Almost Christmas: Are you Ready to Deal with your Family?

Since it's almost Christmas we should really begin to think about how we are going to deal with the crazy that comes with our family. No matter how dignified you are we all have at least ONE relative who can get a little out of hand.  I recently stopped by CW6 in San Diego to promote the new film Almost Christmas. It's in theaters tomorrow  starring Danny Glover, Gabrielle Union, Monique and many more. This movie has got the total combination of family, fun and lot of crazy. I also shared my tips on how to deal with the crazy with a bit of grace and style. Many of the tips came straight from my book Let Crazy Be Crazy. Take a look at the clip from my interview below and then go see the hilarious movie Almost Christmas with your family. 

Small Memorial Day Party Ideas That Make A Big Difference

Although Veterans Day is a celebration of those who serve and have served, Memorial Day is a solemn day to reflect on those veterans and military personnel who are deceased, and to remember the sacrifice of the brave military members, as well as their families, the widows and parentless children of the fallen. It has also become the kick off holiday weekend to our Spring/Summer season with the gathering of friends and family. Memorial Day is fast-approaching, and some of us haven’t quite nailed down the details of our party. We want it to be fabulous yet inviting. Patriotism is a must but going over-the-top should be avoided. Here are three tips to make your party a success.


Tip #1: Swap out the cups for Mason Jars

The idea of the party is to make guests feel at home. Paper cups scream “house party” while Mason Jars signify a family gathering. Allow attendees to take the containers home for keepsakes to prevent clutter and become a favored host.


Tip #2: Exchange balloons for streamers

Balloons are festive, but they tend to either pop or fly away before the party has concluded. There is little more jarring than a ball of helium exploding in the middle of a bash. The only thing worse than hearing a balloon abruptly pop is listening to the cries of a child after the “red ball” flies away. Avoid all of this with streamers that are easy to place and long-lasting.


Tip #3: The Memorial Day cake should always be festive

The Memorial Day cake should say that you are patriotic if nothing else at the party conveys such truth. Topping off a white cake with blueberries and raspberries is always in order on May 30. The idea of combining frosted cupcakes to create the appeal of a larger cake is also smart. Swapping traditional cake for small cupcakes is less of a headache as partygoers cannot say that you played favorites when cutting the dessert when individual pastries are provided.  

Last Minute Craft Ideas for Mother's Day

Are you still searching for the perfect gift for mom? Look no further! Here are three last-minute DIY ideas that will satisfy her without breaking the bank.


The Mother’s Day Mug

Buy a white cup and design away. You can use stamps, stickers, and other products to decorate the mug. You may even stain the cup for an even grander appeal! Present the gift to mom on her day right before serving her breakfast in bed.


DIY Calming Jar

Mother’s Day should be a time for mom to unwind and relax. What better way for her to relieve tension than by viewing the calming jar that you made for her? Here’s how to make one!

●      Begin by selecting a glass jar.

●      Fill the jar with water and transfer the liquid to a pot for warming.

●      After the water is heated, not scorching hot, transfer the substance back to the jar.

●      Add clear or colored glue to the jar.

●      Incorporate glitter into the mixture.

●      Seal the top of the jar with glue and give it to mom.


A Centerpiece Unlike Any Other

Mother’s Day brunch or dinner wouldn’t be complete without a centerpiece of some sort. Let your creativity shine through by creating, instead of buying, an appealing main feature that mom can use all year round. You can put those old tin cans to good use with decorations that match the flowers that you give her. Your thoughtfulness and creativity will make mom smile.


Cinco de Mayo: Dieting While Celebrating

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo doesn’t have to be a time to break away from your nutritional regimen. There are many ways to substitute ingredients, but not taste, and enjoy a healthy holiday. Here are three tips for a more wholesome Cinco de Mayo.

Tip #1: Swap rice for cauliflower

It doesn’t sound all that tasty but cauliflower is a great substitute for rice. The vegetable is less than 30 calories per serving and can be steamed in the same manner that one would cook rice. You can eat a whole bowl of cauliflower without feeling guilty while eating rice in the same way would warrant additional calories and time at the gym.

Tip #2: Implement the healthy taco bar

Have friends visiting for the holiday? Want to serve something that won’t tip the scales?Consider the healthy taco bar. Switching out one pan of meat for beans gives guests the option of a vegan experience. If you serve meat, choose 93 percent lean ground beef or turkey and use half of the taco powder instead of the whole packet during preparation. Such actions reduce sodium and calorie intake.

Tip #3: Modify your margarita

The average margarita served at a restaurant carries upwards of 600 calories. That’s a whole meal! You can adjust your drink by mixing tequila, zero-calorie sparkling water, and lime juice. Not only do these modifications provide a great taste but they lower the calorie intake from 600 to 100 per serving. How’s that for dieting?

8 Funtastic Beach, Poolside and BBQ Tips for 4th of July Etiquette

On the Beach


1. Choose your spot wisely.
If you have small children try setting up near another family with small children rather than someone without. Families with kids are more tolerant of the occasional little-one meltdown.

2. Don’t be a sand kicker
When walking, if the sand is cool enough, remove your flip flops. If  you have to wear flip flops, be mindful of kicking sand onto others as you pass by.

3. Keep the party in your area
Be considerate with smoke from your BBQ grill and loud music. Keep an eye on the body language of your neighbors and check in on them every so often by asking if they’re disturbed at all.


At the Pool

4. Don’t be a space hog
You shouldn’t park your stuff on top of multiple lounge chairs to hold your belongings. Use what’s absolutely necessary so others can have a chair too.

5. Control your teens.
We always keep a mindful eye on our little ones, but don’t forget about your teenage kids. Too much roughhousing and screaming can become quite annoying to other pool visitors. So be sure to set some ground rules about consideration for others before you go.

6. Wear family-friendly swimwear
What you choose to wear on a tropical romantic/exotic vacation may not work so well at a pool. Things are a bit more live and close up and with the holiday you’ll have more families present. Save the red-hot look for another time and opt for more family-friendly swimwear.

Back Yard BBQ

7. Back away from the grill
If you are not the host, don’t touch the grill. Imagine the response if you walked into someone’s kitchen while they were cooking and started stirring the food in their pots and flipping food on the stove. You might get smacked with the spatula. Well, the same thing applies here. Whether a male or female is tending the grill, unless you are asked to do so, back away from the grill and just enjoy the party.

8. Serve it up with style
There is nothing wrong with eating on paper plates should you choose to do so. But you can  consider adding a little flair to the festivities by using dishes and glasses for your guests. This works well for smaller parties and you don't have much to clean up afterwards. If you choose to go with paper products, you can spice up your presentation by using  festive platters and beverage containers. Have fun, theme it out, and make your guests feel special.

What To Do With Those Not-So-Hot Gifts You Received For The Holidays

What to Do With Not-So-Hot Gifts

  1. Keep your opinion to yourself.  There is no need to inform the giver of your dissatisfaction with the gift. The old adage of “It’s the thought that counts” really does apply here. Just be gracious and keep the not-so-hot news to yourself. This way you’ll avoid any hurt feelings.
  2. Exchange it. If a gift receipt was included this is a simple fix and the giver obviously anticipated you would exchange it. Now if a gift receipt was not included yet you know which store it came from, you may be able to exchange it for another item or a store credit.
  3. Stash it for later. If the gift is acceptable to be re-gifted then place it in a box, bin or basket to be given out later. This can be your go-to spot for a last minute or perfect fit gift throughout the year. Just make sure you follow my simple re-gifting guidelines before doing so.

Say Thank you With Style

  1. If the person was there when you opened the gift then there is no need for you to send a thank you note. Your verbal thank you was sufficient.
  2. If you exchanged gifts with friends and family members then again you do not have to follow up with a note.
  3. If the giver was not there when you opened the gift or if you received a gift of great value or sentiment then sending a note of thanks would be in order.  Follow the simple guideline to writing an elegant thank you card.
Shop Stationery by Elaine

Shop Stationery by Elaine

Elements of a Thank You Card
Say Thank you
Name the gift
Say something about the gift
Write or sign name

Here's an Example:
Dear Christopher,
Thank you for the ruby bracelet. It is my birthstone and this color always looks fabulous on me. I now have something beautiful to wear on special occasions.
Love Elaine

Make Saying Thank You Fun for Kids

  1. Have children make their thank you cards from various arts and crafts materials
  2. Be creative – put to use unusual yet fun way to craft a thank you card. One idea is to take a photo and create a card around it.

Leave Someone Off Your Gift List?
Send the person a card that says Happy New Year! A nice greeting to usher in the New Year accompanied by a simple heartfelt note helps to personalize your well wishes towards them. If you wish, you may include a gift card or yearly subscription to a magazine. This will help make the gift seem more hand selected and thoughtful.