Thursday, March 27, 2014

Flowers From My Garden: Creating an Easy Flower Arrangement

Step out into your yard and take a look around, you probably have something that is suitable to cut. Here is a simple bowl of flowers made from what was in my garden.  So what's in your garden?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thank You Notes: When to Write Them and Why.

A month ago I celebrated my 50th birthday.  It was quite the affair, and small by no means.  I am blessed to have had 60 plus people sharing the evening with me Mardi Gras style.  The music, Creole food, and of course the famous Pat O'Brians Hurricanes.  Ooohhh La La~

Soon, there was a table over flowing with gifts for the birthday girl. No, I did not add "no gifts" on my invitation. My friends do what they want and adding it is no different than adding "Registered at".

Finally after all the hoopla, getting my house back in order and beating down the flu I was ready to write my Thank You notes.  Writing a personal note to each guest that kindly thought enough to buy me a gift was rather rewarding.  It gave me a moment to contemplate the gift and the thought that my friend put into finding it.  It was a private moment for me to tell them how much I appreciate their friendship as well as the gift.

Oddly enough, the reaction to the notes was amusing.  One friend told me she couldn't remember the last time she had received a hand written note in the mail.  That alone is kinda sad.  What has become of us...?

I try to keep up with Thank You's when appropriate and keep them on hand. It makes me feel good to let my friends know that their thought, gift or deed has not gone unnoticed.

Once upon a time letter writing and cards were nearly a daily affair in my life,  It is an art that has been lost due to technology.  Nothing  says "thank you" like a pen to paper, the scroll of a friends writing...

Do's and Don't  for Thank You Notes;

Do write them out by hand.

Do not write the same thing in each card.

If it was an important affair, Wedding, Shower, or other large event, mail them.

Make your card personal, acknowledged if they traveled to make your event, note the gift and how you will use it.

It is ok to leave a note to the host or hostess when attending a smaller affair, such as a small birthday gathering or Bar B Que for them to find later. I am famous for tucking notes into my girlfriends bags when they are not looking.

Do not use e-mail or other social media to send "Thank You's" for important events.

Spell names correctly.

If you do not like the gift, keep it to yourself.

Do not over thank someone.  Make your thank you appropriate to the gift or deed. Sending a text is fine if your friend bought you a coffee, sending her a 25.00 gift card to Starbucks as a thank you is "over thanking"

Lastly, be genuine.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Plan a Ladies Luncheon

There never has to be a reason to have lunch with the ladies other than to visit.  I make it a point to gather a few girls every 4 to 8 weeks to my home to eat, have a glass of wine and enjoy a meal. While it would be much easier to meet at a local restaurant, it's just not the same.

Creating a menu and an intimate ambiance is something that can not be done in a public place.  But in your home, you can create any atmosphere you dream up.

For my last luncheon I carried over my Mardi Gras theme from my birthday by using bright beads as beautiful napkin rings and repurposed the center pieces... again. With several yards of pink organza for the table, it made for the perfect ladies casual lunch.

I opted out of using the china and instead used my daily dishware for the menu of comfort food. (But I didn't skip out on the proper place setting and glassware.) The menu was as follows.

Tomato Basil Bisque
pork and spinach quiche
Organic greens with a light Italian dressing
Sourdough with olive oil dipping sauce
Fresh grapes and strawberries
Raspberry Thumbprints
Rich chocolate cake.

Regardless if you dine on the patio or in a dining room, the atmosphere is relaxing and what the goal is for me, is to create deeper bonds without the hassle of ordering, bickering over the lunch tab or worrying about whom may over hear the ladies conversation. It is our time to get out all of aggravations of everyday life, talk about the future and most of all laugh. It is my opportunity to show each one of my friends how much I value their company and friendship.

Creating a luncheon may not be for the faint at heart.  The devil is certainly in the details and it's the little things that make such an impact.  The girls loved the beads used as the napkin rings which quickly became bracelets and went home with them.

The evening before I laid my table and this take no less than an hour, ever. The glasses and flatware need to be spotless, the napkins pressed and folded and the dishes are to be placed and spaced properly.

Prepping as much as possible the night before will allow you to concentrate on the cooking on the day of your event.  Here, I was completely finished with preparing my meal by 11:30 am, the kitchen was clean the quiche was in the oven, leaving me more than enough time to get myself ready and relax before my guest arrived at 12:30.

Have fun.. what are you waiting for? Have fun and if you need a little help, It's ok, I've got you covered!

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