Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Holiday Entertaining? Make it EASY

Holiday entertaining tips guaranteed to help hosts impress guests

The holiday season is packed with social events big and small. What makes some more memorable than others? The extra thought and special touches from the host or hostess.

Cookbook author and entertaining expert Gaby Dalkin recently teamed up with the Paper & Packaging - How Life Unfolds campaign to share how you can make a big statement this season with surprisingly little effort. These five entertaining tips are guaranteed to help you create a one-of-kind party, leaving guests impressed and full of holiday spirit.

Conquer holiday stress with to-do lists

To reduce stress, stay organized and ensure you maintain a merry attitude, use printed templates to create handwritten holiday party to-do lists.

"I start my to-do lists weeks before the celebration and break them down by day," Dalkin says. "A few days before the big event, I stock up on beverages. Two days before I buy all the shelf-stable ingredients. The day before, all the produce goes into the fridge, and I make any sauces or appetizers that can rest in the fridge overnight without being affected. And then, the day of the party is broken down by the hour. If you're making a roast, start it in the morning. A salad can be prepped ahead of time and dressed before serving."

Elevate gifting with personalized presentation

Nearly half of Americans feel that gift presentation enhances the gift they give or receive, according to a Paper and Packaging Board survey. That means if you want to impress, don't skimp on gift presentation.

"I grab a few rolls of brown kraft paper and make it special," Dalkin says. "If I'm sending a present to someone who loves food, I'll grab some stamps with fun food on them and stamp the paper so it's customized for that individual. If it's my younger niece, I'll stamp it with some hearts. These small gestures make a big impact."

Use a creative approach to assigned seating 

Assigned seating is particularly helpful when entertaining large groups. It takes the guesswork out of sitting down to dinner and keeps the evening flowing smoothly. It's also an easy way to add festive style to the tabletop.

"If I'm entertaining for more than 10, I'll make little fold-over name tags out of cute cardstock," says Dalkin. "I'll punch a hole in the paper name tag and weave in a bit of rosemary, paper ribbon or a fresh flower to give it an extra pop."

Add pizazz with a Champagne bar

The survey also found that for approximately half of Americans, a cocktail bar stands out as a key component for an unforgettable holiday party.

Add an easy yet elegant touch to any holiday gathering by setting up a Champagne bar. Simply chill a few bottles, place on a bar cart and add bowls of fresh berries and carafes of fresh squeezed juices. Include handwritten cardstock labels near each ingredient so your guests can mix and match to their hearts' content.

This no-fuss station encourages guests to make their own cocktails at their leisure, giving the host extra time to catch up. Plus, Dalkin adds, "I've found that Champagne bars are often one of the most photographed elements of the night."

Send guests home with a little something homemade

Frozen cookie dough is one of the trendiest homemade gifts of the year. Just whip up your favorite batch of dough, tightly wrap it in parchment paper and freeze. Then add some holiday ribbons, a personalized paper label and handwritten baking instructions.

"Recipients can slice and bake at their leisure and file the recipe card for years to come," says Dalkin. "You can make the same thing for everyone, or perhaps a few different batches to suit any sweet tooth. I think of it as a gift that keeps giving."

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Strokes: Your Guide To Stroke Prevention

Getting help quickly during a stroke can help lead to a full recovery.

What happens during a stroke?

A stroke is when brain cells are being deprived of oxygen and begin to die, affecting the areas of the brain that control muscles and memory.  during this time, as many as 1.9 million brain cells die every minute during a stroke.

There are three primary types of strokes:

  1. Ischemic - clots in blood vessels supplying blood to the brain
  2. Hemorrhagic - when a weakened blood vessel ruptures
  3. TIA - a temporary clot or "mini-stroke" or warning stroke
There are a number of uncontrollable risk factors, but still important to identify to assess the overall risk for stroke.  These include: age, family history, ad previous strokes or TIAs.  

Medically, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol reduces the risk of strokes, as does controlling irregular heartbeat (AFib) with medication.

Prevention is key, and there are lifestyle changes hat can mitigate the risk of a stroke, such as:
  • Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise;
  • Refraining from tobacco use as smoking can increase clot formations;
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation as it increases blood pressure which heightens the risk of strokes.

Getting Help during a stroke

Experts agree that getting treatment within the first 60 minutes, or the "Golden Hour" can significantly increase the chances of recovery, or diminish the long term impact of a stroke.  A medical alert system allows the wearer to press one simple button and be immediately connected to emergency response professionals, even if they are unable to speak.  A medical alert system with automatic fall detection built into the pendant can add an additional layer of protection for those who are susceptible to falls and strokes.

Please review the info-graphic below "Moments Matter - A Complete Stroke Resource" courtesy of Crouse Hospital.   And be sure to see our other stroke-related tips to help keep yourself safe: