If you can't find jicama in your local store try substituting a mild apple, like a red delicious, instead. The vinaigrette also includes one rather exotic ingredient - roasted... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Mary Makes Good
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Last week we took our first big trip as a family. The flight to Seattle began at CC's usual bedtime so we were hoping that he would sleep through most of the ride. We figured the plane would be dark and quiet with plenty of white noise from the engines. We hadn't considered the fact that our plane would be heading toward the sun - keeping the entire journey locked in a late afternoon glow. Our neighbors weren't particularly cooperative either. It was one of the chattiest flights I've ever been on, in fact. Needless to say, CC didn't sleep a wink. Every second that wasn't spent nursing CC attempted to escape our two-seat prison by climbing the walls and performing baby acrobatics. By the end of the flight my arms and my nipples felt like they might fall off - but it could have been worse. He didn't scream. He didn't cry. He didn't pull anyone's hair (that last one wasn't for lack of trying.) All in all, I'd call it a win. While traveling with a little one isn't exactly easy, it was so much better than I expected. This trip involved more work than it would have... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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It might seem a little late in the year for goal-setting, but you know what? I've never been a slave to tradition so I'm not letting that get in my way. Besides, January is for resolutions and what I'm doing here is setting some achievable goals for myself on the anniversary of having given birth to my first baby. The last year has been a doozy, but I think twelve months is long enough to give myself a pass on getting fit. Now it's time to get back on the right track. 1. Eat a Salad Every Day Not just a side-salad, mind you. I'm challenging myself to replace one full meal (lunch or dinner) with a salad every day of the week. I'm hoping this will be a simple way to reduce my intake of carbs while adding more veggies and greens to my diet. I'm going to do my best to track my progress on Instagram. You can follow #saladaday to see a bazillion other folks on the same mission. 2. Cut Out Added Sugar I have been SO BAD about sugar lately. Every time I turn around I seem to be nibbling on a cookie or stress-gulping... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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Disclosure: I was compensated by Minted.com for sharing a review of their retail site. As always, my words, ideas, opinions, body, soul, etc. are my own. I've discovered that having a child means being surprised on a daily basis - not just by random shrieks or mystery wetness but by how quickly these tiny humans become aware of the world around them. It seems like every day CC does something that I had no idea he could do yet. For example, he began showing an interest in artwork when he was just a few months old. It started with a glossy stare at a colorful print, then later he became so excited by certain pictures or photographs that he would wave his arms and coo or chuckle. These days he can spend minutes (these are like hours in baby time) gazing at a picture in a book, tracing every line on a page and smiling when he finds one that is especially compelling. Our friend, Tara, gave us a painting she made of a chimp before CC was born and it is by far is favorite piece of art in the house. He loves to rub his little hand over... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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Disclosure: I was compensated for sharing this post. As always, my opinions are my own. I love to eat. I like to drink. I wouldn't say that I love running, but there are definitely things that I like about it. For one thing, I like the way that I picture myself running before I actually get out there and do it. There's something downright dreamy about the thought of myself jogging through a tree-lined neighborhood, fleet of feet, smiling bright, with a breeze blowing gently through my artfully tousled hair. It's a nice dream, much nicer than reality where I'm huffing and puffing, hammering away on worn out sneakers that feel like lead and trying to catch my breath as my lungs are smashed down by my wayward knockers. I also like being able to parade around the house with a smug grin because I went running today. Chew on that, husband. Aren't you impressed, cats? Take a good look, dog. I'm a runner! The thing I probably like most about running is the lack of embarrassment when life suddenly throws a sprint up a flight of stairs or across a train platform my way. When I run regularly (even... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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Disclosure: I was compensated by The National Honey Board for working at the events mentioned in this post. Thanks for your support! Do you love honey? Want to learn about how it's made and how you can use it for food, wellness, and beauty? Than you should come out to one of three free upcoming events put on my the National Honey Board! I'll be there - which is reason enough. Don't you think? (Insert winky emoji here.) I will be making fresh batches of Honey Grapefruit Scrub at upcoming events in Seattle, Washington D.C. and Austin on behalf of The National Honey Board! Seattle, WA: May 11 at The Seattle Art Museum Washington D.C.: May 19 at The Loft at 600 F Austin, TX: May 21 at Vuka I hope you'll join us for a fun and educational evening with demonstrations from experts on health, cooking, beekeeping, and of course, natural beauty. Marie Simmons, author of Taste of Honey: The Definitive Guide to Tasting and Cooking with 40 Varietals , will be there sharing a cooking demonstration. There will also be demos by a professional beekeeper and a registered nurse. I hope to see you there! If you do... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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Mother's Day is just around the corner so I took the liberty of buying myself a little something. Some women receive flowers or jewelry on Mother's Day (especially their FIRST) Mother's Day, but my husband isn't really interested in gift giving. Since I come from a family in which gift giving is a primary love language this has caused some turmoil over the course of our relationship, but I'm trying hard to let it go. It's not really the gift I want, after all, it's his love and appreciation. Instead of getting angry at his stinginess I try to remember that I have that - then I go out and buy myself a present. To commemorate my first Mother's Day I bought myself this beautiful print from Spirit & Soul. I plan on matting and framing it once it arrives, then hanging it in my bedroom. If my cash flow were a little more generous at the moment I would also have bought myself a copy of Jade Beall's The Bodies of Mothers: A Beautiful Body Project . Her incredible photography captures the beauty of mamas in all stages, ages, and walks of life - glorious imperfections and all. It's... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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It's true! You can purchase your copy right now in my Big Cartel shop! The book is expected to come out around June 15. Pre-order your book now and it will arrive on your doorstep when the big day comes! According to my publisher, the first print copies of my book (the preview copies) arrived at their office earlier this week. By now a copy should be in the mail and on its way to me. I can barely contain myself as I wait for the mailman to drop it off. The guys at Spring House Press tell me that it looks great! As you can see, the photos in this book are really, really beautiful. Kimberly Davis did an incredible job and I feel really fortunate to have worked with her. Thanks to Kimberly every recipe in this book is accompanied by a gorgeous full-color photograph, most of which are full-page! The everyday recipes are simple, customizable, and use a carefully selected group of ingredients that can be found in most health food stores. The specialty recipes kick things up a notch with a handful of more exotic ingredients which can be added to your collection if you feel... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Rachael Ray's Nutrish brand pet food. I was compensated for creating this post, but my opinions are my own. I grew up in a house full of pets. In fact, I can't remember ever living in a house without animals. From the time I was born I was sharing my life with a parade of goofy Labradors and sassy house cats. It seems like my parents were always coming home with a new friend. One of our first pets, Muffet, was found in a snowbank in Maine when she was just a few hours old. That sweet little kitten was never quite right in the head, but she was loving and patient - the perfect companion for three little girls. Muffy would let us dress her in costumes, take her for rides in doll carriages, and lug her around the house like a teddy bear. I have never met another cat like that! Our first family dog was a spirited yellow lab named Beau. Even though Beau would sometimes snack on our toys we loved him dearly. My parents hadn't planned on getting us a dog. You might say that it was... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links that help support Mary Makes Good and mentions a product that I was given samples of for free. We spent last weekend doing one of my favorite things - throwing a party! Our friends Keeley and Kirk are having a baby and we couldn't be happier for them. To celebrate we threw a little Jack n Jill shindig which involved a crawfish boil, tattoo themed baby shower goodies, and a Frito Pie buffet. Needless to say it was pretty rockin' for a baby shower. I'll be sharing a whole post on the party sometime soon. By the way, a friend of mine who works at a certain mega-chain health food grocery store told me that his customers are going bananas over the arrival of an Organic Fritos-style corn chip. This made me chuckle. Texans are very serious about their Frito Pie - even the more health conscious among us. If you are GMO-phobic, you'll be happy to know that Frito alternatives like Sage Valley Organic Corn Chips and Trader Joe's Organic Corn Chip Dippers are out there for your crunching pleasure. Speaking of food projects, I just received sample swatches from my latest fabric... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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I might have mentioned this before, but I have a lot of sisters. The youngest one is named Caitlin Ariel. She arrived about nine years after the rest of us so my parents decided to make sure she received a warm welcome by naming her after the Little Mermaid. This thrilled us (naturally) but it wasn't really necessary. I'm quite sure we would have loved the little stinker even if she didn't share a name with our favorite Disney princess. Caitlin called me the other day to request a simple recipe for lip scrub. This made me laugh for a moment because it illustrated the different places we are in our lives so well. Keeping my lips smooth and happy isn't really on my radar at the moment. With my little one crawling underfoot all day long I am lucky to wash my hair more than once a week. As far removed as I might be from the glamorous life of a woman in her twenties, I totally get why Caitlin asked for a lip scrub. The feeling of crispy, chapped and flaky lips bugs me too - especially on the rare occasions where I do paint on some colorful... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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If you are looking for a good excuse to consume way too much butter, a brown butter vegetable dish is a good choice. You've got the virtue of plant-power on your side, which pretty much offers a universal pass to go crazy with ingredients that would otherwise seem indulgent. Broccoli? Cover it in cheese sauce. Asparagus? Bring on the hollandaise! Spinach? Cream that mess. Besides, anything with brown butter in the title sounds fancy, and fancy is almost as good an excuse for gluttony as vegetables. Now that we've got the justification out of the way, let's move on to this post's featured butter sponge, spaghetti squash! This toothsome veggie can vary in texture depending on how you prepare it. My current favorite method is roasting the squash whole, then cutting and shredding it afterwards. This gives you a slightly al dente squash as opposed to the softer bite that can result from steaming it or roasting it in halves. Of course, you can do whatever floats your boat. If you'd like to try it my way, preheat your oven to 375F, poke some holes in the squash using a fork, then roast it on a baking sheet for about... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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I found myself in the midst of a totally stereotypical motherhood moment while going through CC's old clothes the other morning. When I pulled out the tiny little gender-ambiguous sleeper that he wore home on the day he was born it slayed me. He was so tiny when he was born - less than 5 1/5 pounds! Ten months later (has it really be that long?) he is a sturdy little chunk of a kid - resilient, adventurous, and hungry as ever. He's almost a toddler and I feel like I'm already missing my baby boy - his sweet soft little cheeks, the way he lights up when I smile at him, the weight of his tiny body pressed against me when he's nursing. It hurts to know it won't last forever, that one day he won't let me scoop him up and stick my face into his hot little neck. Even if he likes me as a teenager he certainly won't want to sleep on my chest. That would be weird for both of us. I know that I should be at least somewhat relieved to know that the rigorous pace of sleepless nights and demanding days won't last... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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Living with a ten month old baby is sort of like being trapped inside the world's cutest snow globe - and every time you think you've found your way around the place someone comes along and shakes the damned thing up. So you might also say that living with a ten month old baby is like living inside a tornado... or some kind of crazy vortex where time and reason function totally differently. My friend, Hilah, who recently had a little boy of her own described the experience of motherhood pretty brilliantly as "the worst-best sleepover party that never ends". That pretty much covers it. On one hand, I am happier than I have ever been in my entire life. On the other hand, I am completely exhausted, physically battered, and constantly stressed. My eye never stops twitching. I can't keep up with work, or household chores, or basic personal hygiene. I'm a mess - but I'm a mess with a full, happy heart, and a deep well of joy. It's pretty mind boggling. At ten months my little CC is crawling, standing, cruising on the furniture and eating us out of house and home. With his maniacal laugh and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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I have a pretty hopeless addiction to sweets so I'm always on the lookout for ways to make that addiction a little less deadly. The existence of health food desserts gives me some hope that I won't end up outgrowing my jeans as often as my baby boy. Of course, nothing healthy can ever replace ice cream, my naughty food soul mate, but I've learned that I can really get down with a raw chocolate truffle in between frozen dairy benders. The gracious folks at BenBella Books sent over a review copy of Christina Ross's new book, Love Fed: Purely Decadent, Simply Raw, Plant-Based Desserts recently, and I had a great time pouring over all of the creatively formulated recipes. This cookbook is filled with raw food desserts made with nourishing ingredients like almonds, coconut, fruits, and healthy fats. While no dessert is entirely guiltless, at least the recipes in this book offer some redeeming health benefits. When I binge on macaroons I can be like "Hey! These cookies are loaded with medium chain triglycerides. Alright!?" I've been on a bit of a chocolate bender lately so I decided to make Love Fed's Dark Chocolate Almond Bark. This raw confection... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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Photo courtesy of Jessica Aberthal @BakeMeAway One of the most amazing things about pizza is its ability to remain desirable even when the odds against it seem insurmountable. Stay with me here. I mean, even the worst pizza is still pizza, right? Maybe it's been in the fridge for a day or two. Still pizza. Perhaps it came out of a grocery freezer case. Still pizza. Maybe some maniac has covered it in bean sprouts and nori? Still pizza - and pizza is pretty much always good. It doesn't take a master chef to put a bunch of crazy crap on top of a pizza and get people to eat it (especially drunk people), but it does take some talent to create an out-there pizza that folks will love. The following pizzerias are doing just that - thinking outside the pizza box and bringing that well-loved combination of dough, sauce, and cheese to places you never thought it would go. We have teamed up with @michi_ramen again to make the new Michi 313. Available in limited quantities. Chashu slices, bean sprouts, corn/butter, woodear mushrooms, green onions. A photo posted by Via 313 Pizza (@via313) on Feb 20, 2015 at 5:22pm... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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Sometimes I like to roast up a huge baking sheet of broccoli and eat it piece by piece until I don't even want to think the word vegetable. This usually involves some pretty simple preparation - a dash of oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Maybe when it comes out I might squirt some lemon over the whole thing. That's all I really need to enjoy myself: peace, quiet, and a savory snack. An added bonus to this particular pig-out is that I have noone to compete with. Under my nagging eye Scott Bobleo will grudgingly fill the requisite third of his dinner plate with green vegetables, but you would never EVER catch him snacking on a piece of broccoli for fun - no matter how much lemon was involved. So I knew when I pulled a head of cauliflower from my Farmhouse Delivery box I would be eating the whole thing myself. While oil, salt, and pepper would have done the job handsomely I decided to spice it up by adding some Curry Powder. I'd recently tried the same ingredient on my popcorn. It wasn't bad, but butter, salt, and garlic powder remains my favorite way to address... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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Oh my goodness. Would you look at that cover? I'm not too shy to say it. It's a thing of beauty. Every time I look at this cover I pat myself on the back for insisting on professional photography. After that I thank my lucky stars that I ended up working with someone as amazingly talented as Kimberly Davis. I loved writing my book, but Kimberly's photos make me love reading it again and again and again. Every recipe is photographed - every single one! The book also includes photos throughout the non-recipe chapters featuring ingredients, techniques, and step-by-step tutorials. It's absolute eye candy from start to finish. So where am I at with the book? Our photos are done. The recipes have been tested, and my manuscript is in. I just handed back what should be the very last round of edits and next week it goes off to the printer! If everything goes to plan the book should arrive in stores in June. That's just a few months away - meaning I am less than 1/4 of a year from achieving a lifelong goal, becoming a published author. Not too shabby for someone whose dog ate an inexplicable... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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These ones, right here. These are the cheeks dreams are made of. They are like ripe little peaches, all soft and fuzzy. They even smell good - well, when they aren't covered in yogurt or mashed potatoes. These cheeks lift up to share his smiles, and tremble when his happiness fades. These cheeks still boast the round plumpness of babyhood though they have lost a little volume in the last few months. He is busy transforming from baby to toddler. With every passing day he squirms and scoots just a bit further from me. Before I know it he will be running around without my help. Sometimes I think he feels the coming changes too, and is trying to keep them at bay. He has always been a very independent baby but now he protests any separation between himself and his mommy. He wants Mama when he's crying. He wants Mama when it's time for bed. He wants Mama just about anytime he hears my voice or sees me walk by. Now and then I have a moment where his desire for constant closeness strains me. I find myself wishing that he would just give me a break and let... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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This past weekend I watched my little sister, Caitlin, perform with her sketch troupe, Taken Seriously, in their debut show at The New Movement Theater. Cait is a natural born comedian. She came up with her first standup routine when she was just a wee tot. She would put her hands on her little toddler hips and deliver this long, storylike joke. Though her pronunciation was still a little hinky (an account of her being a baby and all) she never missed a line. "Standally" (Stanley), she'd say. "You're not opposed to do dat!" Now she's all grown up and taking her funny to a whole new level. Knowing she was funny, I expected to get a good chuckle out of her show on Saturday night, but it was way funnier than that. I spent half of the show doubled over with tears running down my face. It was seriously funny, and I couldn't be more proud of my sister for having helped write it. Taken Seriously is opening for Opposites (a really funny improv team) this Wednesday, 8:00pm at The New Movement Theater on Lavaca Street. If you are free, I highly suggest checking it out. Tickets are just... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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Note: This post has been updated from last year's guide to New York style pizza in Austin. Click here to check out last year's post. Let's talk about pizza, specifically, New York Pizza. What constitutes New York style pizza anyway? Is it the thickness of the crust, the flavor of the sauce, or the type of oven that it's cooked in? The short answer is "yes". It's all of those things, but above all, it's a combination of textures and flavors that spells out comfort to anyone who grew up in or around New York City. I was born in Maine, but grew up mostly in Fairfield County, Connecticut and Yonkers, New York. All in all, I spent the majority of my life within an hour of "the city". As you might imagine, I ate a lot of pizza growing up. Apart from the occasional Sicilian or deep-dish pie, New York Style pizza was pretty much it. Everyone had their favorite hometown pizza places, but looking back, you could count on certain similarities in one pie to another. What is New York Style Pizza? First and foremost, comes the crust. If you ask me, a good New York style crust... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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I'll bet when you think of Chickpea Flour skin care isn't the first thing that comes to mind. Falafel? Yes. Facials? Not so much. Though you might find it surprising, Chickpea Flour is actually a super traditional beauty ingredient in other parts of the world. In India, Chickpea Flour is called Besan, and acts as a main ingredient in an endless variety of facials and masks that promise everything from younger looking skin to the lightening of age spots and the clearing of acne. You'll also find Chickpea Flour going under the alias of Gram Flour. These recipes are based on the notion that Chickpea Flour contains vitamins and minerals that benefit beauty. Most of the articles you'll find on Besan make some pretty interesting claims, but the science behind them can be a little vague. After a little digging I was able to find a few nuggets of solid information on what makes Chickpea Flour such a popular ingredient for skin care. Chickpea Flour contains plenty of folate which is known to have anti-aging benefits. It also contains magnesium, which may help prevent wrinkles and fight acne. A hefty dose of Vitamin B-6, which is purported to help fight... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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On the list of horrible, frustrating, irritating things that can possibly happen, losing my camera's battery charger is pretty high up on the list. While I slowly search the house from top to bottom (It's gotta be here. It's just GOTTA.) I've been resorting to taking camera phone photos for my blog. Not that taking picture with your phone is the worst thing that could happen. Most of the time they are downright OK. It's just that I like taking pretty pictures, and I know that no matter how skillfully I tap my tiny little screen it's just not going to look as good as if I was shooting with my big camera. It's not the end of the world - but it does suck a little joy out of my life, which is never a good thing. It is especially frustrating when Farmhouse Delivery hooks you up with a massive box of gorgeous produce. I pulled an Instagram Takeover on their feed last weekend and spent an entire afternoon cooking and prepping tons of really pretty food. These mushrooms, for example, were sooooo pretty. Even the process of making them was pretty. It was a golden opportunity to flex... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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CC's first Christmas came and went about one month ago. Since Scott and I aren't religious Christmas is more of a family tradition than anything else, but one we still enjoy a lot. Being surrounded with people you love and piles of cookies is a good thing, right? Of course, along with Christmas comes some not so good things - things like excess and materialism and green-eyed monsters. I'm hoping to keep Christmas as family-centered as possible as CC gets older, but I can already see how easily the day can become focused entirely on what's waiting under the tree. Scott and I filled stockings for one another but didn't buy each other proper gifts. It's our way of keeping a lid on our spending while still participating in the gift-giving tradition. We bought a few things for Charlie's little stocking (a project which I began in haste on the morning of Christmas Eve when I realized I didn't have a stocking for him yet). It came out pretty well for being sewn in the car between Austin and Houston. We filled it with teething biscuits, an infant toothbrush, and several of his already-favorite toys. I know. We are seriously... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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Psst. Have you heard? Crush-ins are so last season. The cool people are totally over them. Ice cream lovers in-the-know have developed a taste for frozen desserts with more unique characteristics. With the cupcake fad long dead, and a doughnut obsession well underway, will gourmet ice cream be the next national craze? One can only hope. Image courtesy of Ice Cream Social So where can sweet-toothed Austinites get in on a scoop of upscale ice cream? There are actually a number of gourmet creameries vying for position as the town's top banana. Gourmet flavors, crazy sundaes, and overloaded waffle cones abound. Here are a few places to check out if you are ready to take a leisurely stroll on the wild side. Dolce Neve, South First and Annie Street 1713 S 1st street | Hours: Mon - Fri 11am - 10pm & Sat - Sun 11am - 12am The pistachio gelato at Dolve Neve is currently my favorite frozen dessert in Austin - and I don't expect to find another anytime soon. Somehow, some way, it tastes even more like a pistachio than a pistachio. If you haven't had it yet you are wasting precious time. Life after this stuff... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2015 at Mary Makes Good