Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Leaving a Comment

I have heard from a few of my readers that they have been having trouble leaving comments. I would hate for your voices not to be heard so below are instructions on how to leave a comment.

If you click this link, you will go to the comment posting page. (Note: in some templates, this link may take you to the post page first. From there you should be able to find the "Post a Comment" link which will take you here.) The comment posting page looks like this:

In the upper left corner, there is an option to show or hide the original blog post that the comments relate to. The rest of the left-hand column contains any comments that have already been made. The profile photos of the comment authors may also display, depending on the blog's settings.
On the right hand side of the page is the space for you to enter your comment. Beneath that are the identity options. (Some of these may not be available, depending on the blog's settings.)
The options are these:
Blogger username: Your display name will appear, along with a link to your profile and your photo (if you have one).
Other: You can enter your name and a link to your website, without having to have a Blogger account.
Anonymous: No identifying information is displayed. The comment is credited to "Anonymous" without a link.

The owner of a blog also has the option to have comments open in popup windows. In this case, all the primary features will still be present, just arranged a little differently:
I hope this makes things a little clearer and keep on commenting!

Monday, September 29, 2008

You Don’t Travel Under the Plane So Your Bags Shouldn’t Either!

Living a life of constant travel has taught me the best, and the worst, ways to get around the world. My cardinal rule in travel is to pack as lightly as possible! Everything that occupies space in your bag should have a real purpose for your trip. Check the weather for your final location ahead of time, and plan your clothing accordingly. No need to pack a rain jacket and boots if the forecast is 80° and sunny!

Another rule for airport travel is to NEVER check baggage. Pack bags that are able to fit on the plane with you. With the negative reputation of airport service today you are only asking for travel delays if you allow your bags to leave your sight.

What is your favorite traveling tip? I love to hear your comments.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Giving Love to America’s Children: The Downey Side Adoption Agency

The adoption rates across the globe, since the beginning of the concept of adoption, have almost always been most prevalent in the United States. Since the mid-1980’s the US adoption rate has remained constant at around 130,000 children. An institution that has had a large impact on the adoption situation is the Downey Side adoption agency, established in 1967 for the adoption of children from the ages of 7 to 17.

With locations spanning from Connecticut to Minnesota, Downey Side works to find homes for older children needing families. If you are interested in adopting or if you are simply looking to support a great adoption organization, Father Paul Engel, DS founder, would love to hear from you.

Most of the children that are put into adoption programs like Downey Side have no other alternative than to wait for someone to rescue them. Therefore, look into your hearts and see if adopting is right for you. If you do have questions, contact their office nearest you to see if you are ready for this fulfilling, life changing commitment.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Squash Me Together Something Delicious

One of the best house warming ingredients for your fall cooking is a freshly grown squash. When you are shopping, the key is to find a squash with even color and thick, firm skin. For this fall, here are a couple of my favorite recipes for a healthy beautiful meal, and don’t forget! Squash also provide wonderful centerpieces for your fall table.

Apple-Filled Acorn Squash
3 acorn squash
2 T. margarine or butter, melted
18 oz. can sliced apples
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. ground ginger
3 T. margarine
Ground cinnamon (optional)

Halve squash lengthwise; remove seeds. Brush with the melted butter or margarine and sprinkle with a little salt. Place cut side down in a large baking pan. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Combine apples, brown sugar, lemon juice and ginger. Turn squash, cut side up, in a baking dish. Fill centers with apples mixture. Dot with butter; continue baking 25 minutes, until squash is tender. If desired, sprinkle with ground cinnamon before serving.

Butternut and Apple Harvest Soup
2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Large Leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped
1 Large Onion, chopped
1 Large Potato, peeled and cubed
2 Cups cubed Butternut squash
1 cup diced carrots
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 quart chicken stock
¼ cup dry white wine
½ cup light cream
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. chopped chives

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Stir in leeks and onions, and cook until onion softens and turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Add potato, squash, carrots, apple, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.

Carefully puree the soup in batches in a blender, or use a stick blender to puree the soup right in the pot. Once the soup has been pureed, return it to the pot and stir in wine and cream. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper; simmer gently for 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped chives.

I would love to hear your comments and your favorite squash recipes!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Sophisticated Table

As the weather begins to cool and our dining room tables are again replacing the outdoor eating spaces as we approach the holiday season, one of the ways that you can easily improve your place setting is learning one of my signature napkin folds! This seemingly small detail on your table will impress your friends with your sophisticated dining style and give you greater confidence in hosting upscale soirees in your own home.

1. With a nicely ironed linen napkin, take the two corners that are closest to you and fold up, just short of the opposite corners.

2. Next, fold the right side of the napkin across to the left side.

3. Rotate the napkin clockwise so the corner with the closed folds faces you. Then fold that corner up towards the open corner.

4. Finally, with two corners on the left and right, fold them into the middle of the napkin, creating a five-sided napkin.

What is your favorite napkin fold? Please leave a comment!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Unfold the Table and Turn on the Tube: It’s National TV Dinner Day!

Since 1954, American families have shared dinners before the television with the invention of the TV dinner. Created by Gerry Thompson, former salesman for Swanson and Son, the foil packaged frozen meals gained popularity in the time where women were beginning to enter strongly into the workforce. Today, many companies that sell frozen dinners are working on making the traditionally salty and unhealthy frozen dinners better for our health conscious society.

Dr. Praeger’s creates a variety of dishes ranging from vegetables, fish, pizza bagels and dinners specific for the celebration of Passover. Many of Dr. Praeger products can be found in stores like Whole Foods and Garden of Eden. Amy’s Kitchen has expanded the traditional three-course TV meal by creating Chinese dishes, appetizers, Indian food, soups and more.

And of course no TV Dinner can be enjoyed without the perfect table. My favorite is the bean-bagged-bottom tray from Stacks and Stacks, which even has a special place for your remote! Brookstone also carries a lap table available in a variety of colors to make your healthy TV dinner much more stylish. Both tables sit snugly on your lap and allows you to enjoy your dinner comfortably.

As today is National TV Dinner Day, run out to the store and buy a dinner for the whole family to celebrate such a landmark invention in our country’s history!

Dr. Praeger’s
Stacks and Stacks Lap Table
Brookstone's Lap Table

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dust Off the Stationary and Begin Practicing Your Cursive

With all the quick communication with emails and cell phones, the class of handwritten communication is often lost. When it comes to writing thank you notes, however, nothing is more respectful than a classic handwritten note.

A handwritten thank you note is one of the most personalized and sincere forms of communication. When you take the extra time to write a thoughtful word to a friend or loved one you are showing that you have put extra thought into recognizing their kindness towards you. Timeliness is also an important consideration; your notes should be written within a week of a party or reception of a gift and it should be short and to the point. The most important part is not following a specific format, but being yourself and being personal. Your friends will enjoy any acknowledgement and thanks, wouldn’t you?

Please leave a comment about any thank you note suggestions you may have!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Improve the Education of MILLIONS of Students in America

When taking into account that over 6 million teachers and 72 million students make up the US educational program, I believe we must begin to consider what it is that takes care of these classrooms and workers everyday. So often we forget about our ability to be effective in this important area of life: our fellow American’s education.

I have recently looked into special programs that enable us to easily participate in helping the millions of classrooms across the country. The Give a Kid a Backpack Foundation believes that simply sending a backpack filled with school supplies to underprivileged children can drastically make a difference in a child’s experience at school.

Another program called Adopt a Classroom allows you to come in contact with a class, in your own community or anywhere across the country, where you can help the teachers and their students financially or morally throughout the year.

When it comes to the classroom, any support is greatly appreciated and enjoyed. Instead of hoping for the best in our countries education, take a step forward and let the teachers and students know that you are looking forward to helping them in their success!

Give a Kid a Backpack
Adopt a Classroom

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Searching the World for the Best Macaroon

After returning from France this weekend, I feel it is important to share the information concerning the best macaroons in the world. I often use these perfect desserts at my events in the form of a pyramid. They create a great visual effect that tastes amazing as well.

The best place to find the perfect macaroon is in Paris, France at a bakery called J. Milcent. Although it is more than a hop, skip and a jump away their chefs create large, cookie sized macaroons with mouth-watering flavors like my favorite, pistachio.

If you are able to travel to Paris, spend a moment stopping into J. Milcent. At that point, your search for the best macaroon will be over, because there is no other place better in the world!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Hottest Fall Colors: Don’t Use Them Simply for Your Clothing!

Because of fashion week, everyone here in New York City has fashion fever! Before the fall season shifts into top gear, it is important for me to determine what colors I will focus on using a lot for the busy event season. Many of you will be watching out to find the hot colors in fashion for the fall, and surprisingly your choice colors for clothing often match with the colors I will use for designing tables, choosing food, and overall decor for my events!

Gold, burgundy, rust, and, my favorite, chocolate brown will be shades to work off of this fall. Many of the top designers will be using these colors as great bases for their palettes also incorporating strong colors like purples and olive greens. Many of us are often more experimental with the colors that we wear and less bold with the colors we use to design dinner parties and our houses. This fall, take a chance and use the same colors that you are wearing to experiment throughout your house. You would be surprised how easily it can warm your life!

Visit my website to see some of the events in which I have incorporated these colors into my world, and feel free to leave me some of the ways in which you use these colors for yourself this fall!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Facing History & Ourselves

In past blogs, I’ve mentioned the importance of keeping in mind our history. History can be important for inspiration, and though it’s easier for adults to understand this, it’s important for teenagers and younger kids to recognize this as well.

Facing History and Ourselves is a program that strives to instill in children and adolescents “civic responsibility, tolerance, and social action.” The program uses history to encourage students to critically examine our past – and then confront it. Facing History also regards students as critical thinkers, and giving the students this trust and faith alone encourages them to take on more responsibility themselves.

This idea itself is neat, and the credit given to students acknowledging their ability is a model for how other academic programs should be run. This gives students incentive to be active, which will lead to a brighter future for them and for our world!

Browse http://www.facinghistory.org/ to learn more about their programs – their reach and aspirations are extensive and deserve support! Facing History also provides tools and suggestions for educators and professionals, so it’s just for teenagers!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Would Definitely Like Fries With That!

In the spirit of the end of summer, I feel that it is extremely necessary to put to rest the age old argument concerning who grills the best burger around. There are three things that play a role in getting voted top of the burger chart. The first is a great burger, which includes both taste and nutrition. Second, are the fries included and finally the shake!

The first choice is conveniently located within a block's walk of my office! Brgr has all three of my burger necessities, each of which are award winning in NY. The burgers are made fresh, free of steroids or hormones. You are able to choose between delicious sweet potato fries or potato fries, and the milkshakes…well, you will have to try them to understand!

If you are in search for a quick juicy burger in one of New York’s beautiful parks I would recommend the Shake Shack. Find all of the best burgers, fries, hotdogs and shakes while people-watching in one of the busiest areas in the city.

Hold on to the last moments of summer by getting out and finding a new favorite burger in your area. Leave me a comment and let me know what you decide!

287 Seventh Avenue
New York City

Shake Shack
Southeast corner of Madison Square Park, near Madison Ave. and E.23rd St.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Touch of Gold for your Wedding Day

Labor Day weekend is a time that we most associate with grilling, the final days of lounging by the pool and the start of school year.  The fact that Labor Day weekend is also one of the busiest wedding weekends of the year is often overlooked.  Whether you are attending a wedding this weekend or are interested in one of the hottest wedding gifts around, Gold 'n Dulcinea is one place you should look to find beautiful wedding ideas.

Started in Los Angeles by a group of three best friends, Gold 'n Dulcinea has created one of the most luxurious Sachet and Pomander Ball collection.  Among some of my favorites are the "Something.." and "Sweet Sip" sachets which are infused with beautiful scents such as voilet, milk and honey, bergamot and sweet pea.  Each of these are a great gift to give a bride to remember her special day!

The Pomander Balls, which may also double as ring carriers for walking down the aisle, are also deliciously scented. A number of products including the "Wings of Hope", help our world by donating to charities such as CARE.

Not only can you help the world by donating to Gold n' Dulcinea's scent foundations, but you can add a touch of heaven by giving them any of these spectacular wedding accessories!

Sachets: $130-$300
Pomander Balls: $80
"Wing of Hope": $97