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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Out of The Chocolate Box Engagement Ideas

We know that proposing on Valentine's Day can be cliche but here is a list that the staff has compiled that will make it anything but pedestrian and a total adventure of love!

1.) If you live in a part of the country (or globe) where it snows, find a secluded stretch of open, virgin snow.  Fling yourself upon the ground and create two snow angels side by side as if they are holding hands.  Next, place the ring box carefully on the angels connected hands.  Then brush away footprints with a broom or pine branch.  Depending on where your patch of snow is, you might want to have a friend "guarding" the site until you return with your sweetheart to avoid the possibility of winter sportsmen or wildlife disturbing the scene (and they could film the reaction too).  Tell your love, that it's such a beautiful day and that you'd like to take a walk in the woods to take in the snowy scenery.  Then guide your mate (perhaps on snowshoes) to the snow angels and let them ask  "What is that they are holding?"  From that point on you decide the best way to pop the question.

2.) If you live in a warm part of the country or globe, try proposing with a message in a bottle!  Here's how.  Find your destination point along a body of water, preferably the ocean but a lake will do.  Next, find a suitable, wide necked bottle that will allow you to easily remove the note with a finger.  A dry, clear, glass bottle works best.  You can even decorate the bottle with ribbon or other embellishments to make it stand out and catch their attention!  Next, type up your proposal note and antique in coffee or tea (optional; Google how to "age" paper for instructions).  Plant the bottle along the path where you plan to walk.  Again you might need a lookout to keep your bottle safe.  You could also conceal the bottle, distract your mate, and toss the bottle. As you approach the bottle, hope that they notice it.  If not, you will need to bring attention to it.  Have them open the bottle and read the message.  At the same time, drop to one knee and prepare the ring!

3.) The treasure hunt!  This one will require the most advanced planning and execution.  The idea is to give your sweetheart a series of clues to follow in order to reach the ultimate clue which is "Will you marry me?"  For example (use brightly colored envelopes that are easy to spot), hand the first one to your mate and it may say "Go to place where we reached first base!" and let's say it was on the couch sitting on your front porch (yea, we do live in Vermont).  Your love then goes to the couch and searches until Clue #2 is found!  It might say "You sure are a winner, so lets grab your favorite dinner!"  At this point you head off to the restaurant having arranged ahead of time that the waiter bring Clue #3 when he brings you the check...and so on until you reach the big question!  Make sure not to forget the ring!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Outside The Chocolate Box Valentine Ideas

Anyone can buy a box of chocolates and a dozen roses for their love on Valentine's Day but that is just down right BORING and so left brained!  Here are Celebrate's inventive suggestions that are guaranteed to be sure-fire hits!

1.)  Everyone sends Christmas cards and often they lose their pizzazz in the flood of holiday well wishes.  Why don't you and your mate send Valentine's Day cards to friends and family!  Lose your inhibitions and have a quirky photo shoot a la Julie Child and her husband Paul;  the two of you in a bathtub full of suds being silly, holding cute speech bubble signs, acting as cupid and target, etc!   Then print them off like you would holiday cards and mail them out!  Your friends and family will be delighted by the unexpected, cute greeting!

2) Plan a feast!  Invite all your coupled friends over for a Valentine's Day dinner!  Prepare a "heart warming" menu and hand out over-sized paper hearts for everyone to pin on.  Run with the theme.  Heart themed everything!  (If you really want to get into it, you could encourage everyone to come dressed as the King and Queen of Hearts.)  If you are single and bitter, you could host the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre Dinner!  Hand out "broken" paper hearts to all guests,  have a bitch-off, and order greasy takeout!  (You could encourage your guests to dress as gangsters.)

3)  Why buy your love stale, mass produced, chocolate confections?  Instead, take a candy/chocolate/truffle making class together!  This could be your gift to your sweetie (pun intended)!  These classes can be found at candy stores or continuing education centers.  Google it!  As an invitation, you can give him/her an empty, heart-shaped box with a note saying something like: "Let's fill this together with handmade chocolate and the memories of making it with you." 

Look at these two lovebirds! 

Come back next week as Celebrate brings you unique and "out of the chocolate box" engagement ideas for all of you contemplating popping the question! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Nothing hits the spot on a cold January night like a warm, comforting bowl of soup!  Our friends at Rachael Ray Magazine have a quick, smokey, spicy recipe that will totally hit the spot! (Michael made it earlier this week and has brought it everyday for lunch!)

Smoky Tomato & Couscous Soup

Makes: 4 servings
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins


1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 large onion, finely chopped
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped
1 32 ounce container chicken broth
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup israeli couscous
4 ounces ham, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
Salt and pepper

  1. Using a food processor, pulse the sour cream and 1/4 cup cilantro until smooth; refrigerate.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and chipotle chile and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Add the couscous and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Stir in the ham; season with salt and pepper.
  3. To serve, top the soup with the cilantro sour cream and remaining 1/4 cup cilantro.

Thanks Rachael!!!!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

GREAT IDEA CORNER 2013 2.0 Appendix B

As we shared last week we were all cleaning out our desks getting ready for the work of the new year when we came upon ideas and tips we forgot to share with you during 2012!  This week we will work our way through the rest of the little scraps of paper we found.

1.) Timmy offered that when he goes out and wants to "jazz" up his shoes he decorates them with some of his mom's vintage clip on earrings!  Fetching!!!

2.) Connie had tip for icing champagne in 10 minutes.  First, find a suitable container that will hold the bottle and have enough room for ice.  Put the bottle in the the container then layer ice and a few tablespoons of salt until it reaches the neck of the bottle.  Fill the container with water and in 10 minutes you should have perfectly chilled bubbly.

3.) Wendell had a great tip for those of you who have ever had a cork crumble into a your bottle of wine.  If it does happen, use a funnel with a coffee filter to strain the brew!  Connie even suggested using a clean pair of pantyhose to accomplish the same task.

4.) Michael offered a great quick tip for bringing back to luster to your leather shoes when you don't have time to polish them.  Grab that banana peel from our lunch,  and buff it over your shoes.  Tada!  Kathleen added that she has used vegetable oil on her snazzy patent leather clogs when in a pinch.

5.)  The janitor, Gilbert, added that he has used all the empty wine and champagne bottles he has collected from the office (We do not have a drinking problem!) to support his wife's tall winter boots!  What an idea!  Way to go, Gilbert!  

Gilbert, Our Janitor and Bottle Baron

Thursday, January 3, 2013


We were all sitting around the office cleaning up our files while getting ready for the new year when we realized that there were several great ideas we neglected to share!

1.) Kathleen got a fabulous new pair of purple, ostrich, leather boots for Christmas!  Boy was Timmy jealous!  However, while coming into work, she slid on our icy sidewalks, so as soon she pulled herself out of the lilac bushes she decided to solve this dangerous problem.  "There is more than one way to skin this cat!" she exclaimed walking through the door picking lilac twigs from her hair.  We all looked at her puzzled, but as soon as she took off her boots we knew what she was referring to, her slippery soles!

Wendell said, "I've got sandpaper right here at my desk!"

Connie said, "Yes, I've heard that works but wrapping wide rubber bands around your shoes works better!" as she knocked her coffee cup on the ground.  (Her depth perception isn't what it used be ever since the glitter accident of  2010 which left her wearing an eye patch ironically covered in glitter.)

Timmy said, "Try duct tape strips!"  We all looked at him doubtfully (and Connie half looked).

Kathleen shrugged and said "What the hell, the lilac bush is already destroyed."  She cut a few one inch strips of tape and  placed them on the soles and heel of her boots.  She tested the concept by walking back to the lilac bush to retrieve her egg salad sandwich which had landed on an upper branch.  She stood tall and strode back to the lobby not slipping a whit!

2) On to solving Connie's problem!   Using a paper gift certificate she had left in her sock drawer, she mail-ordered a "sexy" negligee from Lace Place.  When it arrived, she loved it but couldn't get the crocheted beauty to stay on a hanger!  She had already ironed it seven times as she was hoping that Wendell would arrive for a Christmas "nog" (her words, not ours) and was getting  frustrated (in more ways than one). CELEBRATE to the rescue!  "I've got this one" said Michael as he pulled a package of dollar store felt pads from the junk drawer of his work bench.  "Hand me a coat hanger from the lobby and I'll show you how to solve your slippery problem!" he barked.  He deftly peeled a pad from  it's backing and pinched it upon itself about 2/3rd of the way down on each side of the hanger.  Perfect!  Connie told us the next morning that the straps stayed put and wouldn't go past the felt pads!  "Yippee" Timmy exclaimed with glee.

3) We were feeling especially good about our problem solving abilities when Timmy said, "Hey chums!  Did I ever tell you about my summer at Camp Lobster Claw? You probably think it was an intensive camp for seafood lovers but it wasn't!  It was an exclusive, by invitation only, challenge camp for gifted, young, jewelry designers from the Mid-West! Our camp motto was, 'To hell with lanyards we only use gems and metals'!"   Timmy then unbuttoned his shirt and revealed a camp sash so crowded with achievement badges and pins that it looked like a Bolivian bus at rush hour.  He explained that his most prized medal was the one he received for winning the "Great Chain Untangling Competition of 2007".

"Wow" said Wendell "How did you do it?"

"Baby oil"  Timmy shrieked.

"Eww" Connie muttered.

"Don't be so fast with that eww" quipped Wendell,"Go on Timothy."

"This is the first time I have ever revealed the secrets of untangling chains."  Timmy confided.  "Just pour a little baby oil over the knot in the tangle and then start gently picking it apart.  In moments it will be free!"  he said.

"That's it?!" Connie bitched.

"YUPPERS!" Timmy grinned.