Holiday Travel - Steven James Dixon - Bella Ghandi - Erin Bolger - Stocking Stuffers - Chicago Bride Magazine - Better Than Ezra - The Caroling Party
Monday, November 29
Money Saving Holiday Travel Tips
To save on airfares - book your flights on Tuesdays for the best deals. When you are purchasing tickets for your entire family or a group, shop one passenger at a time because airline reservations systems must sell everyone in your party the same price - even if there are a few cheaper priced seats available.
Pre-reserve your airport parking at O'Hare and Midway with www.parknflynetwork.com so you are guaranteed a spot during the crazy holiday travel season.
Remember the airlines, with the exception of Southwest, now charge for checked baggage ($25 per bag, per way) - so carry on as much as possible.
There are a new crop of web sites available to help people plan and book travel. Gogobot.com is one that just launched that lets people plan extraordinary trips by tapping into their friends on Facebook and Twitter for fully researched travel advice - perfect for those traveling over the holidays who want to know where they should eat or what to do on their holiday vacation. Another cool site is jetsetter.com. You get "invited to join" and membership is free, but then you get access to the best last minute deals in travel. In fact, WGN viewers get an exclusive invite to join today by going to www.jetsetter.com/wgn.
New Years Eve Getaways The Standard Hotel - Miami, Florida Â· Jetsetter has reserved rooms in some of the hottest hotels for members only. Travel to The Standard Miami for New Year's Eve and get seriously hooked up. All JetSetter guests receive two spa treatments, two yoga classes and two spa breakfasts per room per day. You'll also receive a complimentary bottle of champagne upon arrival, so you'll be fully prepared to toast to 2011. Â· Rates start at $465/night. Hotel has a young, hip vibe and is located a short drive from the South Beach scene. Dreams Resort - Huatulco, Mexico
Tuesday, November 30
Steven James Dixon
To purchase a copy of the book:
"Men Don't Heal, We Ho" - A Book About the Emotional Instability in Men.
Erin Bolger - The Happy Baker
To purchase a copy of the book:
The Happy Baker: A Girl's Guide To Emotional Baking
YOU ARE NOT AS SWEET AS MY SUGAR COOKIES
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
juice of 1 lemon, remove seeds
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Coconut to roll dough in
Preheat oven to 350F. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt: set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars.
Mix in lemon juice, egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Wrap dough in plastic and put in the refrigerator until easy to handle. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and then roll in coconut. Place balls on a lined cookie sheet and flatten with your fingers. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until slightly golden. Let cool on wire cooling racks.
NEWLY SINGLE, TOFFEE CHOCOLATE POPCORN
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
8 cups popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup popping kernels)
1/3 cup toffee baking bits
Preheat oven to 300F. Place popped popcorn in an 9 x 13-inch rectangle baking dish. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring chocolate chips, corn syrup and butter to a boil; stirring often. Pour over popcorn and stir until evenly coated. Stir in toffee baking bits. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool.
I FORGOT TO MENTION I WAS MARRIED, BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 cups whipped topping, frozen
1 can blueberry pie filling
Melt butter and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in graham cracker crumbs, setting aside 1/4 cup of mixture. Press into a 9 x 12-inch pan. Let crust cool in fridge. Blend cream cheese and confectioners' sugar together until smooth. Stir in frozen whipped topping; blend well. Spread over cooled crust. Let set in fridge for 30 minutes. Spread pie filling on top and sprinkle with remaining graham cracker crumb mixture. Refrigerate.
DATING AIN'T EASY, GINGER BREAD BISCOTTI
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cooking molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 Tbs ground ginger
1 Tbs cinnamon
1 1/2 Tbs ground cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, beat together oil, sugar, eggs and molasses. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Mix into the wet mixture. Dough will be a little sticky and heavy. Divide the dough in half on a lined cookie sheet. With lightly floured hands, shape dough into 2 flattened logs. About 1/2 inch thick.Bake for about 25 minutes, until center is set. Remove from oven. When cool enough to touch, cut into 1/2-inch slices. Lay the slices on their side. Bake for an additional 6-8 minutes. Turn slices over and continue baking for 6-8 minutes.In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt the white chocolate chips. Drizzle over baked biscotti.
Wednesday, December 1
Saturday, December 4 and Sunday, December 5
noon - 6:00 p.m.
Wrap It Up with Step Up
The Shops at North Bridge
Grand and Michigan Avenues
Thursday, December 2
"These Shining Lives"
December 3 - 5
Ottawa Township HS Auditorium
World of Chocolate
Benefitting AIDS Foundation of Chicago
720 S. Michigan Avenue
Friday, December 3
The Perfect Stocking
If someone on your list doesn't have the perfect stocking for stuffing, Land's End makes fantastic Chunky Knit Stockings that are roomy and as cozy as a sweater. They come in all sorts of colors to compliment any holiday dÃ©cor. $34.50
The Fragrance Fanatic
Everyone has that friend who loves to stop people in their tracks with his or her scent. Give them something new to spritz on with Halston Man Amber or Woman Amber. Both are sophisticated scents that exude sensuality. For something more traditional, try the elegant new packaging of Elizabeth Arden's signature Red Door fragrance for women, which celebrates the company's 100th anniversary. $59- $80
The Sweet Tooth
For that person who needs their sugar fix, give them two for the price of one with Godiva's Bakery Dessert Truffles. These delectable little goodies were inspired by delicious bakery items and include flavors like Cheesecake, Red Velvet Cake, Carrot Cake and Chocolate Lava Cake. Prices vary from $15- $50.
Socks are a great stocking stuffer, but for this kind of pal give the gift of warmth in a "green" way. COOLMAX EcoMade Performance Socks are cozy and comfortable and made from recycled plastic bottles. $8.50- $10.50
Give the gift of creativity to the technology nut in your life. Sony's Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum Software lets people make, edit and share professional-level movies right from the comfort of their own home. $95
The Meat Eater
You can't put steaks in a stocking, but gift cards fit just fine! Give an Omaha Steaks certificate to your favorite carnivore and they can purchase anything from a T-bone to New York Strip and even dessert. You can present it in a miniature Omaha Steaks distinct foam cooler and it fits in to any budget with cards from $5.00 to $500.00.
Chicago Bride Magazine
Timeline tips for planning a wedding one year in advance:
Congratulations! After you've picked the date, the first thing to do is determine your wedding budget. Once that's established, it will give you a good idea as to what sort of reception venue you should be looking into.
The first thing to book is the service location and ceremony venue as these get booked one year or more in advance. If needed, this would also be the time to reserve a caterer. Lastly, you should be looking into and reserving all other major vendors: florist, photographer, videographer, and entertainment.
Nine to 11 months ahead: send the 'save the date' cards, shop for and order your wedding dress. It might also be a good idea to choose and order the bridesmaid, flower girl and mother of the bride/groom dresses.
Six to eight months ahead: book wedding day transportation, begin registering for shower/wedding gifts, book honeymoon/travel plans and, if needed, start looking for a place to live!
Three to five months ahead: book and plan rehearsal dinner, select and order your wedding invitations, order wedding bands, decide/order wedding favors and wedding cake, finalize guest list.
Two months ahead: reconfirm all of your vendor contracts, find hair stylist and make-up artist and do a trial run with your headpiece, mail out invitations, have your final wedding dress fitting within a month of the wedding date.
Two weeks ahead: pick up marriage license, prepare seating chart for reception, buy bridal party gifts.
For a complete step-by-step planning guide, check out the latest issue of Chicago Bride Magazine or go to www.chicagobridemagazine.com
Better Than Ezra
Road to Mardi Gras Tour
House of Blues
The Caroling Party
November 29 - December 3
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