Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lazy Days

The holidays are almost over and I've been one busy bee. Cooking, cleaning, gift exchanging, lots of hugs, and tons of eating has gotten this girl pooped. On Monday my real vacation began which will consist of movie watching, couch naps, ordering in, and online shopping. Last night we rented Paranormal Activity...Scary! If you want to be completely creeped out def rent this film. Another classic was on the tube today- Adventures in Babysitting. Love, love that movie. Every time I watch it, it takes me days to get the babysitting song out of my head. Here's a little clip of the infamous Babysitting Blues. Have fun singing along!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Have A Holly Jolly Holiday

Seems like a nice concept, right? The holidays bring delicious food, wonderful gifts, yummy cookies, and....family. Since I just spent 2 weeks with my mother, and now we are going back for more, I know a little bit about family and stress. Here are my tips for getting through the holidays with your loved ones.

BREATHE. I mean really breathe. Take a minute. sit down, and calmly breathe in through your nose feeling the breathe move through your chest and down to your stomach. Gently release. Try this for 2 minutes and you'll feel your nerves calm down a bit.

LAUGH. Try not to take everything to heart. Someone is bound to drink a little too much, or say something inappropriate. The holidays come once a year so try to shake it off and know that it's one of the many stories you can laugh about in years to come. 

ASK FOR HELP. If you are the one entertaining and cooking, enlist the help of those who came to partake. Everyone can either bring a little something or they can help you in the kitchen- mash the potatoes, throw together the salad, place the bread on the table, etc.

Hope these help! I look forward to hearing and reading the great stories you will have after this is all over!!

A family that meditates together...stays sane together!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wrap It Up Right

There is nothing more annoying than cheap, thin wrapping paper. I just finished wrapping half of my gifts and already went through several rolls of paper. The cheap, thin paper I bought kept ripping every time I would place a gift box on it. Just about every gift I wrapped has a tear on it! Wrapping paper always seems so expensive, especially holiday paper. And I get it...you end up throwing out the paper anyway (unless you are my aunt who saves the wrapping paper and reuses it the following year).  But there is something to be said about a beautifully wrapped gift!

I am now making a promise to myself to pay the extra $$ next year and buy paper that stands up to a box full of goodies. Here are some I have my eye on.

Crate & Barrel Snowball Fight Wrapping Paper




















Smockpaper's Savoy Gift Wrap














Paper-Source Winter Tweets




















Paper-Source Santas Wrapping Paper




















Amazon Hanukkah Paper

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Operation Santa Claus



Every year my husband and I take part in Operation Santa Claus. Dear Santa letters are dropped off at NYC's main post office building and put in bins for do-gooder New Yorkers to rifle through to help those in need. I like to think of it as if I am their personal Santa for the year. Traditionally we stop by the office and read as many as we can and then choose two, one from me and one from him. Some of letters are written by grandmas or moms in need of a scarf or a doll for their kids and some are from children asking for a new TV and xbox! We, obviously, pick the one's that are in need of winter essentials or a toy that's in our budget.

I know this program is available across the country and it's not to late to take part in it. Click here to see a list of post offices near you. Ho, Ho, Ho.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ornaments for Everyone!

Just in time for your tree trimming party. Check out these fancy ornaments and sparkling trimming helpers.

















Paper Mache Globe Ornament @ Pottery Barn $8


 Rustic Snowflake @ Etsy.com $12


Gold Pirate Ship @ Anthropologie $12.60



 Tinsel Spool @ Anthropologie $11.20



  Beaded Garland @ Pottery Barn $14.95

Monday, December 14, 2009

Catching Butterflies

I just back from a lovely dinner with my mom and my aunt Heidi and uncle Gerald. After dinner we took a drive through their old neighborhood and my aunt reminisced about her summers as a child. She used to walk around with her friends picking flowers and catching butterflies. No cell phones, no curfew...not a care in the world :)

 

Pictures courtesy of weheartit.comhttp://weheartit.com/

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fa La La La La La La La...Laaaaaa

I admit it- I listen to Christmas music year-round. It drives my husband crazy (although I think he's a bit jealous since all he had was a dreidel song)! Christmas in June, Christmas in July...you get the picture. I stick with my holiday favorites from the 70s and 80s. There's nothing like a little heat miser to start your day!

What are your favorite holiday albums?













Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What To Get The Girl Who Has Everything?

Every year I go through this dilemma- what to get a trendy and fashion savvy friend who is very picky and has about everything she needs. I usually start my research early and find several 'one-of-a-kind' pieces that I know she doesn't have and hopefully will like. However this year I don't have the time, the will, or the money to spend on expensive gifts. Home-made gifts are the thing and anything unique and creative for under $10 is in my budget! 

Which brings me to finding the perfect gift for my friend. My girl Melisa over @ the Feather Report, came up with a genius idea and great holiday gift- Feather Report iPhone app. My friend lives and dies by her iPhone and I know she will love, love this genius gift.  Plus all I had to spend was $1.99!!

Dubbed by Elle Magazine as “the next best thing to having Cher Horowitz’s computerized closet system,” Feather Report, the iPhone app, delivers style inspiration to your mobile phone each day, based on the weather forecast.  Fashion + Weather = Feather Report.

Here’s how it works...

  • Using a GPS weather tracker, Feather Report serves up a customized outfit each day, targeted to your specific forecast.
  • From there, you can store your favorite looks, shop directly from your phone, and search for outfits based on your body type, occasion, and weather condition. It’s like having a stylist in your pocket!
Check out the Feather Report iPhone app here and the Feather Report blog here


 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

1+1+1= Easy Holiday App's


 
GREAT FRIENDS  =



                                    
FESTIVE & EASY HOLIDAY APPETIZERS!

The holiday season can get stressful, especially if you are planning a holiday cocktail party. In my house, my husband takes care of the drinks- wine, beer, and liquor. I am in charge of the food and decorations (naturally of course!). I love to cook, although when it comes to a variety of appetizers I get stressed thinking of what to make. I like apps that are of course tasty, but that also do not take a lot of time to make. I love to create a cheese platter with grapes and fruit spread but I also like to serve heartier selections. Here are some of my holiday favorites that are easy, breezy, and your guests will be impressed!

Brie & Raspberry/Cranberry Cups
5 ounce Brie
Box of mini phyllo shells (Athens foods makes one)
Jar of raspberry spread or cranberry spread (jelly would work too)


Place shells on baking sheet and pre-heat oven to 350. Cut rind off of brie, making sure not to cut into the cheese. With a spoon, scoop out 1 tbsp of brie and fill into each phyllo shell. Spread raspberry or cranberry on top of cheese. Place in oven for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.


Walnut & Parmesan Bruschetta
1/2 french baguette
1/3 cup of parmesan cheese
1/3 cup of crushed walnuts
Pinch of salt,
2 tbsp of olive oil

Preheat oven to 350. Slice and drizzle olive oil over bread. Toast bread in oven (maybe 5 minutes, but keep checking so it doesn't burn!). Mash up whole walnuts mix with parmesan and a good pinch of salt. Place on bread.


Blue Cheese & Honey Bruschetta
1/2 of french baguette 
4 ounces of blue cheese
3 tablespoons of honey

Slice the baguette and place on a baking sheet and toast in oven, about 5 minutes- check it does not burn! Divide the blue cheese among the toasted bread and drizzle honey over them.



All photos courtesy of me and flickr

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Love is All We Need

I hope some of you got the chance to catch Oprah's show with Nicholas Kristof and his wife. They were discussing their book, Half The Sky. Nicholas Kristof is a Pulitzer Prize winning author who exposes human rights violations against women all over the world. I was introduced to his work through his op-ed columns in the NY Times several years ago. He posted several amazing articles and videos on sex slavery throughout Asia. Their book not only takes the reader through the sad but true state of sex slavery in Cambodia but also touches on rape in the Congo, gang rapes in Pakistan, and women dying of childbirth in Africa..among other atrocities. Although I haven't read it yet (it's on my holiday list), their discussion on Oprah was moving and eye-opening. Once again, my personal hero Somaly Mam was highlighted in the book and on the show. Her tireless work to free sex slaves is getting national recognition and bringing this horrific reality to our attention. There are now estimates that sex slavery has reached the tens of millions....can you believe that?? Tens of Millions. 


I have blogged about her before and I have to mention her book The Road of Lost Innocence again. It is not an easy book to read, but if you don't read it, who will? Remember it takes only one person to change a life and sometimes it's not enough to expect someone else to do it. Oprah created the 'For All Women Registry' which you can find on her website.  Here you can help a rape victim, save a slave, create a microloan, or simply spread the word. 


Recently Somaly spoke at the 2009 Women's Conference in California. Here is a link...she's about 16 minutes in.


I will leave you with some thoughts...Millions of women around the world are being tortured, raped, outcasted, vaginally mutilated, and die of starvation every day. Let me repeat- Millions of WOMEN. This has to be noted, because it's not men, it's women. And as women, we can make a change. As women we can change the world! Do it for your daughter, your mom, or grandma. I plead you to stand up and say or do something. 


Let their voices be heard through yours. 


I speak out for my mom and her future grandkids.
My mom and I





  
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