December’s Sine qua non Made in the USA boots socks, moisturizers and fur fashion

Besides my 1st Generation iPad from Holiday 2010, loaded with Kindle and The Chester Josie Style for the Home faux fireplace, (that story here) there are several fundamentals which have made my holiday on glacial ground splendrous.

For the perfect cup of cocoa I am spooning up heaping servings of Godiva Dark. I took off on nearly all of my evening hike’s with a cup. Dark chocolate is a powerful source of antioxidants. Underneath one of four pairs of boots I’m rotating I went with Made in the USA boot socks from Amelia’s Organic Legwear from The Kroger Co. They’re super soft and offer the right amount of added warmth, plus stay up! I picked a pair up in every color. 

On my face I have been applying a coat of Sarah McNamara’s Skin Transformer Miracle balm on at night and again in the morning. The soothing scent is described as a warm botanical aroma. When the winds are whipping up I apply another layer of Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream on top; namely as a protective shield on my cheeks.

Note: This ointment is safe to rub on the bottom of your pup’s paws to shield from ice scrapes.

These items keep me healthy and happy when the elements have the potential to wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy system. Plus, I could never wait to get home to curl up under The Chester faux fireplace in layers of down. I added the Pedastal Space Heater by Lasko that provides 1500 watts of comforting warmth

All this and don’t forget the fur.

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Josie is on the Coastal Ohio Trail for Holiday 2016 proving The Great Lakes Region is great indeed!

Perfect Cup of Cocoa decadent dark cocoa, homemade cream, & surprising ceramics

A fast from chocolate didn’t last this season once the region was pummeled with the white stuff. Instead I splurged on a close to a pound of powdery Godiva Chocolatier Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa. Touted as “luxuriously rich”, this confection made my two-walks a day with the puppy dog into the tundra hours to look forward to.

So simple to make. Boil almond milk or regular milk (I used the microwave) in a favorite (microwaveable) mug. Add two heaping scoops of powder and stir, stir, stir. The powder has a tendency to stick to the spoon. Keep at the task at hand until the powder dissolves.

The reason I said microwaveable…

We have these vintage Looney Toons coffee mugs to celebrate the Chevy Chase Christmas Vacation we all know we’ve had! Remember he was swinging one of these around the office! These can not be microwaved! They’re so festive and fun. Simpy heat your milk on the stove and then whisk in the powder. For the whipped cream I make this fresh every day.  Keep a stainless steel bowl in the freezer or refrigerator and then top your cocoa or coffee and add sprinkles.


I’ve been using this Twinkling Trees Sprinkle Mix on everything. Check out the candy-coated apples that showcase this sugar splendor. All of these elements showcase Let it Snow, Christmas on the River 2016 and how Christmas happened in the kitchen with Josie Style for the Home. We’re going to head over there for how to chart out a holiday cocoa and coffee station.


Go Gourmet and get Festive with the Fuji candy-coated Christmas apples

I saw the idea in a gourmet food magazine right after Thanksgiving that I happened to be flipping through quickly. There they were showcased on the page: gourmet apples dipped in caramel, coated in melted white chocolate and then… sprinkled with more candy!

I happened to have leftover caramel from Fall from my exuberance over apple season where I made these. I picked up some organic Fuji apples. These are my top choice. I think they just taste more flavorful than Red Delicious and are shaped about as perfect as Santa himself.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and wash the apples.

Take each piece of caramel and stretch over each apple. Bake on top of the supplied parchment paper for 3 minutes. The directions read to bake at 200 degrees for five minutes but I found the higher temperature and less bake time work better. As soon as the caramel bubbles remove and set on a dish. Cooling time depends on how cold your kitchen is. I waited for about ten minutes for the caramel to set.

Melt the white candy in a microwave safe dish for ninety seconds on defrost. Each thirty second interval remove the bowl and stir, stir, stir as if you’re Missus Claus on a mission. I love my red Pyrex bowl. This is all you need and a regular spoon.

After ninety seconds and the chocolate is melted hold the apple by the stick and begin spooning the melted white candy coating over the caramel.

Hold the caramel and white candy-coated apple over another empty bowl and sprinkle on candies of your choosing. I’ve been generously topping all of my hot cocoa and coffee this season with homemade whipped cream and Twinkling Trees Sprinkle Mix from Love & Cupcakes. Because Baby, it’s cold outside! These little confectioners sugars trickled down from Canada and they add just a enough sacchariferous to make these gourmet Christmas goodies a smash!

Santa might pass on the cookies and pastries … The gift to you.. baking time is only three minutes!


Josie is spending Holiday 2016 at the family home on the Coastal Ohio Trail. There will be much more to come before we ring in 2017 including on


Faux or Bona Fide either fur remains oh so vogue

There are many items I can’t seem to live without here in the nation’s Great Lakes Region this December. Now that the mercury has plummeted and the terrain has turned to tundra number one is fur. Whether worn or used to fashion the home, real or simulated to save the animals, I can’t surround myself or drape myself with enough of the everlasting look, luxury and warmth.


The Vintage Sage Fox Fur coat is available online and sets the tone for stepping out in the glacial domain. The worn-before garment is priced anywhere between one hundred and twelve hundred dollars depending which style and company is chosen. Splurge to stay sizzling when everyone else suffers slightly in a polyester wool blend.

This year I dressed up the mantle and tree in faux fur to compliment a “Let it Snow” holiday decor theme to celebrate Christmas on the River. There are two options which can’t lead the home stylist off-target. Components from Michaels Shimmer Noel Collection or invest in Nicole Miller white soft luxury. I mixed up the two labels throughout the home for a pleasurable experience.

Especially at a time when the outside elements are clearly not so pleasurable these tricks show the North Pole-like climate is conquerable and also one to celebrate.

Josie is spending Holiday 2016 at the family home located on the Coastal Ohio Trail  where temperatures are barely hovering in the double-digits. The land, and river, is frozen.


Adoring these Cold Weather Comforts featherbeds and Josie Style for the Home

The mercury will barely be in the double-digit range today across Coastal Ohio and the Lake Erie Islands. There is a wind advisory and the sun is shining! Cold weather and ice doesn’t have to equate to all out inquietude. Find glee in the gear. Here’s what I can’t live without for these next couple of weeks starting with my first generation iPad.


The iPad was given to me as a Holiday 2010 gift. I use as a Kindle for reading. I just downloaded three new books last night including Settle for More by Fox anchorwoman Megyn Kelly. $9.99 gives readers a month of unlimited downloads.

featherbedSnuggle up and read or rest on a feather top mattress topper. This one is from LL Bean. The added warmth and fluffy feather fill keep feelings of being frigid at bay. Cover with more down for added icing of comfort.




Next to the bed I have a Josie Style for the Home white faux fireplace. Here the hearth not only emits ambiance, the furniture acts as a bookcase, and this time of year is appropriate for knitted stockings (twenty-year vintage Macy’s). (Stocking holders are vintage Kroger Co.) Originally designed for space in Chester Avenue Lofts in downtown Cleveland to fill in blank space, this home element, The Chester Fireplace equals upscale Ohio.




Back and Forth Between the Boots fixed on footwear

There are four pairs of boots I swear by to carry my toes from tepid conditions on the Coastal Ohio Trail and Lake Erie Islands to the end of every winter.

Not only are they are fashionable these picks protect my peds in all of the elements. Today, with the first flurries of Fall 2016 that stuck, I found myself back in Columbia’s Bugaboot. I’ve worn this brand since my days of anchoring the news back in 2001 in the nation’s tundra and was running around Dakota Dunes with Alstott the Newfoundland Dog.




Don’t you love my highlighted hair for those studio lights? The snowy pics are testament of how much I stand by this design since I still look forward to snowy trails (only in a newer version pictured above).

Inside I wear the Ugg Tall Classic as one would a slipper. I placed on a new pair while working with John Brandolino, owner of The Sole Man Key West for this feature story. These are boots initially built for the beach (believe it or not)! I only dare to wear these out of the house when dashing from the car to a yoga studio.

img_0238I wrote about the Joules Premium Wellies at the beginning of Fall, and the Sperry Saltwater Duck Boot as well. I’m loving the Sperrys so much I’m already wanting another color.


Both of these take on the mud like a mega truck and slip on as easy as a pair of socks. We all know when the ground isn’t frozen, or covered in snow, the terrain can equal trouble when one isn’t properly outfit. Stay warm! Winter hasn’t even hit yet.




Seasonal Shower Elements peppermint twist and lemongrass bring the spa home

I feel as though I am at a luxurious spa every time I return home from Hot Yoga, step over the porcelain bathtub and turn the water on. The items taking up space next to the tiles are indulgent and work wonders for the senses. Here’s what I’m using now that the weather has turned and the calendar reads December.

The Keys Salt Scrub in Mango Coconut

I picked up a jar of salt scrub the last trip I made to the Keys to work. I jumped behind the counter and in front of the camera at the Midway Cafe. When I left there, I left with this jar so I would never be without the exfoliating benefits of Florida sea salt. This coffee shop located at Mile Marker 80 is also a gift shop. The item can be purchased almost anywhere down on those islands, or visit their site.

Gabriel Correctives Tea Tree Facial Shampoo

I picked up 4 ounces of a custom blend of Gabriel Correctives face shampoo my last visit to Westshore Skin & Health Center in Westlake, Ohio. The owner laced the formula with lemongrass and lavender essential oils. The items this establishment sells, located across from Crocker Park, are priced well within reason. Call 440-250-1535 to learn more, order, or make an appointment.

Cashmere Peppermint Soap
Peppermint Tingle Soap

My favorite Made in Ohio soap brand, Cashmere, came out with a peppermint version for the holidays. This Lebanon, Ohio based company is run by two sisters from Cincinnati who have a passion for suds. The soap comes wrapped in paper containing wildflower seeds to plant. I picked up a bar at a rural drug store. Order here for $5.99.

S Factor Serious Conditioner
S Factor Serious Conditioner

Julia Jabour turned me on to this line back in 2010 when she opened Infinity Hair at 126 Simonton Street in Key West. One of the first sulfate free hair product lines to hit the market, this conditioner does serious stress relief to tired tresses without heat and is infused with sunflower seed oil and hydrolyzed silk. The added parfum and color make this product a gift I give myself all year.

Josie started her career as a news anchor in Ohio. Her first client for JK PR was to run a Key West newspaper.

The Luxe of Limoncello add zest to your holidays

Semplice, delizioso and the perfetto after-dinner digestivo!!!

Everyone colto and sofisticato knows they have found themselves at the dinner party of all holiday dinner parties when a bottle of homemade Limoncello is brought out once the dishes are cleared. Limoncello won’t burn the stomach and isn’t sickly sweet.

This delicacy is the second most popular drink on the Almalfi Coast second only to Campari. According to Walks of Italy no one knows specifically where Limoncello originated just that this distinct drink was clearly sent from the heavens. So, it makes sense to think its origins are in a convent or monastery.

Drinking digestives after a meal can be traced back to the ancient Romans. Hippocrates, a Greek physician of the age of Pericles, indulged after meals as a way to assist his digestion. (Again that information from Walks of Italy).

On the Lake Erie Islands, resort owner, developer, and former City of Euclid Council President Ed Gudenas realized he had an entire case of lemons left over from a sensational summer season. A few moments of researching made us realize these leftover lemons were going to realize a holiday spectacular of spirits typically forgotten.

The reason it is so important to make this now: time is of the essence. The peels need time to steep to release the oils. The more time, the more potent your potion.

Here is what you need. We used the recipe from Food Network’s Giada De Laurentiis from her Everyday Italian show Summers in Capri episode and adapted the infusion time.


Removing the rinds and pith from the lemons is time indulgent. Some suggest using a vegetable peeler. After two batches I determined the easiest way to approach this task is to cut the lemon in half, remove the seeds and squeeze all of the juice out into a container to later use for lemon water.


Then, pull the majority of the pith out with your fingers. Lay the rind flat on top of a cutting board. With a small vegetable knife begin whittling away the remaining pith.




Aim for extracting as many of the little white bubbles as possible. Set aside in a dish.

img_05921Once ready with all ten lemons add them to the container and soak in a favorite vodka spirit.


Once vodka is poured over the peels, cover with plastic wrap and push back into the corner where sunlight won’t reach the container.


Infuse for at least four days. The majority of the infusion happens in these days and even this short timeframe will fructify a flavorful refreshment. More days make for a more bold blend. Take up to a month for the infusion.

When ready, create the simple syrup.


Bring to a gentle low boil while stirring the water and sugar together continuously to dissolve. Once sugar granules can not be seen turn off the heat and move to a cooling place. Let cool completely and once the sugary swig is back to room temperature incorporate into the infused vodka. Let stand overnight.

The next day, grab your bottles and begin to fill with gioia.

I placed a mesh sifter over a glass pitcher and poured the vodka and simple syrup into this container. The spout on the glass pitcher made transfer of the Limoncello into the bottles an ease. Seal and refrigerate.

I purchased multiple sizes from local craft and outlet stores. The tags and ninety-nine cent ribbon is available at Hobby Lobby. I picked out the eye-popping Red Quatrefoil Grosgrain and Red Striped Satin Ribbons available in the scrapbook section to make memorable tags.



Recipients will be exultant they are not being presented with another paper plate of cookies. These bottles are ideal to gift to your ring of professional associates such as your realtor, banker, investment manager, bartenders, and public relations managers. Plus, aunts, uncles and cousins will enjoy the effort.



Having a bottle in your own home adds a nice touch of cheer you already have to offer guests. Serve in chilled cordial or shot glasses. Buone Feste my friends!

Josie in an award-winning journalist and tenured lifestyle reporter. Her southeastern European roots are that of the Adriatic and Black Seas.