What happens when you get an eclectic group of women CEOs at a dinner table? If you guessed spirited conversation from travel around the world, cruises, beach life in Florida, jewelry to the Farmer’s Market , throw in the latest gallery opening with the next great artist and you would be right on.
This group met on Fat Tuesday at Donatello Italian Restaurant in Tampa, Florida for a little Mardi Gras, Carnavale food and entertainment experience. The dining room was abuzz with the latest political gossip behind the masks of the diners. Some were dressed in their best Mardi Gras costume. Others opted for just a mask and the beads they had so coveted at the last Gasparilla pirate parade along the Bayshore Boulevard a few weeks ago.
We were entertained by the magician who had the coolest neon lighted glasses performing a bit of magic with the crowd. You could not miss him with those glasses in the dimly lit room. There were belly dancers and fortune tellers all roaming from table to table with the background of the music from Venice. All this added to the spells put on the individual tables and their patrons.
The food was plentiful and even the direct Italian descendant could find little to complain about amidst all the revelry of the evening. One of our table guests won the artist’s mask had carried by the proprietor from the last trip to Italy. The service was attentive and not intrusive to the multiple conversations going on amongst the diners. The Tiramisu was the hit desert with a bit of chocolate to make a girl feel like princess no matter what her age. By the way have you heard or tasted chocolate wine? Now that is putting two good resources together!
Join us in conversation with suggestions of your favorite haunt to grab a bite. Are they female friendly? You might be surprised. We would love to have you as a part of our conversation as we check out the dives to 5 Star eateries in and about Tampa Bay. Who knows, maybe we will do a whole tour just of chocolate? What’s not to love with that one?
Remember “F” doesn’t have to mean bad, wrong or fat when it comes to this group of Femme Fatale Foodies on Fat Tuesday.
Till we eat again, we will be out finding the best for you!
Fantasia Femme Fatale Foodie
It is all too soon the middle of July. Where has the year gone? Before we know it , we’ll be discussing the upcoming holidays. Hard to believe when our temperatures here in the Tampa Bay area are hovering in the low to mid 90’s with the humidity to boot.
If you have not taken your summer holiday yet, be prepared for the new restrictions and procedures at the airports. Allow yourself plenty of time and just put your mind to the fact that you will not allow yourself to be rattled. When you are away make sure that someone is looking after your home. It can be a neighbor, a friend or contact your local concierge service. They can assist you with either a person to house sit or someone just to check in on things on a daily or weekly schedule for you. I can’t tell you how many people I have known over the years that have gone away on holiday for a couple of weeks or a month and received a phone call that the water heater failed, the dishwasher pipe broke or the ice maker pipe sprung a leak. A flooded home is not what you want to come home to any time much less after a holiday. If you leave a copy of your insurance information/agent with the person taking care of the place, you will be much better off. Mold can grow quickly when it is warm and dark. Finding the mold later and having it remediated is a task few want to follow.
I have a situation in my own home that we have been dealing with for over 6 months that involved a slow leak from a repair that was not done correctly. Unfortunately, we have had to go to court to get the situation corrected properly. I don’t wish this on anyone. No wonder there are so many attorneys in the US. I shall leave it at that and hopefully by the next time I write, I will be able to say that we have hada positive outcome and are not still waiting around for judgement.
On to some more lively news, as many of you who read my blog on a regular basis may know, I am in my second year of having a butterfly garden. It is truly one of the best mental health activities I ever did for myself. It is amazing to watch the cycle of the butterfly especially the Monarch. I have learned so much. As we are now in to the middle of July the butterflies are starting their 3rd generation, egg, caterpillar,chrysalis,adult butterfly. The butterflies that are born now will live an adult life of only 2-6 weeks. The next generation that will be born in Sept/Oct will live for 6-8 months. Why the difference? The ones born in the fall will be the adults making the migration to Mexico for the winter. Butterflies can not tolerate cold weather so they have to go where it is warm. While in Mexico they will live off the fat in their abdomen and huddle around each other to stay warm. If a butterfly falls away from the huddle it most likely will die as it will be too weak to fly up to rejoin the group. Then once the warm weather starts again in February/March they will begin to awaken and mate thus laying their eggs. Withered and tattered from their hibernation and migration, the adults will die. A whole new generation cycle will begin once again.
My garden is in the direct migratory path of the Monarchs this year. I have had to go to my local nursery numerous times just to get food for those cute little caterpillars. I finally was able to get some seed pods and have started my own nursery of butterfly weed so the Monarchs can lay their eggs under the leaves and start the cycle egg,caterpillar, chrysalis, adult. The caterpillars once they hatch from the egg just eat from morning to night. It is like they have an internal clock that keeps telling them to go, go ,and go again, chomping away at all the butterfly weed vegetation they can get. They will do this for about two weeks until they are about 2 inches in length, then they will crawl away creeping ever so purposefully to find the twig,plant or whatever suits them to shed their skin and make the chrysalis. The chrysalis will be a beautiful jade color with a little thread that looks like gold towards the top. It will stay that way as the pupae generates it’s wings and turns in to a beautiful butterfly. Just before it breaks out of the chrysalis, it will become almost transparent and you will see the butterfly inside. Then in a day or so it will break out and let the blood fill the veins on its wings. The butterfly will stay put for a while as its wings dry and it gains the strength to fly away. It is a beautiful sight to see. I just learned how the scientists and butterfly followers are tagging the butterflies so who knows, next year you may reading about how I tagged butterflies.
Speaking of breaking out, I have to tell you about this physician who is only one of two in the entire state of Florida that is certified and licensed to do work with adult stem cells and T65 to help heal sport’s injuries an make you feel a bit more chipper. Dr. Dennis Lox has an office in Clearwater and in New Port Ritchey. He is on the cutting edge of some fabulous technology that will become almost a standard for medicine 10 years from now. We are lucky to have him in the Tampa Bay area. I will be telling you more about him and his practice as well in the days ahead. Pam Butler of LifeReflections LLC taped a talk by Dr. Lox last week so you will be able to see it on Youtube soon.
Take care of yourself and stay hydrated. Let your body dictate your progress and your tempo. Will be back with you soon with some other exciting news!
Greetings one and all. Can you believe that SUMMER is here? now I know i have friends in Colorado where they had sleet just two weeks ago. but we have been baking here in Florida. Being on the West Coast of Florida we are also paying very close attention to the fact that hurricane season is now upon us and of course the major story of the last 70 days, the horrific environmental catastrophe in the Gulf with the oil spill that just keeps on giving. I know that we all have our opinions on the handling of the oil spill so will not address that directly here. I just want everyone to be vigilant in what you do and how some of the least expected action can have lasting repercussions.
Now for those who live in the land of Hurricanes, I realize that it has not yet been quite a month. But it doesn’t take long for the tropical storm to turn to a hurricane make a blip on that weather radar and then you are SOL.
There are some necessary protective measures that you should do before you need to do them.. Get your hurricane survival suitcase(s) and backup plan together. Do you have an elderly person living with you that has home health care that needs constant supervision, oxygen, monitoring of different sorts. Check with your doctor, your social worker, your county, your home health service. They can assist you with the paperwork so you can have a plan in place. What shelter or hospital will they need t o go to in an evacuation? Will you or another relative, or caregiver be allowed to accompany then? Remember your animals. Even if you go to a medical shelter or hospital you will not be able to take your pets unless they are a guide dog. Find a temporary home where they can go so your furry children won’t be lost, stranded or perhaps killed due to lack of planing and horrible circumstances.
Make sure you have copies of your insurance information, medical information and identification in a zip lock bag. Also include your medications-30 days supply is great but if it is only a week’s worth that is better than nothing. Include bottled water-gallon size is good, canned goods, perhaps if you have space , your grill with an extra container of propane. That may be the only way you will be able to get hot food for a few days. Don’t forget your toiletries, a couple of changes of clothes, Not to be forgotten-an EXIT PLAN.
Do you know where you are on the evacuation map? Are you in an area of mandatory evacuation? Level 1 or is your number higher say 5 or 6.? Important information to know. Also pick up your hurricane guide at your local market or ACE Hardware store. You can also download them. All the major media networks put one out . If you have seen the weather alert radios they aer an excellent source of information when a storm is coming your direction. It will alert you and tell you what the alert is. You can get those at the local grocery stores now as well as home Depot, Lowes, Target and many other business locations.
Some insurance companies are now offering a preregistration form for use during the hurricane season at no extra charge. With your written permission they can have adjusters to your home site as soon as possible. Sure it take a couple of minutes to fill out the form, but in the event that your home suffers damage, do you want 5 minutes of form filling to be replaced by 5 days of waiting for an adjuster of some sort to show up? Water is the worst damage followed but wind, smoke and fire. I am not going to lecture anyone but say just be prepared and let your family know the plans, where are you goingto meet if you live in the same area, how are you going to communicate? Make sure that your car’s gas tank is filled. Check the oil, air in your tires. You would do this if you were going on a motor trip for vacation just as a safety precaution. Why wouldn’t you do it on a regular basis for your family’s safety and yours as well.You don’t want to wait in line when you could be loading that same care and heading out of dodge. The same for preparing your home. Get the plywood and any other protection that you would need to prevent glass damage to your home. Your favorite orchid plants and hanging plants need to be brought in to the garage or home. Remove items that could become flying weapons through your windows. That includes bird feeders and other such feeders as well. Have a swimming pool? Dump your patio furniture in it, No harm to the furniture or the pool and one less flying object.
If you are going out of town, let a neighbor , friend or hire a service to check on your home while you are away especially should a storm come up while you are gone. We never expect these things to happen but mother nature sometimes has a strange sense of humor and really does get a laugh by throwing you off guard. There are some concierge services and others that will look after your home while you are away for a minimal cost. OH MISS does a house/pool/mail/plant check. Do you know if your lawn service is cutting the grass as they should? What about the pool? Is that where anything green is growing? Peace of mind can be a wonderful thing. If there is no time to get ready-where is the saferoom in your home? Don’t forget to fill the bathtubs and sinks with water. You may not have water service or electrical service when you first get back to your home. So as I go to start taking my own advice with Alex out in the Gulf, I hope that you will as well.
Stay tuned for some exciting news about OHMISS and the growing butterfly population right here at home.
Spring is in the air and if you live in Florida and or most of the United States, your allergies have already informed you of the season. This year was almost a perfect storm in Florida where we had much colder weather for a lot longer than even close to normal and it appears that all of our pollen laden plants and trees are blooming at once! Yikes. As one who suffers this malady, the only advice I can give is to see your Dr if you have severe symptoms. If you are just on the slightly miserable side, make sure to keep the windows and doors closed. I am hearing screaming now as that is what you want to do. So do I. I love getting fresh air in the house after being shuttered all winter, but that just brings more of the pollen in and ads to our symptoms. Wash the linens frequently, wash yourself and your hair before going to bed and be extra careful about exercising early in the morning or late at night when the pollen in the air can be at its worst.
Not all is bad news, the birds are chirping in the trees, the bird feeders are out and filled. It is such a joy to see all of the different ones as they migrate from the South to our Northern states at this time of year. Some will be staying longer and having families, so be on the lookout as the new chicks start to learn how to fly. We have our pair of ducks that have been making their annual pilgrimmage for the last 10 years at least. You might ask how can we tell that it is the same couple? We can because the female has a malformed left foot so she hobbles as she waddles around. It does not impact her with her swimming or flying that we can tell.
Another wonderful thing is that the butterfly garden is coming in to full bloom. I love to watch as the different butterflies flutter about sipping the nectar and laying their eggs. Soon we will have baby catepillars chopping away at the variety of host plants that we have in our garden. Sometimes it seems like we can’t keep up with their appetites. Once the catepillars have matured, they will start migrating to a place to build their cocoon. Some cocoons are so beautiful, it is a joy to watch. Then in about 10 days to two weeks a new butterfly will emerge and the cycle will begin once again.
This leads me to a butterfly blog that I want to share with you. The address is http://lepcurious.blogspot.com. It is a blog about one of Tampa’s treasures, the Museum of Science and Industry or MOSI. They have their own butterfly garden for everyone to see, just in case they don’t have the space, time or energy to have one at their home. I have to be honest, it is addictive. This is my third year of being a butterfly gardener. They become just like children that you want to protect. Click on their blog and enjoy.
The weather here in Florida is finally starting to act like spring instead of old man winter’s stepchild. We have had the coldest winter weather this year as long as they have been keeping records. Now the sun is out, the sky is clear and one can feel the renewed energy in all living things around them.
Now is a really good time to go through that closet of yours as you prepare to put the heavier weight clothing away(that is unless you are headed North or to go sking in the next few weeks, I just heard yesterday that they are still getting snow out in Colorado. Now back to the point. First weed out the winter clothes that you did not wear this season. See if they fit. If the clothes don’t fit put them in a bin,tote or basket to prepare to give to a local thrift store. It is always easy to say if I just lose those 10 lbs. or more(?) then I can wear them again. Let’s face reality, you most likely will not wear those garmetns again no matter how much you loved them when you purchased them. If you moved to Florida from the colder climate and still have a winter coat that fits, you might want to keep that in the chance that you go visiting there again. If the coat doesn’t fit and you can not see visiting the cold weather cities in the near future-get rid of it. At this point I am going to be proud of you because I know that it is important to have all those pretty spring and summer clothes hanging in your closet. Bring those out of hiding. Make sure they fit, are clean , and don’t need any repairs such as a button replacement. You know just as well as I do that when you go to wear that piece of clothing that if the button is still missing, it will only add to a headache and put you in a foul mood.
You don’t have to do all this by yourself. If you have a husband , significant other or a girlfriend, borrow them for an hour or so to help you through the process. Then being the wonderful person that you are, you will offer to assist them in the same process. When this is all done, put the clothes in one of those black lawn or large trash bags and either take them to the thrift store of your favorite charity or arrange for pickup. Here is also another idea. Let’s say that you and your friends are doing the closet dance at the same time, have a clothes swap. The beautiful sweater that you always admired may not want to be in the owner’s closet anymore. It is a great way to pick uip some gently worn items and accessories while keeping within budget. When I just mentioned accessoriies, I mean the same for accessories as I do for clothes. If you don’t wear them, move them on it. The Universe abhors a vaccum so they will be replaced in some manner. If your clothing is such that you never wore it, or hardly wore it and it is still in style, you might consider taking those items to your local consignment store. Granted you will not come away with the amount of money that you originally paid, but most likely you will get some money. Then go shopping for something new and exhiliarating. This step will also help the bottom line.
Now that you have your closets cleaned out and straightened, you will feel so much better-lighter in fact since you won’t have those clothing items weighting you down. You also don’t have to stop at the closets. Go through your cupboards and throw out expired spices and food items. How many plastic containers do you realistically need to have? Are you and your family the ones who will eat left overs or is it the guilt of throwing something out that makes you put that stuff in the fridge until the smell is so bad or it starts turning green, that you then toss it. Be honest with yourself. Actions speak louder than words.
If you dont want to odo closets, ok. Maybe you are so totally together that you have the perfect closet. Bless you. You also might just be able to shop in the closet. Wouldn’t that be fun? Oh, did I mention that in 5 weeks the taxes are due? How about those papers and supprting documents? Are they in piles on the desk that is buried under them all? Are they in a laundry basket for safe keeping? Just like the closet go through them , make your files for the receipts that you will need if or should you be audited. The shoe box can be a wonderful thing but the IRS auditor does not find this filing method amuzing.
Now that you are feeling glum about the upcoming tax return deadline-maybe you have a refund coming this year. Go through your stuff and see if you can itemize your deductions, or have had a major change in your life this year, relationship status, move, job, lack of job, medical. Take the time to talk with a professional to get the best advice possible. Another sidebar, did you know that if you file electronically that you most likely will receive your refund sooner? Another thing, if you think that filing for an extension will be the easy way out so you don’t have to be in any sort of sprint to get the taxes completed, you will need to pay the amount of tax owed if you are most likely to owe the IRS .
If you live in the Tampa Bay area, the Tampa Bay Professional Organizers are having a Shred a Thon Saturday April 10. I will get back to you with all the details in the next couple of days. I will also supply you with the list of papers and receipts that need to be kept and for how long. After the time period has elapsed , they can be thrown away or shredded. We have all heard the horror stories of stolen identity so just throwing in the trash can is probably not your best option. We will have a professional shredding truck on site who will provide you with a certificate of shredding for your records.
Enjoy the beginnings of spring, the official solstice is March 20. Daylight Savings Time starts this coming weekend. So don’t forget to SPRING FORWARD . Set your clocks an hour ahead before you go to bed Saturday night. It will eliminate the confusion in the morning. Just think there will be an extra hour that you can walk, jog, or sit outside and enjoy your favorite beverage at the sidewalk cafe. In case you did not do this on New Year’s Day , you might just replace the batteries in your smoke alarm and how about changing those air filters? With alll the pollen and dust in the air, the filters are taking a beating. If you have allergies, iti s the worst.
Until next time, enjoy life and savor the moments of silence, the singing birds the beautiful spring flowers that are starting to sprout their little heads. This is all a part of the fabric and texture of life.
If you are overworked, stressed out ready to run a way but have no place to go, think of hiring an assistant for a day or even a few hours to help take the load off. Life is meant to be enjoyed not dreaded. What the catepillar sees as the end of life , the Master sees the butterfly as a beginning.
First of all Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! Wow this has been quite a week for us here at OH MISS.! With Gasparilla Parade last weekend, the cold weather-I know our friends up north it has been much much worse. The simple fact is, we live here in sunny Florida and we don’t expect it to get this cold. Most of us are going to have to wait a few more weeks before we will know how much damage has been done to our plants and landscaping.
But to continur on,, we corordinated a beautiful wedding yesterday at the beach. It was absolutely bone chilling cold but beautiful. It was a sunny day and other than the fact that it did not reach 60*, perfect. How could it not be? One of us had our anniversary yesterday and the DJ celebrated his birthday as well. All sorts of reasons to celebrate.
Now along that vein, did you know that besides being St. Valentine’s Day today, it is the start of the Chinese New Year-The Year of the TIger. A chinese custom is for married couples or the elderly to give AngPous (red envelopes) to the younger or unmarried. The envelopes usually contain money. The amount is usually $8.00 as the number 8 is considered a lucky number. They will also wear new clothes that day as to symbolize that they have plenty(or enough to go around) The Tiger is considered to be lucky,vivid,lively,engaging and have incredible bravery. Persons born in the year of the Tiger are said to have these characteristics-courage, vehemence,self-reliance,friendliness,hopefulness,resilience,vanity, and disregard. Happy Year of the Tiger!
Now tomorrow the 15th of February is Clean Monday. This is the Orthodox equivalent to the Christian Ash Wednesday. Clean Monday is the day that the home or living space is thoroughly cleaned from top to bottom, all crumbs and dust are cleaned away.
In New Orleans the Mardi Gras season that has been going on for a couple of weeks now,since the day of Epiphany or Three Kings Day is coming to a close. Most know only of the ending of the season with the parade and Fat Tuesday. Another custom that is held throughout this time is the custom of the King’s Cake. This is a cake that is made witha plastic baby inside and sometimes coins. The person that receives the piece of cake with the baby is supposed to hold the feast the following year. Fat Tuesday is when all the world is a stage and their is music and dancing , reveleryabounds as does the food and drink in a sense preparing for the time of Lent that will begin on Wednesday or Ash Wednesday. This is a time that Christians often give up something that is very meaningful to them-usually in the food category such as chocolate, chips, meat, something in that ilk in keeping withthe preparation for Easter Sunday. This year Easter Sunday will be the same for both Orthodox churches and Christian churches.
Ash Wednesday is this upcoming Wednesday the 17th and begins the preparation for Easter Sunday.
Oh and if you are wondering where the origin of the heart shaped box came from for the chocolates that are given at Valentine’s Day, you can thank Mr. Cadbury who in the mid 1800’s put his chocolates in a heart shaped box. Another factoid that even centuries before the cocoa beans were considered to be aphrodisiac
Again Happy Valentine’s Day, Fat Tuesday, and Chinese New Year!
Okay so it has been awhile since I last wrote but I do have reasons some valid, some not so much. The holidays were very special here as we were able to share them with family and friends. Anyone who has or knows of a 3 1/2 year old knows that the time is anything but quiet and low key. Still the wonder of a child during the holidays is inspirational.
New Year’s Eve came, and we were fortunate to share with some close friends, watch the ball drop, sip champagne, eat our blackeyed peas with greens and a bit of pork, throw in rice for good measure. I don’t know all of the significance of the various parts of the whole butthen again I was born in the North, raised out West and now and have lived in Florida for over 16 years. No wonder I get confused?!
So my question to you is are you still adhering to your NewYear’s resolutions? Did you make any or did you just say the heck with it. I don’t ever get very far with them and I do write them out because it is a habit. If you are like most folks, it takes 21 days to establish a new habit. Do you realilze that is tomorrow? If you started your resolution on New Year’s Day and are still going strong with that resolution, you have more than a 50% chance of sticking with it. Congratulations! You should be proud of yourself, so give yourself the preverbial pat on the back. If you fell off the wagon, don’t give up. If it is important, there are 345 days left in 2010 to get right back on the wagon train and start your new habit.
January is National Organization month. It is inherent in us, I think from when we are really really little that on New Year’s Day we put all our new stuff away and go through the rest so we can give it to the less fortunate or even toss if it is beyond repair. As adults we still need to do this. We are getting ready for tax day. Do you have all your receipts in a place that you know where to find them? If not it may be time to start gathering unless of course you like P&P. That is panic and pressure which will rear it’s ugly head about April 13 or if you really like to push the envelope the 14th. Even if you file an extension for filing, you still have to have a good guestimate. You just get to put off filing out the forms on line or on paper. You know I just heard that if you efile your income tax, you get your refund sooner. Now that would be incentive, would it not? Now if you aren’t getting a refund this year, I can see putting off the big rush to file. If you owe, I am sorry. The fact is whether it is our receipts for tax purposes, your closet because the layer of clothes on the floor has become an added shelf(does that count as home improvement?), the cabinets that are bursting at the seams and you can’t get them closed anymore. HELLO-it’s time.
I am going to be on the charity bandwagon for just a minute and I promise you I will stick to that. There are so many of our neighbors, friends we haven’t yet met, and folks in our corner of the world, that could really use that old blanket, those clothes that don’t fit anymore for whatever reason. I make no judgement. What about the pots and pans that you don’t use anymore or the dishes? You name it someone could probably use it. If you don’t have a collection at your church or synagogue, donate the items to your favorite charity. More and more charities are using thrift stores to help them make ends meet so that they can meet the needs of your community. Some in the Tampa area are Charlie’s Treasure’s for The Children’s Home, The Spring, Goodwill, Salvation Army, League of Mercy, Kidney Foundation and the list goes on.
We are so fortunate to live where we do, no matter what your political bend, the American people will get it right. But even in our land of abundance there are those that aren’t as fortunate. We have refugees that are now going to be coming in from Hatti. How heart wrenching is that? Folks are going to need our help. Make sure that the organization you choose is legitimate. Go to their website. Just don’t go by an email sent asking for help. This can also be a time of flim flam folks. They will pull at your heart strings and your purse strings, but what you give will not go where you think.
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Favorites for the Super Bowl?
Make your day an Oscar winning performance.
Happy Saturday Afternoon to everyone!
I just had to share something that I am proud to say I know the creator and the quality of the gift.
If you are in a situation where you need or would like to get something for your co-workers,neighbors or others that are not family or just difficult., I would like to suggest a uniique gift so appropriate to the South and this time of year. The gift is “Peas for Prosperity”. How many of us personally know of someone who has been down on their luck this year and maybe even last. When December rolls around, depression starts to set in for some and especially those who ,let’s face it can’t afford much of a Christmas or Hanakkuh gift.
This gift is made of Black-eyed peas which is a very strong tradition in the South for good luck in the New Year-hence prosperity. Each one comes with cooking instructions and the history. It is a lovely and thoughtful gift and one sure to bring on some conversation. Go to the website www.peasforprosperity.com. You can order your gifts from there. For less than $10 you can’t do much better. The exciting thing is that $1 of every sale and I mean every bag of every sale goes to Second Chance. Everyone deserves a second chance on life and this will help facilitate it.
We will have them soon in Tampa where $1 of every bag will be going to a local charity as well.
So if you think you would like some more prosperity, or some prosperity, or help give a person a second chance go to www.peasforprosperity.com and let them know that OHMISS sent you.
As part of a disclaimer, I would like to state that OHMISS Concierge is not making any money or being paid anything in one form or another for this recommendation.
The sales are gong on it seems every day now. The best prices of the season they shout out. Do you dare to wait until the 23rd or the 24th if that is the case? If and it is a big IF, if you want a specific product or item for the shopping list you may just be better off getting it. If you wait until the 23rd or the 24th, it may not be available or available in the size, color or specifics that you want. Now if you are a gambler and like rolling the dice, you can do what a friend of mine said today-only 16 more days until I go Christmas Shopping! Now granted some of the excitement of the season is going out in the crowds in the last day or so before the holiday to soak up all the ambiance. You can soak up ambiance and get a cup of cocoa, you don’t have to shop. Now if you do find a bargain of a lifetime on those days-go for it. It might be on sale on the 26th for even more off the “original” price but it is a chance that you take.
Let’s say that shopping in the mall or on Main Street is not your thing, you can find so much on the Internet these days. In fact search around and don’t just go to one site. You may just find some bargains out there that you weren’t expecting. There may be limited quantities and watch out for the shipping. The shipping sometimes is more than the article you are purchasing and if you by any stretch of the imagination must return it-yikes it could even be worse. So do your homework. The stores are open 24hours and you can shop from the comfort of your pajamas. Don’t be afraid to look at other sites for your items. You can comparison shop online just as you can in the mall.
Don’t be afraid to go green with your holiday gift giving. Get something that can be planted outside after the season is over or maybe it is a plant that can stay inside with the right light and watering schedule. Do you know that when you have a live green plant in your home it helps produce oxygen? Yep, the plants absorb the CO2 that we exhale and produce O2. Another hint, take your own bag for your purchases!
If you put up a live evergreen tree or even wreaths , after the first of the year, find out where your local area is doing recycling of the trees. They were chop the trees so that they make a fragrant mulch to use in landscaping.
Now let’s say you are a lucky one and received a new flat screen TV 1080p or a new laptop computer, desk computer or even a cell phone. Dont just throw those items away. Your local recycling company will most likely have an electronics recycle day. You can take all your used electronic to the recyle and not pollute the landfills with mercury and other harmful chemicals that are in those screens and monitors. If you received a new phone there are several agencies that would absolutely love to have your old one. Cell Phones for Soldiers,telephones for abused women, men , too. Check out the local agencies including Salvation Army, Goodwill, The Spring, and others. The extra ink cartridges can be recycled as well. Your local Petsmart has mailers for you to use that are postage paid. HP has a recycle your computer program. You can get more information on their website or at your local Starbucks cafe. Speaking of Starbucks, do you know that you can get their used coffee grounds for use in your garden or compost pile? You don’t even have to drink coffee. These are free for the asking.
In the midst of all this, you find yourself unable to get out or have the time to shop like you would enjoy, you can hire a concierge to do it for you. Personal Shopping can be a blessing at this time of year. They can even get your packages gift wrapped either with your own color scheme of paper and ribbon, or have the shops wrap it. Perfect packages in very little time. Now that is a good thing.
The 12th is the first night of Hanukkah. It starts seven days of religious services and gift giving for our Jewish Friends. If you don’t check back until after the 12th-Happy Hanukkah.
Hopefully by now everyone has adjusted to our adjusted time. Rolling back is always such a wonderful thing. Just having that extra hour even if for one day seems like a luxury unlike any other. Unfortunately what it the magical moment also signifies is the beginning of the holiday whirl, swirl,frenzy and stress.
How can a concierge company help at this time of year? Hiring a concierge firm to be of assistance is similar to what happened in the Ozzie and Harriet neighborhoods back in the 50’s 60’s and 70’s before mobilization of families and jobs. We could ask a neighbor for a suggestion for a referral if we needed something done at our home or where to find a special present that we had not yet located. We could most likely get help from a neighbor to put holiday lights outside our home to make it look festive during the season. You might have even shared ladders and tools then later a beverage and cookies. Now we hope that are neighbors are nice if we even know them other than to wave from the car. Who can we call to get the names of persons that do a good job for a good price? You know the ones who suit up, show up and are on time? What a concept!
Having the services of a concierge firm is like having that neighbor to ask, it is a wonderful resource tool. Not only can a concierge firm guide you to the right people for the right job but they can also oversee that job if you are unavailable.
What about having someone gather all those impossible to find toys for you? Then what is really cool is having them all gift wrapped and delivered before Christmas. No worrying about hiding those special goodies in the closet, the pantry, under the bed, in the garage or attic or anywhere else you can stow something.
Need to get a party planned for the office at last minute? A concierge firm can usually help you get it organized, pulled together with decorating, catering and assistants so that you don’t feel like pulling your hair out. They can even arrange to have your home cleaned before and after. Why not be able to enjoy a party at your own home. Isn’t that a novel concept?
I am reminded of a friend a couple of years back that was very involved in a group of business people in town. This person was so busy at the time trying to keep her feet even close to the pavement, yet she wanted to send out holiday cards to the people in her group. It was over 100 individuals. The quandry was to either run address labels for all of them or hire someone to write the name and address on the envelope.ersonalize the inside of the card, and post. Above and beyond the cost of the cards and postage, this task only cost her $40.00. I can not begin to relate to you the number of people who said to her,”How did you find the time to do this?” or “Wow, you made me feel really special with your handwritten card.” How much is that worth in today’s marketplace? I would just guess that it is a lot more than $40.00.
Another scenario might pop up with out of town guests showing up at the last minute during the holidays. Love to see them but now how do I entertain them? Let the concierge help you get tickets to a show or sporting event. What about reservations to a new restaurant in town or an old one that you really like.
We’ll catch up next time on helpful hints for Thanksgiving whether you are at home or on the road.
If you work for a company or a corporation and would like them to consider having this type of service available to you at work. Let us know. We will offer you 25% off your first out of pocket fee. Special rates for corporate clients for the next 90 days. Give a gift that is useful.
Until then, enjoy this beautiful Florida weather with just a hint of fall as you think of friends and relatives who live up North or in the Midwest that area getting snow remembering “This is why I live here.”