Friday, June 24, 2016

Hot Potato Topic June #4

Hello my fellow cooks!
Well I have got one more wedding and this one is my favorite type...a destination wedding. I'll be enjoying the beautiful skyline of San Diego, CA and taking in some of the sights and two of my coworkers, yeah job romance does exist, tie the knot. They are from San Diego this is just a going home type of deal. Since I have never been there I look forward to checking off one of my desired travel locations.
Anybody looking forward to a quiet July...maybe I'll extend things and check out the Happiest Place on Earth?
Safe and Healthy Summer,
The Chef

9 Ways to Save as a Wedding Guest

Buying a gift, finding something to wear, traveling to the wedding—the costs of being a guest can really add up, especially if you’re going to more than one wedding in a short period of time. We know every trick in the book for being a stellar guest without completely breaking the bank. Read on for genius ways to save.
Bride and groom at their wedding
Photo by Eddie Winter/ Readyluck

Book a group deal.

It's not just hotels that have group rates—some airlines (American Airlines, Delta and Virgin America) have reduced fare programs too. The caveat: You'll usually need at least 10 people to get a discounted rate, and in some cases you'll need to put a deposit down in advance of your travel. Word to the wise: Make sure everyone you get on board is reliable and won't leave you in a lurch last minute.

Split your travel and accommodations.

Round up a group of your single friends and split a hotel room, or buddy up with another couple on a car rental. It makes way more sense to split the cost than to have a rental SUV and only use two seats (they can pitch in on gas too!). If you're not close enough with other guests of the wedding, ask someone in the bridal party if they know anyone interested in teaming up. They can help connect you, even if it's just for a shared taxi ride from the airport to the hotel.

Buy your registry gift early.

Being prompt with the gift isn't just a way to earn brownie points with the couple—it's also a smart way to save money. In addition to spacing out the expenses, you'll have a wider range of choices on the registry. Wait too long and everything in the mid-range may already be snapped up. If you're left with gifts that are out of your budget or there are several items priced in the low range, you're not completely out of luck. Put together a curated gift of multiple items, like a bartending kit filled with a martini shaker, jumbo cube tray, corkscrew and coasters. This approach can get you to your target price.

Pitch in for a group gift.

There are likely one or two big-ticket items on the couple's registry, whether it's a barbeque grill or a five-star camping tent. Set your sights on that (it's probably what they want most anyway). If you're attending the wedding with a group of people you know, suggest everyone chip in to buy the couple their splurge gift. Round up enough people until the per-person cost is at a reasonable price. The couple gets their dream gift and you give something you can comfortably afford. It's a win-win for everyone.

Rent, don't buy, a dress.

We can't fix the fact that every single weekend plan for the next three months is wedding related, but this wardrobe solution can help ease the burden. We get it—you don't want to wear the same black dress to everything, and the dress-disguised-with-bold-accessories trick only works so many times. Renting is the perfect happy medium. Sites like Rent The Runway let you borrow designer dresses for a fraction of the retail price. You'll feel great without spending your paycheck on a one-season dress—winning!

Buy a staple suit.

Here's the thing about suit and tux rentals—they add up quickly. You not only need the suit, but a vest, shoes and a matching bow tie. Before you know it, your rental suit is the price of a rental car (most tux rentals will run you anywhere from $80 to $150 each). Consider investing in one or two staple suits (black and navy are classic) that fit and feel great. Invest in something nice because all that dance floor fist-pumping can take a toll on the seams and fabric. You'll want something that lasts through more than just a few weddings. Change up your shirt and tie and you can literally wear the same couple of suits to every wedding you'll ever be invited to.

Get in on the hotel room block.

Hotel room blocks secure a group rate for everyone that's generally lower than listed prices. Plus, couples usually choose a hotel that's easy to get to and from the wedding or someplace where provided transportation makes pickups and drop-offs. That means you won't have to foot the bill on a late-night ride when the after-party's over.

Look for alternatives to a hotel.

If transportation isn't an issue—say you're road tripping to the wedding—then skip the hotel altogether and look for rental options instead. Airbnb or HomeAway often offer several bedrooms (and a kitchen) for the price of a hotel room—perfect for an extended wedding weekend vacation. Keep in mind: Rentals are often less expensive than a hotel room, but you might not see the savings if it means you'll have to rent a car or spend on taxis to get everywhere.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Hot Potato Topic June #3

Hey Cooks,
June is moving right along! Please, please, please someone get their finger off the fast-forward button!!!! Anyway two weddings this weekend...I'm going to make sure the bartender is my friend by the time the night is over!
So met met all these people at the last wedding I was at! LOL 
The Chef

5 People Who Will Try to Take Over Your Wedding Day

Beware of these potential wedding day hijackers!
outdoor wedding ceremony under a tree
Here are five wedding guests who might drive you crazy while planning your nuptials, plus the best ways to deal with them before they hijack your wedding day!

1. The Bossy Mother-in-Law (or Mother of the Bride)

Guilty of: Inviting people you haven't approved for your guest list (as well as people she knows you don't want to invite), judging your decisions and sticking her nose in every bit of the planning process.

Our Advice: Parents can be some of the worst wedding guest list offenders. Things can get even more complicated if they're helping pay for the wedding. But it's important and okay to say "no" to guest list additions and other style or organization suggestions (in a polite way, of course). These conversations are best dealt with face-to-face or over the phone—touchy subjects like the guest list can easily be misinterpreted over texts or email. Prepare for this tough conversation with facts about your budget and space limitations and your reasoning for the guest list you've chosen.

2. The Picky Bridesmaid

Guilty of: Complaining about the cost of every single event and refusing to wear anything that isn't "her color."

Our Advice: If she won't budge on her dress opinions, it's better to find her an alternative than to force her into something she's not comfortable with. For a modest bridesmaid, make a strapless dress more conservative by incorporating a wrap, fun cardigan or vintage bolero jacket in a complementing shade. For a very specific bridesmaid, let her play up her favorite color or styles in a subtler way with jewelry, shoes or hair fascinators. And look on the bright side, compromising now will give you a little leverage when you serve as a bridesmaid in her wedding.

3. The Know-It-All Wedding Guest

Guilty of: Anything from saying you shouldn't wear white because it's too harsh with your skin tone, to registering for gifts with you (or wanting to do it for you!). Basically, she thinks it's her day.

Our Advice: When wedding suggestions cross the line from helpful to aggravating, it's time to redirect that input so you don't end up arguing over something that seems significant now, but won't be down the line. A good plan is to assign specific tasks to keep her busy but still involved, like helping you confirm orders with vendors or assembling favors.

4. The Overeager Wedding Guest

Guilty of: Barely knowing you, yet volunteering to help with everything, from ceremony music to DIY projects you never said you needed. They can also be found pressing you for wedding details before you've even thought about them (they're just so excited). They mean well, but seriously need to relax.

Our Advice: You know that expression about too many cooks in the kitchen? Meet its wedding equivalent. Having a lot of people offer to help you plan sounds like a blessing, but when assistance comes from left field, it can feel like more of a hindrance. If you feel like someone's eagerness is a bit more than you need, let them know how grateful you are for the offer, but you're actually in great shape for planning, and if anything comes up that they can help with, you'll let them know.

5. The My-Way-Or-the-Highway Wedding Guest

Guilty of: Refusing to come to your adults-only wedding unless you let them bring their children, or refusing to come unless you let them bring their plus-one—you know the drill.

Our Advice: A lot of couples choose not to invite kids to their wedding, but if you risk a boycott by some VIPs, consider a compromise. Offer to hire a babysitter and set up a private area with games, coloring books and a few comfy spots for little ones to crash on if the reception runs past their bedtimes. Your relatives might even offer to chip in once they see how accommodating you're being, but if they don't, the extra expense will be worth bypassing the drama of a fight with your new family. As for plus-ones, the best you can do is to have an honest conversation with them. Say it means the world to you to have them there and you wish you could include everyone's significant others, but it's really just a budget concern or a matter of keeping your day close friends and family only (or both).

Friday, June 10, 2016

Hot Potato Topic June #2

Hey My Cooks!
More funerals... (love that movie). Personally I love kids at weddings...the things they do, especially if caught and photographed, are priceless. And if the bride is a Bridezilla...well I smile the whole day long!
Alright off to rock this new dress and maybe catch a bouquet!
The Chef

The discussion of whether to invite children to a wedding always becomes a passionate one. In one corner, you have people (oftentimes with children of their own) who think kids add a certain magic to the atmosphere -- those precious moments otherwise only available at a card store. In the other corner, you have those who feel as though that "magic" is more the black variety -- the screaming, the messing, the ruining. But including kids in your festivities doesn't have to be a horror movie in the making. Follow these guidelines to ensure that your wedding is fun for all ages.

Decide Who's Included

Don't feel as though having kids at your wedding opens it up to everyone under 13. Although it may seem tough to exclude, it's perfectly fine only to invite children who are part of your or your fiance's family -- or those of close family friends. Just because you want your niece at your wedding doesn't mean you must have everyone else's niece. If you let yourself get caught up in the drama of "Why wasn't my child invited?!" you're going to find yourself in a big (and expensive) mess, with every child of every random guest coming out of the woodwork looking for an invitation. Stand strong, and tell people you're sorry you can't include everyone -- that you're trying to limit the guest list.
Knot Note: Don't extend "ceremony only" invitations to children. While you may feel like you're doing the child (or his parents) a favor by including him in something, nothing's worse to a child than seeing other children head off to a party while he has to head home.

Make It Clear Who's Invited

Parents tend to make assumptions about their kids making the list. They assume their kids are or aren't, but either way they often don't ask. So you need to make it abundantly clear who is included. If you are inviting kids, adding the words "and family" to the invitation envelope indicates as much. If you aren't including children but someone RSVPs for theirs, you may be put in the uncomfortable position of calling them to let them know you're sorry but you couldn't invite everyone's children. To avoid hurt feelings if you're having some kids (such as the flower girl and ring bearer) make sure you explain your inviting parameters.

Managing the Kids

If possible, seat all the parents and their children together at one table or at tables close to each other. The quickest way to ruin a single guest's time is to stick them at a table with lots of kids. While it might seem like a good idea to put all the children at a table alone, an unsupervised group of kids is the fastest way to go from elegant reception to kindergarten madness.
Another way to keep the kiddie contingent under control: Hire a chaperone. If you know a teenager or young adult who'd be willing to be a designated adult for a few hours, hire her to keep an eye on things. She'll be less babysitter and more lifeguard -- someone who can take the kids to the bathroom, put a Band-Aid on bumps and bruises, or simply say, "Bobby, please get off the wedding cake."

Offer a Kid's Meal

Be thoughtful when choosing the food you want to serve to the little ones. This isn't the time to be a culinary snob -- most kids will eat only fun foods like little pizzas, chicken fingers, or mini hot dogs, so spare yourself the heartache and extra dollars and forgo the foie gras. For dessert, a make-your-own-sundae bar is always a hit. And since little people have small appetites, you should ask your catering manager for a lower per-person price. Also be sure to ask if the kids can get their food early and quickly -- especially at an evening reception -- since kids eat on a schedule.

Keep Them Entertained

Since children have short attention spans, you may need to create diversions -- a kid-friendly DVD, a few board games, or a couple of Game Boys -- set up in a separate room. You could also prepare goodie bags for them. Arts and crafts stores have great bead sets, drawing kits, and the like. Our advice: Get every boy the same gift and another gift for every girl, if not the same gift for all. You don't want anyone to be fighting over that lone box of scented markers.

Don't Freak Out

Despite the fear that people will instill in you for inviting kids, children do bring instant surprise to a wedding (not to mention a lot of laughs). Keep a sense of humor about having the little ones there: If Isabel can't keep her hands off the cake, don't throw a fit. Instead, laugh and tell the photographer to catch it on film.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Hot Potato Topic June #1

Happy June my fellow cooks!
Well I am invited to so many weddings this month I won't be enjoying any of my weekends. Okay I know that sounds bad since my friends has invested a lot of time, money, and effort into their upcoming beautiful day but the cynic and unexcited sleepyhead, (hope I don't get uninvited since I live to eat), just wants to stay in bed and enjoy the warmer weather.

So what's really behind all this hoopla? Is it really love or are people just trying to outdo each other. We see the elaborate proposals and flash mobs. Jewelry stores are in seventh heaven as the theme "Go Big or Go Home," is the way of popular culture when it comes to romance. So I guess the sayings "less is more," and "bigger isn't always better," have lost their cred.

Personally celebrating love in all its true simplicity and beauty in an intimate setting can go a long, long way. Now if girlfriend wants to play queen for the day I am all for that too. Heck, since this is supposed to be a one time thing I believe in going all out and getting what you want. No settling here.
Of course we have the other hand. Doing all this just for attention or to save face. You better get over yourself. Marriage has been beaten up pretty badly by individuals who wanted to behave badly and not have anyone call them on their $#!+.

As ya'll have come to learn hanging with me means telling it like it is. No mincing words. So ladies stop going after these rich guys and just be rich yourselves. Guys stop pining after the silicone and plastic surgery.  Did any one see the article about the damage done by weaves and hair extensions?? We'll have to do a health segment real soon!

Alright my true blue, real cooks. I hope you have a great week and find real love and hold on to with both hands!
The Chef