Cherry Recommends Things to Do
I thought I'd post about New Year's resolutions. Here's the twist. Resolutions are usually so hard to keep, so make it easy on yourself and just make 4 simple life-affirming promises to yourself instead.
Make up a seasonal schedule for yourself. In the Spring I will do "w." In the summer I will do "x." In the fall I will do "y" and in the winter I will do "z." Come up with things that will help you make positive changes in your life, such as:
* Spend an hour or two at your local public library with no particular book you're looking for...
* Get a massage.
* Drive someplace you've never been before and take a long long walk.
* Call a friend you have not spoken to in over a year.
Write these activities on post-it notes and then stick them on your calendar to co-incide with the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, an the Summer and Winter Solstices. Then make sure you actually DO them when you get around to that time of year.
Dim All the Lights Sweet Darling
Next time you have a party remember that everyone looks and feels better in dim lighting. If you want your party guests to feel comfortable, nothing (besides liquoring them up) helps loosen people up better than mood lighting!
Make sure you have no harsh glaring lights anywhere…
Red bulbs are too Halloweeny. So I suggest orange bulbs if you can find them. You can often find orange color in the bulbs shaped like candle flames. For the areas which require a little more light on the subject – perhaps in the kitchen/eating areas – use yellow party lights or the amber bug lights. I also prefer to use 40 watt – NOT the 60 watt strength.
And don't neglect the bathrooms either – make sure the lighting is bright enough so people can see what they're doing, but soft enough to provide a nice muted reflection back in the mirror – so they'll feel confident about how they look when they re-enter the party.
Make a Non Alcoholic "Capri" cocktail
The Capri is basically a Cosmopolitan without the Triple Sec/Cointreau. It is different from a Cape Cod due to the addition of the lime juice. And yes, it was named for yours truly!
2 ounces vodka
2 ounces cranberry juice (the good white grape juice sweetened stuff - not Ocean Spray sugar water)
1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice (or Rose's lime juice)
Combine with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake and serve strained in a chilled cocktail (martini style) glass.
Variation on Theme: The Cherry Capri!
Substitute the cranberry juice with cherry juice of course - organic cherry juice from Trader Joes is the best if you can get it...
Make 7Up Sausage
This recipe comes from my friend Kim from New York City.
Sausage lasts a long time... so always keep a log o'sausage in your fridge for emergency friend snacking. 'Cause I'm vegetarian, I use veggie sausage that I buy at my local health food store. If you don't have a store in your neck of the woods, you can still order veggie products online. There's a list of resources here
Cut the sausage into ¼ to ½ sized round slices.
Heat up some 7 Up in a non-stick saucepan – just enough to coat the bottom – you are sautéing your sausage slices not boiling them!
Melt a little butter in their for an extra rich treat!
Fry your slices up until they are brown and ready to serve.
Then serve with a colored toothpick.
Serve plain or with honey mustard.
Do a Midnight Reading
Most of us know the poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore. But did you know it was never intended to be published over a hundred years ago? When Dr. Moore wrote what was originally called "A Visit From St. Nicholas" it was simply to amuse his own children. But a family friend loved it so much, she copied it down and had it published in the New York "Troy" Sentinel without the author's permission or attribution. It became an instant success. And eventually the author did get credit.
Now, a century later... it is still worthy of you spending a quiet moment with friends or family reading it just like they did in the olden days... Make some hot cocao or tea and start a tradition this year gathering round the yule log to read the poem aloud at midnight on Christmas Eve. Let everyone take turns reading the various rhyming couplets.
Swing Baby Swing
I'm not talking dancing or snapping your fingers baby... I mean before the weather starts to get too cold, go out and find yourself a swingset to swing on. You can find them at the beach or they're at public parks everywhere. Rustle up a friend to swing with you, or do it alone. Take the time to rock to and fro on a swing.
No, I really mean it... You'll be glad you did. Have fun!
Send Postcard Presents
Here's a last minute inexpensive fun gift idea to make for your friends.
If you go to almost any office supply store these days, they have these large sheets of sticky magnetic material available. They are normally used to make magnetic business cards. But you're gonna make fun post-card magnets instead.
First of all you have to find a few vintage postcards you really like. I like to find old cards of Disneyland Rides that are long gone… But you can use anything your heart desires… Old coffee shops, motel rooms, Route 66 images, any faraway place that makes you happy...
Make multiple color photocopies of the cards - but shrink the size of the image by 50% or so – so instead of a 4" x 6" card, you have a roughly 2"x 3" image. Remove the sticky backing of the magnetic sheets and attach them to your mini postcards and trim as needed. Make up little sets of these magnets up and tie them up with a nice ribbon!
Wrap with Map Wrap
Instead of traditional wrapping paper, try something completely different... Use a road map. It's especially fun to use ones from exotic travel destinations: Hawaii, New England, the South of France! Try to match the map with the personality of the receiver of your gift. For instance, if they were a skin diver, wrap the present in a map from the Bahamas or the Cayman Islands! For a tiki fan friend - use a map of Hawaii or the South Seas! Or for a skier, wrap in a map of the Colorado Rockies!
Okay. So it's the last minute and you still don't have a costume? Go directly to the store and buy the cheapest white queen sheet you can find. Put it over your head and cut out 2 round holes for eyes. The classic Charlie Brown ghost costume is still TOPS in my book for ingenuity and laughes from your friends.
Re-Light your Fire...
Ever buy a really nice scented candle and then were sad when it was finished, but there was still wax left? Well, start collecting all your bits of leftover wax. Break the wax into small pieces and store them in a Ziploc style baggy. When you have enough to make a whole new candle, you can buy wicks from your local craft store (get the pre-waxed kind). Then hunt around your local thrift store or garage sales for some interesting small glass container in which to make your new candle.
Stick the wick inside your container and then place your wax chips around it. Using a double boiler with the heat on low, let the wax melt around the wick and add more wax chips as needed. If you don’t put the flame up too high and the wax doesn't liquify – you can actually see the chucks of different colored leftover waxes in your finished candle. Set the candle aside to cool down before lighting.
Mini Emergency Packets
They used to say this on the old Mickey Mouse Club Show, "Is everybody Neat and Pretty?" Well, here are a few things that EVERY glove box or purse should have to keep you that way.
Aspirin or ibuprofen, a couple of folded tissues, breath mints, small pen, and slips paper to write on.
Buy those little snack-sized Ziploc baggies and makeup emergency packets for you and your friends. You'll have sweet smelling breath, never have a headache, can wipe that nervous perspiration from your brow (or wipe a tear away), and something to write your number on when you meet that hot new boyfriend!
Cocktail Napkin Coasters
I owe this smart idea to Iuka Grogg from the MaiKai Gents. Ever find a cool cocktail napkin that is so collectible and nifty looking, you just don't want to use it or throw it away? I have.
Take your napkins to your local copy store and have your napkins laminated! Voila - they are protected and waterproofed and now can serve as colorful unique coasters.
NAUGHTY PRANK: license plate frame
While I usually don't condone these kinds of activities, this one created by my delightfully naughty friend Trader Pup tickled my fancy so much I had to share it with you.
Go to your local swap meet and order a personalized license plate frame that says something silly like "Uncle Milty is my idol" "Pet Rock on Board" or bad like "Ask me about Viagra." It's especially good if it you put something personalized in your message. Then put the frame on your friends car by stealth and see how long it takes for them to discover it.
Overnight Guest Kit
You know when you go to a hotel how they have little mini shampoos and soaps. Wouldn't it be nice to have something like that for your friends when they spend the night at your pad. Odds are they ended up crashing there because they had a little too much to drink and didn't come prepared. So have something like this on hand.
Items to include:
If you wanna be extra nice add these things. Go to your corner drug store and look in the "travel-size" aisle for inexpensive combo packs of these:
Make it look special!
Rather than buy trial size shampoo, etc., use empty collectible trial size liquor bottles. That way you can refill them with your own shampoo, etc. Imagine putting some green colored Scope in a tiny Midori liquor bottle – that'll wake up your friends! You could even make special labels on your computer/printer with your name on it ala "Chez Cherry Capri Shampoo."
Put everything in a decorative bucket or bowl or some other special container. I use an old 60's California Pottery floral container. Tuck in a rolled up fresh face cloth on the side. Consider putting in a cologne sample from the department store to make it all smell purdy, too.
Toilet Paper Wrapping
You have a hip looking bathroom right? You've got your crucifixes on the wall, tiki candles on the shelf, "Dirty Girl" soaps
, or leopard skin toilet seat cover, right?
Well what do you or your guests do when you run out of toilet paper? You just can't leave a plain ole white roll of Scott's out in the open in such a swanky setting! So cover it up properly!
Use colored tissue papers, extra thin wrapping paper, or other soft decorative paper to cover your roll. My favorite type of paper to use is called a "lace." It's a gauzy type of paper that is water resistent, which is perfect for a damp environment like a bathroom. If you use a traditional tissue paper, you may find it gets old looking quickly and will need replacement on a regular basis. But a lace can be re-used over and over.
Sometimes you might see inexpensive floral arrangements in your supermarket using this kind of paper. Usually craft stores don't carry this kind of paper, so head to your local floral supply. If you are lucky enough to be in New York City, there's a place called Kate's Paperie on Broadway between Prince and Spring in Soho. They have a wonderful selection of laces and a few available online. http://www.katespaperie.com
The great thing about this proect is there are lots of creative options for you out there as far as the style and color of the paper your choose!
First of all, make sure you do a nice little triangle fold to the roll like a fancy hotel before you wrap it up...
Then, you'll need a piece of paper that's approximately 14" wide x 18" long. Set your toilet paper in the middle of the long end of the wrap and start rolling. Once the roll is covered, tuck the ends on each side into the toilet paper roll hole.
For an extra nice touch, tie a decorative ribbon around the finished package. In the end - it will look like a nice present for your bathroom guests. When you wrap your wipes in style, your friends will look forward to running out of T.P.!