December 2018

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This month…

Featured article

Health&Beauty

Local Artist

Automobiles

Oh Christmas Tree!

By Jennifer Mendonca

It’s finally that oh so special time of the year, when everyone’s hearts are filled with the magic of the holiday season. It is a season of giving, a season of kindness & most importantly, a season of precious traditions – unique to each and every person (which is the best part!)

One tradition that is all too common, among so many families across many different cultures, is the annual trip to a Christmas tree farm. Every year, car loads of families pull up with excitement brimming in their eyes, hoping to find that extra special tree to call their own.

This year, I chose to take a trip to a local tree farm in Tiverton, Rhode Island – and it was the cutest little place ever! Clark’s Christmas Tree Farm, nestled in the rolling fields of beautiful farm country, was something right out of a story book (or maybe even a Hallmark movie!) When you pull through the brown gate onto the property, you are greeted by a brilliantly decorated and incredibly large Christmas Tree! At the heart of this farm, is a white painted farmhouse, and within it is a cute gift shop of locally curated items such as ornaments and local honey! After browsing through the gift shop, you can step right outside to pick out that special tree you will call your own. What made this place even more special? They always have a bonfire going, so if you get cold while shopping for your tree, you don’t have to travel very far to warm your toes!

When it comes down to it, selecting that perfect tree can be quite the challenge. Here are some helpful tips and tricks for your Christmas Tree journey:

  1. Know the best size for your space before making the trip

This one seems very obvious, but all too often it’s forgotten (Never forget Clark Griswold or Buddy the Elf folks.) Be sure to know the best height and width for your tree so you don’t run into any issues when it comes to the final setup.

 

  1. Make sure the needles are secure.

If the tree you select has needles falling off of it left & right, it may not be a very fresh tree. Be sure to give it a slight shake and inspect some of the branches.

 

  1. Visit a farm over any old “side of the road” Christmas tree lot

When you visit a Christmas tree farm over the road-side lots, you will be getting a freshly cut tree straight from the ground that it was grown in; whereas, if you visit those road-side lots, you’ll be getting pre-cut trees that might have been cut long before your arrival.

 

  1. Have your tree baled

Having your tree baled, also known as the netting the tree gets wrapped up in, makes the transportation and setup 10x easier.

 

  1. Pay attention to the color of the tree

Discoloration of the tree can mean poor health and may not last as long as you would like it too – and that is not ideal for a happy holiday season.

I hope these tips make selecting your Christmas tree more celebratory rather than stressful this year. Remember: picking out your tree is more than just a purchase; it is a tradition meant to hold many memories for years to come. Make your trips all the more special by adding in your own personal touches such as hot cocoa to warm up after a successful tree picking or reading a bedtime story to your kiddos around the freshly decorated tree. Whatever your tradition may be, let it be joyous, full of love & filled with the magic of the Christmas season.

 

A Holiday Daycation

These local spots will have you planning a Holiday Daycation with your BFF’S!

By Patty J

 

We’re here once again.

The countdown to Thanksgiving, and next thing you know, it’ll be CE. We all have that one friend who finished their Christmas shopping back in August, and is probably using their calligraphy skills to make place cards for their Thursday table as we speak. (Try not to be too jelly.)

One way for the rest of us to stay relatively sane and pleasant these last two months of the year is to take an hour or three out on the reg to do something low key fun, whether it’s on your own or with that non-judge-y friend or friends you can really vent to (aka, that person or ppl you probably always tag in the comment section of IG posts from My Therapist Says or Betches).

One destination to keep on your radar for this type of necessary leisure time off or recreation would have to be Main Street EG. The other night we were there for an art show and were reminded of just how adorbs and charming it is. So, there’s no shame in kicking off your fall/winter 2018 Down Time Tour with some window shopping, coffee or cocktails at a few of our personal favs on Main:

  1. A coffee in the am or a seasonal cocktail in the pm at Main Street Coffee is an absolute must do. Sit back and indulge in some people watching or catch up with your crew at this East Greenwich hot spot. There’s also a fireplace in the back room for boosting the cozy vibe.

 

Check out the front window at The White Elephant (not to be confused with the resort in Nantucket). Their curated selection of refurbished treasures is always a treat that helps keep us upbeat and cheery.

Then there’s the The Troll Shop. Their windows are usually decked with all kinds of unexpected and unusual items. A great conversation starter to be sure. (Side bar: we’re pretty curious about this place.)

A must visit for every pet “pawrent” is Bone Appetit, the eco-friendly dog store. Treats, cold weather gear, and even more bark-tastic stuff for the good boy in your life.

Make time to visit Sprigs which features an impressively merchandised selection of all kinds of plants (ideal for that person in your life who’s fully embraced the Houseplant Trend this year) and gifty items, including ornaments, lights, and . You’ll be a fan. PS – They also have a shop in Wickford.

 

 

Artist of the Month

Jessica Stevens Owner of Sea and Shore Designs

  1. Tell us about your work

I am a self taught silversmith and I create handcrafted jewelry using sea glass, sterling silver and other semi-precious stones.

  1. Is there a story behind the name of your business?

My most favorite thing to work with is sea glass, but i also work with stones, shells and coral, things you find on the shore. So rather than include “sea glass” in my business name, I went for sea and shore designs.

  1. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?

I come from a family of artisans and crafters. Growing up I had an unlimited amount of art supplies at my fingertips. I am currently a graphic designer by day, but I quickly discovered being a graphic designer means a lot of what you do is based on customer feed back. Creating jewelry is something that uses much more of my own creativity.

  1. Where do you draw your inspiration?

When ever i feel like I need inspiration of if I’ve hit a mental block a trip to the beach solves it. Good thing I live in Rhode Island. You’re never too far from a beach here!

     5. What’s your favorite item to create?

Rings!! I love to make rings of all shapes and sizes.

  1. What’s your best seller?

A toss up between rings and earrings.

  1. How long have you been in Rhode Island?

My whole life, so we will say over 30 years. My family has lived here here in the state for over 6 generations!

  1. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?

I love my little state! Chowder and clam cakes, Del’s lemonade, Dinner on the beach, coffee milk, miles upon miles of ocean access, oysters & food trucks. So. many. food trucks!!!

  1. Favorite place to take out-of-towners?

Newport for sure, WaterFire depending on the schedule, Colt state park, Moonstone Beach in September & the Umbrella Factory

  1. Any advice for new/wannabe makers?

Just do it. I sat on my soldering equipment for almost 2 years before i felt brave enough to actually start making. I feel silly now thinking about it, but i was so much more intimidated then i ever needed to be.

2019 Subaru Ascent: Plus-Sized People Mover

By Duncan Brady

Subaru has walked the line between lightly lifted all-wheel drive station wagons and full-sized SUVs for decades now. With the introduction of the 2019 Ascent, it appears that the Japanese automaker has its scope set squarely on the stalwarts of the three-row SUV segment, taking on sales heavyweights like the Toyota Highlander and Ford Explorer. With that in mind, has Subaru succeeded in building a car capable of playing with the big kids on the playground?

It’s impossible to comment on the Ascent without first touching on the manufacturer’s last attempt to compete with this modern generation of minivan alternatives: the B9 Tribeca. Arriving in 2006, the Tribeca was not what we would call good looking, even after an aesthetic refresh in 2008, nor was it a sales success. In the Tribeca’s final year of production in 2014, Subaru sold just 732 examples in North America. For reference, Toyota sold more than 146,000 Highlanders here during the same period.

Subaru intends to occupy a great deal more of that market space with the Ascent. Offered in base, Premium, Limited, and Touring trim levels, the automaker proudly declares this new model the largest Subaru ever built, though the dimensions don’t stand out amongst its peers. It does however boast an impressive 8.7 inches of ground clearance which dissolves any anxiety performing Subaru activities like driving down rutted dirt roads through Vermont or crossing grassy fields on the way to one’s campsite. Or soccer match.

From the exterior, the design of the Ascent is pure Subaru. Wagon-like proportions dominate the profile and from straight on the Ascent is nearly indistinguishable from its smaller stablemates. With features not unlike those of a Forester with lip fillers and calf implants, the designers clearly played it safe while penning this one, though that’s to be expected given Subaru’s recent successes and previous foibles.

The Ascent’s powerplant is similarly typical of the brand: a single-turbocharged horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine which produces 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. Those power figures leave the Ascent well-equipped to keep up with the non-turbo six cylinders and forced induction four-pots of the competition, though it can’t compete with the muscular 365-horse twin-turbo V-6 in top spec Explorers. The Ascent’s turbo four is well up to the task of motivating the 4600 pound family hauler and provides surprising poke given a prod of the throttle pedal. It can even tow 5000 pounds, 1500 more than the similarly powered Mazda CX-9. Fuel economy is near the top of the segment, averaging 22-23 mpg combined.

Power is transmitted to all four wheels through a new high-torque application of Subaru’s CVT. Easily accessible shift paddles behind the steering wheel allow the driver to swap between 8 pre-defined ratios in a selectable manual mode, and in doing such the CVT does a passable impression of an eight-speed auto box. In most driving scenarios, the transmission succeeds in keeping the engine on boil when you need it and dropping the revs while cruising to mitigate the flat four’s inherent gruffness.

Inside, Subaru’s new three-row is dressed to impress. Our Touring-level tester had us perching on thrones lined with rich brown leather approaching luxury levels of suppleness. The Ascent is configurable to seat 7 or 8 passengers, with the options of bench or buckets in the second row. We found more than enough second row legroom seated behind our 6’1” test driver. Even wayback accommodations are acceptable thanks to middle row seats that slide fore and aft. However, the third row bench is mounted high due in part to the Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive hardware on the rear axle, and head room leaves something to be desired for full-sized passengers.

Technology and usability are both strong points. Buyers are treated to a 6.5” or an 8” version of Subaru’s touchscreen entertainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and all models come equipped with the automaker’s driver assist tech. Pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warnings are becoming standards of the industry and their inclusion here is more than welcome. These contribute to earning Limited and Touring level Ascents a Top Safety Pick+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Base and Premium trim cars score well but are held back by a poor headlight rating. From a functional standpoint, passengers need not fight over charging capabilities with 8 available USB ports and no cup will go unheld in the Ascent’s 19(!) cupholders.

The 2019 Ascent’s design is unremarkable though handsome, its engine predictable but undeniably capable, and its interior is genuinely comfortable and usable for families as bountiful as eight. Subaru’s second attempt at a three-row crossover SUV is without question its strongest. If our time with the largest Subaru ever built has been any indication, I think dealers are going to sell a whole lot of them.