Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Spotlight

The Mermaids love nothing more than when people come together to find creative ways to celebrate. 

Our holiday spotlight shines on a group of friends who have a kept a tradition called "The Holiday Loop".  This is their TWELFTH year (simply amazing!) so this year is appropriately themed:

The Twelve Days of Christmas.
How does it work? A few friends volunteer their homes as a "stop" on the loop. After the theme and all of the stops are decided, each person creates a menu, cocktail, decor and attire based on the theme. 
Creative Invite Idea for Loop:  FOUR CALLING BIRDS...

First Stop on the Loop: FIVE GOLDEN RINGS...
Appetizers at Don and Margaret's House - Don and Margaret are making five different appetizers that are round and will serve beautiful gold sparkling champagne with artistic golden rings around each glass stem.

The Mermaids also like the idea of scattering clusters of 5 gold tealights around your tablescape.

Dinner is served at Shelley's house!  Shelley is making three cornish hens paired with a festive French wine.

A cute and creative centerpiece for her table!

Dessert at Karen and Mark's house. Karen and Mark are making chocolate turtle doves and serving Raspberry Chocolate Turtle Dove martinis.

And, delicious "Pa-Rum-Pa-Rum-Drum" Chocolate Rum Cupcakes!

Fourth Stop:
Holiday gift swap and cocktails at Tim and Jeanette's house. Guests will do their holiday gift exchange as well as play a few games and winners choose from these great themed prizes:



Loop In Style!
Renting a car service allows everyone to be safe and enjoy the ride to each stop, together.

Loop Down Memory Lane.
Here are some of their favorite themes from the past:
  • Black and White: Everything from food, drinks, decorations and attire must be black and white.
  • Ugly Wedding Attire: We will let you use your imaginations for this one!
  • Tacky Tourist:  Each home was a different tourist attraction like "I Heart NY" or "Dessert at Disney",  Attire ranged from logo tees, shorts and fannypacks to sandals worn with socks! 
Thank you to our festive friends in Melbourne, Florida for sharing great ideas and fun memories.

Celebrate and Swim Lightly, 

The Mermaids

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Share Your Gifts.

With the Holiday season in full swing, the Mermaids want to share some gift ideas that won't leave you fighting crowds or standing in lines!

Holiday Gift Giving Ideas Without Spending A Dime.

Your Time.
It's completely free and can mean more than any material gift. A simple gesture like offering to wrap presents for your elderly neighbor or your busiest friend...to organizing their holiday christmas card list and stuffing envelopes!  Take it a step further and volunteer to clean out a closet, an office space or an attic and really help someone start the New Year with a clean slate.

Share Your Gift.
We all have it--that one special gift that the world would never see without YOU in it!  Maybe you're a great photographer...offer to shoot a family photo session. Talented makeup artist or hairdresser?  Help your girlfriends prep for their holiday parties. Have a career or degree in finance? Offer to sit down and go over  famliy expenses and create a budget. 

Free and Fragrant.
Instead of the typical candle, pull some fresh herbs from your garden and give a lift to a neighbor or friend's kitchen--they smell as great as they look.

This Year, Lose the Labels.
Except for your own!  Print personalized labels from your computer as a practical and pretty gift.

Pass the Pooch.
Dog sitting is a great way to relieve someone for a day or an overnight so they can complete their last minute holiday shopping or save a few bucks on a dog walker or doggy day care. The same goes for kids too!

Recycled Recipes.
A great way to share the gift of your favorite meals is by copying them and binding the recipes into a book covered in a lovely fabric or printed paper.

Create a Couture Collection Box.
Is your closet the gift that could keep on giving and giving and...giving?  Dig out those gently worn vintage finds and garments that are a size too small or too big and finally break up with those "I have too many bad memories in these mules!"  Gift a fashionable collection to someone you love and let them walk a mile in your shoes. You could also list your designer duds on eBay and use the "free" money towards a charity gift or donation.


Inspired by Style.
If you are a talented interior designer, home architect or just blessed with a trained eye for style--why not offer an hour or more of your time to help someone spruce up their space?  Wallpaper, choosing paint colors, measuring for window treatments or just sitting together to flip through magazines or your favorite design blogs is a wonderful gift.

Rule of Fin:
Re-use any leftover wallpaper or fabric to wrap journals, photo books or CD cases.

Extras can also be used for stylish wrapping paper for extra special presents throughout the year.

Gifted in the Kitchen.
This year, our top chef friend (http://www.chefdavidlapham.com/) gave his entire family the gift of a week's worth of his gourmet home cooked meals. 

Not so sharp with a steak knife?  A sweet staple like holiday cookies are thoughtful and can look beautiful if you get a little creative with your decorating!

Whatever you give this year, keep in mind that
'Meaning is the New Money'.

Celebrate and Swim Lightly,

The Mermaids

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The 3 C's!

Happy Holidays from the Mermaids!

As people are celebrating special traditions from cultures all over the world, we wanted to chime in on just three of them today--The '3 C's': Chrismukkah, Christmas and Channukah.

Looking for a way to represent both Christmas and Channukah at your holiday celebration? Throw a Chrismukkah Party! Not only is a Chrismukkah party a great way to celebrate both religions at once, it's also a really fun party.

Creative Invite Idea.
Burn a copy of this "Oy To The World" CD for each of your guests. Print party details, slip in a clear case as the CD cover and send!

*Don't forget to play this CD during your party!

Specialty Chrismukkuh Cocktails.
Serve your guests spiked Egg Nog.  You can pour in festive decorated mugs--half of them Santa-themed and the other half stars and Dreidels! Garnish with nutmeg on top and warm up from the inside out!   He'Brew beer chilled is another great option for this party.


A Bagel & a Schmear.
After a long night of holiday revel-send your guests off with mini bags filled with a bagel, a tub of cream cheese and a to-go cup of hot coffee!

This book is a hilarious hostess gift filled with everything Chrismukkah!

'Christmas Chilled with Cheer'? or maybe you prefer a 'Santa by the Sea Soirree'?  Whatever you fancy, most of us are cutting back this year and that might mean that vacations are the first thing to go.

Why not treat your guests to a mini vacation no matter where you live?  If you live someplace warm and sans snow in December--your guests will love an evening in Aspen!   And, if it's frigid and cold in December where you live--transport your guests to St. Barts!

An Evening in Aspen or An Evening in St. Barts.
*Or, create a Winter Wonderland in Alaska or Maine or a sun drenched paradise like Hawaii, Tahiti or Mexico!

Creative Invite Idea.
For a Spectaular & Swish invite, send your guests an airline ticket to St. Barts!

Or, a personalized ski lift ticket from Aspen...

For a Cheap & Chic alternative, send your guests a postcard...


Hand write the party details on the back, stamp and send!

A warm cocktail in front of a "faux" fireplace covered in fake snow will have your guests nice and toasty.

Or, 'You Tube' a crackling fire to your flastcreen.  And, how cute is this Cheap & Chic cardboard deer to hang above? 

Or, this beautiful piece really makes a statement...

Specialty Cocktail--Aspen.

The Midnight Snowstorm
2 oz white crème de menthe
Hot chocolate
Dollop of whipped cream

Use store bought hot chocolate as per the packet instructions and pour into a glass with 2 oz of the white crème de menthe and stir. Add whipped cream and warm up your guests!

Specialty Cocktail--St. Barts.
Serve Rose wine to your guests as they listen to the sounds of the ocean in their flip flops (see party favor flip flops!)

This Paul Jaboulet Aîné Rose is light and fruity and only $11 per bottle.

We hope you enjoyed your stay! 

Send guests back to reality with a souvenier from their recent vacation.  Warm chocolate chip cookies and milk 'to-go' after their evening in Aspen.

Fill a basket with flip flops for guests to wear during your island escape party and to take a pair home with them when as a great favor.


Creative Invite Idea.
Invite your guests to celebrate the Festival of Lights with you by sending them a homemade matchbox. Use blue paper and a gold ink star stamp! Write party details on back of box or include them on a folded  piece of paper inside.

Specialty Cocktail.
Keep the traditional Channukah colors throughout your party palette with this specialty cocktail:

Blue Martini
3 oz (about 1/3 cup) gin or vodka
1/2 oz (1 tablespoon) dry vermouth
1 teaspoon blue Curaçao
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, strained
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, strain into 2 Martini glasses and garnish with lemon twists.

Creative Centerpiece.
Fill hurricane vases with a mixture of these Cheap & Chic plastic dreidels  and gelt candy coins for your centerpieces or sprinkle around your bar or tables.

Send your guests off into the starry night with these Star of David sparklers.  They also come in Manorah shapes!

Happy Hostess Gift.
Remind your hostess how kind she was to invite you into her holiday nest.  Every time she lights her beautiful scented candle, she'll be reminded of you!

Whatever 'C' you honor this year, remember:  Don't host a party. host a memory.

Celebrate and swim lightly,

The Mermaids

Friday, November 6, 2009

Impromptu Party.

Impromptu party at your place but no time to plan?  Create a "Mermaid Treasure Chest"!  This can be achieved via a closet, a shelf in a drawer, an old cardboard box or even a storage container filled with simple treasures to create your next party in a pinch.

Here are some time-tested treasures for your chest:
  • A white tablecloth
  • Twine (or spare ribbon recycled from gifts or packaging)
  • Place cards (this can range from formal place cards to colorful hard stock paper)
  • Pack of multi-colored sharpies or paint pens
  • Tea lights
  • Floor pillows (can be re-covered for different themed events)
  • Large, medium and small sized hurricane vases
  • 3-5 mini glass bud vases
  • Matches
  • Portable iPod speakers
  • BONUS: If you have extra space, a large oversized chalkboard with chalk
Now that you have created your instant party treasure chest...the Mermaids are going to swim off with these timeless party tips.

Grocery List--Get the Groceries OFF your List!  Whether you're hosting a sit-down dinner, buffet, or casual snacks--shopping ahead of time will make you more relaxed and allow more time at home to prepare.  Make sure your list is extremely detailed to avoid running back to the store for last minute items. Rule of Fin: Break it down by courses and double check against what's already in the kitchen. Getting halfway through a cheese platter withouth enough crackers just won't work.

Mermaids Getting Toasty. Rule of Fin: Figure 2 drinks per person.  A bottle of wine pours around 4 glasses.  A bottle of liquor pours around 15 drinks.  For a little extra help calculating how much alcohol you will need, use this drink calculator.

Top Table.  Grab your trusty tablecloth and iron or steam as needed. Set dinner plates, salad plates, bowls, silverware, water and wine glasses depending on your menu.  Enjoy your tabletop as much as your menu.

Buffet Basics.  Place stacked plates, bowls, napkins and silverware at one end to welcome guests. Platters and serving utensils are placed in the middle to allow guests comfortable serving space.

Notable Napkins. Dress your table with colorful, creative napkins. Fold your napkins into fun shapes--use your own personal napkin rings or tie napkins with twine and tuck a little something special in each one like a twig, cinnamon stick or fresh flower.

Find Your Place in the World.  Place cards are as personal as they are practical for any sit down dinner.  Take a few minutes to really think about your guests personalities. Where they are in their life? In the world?  Create place cards and seating charts accordingly.  Rule of Fin: It's best to seat guests with more outgoing personalities in the center of the table.

A Menu With Meaning. "Spooky Sliders" for Halloween,"Wild Turkey" platters for Thanksgiving, "You Say Tomato" salad and "Tie the Knot" Tuna Tartare for the bride-to-be! Meaningful moments will be shared with guests when you personalize your menu.

Build A Bar. Set a separate table, clear a counter or a small decorated tray--these make for great bar solutions---especially for tight spaces like NYC apartments!

CB2 makes this great Cheap & Chic butler tray.

A Chilly Greeting.  Set out your ice bucket with tongs or a wine/beer tub, a large punch bowl or a trash bin lined with a trash bag for ice cold drinks!  Stock a variety of glasses based on your beverage selections. Set out beverages that do not need to be refrigerated such as red wine, liquors and mixers to save time.

Garnish Me Pretty.  Prepare garnishes such as lemons, limes and cherries as well as bar accessories: wine/beer openers, drink stirrers, and swizzle sticks ahead of time.

Timing Is Everything.  Just before guests are due to arrive, fill your ice containers and add beer, white wine, champagne and chillers. Most importantly,  pour yourself a much needed cocktail!

Fabulous Flowers.  Fresh flowers are always a cheerful and inviting addition to any table or buffet. Fill your favorite vase or place multiple vases down the center of your table or buffet.

Let There Be Leftovers. Scattering your flower filled bud vases on your table, buffet, or around your home is a brilliant way to use any leftover flowers.

Creative Centerpieces. Flowers not really your style? Fill your hurricane vases with whatever your want! A pillar candle surrounded by cranberries or leaves makes a fabulous Fall centerpiece. Use your imagination...sand, marbles, golf tees, lemons and limes, tennis balls, pool balls, nail polish bottles, feathers, or crystals will mer-make a great party!

Light Up A Room. A Mermaid hostess knows the power of good lighting. Candles create an ambiance that is warm and welcoming. Scatter votives down your table or buffet as well as around your home. Rule of Fin: Light candles 30 minutes before guests arrive.

Chalk It Up. If you have the room to store a chalkboard--write your guests a welcome message and place it near your party entrance! Personalize your event with martini glasses for a cocktail party or stencil popular kiddie characters for a kids party.

Roll Up Your Mer-Mitts. Now that you have everything set and your place looks amazing, it's time to hit the kitchen.  Pour yourself a glass of wine, relax, and remember that you're cooking for your nearest and dearest so the most important ingredient is LOVE!

Rule of Fin: Sometimes, parties just happpen.  Mermaids are always here to swim to the rescue!

Celebrate and Swim Lightly,

The Mermaids