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Conquer the Holidays: Advice From a Personal Assistant

November 26, 2012
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Guest Contributor Misa Phutangdee, founder of Miss Go to Girl, a concierge service for everything from party planning to personal assistance, offers these great tips to conquer the holidays!

First week after Thanksgiving:

1. Make Appointments. This week is the perfect time to book your appointments. Don’t wait until the last week to call your hairstylist, manicurist, esthetician, dermatologist—you fill in the blank. Haven’t we learned yet that we are not their only clients?  Give them a call this week, book your appointments, write them in your calendar and commit to it. Set the appointments for the week before your big holiday party so your new color and cut, mani and pedi and possibly new face are fresh and primped for the week when your family and friends are in town.

2. Hire Babysitters. Take a look at upcoming holiday parties you have that are for adults only.  Is the cost of babysitters driving you bananas?  Be resourceful, schedule sleep over’s if it’s going to be a real late night.

3. Organize Photos. Set aside 3 hours for every member of your family to come together and select their favorite photos from the year. You can go the old fashioned route of sticking them in an album or go online to Shutterfly or Costco to create a memory book where there’s plenty of room for color and creativity. If your children are school age or older, chances are they are computer savvy and they can even take on this project.

4. Online Shopping.  Shop from the comfy confines of your couch (laptop in hand). Many online stores also offer gift-wrapping and the vendor can ship the item directly to the recipient. Wrapping gifts and standing in line at the post office is now one more thing to cross off your list!

5. Buy Stamps. Are you in need of extra stamps for those holiday cards? This year, you can be creative and get your face on your stamp!  Just go to www.photostamps.com, upload your picture, customize your stamp if you wish, then check out and have them delivered to your door step!

 

Photo via Flickr: by MJ/TR (´・ω・)

EZ-DiY, Holidays, How-To Anything

Thanksgiving Week Made EZ

November 19, 2012
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photo from world.werner-kunz.com

Hello ladies it’s Monday before Thanksgiving… can you believe it? We can’t. To alleviate any potential stress, Misa P. of Miss Go To Girl has broken down the week for you!

 Monday If you are hosting:  Shop today! Pull out all of your recipes, figure out how many pounds of spinach, bags of potatoes, and bottles of wine you will need –and don’t forget to get the best deal on wine through your grocery story membership clubs. Safeway, for example offers deep discounts off select wines and if you buy six bottles (you can mix labels) you will get an additional 10 percent. And delegate – call those guests and ask them to bring something, people really love to feel included -after all the first Thanksgiving was a pot luck!

Don’t have your recipes?  Here are some stand outs for sides. (O.K. full disclosure Mimi collected them for her day job, but she’s tried ‘em –and they work!)

Going as a guest? You still have time to think about an appropriate hostess gift.  Something they can really use (or re-gift). Don’t bring flowers that need a vase, a dessert that wasn’t in the plans (honestly the hostess would have asked if she wanted you to bring it) and for you soap givers ‘C’ mon!  How many bars does a person need? Think: What would I want?  – then get it.  Also – if you are one of those people who bring champagne, but drink only wine – bring wine or both!

Today would be the last day you should invite that person you suspect has no place to go.  You’ll be happy you did, as you can read in awomenshealth.com fun piece on putting the thanks back in Thanksgiving.

Tuesday … Celebrity chef Michael Mina says to leave the skin on The Turkey in the refrigerator uncovered for two days prior to cooking to let the skin dry out.  Do you plan on skipping all cooking tips and ordering your Thanksgiving dinner instead?  Remember, you’ll need at least 48 hours notice for stores like Whole Foods.

Wednesday:  Set the table, create a self serve separate bar space away from the kitchen so guests are comfortable serving them selves. Get that mani/pedi.

Thursday – Enjoy!  If you can start the day off with exercise, Do we need to remind you of the metabolism boosting, endorphine producing benefits?  Here’s a list of 5 ways to get your Thanksgiving Groove on from Lifescript.com

Friday Shop! Some people like middle school teacher, Adena Zender, in Lompoc California, plans for all of her holiday (and other) shopping on this day, according to her, “It’s fun, it feels like I’m at a big party –and the deals can’t be beat!” Or shop online, this a new trend and it’s an easy way to get it done without having to find a parking spot.

 

EZ-DiY, Recipes, Recipes

Citrus Punch – Party Favorite!

October 10, 2012
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Looking for the perfect party punch?  Check out this tested and approved Winter Citrus Punch, a spinoff of classic sangria, which can be made up to three or four days in advance in big batches. While the official name is Winter Citrus Punch, it can be enjoyed anytime of the year. We found the recipe from chef Bradley Odgen’s cookbook, Holiday Dinners with Bradley Ogden.

Winter Citrus Punch With Spiced Pomegranate Ice

Serves 8

Ingredients

3 star anise, crushed

2 cups pomegranate juice, freshly squeezed
2 cups tangerine juice, freshly squeezed
8–10 peppermint leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
2 cups pineapple juice, freshly pressed
2 cups blood orange juice, freshly squeezed
2 cups orange juice, freshly squeezed
½ cup Meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed
8 shots of rum or Cointreau (one per person) or sparkling wine or champagne to taste, optional

To Make
1 In a small noncorrosive pan, combine the pomegranate juice, star anise and peppermint leaves and heat to a high simmer. 2 Turn down the heat and steep for 15 minutes, then strain. 3 Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. 4 Combine the remaining juices and refrigerate until needed. 5 Place juice and frozen cubes in a large punch bowl with slices of fruit on top or serve in individual glasses over the frozen cubes of pomegranate ice. 6 Garnish with peppermint sprigs. 7 For holiday cheer, add desired spirit.

Body, EZ-DiY, Health News, How-To Anything, Nourish, Nutrition Advice, Recipes

How to Freeze Fruit

October 8, 2012

D Sharon Pruitt

Each season we bid adieu to a new group of brightly colored, highly nutritious organic fresh fruits. But…with a little planning you can have any fruit you want year-round.

Thanks to AllRecipes.com for their tips of freezing fruit.

1. Wash fruits and get rid of any damaged ones (especially pay attention with blueberries).

2. For delicate berries like strawberries arrange on a single layer on a baking sheet and then freeze. Once they are frozen then put them in a plastic freezer bag in the freezer.

3. For fruits that can turn brown quickly like apples, treat with Vitamin C. Find the powdered form in health food stores and then make a “wash” by dissolving 1/2 a teaspoon of the powder and 3 tablespoons of water. Sprinkle your mixture over your cut fruit before freezing.

For the elusive frozen bananas (ours seem to collect ice crystals and turn brown–We’ve gone to LiveStrong.com for their advice. For preparation for smoothies they suggest peeling, cutting into 1/2 slices and putting on wax or parchment paper and then place the banana slices onto it in a single layer and put in the freezer in a level spot for 30 minutes to an hour to solidify. Otherwise, peel the bananas and put in a zipper freezer bag. Peeled frozen bananas can last up to four months, while those frozen with the peel last only two months. Push as much air as you can out of the bag before sealing it shut. Don’t crowd or squish the bananas because it will make them harder to separate when you want to use them.