Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Activity - Time Capsule

A new decade approaches, and here is the ideal activity that New Year Eve party goers of all ages can participate in: Create a Time Capsule.

  • Find a container to hold all the contents (shoe box, large leftover Christmas gift box, empty popcorn tin, etc..)

  • Paper or pieces of paper and pens/pencils to write down events that happen during the year that are on a personal level or national level, prices of everyday items (gasoline, gallon of milk, butter...) or what music and movies were popular in 2009.

  • Add some photos of family members and friends or items and memento's from a vacation or event.

  • Find a save and secure place to store your capsule with a 'Do Not Open Until 2020'.

These are just some suggestions of capsule items to get you started. Send us more suggestions or what was it like to make or create your time capsule this New Year's Eve.

Happy New Year to everyone, and we look forward to new and upcoming postings in the new year.


Carole and Angela, Table Ambiance

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Auld Lang Syne?

Ever wonder what the famous New Year's Song meant? Thanks to Lisa Gache from
Beverly Hills Manners has some insight.

The words to "Auld Lang Syne" are pretty obscure to most of us, yet we sing them with pride on New Year's Eve. The Scottish phrase literally translates to 'Old Long Ago' and encourages us to think about days passed. The lyrics also refer to kindness ('We'll take a Cup of Kindness yet') and conjure up positive images of everyone getting along and creating a happy future.

These final days of 2009 are perfect for taking stock of the past. Reviewing our good deeds and our not so good deeds. Who we wronged and who we helped. Who we slighted and who we were generous towards. Were we kind or were we cruel? Did we cheat ourselves out of an experience or did we try our best? What were the ramifications of our actions? Did it serve us or did it do us a disservice? This is all good information to ponder before ringing in a new year.

So before New Year's Eve approaches, sit down and write a list of resolutions for yourself. Then add a list of manners resolutions. These can be purely aspirational because, after all, we are human and make mistakes. The important part is to focus on being more aware and trying to change. Below I have compiled a list of manners resolutions that I aspire to live by. Feel free to use these as a starting point or as your complete guide.

Finally, stop thinking of manners as some dated, dusty set of rules from days long ago. Manners never get old, they are never out of style and they are never irrelevant. On the contrary, manners are insanely important and frankly they are a nice change from the salacious, gratituous, frivilous world we live in today. So embrace your new manners in 2010!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Hurry... Items are going fast!

It is that time of year again when we close up the season with our end of year clearance sale! Click here to see all the items on sale for incredible prices.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cookie Party: Fun for All Ages

My mom started having a cookie party for all her grandchildren and her friend’s grandchildren. It has been a holiday tradition for over 10 years running. All the children (even the teenagers) look forward to it every year.
It is a great activity to really get you into the holiday spirit. It allows adults to catch and chat while the kids are having fun creating confection masterpieces.
To get started, send out your invitations. If you are short on time, log onto to get a cookie party invitation out fast.
You can buy all the necessary decorating items (sprinkles, icing, candy etc) at your local grocery store or craft store, like Michaels). We have found that the easiest and less messy idea is to make one big batch of royal icing. Separate it into squeeze bottles (available at restaurant supply stores or Michael’s) and color it with food coloring.
A Royal Icing Recipe:

1 lb confectioners sugar 3 Tb. egg white powder½ tsp lemon extract (optional).
Mix altogether, add 1 tablespoon of water (or more) to reach the consistency you want. Beat approximately 6 minutes)

One of our favorite sugar cookie recipe is from Martha Stewart:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons brandy, or milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar; add dry ingredients, and mix until incorporated. With mixer running, add egg, brandy (or milk), and vanilla; mix until incorporated.
2. Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.
4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes, and transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch in between. Leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes; do not allow to brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Another helpful hint is to have your guests bring their own container or box, so they can easily transport their wonderful cookies home.
If you have any holiday traditions, please let us know! Send us an email so we can share it with our blogging community.
Stay tuned for Holiday Entertaining Ideas for guests of all ages.
Visit our website for more Holiday Table Decor.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Get Into The Spirit

This fun cocktail from Martha Stewart is sure to get you into the Holiday Spirit!

Candy Cane Cocktail

1 candy cane, crushed for garnish,
2 ounces strawberry vodka
4 dashes white creme de menthe
2 1/2 ounces cranberry juice Ice cubes

1. Place crushed candy canes on a small plate or saucer. Wet the outside rim of a chilled martini glass with water. Holding the glass by the stem, rotate the rim to coat with candy. 2. In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, creme de menthe, cranberry juice, and ice; shake until well combined. Strain into prepared glass; serve immediately.
Visit our website for holiday table setting ideas.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday Manners

December 1st has arrived and the Holiday Celebrations begin. Thanks to Lisa Gache from Bevery Hills Manners who provides tips on proper manners for the holidays.

Good manners and proper etiquette are appreciated throughout the year, but even more so during the holiday season when expectations are at an all time high. This is a special time to bond with family, share in special activities, help one another, be charitable, and tolerant. To make the holidays nicer for all, here are 9 quick tips to guarantee a stress free and joyous holiday season!

1. Eat, Sleep & Be Merry. A hungry stomach or a tired body is a recipe for holiday party disaster. Schedules tend to be packed during the holiday season leaving little or no downtime to recharge batteries. Avoid any pitfalls by making sure everyone gets plenty of rest and eats a light snack before attending any holiday celebration.

2. Dress for Party Success. Dress appropriately for the occasion. If your family is attending a party at a ski chalet then a pair of clean jeans, a parka and Uggs will suffice. However, if the holiday gathering is a more formal affair then party attire, in the form of a dress or a nice pant suit, is a wise choice.

3. On the Road. On your way to the party, make sure to review any rules such as the type of holiday party you will be celebrating, who will be attending, what kind of food will be served, and any special activities your family may be asked to participate in.

4. Arrive on Time & Bearing Gifts. Your hosts are looking forward to your arrival so avoid being late and make preparations ahead of time. Select your attire beforehand, make sure all gifts are wrapped and a proper note has been written, map out your route and write down a contact phone number in case of an emergency.

5. Essential Holiday Table Manners. (a) Wait to be seated until everyone has arrived at the table. (b) Follow the lead of your host or hostess for everything. (c) Place your napkin on your lap. (d) Pass all trays of food to the right and all condiments in pairs. (e) Make pleasant table conversation with the person on your right and your left. (f) Chew with your mouth closed. (g) Wipe your mouth before taking a drink. (h) At the end of the meal, place your utensils in the finished position on your plate and your napkin loosely on the left side of your plate. (i) Ask to please be excused.

6. Clean-Up & Be Invited Again. If you are attending a sit down dinner celebration with family or with friends, offer to pitch in. This will guarantee future invitations.

7. Gracious Gift Receiving. Graciously accept all gifts whether they already have them or not. Focus on something positive to say. For example, if you do not like a gift, you do not need to say they do. You can simply say "thank you" or "how nice of you to think of me". Being polite always pays in dividends.

8. Departures. Designate an agreed upon beginning and end time with your family to prevent any misunderstandings when it comes time to leave the house or return from a party.

9. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! A phone call or, better yet, a hand-written note of thanks to your holiday party hosts shows your appreciation for all their hard work. If you've thanked someone in person for a gift, a thank-you note isn't obligatory. But, it is never wrong to write a thank-you note. If you receive gifts from family members that you won't see to thank in person, write them a thank-you note-both to let them know their gift arrived and that you liked it.

The best way to alleviate stress from the holidays is to do something charitable. Look into your local organizations to see how you can donate your time to those in need. Offer to serve a holiday meal, hang decorations, bake cookies, read stories or sing holiday songs. Set a good example for your children while doing something fun and inspiring for the whole family. Take a moment to realize how lucky you are and be thankful for all that you have.
For Holiday Table and Home Decor Ideas, visit us at