Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Forget cooking. I'm eating at a restaurant this Thanksgiving.

This Thanksgiving will be the first Thanksgiving that 1) I won't be with my whole family and 2) I won't be having a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner.

Instead, I will be eating at a restaurant.  Apparently, I'll be one of 15 million Americans choosing to dine out instead of cook on Turkey Day.

Now, I kinda have an excuse in that I'm not currently in the country, which makes gathering all of the supplies for a Thanksgiving meal a little tricky (Have you ever seen a whole turkey for sale in Italy?  Do you know how much sweet potatoes cost here??).

In any case, here is a list of some awesome restaurants in the South Florida region that are offering a Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 28.

Palm Beach

Cafe' Boulud, Palm Beach

Thanksgiving menu from their site:

Join us Thursday, November 28 for a family style prix fixe menu!
Parsnip and Black Walnut Velouté
spice bread crouton, barrel aged maple syrup

Roasted Beet and Endive Salad
crimson pear, candied pecan, maytag blue cheese

Venison and Foie Gras Terrine
endive marmalade, candied walnut, huckleberry coulis

Duo of Heritage Turkey
roasted breast and buttermilk poached thigh
brioche stuffing, pumpkin purée, fall vegetable gratin
pickled cranberry, turkey jus

Wild King Salmon
sunchokes, black trumpet mushrooms, brussels sprouts
sauce bordelaise

Filet Mignon
root vegetable confit, fingerling potatoes, sauce béarnaise

Traditional Pumpkin Pie
vanilla ice cream, cranberry compote

Apple Tart
caramel sauce, almond tuile, cider sorbet

Chocolate Pecan Bar
chocolate chantilly, caramelized pecans, bourbon ice cream

Carrot Cake
cream cheese mousse, gingerbread ice cream, rum soaked raisins

Top of the Point, West Palm Beach

Here's a clip of their much more extensive menu:


Johnny V Restaurant, Fort Lauderdale 

Thanksgiving Menu
Available 2pm-9pm November 28th 2013

To Begin
Roasted Acorn Squash Soup
Duck Confit, Truffle Croutons…9
 Pumpkin Seed Crusted Miticana Goat Cheese Cake
Roasted Red and Gold Beets, Wild Greens,
Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette, Caramelized Shallot Relish…11
 Wild Baby Greens Salad
Spinach, Candied Pecans, Mango Stilton,
Jicama, Roasted Pumpkin, Cranberry Vinaigrette…10
 Fresh Oyster Stew
 Caramelized Onion, Wild Mushroom, Roasted Potato, Oyster Broth…11

Holiday Entrees
All Entrees Are Served with all the Trimmings:
Whipped Yukon Mashed Potatoes, Apple Corn Bread Stuffing,
Honey & Chive Glazed Carrots and Green Bean Casserole

Slow Roasted Maple Glazed Turkey
Two Day Giblet Gravy, Cranberry Mango Chutney…26
 Garlic and Shallot Crusted Prime Rib of Beef
Natural Au Jus, Horseradish Sauce…32
 Ancho and Cinnamon Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Mango Papaya Chutney, Barbeque Demi Glace…27
 Sage and Thyme Grilled Florida Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)
Cranberry Chutney, Lobster Pan Gravy…29

Other Sides:
Candied Sweet Potatoes with Roasted Marshmallows…7
Creamed Corn…7

Roasted Pumpkin Cheesecake
Graham Cracker Crust, Triple Cream Ice Cream, Cinnamon Crisp…10
 Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan Pie
Jack Daniels Caramel Ice Cream…10
 Three Berry Crème Brulee Pot Pie
Macadamia White Chocolate Crust Almond Tuile…11
 Cranberry Apple Pie
Vanilla Ice Cream, Crème Anglaise, Caramel Sauce…11

Pastry Chef’s Selection of Holiday Sorbets…8

Capriccio's Ristorante, Pembroke Pines
Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner $29.95 per adult ($15.95 per child)
Butternut squash soup
Mashed potatoes & gravy
Candied yams
Cranberry sauce
Peas & carrots,
Apple or pumpkin pie



Caffe Abbracci, Coral Gables 

Pascal's on Ponce, Coral Gables 

Thanksgiving Dinner
Thursday, November 28th, 2013
First Course

Choice of:
Roasted Chestnut Soup, Acorn Squash Foam, Infused Oil
Truffle Boudin Blanc, Apple Chutney, Foie Gras Albufera
Celery Apple Crudite
Baby Golden and Red Beet Salade, with Heirloom Tomato
Celery Root Remoulade, Walnut Vinaigrette

Oven Roasted Turkey with Corn Bread and Sage Dressing,
Honey Glazed Sweet Potatoes, French Haricots Vert, Giblet Gravy, Cranberry Relish


Choice of:
Classic Pumpkin Pie, Orange Pecan Caramel and Chantilly
Black Forest Chocolate Mousse, Griotte Cherry,
Meringue and Bittersweet Chocolate

Price: 65.95 per person Tax and Tip not included
$35.95 for children under 12 years old

Friday, November 22, 2013

When The Cold Air Bites At Your Feet

Temperatures have been pretty low here in Florence.

As a native Floridian, I find Italian winter to be a very scary thing.  Snow.  Ice.  No sunshine for weeks.  Everyone turns into vampires.

Okay.  Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.  Not everyone will turn into vampires.

But seriously.  Can we talk about how I can cope with the cold?

The first thing that comes to my mind:  food.

If there's one thing that can instantly warm you up (besides stepping on hot coals), it's food.

This kitchen is just asking to be cooked in.  It's from an apartment of ours in Tampa. 

It's saying, "Please make a delicious concoction on my stove top.  Please bake in my oven!"  Maybe.  We're not fluent in kitchen, so it's just a guess.

A recipe involving pasta always sounds good when it's cold out. Warm pasta and cheese. Can't go wrong.


Another good one?  Roast chicken.


And last, but certainly not least, a hot pot of soup can quite effectively warm the soul and the belly simultaneously.  Enter:  Ham and Potato Soup.



Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Giving Season

Someone, somewhere, can always use your help. 

Remember that saying about your trash being someone else's treasure?  Well, it's true, mostly (you can keep your broken printer and your 1980's VCR...).

We believe in helping others in any way we can, which is why we donate all of our used housewares to a non-profit soup kitchen in Melbourne Beach, FL. 

The Daily Bread Inc. is a not-for-profit soup kitchen that feeds, on average, 250 people a day during their lunchtime meal service.  Impressive?  They don't just stop there.

The Daily Bread also provides the needy with hot showers, basic toiletries, a mail stop and clothing.  Additionally, partnering organizations come here to provide such services as HIV/AIDS testing, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, health care, food stamps assistance and help with Veteran's issues.  

So much good is coming from this one place.
This isn't the first time North Star Corporate Housing has made a donation to the Daily Bread, and it certainly won't be the last. 

The seemingly smallest and unimpressive things may seem valuable and cherished by others.  Dishes, bed sheets, old silverware.  It can all be used again.  Given a new life.  A second chance.

As we enter this sure-to-be-amazing holiday season, we ask that you please keep the less fortunate in mind and do as much (even if it is just a little) as you can to help, whether that's making a donation or simply volunteering some of your time.

North Star Corporate Housing

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's Better By The Beach

Just because temporary housing is just that--temporary--we don't see a reason to sacrifice beauty and comfort.  We think people should experience all the beauty a place has to offer while feeling at home.

Almost all of our apartments in Florida (Melbourne Beach, Hollywood Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach) are by the beach.

Honestly, we think life is just better by the beach.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Things I Cannot Live Without When Traveling

I like to make things easier on myself.

No running around and feeling stressed or uncomfortable for no good reason.

That's why I have certain items I don't leave home without, especially when going on a trip.

1.  Camelbak 1 Liter water bottle This thing is indestructible and really convenient.  The bite valve is way better than the screw-on top.  So handy in airports and in the car when you either don't have access to water, or it costs a fortune to buy some.  Plus, reusable is almost always better than disposable in our books.

2.  Earplugs.  Because you never know when there will be a crying baby (that's not yours) next to you, or a street sweeper outside your door at 4 a.m.  I like these silicone ones because they stay put.  They're not for everyone, though.  If you're apprehensive about sticking gooey things in your ears, then avoid these.  If you're trying to get some peace and quiet, these are for you.  Another alternative is wax earplugs.  They're pretty good.  Just make sure you don't push them in too far.  There is such a thing as "past the point of no return" with earplugs...

3.  Smartwool Socks.  Pricey?  Yes.  Worth it?  Totally.  I love my Smartwools.  I have several pairs for several occasions:  everyday use, running, cycling, hiking.  The reasons they're so fantastic:  they're soft, they're cushioned, they dry quickly, they keep your tootsies warm, and they LAST.  Plus, who doesn't like quirky striped socks?  :)

4.  Nice sunglasses.   This is assuming that you don't lose your sunglasses as often as you lose hair ties or loose change (I'm looking at you, Dad).  Quality sunglasses will protect your precious eyeballs when it's sunny, when you're hungover, or when staring at an eclipse (ok, maybe not that last one). 

Once again, these are expensive, but worth it.  I prefer polarized brown lenses.  Makes colors really pop and you can see for milezzzz.  Also, glass lenses are far superior in clarity AND way more scratch-resistant than plastic lenses.  Take my word for it. 
5.  Good snacks.  You never know when you'll be stuck out in the dessert when your tank runs out of gas, or, you know, when you just want a small bite when traveling in civilization.  We love a good LARABAR or a ripe Fairtrade banana.

You tell us:  What things do you need when you travel?

Monday, October 14, 2013

No more rugs.

Yesterday was cleaning day in our house.  My chores included washing dishes, cleaning bicycles, and beating rugs.

The first two were easy.  Just soap up and scrub.

The last one left me dirty and out of breath. 

Thank you, Ged, for sneakily taking this picture of me. 

You see, we have a few rugs in our house. Our place is mostly stone floor, which can get very cold, especially in winter. Rugs add warmth and a certain softness that stone floors just don't have (for obvious reasons).

I didn't mind the rugs until I took them outside yesterday to give them a good beating with our broom and saw just how much filth they had collected over a couple of months.  They're like sponges for dirt and any other crud you bring into your house!

What I managed to extract from our rugs was, well, gross.  Clumps of my hair, pebbles that our shoes had brought in, pieces of food, and lots and lots of dust.

From that point on, I declared no more rugs in our house. 

They are safely tucked away behind our couch (we have a small place).   I'd much rather sweep and mop a stone floor and deal with cold feet than clean those rugs.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Yoga by Yourself

We travel a lot.  My boyfriend and I go from Italy to England to the U.S. every few months or so.

That can make practicing yoga at a studio a bit difficult.  There's not always a studio to be had--ie. rural Northwest England...

I've gotten used to setting up my mat in our living room in Italy or in my in-laws' computer room in the North of England and cranking the up volume on the iPad for a podcast.

So whether you're at home or on-the-go, here are some tips for practicing on your lonesome.

1.  Buy a thin mat.  No, it won't be as cushy, but it makes it so much easier to travel with and clean.  I've packed my Gaiam mat in my suitcase so many times without a problem.  Just fold it up!

And when you're home, you can clean the mat quite easily by leaving it to soak in a bathtub of water overnight.  In the morning, you get to see all that beautiful cloudy water that was once the filth on your mat!

When I started yoga in 2010, the first yoga mat I ever bought was a cheap Gaiam mat from Target.  I'm still using this mat today!

Gaiam Tree of Wisdom mat  $22

Here are other mats that are light and have good reputations:

Manduka PROlite  $78

Lululemon The Un Mat  $48

2.  Choose the right podcast.  I haven't tried a boatload of podcasts because I know what I like.  I practice more dynamic-type yoga (Baptiste Power, Vinyasa, Ashtanga), so my podcast recommendations are going to be for those who have experience in those styles. 

I've been lucky enough to find podcasts I like from the very beginning.  Here they are:

Dave Farmar
Pros:  Great free podcasts from classes he has taught throughout the world.  He will make you hold Utkatasana (chair pose) for a looong time! 
Cons:  He can be a bit talkative sometimes and he makes corny jokes, but he's a good teacher and has fun classes.  He's not for everyone. 

Kinndli McCollum
Pros:  Free podcasts with good flow.  Canadian accent (cracks me up every time!).
Cons:  Can also be a bit talkative at times.

Yoga to the People 
Pros:  Free podcast.  Every one is taught by different teacher.
Con:  Some classes are a little slow for me.  Some teachers have slightly annoying voices/tendencies.

3.  Find a good surface.  I know you can't always find a nice wooden floor to practice on, but I've found that there are certain surfaces to avoid. 

Carpet is terrible.  I always end up bunching up my mat during sun salutations or warrior sequences.

Stone floors can be a bit uneven (as is the one in our apartment in Italy).  Try to find the most level spot.  I found this out when trying to balance in Bakasana (crow pose) and was tilting to one side. 

Now go and practice!
And if I've left anything out, please feel free to comment.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

NatureBox giveaway!

We love snacks. We know you do too. That's why we're giving away a bag of NatureBox snacks to one lucky winner.


We will be putting these delicious (and nutritious) snacks in our apartments and to celebrate that, we're having a wee raffle.

You're welcome.  :)

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 9, 2013

Rockets in the Sky

Two years ago, we sat on the beach in Melbourne and watched a rocket launch from 50 miles away.
In eight days, NASA will be launching another rocket into the sky from the Kennedy Space Center in Titusville, FL.

If you've never been, Kennedy Space Center is worth a visit.


The center has guided tours, films, exhibits, shows, lunch with an astronaut, interactive experiences and play areas.

If you're anywhere near the Titusville area on the September 17th, make sure to look at the sky in the evening to catch a rocket blasting off.

Friday, August 23, 2013

2013 International Coastal Cleanup

As native Floridians, water is important to us.

We're either drinking it, playing in it or bathing with it. It's pretty essential, huh?

The month of September brings with it the International Coastal Cleanup. Half a million people will take to their local waterways--whether it's lakes, rivers, or oceans--and pick up trash that disrupts marine life, harms swimmers and pollutes the water.

Our family has participated in the Cleanup for several years here in Florida.  I remember wearing big rubber gloves and digging in the sand to clean our local beach.

One year, my dad and I even hopped in the canoe and paddled around the lake near our house to clean the shoreline.

There's something special about spending time with family outside while doing a good deed. 

On September 21, volunteers will once again take to the water to pick up all sorts of trash (cigarette butts, plastic bottles, etc.) to make it safer for marine animals, as well as beachgoers.

We have several apartments near the beach, so we'll be encouraging our tenants to get involved!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Temporary Housing and Pets

We've always had fur-children in our lives.

Esther has a Chihuahua-Pit Bull mix named Picasso and Sheila has a beautiful Maine Coon cat named Aslan.

You see these creatures every day.  You feed and water them, bathe them, cuddle with them. They're there to cheer you up when you've had a crummy day at work or when you simply want someone to watch TV with.

Pets are the bomb. And we understand that. That's why we welcome fur-family members--from cats and dogs to ferrets and birds--in our apartments.

And to make your pets feel welcome, we provide food/water bowls and toys.

We'd love to help you.
North Star Corporate Housing 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Relocating? Know your area: Local Attractions

Our final segment of the "Know your area" series deals with local attractions.  There may be several places worth checking out around you.
To help give concrete examples, we're going to use Orlando, FL, as our model.

Orlando is one of those cities that has infinite things to see and do.  Besides the obvious Disney World and Universal Studios theme parks, there are a ton of other things the city has to offer.


Blue Man Group:  A group that experiments with music and comedy to entertain audiences.  Unlike anything you've seen before!

Lakeridge Winery:  I bet you didn't think Florida had wine.  Lakeridge Winery produces reds, whites, dessert wines and sparkling wines.

The Orlando Ballet:  The Orlando Ballet offers performances every month, ranging from Snow White to the Christmas-time show The Nutcracker.

Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge:  If golf is your cup of tea, then Orlando will not disappoint.  With more golf course than you can count, golfers migrate to this area to get their swing on.  The Bay Hill Club & Lodge has hosted the PGA Tour since 1979, which alone makes this course worth visiting.

Kennedy Space Center:  Less than an hour from Orlando, Kennedy Space Center offers tours and tickets to rocket launches.  Also great for kids!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Traveling with a baby

Traveling with a baby can be a little tricky if you've never done it before.

My partner and I traveled from Florida to the United Kingdom when our little girl was three weeks old.

Honestly, it wasn't that bad. Our little one was pretty easy to please during the newborn stage. She slept for most of the plane ride, only waking briefly to eat and then go back to sleep. It was perfect.

Now that she's a few months old, however, keeping her happy during car rides that last a few hours can be difficult. These are the things, although obvious, are what we do to ensure a relatively peaceful journey:

1. Make sure she or he is dry. Sitting in a wet diaper, even if it's only a little wet, can be quite uncomfortable.

2. Keep him or her cool. I know that our carseat/stroller can get very toasty, especially during the summertime, which can be miserable if no airflow or air conditioning is reaching her.  Conversely, keeping baby warm in colder temps. is equally as important for comfort.

3. Give her or him a nice, long feed. So when baby does start to fuss when you put her in the carseat, she will most likely just fall asleep after a couple of minutes and stay asleep because she is full of warm milk.

All babies are different, of course, but we thought we'd share what worked for my little girl.  Happy travels from North Star!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Relocating? Know your area: Social Life

After you've unpacked your boxes and settled into your new place, you may be thinking about tapping into the local social scene.  That could mean many different things.

To show you what we mean, we're going to use Delray Beach, one of our most popular relocation destinations, as an example.

There is always something going on in Delray.  Whether it's a beach volleyball tournament, a poetry festival, a bicycle race, or a knitting group, you are bound to find an event or group that interests you.

Almost every month has something worth checking out:

January:  Palm Beach Poetry Festival

February: Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, the Annual Delray Beach Garlic Fest
March: St. Patrick's Day Parade, Delray Beach Twilight Festival (Bicycle race)

May: A 5k run to benefit firefighters
July: 4th of July fireworks
September:  Flavor Palm Beach  (special prices and menus at local restaurants)
October:  A 10k run supporting victims of domestic violence, the Annual Downtown Delray Beach Craft Festival
December:  Ice-skating downtown by the 100-foot Christmas tree

Also, ongoing events, such as those at the library and downtown, can be found online:  (Hagen Ranch branch)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Relocating? Know your area: Food Edition

Moving to a new city, state, or region can be difficult.  You may face changes that you weren't prepared for:  Lack of friends and family, different climate, and unfamiliar stores can also pose challenges.

Preparing yourself for the move to a new area can help ease the transition and make life less stressful when you actually arrive.   

That's why North Star will be doing a series of posts to provide suggestions on familiarizing yourself with your new area.  We will separate posts by category:  Food, Social Life, and Local Attractions.

Let's get started.

We all need it, and where we get it can be quite the complicated answer.

Grocery Stores
Grocery stores are oftentimes regional, but there are several chains that are national.  These stores will sometimes have coupons listed on their website, so be sure to check!

National:  Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, The Fresh Market, Safeway, Walmart Supercenter, Kmart Supercenter

Southeast:  Publix, Winn-Dixie, Food Lion, Harris Teeter

East/Northeast:  Wegmans, BJ's Wholesale, C-Town, ShopRite

Midwest:  County Market, Nash Finch Company, Sunflower Farmers Market

Southwest:  Fresh and Easy

Northwest:  WinCo Foods

Farmer's Markets/ CSA
One of the most overlooked sources of food is the farmer him/herself.  Farmer's markets are not only a fantastic source for fresh food but also a great place for meeting people in the area.

Nowadays, farmer's markets usually have websites or Facebook groups, so don't be afraid to type in a simple Google search for a market in your area.

And if you're really gung-ho for vegetables, try signing up for a CSA (community-supported agriculture) box for a week of fresh fruit and veg.  They usually run about $25 for one week's worth of fresh produce that can feed a small family.

Local Restaurants
Last but not least, don't forget local restaurants.

Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Urban Spoon are all great sites to help you find the gems of local dining in your area.

We hope these suggestions help make the move to your new area easier and less stressful!
North Star Corporate Housing

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Videos galore!

According to this article, video is the new platform to showcase rental properties.

Instead of relying solely on pictures and text, renters now have access to video of apartment communities they're interested in.

Questions that came to mind when reading the article:  Does video really make finding an apartment easier for a renter?  If so, then how?  What does video show us that pictures cannot?  Is using video just an indication of the advancement of technology rather than a useful tool for potential renters?

In our opinion, video is a more appealing way to showcase a community and its apartments and amenities.

Here is our own video created just a few months ago.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Update" North Star Corporate Housing's New Video

Our corporate housing is national. 
Our customer service performance is unprecedented. 
Our specialty is '4 star accommodations at a twinkle of the cost'.  
We are outstanding at what we do...

North Star Corporate Housing's
May 2013 Newsletter

North Star's New Video
We're excited to present our new video featuring actual pictures from our accommodations throughout the United States.  Enjoy!  
North Star Corporate Housing NEW Video
North Star Corporate Housing's New Video
May's Recipe of the Month
Easy Guacamole
Submitted By: Denise Goodman at
"Simply a quick recipe for tasty guacamole! Great with tortilla chips or as a topping for Mexican foods!."
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 ripe tomato, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  1. Peel and mash avocados in a medium serving bowl. Stir in onion, garlic, tomato, lime juice, salt and pepper. Season with remaining lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Chill for half an hour to blend flavors.

North Star Corporate Housing is the ideal choice for Business and Leisure Travelers throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Hawaii and Alaska.  Our accommodations are pet friendly and perfect for extended stays of 30 days or longer for both you and your companions.
Our short term housing solutions are comfortable and reasonably priced when compared to the cost, size and amenities of a hotel.  Our live Customer Care Experts are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to make sure your transition is as smooth as possible, leaving more time for you to focus on your business or personal objectives.
North Star's product value, customer care and commitment to excellence make us the right choice for all of your temporary housing needs.  For more information, please visit
All the best, 
North Star Corporate Housing, LLC


Temporary Housing 101: 
Do you offer accommodations within gated communities?  
Yes!  However, it's all based upon our availability at the time of your request.