Monday, 25 September 2017

Party Etiquettes - Dos and Don’ts

Whether you enjoy being part of big bashes or prefer the coziness of home gatherings, it is a good idea to keep yourself brushed up with the behaviors before going for your next get-together. Here are a few party etiquettes for guests and hosts, be it a small or large celebration.

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Make sure you RSVP

Whether it is a printed invitation or a casual invite for a dinner, it is very important to tell the host whether or not you will be able to make it. The host needs numbers to prepare drinks and food. They can also invite someone else if you tell them you are not coming. In case the invite does not tell you to come along with a guest, you should not ask. The host would have made it clear if they wanted you to bring a friend along.

Bring a Gift

It is always a good idea to show appreciation, particularly if you are invited to someone’s home. The best choices are a wine bottle or a bunch of flowers. However, there is no harm in getting a little creative- something homemade or a gift basket will also be appreciated.

Make sure you are Punctual

It is good manners to arrive at a party on time. Make sure you do not reach more than fifteen minutes late, particularly if it is a proper sit-down meal. Also, make sure you are not way too early. Your host will be prepping drinks, food, and decor. It becomes annoying and awkward when the guest arrives before the host is ready.

Be Good

Be polite and always ask the host if they need any help. They will mostly decline, but your gesture will be appreciated. You can offer help at the time of refilling ice trays, opening wine bottles, or clearing dishes from the dinner table.

Socialize with Strangers

Make it a point to interact with other guests. This is particularly important if you have come with a date.

Be Present

You may be addicted to your phone or may be getting bored at the party but that is no excuse to constantly use your phone. You must leave the phone on silent mode when having dinner. Ringtones and lit up screens tend to interrupt conversations. In case you have to be available for a text or call that is important, switch off the ringer and politely excuse yourself when answering the phone.

Engage in Table Talk

Sit-down dinners are usually intimidating. Every move you make is noticed, and you’re usually stuck talking to those around you. A great rule is to keep the conversation balanced by listening as much as you talk. Ask thoughtful questions and allow people enough time to answer.

Enjoy within Reason

It is not a good idea to over-indulge, whether it is food or alcohol. While you should make yourself comfortable, you must not become a nuisance. Drinking to the point of embarrassing others or not being considerate about the food are bad manners. If you really love a dish, request your host to share the recipe.

Following these etiquettes will go a long way in making sure you remain a hit among your friends.  


Monday, 28 August 2017

How to hold a beer tasting party?

While you have heard of pairing parties and wine tastings, what about those who like to drink artisan brews instead of fermented grapes? How about throwing them a beer tasting! With the international beer day just around the corner, make the most of it by inviting all the beer lovers you know to your humble aboard!

Image Courtesy : https://www.pexels.com

How to prepare?

Just like when you host a cheese and wine party, you must make sure you are aware of the number of people coming so you have enough of drink and food to go around. To make sure you have an accurate count, you can send attractive beer-themed invitations at least three weeks before the party.
For a beer party, you do not need fancy plates or stemware. Most beer parties have crates of bottled beer and guests consume just by opening the bottles. However, if you wish to offer a classier vibe, stock up on glass or plastic beer steins and put them near the bottles.

Shopping list:

If you wish to host a decent beer party, make sure you keep the drinks and food as simple as you possibly can. There is no need for fancy roasts, cheeses, or desserts. Instead, offer more appetizers, munchies such as, nuts and chips, and, of course, a good beer selection. Even though you will need one kind of beer for every person, you want to make sure you have enough money so that people will not feel left out of tasting a specific kind.

If you are holding a party for twelve:

  1. Keep a minimum of eight light beers
  2. At least six amber ales
  3. At least eight wheat beers
  4. A minimum of six stout beers
  5. A minimum of eight other kinds of craft local brews
  6. At least four to six porters
Setting up

There is so much you can do when setting up your party. In case there is a bar inside your house, you can set it up easily! Place all the different types of beer inside buckets. Also, put a bowl around every bucket that your friends can put the beer caps in. Put a tasting pad next to every bucket so that your guests can scribble and rate which one they liked and which one they did not. Place the snacks in different places. In case you're planning on keeping wings or sliders, use a hot plate to ensure they remain warm. Apart from this, place several small plates and napkins in different tables so that guests don't have to hold the beer with untidy hands.

In case you don’t have a bar, just set up an area that can host the beer tasting. Set up a long table with the buckets of beer. Put snacks on smaller tables. In case you are hosting a party in your back yard, make sure to have a lot of ice ready so that the beers remain cold.

With just a little effort you can make your beer tasting party a hit! To add to it, you can even hand over a beer gift basket as a favor!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

July Party Ideas

Find simple and quick ideas for drinks, decorations, and treats for a happy and fun 4th of July celebration. These fun recipes and decorations will help you bring in the nation’s birthday in the most wonderful way.

Decoration ideas

Garlands


For making your own party garland for Fourth of 4th at a reasonable price, you can cut white, red, and blue tablecloths of plastic into strips, and then tie them to string lights.

Canopy
Create an elegant mood lighting and canopy for your 4th of July party. Tie blue, white and red paper streamers on big outdoor light bulbs, and put them over a grassy dance space or picnic table.

Use bandanas of white, blue and red colors

You can add the festive colors to your dull dining table in no time by using bandanas. Wrap bandanas of blue, red and white color around your cutlery; the cloths can act as handy napkins while looking pretty on the dinner table.

You can also fold a bandana into half and tie both the ends to the string. Hang the string between two poles or trees.

Patriotic glasses

It is very easy to create your own patriotic glasses for 4th of July. Use contact paper, stars (punched out) and stick them onto disposable glasses to keep the table looking festive.

Drinks:

No party is complete without drinks. Add a patriotic twist to your drinks with these ideas:

Soda bars

You can use desserts for the party as your 4th of July decoration. Create a sweet soda bar by grouping blue, red and clear soda bottles on the table. Display striped straws, and colored sprinkles. Once you’re done with the food, bring out the ice cream and ask your guests to make their own ice-cream.

Cupcakes

Who doesn’t love cupcakes? Bake your favorite cupcakes and ice them with the tri-color-red, white and blue. There are a number of tutorials available over the internet if you’re looking for instructions.

Independence Day punch

Mix a patriotic drink using blue Gatorade frost, cranberry juice, Diet 7-Up, and ice cubes for a tasty and refreshing party punch.

Wine

No party is complete without some good wine to float around. Buy a crate from your local dealer or order the bottles online. There are plenty of gift basket makers online who will be happy to send you some of the best wines.

Giveaways:

If you have the time and want to send your guests with a little party giveaway then here are a few ideas for you:

Themed goody bags:

Arrange white chocolate bars, red twizzlers, and pretzel M&M’s inside a clear goody bag to create a flavorful flag.

Independence Day Gift Baskets:

Create or buy gift baskets containing goodies such as, gourmet chocolates, skittles, baked goods, truffles, and the like. Add a festive feel by decorating the basket with flags and ribbons of red, blue and white colors.

With just a little creativity you can a lot of zing and fun to your 4th of July party.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

8 Mother’s Day Ideas to Celebrate Your Mom

Every living creature on this planet Earth, shares a special bond with his / her mom, be it animal, mammal or a human being. And every living creature is there today, because a mom gave birth, nurtured the newborn and raised him / her to adulthood. In short, “She" has been there and celebrating “Her” on that one special day, “Mother’s Day”, is just a small demonstration of how much you value and love her. Demonstrating that appreciation by giving her a gift or pampering her, which will create memories that she will always treasure.  But, how do you tell her you appreciate her without sounding impersonal?

Here are a few ideas to pamper your mom this year!

Breakfast in bed

Her first meal should not be anything less than delicious! Making her a breakfast and serving it on a tray, delightfully arranged is a great way to begin celebrating her day. Place your card, your gift to her and a small vase with a few flowers or a flower on the tray with her breakfast. Take care of the small details, such as cutlery, napkins, presentation of the food and together with your gift, card and flowers, you will definitely bring out that special glint of delight in her eyes. This small gesture from you will mean the world to her and she will only envelop you more into the abundant love she has to give to you.

A lux beauty treatment

Once her stomach is full, now is the time for some real fun! Does your mother dream of going to a spa, but does not have the means or the time? Give her the gift of beauty and relaxation by booking a spa treatment for her. Let her take the entire day off from her regular grind. She will love the change.

Gifting your mom some wonderful fragrant products is also a great add-on. The feeling of spritzing some floral perfume is going to put a smile on her face!

Comfy pillows

This may seem like an unusual gift but is actually a very practical gift. Buy your mom a comfy pillow, silk pajamas, or any such luxury bedtime gifts she may like. Hide the present on her bed so that she finds it just before going to sleep, snuggle in a mint on the pillow. She will sleep with the satisfaction that her children love her!

Chocolates

If your mom loves chocolates then a box of hand-made chocolates, created out of the finest ingredients makes for a perfect gift. Top it off with a heartfelt Mother’s Day message. She will be the happiest person in the room while devouring the delicacies.

All in one gourmet gift basket

Let her unwrap a basket brimming with her favorite things. Snuggle in her favorite cookies, chocolates, gourmet cheeses and a bottle of fine wine with a couple of flutes. You can also add a CD of her favorite movie for her to watch on the special day. The idea is to surprise her with all the things she loves.

Gratitude kit

Living with gratitude is the essence of life. A gratitude kit will help remind your mother of all the beautiful things she should be grateful for, making her heart lighter, and her attitude brighter. The kit includes a thank-you note that she can send each week, insight on how to write a meaningful letter, and a beautiful journal that will help keep track of her thoughts. Buy a kit for yourself as well so that your mom can know how grateful you are for her every week.

Coral relaxation kit

A coral relaxation kit includes an ocean riche Shea butter soap and lotion with beautiful shell embellishments and a customizable label.

Zen tea

This will make a great gift for a mom who loves her tea ritual! A Zen tea gift basket includes a tea cup mat, mini tea cup, green tea candies arranged in a darling brown trunk.

Mother's Day presents may come in all sizes and shapes, but what really matters is that they should come from the bottom of your heart. Whether you plan to give her something luxurious or something simple, you're guaranteed to make her happy on this special day.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

How to Throw an Easter Dinner Party Your Guests Will Love?

Throw in a charming dinner party this Easter, with a delicious menu, party favors and a gorgeous kid’s table.

Create an Easter table landscape:

Begin by setting a dinner table that is full of charming Easter details. Pick out a color palette such as, green and yellow to usher in spring. Arrange blooms of tulips, maidenhair ferns into simple vases or Easter rabbit vases. Then add a pop of color with colorful flatware. Nestle a center piece on each table with a bunny vase inside a bowl or a wide vase with green grass for creating a festive centerpiece. Add plastic yellow Easter eggs. Top of the day with party favors.

Party favors:

Send your guests home with beautiful party favors to remember you by. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Gift baskets with chocolates

Small Easter baskets filled to the brim with mini white chocolates make a great party favor, that adds an extra touch of sweetness for the guest. Let your guests remember the dinner long after, each time they nibble on one of the chocolates.

2. Truffles and toffee cookies

Offer your guests the experience of delicious chocolate truffles created with the finest ingredients. With each bite, the delicate chocolate will melt on their palate. They will certainly thank you for the decadent gift!

3. Buy scented candles

Choose from different candles made from fragrance oils and vegetable wax! Each time your guest lights up the candle and take in the fragrance filling up their room, they will think of you. You can choose from a range of different fragrances and colors, depending on your theme!

4. Body butters

You can also pamper your guests with a fragrant body butter that will provide the much needed, long-lasting hydration to keep skin supple and soft. You can choose from a myriad of fragrances to match the taste of each guest. Your thoughtfulness will go a long way in impressing them!

Menu Ideas for the night:

Food is always the highlight of a party. Make sure you go that extra mile when deciding your menu.

Brown sugar ham

Cook a traditional Easter ham and brush it with delicious brown-sugar glaze. Make sure you carve the ham so your guests can take easy serving. Display the dish on a tray garnished with fresh lemon wedges. There are plenty of delicious recipes you can find over the internet!

Honey Glazed Carrots


Serve honey glazed carrots as a side dish. It will be a perfect accompaniment to brown sugar ham. The carrots can easily be made ahead of time, just warm them before serving.

Fresh Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls frosted with icing make an amazing addition to your Easter dinner. These can also make a yummy breakfast treat for your friends and family when they wake up next morning.

Easter kid’s table:

Use the same color theme you used for the adult table and set up a table for your little ones, complete with delicious treats, favors and Easter egg touches. Make sure you add pops of color to the table with paper plates. Fill in mini baking cups with chocolate eggs for the children to nibble on.

Give the children a special treat by organizing an Easter egg hunt around the garden or backyard. You can snuggle in little toys, edible bunny-shaped cookies, mini chocolates, and much more inside the egg. Hand every child a small basket and ask them to collect as many eggs as they can. The adults can also join in the fun and festivities!

With just a little effort and creativity, you can come up with the most beautiful theme for your Easter dinner party and have your guests enjoy and leave with the most memorable Easter dinner they ever had!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Gift Ideas to Pep up Your Recipient's New House

There is nothing more exciting than moving to a new house! Every blank space offers boundless potential and a sweet promise to a fresh start. Housewarming presents are a positive way to help residents feel comfortable in a new place. This list of housewarming gifts can cater to all sorts of recipients: from retirees moving into a vacation home to your business clients or first-time homeowners. We have something for every budget and style!

1. Pillows:

Beautiful pillowcases are a perfect housewarming gift. Custom throw pillows will add a dash of color to a living room couch, make a comfortable reading nook, and add interest to the bedroom or entryway bench. You can buy these pillows in a range of different materials including jute that is sure to become treasured keepsake for your recipient. No matter which print or design you choose, beautiful pillows will make a great addition to anyone's house.

2. Pazitive plates:

Elegant and sophisticated, pazitive plates are ideal for gifting. Choose from an artfully designed, elegant pattern in a beautiful color, personalized with a poem, name or quote. This gift is sure to bring a smile on your recipient’s face!

3. Customized jars:


Mason jars are one of the most popular glass forms, and they are trending in restaurants and bars across the nation. Whether you like elegantly engraved jars or printed mason jars in different colors, there is something in the market to cater to everyone’s needs.

Celebrate a special day with personalized couple Mason jars. Your recipient can display these glasses in their living room or can use them to enjoy their favorite beverage. Perfect for housewarming, weddings and much more!

4. Popcorn maker:

Looking for a housewarming gift for someone who is a movie buff? A popcorn making machine is your best bet, making it easy for them to bring the movies home. Personalize the gift by adding seasonings, kernels, orange soda, movie theatre candies and retro board game. If you have an open budget, you can also sneak in a Netflix gift card!

5. Indoor Planter:


A planter makes a great housewarming gift for someone who has just moved into a spread with very little natural light. Indoor herb gardens are the best way to integrate greenery without taking up too much space. The available options of plant cartridges is pretty extensive.

6. A welcome home basket:

This is just the right house warming gift to congratulate anyone on their move! Sneak in Santa Barbara popcorn, sparkling juice, truffles, chocolate treasures, dried apples and more.

7. Wine basket:

There is nothing that shouts celebration like a bottle of fine wine. Wine bottles make for a wonderful gift for people of all ages! You won’t believe how many combinations you can make to create a gift basket that matches perfectly to anyone’s style. You can sneak in personalized wine glasses, champagne flutes to make a special impression. Choose from a sauvignon Blanc, chardonnay, or cabernet and surround them with flavors of hard fruit candy, wafer cookies, sourdough crisps, smoked almonds, salami, and biscotti.

Find the perfect item to gift to your recipient. From vibrant pillow cases to wine baskets, pazitive plates, customized jars and more! There is something for everyone and every budget!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Gift Ideas to Delight your Grand Parents

Your grandparents may have everything but there is always something thoughtful or creative you can buy to delight them. This will help you show your love without stuffing their house. Here are some gift ideas that are a perfect way to say “I care” to your grandparents.

Before you become too caught up with looking for the right gift for your grandparents, remember you can never go wrong! Your grandparents love you unconditionally.

Robotic floor cleaner for hardwood

Robotic floor cleaners are a useful and thoughtful gift for grandparents who still live alone in their home (with no carpets) and finding it hard to keep it clean. This will help in keeping the floors clean, while having your grandparents something new to discuss.

Coffee brewing system

A coffee brewing system is the most exciting gift for your grandparents. They will no longer have to root around to find filters and coffee grounds! With the coffee maker, they will not have to brew coffee when someone comes over. This is a useful and thoughtful gift for the older parents as they’d never think of buying one themselves.

Massager

A massager with heat is an extremely useful gift for grandparents who have pain and aches. A good massager has nodes that help relieve and relax muscle tightness. It soothes aching muscles as well.

Digital key finders

The key finder is a great idea – and not only for grandparents but for anyone who has the habit of misplacing their keys!  Look for a key finder that is loud and durable, and operates for approximately 300 feet. Also, choose a simple product that does not require programming or setup. Most items come with a money-back, 90 day guarantee and a warranty.

A family locket

Sterling silver locket with an engraving or picture is a great gift for grandparents. A grandmother can carry her family close to her heart by wearing the locket. Make sure to insert your family photo before giving out such gifts.

Gourmet treats gift basket

A great gift for your grandparents is a gourmet coffee or tea gift basket. You can include personalized mugs with a variety of tea and coffee. Add to the delight with some gourmet treats that go with the drinks.

If your grandparents like treating themselves to gourmet food and tea, then consider a gift card to one of their favorite stores or restaurant. Thoughtful and practical gift certificates for older people include restaurants, health spas, grocery stores, and the like.


There is no better way to say “I love you” than a basket full of delicious healthy treats. Snuggle in dried fruits, nuts, organic spreads, crackers, cookies, peanut butter, jams and much more. You can also add gluten free products such as, baked potato sticks, brownie mix, peanut brittle, and the like.

Your grandparents will be delighted to receive such a variety of healthy and great tasting gourmet foods!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Choosing that Special Gift for Your Man

2017 was welcomed with resounding celebrations worldwide and now it is time to think of the next exciting and special day in our lives. February 14th and Valentine’s Day! It is also the time to ponder on what would be the best gift you could buy for that special someone. The occasion can be a little tricky to shop for as it carries different levels of significance for different couples. Below are some of the best Valentine's Day gift ideas that are perfect for a man- we are leaving the romance to you (remember, gifts are a part of what makes this day special).

Gifting rules:

1. Make sure you give gifts that are commensurate with the number of years you have been together.

What this means is that if you have been out for a few dates, you should pick a gift that is less mushy gushy. A present that is too expensive or overly romantic will make things uncomfortable and give off a wrong vibe. Similarly, if you have been in a relationship for a good amount of time, you have to be more thoughtful and romantic. It also makes more sense to buy an expensive gift once you have been with each other long enough.

2. Choose something that your guy will like, not something you would prefer gifting.

For example, don’t gift him a couple’s spa day. This gift is equal to him gifting you tickets to a Knicks game rationalizing that it will be your day out together. Think of what he likes and then go for it.

3. If your budget is restricted, go with a sentimental and creative gift.

When budget is low, you can always get creative. A few good ideas are things such as, handmade gift certificate they can redeem for a back massage or a mix CD of all of their favorite songs. But remember, the CD should contain their favorites, not yours! There is no reason for gifts to be expensive for them to be romantic.

Gifting Ideas:

Chocolate and wine basket:

Chocolate and wine is a fool-proof gift! It is pretty much the go-to if you cannot think of anything else. But, if your guy is a wine enthusiast, a wine gift basket makes for a thoughtful gift. However, for a wine lover, just any bottle of wine won't do. Research and observe your man’s taste and try to collect especially picked out wines and pair them with gourmet chocolates.

Beer brewing kit

If wine seems too much of a gift cliché but you still wish to take the booze route, a beer brewing kit is not a bad idea at all. You can shop for quality beer brewing kits with premium ingredients and unique recipes online. Snuggle in a couple of personalized beer mugs to add to the fun.

Coffee gift basket

Coffee is a great present for a coffee lover because not only does it come with several interesting blends, but there is also a lot you can do with it. Different varieties of coffees packed with delectable goodies like cookies, dark chocolate, dried cranberries, flavored almonds, a personalized coffee mug make for a perfect gift.

Gadgets:

Men love their gadgets. From massive home entertainment systems to tablets, mobile phones, and much more, there is always something your guy will love to have. If you’re dating a gamer, then Play Station 4 is a great idea. If he already owns the console then buy him the latest releases for his gaming collection. For a gear guy, the latest iPhone or iPad makes for a great gift. You can also gift your ultimate geek an Amazon gift card so he can buy whatever he wishes.

In the end, what really counts is the thought. And, as old and tired as this saying may seem, it still holds true. The gifts our loved ones treasure most are not always the most expensive ones, but instead the ones that come from the hearts of the people they love. So, make sure you shower him with a lot of love and appreciation to make this day special and unforgettable.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Wines : A Beginner’s Guide to Wine Tasting

Are you a new wine enthusiast? If yes, then this blog contains useful resources that will help in rounding out your knowledge of wine.

The basic types of wine:

Wine is made from grapes, but not the classic table grapes you find in grocery stores. Wine grapes are sweet, small, and have thick skins with seeds. There are more than thirteen thousand different varieties of wine grapes, but only a few are used all over the world.

Wines that are made with just a single grape type are known as varietal wine or a single-variety wine. On the other hand, a wine created out of several different types of grapes is called a blend.

Common types of wines include:

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon. Taste: black currant, black cherry, cedar and baking spices.
  2. Syrah. Taste: plum, blueberry, tobacco, black pepper, meat, violet.
  3. Zinfandel. Taste: An exotic, broad array of fruits from stone to sour cherry, raspberry, plum, blueberry, blackberry, sweet tobacco, and the like.
  4. Pinot Noir. Taste: Extremely red fruited (cranberry and cherry) and red floral, with subtle vegetal notes of rhubarb, beet, or mushroom.
  5. Chardonnay.  Taste: Yellow citrus, pomaceous fruits, tropical fruits and sometimes butterscotch, cinnamon, and notes of toasted caramel.
  6. Sauvignon Blanc. Taste: Grapefruit pith, with exotic fruits (passion fruit, honeydew melon, and kiwi) and mint, grass, green pepper.
  7. Pinot Gris.  Taste: Delicate citrus and pomaceous fruits, with some floral notes.
  8. Riesling.  Taste: Citrus and stone-fruit with sweet and floral herbal elements.
Choosing the right glasses for different types of wines

White wines:

White wines are normally served in smaller bowled glassware. This is done to,

  1. Maintain cooler temperatures
  2. Preserve the floral aromas
  3. Offer more aromas
Red wines:

Red wines are normally served in bigger bowled glasses. The glasses help to:

  1. Deliver more compounds of aroma
  2. Greater surface area for letting ethanol evaporate
  3. Wider opening ensures that the wines taste smoother
Developing your sense of taste                                                    

Learning how to taste wine can help you pick flavors and point out wine faults. Here is a tasting method practiced by professionals.

1. Look

Check out the opacity, color, and viscosity of the wine. You do not really require to spend more than five seconds at this stage. Most clues about the wine are hidden in its look.

2. Smell

When smelling wine, think of flavors ranging from big and gradually to small. Can you sense fruits? Orchard, citrus, or tropical fruits when tasting reds. Generally, you can segregate the nose of a wine into 3 main categories:

  • Primary aromas, i.e. fruit-driven, floral and herbal notes.
  • Secondary aromas. The most common are yeast-derivative such as, cheese rind, stale beer, and nut husk.
  • Tertiary aromas such as baking spice, cured leather, roasted nuts, vanilla, old tobacco, autumn leaves, or mushroom.

3. Taste

Taste is how you use your tongue for observing the wine. 

After the three steps, did the wine taste out of balance (i.e. too alcoholic, acidic, or tannic) or balanced? How did you like the wine? Was it unmemorable or unique? Were there any features that were striking and impressed you?

Wine tasting is a beautiful art and the more you learn about it the more it will intrigue you. So, the next time you are invited to a wine tasting session or if you receive a wine gift basket, use your new skills to impress your friends.