With the hum of soft music, the lure of a beautifully designed menu, and the aroma of delicious foods wafting to your nostrils, a restaurant’s ambiance can sometimes blind you from what you’re eating, elegantly arranging a caloric death trap. But before you put the nail on your calorie coffin, check out these astoundingly simple tips that allow you to enjoy your meal without worry.
1. Skip the Bread.
Sure, bread tastes great, but the calories it contains aren’t. While a single breadstick from Olive Garden only contains 150 calories, let’s be honest and admit that one isn’t going to cut it. They’re just so good! But eating 2 or 3 breadsticks makes you quickly rake in the calories and leaves less room in your stomach for vegetables that show up with your entrée. Best bet: avoid the bread and enjoy your whole meal.
Toys are cool. Really, really, really cool. And it doesn’t matter if your 4 or 40 – playing around never loses appeal. But, as you know probably all too well, not all toys are created equal. Those that are trendy aren’t always the items you want to be buying for your tykes. This year however, we’ve been really fortunate. Designers’ collaborations resulted in some of the greatest toys to date. So, here’s a list of favorite toys that came out in 2012. Each one offers learning opportunities creatively disguised by being immensely fun. (If I’ve neglected your favorite 2012 toy, let me know!)
1. Classic Derby Car
Vroom, vroom! Rev those engines, little racers, here’s derby car that really couldn’t be any cooler. An FAO Schwarz original, this sweet hot rod is crafted of solid steel with a working steering column and allows any kid from 3-7 an opportunity to ride retro style.
2. Gourmet Kitchen Set
Step aside, Ina Garten! With this realistic wooden kitchen set, any young chef can whip up greatness. With slots to hang pots and pans, working knobs, and an oven window to check dinner’s progress, this gourmet kitchen is the perfect place for little chefs to create culinary art! (And it’s also created 100% from sustainable materials.)
Hark! It’s that time of year when Christmas songs haunt every grocery aisle, all department store racks, and every last media outlet. You can’t escape it. But luckily, not every jolly melody is ho-ho-horrendous. There are some classic tunes that will never go out of style (unlike the scarf you just bought your sister-in-law). So, in case you couldn’t make up your mind about which songs will help you deck the halls and which will have you running from the malls, here’s a short list of the top 5 best and worst holiday tunes:
1. White Christmas – Bing Crosby
This classic song sung by Bing Crosby goes down in the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling single of all time – and that’s saying something. The tune reminisces of old-fashioned, idealistic Christmases, and Crosby easily transports us to such snow-capped settings with his deep melodic voice.
2. The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole
First subtitled “Merry Christmas to You,” this 1946 classic has become the most-performed Christmas song of all time. (In 1974, Cole’s original version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame – so it’s good. Really, really, really good.)
There are two important things to remember about gifts: 1. They are most loved when they are things that people think are too extravagant to purchase for themselves. 2. They always look more expensive when nicely wrapped. So this holiday season, when you’re stumped about what to give someone at work who you’ve said less than 5 words to or are conned into attending your boyfriend’s-sister’s-friend’s holiday dinner party, keep in mind these fabulous gift options. Each one is easy to locate, available in every price range, and somehow, looks incredibly thoughtful when gifted.
There’s a reason why bakeries stay in business. With gifting sweets, you’ve got your selection of artisan truffles, cupcakes, selections of gourmet chocolate bars – anything goes. And really, they will go. Fast.
Fact: everyone eats food. So, try and find gourmet options to bring to the table (literally). Look for authentic olive oils, imported balsamic vinegar, and top-shelf honeys. And don’t be afraid to fill a basket with an assortment of teas, coffee, and possibly a mug. It’s cute, simple, and a great gift.
Coffee Table Books
Oversized books are great gifts because they make any subject intriguing. So while you may not know your recipient well – if at all – it’ll seem like you do. Check out this list to get a few good ideas of which page turners to schlep to the gathering.