Shhh… It’s a PARTY!!!

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In life, there are a lot of celebrations. Those that that call for big parties, loud music, banners confetti and noisemakers and those that call pretty china, dainty snacks, polite conversations and mild music and everything in between. Whether you are celebrating a milestone or a Wednesday, it doesn’t matter: a party is fun (or is suppose to be). Some are a surprise and some are not, some are big and some are intimate but all should be fun and planned well. Today we’ll discuss surprise parties for best of life’s celebrations.

3-Key-lime-cupcakesIt is easy to be overwhelmed by the whole party planning process. The first thing you’ll need to do is get a theme for the party and set a budget understanding that the largest chunks of the budget should be for the venue, decor food and entertainment. Once you have that the rest will fall in place. And when planning a surprise party there is the added pressure of planning something that someone else would enjoy while keeping it hush hush. Not an easy task.

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Giggles & Smiles
  • When thinking of surprise parties, the first thing that we thing about is birthday parties. They are tricky to plan because you know that the birthday boy/girl knows when their birthday is so it is easy for him/her to be suspicious that someone is planning something. This is why we suggest that you don’t wait for the BIG milestone birthday to throw one; like the 21st of 30th or 40th etc. Plan the surprise birthday party on the “regular” birthdays like 27th or 42nd. This way it will REALLY be a surprise.
  • Another popular event that warrants a surprise party is a baby shower. It is also an event you don’t want to scare the expecting mother into an early labor. It’s true she may be expecting to have a baby shower some time during the pregnancy but she won’t know when.
  • Bridal shower are another occasion that call for surprise parties. Just like a baby shower, the bride to be may suspect she will have a party at some point. She may assume that she will be included in the party planning but we think it would be awesome if the bridal party and her family planned a party that catches her off guard.

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When planning to have a surprise party, the first thing you will need to think about is if the person you are throwing the party for would enjoy being surprised or how s/he will handle it. Remember, not everyone likes surprises nor will know how to respond to it so be careful that your plan doesn’t backfire on you.

Make sure that your guest know that it is a SURPRISE party so they don’t ruin it. You would assume that they know not to tell the guest of honor but some people are simply clueless about these things. Prime example of a ruined party: Guest gets invited to attend a bridal shower. guest couldn’t attend so proceeded to text the guest of honor to apologize that will not be able to make it. Guest ruins the aforementioned party. so it is imperative that you and you minions are the only people that the guest and anyone involved with the party will communicate with weather to RSVP or send gifts to.

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You’ll also have to remember that you are throwing a party for someone else. so your taste and likes and dislikes do not come into play. It’s about what will wow the guest of honor. If you like chocolate cake for your birthday, the birthday girl might like carrot cake, you might like an explosion of pinks for a baby girl’s baby shower decor but the guest of honor might enjoy shades of oranges and yellows, you might like a fancy tea party for your bridal shower complete with cucumber sandwiches and dainty hats but the bride-to-be might like to have a casino themes shower. You may like a vase full of peonies and hydrangeas but she may like sunflowers and daisies. The surprise is not only for the part where the person you are celebrating doesn’t know you are honoring him or her but it’s also in knowing what exactly with please him/her and providing it making the whole to-do a memorable and enjoyable day.

 

Romance Recipe: Al Fresco

Blog-HeaderAugust evenings are just about the loveliest. And the loveliest of the evenings are meant to be enjoyed with those we love. So this week we will give you everything you need, to have a romantic evening al fresco. Yes, you have a plethora of restaurants with outdoor dining that you can take your honey to for a romantic evening out. But how much privacy do you think you’ll get, among the other patrons only 2 feet away from your elbow and pedestrians zipping past you on the sidewalk. We think that you can be as romantic as you want in the privacy of your own backyard, patio, balcony, or rooftop.

The Food:

When you are planning your meals, think simple. Remember that this is outdoors and you don’t want to keep going in and out of the house or apartment to get your 6 course meal. The idea is to sit back relax and enjoy each other’s company and take in your beautiful surrounding not stressing over the complicated meal.

If you feel you must cook for your honey, because, let’s face it, nothing says “I want to take care of you this evening” than actually getting down and dirty with ingredients and producing a yummy meal, we suggest this simple recipe for two of Bistro Roast Chicken we found on My Recipes. Honestly, yummy chicken made this simple should be illegal, but here it is:

roast chicken

2 chicken leg quarters (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 whole garlic heads

Preheat oven to 375°.

Rinse chicken with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Loosen skin from thigh and leg by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Combine basil and next 5 ingredients (basil through pepper). Rub herb mixture under loosened skin. Place chicken on a broiler pan. Insert meat thermometer into meaty part of thigh, making sure not to touch bone.

Remove white papery skin from garlic heads (do not peel or separate the cloves). Wrap each head separately in foil; place on broiler pan with chicken. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 450° (do not remove chicken from oven). Bake 30 minutes or until thermometer registers 180°. Cover chicken loosely with foil; let stand 10 minutes. Discard skin. (or eat that too we don’t judge).

But not all of us can work in the kitchen without it ending up with our house smelling like smoke and an impromptu visit from the fine gentlemen from the fire department. For those of us that are charred food experts there are God sent delivery services like GrubHub and Seamless that will bring you food from just about any restaurant of any cuisine in any part or your city. Just download the app, choose your dishes (including dessert), time your delivery and bam you’re food if on it’s way and you didn’t have to slave over a stove and you have to do is dish it onto a plate and make it look pretty.

Wine

The Drink

You will be out on a warm evening so you need something refreshing and light. We suggest a nice cool and crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Get an ice bucket and stick a bottle or two (or four, again no judgment here) in to chill and make sure to take the bottle(s) out in the bucket. Nothing as unappetizing as a warm white wine. And no matter what you do, do not ruin a good wine by adding ice in your glass…just don’t. We love the Robert Mondalvi Fume Blanc Sauvignon Blanc, but to be completely honest you can’t go wrong with a good Chardonnay or even Rose.  Just chill them, always chill them.

And since there are apps for the food delivery, remember that your wines can also be delivered to your door and yes there are apps for that like Drizly and Minibar. Isn’t the modern days we live in just marvelous? No more going to sketchy looking liquor stores or fighting the checkout counters of grocery stores anymore. With click and click-click and clickety-click, bam bottles at your door.

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Sweet as Sugar

The Mood:

Lighting is what’s important when setting up a romantic environment. Yes, even outdoors. You need to fish out your christmas lights and hang them on your trees or anything you can wind them on. Get battery operated tealights you can float in a vases full of water and just spread them round your table, floor and anywhere and get lanterns to hang especially to illuminate your way back into the house. Make sure all the lights are soft and in only one color. Either golden twinkles or red but don’t go crazy with a whole bunch of different colors. It could make it look a little tacky and no-one wants that. We are going for elegance and romance.

Never forget the Dukes of everything romance and that is flowers. You need a small centerpieces to put on your table to tie everything together. Choose an arrangement that is in a small container that sits perfectly in the center of the table and will allow you to look at your honey. And just like the the food and the drink, flowers are only a few clicks away from showing up at your door.

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The Movie

When done with your evening romancing your love, and you’ve talked about everything and anything but you just don’t want to end the night yet, it’s time for an activity that required very little talking, and that is watching a movie. For an evening like you just had we recommend Kate and Leopold. This old fashioned romance in a modern world will conclude your evening with an exclamation point.

 

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Romance Recipe: Hawaiian Style

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Aloha! Ahhhh…summer and summer vacations and all the romantic opportunities during these vacations…so many possibilities. Last week we went all continental and showed you how to romance your honey the italian way. This week we save you from all the spaghetti and wine carbs and replace them with fruity fresh drinks and seafood yum yums and show how to make it steamy…you know, like the Hawaiian volcanoes.

The Drink

Well, obviously, we are going with the authentic hawaiian signature drink: Mai Tai. First we need to appreciate the esthetic aspect of this deliciousness. The bright yellows and oranges and the dark amber are a representation of the very hawaiian sunset. This drink is a treat for the eyes and for the taste buds.

Here’s a great recipe for one  tall glass of the real mai-tai:

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1.25 oz  Light rum like Captain Morgan Light Rum

1 oz  Your favorite mai-tai cocktail mix (one with mostly passion fruit is important)

1 oz  Fresh pineapple juice

.5 oz  Orange juice and

3.25 oz  Dark Rum

To get that layered sunset look, make sure to pour each ingredient in the order listed. If you really want to go all out with the authenticity of the drink use Hawaiian rum Koloa Rum in both the dark and light. Then make sure to garnish with a wedge of cored fresh pineapple with rind on (because texture), an orchid loom (because so pretty) and a tiny umbrella (because you simply gotta, it’s the law…of mai-tai).

The Food

It’s still beach season so we want you to keep the gorgeous beach bod you worked so hard for the whole winter. So, even while you are having romantic meals, you can keep your it light without forgoing yummy flavors. With that in mind we present to you Shrimp, pineapple(because duh) and avocado on a bed of Arugula.

Here’s what you need to serve 2:

.5 lb Fresh uncooked shrimpshrimp_salad_with_arugula_grilled_asparagus_tomatoes_and_fresh_mango-Blog

2.5 tbsp Olive oil

.5 Lemon juice (or lime)

1 Clove of garlic finely minced (plan on some mints for after dinner of obvious reasons)

1 cup  Grape tomatoes, halved

1  Avocado sliced in wedges

.25  Ripe pineapple cored and cut in cubes

as much arugula as you want

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First, in a bowl, mix half the lemon (or lime) juice, garlic, 3/4th of the cilantro and salt and pepper and let the goodness marinate in the refrigerator. While the shrimp is making friends with flavor explosions, mix all the remaining ingredients (minus the arugula) in another bowl and let those yum-yums make friends.  Now take the happy shrimps and saute them in a hot pan for a few minutes till they turn pink showing they are cooked. Lastly, pour the content of bowl #2 onto a bed of arugula and top it off with the shrimp in the pan. If you are not drooling right now, then wait for desert.

As we all know the Hawaiian Islands are volcanic in origin. Volcanoes mean hot lava. Hot lava means hot Chocolate Lava Cake. And that means decadent ooey, gooey, hot and melty chocolate that erupts from custardy cake. Yup we just drooled. For a very easy recipe go here. You’re welcome.

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Tropical Arrangments

The Mood

You have a porch? A back yard, a front yard, a balcony, a veranda, an outdoor space where you can set up a table and two hairs on (but away from prying eyes)? Excellent. Get yourself these items: 2 hula skirts for him and for her, tiki torches (can be artificial or the real ones you light on fire), tea lights, 2 leis, hanging decorations like brightly colored tropical birds etc, and orchid to put in the lady’s hair and most importantly call your florist for a tropical flower arrangement to add that exclamation point to your island decor. We recommend flowers like hanging heliconias, birds of paradise, a variety of orchids, anthuriums all put together and accentuated with broad-leafed tropical leaves. We urge you to find a florist that has tropical flowers and knows how use them, because not all have them regularly. And remember exotic doesn’t necessarily mean tropical in the world of flowers; exotic is subjective, tropical is not.50First-Blog

After dinner and a wonderful conversation, cuddle up with your honey and watch some RomComs like 50 First Dates, or Forgetting Sarah Marshal, Or South Pacific, or Blue Hawaii while sipping on your yummy mai-tai and munching on Macadamia nuts and slices of pineapple.

And with that we say Mahalo for spending time with us and a Hui Hou. Aloha!

 

 

 

 

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SAVINGS

Romance Recipe: Italian Style

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It’s August, it’s hot and humid and steamy and heavy and smoldering. Much like an Italian summer romance in the hilly landscapes of Southern Italy among the grapevines, olive trees and terracotta brick homes. This is the time of the year romance is at its peak heat. And when we think about the ultimate fantasy of romance, we can’t not think about the richness of red wine, the sultry food, and the smoldering good looks of Raoul Bova. In short, we think Italy, with all its the culture, history, romance and sensory overload of everything combined. Think of the art and history of Florence, the breathtaking balance between the old and new of Milan, the whimsy and fairy tale you can conjure up reclining on a gondola and being serenaded in such a romantic language, the rich food the south of Italy offers that will make your taste buds explode with fireworks and the absolutely breathtaking rugged yet welcoming beaches of Sardinia that  will take your summer romance to the stratosphere.

Perhaps this year is not the year you can travel to Italy and experience it first hand…le sigh or rather il sigh-o. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring it to you, right? Right! And we will tell you all you need to  bring Italy home.

The Wine

WineGet a fine Italian red…wine ahm. Like a Chianti, meaning produced in the Chianti region in beautiful Tuscany. It is a dry red wine with a bit or tart cherry flavor to it. And if you want to have that authentic Italian wine look, stick the bottle in a straw basket or  fiasco. Our favorite is the Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro. Try it. And when you open the bottle quickly inhale the bottle’s first breath. That’s air from Italy.

The Food

Now that you have your wine, plan your meals to complement it. Our suggestion is a four course of the simplest Italian feast you can imagine.

For your Antipasto (appetizer) we recommend Prosciutto e Melone, that’s Italian for Prosciutto (a dry cured Italian ham that is very thinly sliced) and melons (that’s English for a yummy fruit).  Just slice the melon in wedges and wrap with prosciutto. The saltines of the prosciutto and the sweet juicyness of the melon will feel like you have a summer party on your taste buds.

Spaghetti

Spaghetti

For your first course all you need is spaghetti (preferably bucatini) fresh ripe tomatoes (on the vine), a handful of fresh basil leaves, extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic and onions (yellow is best) salt and pepper and Parmigiano reggiano to make a summer favorite Pasta con Pomodoro e Basilico (pasta with tomato and basil, but it sounds sooooo much better in Italian). First, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil in medium heat then throw in chunks of the ripe tomatoes with salt and pepper. Once the juices from the tomatoes start to bubble, throw in the basil. You don’t want the sauce to dry and the basil to wilt completely, you still want it a little watery. While preparing your sauce make sure to start cooking your pasta in hot boiling water and check periodically that you don’t over cook it. You want it al-dente, meaning you want it to stick to your teeth when you chew it. Right before the pasta is at the desired cooking level transfer it into the pan of your sauce and let it cook with it. This will help everyone in the pan to mingle and get to know each other and become friends and the pasta will continue to cook to the right al-dente. When serving add shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano.

For your second course we recommend Pollo alla Cacciatora (chicken cacciatore or hunter style). Our favorite recipe is the one Mario Batali so deliciously created here <—- seriously, you want to go to there and cook up that deliciousness. We would never steer you wrong.

For dessert, and in all honesty, in the world of romance this is the only meal that matters, we suggest you get your Bialetti percolator (this is the only way god intended for good italian coffee be made) and make yourself a deliciously strong cup of coffee (because you do not want to go into a food induced coma just yet). We like Lavazza Qualita Rossa for espresso. And make sure you stop by , in our opinion the best bakery in the Washington DC metro, Tivoli located in Ballston, and get yourself some of the decadent yumminess that they offer ahead of time and keep refrigerated till it’s time to indulge. Get the Tiramisu. Get it!

The Entertainment

TuscanMake sure to get some of the most romantic Italian movies to watch with you honey. Yes you can get Under the Tuscan Sun or Roman Holiday. But if you want to venture beyond the obvious try Il Postino, Bread and Tulips, Marriage Italian Style (or anything with Sofia Loren really). And if none of these movies with their music and sing-song italian language, high drama that is so typical of everything Italian don’t make you feel like you are in that exquisite Mediterranean country, then add the important finishing touches.

The Flowers

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Call your florist and ask for a wispy, rustic country-style flower arrangement with earthy bold colors with flowers like sunflowers, brassica, protea, bear grass, hanging amaranthus and coral roses all put together in a simple vase or a terracotta pot. Make sure to set that on your table to tie in everything together. Let some of that warm summer air freeze in by opening your window. And compile a fun play list of music with Andrea Bocelli, Ramazzotti, Paula Pausini, Tizziano Ferro and Nek. Learn some romantic italian phrases that you can whisper to your honey. Even if they sound silly say them. Some of our favorites are: “Ti voglio bene amore mia/o” which is I love you, or “senza di te la mia vita no fa senso” which means without you my life has no meaning. And here are a few pet names you can use to summon your babe: “amoruccio” which means love, or “tesoro mio” which mean my jewel or my darling.

There you have it. Romance Italian style at home. Here is all you need to bring that boot shaped romantic country home.

Fun Ways To Celebrate Your 4th Of July Weekend

HW0_474725You’ve done the fireworks at the National Mall, and the parades and the Capitol 4th Concert, and the long trips to the beach and the crowd and the endless walking in the sun and heat and you just want to do something different and fun this year; away from the large crowd that mill around our Nation’s capital. Well we have some ideas for you. You can bring all the fun out there, closer to home. You can get together with your friends and family and have a fun weekend.

First, compile a list of fun party music that you know you and your guest will enjoy and have fun to or find a pandora radio station that you know will deliver the good music. This will serve as a soundtrack to your party. Next plan several games that you can play outdoors and indoors that both the younger (if you know children will be there) and the older guests will enjoy and participate in. Our favorites and games everyone can participate in easily are cornhole, bocce, ring toss. If you want to bring some of the traditionally indoors games to the outdoors you can play twister on a larger scale in your lawn, or life size checkers, and giant janga. And to keep cool in the hot july day and especially fun for the kids and the young at heart are water balloons (or water guns) fights, dunk buckets, and water slides if your yard allows.HW0_430699

Make sure to keep yourself and your guests hydrated this holiday weekend; as you can see this summer is a scorcher. Water is essential not only to play in or with but to drink. And in the summer holidays ice is also essential to keep our drinks and ourselves from becoming too warm. For alternatives ideas for ice made of water, we suggest cubing some watermelons and freezing them. This way, your delicious drinks (for both the adults and the kids) won’t be too watered down with plain old ice. You can also try making frozen juice cubes. They are fun to look at and delicious. Just don’t forget to drink lots of water; like the flowers we work with, we humans need lot of H2O.

Food is also important. You will be burning a lot energy running around with all the fun activities, so you’ll need your fuel. You can BBQ some burgers, hotdogs and chicken (the usual suspects) or you can make it fun and interesting by adding items that you wouldn’t normally think of. Think BBQed pizza, kebabs, quesadillas, shrimps, instead of your usual chicken breast or legs try the wings. You can grill some fruits like Pineapples and peaches to make them sweeter for a healthy dessert or to add to your ice cream sundaes.

HW0_409541The important thing is to have fun this weekend. You are celebrating the Nation’s independence and freedom, so go ahead and freely laugh and enjoy one another. Explore new ways to celebrate each other and make lasting memories. It’s not about planning too much and working anxiously to have the perfect party. Rather, it’s to enjoy the day and everything it offers freely.

Happy 4th!!!!

Summer Party Decorating Ideas

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LET’S PAAAARTYYYY!

Now that we’ve done our spring cleaning and our homes and yards look spotless, it’s time to throw some funtabulous parties to show them off. This is the season for the bridal showers, engagement parties, barbecue parties, pool parties, “it’s awesome out side so let’s take avantage” parties, “warm weather is entirely too short so let’s enjoy” parties, “we’ll have a party because we wanna” parties. Any reason is a good reason for a party, right? Right!

When planning a party we need to think of a theme and color palettes that matches the occasion to help us better choose our decor and accessories. Disposable (or reusable, let love our planet) plates, cups, napkins, utensils, table cloth or covers, balloons, hats, sashes, banners, confettis, favors, and centerpieces. Now, we can help you with any centerpiece questions you may have and will try to address them today.

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Burst of Beauty

First, being that it is warm out, we understand you want to take your parties outdoors, or even partially outdoors. Here is where your choice of centerpieces will be decided. How warm is it outside? A lovely 72 degrees or a balmy 95? Is the area covered and air conditioned or open with plenty of sunshine? Of course, if you’re having your party outdoors in the open in a 90 degree weather, you do not want to have centerpieces with fresh cut flowers. Instead, we suggest beautiful potted flowering plants. You get the flowers and you won’t see them wither as the party progresses and you get to have pretty plants once the party is over (you can use them again so whoop whoop) or you can give them away to your guests as a gift! Our favorite plants that are perfect for centerpieces are: African violets, Hibiscus, Begonias, Kalanchoes, Azaleas and Cyclamen. These plants are easily found in small sizes making them the perfect centerpiece plants. You can choose beautiful rustic tiny pail buckets, or pretend you are in a vineyard in Tuscany and put them in earthy terracotta pots or class them up with fancy ceramic containers. And you can find them in a variety of colors to match your theme.

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Turn Up The Pink

If your party is partly indoors or in air conditioned area, you can tie in the decor and theme outside and follow thru with more plants or decide on fresh cut flowers in the same colors of your plants. The best part is that there are many colors, shapes and sizes fresh cut flowers come in. They can also be designed in any size. you tant tall arrangement that you want to put in the foyer of your house? You want long hanging ones you can drape over the mantle of your fireplace? You want the tiny arrangement with a few flowers to brighten up your powder room? Or perhaps you want to sprinkle around your living, dining and kitchen area, beautifully designed pave arrangements in modern cube vases? Everything you desire is only a phone call away. Call your florist and tell them what colors you want your flowers to be and where you want to put them and they will create designs that will make your heart sing, do cartwheels, backflips, hula hoops, the running man, the water sprinkler, and the cha-cha all at the same time.

You may not think that having flowers for your party is unnecessary. We think that when you look back at the pictures, sure you will laugh at the memories of the people, but, there, in the background, will be the beautiful flowers that will bring whimsy to the photo. Trust us, we know that we’re talking about.

10 People Who Need a Holiday Somethin’-Somethin’

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Silver Lining

We made our list, and checked it twice, we’ve kept up with who’s been naughty and/or nice, because this is the real world and we are Santa. We don’t have elfs that help with the making and the building and the creating and the wrapping and the taping and the bows and the ribbons and the signing the cards and the….Just the thought of it is exhausting isn’t it?

But in our gift buying and sending to our friends and family frenzy we forget those people that are in the background in our world. Lets take a moment and think about those people that make a difference in our lives.

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Double Poinsettia Basket
  • The barrista at the coffee place we go to every morning and greets us with a bright smile and know our names and puts extra whip cream in our coffee.
  • The manicurist that payed extra attention to your nails and spent extra 5 minutes massaging your hands.
  • The neighbor that watered your plants while you were away for a week in the summer.
  • That guy that works in the office downstairs that that helped you haul your pothos plant when you started your job in your new office.
  • The mom that took your kids to school that morning you had a bad cold.
  • The hairdresser that gave you a that special scalp massage that made you almost fall asleep.
  • The boy in your neighborhood that cleared your driveway during THAT snow storm we had last year.
  • The girl that always comes to you to play with your pup and gives him extra ruv and belly rubs.
  • The door man that always offers to help you carry your grocery bags.
  • The mailman that is always on time and is always cheerful.

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    Spirit of Christmas Centerpiece

You may say that some of the people in this list are just doing their job. That may be true, but look at how much positives warm and fuzzies they are adding to your life in the smallest way. The simplest gestures and the smallest acts of kindness without expectation of something in return are the ones that deserve a 10 fold return. You don’t have to go crazy with the gifts but a small acknowledgement from you will make their day. A greeting card, a small gift card, a poinsettia, a box of chocolates, a plate of cookies, small stocking stuffer is all that is needed to say “Thank you for your kindness”. Embrace the true spirit of the the holiday. It never is about what you receive. It is about spreading the joy, making someone smile and giving. Especially to those that won’t be expecting it.

Food & Flowers

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Elegant Traditions

When planning a dinner party, or a holiday dinner, or a romantic dinner at home, first thing you think about is, of course, the menu then the theme and how to put it all together harmoniously. The way we set our tables is what ties it all together and set the mood we want. It would be a simple relaxed dinner with paper plates and cups and disposable cutlery (because we just don’t have the time, the desire or the energy to do the dishes) or it could be so formal with countless fancy spoons, forks, knives, glasses and what-not in every shape and size it would make Emily Post weep tears of joy and Carson (from Downton Abbey) do a jig.

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Autumn Expressions

You play the music that will compliment the gastronomic treat and the occasion. We wouldn’t suggest you playing Black Sabbath at an ear-piercing volume during a candlelight romantic dinner…unless, of course, you prefer not to converse with your guest/s and have your face in your Osso Buco and stuff your face with baby potatoes and Black Sabbath just does it for you, then go for it. We recommend you choose softer music whether holiday themed or not (depending on the occasion), that will allow those at the table to converse and enjoy their meal and the atmosphere without the threat of pierced eardrums and a possible headache.

Find the right table dressing and ornaments that fits the reason of the special dinner. Pine cones and ornamental balls for Christmas, Pumpkins and decorative fruit for Thanksgiving, Crystals and floating candles for a romantic date night are perfect. However, nothing will come close to a perfectly designed and placed flower arrangement.

Flowers are definitely the exclamation point that will finish the look. Whether a round and low centerpiece or an oblong one perched in the middle of the table, or small pieces nestled between serving plates and bowls, or standing tall and proud at your buffet table, will help you set the mood for your occasion. Just remember you don’t choose flowers that overpower your food. If it is sitting at your table you want to be able to smell the food you’re eating not the Stargazers in front of you. So if your must have heavily scented flowers choose them for the buffet table or for another part of your home rather than on your dinner table.

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Crimson Cornucopia

Since this is Thanksgiving season, you probably are already planning your menu and your decor. If you are planning a large dinner with friends and family and their friends you are probably a going over minute details to make the day memorable and enjoyable. Here is how we can help: we the have flowers part covered. If you have a buffet table with all the food and the dining room table just for eating then we suggest a lovely centerpieces for the table, low enough for people to look over it but sizable enough for it to make a statement. Plan a taller one to put on your buffet table. If you have the food on the table your will be sitting at, then we suggest multiple smaller pieces you can place sporadically to bring some color to your table. Don’t forget to add some rearrangements around the house. Perhaps in your kitchen where you and your family will prepare the food and in the living room where your guest will sit and wait for the food to come out. Perhaps in the powder room (natural air freshener anyone?) and if you have a spacious foyer then add one to welcome your guests with.

Planning a Fall Get Together? The Best Fall Colors for Décor and Flowers

Are you planning a fun fall get together?  If so, you’ll definitely want to decorate a little bit, and you’ll want to get a lovely fall flower centerpiece for your table.  So what colors and flowers do you go with?  Obviously, since it’s the fall, you’ll want some gorgeous seasonal colors that will complement the beautiful falling leaves and the crisp weather.

When it comes to colors, dark reds, oranges, and yellows are the standard colors of fall.  You’ll find napkins, paper plates, and candles in these colors, and those are all perfect for a fall get together.  You might already have a fall colored table runner and placemats to decorate your table with, but if you don’t, you’ll find some great choices in many department stores.

You can also use other dark colors for your fall decorations.  A dark purple, for example, looks nice combined with red and even some golden yellows.  Dark green and brown are also good options, especially if you’re going with a fall tree kind of color scheme.

When it comes to fall flowers, there are a number of great options.  Late blooming flowers are often the best.  Fall Aster is a good option if you want some brighter colors to go with your darker fall shades, although they may not match perfectly.  If you want something that will go with the reds, browns, and yellows of fall, look at Copper Canyon Daisy, Marigold, Mountain Sage, and Goldenrod.  For bright colors, some Lilies, Chrysanthemums, and Caryopteris are nice.  Orange and yellow roses are also a nice fit.

Want some help with your fall flowers in Washington, DC?  Give us a call!

Halloween in DC

Are you getting ready to celebrate Halloween in Washington DC?  There are a number of cool things to do and places to go!  Here are just a few of the awesome events going on in or around our nation’s capital this year.

Six Flags America in nearby Mitchellville, Maryland, is hosting its annual Fright Fest through October 30.  These family friendly activities include street entertainment, spooked-up rides, and a trick-or-treat trail.

Kings Dominion amusement park is holding its Halloween Haunt until the 30th as well.  There are nine different mazes, five scary zones, the Howl-O-Fest party, and much more.  It’s also family friendly.  During the day, there are even events for the little ones in the KidZville section.

There are many different pumpkin patches and festivals in the area.  There’s Butler’s Orchard, which offers a hayride, maze, and arts and crafts.  Then there’s the Homestead Farm, where you can venture through a hay maze and pick your own apples and pumpkins.  Gaver Pumpkin Patch has a corn maze and a petting zoo, plus giant slides and a pirate ship area.

Lafayette Square Park, the most haunted site in DC, features a two hour walking ghost tour.  It starts at 7:30 p.m. every Thursday through Saturday.

Another ghost tour in Washington, DC, is Natalie Zanin’s Historic Strolls.  It’s offered on Fridays and Saturdays, plus on Halloween, and starts at 8:00 p.m.

Then there’s the National Building Museum Ghost Tour.  Guests on this tour will take a lantern-lit stroll through many great haunted buildings alongside costumed Civil War spirits.

The Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk and Carving Festival is Oct. 28 and 29 in Greenbelt, Maryland.  Carve your own pumpkins while listening to live music and a fun pumpkin-lit trail hike.

The National Air and Space Museum will host Air & Scare at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.  Indoor trick-or-treating, stories, face-painting, karaoke, and more will be offered.

There are Halloween activities for adults, too.  If you’re over 21 and are looking for a good party, you won’t be disappointed.  Here are a few options:

  • Clarendon Ballroom Halloween Monster Bash – Oct. 28 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Rock, Paper, Zombies Concert at Strathmore – Oct. 28 at 8:30 p.m. at the Mansion at Strathmore in North Bethesda.
  • Nightmare on M Street – Oct. 29 at 5:00 p.m.   Enjoy a costumed bar crawl through 16 of DC’s hottest bars!
  • SurrealDC Halloween Masquerade – Oct. 29 at 8:00 p.m. at Washington Harbour, Georgetown.
  • Spooky! 2011 Underground Halloween Party – Oct. 31 at 9:00 p.m. at the FUR Nightclub.

Before you go out partying, you should know that there are a few special Halloween laws in place in Washington, D.C.  A number of streets will be closed on Halloween, and there are some parking restrictions in place.  Also, unless you are taking part in a masquerade, anyone over the age of 16 is not permitted to wear a mask that conceals or covers any part of their face.  Instead, use non-toxic face paints.

Remember if you plan on drinking on Halloween to have a designated driver.  If you do not, you can call SoberRide, a free cab program, to get home.