3 Reasons to Start a Spring Garden

Spring is the perfect time to start a garden. Not only does it give you the chance to get outside and enjoy the sun, but it also allows you to create a space that brings joy into your life every day.

Gardener’s Gift Box

The Gardner’s Gift Box is available for purchase at TheMercantileByTCDS.com

This season we have a Gardener’s Gift Box that gives you everything you need to get started on your new hobby: fresh-planted herbs in beautiful containers, plus beautiful garden books for inspiration.

Gardening can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s important to remember that this isn’t just about flowers or plants—it’s about creating a space that brings you joy every day. It’s about bringing nature inside so you can enjoy its beauty without having to leave your home.

Three Reasons to Start a Spring Garden

1. Spring gardening isn’t just about flowers or plants—it’s about creating a space that brings you joy every day. It’s about bringing nature inside so you can enjoy its beauty without having to leave your home.

2. Spring gardening is about making a promise to yourself (and your family) that this year will be different. You’re going to create a space that doesn’t just look good but also feels good—a space where everyone can relax, unwind, and find some peace in their lives.

Beautiful coffee table books to keep you inspired all year long.

3. Starting a spring garden is all about planning ahead and preparing for success! You’ll need to check your zone for the best plants to grow; clear out a space, remove weeds and debris; prune old plants and trees; prepare the soil; and add fresh compost.

Creating a beautiful garden doesn’t have to be hard work either. With some basic tools and materials, anyone can create their own little piece of paradise in their backyard!

5 Tips for Hosting an Easter Day Brunch

Hosting an Easter brunch is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday. Brunch time gives your guests a chance to spend the morning hunting for Easter eggs and spending time with their family before visiting your home for the meal. And a brunch menu provides the best combination of savory and sweet dishes to satisfy all of your guests. But hosting an Easter brunch will require a little planning and preparation. These five simple tips will help you host an amazing Easter brunch:

1. Make sure you have enough space

Since it’s likely that you’ll be hosting more guests than usual, make sure you have enough seating and space for everyone. If you don’t have enough chairs, consider renting or borrowing some extra folding chairs or benches. You could even create a more casual dining experience by setting up some picnic tables outside (just make sure to check the weather forecast so you know how many people you’ll be able to accommodate outside).

2. Plan some kid-friendly activities

Easter is all about fun for kids, so make sure you plan some activities that are suitable for all ages. You can hide plastic eggs around your backyard and send your younger guests on an egg hunt while they wait for the rest of your guests to arrive.

3. Plan the menu

Avoid making overly complicated recipes or dishes with a lot of ingredients. You want to spend time with your family and guests, not in the kitchen. A brunch menu is best when you have a few dishes that are easy to make and easy to eat. It’s important to plan the menu for your Easter brunch in advance. This will ensure that you have all of the ingredients and supplies you need, and avoid any last-minute trips to the store. It’s also smart to plan a menu that includes both sweet and savory dishes, so that all of your guests will be able to find something they like. And don’t forget coffee, tea, juice, and water!

4. Decorate

It’s fun to decorate your home for Easter, but it can also be stressful if you try to do it right before guests arrive. Set aside some time in advance of your brunch to set up decorations around your home. You can make or buy decorations in advance so that they’re ready when you need them. And make sure you put away any non-holiday clutter before decorating! Easter is all about eggs, rabbits, bunnies and spring flowers blooming everywhere. So decorate your home with a few flowers around the room for some color and add some Easter-themed table decorations for a festive touch.

5. Set the table

Setting the table ahead of time will ensure that everything is ready when your guests arrive. Place name cards at each spot so that people know where to sit. And consider using spring flowers as a centerpiece for an extra touch of seasonal beauty! Bonus Tip: Create an atmosphere of fun: The environment in which people eat can have just as much impact on their experience as the food itself.

Eat Well: Jess’s Skinny Minnie Vegetable Soup

We had an overwhelming response to The Blonde Shallot’s Chicken Enchilada Verde recipe. We reached out to see if owner, Jess Rodgers, would share more goodness from her kitchen. In the spirit of our January focus on wellness and starting the year off right, she is sharing a healthy soup recipe that is sure to warm you up and have you feeling great from the inside out.

WHITE BAKERS, BRASS LADDLE, AND HANDMADE SOUP BOWLS AVAILABLE THROUGH T&C MERCANTILE

Skinny Minnie Vegetable Soup Ingredients

  • 4 carrots, sliced thin
  • 6 stalks celery, sliced thin
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 bag chopped kale
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 2 cans cannellini beans
  • (4) 32oz containers Vegetable Broth
  • 2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • ½ bottle red or white wine
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
  • Vegetable Broth

Directions

Bring a small pot of water to boil. Drop broccoli in boiling water and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Set aside.

Warm ¼ cup olive oil over medium heat. Add carrot, celery and onion and sautee until crisp-tender. Add salt, pepper, Italian Seasoning, and stir well. Add zucchini and garlic, sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Deglaze with 2 cups wine, and stir up any pieces stuck to bottom of pan. Boil wine down for about 5 minutes. Add vegetable broth, cannellini beans, chopped tomatoes and white wine vinegar. Bring to a simmer, turn down to medium-low and let flavors meld for about 20 minutes.


Take pot off heat and add in kale, stirring well to make sure it all wilts down. Once kale is wilted down, add broccoli. Sample for seasoning and add salt & pepper as needed.

If you prefer a tangier flavor, add another teaspoon white wine vinegar. This is also lovely served with shaved parmesan on top.

Want more Blonde Shallot?

IMAGE: AS SEEN IN THE SCOUT GUIDE TWO RIVERS AND THE SHORE

Jessica Rogers is the owner and mastermind behind the The Blonde Shallot eatery, located in Little Silver, New Jersey. The Blonde Shallot offers seasonal staple dishes and weekly specials, so there is always something new to taste. Stop by or order online to pick up your next meal. We know you will love it!

Shop the Look

For the current issue of The Scout Guide Two Rivers and The Shore, we had the pleasure of featuring some of our tableware collection items displayed in the image above. Shop our online collection or visit us to shop the look and our full collection of homewares.

Wellness: Establishing Healthy Practices

Making a New Year’s resolution to lose weight or exercise more is not a new concept. Chances are, we all have probably resolved to do this at some point or another. We also know that most of these resolutions can be short lived efforts. This year, instead of starting out focused on a specific diet or regiment, we want to focus on establishing healthy habits in an effort for a more attainable plan to last all year and beyond.

To begin on the right foot we sought some advise from a local pro, Dani Rubin, of Red Bank’s Pilates Blast. We asked her to share some of her favorite tips on establishing healthy practices that can be implemented by anyone and will fit into any routine or diet.

Dani’s Top Tips:

  1. Avoid eating anything from a bag, can or box.
  2. Workout with an accountability buddy to stay consistent.
  3. Focus on the health benefits of movement not the vanity benefits.
  4. Workout because you love your body not because you want to change it.

Who is Pilates Blast?

Dani and the Pilates Blast team are proud to bring decades of Megaformer and Pilates experience to Monmouth County! Intimately sized classes ensure a personalized experience for every reservation. They look forward to welcoming you to their spacious facility in the heart of downtown Red Bank!

Private sessions available, as well as Mega and Pilates-inspired home offerings on their streaming service, PB @ Home.

Local or not, you should get to know Pilates Blast. With their offering of in-person and virtual options, there is sure to be a class that is right for you. Visit their website for details on their studio, workout offerings, and class schedules!

Get Started Today

Dani and the team would love to welcome you to their studio with a special Introduction Rate of $25 for your first Megaformer or Pilates session in the studio. This is good for in-person classes only. To take advantage of this special offer, email them at [email protected] and mention that Town & Country sent you!

A Place for Everyone

5 easy steps to create the perfect gift for your guests that doubles as a beautiful way to assign seating at your table.

GATHER YOUR SUPPLIES

STEP 1

GATHER YOUR SUPPLIES

  • VASE
  • RIBBON
  • TWINE
  • GIFT TAG
  • SEASONAL SPRIGS
  • PEN/MARKER

Step 2

CREATE PERSONALIZED TAGS

We like the added personal touch of hand writing each guest’s name. Hand stamping or stenciling the names would also be a lovely option.

CREATE PERSONALIZED TAGS
FASTEN TAG TO VASE

Step 3

FASTEN TAG TO VASE

A simple household twine or string can be used to string the gift tag to the vase. We prefer to attach the card before the ribbon to create a more tidy finished look, but you could attach the tag on the ribbon if you prefer and jump right to step 5!

Step 4

TIE ON RIBBON

We chose a crimson velvet ribbon in a simple knot and left the ends long for a modern yet dramatic look.

TIE ON RIBBON
ADD GREENS

Step 5

ADD GREENS

Pop a few springs of fresh or dried greens into the vase.

*T&C favorites include eucalyptus, holly, and rosemary.

Place on your table for the perfect place seating and guest gift this season!

Shop the look!

STRING TIDY WITH SCISSORS
GREEN SPHERE CLASS VASE
HOLIDAY GIFT TAG SET

Holiday Table – Gather Beautifully

Ask any designer and we bet they would say they have a soft spot for holiday decorating. Whether you are a professional designer or just love to be surrounded by beauty, decorating for this time of year is the perfect way to catch the holiday spirit!

Once the tree is trimmed and the stockings are hung, it is time to for enjoy this magical time of year. For us, this season is best celebrated through giving and being surrounded by loved ones. One of the many ways to honor the spirit of the season are through gatherings and meals. This year’s holiday table is a modern classic, complete with rich greens, crisp linens, metals, and simple styling.

Start with a Vision

Setting a table is an important way to set the stage for the entire meal. Like in designing homes, we find that starting with a vision will help pull together the smaller details more naturally. For our fall table, we channeled earth tones and more rustic elements. When we envisioned our holiday gathering, we opted for a more polished and formal setting. We chose to stick with a traditional holiday color palette. Layers of green are offset with touches of rich crimson and a few pops of bold red. Adding elements of metal offer a welcome shine and allure to finish the look.

Ambiance is Everything

Ambiance is always important when designing a welcoming space. We wanted the table décor to be uncomplicated, yet stunningly classic. To create this look, we chose a natural garland and assorted candles. A visual display of the season’s true spirit we placed olive branches, symbolic of peace and friendship, in a simple glass vase for the centerpiece.

A mix of taper and pillar style candles adorn pewter candle sticks and fluted glass hurricanes presenting the perfect glow to the table.

The abundance of strung lights that seem to blanket everything this time of year offer a cozy luminosity. We love the idea of finding tasteful ways to incorporate this seasonal staple into the lighting for your meal. If your dining space will accommodate it, set up a tree decorated to align with the styling in your tablespace. If space is limited, consider using small planted or faux trees placed on a side table or clustered nearby.

Plan and Display Ahead

Plan your menu ahead and take time to consider how and where it will be displayed and served. Knowing how you are going to serve everything ahead of time makes for an easier execution when the time comes. This also means you can stay more present during the event, knowing that each course is ready to go.

Dessert does not have to wait until the end. Showcase sweet treats beautifully displayed, on a side table or buffet for a deliciously festive addition to the décor. Setting these goodies up early will give guests a tempting peak at what is to come.

No Detail is too Small

Unique touches like adorning the chairs are a detail that will go along way. We love using these sweet mistletoe wreaths to continue the layering of greens throughout the space.

We love adding personal touches to the table for our guests. This stunning, yet simple place setting is easy to create with just a few materials and doubles as a beautiful gift for your guest to take home. They are sure to remember your special gathering every time they use this beautiful orb style vase.

Cheers!

From our home to yours, we hope that you have a happy and healthy holiday season and wish you a Happy New Year!

Love the Look?

Shop our T&C Mercantile holiday table and décor online or visit us in our Red Bank shop. We are open from 10-5 everyday, Thursday is our late shopping night, open till 8pm.

Weekend Away – Catskills New York

The greatest thing about traveling is getting to explore the local sights, tastes, and culture of a new area. As a small business, we delight in discovering and supporting other small businesses through our travels. After a recent visit to the Catskills of New York, we are sharing some of Ginny’s favorite new finds in the area.

A note from Ginny on her weekend itinerary; “The Catskills is the perfect fall destination. I enjoyed a long weekend with friends exploring all the area has to offer. A day trip to Hudson was filled with great food and antique shopping. Our overnight stay, in Hunter, ended with a great new find, Fellow Mountainside Cafe.”

We hope these places will inspire you visit them and explore this beautiful region, should you find yourself there.

The Quiet Botanist

The Quiet Botanist is a botanical oasis, reminiscent of apothecaries, ateliers, and overgrown gardens of a bygone era. Offering seasonal teas, clean beauty products, dried botanical stems and arrangements, as well as a newly opened Facial Spa, this unique shop is a true treat to visit.

Visit The Quiet Botanist:

https://www.thequietbotanist.com/

445 – 447 Warren Street   | Hudson, NY 12534


Feast & Floret

At Feast & Floret you can enjoy modern Italian dishes that are anything but basic. Interesting culinary combinations make for delicious dining experience. We particularly love their use of wood bowls for serving dishes in, we think this would be executed beautifully in our Teak wooden bowls from T&C Mercantile. Located in a 2-story brick building that was a 19th century carriage house and blacksmith shop, Feast & Floret offers lunch and dinner meals on weekends and dinner Wednesday-Fridays. While there pick up one of their stunning floral arrangements. Makes for a perfect way to remember your meal there!

Visit Feast & Floret:

www.feastandfloret.com

13 S 3rd Street | Hudson, NY 12534


Fellow

Enjoy a bite to eat at the Fellow Mountain Café. This charming eatery located on Main Street in Hunter NY, offers breakfast and lunch daily. Delicious homemade pastry and treats are a must try!

Visit Fellow:

https://www.fellowmountaincafe.com/

7883 Main Street | Hunter, NY 12442

We hope you will draw inspiration from these beautiful finds we have shared from the Catskills of New York. We would love to hear from you if you have visited these or know of other truly inspiring small business establishments.

Project Spotlight: Ocean Avenue Outdoor Project

As we welcome the start of summer at “The Shore,” we knew it was the perfect time to spotlight our Ocean Avenue Outdoor Project. The clients for this project are all about family and enjoying the coastal locale of this home. Located across the street from the ocean, this beach home is the hub for three generations to enjoy the sun and sand.

The overall scope of this project was a two story great room addition and an ultimate outdoor entertaining space. To achieve this, the client’s long time Interior Designer, Robert Wilson, came to us to help create the outdoor kitchen that would serve as the center of this new indoor/outdoor oasis.

A Chef’s Dream

The main outdoor kitchen is any chef’s dream featuring a ton of storage and just about every appliance possible. Stunning slabs of Jet Mist Granite top the main kitchen and bar, offering the perfect surface to work on.

Built for Elements

The cabinetry used is marine grade stainless-steel with a powder coated finish, a great outdoor material . We chose a subtle white washed wood looking finish in a classic shaker style for all the base cabinetry.

Outdoor Kitchen with louvered doors and farm sink

Taking the opportunity to mix it up, the louvered doors on the upper cabinets over the sink complement the shake siding beautifully.

The client really wanted a farm sink for the main kitchen sink and a dishwasher for easy clean up. Knowing the harsh environment that the salty ocean air provides, with Robert Wilson, we guided the client to materials that would be hard working against the elements and lower maintenance.

The Asko dishwasher, along with all of the appliances used are specifically built for outdoor use featuring high-grade stainless-steel interior components.

Taking Care

Something we run into is the assumption that, because products are considered outdoor friendly and even “marine-grade,” these products are indestructible. Understanding and, more importantly, executing proper care and maintenance is crucial for protecting the investment of these superior products. Regular cleaning and covering the cabinetry and appliances during off seasons or when not in use is so important. When properly maintained, your investment will be safe for years to come.

Easy Breezy

Large Nana Doors on the backyard and ocean side of the new addition open for a true indoor/outdoor living experience. When open, they allow for a beautiful cross breeze from the water to flow through the spaces. A classic white pergola frames the upper patio with integrated lighting and a retractable awning. This stunning addition makes for effortless day to night, rain or shine entertaining.

Bottom’s Up

The bar features a kegerator, refrigerator/freezer drawers, ice maker, and a prep sink.

There is a designated “workspace” and a raised bar top which offers plenty of room for everyone to pull up a stool and watch the game on the large tv behind the bar while enjoying a signature brew fresh from the tap!

Fringe Benefits

We all know the benefits of spending time outdoors, therefore it is nothing new to state that having a haven right out your door will improve your wellbeing. In addition to health benefits, investing in quality materials for a usable outdoor space will also improve your home’s value. Who doesn’t love that benefit?

Like indoor spaces, outdoor living is such an important part of enjoying your home, especially during favorable seasons. A well-designed patio or yard can offer significant square footage to a home. The added space is always a welcome opportunity for gatherings and entertaining!

Regardless of the size or function of your outdoor living, we encourage everyone to explore ways to enjoy and beautify not only the inside, but also the outside of their homes!

Ocean Avenue Outdoor Project Spotlight Sourcing

Kitchen Design, Cabinetry and Countertops: Town & Country Design Studio

Interior Designer and Furnishings: Robert Wilson, operates through Zacksons

Builder: Mark Robbins

Architect: Melillo | Bauer | Carman Landscape Architecture

Photography: Steven Paul Whitsitt Photography

RECIPE: Corn Chowder

This time of year is made for delicious comfort food and soups, chowders, and stews are comfort in a bowl. This month we are excited to share the Corn Chowder recipe from one of our favorite cookbooks, Feed Your Mind. Bay Magazine has created a cookbook is not only beautiful and packed with delicious recipes, but it is local as well. This cookbook draws inspiration from our state’s very own Long Beach Island (LBI to the natives) highlighting locally-sourced seafood, farm-fresh produce and regional ingredients.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. butter
  • 4 scallions, chopped plus 2 T. reserved for garnish
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 lb. white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels (from 8 corn ears)
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Preparation:

In a large and heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat.

Add scallions, bell peppers, and celery stirring until hte vegetables start to soften, around 8-10 minutes. Add in the potatoes, two cups of the corn, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occassionally, for 15 minutes.

In a blender, puree the remaining two cups corn with milk and add into the soup. Simmer until the soup thickens slightly, 7-10 minutes.

Serve:

Ladle chowder into bowls or cups and top with chopped scallions and enjoy!

This Corn Chowder is simple yet delicious, making it a perfect recipe for week night dinners. The Feed Your Mind cookbook offers recipes for unique appetizers, side dishes, main courses, desserts, and cocktails, making it a great addition to the kitchen.


We stock the cookbook in our Red Bank shop or click the button below to order your copy!

Holiday Entertaining – Combining the season’s natural beauty with it’s sense of magic.

There is just something about this time of year! Is it the bite in the air, the glow of the lights, the melody of the songs? We can’t say for sure. What we do know is this time of year seems to have a bit of magic in it! With this magical time of year, we are surrounded by a barren nature outdoors and turn inside for holiday entertaining.

Above all the things that make this season special is the overwhelming sense of togetherness. Regardless of your beliefs, this season has a way of uniting; families, friends, communities, and neighbors. That alone can feel magical.

Often gatherings are a big part of this togetherness. This year, as we thought about holiday entertaining, we have found that we are especially drawn to nature when imagining how to highlight this magical season.

Our holiday table is a celebration of nature and the season’s magic.

Keeping things more natural, we opted out of doing a tablecloth, using the wood table as the base for our table-scape. A crisp white linen topped with a rustic burlap runner offer some subtle structure to the décor. From there things get interesting…

Bring the outdoors in!

We love the idea of abundance when it comes to bringing in the natural elements, so we decided that we would go all out with layering the greens. Rather than using a more traditional pine or holly, we chose some of the seasons less celebrated plants for this table. A variety of dried and faux sprigs of eucalyptus create a plentiful bed all along the table. Rather than florals, we chose a variety of potted rosemary plants.

A small potted creeping rosemary is at home on this earthy table

Tip: Rosemary is commonly used in holiday meals, by having these plants on the table it offers a nice semblance to the food you are enjoying at the table. This doesn’t have to be rosemary. Consider personalizing this philosophy to your meal. If there is a particular herb, fruit, or vegetable used in your menu, consider highlighting it on your table-scape.

Black and Brass Accents offer modern touches to the earthy theme.

We chose sleek matte black dishes and paired them with polished brass flatware for a fun juxtaposition of contemporary glam.

Mixing Elements

The Holiday Tables is set.

Rust and Mercury are both elements of nature. Although we wont go too far into the periodic table, the idea of adding items that are reminiscent of nature’s elements has validity when creating an earthy theme. Giant rustic bells and oversized mercury ornaments are perfect accents to adorn the greens. Wooden Block placeholders display personalized cards for guest’s seating locations.

Set the mood

Aged Brass frames around antique glass hurricanes offer a perfect candle glow.

We all know that lighting is so important when creating a mood. Candlelight is among the most romantic and cozy forms of lighting you can use in a space. We chose to place pillar candles in several glass hurricanes along the table to give a soft warm glow.

No matter if your holiday gathering is large or small, we hope you have a wonderfully magical holiday season this year!

Shop the look

Everything you see on our holiday table is available in our T&C Mercantile Shop. We are open daily for shopping and we are happy to offer virtual shopping for those who cannot visit us in person. Visit our shop page for hours.

Follow us on our social media accounts for updates on what is in stock, new arrivals, and shop events. You can shop products through either of our media accounts, just drop us a line or call.