The fact that it's December is slightly mind-blowing, as is the fact that despite all the progress we've seemingly made against the virus this year, with recent developments it's starting to feel like that old adage "the more things change, the more they stay the same." 

For many of us, the uncertainties of a trip abroad has changed plans more than once; I personally spend a lot of time in Italy (or at least I did in the before times!), and am overjoyed that starting next week I can at least experience a bit of the culture a little closer to home. (If you're in DC and want to check it out for a complimentary Friends & Family meal next week, ping me!) On another note, Locke-Ober lunches have signaled the holidays to me ever since they were first introduced by the amazing team at Yvonne's; the time and skill required to pull off these 'blasts to the past' is remarkable, and you can rest assured that TLC shines through in the experience. I'll be hosting guests at each exclusive seating this year and it has already has been the most holiday-ish I've felt this season! Of course, right up there is also my annual visit to Stone Zoo -- an agency client since 2005 -- and a holiday tradition for families throughout the region.

Here's to your holiday traditions shining through, despite the continued pandemic. Wishing you a happy holiday season and, even more importantly, a safe, happy and HEALTHY new year for us all!
puro gusto
How good does this sound? Aimlessly wandering the streets of Milan, popping into every little café along the way, not a care in the world. I mean, let's be real, it sounds amazing... and if money, miles, (not to mention masks and vaxes) weren't of concern, we'd all be there in a heartbeat. While the real deal may be off limits for now, here's the next best thing. Enter: Puro Gusto, your Italy away from Italy, coming soon to Washington, D.C.

Puro Gusto is pending arrival (December 15th to be exact) by way of iconic Italian roadside F&B brand, Autogrill, taking their talents stateside with the opening of their first U.S. Puro Gusto location. An authentic all-day café based on Italian culture, Puro Gusto (meaning "pure taste") is built on the foundation of three part-of-day pillars: Coffee, Food & Aperitivo.

In Italy, coffee isn't just a morning beverage, it's a ritual and a way of life. Whether doing it Italian style and taking your espresso at the counter or lingering over a cappuccino and cornetto while escaping your inbox, there's no wrong way to start the day. For lunchtime and beyond, PanGusto® is the star, combining the crunchiness of a bruschetta with the variety of a pizza, served alongside a selection of salads, soups, and paninis. To round out the day it's Aperitivo time, an Italian daily tradition we imagine our fellow Americans will gladly adopt; a pre-dinner ritual of light and flavorful bites paired with a Spritz, glass of wine, beer or Italian cocktail.

With Dine In, Take-Out, Delivery, Mobile Pick-Up, Catering, and even a retail section available, there's a perfect Puro Gusto pick for everyone. It's your Italy (without the jet lag, time difference, and mega $$$'s) now stateside. Grazie, Puro Gusto!

locke ober lunch
When life feels unexpected and uncertain (oh hey, 2020 & 2021), the comforts of tradition and timelessness are especially impactful. In the spirit of bringing things back to the feeling of 'precedented times,' Boston's modern supper club, Yvonne's, is once again elevating the season with its signature Locke-Ober Holiday Lunches.

A beloved Boston tradition for over 135 years, the elegant luncheons unveiled each December pay homage to their legendary past with dishes inspired by traditional Locke-Ober menus of yesteryear. Among the standouts: Canape Lorenzo, Black Truffle Roast Chicken, and Sticky Toffee Pudding. Add your choice of cocktail and be transported back to the good 'ol days of three Martini lunches, dressing to the nines 'just because,' and mask-free living.

Get your Locke-Ober on December 10, 17, and 18; reservations are required and can be booked by calling 617-267-0047. Trust us -- this year more than ever there's nothing quite like being back in a slice of the past to remind us that normalcy always returns.

#GlowUp -- We know it from Insta/TikTok captions and Urban Dictionary. One of the most viral pop culture terms of the past few years, it translates to "an incredible transformation." And no one understands the art of a glow up more than our animal-loving peeps at Zoo New England.

Year after year, Stone Zoo dazzles and delights visitors with its adored ZooLights event, quite literally transforming its grounds into an illuminated winter wonderland. Now open through January 9th (closed only on Christmas Day), twinkly tree-lined paths and large-scale lantern displays guide visitors along a stroll throughout festive Yukon Creek, home to black bears, Canada Lynx, reindeer, and artic foxes.

For an extra magical touch this season, the zoo is giving the gift of virtual Santa. The big guy in red will be on-hand for some digital cheer via Zoom or personalized video messages for the little ones. And because the best kind of shine is the one you can share, the brilliant minds at Stone Zoo are moonlighting as event planners, ready to help you host a holiday soirée or child's birthday party amongst the twinkles.

So glow on and visit ZooLights to purchase tix, learn more (including COVID safety steps), and experience why Zoo New England is truly 'glow up' #goals.