Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Book Signing!!!

I'll be at the Flemington Shop Rite on Rte 31 on Friday, December 11th from 1:30pm-6:30pm signing copies of my newest book, Well-Designed Living. Stop by to chat or to get a signed copy of my book! If you want to order a copy online, visit www.CailenAscher.bravehost.com.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Importance of Traditions

In today's fast-paced world, it's so easy to forget and overlook the small things that make life special. With the holidays approaching (Thanksgiving's next week! Can you believe it?!), I'm challenging you all to rekindle that magical holiday spirit that used to pervade this time of year.

A simple, easy and fun way to get that "holiday" feeling going is to focus on family time and traditions. Traditions provide us with stability, identity and continuity - three things that we're all in desperate need of now more than ever. In this age of laptops, ipods and cell phones (and economic instability) it's far too easy to lose touch with what's truly important; but traditions signify that we are to pause, pay attention and enjoy life. They mark happy times and are the basis of lasting memories.

Below are some simple tips that will help to rekindle or even create some wonderful holiday traditions.

1. Talk to your parents and other older relatives about their childhood traditions. See if there are any that you can re-create with your own family.

2. Turn small things into "events". When you're all gathering to watch a favorite Christmas movie, make a pot of hot chocolate and all get in your pajamas. Small changes can make everyday occurrences feel special.

3. Include the kids. Allowing children to help prepare a dish for the Thanksgiving meal or set the Christmas breakfast table will make them feel like an integral part of the celebration.4. Give a gift to others. Though this holiday season is a trying time for many of us with the current state of the economy, it's still wonderful to think about giving back. Donate gently used toys to under-privileged children, give canned goods to a soup kitchen or spend an afternoon with older residents at a nursing home. A gift of your time is often the most precious, and it's a great way to spend time together as a family.

5. No money, no problem. Remember, traditions aren't about spending money, they're about spending time together. One of my favorite childhood holiday traditions was our annual "Christmas ride". A few days before Christmas, we all would pile into the car with a casual "picnic" dinner in tow. We'd wrap ourselves in blankets and put on Christmas music. We would then spend the evening driving around to look at all the beautifully decorated homes. I have such fond memories of all of those rides - I know you and your family will enjoy it as well!

Happy Holidays : )

For more info about Cailen Ascher Design or my book, Well-Designed Living, visit www.CailenAscher.bravehost.com, email CailenAscher@gmail.com or call 908.581.8191.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas

I cannot believe it's already over a week into November! As usual, the holidays are rapidly approaching and with them arrive family to entertain and parties to prepare for. With that in mind, I've compiled some easy Thanksgiving Decorating and Entertaining ideas to help you achieve a "designer" look without the stress or designer price tag!

1. Harvest Centerpiece - There's no need to go out and spend lots of money on expensive floral arrangements for holiday tables. Instead, turn to things you can find right outside your back door or at your local farmstand. Branches, leaves and small gourds are all that you need to create a successful table design. Place the branches in an attractive fashion - either in a "line" for a long table or radiating out from a central point for a round table. Then scatter the small pumpkins and gourds haphazardly for a casual, harvesty look. For some added pizazz, dust the leaves and gourds with gold or copper spray paint. 2. Foliage Swags - Instead of the traditional fall wreath or Indian corn to adorn your door, why not create a swag instead?! Collect branches of leaves in varying sizes and colors and secure them at their base with twine or a rubber band. Then cover the twine or band with an orange, gold or brown ribbon. This fall swag will certainly impress all guests who enter your home.

3. Leaf Place Cards - When setting the Thanksgiving table, why not mark guests seats with leaves, instead of place cards. Collect colorful leaves of all shapes and sizes and be sure to wipe them clean of any dirt. Write guests' names on them with either a marker or gold-ink pen. This is a fun and simple way to bring the outdoors in.

4. Autumnal Soup - There's nothing that says "fall" like the smell of a delicious soup on the stove. So, why not welcome Thanksgiving guests with a yummy, comforting soup instead of traditional appetizers or hors d'oeuvres? A rich corn chowder with bacon, creamy mushroom soup or pureed squash soup is a wonderful and time saving way to keep guests satisfied until the turkey is done! 5. Turkey Buffet - To keep the holiday comfortable and casual, why not try a Thanksgiving buffet this year, instead of setting a formal table? Allowing guests to enjoy the feast while watching to football game or while sitting by the fire is a great way to make them feel at home. Also, it keeps you from having to set a formal table! Want easy clean-up, purchase attractive paper plates and plastic ware to save you from spending post-dinner doing dishes : )

Hope these tips inspire you to create a cozy, comfortable, memorable holiday!
Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

For more information about Cailen Ascher Design or my book, Well-Designed Living, visit http://www.cailenascher.bravehost.com/ or email CailenAscher@gmail.com.
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