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Showing posts from November, 2012

Holiday Parties- Sample Menu for All

After Thanksgiving, we are full swing of attending parties or opening our homes to families and friends and our husband/wife's business partners.

You can find wonderful recipes at foodnetwork.com

Here is a menu that is versatile for everyone:

Appetizer- Stuffed Mushrooms

Entree-
Herb Roasted Leg of Lamb
Vegetarian Lasagne made with raos.com

Sides-
Roasted Vegetables
Salad
Rolls

Dessert
Classic Myers Lemon Cake

Beverages:
Mulled Wine
Warm Hard Cider
Champagne- Chilled
Water with Lemon

If you are catering the event make sure your servers know exactly what ingredients are in the dishes, and the food is served at the right temperature.

Ambiance: Candles are wonderful and clean scents I am in love with nestfrangrances.com, especially Wasbai Pear.

Cheers to a wonderful Holiday Party!!

Cookie Swap and Classic Cookie Recipes

One of my former bosses would return from her Mid-Western state from Thanksgiving, with at least two dozen cookies.

She explained that over the Thanksgiving Holiday, people would gather at eat other's homes and bake different cookies, the swap them, she also explained that this tradition dated as far back from her European Ancestors.

When Crate and Barrel had Cookie Swap classes through out the country, it reminded me of her and how it brought her community together.

Especially, during these times of uncertainty it is good to do things that promote community and a sense of belonging.

Oh! Cookie Swaps are not just for the mom's who want to spend time with their children in the kitchen.  You can have a cookie swap for singles, newlyweds, woman vs. man type of bakeoffs, so be creative in who you invite over for your cookie swap, play music, drink some egg nog and have FUN!

Back to the Recipes! We have a lot of new cookie products on the market and sometimes you just want the basi…

Gift Ideas for the Teen to College Age Student!

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, and looking at our gift giving list you wonder what to give the ever changing Teen and College Age Group.

Here are my picks that go over well without fail:

Tween/Teen Girls:
Gift Cards are the BEST: Here are the top retailers for this group!

1. Sephora and Ulta Beauty Stores:
Tweens-nail polish and nail art, body washes.
Teens-makeup such as Benefit, Fresh, Urban Decay, and Sephora brands, nail polish, nail art and body washes, lastly roller ball perfumes such as Juicy Coutre, Wonderstruck, and Someday by Justin Bieber

2. Forever 21- Teens aand Young Adults, love this store, whenever school is closed in my neighborhood, this store is packed with this demographic from all over.

3.Hollister- This is another maven for this group, this is where they go to get casual clothes, and if you go to the one on Madison Ave. and you have to wait on line it has a club feel to it, this group likes this type of environment.

4. Abercromie& Finch-- Teen girls and …

Surviving Black Friday.

You decided that you would get a couple of things for your loved ones for the Holidays. You have also, been reading this blog for a while and you know, you can always get something better for a lot less.

Here are some tips and tricks that I have learned to get great buys for Black Friday.

1.Make a Realistic List of People to Buy- 
You should give out of the joy of giving and not because you are obligated. 

2. Understand Everyone's taste and Appreciation- 
Some people love cookies baked from Toll House, you can get from the local supermarket, while someone people appreciate macaroons from Paynard. This is very important because some people feel very offended if you give them a gift, that is not at their taste level. I have seen this go either way.

3. The Night Before Black Friday-
If you are going to a mall or an outlet, go on the website the night before and mark down, which stores you want to go first, you should have a ranking order.

4. Hours of Operation-
People love to push, just becau…

Teaching Your Child about Giving Back!

I can remember telling my nieces and nephews that I wasn't giving them Christmas Gifts this year because I give them all throughout the year, and they were mortified!

In light of the recent Huricane disaster, I think this year is a great time to start to teach our children the importance of "Giving Back."

Instead of not giving your child anything for Christmas, we start by evaluating their Christmas list and telling them that one item from the list will be donated to the American Red Cross or another reputable charity.

Or you can make a day out of it. Let them know explicitly that part of what they are going to buy is for charity. When you get to the stores have them pick out a toy for another child, or blanket or a pair of slippers, if you go food shopping, again have them choose an item for the family member.

When you go home, you can have them assist you in packaging the items for the charity. This is a great way for them to start to begin to have empathy for others, and …

How to REALLY Save this Holiday Season

We've heard of couponing and deal clubs,  but I am certain you can even save even more on your holiday shopping needs.

1. Bank Card Option-
Find out if your bank has a points options associated with your debit card. If this is the case use the credit option of your debit card this way you can accrue points with your purchases. Remember, that caftan, that someone told me looked like I got it fom Barney's, it was purchased via my points.

2. Credit Card Points--
This really does work, I was able to purchase several books strictly through points. If you have enough points then, they will send you vouchers for restaurants through their participating partners.

3. Certain professions are given discounts at certain stores-
Culinary & special events- William Sonoma, certain catering supply companies would give a discount if you are in the profession.

4. Being a Loyal Customer- Local Businesses-
This great bistro that I go to for brunch in the West Village, knows me because I was …

Adult Etiquette = Good Mannered Children

I read an article in the NYT Style Section about the rude and disrespectful behavior that children from the "Upper East Side."

Some were trying to figure out what could have gone wrong? These were all children from "good" families, but they acting extremely rude and showing they had no manners.

Thankfully, I came into my parent's life in their later years. I was  raised by my father who is a survivor of WWII and the Great Depression and my mother who is a South American immigrant. 

The two things that were engrained in my mind were get a great education and discipline!

Growing up when adults wanted to talk, I had to leave the room, until they were finished talking. If you "accidentally overheard" something, you were told that was not for your ears or your lips. 

I was never to use the word "hate" because it was too strong of an emotion, you disliked the action of what someone did, but you never hated anyone.

I was taught the value of work from an …

Questions to Expect from Family: T-Day Humor

Going home for Thanksgiving or for the Holidays can be stressful, so here are some questions you can anticipate from family members.

Older family members don't care what they ask, As my grandmother would have said " I am old enough, I can say what I want."

For Singles:
1. Have you met anyone "nice" yet?
2. Do you remember Janie/John from church/synagogue well they are in town, I spoke to their mother and they are free for the weekend. Next thing you know some random person, you vaguely remember is over for dessert.
3.Your biological clock is ticking dear, You may want to think about freezing your eggs/sperm. In your doggie bag to go home is the number of a fertility clinic.
4.So, if you work all those long hours, why aren't you a millionaire yet? 
5.If you are a millionaire and still single, "Money doesn't buy you happiness, Dear." 
Yet, still they had fun when you paid for their vacation home in the Caribbean.
6. Before, the holidays, you just had a …

Playing 20 Questions

The majority of business owners want to make money, since the advent of Groupon, Bloomspot, several business have used these services to lure in "potential customers" only to find out that they aren't repeat customers.

I have read several articles that these "deals" just don't make the business owner any profit, etc. However, last year, I had to "research" for a particular client, so I bought several vouchers to a variety of places and I discovered the "real reason" why people aren't return customers.

Many places, play "20 Questions" with potential customers, you know you are sitting in the manicurists chair and they ask you:
1. Where do you work?
2. Where do you live, what part of Manhattan or Long Island do you live?
3. Who are you dating?
4. What does your boyfriend do?
5. Where do you like to shop?
6. When are you due?
7. Do you have kids?
8. Where do they go to school?
9. Where do you vacation?

Playing 20 Questions isn't only …

Ditching Thanksgiving: Two Perfect Places to Go

So you and your significant other have decided that you guys had enough, and sticking around for another family event is taxing; especially after working longs hours. But, you still want that country rustic feel. 

Check Out My Picks!


Out of Town Guests: Your HOUSE Rules

Those of us who live in NYC often find ourselves being a host/hostess to overnight guests around the Thanksgiving Holidays.

Many of them flock to NYC to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the windows on 5th Ave, Broadway, Black Friday Sales, clubs, etc.

Before anyone comes to visit you should:

1. Find out their intentions- is it to shop, a play, dinner, go clubbing and picking up men or women. This way you can better plan their visit and diminish expectations.
TRUE STORY:
I had a cousin who was coming from out of town and he said it was to spend quality time with the family, having not seen him in a while, I bought theater tickets for him and his significant other and his sister and myself.
Well, when he arrived going to Broadway was not in the plans for him, he wanted to do Black Friday shopping only. So, lucky I was able to find some friends who were available and we went to the theater.

Always have your GUEST EXPLICITLY state their intentions 2 weeks before a visit.

2. Fin…

Caution Buyer Beware's: When Not to be FRUGAL

Meal Prep: Figuring Out the Menu

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It is always best to find out the dietary needs of your guests, especially the elderly, unfortunately many of them have dietary restrictions due to ailments. 


My Holiday Menu:

Appetizer- 
Soup- Oyster Stew or Butternut Squash Soup


Entree:
Apple Brined Organic Turkey

Starches:
Roasted New Potato's
Stuffing- Chestnut and Cornbread Stuffing

Sides:
Green Beans with Garlic
Cranberry Sauce
Mac n Cheese 
Dinner Rolls

Desserts:
Traditional Pecan Pie
Chocolate Chip Cookies- for those with nut allergies, and every child I know loves chocolate chip cookies!

Beverages:
Sparkling Water with Lemon
White Wine for the Turkey
Reduced Sugar Apple Juice for the kids and elderly.

Menu is done check!


Check out the two soups for the menu!

Deciding Who Comes to Dinner

The beauty of Thanksgiving is that it can be spread out over four days.

I know the actual day is Thursday, however once again with blended families, why not devote another day within the four day weekend to Thanksgiving.

My suggestions are:
If you have a large family then spread it out, and some people much rather stay in their own home, especially those with small children. 

My tips for actual Thanksgiving Day: 

Cocktail party of light bites-- no alcohol, maybe invite girlfriends/boyfriends who aren't as close to the family just dating, etc., get them in the mood while figuring them out.

The Entree:
This is a serious formal dinner for core family members, do not have people whom you are not fond of not close to the family at this event, this is where grandparents, parents, siblings, etc. meet.

Dessert Party:
Lastly there could be a dessert round where someone else has dessert and coffee and tea for maybe a neighbor or distant relative or once again, your son's/ daughter' newly fou…

Thanksgiving Table Top/ Shopping Tips

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The key to saving loads of money for the BIG DAY is to shop during the major holiday events one month before.

Break it Down:
Shop for Thanksgiving/ During Columbus Day Sales
Shop for Christmas/ During Black Friday/ Cyber Monday Sales
Shop for Winter/ During MLK day sales
Shop for Spring/ During President's Day Sales
Shop for Summer/ During Mother's Day, Memorial Day and Father's Day Sales

I think you got it by now! 

Now back to the Thanksgiving tabletop.
I am not a fan of tablecloths with pumpkins and turkeys, or acorn napkin rings, and gourds for centerpieces, because it is so seasonal and after One Day/ Thanksgiving, then what are you going to do with it, it becomes non functional.

But, I couldn't resist these pumpkin mini-turneen's. So GREAT!


So, I take the colors of fall and buy functional items that I can use throughout year, this way it saves on time and money.

Wondering what I got?

3 LCD flame less lights in a orange/reddish color--the taller candles where originally $29…

Keeping in Focus the Real Meaning of THANKSgiving

Thanksgiving is really one of my favorite holidays because it unites people from all walks of life and religions to really celebrate true meaning of Gratitude.

So as we make our preparations this month for this one day.

I challenge you to take five minutes a day, I don't care where and write at least five things that you are grateful for, I did this challenge in the start of the summer and it literally changed my life forever.

By the time you get to the actual Thanksgiving Day, you will be changed and you will catch yourself when you start to complain, and will eliminate people from your life who complain to the point of whining.

And I am not just talk about women, there are some men who complain so much about such insignificant things, you would think they are having PMS, really.

Special note to couples who are dating and thinking about marriage, if by the end of the month your significant other still lacks basic gratitude.

 And you have changed and moved on to being a thankful pers…

Nov. and It's Thanksgiving Time!

Nov. is that time of year where we are busy for that one BIG day, which is normally the third Thursday of the month.

We allow ourselves to indulge in all the treats that we worked off so hard during the other months to fight off , we also look forward to spending time with our loved ones and of course GAME day!

So for this month we are going into complete event planning/ relationship expert mode to show you how to have a great stress free, Thanksgiving.

Overview:
How to Prep for the Holidays--What you should do now!
Keeping Your Sanity During the Holidays--Especially among blended families 
How to Avoid Family Conflicts--When to Overlook the Obvious
How to be the Perfect Host/Hostess
How to be the Prefect Guest

Let's get moving!