Archive for December, 2011

NEW YEAR’S EVE / DAY PARTY RECIPES, DECORATIONS, GAMES: I have some ideas – let’s have fun!* (UPDATE 2011)

Vol. 2,  No. 31, December 27th 2011
TITLE: “NEW YEAR’S EVE/DAY PARTY RECIPES, DECORATIONS, GAMES: I have some ideas  –  let’s have fun *”
(UPDATE 2011)

New Year’s Eve could be a magical evening if spent with the right people partying at the right place.  My book of the week remains “The New Year’s Eve Compendium: Toasts, Tips, Trivia and Tidbits for Bringing in the New Year” by Todd Lyon. Hence, my topic is doing New Years better! But this year,I have a bonus book – it is “Wild Women Throw a Party” Paperback by
Lynette Shirk (Author). I then have  two books in one post. This New Years, you’re invited. Please put on your party shoes and join in the fun.
PREVIEW:  Next week, I will present my annual post on New Year’s Resolutions along with an update.  Why don’t you come and take a look? Who knows, it might give you a boost for a change for the better?
New Year’s Eve
My New Year’s Eve tradition has been to go to a party; but the routine has changed through the years.
Grandparents’ party
As a child, growing up, New Year’s Eve was a BIG family celebration. After dinner, we went to the home of my grandparents. We were a crowd of 35+- persons: all of my aunts, uncles, cousins along with my parents and brothers plus invited guests.The spirit of New Year’s Eve definitiely lived at their house.  My grandfather picked out some joyful New Year’s music, which played throughout the evening. Just like on Christmas, my grandmother would bake all of our favorite, traditional desserts and the dining room table had plenty of finger foods, drinks, etc. At midnight, my grandfather took out the champagne and we all would toast the New Year. We looked back, reminiscing about what had happened in the prior 365 days. And we looked forward to the joy, health and prosperity which we hoped would turn up in the coming 365. It was also a time of fun and games. My grandmother loved to play bingo. So at some point in the evening, she took out the game pieces and we would play and play. All in all, a good time was had by all.  
Reception hall party
When I got married, we continued this tradition until my daughters became teenagers. And then, along with friends, we started to party as a family going to a New Year’s party held at one of the big reception halls. These were very glamorous soirees – everyone was dressed to kill; so we wore party wear. There was plenty of good food and drink; and the entertainment was first rate. Yes you are right – party hats and whistles were included. The atmosphere was festive yet still good taste 14 and over. While these nights out on the town were expensive, they were well worth the money.
Big restaurant meal
In another year, I went to a restaurant on New Year’s Eve. But this was not a good experience. The dining room was packed and very loud – it was a total zoo. The food was not hot and up to the usual quality. And the service was so slow that fast food was prohibited from the premises.  I then decided that going to a restaurant on December 31st was not a good idea.
After my divorce, my daughters went to their own parties with their friends. For a number of years, I got all dolled-up and I celebrated the New Year with my single friends at our association party. I had my usual one gin and tonic, loud music, friendship and lots of laughs. Oh yes, I nearly forgot, there was also some stale chips. How could I miss?  I had a good time.
Hotel event
One year, my friend and I decided that we would celebrate New Year’s Eve at an event held in a big downtown hotel. It did NOT turn out well.  I felt lost in space. It was a huge letdown.  
Party for two
For the last couple of years, now in a committed relationship, I have again changed my routine. Lately, we stay home and have an exclusive party for two. We have a lovely home dinner and a couple of drinks, watching the Times Square shows. We have fun.
New Year’s Day
In my family, New Year’s Day is a big deal. We were were a big group: my three brothers, their wives and kids. Way back, my mother used to prepare a huge meal at noon-  it was soup to nuts and her cannelloni was to die for! We popped the corks on several bottles of sparkling wine and an effervescent time was had by all. Later, we started doing dinner at a restaurant. My Mom loved a Greek bring- your- own -wine restaurant and so this became our new tradition.  Now that my Mom has been ailing, we again changed the custom. It’s lunchtime at my Mom’s house. If you’re a close relative and bring some bubbly, you’re welcome to come. In the past, we have ordered take-out. Psst …can you keep a secret? This year, I will get it done with my favourite high quality Italian bakery. I will order trays of lasagna along with an Italian cake – it is sponge cake with alot of acohol, vanilla and chocolate filling with white icing and almonds.          
And here’s my New Year’s decoration Superstar. My Mom has a neighbour, who, as part of his holiday decorations, he put up a big “2000” above his front balcony, to celebrate the Millenium. Every year since, he changes the last number to correspond to the coming year. It’s really neat!
New Year’s added bonus
This year, late afternoon on New Year’s Day,  we will also be celebrating my grandson’s first birthday.  It will be wonderful.  I’m so looking forward to it. I already warned my daughter that, by that time, I probably won’t be hungry. She’s serving hors d’oeuvres and then cake and coffee. Not to worry…I will pace myself.
January 2nd
On the day after, I plan to pull myself onto the couch. I don’t expect to be able to move much. If you come to my web site …please don’t bring food…I just might explode….  
She has been a freelance writer published by the New Haven Register at New Haven Ct. She is on the food beat. She has written about restaurants, etc.
Her books include:
• 50 Ways to Read Your Lover
• 50 Ways to Read Your Lover: Secret Strategies That Reveal the Real Him
THE BOOK: “The New Year’s Eve Compendium: Toasts, Tips, Trivia and Tidbits for Bringing in the New Year” by Todd Lyon
Todd Lyon speaks food. She puts on her party animal hat. She aims high….look up … higher…to the top of the heap: New Year’s Eve. This is the pinnacle of Partyville and the Super Bowl of partytime. She has a sense of history when it comes to this celebration; and she has ideas and suggestions respecting themes, drinks, recipes, games, etc.  Take them or leave them – she offers food for thought (pardon the pun).  For me, it adds to my research. For that, I am appreciative. Is it the last word to be written? … probably not. I leave that to you!
(Fact Source:
BONUS BOOK 2011 – “Wild Women Throw a Party” Paperback by
Lynette Shirk (Author) 

THE AUTHOR (BONUS): Lynette Shirk

Well, I think I’ve found a lady with similar interests. Her name is Lynette Shirk. She loves to cook and bake. And she is also a writer. Sound like anyone you know? Her credentials are very good. She graduated with a BA in Classics from the Ohio State University. She attended the California Culinary Academy, receiving professional chef training. She has worked in some great kitchens on both coasts – from San Francisco to NYC. Her signature creation is her unique Java Lava coffee-bean brittle.

Her books include:

  • “Wild Women in the Kitchen”
  • “Wild Women Throw a Party”

THE BONUS BOOK – “Wild Women Throw a Party” Paperback by Lynette Shirk (Author) 

I’m a little nervous speaking about a real WILD woman. You see I am very lady like, but I still like to have fun. And this book does the trick. There are the expected recipes, and favorite foods; but there are also stories, anecdotes and  historical facts about some classy ladies of yesteryear through to today: Dorothy Parker, Joan Crawford Mary Pickford, Sarah Jessica Parker. etc. It’s like a history class on parties with a feminine flair. I like it. It’s a perfect compliment to my primary book. It adds to the pronounced female touch to party planning and giving. It is also food for thought and table talk. I like it a lot.    
New Years is the start of another year. I don’t think it should start on a sour note; rather, I truly want it to be a good night for you and me. Just maybe, it will set the tone for a great year to come. This said, let’s party!
My personal comments
I always look forward to the holidays. New Year’s Eve is the second of the December festivities. This is the occasion ostensibly calling for serious partying and drinking, potentially through to the small hours of the night. It could be a time for great fun. In my opinion, it really depends on the answer to these questions:
1. “How you are feeling?” Regardless, I say: “On the afternoon of December 31, pack up the problems and stack them in the garage.  Then put on a happy face and embrace the joy and hope of the dawning year.”
2. “With whom do you party?” I say: “This is one of the keys.  For example – when I went to a downtown hotel party- it was an unpleasant experience. Spending New Year’s Eve in a roomful of strangers can be lonely. I prefer being with people who are meaningful: loved ones, family friends, my girl friends, etc.
3. “Does it pass the kiss test?” I say: “Just imagine being in a glamorous hotel or hall for a New Year’s Eve party, with a room full of strangers and a friend or two. Midnight comes and everyone is toasting the new year and then strangers came around, making small talk, extending superficial wishes and giving a little peck  – believe me it was unsatisfying.  Now I’m with someone special and at midnight, the kiss is now meaningful.  At this moment, I’m thinking of going into the new year with this wonderful person and I am hopeful that it will bring health, happiness, prosperity, etc.  I aim high for each one of you – I truly wish for you the same sentiment and experience.
The point
On New Year’s Eve, the venue is not key. The food does not have to be gourmet quality. Music is not essential. In other words, the party is not the point. Instead, it is about fun regardless the form. Most often, it is about being with one or more friends. It could be more, when with one’s significant other.
“New Year’s Eve party ideas:   I have some!*” I suggest that you:
1. Refuse to have a lousy night. If not, it has the potential of being a total bust. If alone, making no effort, it could be a real downer! Or if at a party, you could be saying: “Boy, is this lousy, let’s leave!”
2.  Recognize that it is in your power to make it the greatest night of your life. I want you to say: “Oh boy, this is great!”
If alone
3. Decide to have fun on New Year’s Eve – plan it out:
3.1 Create one or more new tradition(s):
3.1.1 Make a meal that is out of the ordinary – try to make something different;
3.1.2 Make a phone call to an old friend or a family member, catching up on news, wishing them well, etc.
3.1.3 Do something that YOU LIKE TO DO:
(a) Go to the movie rental store and have a home movie marathon, (if you like movies) – don’t forget the popcorn and candy. Or go out to a movie or double feature;
(b) Go bowling and ask to join up with others, already there; and have a beer – it’s New Years.
3.1.4 Go to a specialty coffee outlet or an all-night-breakfast place for some near midnight refreshment.
If with one or more friends
4. Invite a friend or two to hang out and order take out; then get comfortable and,
4.1 View a DVD movie: a classic or new release, preferably still unseen as of yet;
4.2 Have a cool one and chill out;
4.3 Play a party game like charades; and
4.4 Watch the TV New Year’s Eve programming.
If attached and/or with children
5. Invite another couple/family or two over to your house; and
5.1Buy party favors: hats whistles, etc.;
5.2 Ask that each home contribute a meal sufficient for them, whether home -cooked or delivery and put it all out buffet/ serve yourself style;
5.3 Bring spirits or beer plus one bottle of sparkling wine;
5.4 Bring a dessert; and
5.5 Call the kids around at 12:00 AM to share the moment.
5.6 Don’t forget the midnight kiss!!

Oh sugar! My party hat fell on the dance floor and my whistle fell into the punch bowl. Oh what the hoot, have a happy New Year to you and yours! Cheers!*
And that’s my thought of the week on books, what’s yours?*
Take it out for a spin and tell me if you agree.
“Books are life; and they make life better!*”
P.S. Big News: There are big changes coming to my blog – Please stay tuned.
P.P.S. #1 I have a TWITTER page. Consider becoming a follower? Visit –   saveandread
P.P.S. #2 I also have a FACEBOOK page. Consider becoming a friend? Visit: – Alp Save Andread – please check it out.
P.P.S. #3 I am on Linkedin. Consider becoming a connection? Visit – Antoinette La Posta
*TM/© 2011 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved.
S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #1: New Year’s Date
“Babysitters are getting $100 an hour on New Year’s Eve,” David Letterman reported on the eve of the Millennium. “That’s more than my date will be getting!”
(Sources: “Late Show with David Letterman”)
(Source: Anecdotage) – –
S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #2: Vince Neil: Happy New Year
“During a live broadcast of “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” shortly after midnight on New Year’s Eve 2004, Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil said something remarkable to bandmate Tommy Lee: “Happy f—ing New Year, Tommy!” Though the F-word utterance was edited out for West Coast viewers, East Coasters heard it loud and clear. But according to an NBC official, “The network has not received any calls regarding the incident.”
(Source: Anecdotage) –
S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #3: Ozzy Osbourne: Happy
&#@!$ New Year!
“At their 2002 New Year’s Eve bash in Beverly Hills, Ozzy and Sharon Osborne raffled off a $42,000 diamond necklace. Some time later, they contacted local police in a bid to get the article back. The problem? The woman who won the necklace had not been invited to the party!”
S & R* QUOTE #1: Greta Crosby
“If I could give you one key, and one key only to more abundant life, I would give you a sense of your own worth, an unshakeable sense of your own dignity as one grounded in the source of the cosmic dance, as one who plays a unique part in the unfolding of the story of the world…”
(Source: Wisdom Quotes) –
S & R* QUOTE #2: Marge Piercy
“Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third.”
(Source: Wisdom Quotes) –

For today, my word/phrase(s) are:  “New Year’s Eve”; “party”; “year 2010″ etc.
New Year’s Eve
“New Year’s Eve or Old Year’s Night is on 31st December, the final day of the Gregorian year, and the day before New Year’s Day. New Year’s Eve is a separate observance from the observance of New Year’s Day. In modern Western practice, New Year’s Eve is celebrated with parties and social gatherings spanning the transition of the year at midnight. Many cultures use fireworks and other forms of noise making in part of the celebration. New Year’s Eve is observed universally on 31 December according to the year numbering of the CE (Common Era), or AD (Anno Domini) convention, even in non-Christian nations. New Year’s Eve is also the seventh day of Christmas in western Christianity. Traditional and religious celebrations for e.g. the Chinese, Muslim and Jewish new year, which occur on different dates, are still celebrated separately in the cultures that observe them, on the appropriate dates each year.”
(Source:Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –’s_Eve
“A party is a gathering of people who have been invited by a host for the purposes of socializing, conversation, or recreation. A party will typically feature food and beverages, and often music and dancing as well. Some parties are held in honor of a specific person, day, or event (e.g., a birthday party, a Super Bowl party, or a St. Patrick’s Day party). Parties of this kind are often called celebrations. A party is not necessarily a private occasion. Public parties are sometimes held in pubs and bars, and people attending such parties may be charged an admission fee by the host.”
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) -
Year 2011
“2011 (MMXI) is the current year, which is a common year that started on a Saturday. In the Gregorian calendar, it is the 2011th year of the Common Era (CE) and the Anno Domini (AD) designation; the 11th year of the 3rd millennium and of the 21st century; and the 2nd of the 2010s decade.The United Nations has designated 2011 the International Year of Forests and the International Year of Chemistry.[1]”
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) – II
“Each year during the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square in Manhattan, New York City, a time ball made by Waterford Crystal[1] and electric lights is raised to the top of a pole on the One Times Square building[1] and then lowered to mark the coming of the New Year. The Ball descends 77 feet (23 m) over the course of a minute, coming to rest at the bottom of its pole at 12:00 am. Toshiba’s Times Square billboard directly below the Ball counts down to midnight as well. Every year up to one million people gather in Times Square to watch the Ball drop, and an estimated 1 billion watch the video of the event, 100 million of them in the United States.[2]”
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –

 Bonus Fact #1: Canada
“In Canada, New Year’s traditions and celebrations vary from region to region. Generally, New Year’s Eve (also known as New Year’s Eve Day or Veille du Jour de l’An in French) in Canada is a social holiday. In major metropolitan areas such as Toronto and Montreal, major celebrations with music and fireworks are often held at midnight. Other common New Year’s Eve celebrations such as late-night partying are also major events in these cities and other places around Canada. In some areas, such as in rural Quebec, people ice fish and drink with their friends until the early hours of January 1.[2] On television, the sketch comedy troupe Royal Canadian Air Farce had been known for their New Year’s Eve specials on CBC, which in addition before the start of their weekly television series, was one of their first forays into television after years on radio. Consequentially, the series finale of their television series was a New Year’s Eve special on December 31, 2008, although due to their popularity, the CBC requested that they return for a New Year’s Eve special for 2009.[3][4]
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –’s_Eve
S & R* NEWS ALERT* #1: New Year’s Eve
“Profile America — Friday, December 31st. On this New Year’s Eve, more than 310 millionAmericans of all ages are ready to greet the year 2011. A hundred years ago, the U.S. population was just over 92 million — 50 years ago, it was nearing 181 million. To show how fast the nation is growing, by this time tomorrow, there will be almost 12,000 new babies on hand to welcome the new year. Tonight’s celebration will see many of the 186,000 musicians and singers in the U.S. entertaining crowds in night clubs, bars, and restaurants across the country. Also on hand will be most of the 365,000 bartenders and just over 2 million waiters and waitresses. The men and women of the U.S. Census Bureau wish you a happy, safe, and prosperous new year.”Sources: Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970, p. 10 Statistical Abstract of the United States 2010, t.80, 603
(Source: U.S. Census bureau) =
S & R* NEWS ALERT* #2: New Year’s Eve and Day
“More than 311 million – The nation’s projected population as we ring in the New Year.”
Source: Population projections <>
*TM/© 2010 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved.

Posted by on December 27th, 2011 45 Comments

Famoso Costolette di Vitello Impanata di Antonietta* (Antoinette’s Famous Breaded Veal Cutlets*)

Vol. 2,  No. 3,  December 21st, 2011

CUCINA D’ANTOINETTA*(Antonietta’s Kitchen*) “the art of food, wine, family & more*”By Antonietta La Posta

TITLE: “Famoso Costolette di Vitello Impanata di Antonietta*” (Antoinette’s Famous Breaded Veal Cutlets*)”


Can you just picture breaded veal cutlets garnished on a beautiful dinner plate under the mistletoe? Can you taste it cooked just right? If tempted, read on…


I always cook a feast for Christmas Day. It is now less than one week before the big day and I am planning the many courses. Coming from an Italian family, I’ve learned that good food is important for a successful dinner party.  One of the big favorites is “Breaded Veal Cutlets”….my way.  It’s the perfect meat entree to follow my lasagna appetizer. Being a recipe that I have cooked repeatedly, it turns out well and is always popular.


“Veal is the meat of young cattle (calves), as opposed to meat from older cattle. Though veal can be produced from a calf of either sex and any breed, most veal comes from male calves of dairy cattle breeds. [1] Formula-fed (or “milk-fed”) veal, from calves that are raised on a milk formula supplement. The meat colour is ivory or creamy pink, with a firm, fine, and velvety appearance. They are usually slaughtered when they reach 18–20 weeks of age (450-500 lb).[3]”
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –

Why I prefer milk-fed veal.

The key is to buy milk-fed veal cutlets.  Milk-fed veal is so tender … it melts in your mouth.  I prefer it.

“Eggs laid by females of many different species, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, have been eaten by mankind for millennia. Bird and reptile eggs consist of a protective eggshell, albumen (egg white), and vitellus (egg yolk), contained within various thin membranes.Egg yolks and whole eggs store a lot of protein and choline.[1][2] For this reason, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) categorizes eggs as Meats within the Food Guide Pyramid[1] Popular choices for egg consumption are chicken, duck, roe, and caviar. The egg most often humanly consumed by far is the produce of the chicken.”
(Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) –

Why do I prefer large size/brand

I prefer large size because it is perfect size – it makes the right amount. I like PRESTIGE CLUB PACK from Burnbrae Farms because they are good quality and fresh.

Bread Crumbs

“Breadcrumbs or bread crumbs (regional variants: breading, crispies) are small particles of dry bread, which are used for breading or crumbing foods, topping casseroles, stuffing poultry, thickening stews, and adding inexpensive bulk to meatloaves and similar foods.”
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –

Why I prefer Italpasta.

I prefer the brand, Italpasta because all of this company’s products are of high quality.

“Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food.”
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –

Why do I prefer Sealtest milk.

I prefer the brand, Sealtest because it is consistently reliable.

Crisco Oil
“Crisco is a brand of shortening produced by the J. M. Smucker Co. popular in the United States. Introduced in June 1911[1] by Procter & Gamble, it was the first shortening to be made entirely of vegetable oil.”
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –

Why do I prefer Crisco oil.

I prefer Crisco oil because it has a light taste.


To make breaded veal cutlets, I need a good frying pan. Personally, I use a high quality pan with a non-stick surface – it helps reduce fat and it’s easier to clean.  For this recipe,  I usually choose one with sufficient depth.  

Antonietta’s Recipe of the Month: “Famoso Costolette di Vitello Impanata di Antonietta*” (Antoinette’s Famous Breaded Veal Cutlets*)”

Specifications – Ingredients
• Milk-fed veal cutlets (6 medium pieces)
• Milk (½ bowl)
• Bread crumbs (½ bowl)
• Eggs (2 scrambled in a bowl)
• Salt & pepper
• Oil

1. Heat enough oil in a frying pan to cover the meat;
2, Soak veal in milk;
3. Dip veal in eggs;
4. Press both sides of the veal on the bread crumbs;
5. Add veal when hot and cook for two to three minutes over medium heat;
6. Turn and repeat on second side until lightly browned; and
7. Add salt and pepper to taste.

“Voila” – you can now serve this scrumtuous delicacy!


It’s a simple recipe- It’s also easy. I love my delicious “Breaded Veal Cutlets”. So will you.

Take this dish out for a spin – especially this Christmas, and tell me if you agree.
And that’s my food favorite for the week, what’s yours?*

P.S. Big News: There are big changes coming to my blog – Please stay tuned.
P.P.S. #1 I have a TWITTER page. Consider becoming a follower? Visit –   saveandread
P.P.S. #2 I also have a FACEBOOK page. Consider becoming a friend? Visit: – Alp Save Andread – please check it out.
P.P.S. #3 I am on Linkedin. Consider becoming a connection? Visit – Antoinette La Posta
-Web Tech:
The above is a new media production of Valente under its “United Author*” program.
*TM/© 2011 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved

Posted by on December 21st, 2011 1 Comment

SPENDING CHRISTMAS ALONE? I have some ideas plus some extras!*(Update 2011)

Vol. 2,  No. 30, December 17th, 2011
TITLE: “SPENDING CHRISTMAS ALONE? I have some ideas plus some extras!*”(Update 2011)  
Christmas is a magical time of the year. I am again thinking about the people who are celebrating on their lonesome.  It breaks my heart. My book of the week still remains: “Skipping Christmas [Hardcover]” by John Grisham.  Like the book title, I am sure that there are some who would like to skip the whole thing. A possible reason is that they are planning to spend Christmas alone. This is my topic of the week because I want to change that. And this year, I have somes extras: a bonus book- it is “Elmo’s 12 Days of Christmas” (Sesame Street) [Board book] by Sarah Albee (Author), Maggie Swanson (Illustrator) (Editor’s note: This is another in the series on holidays and special dates.) 

Next week, in the continuing series on holidays and special dates, I will present my annual New Year’s post along with an update.  Why don’t you join us? Not to worry…I’ll be the designated driver.
As a child, growing up, I learned about Christmas. First, of course, it is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Second, it is to UNITE with family. When my grandparents were alive, on Christmas Eve, after supper, we would all go to their home. We were QUITE THE GROUP as my mother had 8 siblings in Canada. All of my aunts, uncles, cousins plus my parents and brothers and invited guests were in excess of 35+- persons. Indeed, this was a real FULL HOUSE!  My grandparents were the best Christmas host and hostess. My grandfather always decorated their house with lots and lots of Christmas ornaments and a big Christmas tree. He also picked out joyful Christmas music, which played throughout the evening. My grandmother would bake all our favorite, traditional desserts and the dining room table also had finger foods, drinks, etc. The spirit of Christmas lived there! I always looked forward to this day.
More recently, my holidays continued to be enjoyed with family. On Christmas Eve, my Mom would cook a big meal for the family and we would later open our gifts. Christmas day was my turn. My folks and siblings along with their spouses and kids would come to my house at noon and I cooked a big Christmas meal. The atmosphere was always one of festivity, joy and happiness. 
However, the past five years have been a little different. My Dad passed away and my Mom’s health has declined. She has had to stop cooking the Christmas Eve dinner. I continued with Christmas Day except when one of my daughters cooked the Christmas dinner several times and it was wonderful. Last, I need to make one thing clear. Once my marriage ended, even with my folks and daughters, I still had some alone time during the Christmas holiday. I had my moments. I can relate.



This is a hectic time. Here are a few notes.
Wrapping:  One of my sisters-in-law beautifully gift wraps her Christmas gifts. I always marvel at the effort that she puts into this work. When it comes to my wrapping, I must confess, it’s something that I don’t like to do.  One alternative is to give the job to the wrapping counters at the mall. My fast track approach is gift bags. They make everything easy. Here are my directions: (a) Buy a bag big enough for the item … with Christmas motif of course; in this regard, (i). Try to use the pinks for women and the blues for men;  (ii). Insert  appropriate matching tissue paper to add to the decorations. 
Christmas cards: For me, sending paper Christmas cards by snail mail has become something of a thing of the past.  Nowadays, if a long distance card is suitable, I send electronic e-cards. They are less expensive and just as effective.  However, just so you know, to my loved ones, I choose a really mushy holiday greeting card. It goes in the gift bag – it’s not the sticker type.    
2011 Headline  Extra: My granddaughter loves Elmo.  She likes to watch Sesame Street on television.  This little red character lights up her face.  Since her sweet little face lights up mine…you guessed it…this year, I bought her as one of her Christmas gifts, an Elmo product – it is a musical CD. 
Bonus book:  Elmo’s 12 Days of Christmas (Sesame Street)  by Sarah Albee (Author), Maggie Swanson (Illustrator)
Author:  Sarah Albee
Sarah Albee is an author and edits children’s books.  Some of her published books are:

  • Nick Jr.’s Pop-up Songs
  • Zoe’s Day with Daddy (Sesame Street)
  • Plaza Sesamo: Restando galletas (Plaza Sesamo/ Sesame Street)
  • Plaza Sesamo: Sigue a Elmo (Plaza Sesamo/ Sesame Street)

Illustrator:  Maggie Swanson
Maggie Swanson is an author and illustrators children’s books. Some of her published books are:

  • A Scratch & Sniff Night Before Christmas (Scratch & Sniff)
  • Storytime Stickers: Easter Bunny (Storytime Stickers)
  • Elmo Loves You!
  • My First Christmas

The bonus book: “Elmo’s 12 Days of Christmas (Sesame Street) by Sarah Albee (Author), Maggie Swanson (Illustrator)”
Red is a Christmas colour. Elmo is red and he is perfect in giving his personal take on the song,  “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is a classic. When Elmo counts off the 12 days, it is great fun for the youngsters. Elmo is joined by Cookie, Grover and Herry. On day one, there is one red monster in a tree. Guess who? On day two, there are the same number of good tasting cookies. On day three, there are the same number of French friends. On day nine, there are the same number of monsters dancing under a disco ball. On day 10, there are the same number of monsters in ballerina garb springing. The items fit the numbers; and the images are colorful. This board book works for me and the kids seem to like it. I’m sorry that the days stop at 12. Don’t you?

THE AUTHOR: John Grisham
Grisham is an attorney, practicing in Southaven, Mississippi. Having a flair for writing, he became an author as well. From his profession, he found an interesting backdrop for his novels. The law is a natural dramatic device. The rest is publishing history. His juggernaut then succeeded wildly in Hollywood.
(Fact source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia)
John Grisham has written MANY books – here’s the list.
• A Time to Kill (1989)
• The Firm (1991) (N.B. It spent 47 weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers List.)
• Pelican Brief (1992)
• The Client (1993)
• The Chamber (1994)
• The Rainmaker (1995)
• The Runaway Jury (1996)
• The Partner (1997)
• The Street Lawyer (1998)
• The Testament (1999)
• The Brethren (2000)
• A Painted House (2001)
• Skipping Christmas (2001)
• The Summons (2002)
• The King of Torts (2003)
• The Bleachers (2003)
• The Last Juror (2004)
• The Broker (2005)
• Playing for Pizza (2007)
• The Appeal (2008)
Nine of his novels have been turned into major movies. His second novel, “The Firm” starred Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman. It was a great legal thriller. The hero of the Rainmaker novel/movie is a lawyer with a small practice. A young lawyer is at the heart of the Partner. The Brethren has three stories in one. The Appeal is suspenseful.
THE BOOK: “Skipping Christmas [Hardcover]” by John Grisham
 This was a change of pace for John Grisham. The novelist turned part-time satirist. He pulled it off commercially – it sold 1.5-million in the first printing. It had potential. A typical American couple changes course. Once their daughter joined the Peace Corps and for the first year ever was not with them for Christmas, they decided to break with tradition and spend the dollars saved on a 10-day Caribbean cruise. Playing hooky on Christmas might annoy Santa. It also annoyed me as this bit of fun just didn’t work. For me, Grisham is best at writing lawyer dramas.

The Christmas holidays are for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and the enjoyment from get-togethers with family and extended family friends.  

For most people, it is a BIG downer being alone at a time usually viewed as one spent with relatives and loved ones. Don’t agree? Then consider if you will, the fun you would have going: (a) To a play cast party in a one-man show without the crew and production staff attending; (b) To a rock concert, with no performer and no audience present;  (c) On a date without an escort at an empty night club, the music being off; etc.  Christmas alone is equally ridiculous.
My personal comments

As already said, for a time as a woman no longer married, I walked in your shoes. Starting a holiday unattached does not bode well for a pleasing time to be spent. My girl friends, for the most part, were occupied with their families. Not only were there no gal evenings, the phone was also quiet. Being off work, I did my house work. With the house up to date, I had some free time.  Then, with nothing as company except a TV, you think; and you think some more – perhaps too much. A holiday feast attended by me, myself and I is by no means a crowd! Dinner conversation is muted. Interest level is so low that you would prefer to stand yourself up and be a no-show. There is no comfort zone here. It is profoundly disagreeable. Being in bad mood is an under-statement.
The point
It is important that no one should be left alone on this special day.  Unfortunately, some people don’t have anywhere to go. 

Now as we get closer to the “CE” (i.e. Christmas Eve) hour, I do not want to presume what you are thinking and how you are feeling. If you have plans, for the most part, to be with family and friends, I guess you’re covered. And if you’re a happy loner, this does not apply to you. If not a happy camper, I am then talking to you.My message is that it does not have to be this way. It is in your power to change this not only for you, but also, for others facing the same prospect this coming holiday season.
The first step is to decide if you want something more; if so, try one or more of the following.
Weeks before
1. Plan to be connected with others on Christmas Eve/Day; to do so, you could:
1.1 Exercise your leadership capacity and organize an event scheduled for Christmas Eve/ Christmas Day:
(a) Holiday (pot-luck) meal: Invite single neighbors, work mates or those away from family in your condo-apt. building complex, workplace, etc. (N.B. If female, do NOT hold the event in your home. Instead, let a guy friend do it or have it in a neutral party room, etc.) Beyond one dish, everyone is expected to share one personal story of a sweet or especially meaningful holiday spent from years past.
(b) Chorus group: Assemble a small team of people really in the spirit to sing Christmas carols door-to-door;
(c) Two-day board game extravaganza:  Schedule a round-robin tournament of chess, checkers, scrabble, etc. at a local hall;
(d) Fundraising campaign: Raise awareness and money through a kid’s picture coloring contest, (to benefit a charity for children who are ill),  at a local pharmacy – this is probably the only business, which is open;
(e) Christmas card exchange: Collect beforehand, Christmas cards MADE by local children for distribution to a children’s hospital on Christmas Day; etc.
On the day of
2.1 Be active – start on an exercise routine: power walk, run, etc.;
2.2 Bake cookies and deliver boxes of your home-made creations to the firemen and police (they’re working)  in your city;
2.3 Volunteer at a local hospital or homeless mission;
2.4 Put on a Santa hat and visit residents at a local old-folks home; etc.

Checkmate…now please pour me some eggnog!
And that’s my thought of the week on books, what’s yours?*
Take it out for a spin and tell me if you agree.
“Books are life; and they make life better!*”
P.S. Big News: There are big changes coming to my blog – Please stay tuned.
P.P.S. #1 I have a TWITTER page. Consider becoming a follower? Visit –   saveandread
P.P.S. #2 I also have a FACEBOOK page. Consider becoming a friend? Visit: – Alp Save Andread – please check it out.
P.P.S. #3 I am on Linkedin. Consider becoming a connection? Visit – Antoinette La Posta
*TM/© 2011 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved.

S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #1: Heawood’s Watch
“Like many mathematicians, Percy John Heawood was famously eccentric. (He considered a day “wasted,” for example, if he did not attend at least one committee meeting.) One day Heawood, who set his watch just once a year (on Christmas Day) even though it was consistently slow, was asked for the time. He graciously replied, and was promply informed that his watch was approximately two hours fast. “No, it’s not two hours fast,” he replied. “It’s ten hours slow!”
(Source: Anecdotage) – 
S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #2: Debs Daunted?
“In 1918, the noted pacifist Eugene Debs made a speech condemning World War I and criticizing the persecution of persons charged with sedition in violation of the 1917 Espionage Act – a speech which earned him a ten-year prison sentence. On Christmas Day, 1921, he was pardoned by President Harding and released from prison: “It is the government,” he bitterly remarked, “that should ask me for a pardon.”
(Source: Anecdotage) – 
S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #3: Birthday Girl
“One day a young friend of Robert Louis Stevenson’s complained of being born on Christmas Day: receiving gifts but once a year, she often felt short-changed. Some time later, Stevenson amended his will, bequeathing to the girl… his own birthday: “If, however,” the document declared, “she fails to use this bequest properly, all rights shall pass to the President of the United States.”
(Source: Anecdotage) – 
S & R* QUOTE #1: Sir Julian Huxley
“There are two ways of living: a man may be casual and simply exist, or constructively and deliberately try to do so. The constructive idea implies a constructiveness not only about one’s own life, but about that of society, and the future possibilities of mankind.”
S & R* QUOTE #2: Felix Adler
“A human being is not to be handled as a tool but is to be respected and revered. [From: An Ethical Philosophy of Life]”

S & R* QUOTE #3: Edwene Gaines
“In order to hold on to thoughts of anger, bitterness, revenge, guilt, and shame, we have to use a lot of energy.”
For today, my word/phrase(s) are: “Christmas”, “Single”, “Solitude”, etc.

“Christmas[3] or Christmas Day[4][5] is a holiday observed generally on December 25[6] to commemorate the birth of Jesus, the central figure of Christianity.[7][8] The date is not known to be the actual birthday of Jesus, and may have initially been chosen to correspond with either the day exactly nine months after some early Christians is believed Jesus had been conceived,[9] the date of the winter solstice on the ancient Roman calendar,[10] or one of various ancient winter festivals.[9][11] Christmas is central to the Christmas and holiday season, and in Christianity marks the beginning of the larger season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days.[12]”
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –

“In legal definitions for interpersonal status, a single person is someone who has never been married. A person who was previously married and was divorced or widowed is usually considered an “unmarried” person.[citation needed] If a marriage is annulled, however, or it is found to have been void ab initio (i.e. not valid in law to start with), and assuming the person was not married previously, that individual is single, rather than unmarried. In that situation, the law behaves as though the parties thought they were married when, in actuality, they were not. The term single in its common usage is often referred to someone who isn’t involved in any type of romantic relationship, whether it would be dating, engagement, or marriage.”
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –

“Solitude is a state of seclusion or isolation; i.e., lack of contact with people. It may stem from bad relationships, deliberate choice, infectious disease, mental disorders, or circumstances of employment or situation (see castaway).”
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –

Bonus fact #1: Single person households
“According to the United States Bureau of the Census, the fastest-growing household type since the 1980s has been the single person. Previously both socially uncommon and unaccepted due to perceived roles, public awareness, modern socioeconomic factors and increasingly available popular and lengthier education and careers have made the single lifestyle a viable option for many Americans, especially after the Vietnam War.[3]

Similar to the United States, single-person households are increasingly popular in the United Kingdom. In recent years, studies have found that more citizens value career over personal relationships. The single-person households have also been spreading due to the high self-esteem it offers.[4]”
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –
Bonus fact #2: Holiday Names
“Place names associated with the holiday season include North Pole, Alaska (population 2,226 in 2009); Santa Claus, Ind. (2,303); Santa Claus, Ga. (247); Noel, Mo. (1,615); and — if you know about reindeer — the village of Rudolph, Wis. (418) and Dasher, Ga. (821). There is Snowflake, Ariz. (5,686) and a dozen places named Holly, including Holly Springs, Miss., and Mount Holly, N.C.”
Population estimates <>
(Source: U.S. Census Bureau – Newsroom).
U.S. toy imports: $5.1 billion
“The value of U.S. toy imports including stuffed toys (including dolls), puzzles and electric trains from China between January and August 2010. China was the leading country of origin for stuffed toys coming into this country, as well as for a number of other popular holiday gifts. These include roller skates ($37 million), sports footwear ($218 million) and basketballs ($32 million). China leads Thailand as the leading supplier of ice skates ($9 million versus $6 million), with Canada ranking third ($4 million).”
Source: Foreign Trade Statistics <>
(Source: U.S. Census Bureau – Newsroom).
S & R* NEWS ALERT* #1:  Generation C
“(NC)—Whether you’re a Millennial or a Baby Boomer, everyone celebrates Christmas as a member of Generation C.
Millennials: 18-30
Gen Xers: 31-44
Baby Boomers: 45-64
Matures: 65+
To determine generational differences, a recent survey asked questions about favourite holiday dishes, size of holiday gatherings and who does the holiday cooking.While all generations agree the traditional roasted turkey is tops, Millennials and Gen Xers say they like to experiment with different cooking methods like barbecuing or deep frying the festive turkey. Millennials and Gen Xers may Twitter, Facebook and Blog, but everyone can get help cooking the holiday turkey by calling 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-3722).”
S & R NEWS ALERT #2: Teach children about the holiday spirit
“What would you like for Christmas? This question, whether it comes from Grandma or the jolly man in red, seems easy enough. But as the options multiply and the shopping frenzy escalates, the answer becomes more and more complicated and expensive! It is important to help children put the holiday season into perspective. Parents should take a look at how they are spending money and time this holiday season. If their list is more about expensive gifts, party clothes and concerts. Think about deliberately cutting something back. Make time for the pleasures of family this Christmas: skating on an outdoor rink, baking and decorating Christmas cookies, driving around town to look at Christmas decorations, or, calling a snow day and staying home for a movie marathon. This creates traditions that children will remember. Helping somebody less fortunate is an important reality check for the whole
family. One Canadian family uses the World Vision Gift Catalogue ( to help a child in need. We give each of our children some money to choose a gift from the catalogue, says Lucie, of Montreal. They not only practice an act of kindness, but they learn about how other children live. It helps them appreciate everything they’ve got. Great holiday ideas are habit-forming. So why just save them for the holidays? Going easy on the expenses, investing in fun family time, and remembering people who are less fortunate are lifestyle choices.”
S & R NEWS ALERT #3: Fun and festive activities for your family and friends
“It’s great to spend the holidays with family and friends, but sometimes the boredom factor can set in. Here are some fun, festive ideas on how to spend time together. Start fun, new traditions. Instead of the same old holiday cookies, create a major factor with holiday cake pops. Gather family and friends to bake and decorate with the Starbucks Cake Pop Kit. Your creations will look like they came from a seasoned pastry chef and stand out among all the traditional cookie baskets. Holiday movie night. Introduce the holiday classics to the young ones these movies are sure to bring back fond memories for you and create a memorable impression on your kids. Then, let them pick a recent holiday flick so you can all discover new favourites. Volunteer together.  Gather family and friends to spread some holiday cheer to those less fortunate. Organize a day where you all meet up to volunteer at a local soup kitchen or food bank. Not only is it a great way to give back to your community, it will also give everyone in your group a sense of holiday spirit while working together. Host a wrapping party. Turn on the holiday tunes, pull out the ribbon, make sure to have food and beverages on hand and you’re set. This is a great way to turn a sometimes-daunting task of gift-wrapping into a fun and social event. Play in the snow. Building snow forts and igloos isn’t just for kids; it’s a great way for everyone to enjoy some great fresh air and outdoor exercise. Pack a thermos of hot chocolate and stay outside even longer so you can sing some holiday carols under the stars. Try one or two of these activities this holiday season, and see how time flies when you’re having fun.”
*TM/© 2011 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved.

Posted by on December 17th, 2011 Comments Off on SPENDING CHRISTMAS ALONE? I have some ideas plus some extras!*(Update 2011)

CHRISTMAS PARTY: ideas, themes, games & HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING: easy, recipes, menus, decor, I enjoy it all*”

 Vol. 2,  No. 29, December 11th, 2011

TITLE: “CHRISTMAS PARTY: ideas, themes, games & HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING: easy recipes, menus, decor, I enjoy it all*”

December is the month for Christmas parties and holiday entertaining. This week, I will turn my attention to workplace parties and entertaining at home. You’re invited. See you there! My book of the week is Williams-Sonoma Entertaining: Dinner Parties [Hardcover] Williams-Sonoma (Author). This is another in the continuing series on holidays and special dates.
Next week, in the continuing series on holidays and special dates, I will republish my annual Christmas post with an update. It’s just in time and worth checking out.

In December, as most people can relate, I have many parties to attend and sometimes two in one evening. It is a lot of fun, but sometimes, it is very exhausting. Of course, I also entertain for Christmas. 
Office Christmas parties: My experience spans the last ten years. This past Friday night, still invited as a new retiree, I attended my (former) workplace Christmas party. It gave me a chance to see the many wonderful co-workers with whom I worked for so many years and also the many friends that I’ve made.  The meal was beef and vegetables … rubber chicken good. The dessert was Christmas log and little sugar pies. The DJ played hits from the 70s and 80s and better.  It was great fun.

House parties: This weekend, I was invited to two. On Friday night, I had a house party given by a dear girl friend with the old gang. On leaving early from the office party, I rushed across the city and after getting lost, arrived at a house full of party makers. Food pot luck style and line dancing was a beautiful mix. We enjoyed a second dessert and left. I was pretty tired after the drivie home. Saturday night, I had a Christmas cocktail party given by  dear family friends. The Christmas tree, wall decorations and table cloth were Christmas friendly.  It was intimate with a few couples, one of which were new meets …lovely people.  The food was scrumptuous. The conversation was all the way from serious issues of the day to the ridiculous. We had some interesting debate and also some laughs. Coffee lattes from the new machine of our hosts was delightfully good.  A good time was had by all.

In-home entertaining: It started slow this weekend. I had a small tea and dessert Sunday afternoon. There was some serious talk mixed in with smiles.  Now, I am looking forward to the BIG ONE …Christmas day lunch. This involves a lot of preparations – cleaning and shopping. Then I cook for days. Although it is a lot of work, I always feel happy and satisfied at the end of the day watching everybody around the table enjoying the meal and conversation.  My family appreciates it.  Between Christmas and New Year’s day, I sometimes invite friends over. 
BOOK AUTHOR:  Williams-Sonoma (Author) 
“Charles E. (Chuck) Williams (born October 2, 1915) is the founder of the Williams-Sonoma company and author and editor of dozens of books on the subject of cooking.”
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –


Williams Sonoma is the author of following books:
– 2010 – The Williams-sonoma Baking Book Essential Recipes for Today’s Home Baker
– 2010 – Williams-sonoma Essentials of Latin Cooking Recipes Techniques for Authentic Home-cooked Meals
– 2010 – Williams-sonoma Comfort Food
– 2009 – Williams-sonoma Essentials of Roasting Revised Recipes and Techniques for Delicious Oven-cooked Meals
– 2009 – Williams-sonoma the Weeknight Cook Fresh Simple Recipes for Good Food Everyday
– 2009 – Williams-sonoma on the Grill Adventures in Fire and Smoke
– 2009 – Williams-sonoma Eat Well New Ways to Enjoy Foods You Love Every Day
– 2009 – Williams-sonoma Family Meals Creating Traditions in the Kitchen
– 2008 – Williams-sonoma New Flavors for Appetizers Classic Recipes Redefined [Williams-Sonoma New Flavors]
– 2008 – The Williams-sonoma Cookbook the Essential Recipe Collection for Today’s Home Cook
– 2008 – Tools Techniques
– 2007 – Williams-sonoma Entertaining Dinner Parties
– 2006 – Williams-sonoma Mastering Poultry Made Easy with Step-by-step Photographs [Williams Sonoma Mastering]
– 2006 – Williams-sonoma Mastering Cookies Brownies [Williams Sonoma Mastering]
– 2004 – Recipes for Delicious Cookies
– 2002 – Savoring America Recipes and Reflections on American Cooking [The Savoring Series]
– 2002 – Savoring Provence Recipes and Reflections on Provencal Cooking [The Savoring Series]
– 2001 – Complete Grilling Cookbook [Williams Sonoma Kitchen Library]
– 2000 – Fun Food
– Williams-sonoma Easy Entertaining
– Complete Seasonal Cookbook [Williams-Sonoma Complete Cookbooks]

BOOK: Williams-Sonoma Entertaining: Dinner Parties [Hardcover] Williams-Sonoma (Author)
The topic is dining room extravaganzas: casual ‘easy’ eating all the way to fancy pants sit downs. This Williams-Sonoma book is a guide to better dinner parties.  This is a HOW-TO for the hostess with the mostest. Hosts can also learn something here. There are decorating ideas including tabletop settings. There are recipes, simple and new wave type. There are seven seasonal menus. Each includes plans, serving suggestions, tips, etc. The photography is great. The food looks good enough to eat.

Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Besides the religious aspect, it is a time of receiving, but also giving. Entertaining is another way of giving.  I am speaking about family get-togethers and socializing with friends. It can be very rewarding. This sets the atmosphere for this joyful season.  Attending parties are one of the pleasures of this happy times.  
Personal Comments
 I think workplace parties are great because it gives you a chance, outside the normal office environment, to get to know colleagues better. 
I think accepting invitations from friends and neighbours and going to their house parties is another opportunity to socialize and make new friends.
I think having those near, close and dear in your home is so enriching and satisfying. 
At the end of December, even if partied out, I might ask: “Wouldn’t it be dull if there weren’t any parties or entertaining during this wonderful season?”  
The Point
I wish and pray that you and yours enjoy the month-long party season.
For party season, I have a few suggestions – I call them Antoinette’s Rules*. I think every lady should:   
Attending Office Christmas parties
1. Dress appropriately; more precisely,
1.1 Don’t wear revealing clothing.  After all, it’s an office party not a nightclub.
2. Be careful with the alcohol intake; more precisely,
2.1 Have one or two – making a fool of yourself at an office Christmas party is stupid. Also, remember that you have to face your co-workers come Monday morning. 
2.2 Don’t drink and drive;
3. Have fun but be professional – there have been stories of people who have said and done things that they have regretted the next day and in some cases lost their jobs because of it. Needless to say, these people were drunk at that point. 
Accepting house parties invitations
1. Show up on time – it’s just courteous;
2. Bring a house gift: wine, pastry/dessert, chocolates, flowers, etc. 
3. Drink responsibly; in this regard,
3.1 Limit your alcohol intake;
3.2 Recognize that drinking to excess might make others uncomfortable;  
3.3 Arrange a drive home;
4. Behave properly -you’ll have just as much fun … perhaps more;   
5. Reciprocate, if accepting invitations from friends;
If entertaining at home
1. Get organized; in this regard,
1.1 Make a list of everything you need for the party.
2. Start early – cleaning and decorating should be done in advance;
3. Plan the meal:  soup to-nuts & don’t forget the fruit cake; this means reviewing recipes;
4, Prepare some dishes beforehand, if possible;
5. Set aside sufficient time (on the day of the party) for grooming and dressing –  the hostess should look her best!
6. Leave fifteen minutes leeway before the guests arrive to make a final inspection allowing for last minute stuff.
December holiday lunches, dinners and parties mean good wine and drink, good eats and desserts, good songs and dance…most of all good cheer! Party on!    
And that’s my thought of the week on books, what’s yours?*
Take it out for a spin and tell me if you agree.
“Books are life; and they make life better!*”
P.S. Big News: There are big changes coming to my blog – Please stay tuned.
P.P.S. #1 I have a TWITTER page. Consider becoming a follower? Visit –   saveandread
P.P.S. #2 I also have a FACEBOOK page. Consider becoming a friend? Visit: – Alp Save Andread – please check it out.
P.P.S. #3 I am on Linkedin. Consider becoming a connection? Visit – Antoinette La Posta
*TM/© 2011 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved.
S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #1: Michael Bloomberg
Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg (who spent some $70 million of his own money to clinch New York’s Mayoral election in 2002) was famed for his extravagance. “There was the notorious Christmas party thrown in 2000 by his London office that cost close to $2 million,” Buzz Bissinger once reported. “Based on the theme of the seven deadly sins, the party featured entertainers representing avarice walking around waving cash and yelling, ‘Money – ain’t it gorgeous?’ while guests interested in gluttony could watch other entertainers posing as ‘fatties’ have food stuffed into their mouths.”
(Source: Anecdotage) –   
S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #2: Jo Brand & the Albanian Anthem
In January 2004, comedian Jo Brand and the BBC formally apologised for a comment made by Brand on the “EastEnders Christmas Party” special. The problem? Brand had offended countless Albanians by offering to break wind to the sound of the country’s national anthem!
(Source: Anecdotage) –   
S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #3: Axl Rose: Axl’s Nuts?
At a Christmas party one year, Victoria’s Secret model Stephanie Seymour found herself in a heated confrontation with drunk Guns ‘n’ Roses frontman Axl Rose. During the ensuing fight, Seymour later admitted, she had grabbed Rose’s testicles!
(Source: Anecdotage) –  
S & R* QUOTE #1: Abd Er-Rahman III of Spain
I have now reigned about 50 years in victory or peace, beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity. In this situation, I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot. They amount to fourteen. (960 C.E.)
(Source: Wisdom Quotes) –
S & R* QUOTE #2: Albert Camus
You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
(Source: Wisdom Quotes) –
S & R* QUOTE #3: Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
Consider the following. We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.
(Source: Wisdom Quotes) –
“For today, my word/phrase(s) are:  “party”; “entertaining”; “”
A party is a gathering of people who have been invited by a host for the purposes of socializing, conversation, or recreation. A party will typically feature food and beverages, and often music and dancing as well.
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –
Entertainment consists of any activity which provides a diversion or permits people to amuse themselves in their leisure time.
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –
Between 2005 and 2011, the proportion of young adults living in their parents’ home increased, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The percentage of men age 25 to 34 living in the home of their parents rose from 14 percent in 2005 to 19 percent in 2011 and from 8 percent to 10 percent over the period for women.
(See Figure 1.)
These statistics come from America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2011, a series of tables from the 2011 Current Population Survey providing a look at the socioeconomic characteristics of families and households at the national level. “The increase in 25 to 34 year olds living in their parents’ home began before the recent recession, and has continued beyond it,” said the author, Rose Kreider, a family demographer with the Fertility and Family Statistics Branch.
Similarly, 59 percent of men age 18 to 24 and 50 percent of women that age resided in their parents’ home in 2011, up from 53 percent and 46 percent, respectively, in 2005. It should be noted that college students living in a dormitory are counted in their parents’ home, so they are included in these percentages.
(Source:  U.S. Census Bureau) –
S & R* NEWS ALERT* #1: Dinner Party Perfection
Dinner parties are a special time for family and friends to come together, share laughs and enjoy each other’s company. But, organizing that perfect party to satisfy every guest can be a challenge. It’s important to consider guest preferences while still representing your personal entertaining style. Check out the below tips from co-authors of the Bite Me! cookbooks, Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat on how to make the next dinner party the one everyone will remember.
Don’t break the bank!
All you need is some imagination, some dependable recipes and a willingness to follow the prepared motto. Metro’s Irresistibles line has a wide variety of dinner party favourites that provide great value, including prepared dips, local cheese baskets and cured meats.
Set it up.
Set the table with linens or mats, dishes, flatware, flowers, candles one or two days ahead to give you one less thing to think about.
Create sensory appeals
Feed all the senses by lighting scented candles, playing themed music and having bowls of candy and nuts scattered throughout the house.
Tantalizing themes
Want to throw a Candy Land party? Line glass rims with Pop Rocks, put frozen gummy bears in cocktails, and line the table with candy necklaces. More of a roll-the-dice crowd? Make it games night, using game boards as serving platters or placemats!
Bottled Bevvies
1 (750ml) bottle of wine is approximately 5 glasses. Depending on whom you’ve invited, plan on ½ to ¾ bottle per person.
Keep it simple
Stop fussing with flowers. Put a large glass bowl in the centre of the table, fill it ¾ full with water, pour in a bag or 2 of fresh cranberries, and, there you have it.
Fake it like you made it
If homemade appetizers are too daunting, check out Metro’s delicious Irresistibles Frozen Appetizers or Irresistibles Life Smart tzaziki, hummus, white bean and basil or low fat spinach. Mix in fresh lemon juice, chopped fresh parsley or some ground black pepper to make it your own.
For more dinner party suggestions visit
S & R* NEWS ALERT* #2: Holiday entertaining with festive flair
Janette Ewen is an expert when it comes to making holidays happier as a décor and lifestyle expert, she knows how to deck the halls in style. This year, follow her dos and don’ts to get into the holiday spirit, without the holiday stress:
Choose a theme. This can help to guide décor, food and even background music choices. Whether it’s winter wonderland, or something more elaborate like an evening in Rome, you’ll have more fun and your guests will remember it for years to come.
Embrace the tinsel and the glitter. Forget about restraint. This year, more is more. Look for bright, off-beat items at dollar stores that can add a splash without the cash.
Create a beautiful first impression. Make sure the entrance to your home is spotless since it’s the first thing your guests will see. Stash cleaning supplies close to where you’ll need them. Janette suggests a Swiffer Sweepervac in the front hall closet for quick clean-ups.
Exhaust yourself cleaning. If you’re having a party, get as much done as you can a few days before hand. The most important thing: clear away the clutter. Not sure where to put it? File it in festive-print boxes and make it part of the décor.
Spend all your time cooking. There are excellent prepared foods available so you won’t be exhausted when guests arrive. Fake don’t bake just dress everything up on beautiful plates with your own garnishes. To create the aroma of freshly baked cookies, keep a product like Febreze Air Effects on hand with the ‘cinnamon sugar & home’ scent. It will give you all the aroma and none of the fuss.
Get overwhelmed with the post-party clean-up. Load your dishwasher as dirty dishes get collected from the table, so you’ll have one less thing to worry about at the end of the party. Even if you can’t run your dishwasher until the next day, use a quality dishwashing tablet, like Cascade All-in-One ActionPacs, which can help power away 24-hour stuck-on foods from the night before.
*TM/© 2011 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved

Posted by on December 11th, 2011 4 Comments

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING, IDEAS, LIST, ONLINE, STORES: I wish you a merry gift buying spree!*

Vol. 2,  No. 28, December 3, 2011
TITLE: “CHRISTMAS SHOPPING, IDEAS, LIST, ONLINE, STORES:  I wish you a merry gift buying spree!*”

It’s the beginning of December.  This week, I will talk about Christmas shopping. I will present my post about presents …. of the XMAS kind.  This is another in the continuing series on holidays and special dates. My book of the week is “Through the Shopping Glass: A Century of New York Christmas Windows” [Hardcover] by Sheryll Bellman (Author), Simon Doonan (Preface).
PREVIEW: Next week, in the continuing series on holidays and special dates, I will give you an update on my annual Christmas post, particularly about workplace parties and entertaining at home. You’re invited.  See you there! 
One of my girlfriends starts her Christmas shopping in January.  By the time Christmas comes around, the rest of us are running around frantic, while she’s all done, sitting back and enjoying the spirit and the excitement leading to Christmas Day. At the opposite end, some people, apparently mostly men, do their shopping on Christmas Eve. I can’t imagine that!
For me, it’s another story.  December first is the kickoff shopping date for me. It is the day when I get Christmas shopping fever. (Every year, I try desperately to start earlier, but it never happens.) I then start my count down.  My weekends are spent going in and out of stores getting ideas where the best buys are.  Some people are quite content doing their shopping on-line, but I prefer the shopping centers.  The spectacular Christmas lighting  and window displays are mesmerizing to me. (In Montreal, Ogilvy’s Christmas window is one of the best in our town.) The enormous Christmas tree, decorations, glitter and the songs/music are the ultimate Christmas mood makers. And further, there are the kiddie smile makers: children’s train ride , petting zoo animals and  of course, Santa Claus and his helper elves.  

Many years ago, my siblings and I exchanged gifts for Christmas.  Once my siblings were married with children, it became a very big ordeal and also expensive. At one point, we agreed to stop the exchange of gifts.  Indeed, sibling rivalry can get ugly.

THE AUTHOR: Sheryll Bellman & Simon Doonan
Sheryll Bellman

Sheryll Bellman graduated college with degrees in science, but her interest and passion are pop culture, past and present. She is the mother of adult children and grand kids. She is a New Yorker and an author with an eye for detail.   Her first book from fall 2000,  today’s choice is “Through the Shopping Glass a Century of New York Christmas Windows”.
Simon Doonan
Doonan, a baby boomer, is the apparel guru of Barneys, a New York clothing retailer.  He has been a style columnist first New York Observer and then Slate. (Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –

Sheryll Bellman
Some of the books she wrote are:

  • Americas Little Italys: Recipes & Traditions from Coast to Coast 
  • America’s Great Delis: Recipes and Traditions from Coast to Coast 
  • Through the Shopping Glass a Century of New York Christmas Windows
  • America’s Great Delis Recipes and Traditions From Coast to Coast
  • Through the Shopping Glass a Century of New York Christmas Windows, (Rizzoli International Publications)

Simon Doonan
Some of the books he wrote are:

  • Confessions of a Window Dresser
  • Tales from the Life of Fashion.

THE BOOK: “Through the Shopping Glass: A Century of New York Christmas Windows” [Hardcover] by Sheryll Bellman (Author), Simon Doonan (Preface)
New York, New York is a FIVE STAR Christmas Town, Christmas Town.  The stores are big and great. Some of the notables are Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany & Co., Henri Bendel, and Barneys. A few blasts from the past are: Ohrbach’s, Gimbel’s, B.Altman,  Arnold Constable. Bellman is a gourmet of Christmas stores and displays. She looks at New York doing Christmas.  From the 1900s to today,  the retail displays are well done,  but  the window decor  is extra-special.   Pictures are worth a thousand words. Black & white show the character from the past while colour photos show the vibrance of today’s display.   Be there!   
Christmas is the gift-buying Olympics. It is only for buyers who are world class bargain spotters and elite-grade budget boosters. (Oh by the way, did you hear about that woman in the N.Y. department store who used mace on other shoppers competing with her for bargains. Can you believe that? ) For the rest of us, we do our best.
Personal Comments
Receiving gifts on Christmas day is exciting.  But giving is really my pleasure. Being present when my grandchildren are opening up their gifts and seeing the expression of joy on their little faces is so exhilarating. 

I really believe in making a list, enumerating the names of people for whom you will purchase a gift.

For friends, I look at typical stuff like, fragrances, body creams and coffee mugs – I guess a lot.      

Going to the mall becomes a memorable family adventure, bringing smiles for many years to come.  

I appreciate the effort a person puts into buying me a gift, but I’m not offended by a gift certificate.  Although gift certificates may seem impersonal, it’s the easiest gift to give and the most practical. 

It is truly Chritmas, when buying gifts and bringing them to organizations who will distribute them amongst the needy.

The Point
Everyone needs pointers. I want to share my thoughts, comments and suggestions.   


1. Get organized – this is to save time and money; in this regard,

1.1 Set an overall budget;  

1.2 Ask for a wish list from close family.

1.3 Make a list with the names of your near and dear recipeints and your gift alternatives; 

1.4 Set a budget for each recipient;
2. Write down the stores where you will shop and the gifts there available;
3. Get started as early as you can – that willl give you more time to enjoy the festive times;
4. Start with the easy gifts first and then worry about the others;  

5. Cross off the name and gift on your list as you make your purchases;
6. Try on-line shopping – it might be much easier and less stressful;
7. Buy gift certificates when in doubt;
8. Buy a gift for someone you know needing a kind wish and deed;
9. Share the season with the less fortunate – Christmas is a time for giving; in this regard,  

9.1 Make it a point to buy toys for children and bring it to a center that distributes these gifts. 

9.2 Bring food items and gifts to a churches or religious organizations.  These places are ideal for the distribution of these gifts since people in need turn to them for help during the holidays.

10. Try to make Christmas shopping, this year, easier and the funnest ever!

Gift receiving is great, but gift giving is greater. And doing and giving for the less fortunate is the greatest! Happy holidays!  

And that’s my thought of the week on books, what’s yours?*
Take it out for a spin and tell me if you agree.
“Books are life; and they make life better!*”
P.S. Big News: There are big changes coming to my blog – Please stay tuned.
P.P.S. #1 I have a TWITTER page. Consider becoming a follower? Visit –   saveandread
P.P.S. #2 I also have a FACEBOOK page. Consider becoming a friend? Visit: – Alp Save Andread – please check it out.
P.P.S. #3 I am on Linkedin. Consider becoming a connection? Visit – Antoinette La Posta
*TM/© 2011 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved.
S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #1: Shopping Spree
“I was walking down Madison Avenue,” Tony Randall once recalled, “and I saw a very good-looking tie in a shop window. So I went in and before I could say anything, the manager said, ‘Oh, Tony Randall! In my store! Please, just a minute, I gotta call my wife, she’ll never believe me!’ “He calls her up and says to me, ‘Here, say hello, say anything, talk to my wife! Say anything!’ He flattered me so much that I bought the tie, bought six shirts… I didn’t have enough money. I said, ‘Will you take a check?’ He said, ‘Do you have any identification?'”
(Source: Anecdotage) –
“Sophia Loren once made the mistake of going shopping for brassieres in Rome. An immense crowd of lusty Roman men quickly mobbed the shopping plaza, trapping Loren in a dressing room. Three (3) fire brigades were required to break up the riot.”
(Source: Anecdotage) –
S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #3: Counting Basies?
“While touring London in 1957, Count Basie – shopping for gifts for his family – sought far and wide for a pair of fur gloves for his daughter. After being advised by yet another clerk that mittens were more practical for children, Basie finally expressed his disagreement: “Oh yeah?” he replied. “How’re they going to count in the wintertime?”
(Source: Anecdotage) –

S & R* QUOTE #1: Bertrand Russell
“The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy; I mean that if you are happy you will be good.”
(Source: Wisdom Quotes) –
S & R* QUOTE #2: Leo C. Rosten
“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be “happy.” I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter and to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.”
(Source: Wisdom Quotes)-
S & R* QUOTE #3: Albert Einstein
“A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?”
(Source:  Wisdom Quotes)
“For today, my word/phrase(s) are:  “Christmas Shopping”; “gift”; “”
Christmas Shopping
“The Christmas season,[1][2] the holiday season,[3][4] or simply the holidays is an annual festive period that surrounds Christmas and various other holidays.Several of the religious festivals during the Christmas and holiday season are celebrated with the exchanges of gifts, and the Christmas and holiday season thus also incorporates the “holiday shopping season”. This comprises a peak season for the retail sector at the start of the holiday season (the “Christmas shopping season”) and a period of sales at the end of the season, the 
“January sales”.”


“A wreath is an assortment of flowers, leaves, fruits, twigs and/or various materials that is constructed to resemble a ring. They are used typically as Christmas decorations to symbolize the coming of Christ, also known as the Advent season in Christianity.”
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –
“A gift or a present is the transfer of something without the expectation of receiving something in return. Although gift-giving might involve an expectation of reciprocity, a gift is meant to be free.
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –


$28.2 billion
“Retail sales by the nation’s department stores (including leased departments) in December 2008. This represented a 40 percent jump from the previous month (when retail sales, many holiday-related, registered $20.2 billion). No other month-to-month increase in department store sales last year was as large. Other U.S. retailers with sizable jumps in sales between November and December 2008 were book stores (95 percent); clothing stores (32 percent); jewelry stores (125 percent); radio, TV and other electronics stores (38 percent); and sporting goods stores (62 percent). ”
(Source: Service Sector Statistics\
14 percent
“The proportion of total 2008 sales for department stores (including leased departments) in December. For jewelry stores, the percentage was 18 percent. ”
(Source: Service Sector Statistics

23 percent
“The growth in inventories by our nation’s department stores (excluding leased departments) from Aug. 31 to Nov. 30, 2008. Thanks to the holiday crowds, inventories plummeted by 25 percent in December. ”
(Source: Service Sector Statistics
$24 billion
“Value of retail sales by electronic shopping and mail-order houses in December 2008 &#9472; the highest total for any month last year.”
Source: Service Sector Statistics <>

“In the United States, the Christmas/holiday shopping season, during which a quarter of all personal spending takes place,[17] is traditionally considered to commence on the day after American Thanksgiving, a Friday colloquially known as either Black Friday or Green Friday. This is widely reputed to be the busiest shopping day of the entire calendar year. According to a survey by the Canadian Toy Association, peak sales in the toy industry occur in the Christmas and holiday season, but this peak has been occurring later and later in the season every year.[20] In 2005, the ceremonial kick-off to the Christmas and holiday season for online shopping, the first Monday after US Thanksgiving, was named Cyber Monday. However, although it was a peak, that was not the busiest on-line shopping day of that year. The busiest on-line shopping days were December 12 and December 13, almost two weeks later.
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –

S & R* NEWS ALERT* #1: Give a gift that really matters – By Sarah Herce
“The growing popularity of charitable gift catalogues proves Canadians are thinking twice about traditional holiday gifts like expensive clothing and décor items that will just add clutter; opting instead to value “what matters most” experiences, memories, and connecting with friends and family. And although the reasons for charitable shopping are as varied as Canadians themselves, the end result is the same: Canadians are using their holiday shopping to make a difference. Shoppers are flocking to reputable Canadian charitable websites like Christian Children’s Fund of Canada ( to find the perfect gift. And with prices starting at $10, it’s easy to find something for everyone on your list while at the same time providing a meaningful way to bond with others both at home and around the world.Foodie in your life One kilogram bag of rice: $10 A non-perishable one kilogram bag of rice is a staple in many countries and will provide hungry children with a guarantee of at least one hot meal per day.
Teacher/Child Care provider in your life
Dictionary: $15 A building block of education no teacher or student should have to do without.
Under $20/Hostess gift Warm blanket: $20
Even in Africa, nights are chilly and children get cold. Give a child a warm blanket to protect them from the elements and provide them comfort throughout the night.
Stocking stuffer Fruit trees: $20
Fruit trees provide families with an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and enhance a child’s immune system to protect them from illness. Produce from trees such as bananas, papayas, mangos, coconuts and oranges can also be sold for additional income.
Last minute gifts Two mosquito nets: $30
One million people die from malaria every year, with pregnant women and children the most vulnerable to the disease. A simple mosquito net can protect a family of four.”
S & R* NEWS ALERT* #2: Holiday shopping on a budget
“Holiday parties, potlucks, and presents may mean your credit card will be the only thing getting a good workout this month. Though you try to be responsible and stay within your budget, somehow you manage to blow it every year. To help your finances through this month, here are some clever ways to avoid overspending:Buy big rolls of wrapping paper instead of single sheets. Little things like gift tags, cards, and wrapping paper can really add up and will eventually just end up in the garbage. To reduce costs, reuse gift bags from previous years or buy a large role of plain brown paper and dress it up with fancy bows and string. You can also make your own name tags by using decorative edge scissors.
Shop online at sites that let you sort potential gift purchases by price. Websites like allow you to buy meaningful gifts for children living in extreme poverty around the world in honour of your loved one. You can search gift items by price which will help you to stay within your budget. Your loved one will then receive an e-card to let them know that a life-saving gift was purchased in their name. Eat a good meal before you leave home or bring a snack with you. Most people don’t realize how much money is spent buying food and snacks at the mall; money that impacts your shopping budget’s bottom line. Go ahead and buy a snack, but eat the big meals at home your wallet and waistline will both thank you.”

TM/© 2011 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved

Posted by on December 3rd, 2011 5 Comments