W Magazine December 2021

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The Difference Makers

Tips to plan your wedding New year’s resolutions

recipes for


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Women in Finance: The Difference Makers 5 Tips to Improve the Economy at Home


How to Start a Business 7 Key Strategies for Women to Manage their Finances What I learned by fixing my credit score

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20 Tips for Planning Your Wedding

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New Year’s Resolutions

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Revamp Your Routine


ACE is celebrating 96 years of customer service.


Tips & More

Create an Emergency Fund

Find a New Love in Reading Host an Event

Find a Mentor or Role Model

Three recipes for New Year’s Eve

Who we are

Publisher: Jennifer Sorenson

Design: Bethany Strunk

Editor: Andrew Paxton

Multimedia Sales Manager: Alycia McCloud

Copy Editor: Robert Cohn

Advertising Representatives: Maritzha Diaz, Branden Sanchez, Steve Reno, Tammy Dalton

Writers: Angelo Gentile, Barbara Conti, Alycia McCloud, Green Shoot Media Photos: Mark Levy, file photos, provided


Publisher’s note


ur December 2021 edition of W - Cochise County Women’s Magazine features the women of Edward Jones and the difference they make by helping their clientele achieve their financial and investment goals. Edward Jones will also be celebrating 100 years in January 2022, check out the article Jennifer Sorenson to learn more about becoming an Edward Publisher Jones financial advisor. W contributor Barbara Conti provides her own tips on home economics, finances and starting a business for the new year. Plus,

Alycia McCloud shares her personal experience on improving her credit. The holidays typically add more celebration for many couples each year as it is a popular time to get engaged, including my niece who got engaged before Thanksgiving. Inside this edition you will also find wedding planning tips from catering to gifts and more. What else tends to happen during the holiday season? We tend to give ourselves a pass and indulge a bit more on our favorite foods. Barbara Conti delights us again with three fabulous recipes to try out on New Year’s Eve. Have you checked out our new e-commerce shop local website filled with Cochise County businesses

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at loveshoplocalaz.com? If not, we hope you take some time to browse and buy. And remember, when you shop locally you are supporting someone’s dream. We are also excited to announce that we will be launching the Love Shop Local app soon. If you’re a local business owner and want to learn more about participating, email alyciamccloud@myheraldreview.com. As always, we appreciate you taking the time to read W – Cochise County Women’s Magazine, and we encourage you to shop local at the businesses who support us. If you are interested in being one of our models, have story suggestions or want to provide your feedback please email me at publisher@myheraldreview.com. m


Carolyn Verdugo (520) 439-2708

Barbara Pursell (520) 266-0214 DECEMBER 2021


Women in Finance

The Difference Makers The women of Edward Jones make a difference by helping clients meet their financial and investment goals. BY ANGELO GENTILE


hen Gina Lane’s father was working at the family’s grain elevator in Lamar, Colorado, he asked her to track a mutual fund from the Wall Street Journal every day, an investment he had started with the goal of saving for her college expenses. As she recalls, “I was 10 years old, and my interest in business and investments began from this teachable moment.” After a career in international marketing, studying and working in 13 countries promoting Arizona agriculture and investing in her employer’s retirement plan along the way,



that lifelong investment interest and knowledge is a solid foundation now that she’s a financial advisor for Edward Jones. In 2010, she joined her husband Jeff Lane at the firm (Jeff has 24 years with Edward Jones). Gina became the first female financial advisor at Edward Jones in Sierra Vista. Making a financial difference for people has been gratifying. “Working with my clients is truly a rewarding ‘life partnership’ as we design, execute, monitor and evaluate to achieve their goals,” Lane says. “That’s the value I provide, the investments are a commodity, the relationship is priceless!” Vicky Merritt, an Edward Jones financial advisor in Douglas, was actually an Edward Jones client for eight

years when she was approached by her financial advisor to join the firm and replace her when she retired Merritt also singles out the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives as a satisfying part of her job. “I have the privilege to listen and understand what is most important to my clients and then build tailored, personalized strategies based on their comfort with risk to help them meet their goals.” Indeed, while the paths to a career as an Edward Jones financial advisor have been varied for the women of Edward Jones of Cochise County, they all point to the rewarding aspect of helping make a difference for their customers’ finances as a key benefit of their career. Kimberly Baltunis, an Edward Jones financial advisor in Bisbee, was attracted by the job’s flexible schedule, “which really aligns to my family’s needs…I love being able to deeply connect with my clients while attending my children’s activities and not feeling like I will miss milestone events.” At the same time, she says, “This industry is a wonderful opportunity for women who truly want to serve clients and make a difference in their lives.” Zoe Carter, an Edward Jones financial advisor in Sierra Vista, said she had always been interested in the financial industry, and, after five years of banking experience, decided that “it was time to take my career further and make a bigger impact. As a financial advisor with Edward Jones I absolutely love what I do! I get to help my clients reach their financial goals while building a lifelong relationship with them. My favorite part of my career is watching my clients succeed.”

Advisors’ Advice Five Financial Planning Tips for Women Gina Lane

Have the “Retirement Discussion” Now. Women can build smart strategies by having this discussion sooner rather than later. Plan for the Expected. These are planned financial decisions such as home ownership, career considerations, travel, etc. Vicky Merritt

Prepare for the Unexpected. Examples? Caring for aging parents, helping adult children financially, losing a spouse, and so on. Review Your Current Financial Situation Regularly. Do this at least annually. If you don’t have a plan, work with a financial advisor to design one, and if you do have a plan, an advisor can provide a second set of eyes to keep you on track.

Navigating Challenges

Like any profession, the work does come with challenges, several advisors point out. Lane, of the Sierra Vista office, says “media and expectations” are two of the biggest challenges she navigates with her clients. “The 24/7 networks with snippets of headline news increase the whirlwind and over-dramatizes our industry, at times scaring people to make irrational decisions.” She faults social media on this issue as well. “The ‘get-richquick’ schemes, the ‘next best idea,’ the ‘this-timeis-different’ mentality and preying on our seniors are of great concern when we know that sticking to a disciplined investment strategy over time, per one’s risk tolerance, is key to successful investing.” Missy Nunez, an Edward Jones financial advisor in Sierra Vista, says that constant and rapid change is another challenge, although she says she also

Start Saving Now. Women tend to live longer than men, which often means more years in retirement.

Kimberly Baltunis

Sources: Edward Jones advisors of Cochise County.



finds this issue to be one of the best parts of the job. “What I love most about my career also plays a role in what I find most challenging. We live in an ever-changing world, which impacts the market and investing in general. It is imperative to always be learning, listening, reading and absorbing current events that are relevant to my strategies. This high-paced momentum of change can be both exciting and challenging.”

Considering a Career as a Financial Advisor?

With so many professionals changing jobs or evaluating a career change these days, several Edward Jones advisors offered tips and encouragement for those considering joining their ranks. Lane cited three key elements she feels are needed for success as a financial advisor: education, including continuing education; empathy, something she says women are particularly good at; and the ability to set

and achieve goals. “Certainly, an education puts you one step ahead of those who do not have one and continuing education throughout your career as a financial advisor is very important,” Lane says. If education is not possible, seek and gain “career experience in a financial institution to learn about our industry.” On empathy, Lane says, “Women are naturally empathic…we are great listeners and that skillset alone is extremely valuable in our industry.” Goals, too, are important, Lane says. “When you set goals, write them down. It’s vitally important at each stage of your life to understand ‘what’s most important to you’ as a female, a spouse, a mother, a daughter, etc. And lastly, know your ‘why.’” Finally, you’ll need to enjoy working with people, says Baltunis of the Edward Jones Bisbee office. “If you have a passion for people, I encourage you to reach out to one of our advisors…and learn more about what we do and how we impact the lives of those we serve.” m

Zoe Carter

Missy Nunez

100 Years of Edward Jones The firm ‘brought Wall Street to Main Street.’ In 1922, in a single-room office in downtown St. Louis, Edward D. Jones Sr. established Edward D. Jones & Co. This January 2022 will mark 100 years of Edward Jones Investments, a firm that now has more than 50,000 employees, 7 million clients, a total of $1.6 trillion in client assets under care and is ranked in the top 300 of the Fortune 500. Notably, Penny Pennington, the firm’s sixth managing partner, who has been named to Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business List, is the only woman running a major U.S. brokerage. “We brought Wall Street to Main Street,” says Gina Lane, financial advisor for Edward Jones in Sierra Vista. “Our history, our culture and our unique business model as a partnership is exciting to celebrate.” In Cochise County, there are 13 Edward Jones branches.

Additional source: Edwardjones.com



Cheryl Bracamonte



to improve the economy at home



n each family, money management is given differently according to their needs, expenses, and income. Here’s how to create a home savings plan today.

5 actions to improve the family economy

COVID-19 is a challenge for households around the world, especially in the economic sphere. Here are some personal finance tips to have peace of mind during the contingency.

1. C reate a budget for fixed and variable expenses A budget is a financial tool to define a balance point between your income and expenses and thus avoid debt. This is made up of fixed and variable expenses. Variable household expenses are optional ones, like restaurant visits or a weekend trip. Fixed expenses are those necessary such as rent, taxes, and food.

2. P rotect your family and assets in the present Giving your family security and trust is the most important thing. Create awareness about the needs of each member of the household and take out major medical insurance to help them with high expenses for hospitalization, procedures and medical treatments that may arise. If you have a vehicle, auto insurance will be key to getting to your destination safely. Likewise, home insurance will protect your assets and all its members.

3. H ave a personal retirement plan ready for 2022 Currently, retirement is a shared responsibility between employer and worker. It is recommended to determine the benefit we want to receive and in how long we must finance it, as well as to evaluate and choose through which mechanism you will decide to save: a trust, pension insurance or an investment account.

4. A void personal loans and mortgages When we decide to commit future income to meet immediate needs (such as the purchase of a house or a car), it is important to plan well the time and payments for the settlement of the acquired debt. In both ways, it is advisable to use a budget and savings fund to meet your financial goals and avoid debt.

5. I nvestment in the home, plan your decisions Family investment is the use of accumulated savings in goods or services that improve the quality of life of the family. For example, the acquisition of a house or vehicle, as well as a backup to protect them. To face economic adversities, it is recommended to consider these points in order to boost finances at home. Remember to create a savings fund that gives you the ease & peace you need. m



art a busin How to st DECEMBER 2021



Recommendations to start a successful business BY BARBARA CONTI


ntrepreneurship can be one of the greatest challenges of your life, so, do you know how to face it? Below we give you 10 tips to start your own business, and 8 tips to achieve success.

How to start a business

Surely before starting out, you will feel that creating your own business is like jumping into the void, but with good planning and asking yourself the right questions, you can take the leap. Review the first 10 steps to undertake: Observe: The first thing you should do is pay attention to opportunities. Take a good look at your surroundings, review trends, new fashions, needs, tastes, and preferences of consumers. It is there where you will detect the question that you will try and provide answers to. Get inspired: The world of entrepreneurship is as full of successes as it is of failures. Before entering it, chat with other entrepreneurs, share your concerns, seek advice from those who have already succeeded, and mentors who are willing to share their experience. Learn from the mistakes and failures of others and take them as inspiration. Convince yourself: Think carefully about the reason why you are looking to start your own business. While money is important, this should not be your main motivation when starting out. The question is: “Why do I want to undertake this challenge despite all the obstacles that I will have to face?” If your answer is the passion for what you do, your desire to improve, or your desire to make a better world, you have already taken the first step. Focus on people: Before beginning, it is important that you define your audience and what their needs are. Your focus should not be the product or service, but the people who will use it. To identify them well, use market research tools and develop a consumer prototype with their purchasing behaviors, needs, desires, relationship with the market, lifestyle, frustrations, and all the insights that help you understand them. With this, you can define what your added value is.

Get organized: Now is the time to start translating your ideas on a business model that is solid, attractive, and profitable in the long term. For this, organize your ideas by answering the following questions: What is my product or service? Do I have the capacity to manufacture it or am I just going to market it? Who would be my customers? How will I get my product or service to people? What is the differentiating value of my business compared to the competition? And: Why should people choose me? Look for resources: When you have already answered what, for whom, and how, it is time to activate the part of resources, both financial and material: With what am I going to achieve it? If possible, you can start with your own savings and whatever resources are available to you. However, entrepreneurs will often take different paths to finance their ideas

such as a loan, a business incubator, investors, seed capital, and public funds, among others. The important thing is to analyze all your options and choose the ones that best suit you. Plan: Developing a business plan is the most important step in starting your venture. The business plan is a strategic document that will guide all the actions of your company. It details the steps to follow, the available budget, and all possible scenarios for your business are anticipated. To create it you need to have a clear idea of ​​your short, medium, and long-term objectives, keeping in mind a period of twelve months. This document will help you set the guidelines for your business so that everything is under control once you make it happen. Look for allies: Assemble a good team of people who share your passion, with the necessary knowledge to implement your business plan. A key piece of advice

for every entrepreneur is not to try to do everything yourself, rely on a team that is expert in things that you do not know and divide it into the areas that are necessary. On the other hand, it is essential that you do networking to generate contact lists that are useful to your business. Go legal: When launching yourself into an undertaking, you cannot forget that every company must comply with legal duties in order to operate. Register your company, choose an attractive name, comply with all local taxes and all legal and administrative procedures to avoid problems in the future. Put yourself out there: To publicize your business, you must create a marketing plan. Today there are many digital marketing tools that can help you without having to shell out a lot of money. Take advantage of your creativity and that of your team to show the world your great idea! m



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e share some tips on management, budgeting, and investing for female entrepreneurs. When talking about savings, it is important to take into account the concept of investment, since investing makes savings yield more. Due to the multiple roles that women play on a day-to-day basis, both as household administrators, consumers, or as entrepreneurs, it is of the utmost importance that they have good management of their finances. Here are some keys to achieving it:



Make a monthly budget: Plan your expenses for a certain period and monitor if you have spent what you had proposed. At the end of the month make the adjustments to optimize it; keeping a daily track can save you up to 15%. Use accounts for different purposes: The secret to building wealth is money management. One way is to divide it into specific accounts for specific purposes, and relate each account to an area of ​​ your life - and use it only for this purpose. Every time you receive money, assign a percentage to each account.


Invest instead of saving: Money is too volatile to focus only on saving. You have to aim to accumulate to invest, generate returns, and more income. It is good to be active in the investment world and, above all, to understand the medium you choose.


Prepare for unforeseen events: Seek to protect yourself through insurance for your life, your business, and some of your assets that may be damaged and affect your wealth. Create an emergency fund (with the equivalent of three to six months of your income) to face a possible problem of employment, production, or personal situations that demand it.


Add added value: The more value you generate, the higher the price your client will be willing to pay for the product or service you offer. Investing in yourself to grow and build more skills is the best longterm investment in which you can accumulate experience, training, and continuous updating.



Think about tomorrow: It is never too early or too late to design a retirement and savings plan. Women have, on average, more years of life expectancy than men and must consider how to pay for themselves in the future. Build and consolidate your credit history: You may not have considered it yet, but to obtain credit that allows you to open a business, buy a house, a car, or even get your own credit card, you must have a good credit history.

N Having a clear focus on business and planning is essential for efficient management of the personal economy, and although it may seem very simple and even evident, the truth is that women, due to socio-cultural issues, have much less exercise and practice in this than focusing on saving, defining goals, and designing a strategy. The first step is to make a diagnosis: how much is spent and on what, how much money comes in, how much is left over if that happens, or, in the worst case, how much is missing. The following is to set savings goals that should serve to: first, the establishment of an emergency fund, then the fulfillment of short and medium-term objectives, such as the purchase of a durable or semi-durable good, and finally long-term objectives such as the buying a home. When it comes to saving, it is important to take into account the concept of investment, since investing makes savings yield more. A study conducted by Lincoln Financial Group determined that half of the women have some kind of difficulty managing their finances, which derives from the years in which men managed the economy. Money goes through all aspects of a person’s life: both in the personal sphere, as well as in the workplace and even socially. To be focused on the personal economy is to be focused on our lives. There is no overlap but integration, taking care of our accounts is not just another task but a key aspect of everything we do. As we’ve seen, you don’t need to be an expert, just have a clear idea of ​​your current finances and develop a plan from there. If decisions become a bit more complex, be it around business or investments, you can consult a trusted financial advisor with whom to build a long-term relationship. m

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What I learned by fixing my credit score


hen Jennifer and I important: mortgage, loans, even sat down to discuss rental applications. But none of that what this issue of W really came up until four years later. would be about, she mentioned At the age of 23, I needed a vehicle finances and credit scores. with working air conditioning, good The next time we chatted, she gas mileage and everything else that asked if I would mind sharing comes from a good car. When I started my own story about my credit looking into it, I quickly realized that Alycia McCloud score and how it has affected me. I wouldn’t be able to do this by myself Now, I am not one to shy away because my credit score was less than from any topic, and am pretty open about 500 (oh boy, was I in a pickle.) Thankfully, past mistakes and how I went about fixing my family cosigned with me, and I was able those. So join me while we go down the to get a car. At this point, I realized I needed path of my credit score, what it actually to fix something, but where do I even start? I means and how I am still working on didn’t even have access to the bank account getting it to where it needs to be. or card that I owed money on. So I went to This story will start the same as many my current bank, and they gave me a credit stories about abusing credit do. I got a credit card with a limit that was specifically for card so I could start getting a credit score at repairing your credit score. Slowly, with the tender age of 16. I was really good about paying my car payment and new credit card, this and was only using it for gas, food and my score creeped up. I still had this nagging things of that nature and immediately began debt, but at this point, my family had no paying it off. I then started using it for more accounts with this bank, and how the heck expensive things, like college books and do I even navigate that? So I brushed it off classes, and all of a sudden I was in the hole again and concentrated on my vehicle loan and had no way of knowing how to pay it and other card. off, or why it even mattered if I did (oh, the About a year or so later, my significant joys of being a naive 18-year-old.) Thus starts other and I were about to buy a house. the downfall of my credit score. Folks, this is when things got really serious At first, I didn’t really see how this for me because all of a sudden, I was in affected my life at all. I heard all of the a situation where I couldn’t even put my reasons why having a good credit score was name on a loan because of my credit score.



We would have significantly raised our mortgage and interest rates by adding my name. This is not a good look, and with the help of people who truly understand debt and credit scores, we dove in deep. Of course, the one thing that came up was this debt from six years earlier. So, I then started putting in the actual work of figuring out how to pay it off. At this point, if I was going to be a homeowner, I needed to “be an adult,” and it was important to me that I finally pay it off. And eventually I could not only be an official homeowner, but be the only name on my vehicle title. I called the original bank, sat on hold for an hour and had them put in an automatic withdrawal to slowly start paying off this debt I owed. Who knew it would have been that easy to do? I really felt like a fool that I waited that long. I am now just one payment away from being free of this debt that was dragging me down. The me of today is, of course, way better off than the me of six years ago. I have a reliable paying job, and I understand finances a wee bit more than I did all of those years ago. I also now truly understand why having a good credit score is important; just one mistake followed me around and affected big decisions and life moments for six years. I am now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and man, does it feel good. m


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Location So you got engaged over the holidays…

Planning a Destination Wedding


n some areas, the COVID-19 pandemic is waning while in others, concerns over variants are rising, even among the vaccinated. Even while the coronavirus continues to evolve, weddings are still being planned, including destination weddings. If your dreams still include traveling somewhere magical, keep reading. We’ve got hot advice for keeping you safe and your dreams intact.

Be Flexible

The best advice experts from Brides magazine can give about planning a destination right now is to be flexible and be prepared. As restrictions lift in some areas, people are rushing to finalize wedding plans. But pay attention to health risks, including news on variants and travel restrictions, and to government COVID-19 guidelines. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen that these two do not always align — sometimes laws being too lax when risks are high and sometimes being too strict when risks are low,” Annie Lee from Daughter of Design and Plannie told Brides. “There has been an unpredictability and capriciousness to when local government officials update COVID-19 rules, so couples continue to plan for both hopeful and cautious scenarios until this is truly all behind us.”

Play It Safe

Whatever you decide to do, make the best health decision for both you and your guests. And that means guarding your



mental health, too. Consider taking some of the stress out of any upcoming nuptials by downsizing guest lists and making decisions as far out as you can, including for the next year. “It will be nearly impossible to secure the right talent once the world opens back up,” Alison Laesser Keck of Alison Bryan Destinations told Brides. “Book everything as soon as possible! Whether you’re doing this by yourself or with a planner, you’ll want to book many of your vendors simultaneously as your venue to guarantee availability.”

Hiring a Planner

A destination wedding, with the added layers of travel and now a pandemic, is much more complicated than your average wedding. Hiring a planner that specializes in destination weddings can help make your big day as stress-free as possible. “Definitely get one on board before you sign any contracts,” Laesser-Keck says. “There are COVID-19 policies and other things to negotiate. Now, more than ever, these strategies are vital. Also, if you have to postpone again, your planner’s relationships with vendors will be everything.” m

Think Outside the Box W

ith the overall natural beauty found during the fall season, it’s no wonder why so many couple are opting for unique venues to host their special day. Fall lends itself to a variety of enchanting venue ideas indoors or outside. You can access the great outdoors to take advantage of the fall beauty or invite the colors inside with a unique theme. No matter which location you choose, the season provides a bounty of outstanding options when it comes to choosing your colors, decor and attire.

Think Outdoors

The temperate weather and the beautiful colors make the outdoors an ideal option for planning a romantic, memorable wedding. Vintage farms. Thinking rustic? Consider a local country farm for your venue. These venues combine the best of both worlds – classic outdoor beauty and reclaimed barns. Many vintage farms offer plenty of space for a large guest list. You’ll also be supporting local farmers, as many have found ways to host events to supplement their regular revenue streams. Wineries and breweries. Wineries offer breathtaking views and spacious indoor or outdoor options for your festivities. And while you’ve likely celebrated a wedding at a local winery, have you considered a brewery? This is a trendy option that offers industrial backdrops for photos and reception

celebrations, not to mention plenty of drink options for your thirsty guests. Local forests. Looking for a stunning, sustainable location for your wedding? You won’t find a venue more fitting than your local forest. Nature-lovers agree, forest-theme weddings offer beautiful, serene locations for getting married to your special someone.

Stay Indoors

Due to the uncertainty of Mother Nature, many couples opt for an indoor wedding during the fall season. Fortunately, fall color palettes and decorations can be easily adapted indoors. Castles. Frequently found along the east coast, step inside a storybook castle venue to host the wedding of your dreams. There are many of these venues that were built in the 1880s and have since been reclaimed and restored to their original glory. Historic hotels. For a more intimate setting in fall, small historic inns, lodges and hotels can help whisk you and your guests away to a simpler, more understated time that is equal parts charm and nostalgia. Large estates. Watch the leaves change color against the stunning, spacious exteriors of large, historic estates. You likely have one of these restored mansions in your neck of the woods, and they create an idyllic setting for a unique indoors ceremony or reception. m



Plan the Perfect Outdoor Wedding

Outdoor Venues

Summer is a great season for holding your ceremony outdoors.


ot only is the weather great, but there may be fewer restrictions and regulations, since being outdoors has been deemed more safe than being inside during the pandemic.

The Pros

Summer breezes, lots of greenery, tents and twinkly lights set a fresh and airy mood for the ceremony and the reception. “Tented weddings are the new ballroom,” wedding planner and designer Jove Meyer told The Knot. “Couples are leaning into nature and fresh air in ways they did not in the past.” Entire weekends can be planned outdoors, including welcome ceremonies and receptions, as weddings contract into smaller, safer parties that, with those tinier crowds, can be more luxe and still make the budget. Think s’mores and campfires under the stars instead of star-spangled giant receptions under chandeliers. Outdoor weddings can also be less formal occasions, including relaxed dress codes that make both guests and the happy couple more comfortable. Today’s ceremonies are heavy on the fun and sentimentality and light on the formality, and every detail should reflect that.



The Cons

Mother Nature can be a welcome guest at your wedding with a spectacular backdrop or a jewel-toned sunset to end the day. Or she can crash the whole thing with a roaring thunderstorm or excessive heat. All your wedding plans need a back-up, especially those that are outside. The good news is that today’s smaller ceremonies can be a lot more agile and adapt to changing conditions easily. Your wedding planner can help set up a variety of options for your and your guests. This will help you rest easier as you approach your wedding day, no matter what happens with the weather.

Things to
Think About

Depending on your venue, you’ll need to consider things like parking, facilities for your guests and plenty of room for staffing. Wedding planners are pros at figuring out what each venue needs in terms of extras from other vendors. Just like indoor ceremonies, you’ll also need to consider maskwearing, social distancing and other precautions. Even though your outdoors, follow all local restrictions and regulations for gatherings and events to stay safe. m

• Have an alternative location. No one likes to think of it raining on their wedding day, but it’s a possibility that must be considered. Have a backup plan if you wake up and the weather is out of sync with your plans. • Have a communication plan. If anything big comes up (like that big location change), have a quick and easy way to communicate those changes with vendors and guests. This can be a note on your wedding website or on social media, or you can turn over all the responsibility to your wedding planner or coordinator. Set up a plan to have bridesmaids or other trusted friends mind the phones if you don’t have a planner or coordinator. • Have a plan for parking. This is especially true if you’re getting married in a backyard or at a restaurant or park. If you don’t have enough space, try to make an arrangement with a nearby school or church and include the parking info on your wedding website. • Check on noise rules and regulations. Check on local laws and venue rules when it comes to volume and times for your musicians and DJs. • Restrooms. Does your locale have ample restrooms for the number of guests you’ll have? If not, you can rent portable restrooms for your guests. • Consider electricity needs. Outdoor weddings usually don’t have convenient power plugs hidden amongst the trees and grass. Check with your vendors to see what their electrical needs are, including the caterer, baker and florist. Then coordinate their needs with your location. • Plan for hydration and shade. If you’re in a warmer locale, you’ll want to provide cooling shade and drinks for your guests to keep everyone safe. • Plan for the pandemic. Outdoor weddings are particularly attractive to those hoping to gather safety despite COVID-19. Make sure you have hand sanitizing stations, consider hosting groups in shifts, and have guests that are able to stand so that there’s more distance between them. Minimize sharing of items such as photo booth pops, serving utensils and guestbook pens.

Planning a Zoom Wedding Many cities and states still have restrictions on travel and gatherings.


f you’ve been holding off on your nuptials waiting on conditions to improve, technology may have an answer for your wedding blues.

Hosting an Online Wedding

That’s right, the same technology that brings you working from home can now bring you weddings from home. As a guest, your options are pretty much endless and you can attend from the comfort of your own couch. No flights to book, no babysitters, just joining in the fun. And the happy couple aren’t limited by venue restrictions, they can invite as many people as they want, include guests who would prefer not to travel under ordinary circumstances. You’ll need to recruit someone (or even

a company; several have sprouted up) to hold the camera, narrate and record the ceremony for posterity. You may also need some decor, depending on the route you want to go, but remember you won’t need the whole space. Just a backdrop or two. And don’t forget the sound. Opt for a microphone or even AirPods to make sure your online guests don’t miss a word.

Hosting on Social Media

If Zoom or other such platforms aren’t your thing, you can always livestream your ceremony on Facebook Live, YouTube, TikTok or other social streams. These platforms give you an opportunity to interact with guests in real time and may even be easier for some guests to use and understand than Zoom or GoTo Meeting.

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Whatever platform you choose, remember to also select a backup (or two or three). You should also run a test of the ceremony several times, checking things like your hardware and your internet connections. You might want to upgrade your service for a month to make sure you have plenty of bandwidth. Also check things like lighting, camera angles and audio in a variety of conditions. If you combine your online wedding with other services like ordering outfits, flowers and even cakes and champagne online, you could have a nearly contactless wedding ceremony. Some states even allow for online applications for marriage licenses. m

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Seating Made Easy Historically, seating charts are the things that headaches and nightmares are made of.


his group can’t sit with this group, Shelia can’t sit by Lindsay, and that’s Jim’s exwife. Nightmares and headaches. One good thing about the pandemic — tables are smaller, making seating easier. And social distancing means tables need to be far apart. Here’s a few more hints for making seating as easy as possible.

Pod Seating

Ask people who is already in their bubble and seat those people together. Opt for tables of four or six, max, and leave plenty of room for two-top sweetheart tables to accommodate the rest. Another solution to this problem is lots of small tables, but enforce seating limits and don’t let people move



tables together. Then, allow people to seat themselves according to their own pods. This works best with picked-up boxes of food or appetizers instead of plated meals.

Living Room Seating

Seating people on couches or in armchairs is a hot trend right now. Smaller groups lend themselves well to this luxe, cozy approach to wedding seating. Make sure your venue can accommodate this unique wedding style, which encourages conversation. You also could consider half-and-half seating, where guests who opt to dine can sit at tables and guests who’ve moved on to cocktails and conversation can take advantage of these cozy spaces.

Children’s Tables

If kids are invited to the ceremony, have a space set aside for them, perhaps with their own menu of finger foods, along with activities to keep little hands busy. Think coloring books, building brick sets, activity books and more. This should be a less formal setting where noise is OK and where parents can easily see (and discipline) their children.

No Singles Tables

Especially with pandemic protocols in place, skipping the singles tables is a good idea. Even in ordinary times, it’s an awkward grouping that ends up embarrassing your guests more often than not. Use your best judgment and treat people how you would want to be treated. Instead, opt for more sweetheart tables or conversation spots for single guests to gather with friends and family at their own pace. m

Set up a fun photo booth Y

ou want to provide ways for your guests to remember your special night. What better way than to give them a fun keepsake they can hang on to for years to come? A photo booth makes this a possibility. With fun props and hilarious photos, you’ll have high-end mementos for every guest who participates.

Hire a Company

Many photographers have integrated the photo booth into their professional services. If it’s in your budget to do so, you can hire a photography company to set up and manage the booth during your entire reception. Be sure to get a full quote for the project so you’re not surprised on wedding day. Any professional photographer should be able to tell you how much a booth setup will be, as well as how long it will take them to prepare and tear down the booth. Let them take care of the heavy lifting, including selecting the spot, providing the equipment, bringing the props and handling the dissemination of photographs to each guest while you sit back and enjoy your special day.

GoIf you’re DIY on a tighter budget, you may find yourself

putting together a DIY booth. Fortunately, with a little planning, this is a totally do-able project. First, consider your location. Your DIY photo booth should be located where guests can easily find it. Be sure to never interrupt the flow of your event, which means placing it in dance floor corners or unused coat closets. If your reception is outside, you’ll probably have more space to find a suitable location. Just make sure guests can easily access it for some memorable photo fun.

Think Video Video and virtual reality booths have also caught

fire in recent years. You may need to enlist the help of professional videographers to pull off this type of booth. Guests can act silly or deliver a special message via video, and then download the file with a special link from the company. This is a great way of producing a tangible parting gift for each guest. You may also be able to immediately upload some of the videos to your wedding website or social media platforms, as well. m DECEMBER 2021


Five Great Reception Ideas


ows, gowns and flowers take center stage at the wedding, but the reception can really be your time to shine as a couple. The party should represent who you both are as a couple and celebrate your unique love for one another and for your friends and family. Here are some eye-catching ways to do that, courtesy of The Knot.

the Guestbook 1 GetSure,Creative you can have a regular guestbook and

pen. Or you can get out of the boring box. Think about a way guests can leave their best wishes for you in a way that reflects your hobbies, loves or values. Are the bride and groom sports fans? Signed baseballs, footballs or basketballs are great ways to reflect that.

Your Phones 2 Check If you want your guests to be present and in

the moment (and you don’t have a hashtag for your wedding), consider setting up a phone check station similar to a coat check at your favorite restaurant. Recruit a couple of friends to man the desk and guests and check their devices in and out.

3 Recharging Stations

On the other end of that spectrum, you can set up recharging stations around your reception to make sure everyone keeps their Instagram feeds update with the hottest pictures from your big day. Take a cue from event planning and make sure the stations are convenient but out of the way of the dance floor and that there are plenty of comfortable places to sit around it.

Cocktail Ideas 4 Cool Bespoke cocktails are so last

year. Jazz up the bar at your reception with hot ideas like ice cubes with your monogram and drink pouches — adult and otherwise. Talk to your caterer about more ideas to personalize your food and drink options in creative ways.

Flowers for a Winter Wedding Y

flowers, too, to add a festive aspect to your big day. Add accents like pinecones, winter greenery and mistletoe for a understated holiday touch.

ou might not think of flowers in winter, but there are plenty of petals that are perfect for colderseason celebrations. Work with your florist to find budgetfriendly blooms that will give you all the punch of spring and summer varieties.

Hiring a Florist

Flowers in Season

The experts at Teleflora say that winter weddings can find a rainbow of in-season flowers to pick from. These include amaryllis, anemone, camellias, Casablanca lilies, forget-me-nots, French tulips, gardenias, holly, jasmine, orchids, mini gerbera daisies, paperwhites, poinsettias and roses. You can also choose from filler stems that are in season year-round, including Queen Anne’s lace, solidago, limonium, Montecasino aster and hypericum.




Given that wide range of options, your florist can find blooms to suit any color palette and look. Winter brides can choose from solid-white or ivory-hued bouquets, or even go bold with deep reds. Think of incorporating traditional holiday

While the option exists to do it yourself, an experienced florist can help you pick stems that will perfectly accent your big day. They can also work with their vendors to get the best prices and help you stick to your budget. Before you talk to florists, know how you want to use flowers in your big day. This is a decision you need to make fairly early on; florists who do weddings tend to book up early, especially during a time of year when you’re competing with holiday celebrations. Talk to your family and friends — especially any recent brides — and ask for

Going Green for your Wedding Y our wedding can be green without a single splash of the color appearing. Making your big day sustainable and eco-friendly gets easier every year as the wedding industry hops on board the green trend. Here are some tips for having a big day with a little carbon footprint.

Responsible Rings

5 Scentscaping Long winter nights are

perfect for candlelight decor, and with candles comes the opportunity for planning the perfect scents for your wedding and reception. Plus, scent is tied to memory, so the smell of your favorite candles will bring back happy memories for years to come. Just make sure that the scent is light enough not to aggravate guests with allergies and sensitivities. m

florist recommendations. Read reviews online and your potential florist’s website. You might also consider visiting the florist’s shop to see how they do things before scheduling a one-on-one appointment. When you’ve narrowed it down, make that appointment and talk to the florist about your vision, theme and guest list. Also ask them about their availability, style, pricing and services. Talk to them about how they’ll handle delivery and set up on their wedding day and what services they do and do not offer. m

Well before getting to the details of your wedding day, you can make sure your engagement and wedding bands are sourced responsibly. Use the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme to track your stones and ask your jeweler if they’re committed to using conflict-free stones. Lab-created stones may have a bad rap, but they’ve got a lower impact on the environment. And recycling isn’t just for the empty bottles of bubbly. Reusing estate jewelry is an environmentally responsible choice with great vintage vibes.

Recyclable Invitations

Pick wedding stationery that’s printed on recycled paper or uses alternatives like upcycled fabrics or even wood. Seed paper, a biodegradable material that sprouts into flowers when planted in a pot of soil, is a great and whimsical choice for your wedding invitations, RSVP cards, thank-you notes and more.

Eco-Friendly Venue

Look for hotels and event spaces that

are LEED certified and have Energy Star ratings. LEED means Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it’s an independent verification that a venue was designed and built using strategies that try to improve energy savings, water efficiency, carbon emissions reduction, indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources.

Don’t Trash Your Decor

Find ways to reuse, recycle or donate the decorations you use in your wedding. Send the flowers to local hospitals, senior centers and homeless shelters. Gift food and favors to your venue’s service staff, family or guests. For things like lanterns or mirrors, send them to local thrift stores.

Rent, Don’t Buy

Look into renting items instead of buying single-use disposables. Some of the things you can rent are glassware, linens and more. If you do have to use disposables, try to choose paper things that you can recycle or will biodegrade instead of plastics.

Make a Green Exit

Instead of tossing rice or confetti, have your guests use lavender, rose petals, fresh herbs or micro flowers. These items are biodegradable and colorful, giving a pop of color to your grand exit. Put them in paper bags for guests to grab. m



A Holly Jolly Wedding


hen you’re planning a winter wedding, you’ve got a Santa-sized elephant in the room. You’ve got two choices — ignore it completely or embrace the fun. Here are some ways to work the most wonderful time of the year into the most wonderful day of your life.

Holiday Hues

One of the first choices you might be asked to make is to choose the color palette that the rest of your wedding will revolve around. Consider picking holiday hues in green and red or metallic silver and gold.

Look at Holiday Venues

If you’ve got some time to plan, consider holiday-centric venues for your big day. Parks or historic homes are big draws, especially when turned out for the holidays with lots of lights and finery. Be aware that

Do Something NEW

Rock A Fresh Color!

a holiday wedding is also competing with other celebrations, so you need to be ready to book as soon as you can.

Festive Florals

Work holiday greenery and plants into your floral arrangements. Not only will they bring a festive feeling to your nuptials, but they are more likely to be more budget friendly than roses and other tropicals.


Give your reception some holiday flair with traditional holiday food and drinks. Think of warming flavors like ginger, cocoa and mulled wine. Consider a table of Christmas cookies for dessert.

Warm Textures

Some kinds of fabrics, such as velvets, chunky knits and faux furs, are popular around Christmas for a reason — they’re

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Gifts Setting up a Charity Registry A charity registry gives your guests the option to give to your selected charity in lieu of giving you a wedding gift. With more couples opting for minimalist weddings and lifestyles, charity registries are growing in popularity. Furthermore, couples are living together before marriage and getting married later in life. These couples don’t need or want the traditional wedding gifts on most registries, but donating to charity can give them an auspicious beginning and give their guests a great way to honor their love. Here are some things to consider when looking for charities for your guests to support on your behalf.

Evaluating Charities

The charity evaluation site Charity Navigator said to make sure the charity you are considering is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity. You can ask for the organization’s Employer Identification Number and check their site to confirm the status. Take a look at the charity’s finances. Healthy organizations are financially efficient and sustainable. The organization should also be accountable and transparent. Charities should be an open book, the site says, and follow good governance practices. Other than that, make sure to choose an organization that supports causes that are close to your heart.


edding gifts are a fairly classic set of items. Couples usually register for things to help them set up housekeeping together, such as bedding and linens, kitchen accessories and more. With couples delaying getting married and living on their own or together before saying I do, however, registries have gotten more creative in the past few years. They now include cash gift funds for things like honeymoons, first houses or experiences.

Classic Wedding Gifts

Of course, things for the home are always appreciated. High-end kitchenware makes a great group or office gift that makes a strong statement of love and support. Think KitchenAid mixers or LeCreuset cookware, or even expensive small appliances like vacuums. Dishes, china, towels and glassware are also traditional gifts that can hold a lot of meeting. Have pieces monogrammed or etched with the happy couples’ initials and the date of their wedding for a sentimental touch.

Cash Gifts

Cash is always a welcome gift to a couple just starting out. But more and more, couples are registering for cash funds that devote the money to things like a honeymoon, a first home together or gifted experiences, such as a weekend getaway, a private tour or a local historic site or park, and more. When choosing these types of gifts, give the amount you would’ve spent on a classic gift and make sure to include a note to the couple. Some online registries allow you to just pay online or you can always opt for the traditional check or cash in a lovely card.

Choose a Site There are several websites that can help you set up a

Subscription Boxes

Getting More Donations

How Much to Spend

charity registry that’s easy for you to use and for guests to give. MyRegistry.com allows you to add charity links using a simple browser button. The Good Beginning allows couples to choose organizations and gives them a simple dashboard for identifying, giving and tracking gifts. Blueprint allows guests to give a custom cash gift that you can donate to the charity in your own name. Brides says the average goal for charitable registries is just under $900, but the actual amount is a little less than half of that. One way to boost donations, if your budget allows for it, is to offer to match donations up to a certain amount. That option can also give you a larger tax write-off for the year. Remember, even the smallest donations can make a huge difference at a charitable organization. m

Give the couple a gift they can enjoy all year with a subscription box tailored to their interests. Once reserved for beers and beauty, subscription boxes now run the gamut and are available at a wide variety of interests and price points. Pick a box that speaks to the couples’ common interests and one that will allow them to celebrate their love for months to come.

Brides magazine says to spend anywhere between $75-$250 as a wedding gift, but that it depends on how close you are to the couple and your budget. A gift doesn’t have to be expensive to be thoughtful. Less expensive options include a framed wedding invitation or a photo book for the happy couple. m DECEMBER 2021



Gifts for the Wedding Party


Bridesmaids Gifts


hey’re a huge part of your life and of your wedding day. They’re there when you’re crying over nail polish colors, budgets, blown honeymoons, pandemics and reception playlists. They also maybe fed you too many margaritas during that bachelorette party. But you love them, anyway. Brides says the average price point for bridesmaids gifts is $75-$100, but feel free to spend whatever you feel is appropriate. Here are some unique bridesmaids gifts to show them how much you appreciate them being there for you.

Bespoke Jewelry

Jewelry can look expensive without being expensive, and it can come from the heart. Consider working with a local artist or even one you find on a network like Etsy to make bespoke earrings, necklaces or bracelets for your bridesmaids crew.

Pajama Sets

Snag a few sets of matching or coordinating pajamas and have them monogrammed by a local embroidery shop. Wrap them in a pretty paper and include a heartfelt note about just how much they mean to you. P.S.: These PJs would make a great wedding morning picture.

Subscription Boxes

For the gifts that keep on giving, sign each of your crew up for a subscription box that everyone will enjoy. You can find a subscription box for just about anything nowadays. Look around for a service that you can all share in. Maybe you all like to garden (succulent gift box, anyone?) or love makeup. You’ll get memories not only of your big day but all year long.

Champagne Flutes

Maybe your girl gang is all about the celebration cocktails. Grab a set of 26


tumblers or stemless flutes. You can add personalization, monograms and more to make it more personal. If champagne flutes aren’t your thing, you can find just about any beverage container and jazz it up, including flasks, highball glasses and coffee mugs.

Get Cozy

Nothing says winter wedding day like cozy blankets, scarves, mittens or a hat. Find a matching set or pick out a luxe item to hand out for your best gals, especially if your wedding day’s going to take you into the chilly weather for any length of time. Bridesmaids dresses aren’t exactly known for their warmth, you know.

Groomsmen Gifts


hey’re your best buds, your bros, and they’re going to be there for your big day. So what’s a guy to get his friends? Keep reading for some great groomsmens gifts that are sure to show them how much you care. Without it being, you know, weird.

Dopp Kits

A Dopp kit is a toiletry kit used by both men and women to store grooming supplies. It was invented, Copper River Bags says, by Charles Doppelt, a German leathersmith, in the early 20th century. During WWII, the Dopp kit became popular after they were introduced

to the military. Samsonite purchased Doppelt’s company in the 1970s to produce Dopp kits and trademarked the name. These small, squarish bags can be monogrammed or personalized, and because everyone needs one, they’re great for gifting.



Flasks are a great way to surreptitiously take the party with you wherever you go, and they come in a variety of colors and materials, most of which are easily personalized. AskMen.com says there’s two ways to carry a flask — either in a jacket pocket or in the hip pocket of your trousers. Jeans, the site says, show too much and give your flask away. Another acceptable option is to stow it in the top of your boot. Clean your flask by rinsing it out with hot water and leaving it to air dry overnight. If you’re changing out the type of booze you’re carrying, rinse it with a little lemon juice from time to time. Avoid soap, as that can change the taste of your alcohol.

Swiss Army Knives

Victorinox, the company that makes the famous Swiss army knife, started in 1884 when Karl Eisener opened a cutlery in Ibach-Schwyz. He made a compact knife with an array of practical functions. Over the years, the functions have changed and the Swiss army knife became synonymous with the world’s most versatile pocket tool. Now, in addition to the classic red finish, Swiss army knives come in a variety of materials, colors and patterns, and they can easily be personalized into a great and thoughtful gift for the outdoorsman or just for the guy that always needs a corkscrew to hand. m


Connect with Welcome Boxes


our big day is all about you and your partner. But if guests are coming from afar or if you’re having a destination wedding, you need to show some love to your guests, too. Put together welcome bags, boxes or baskets to make your attendees feel like they’re a special part of your wedding.

Start with Snacks

Start off with things to make your guests feel more at home on the road. These can include snacks, candies, bottled water, specialty coffees, or tiny bottles of bubbly to kick off your celebrations. Lend a local flavor to your gifts by choosing local brands. Vendors may even be willing to add a monogram and date to the labels to make your gifts more special.

Get Out

Also include travel guides and suggested

destinations for guests who aren’t familiar with the area. Include directions to the ceremony and reception locations, along with transportation information. You can include tickets to popular local attractions, ideas for sightseeing and a list of your favorite restaurants. Toss in travel-sized goodies like sunscreen for a beachy locale or handwarmers for a snowy destination.

Party Time

Another clever addition to your welcome boxes is a post-wedding recovery kit. Put in travel-sized bottles of Advil or Tylenol, cooling eye masks, do-not-disturb signs and anything else your guests might need to recover from a little too much fun.

Drop a Note

Get ahead of the game by writing thankyou notes to your guests and including them in the welcome bags. Make the

notes special by handwriting them and personalizing them to each guest. Tell them how thankful you are that they traveled to be a part of your festivities.

Sowing Seeds of Love

For an outdoor wedding, consider dropping in packets of seeds or young plants that will be seen on the grounds during the ceremony. You can also include gardening gloves or a small pot with your monogram and the date of your nuptials.

Box it Up

When you’re looking for a container, go with something like a tote or box that can be reused. This earns you green points and also gives your guest a memory to take with them after the party’s over. m




Reception Menus


andemic restrictions have put a damper on both weddings and receptions. There are safety restrictions, and many areas that have limited restaurant and event capacity. This means that couples can opt to spend more per guest, meaning plated and personalized reception dinners that will delight your guests.

Course Meals

Smaller guests lists mean that you can opt for a more intimate, luxe reception featuring plated, multi-course dinners. Seat your guests in well-spaced pods, where people sit with people they already associate with. Leave plenty of room for both guests and staff to social distance. Encourage sanitization and mask-wearing except for when eating and drinking. Consider offering intimate touches like handwritten place cards and personalized notes to make the 28


experience special for those you choose to share in your special moment.

Tiny Plates

If you’re not serving a full meal and don’t want passed hors d’oeuvres to create a safety risk, opt instead for individualized plates of appetizers on a theme. Think miniature charcuterie boards or small plates featuring four individual finger foods. Have plenty of pick-up points so that guests don’t congregate in any one area and can instead grab a plate and move to their table at their convenience.

Mini Wedding Cakes

Another pinch point at weddings is the line-up after the couple cuts the cake. Instead of serving slices of cake that have to be served, some couples are opting for miniature wedding cakes

that are individually plated and either served at the reception or packaged for guests to take home and enjoy later. This doesn’t have to just be a cupcake, either. Bakers are turning out tiny, fully decorated layered wedding cakes that perfectly match your theme, palette and budget. Of course, you can always think outside of the box and do another kind of individual sweet treat, such as cookies, brownies or even marshmallow treats.

Prepackaged Foods

Some couples are offering for boxes of prepackaged foods that come individually wrapped so that people can enjoy them at their own pace and knowing the food is safe to eat. Bonus: These boxes can easily be shipped to guests attending via online platforms such as Zoom and social media so everyone can share in the fun.

Tiny is Big

Swiss and Gruyere, or blue cheese. For toppings, thing about crispy bacon or pancetta, cool diced tomatoes, steamed broccoli, spicy jalapenos and chopped herbs.


our wedding is a big day, but what’s really huge right now are things that are tiny. Miniature foods, drinks, favors and even cakes are all the rage. Here are some ideas to help you incorporate this trend into your wedding.

Finger Foods

Finger sandwiches are a great idea for a garden wedding, but you can take this even farther. Mini tacos, sliders, pigs in a blanket all can be miniaturized. Serve these tiny dishes as passed dishes or on distanced tables.

A Taste of Cake

Wedding cakes have been shrinking lately. Full cakes became cupcakes and are now cake pops and cake balls. These tiny treats can be stacked in layers and arranged in adorable ways to complement your decor and theme.


We all know a tiny drink is most commonly a shot. There are ways, however, that your bartender can craft little specialty shots that are more elegance and less frat party.


Think little bottles of local honey or wine, miniature chocolate bars with your monogram and the date, itty bitty bottles of liquor —all are great ideas for jumping on the tiny train. Keep your tiny favors local to give your guests a great memento of the day.


Even clothes are getting in on the trend, including shorter skirts that bare knees and legs for warmer days for brides and bridesmaids.


As the pandemic rolls on, couples are trimming guests lists to accommodate local rules on gatherings and to make their ceremonies safer. And it’s a trend that may stick, experts say. It also plays into a more enduring trend of minimalism and choosing experiences over expense.

Cheese Cake Cornman Farms in Michigan offers a small wedding package. It accommodates a tiny crowd and offers a stunning backdrop for their big day. “When we first came up with this, a pandemic not being considered, we said it was designed for couples who wanted simplicity and affordability but still wanted those Instagram-worthy photos,” said Jamie Gray, the farm’s marketing and communications manager, in The Detroit News. “They kind of get the best of both.”

Go Cheesy


heese is definitely having a moment. As part of charcuterie boards, displays and other elegant meals, the cheesier the better. Put this trend front and center at your reception with these ideas.

Grilled Cheese Bar

Talk to your caterers about a custom grilled cheese bar with different flavors of breads, spreads and cheeses. Choose melty cheeses like nutty Gruyere, sharp cheddar and gooey fontina. Next, consider the bread. Think sourdough, rye and other easily sliceable breads. You can also add a variety of fruits – apple is a great choice – herbs, aromatics, veggies and more.

Instead of a multi-tiered confectionary glory of a wedding cake, consider stacking up wheels and servings of cheese for an eye-catching and delicious wedding cake alternative. Garnish with fresh fruits and flowers. This is a great idea if either the bride or groom is glutenfree or low carb. Note: Make sure you precut your cake; those wheels can be really tough to cut.

Charcuterie Boards

Serve charcuterie boards or spreads at each table or at a giant table so guests can help themselves. Charcuterie is a French word that refers to a type of food preparation that focuses on prepared meats like bacon, ham, sausages, confit and more. These meats are often paired with complimentary cheeses, fruits, jams and more on gorgeous boards for guests to enjoy.

Wine and Cheese

If your event space allows, consider hiring a sommelier for the evening to pair wines and cheeses for your guests to sample and enjoy. For favors, pack up tiny bottles of your favorite vintages and mini wheels of cheese for your guests to take home. Or, if you prefer, pair up cheese with different kinds of beer. m

Macaroni and Cheese Bar

Similarly to the grilled cheese bar, this station combines different cheese sauces with your guests’ choices of pasta and toppings. Pasta shapes to look at include macaroni, cavatappi, rotini or penne. Sauces can include a creamy alfredo, classic cheddar, DECEMBER 2021


Tips & More

A DIY Wedding Checklist As a bride or groom, planning a wedding can be a beautiful experience. Some of the benefits are being able to control all of the creative decisions along the way. It can also be a lot to handle if done incorrectly. Fortunately, there are some tried and true things to remember when putting together a plan for your wedding. Follow along with the checklist below to make sure you’re not forgetting anything as your special day nears.

Create a Budget Paying for your wedding doesn’t have to

Find a Local Wedding Planner T here are many things to consider when looking for a local wedding planner. You’ll need someone who is patient and flexible enough to go with your boldest visions, but also someone who is firm enough to negotiate and manage contracts with vendors and venues. Since every wedding is different, it’s important to find a local wedding planner who can take your goals and make them happen. A local wedding planner can take some stressful things off your plate, plus they live and breathe wedding planning, making them ideal partners to help come up with ideas or details you haven’t considered.

Ask Your Friends

Referrals are the best way for local wedding planners to grow their business. Everyone knows someone who has gotten married or can point you to someone who has. And, odds are, someone you know has worked with a wedding planner. Find a bride or groom who you respect and ask them about their wedding planner experiences. You can also pose the question to your social media following to see what type of feedback you receive. Even after you have gotten a few referrals, do your own research by speaking with some planners to see 30


if they would be a good fit for your wedding day. You’ll find that some local wedding planners specialize in larger weddings, while others may concentrate on smaller ones. Depending on your needs, you’ll want to find a local wedding planner who can turn your wedding dreams into a reality.

Find a Certified Planner

When shopping for a local wedding planner, be sure to interview a few before making your final decision. Reputable professionals will be honest when it comes to their experience and the type of qualifications they possess. While certainly not a necessity, you may consider finding a local professional who holds credentials with the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners. This professional organization features a bevy of trained or certified wedding planners. The organization provides support, resources and networking for wedding planners, as well as professional development, certification and continuing education. Ask your potential wedding planner if they are part of the AACWP or any other wedding planning groups. These types of credentials will only help solidify that you’re working with someone who takes their profession seriously. m

break the bank. With proper planning, you can pull off the event of your dreams if you stay within a pre-determined budget. How much you’re willing to spend will be determined by what is available to you, either through your own savings or financial help from family members. Either way, creating a realistic budget will help you stay focused as you secure things like the venue, band, food and photographers.

Reserve the Venues Once you’ve landed on a wedding date,

choose the venue or venues where your event will be taking place. Many couples are following the recent trend of holding the wedding ceremony and reception in the same building. This can cut down on logistics and travel for guests, making it a one-stop-shop for all of your wedding festivities. No matter what you decide, it’s important to lock down your venues early, especially with the boomerang effect many planners are anticipating as once pandemic-delayed weddings are starting to happen again.

Get Invites Out Early There are certain components of any

wedding that take more time than others to execute. Invites are one of them. Unless you’re creating each one by hand, you’ll be depending on a printer and any related shipping delays before they can go out to your guests. Consider using a local printing company to handle your job. They can work with you on printing and shipping your invites at a good cost. Make sure the invite process is collaborative with your spouse. Forgetting to invite someone from your family or friend network is something you definitely want to avoid.

Wedding Stats to Consider


ometimes, seeing how other couples are planning their weddings can help you making decisions while you start to put together your special day. Check out these statistics from the research company, The Wedding Report. • 41.5% of couples moved their 2020 weddings to 2021. • 7% are or have canceled altogether (some likely married but canceled the full event). • 46% of couples are cutting their budget by an average of 31%. • 58% of couples are cutting their guest count by an average of 41%. • 2021 is seeing a surge of 650,000 weddings, bringing the total number of weddings to 2.77 million versus a normal year of about 2.12 million. • Spending will be reduced in both budget and guest counts. 2021 average spending will be about $21,600, resulting in a total market of $60 billion.

What These Stats Mean for You

Prepare now. Depending on where you live and the current demand for weddings, it may be tough to secure a venue. If you’re planning on getting married in 2021 or 2022, you may have to get creative with your venue space, especially if more traditional space options are booked out for many months. Call around and start your planning process early on. That way you’re able to overcome any scheduling issues due to the pent-up demand for ceremonies and receptions. Enjoy engagement. According to data from TheKnot. com, two out of every three couples said they felt stressed during the planning process in 2020. Another 54 percent felt uncertain, and nearly half of all respondents reported that they were overwhelmed. As difficult as it may be, experiencing a wedding date delay can be a great excuse to enjoy your engagement for a longer period of time. Take local trips with your love and find new ways to spend time together. You just might find you’re closer than ever as your wedding gets closer. Be flexible. If your reception is in a region where you anticipate more events than usual around the time of your planned date, consider alternative days of the week. Toppreferred vendors could potentially be available during these dates. With a little flexibility, you could land great venues and vendors for your special day, even during such an uncertain, high-demand time for couples getting married. m

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New year’s resolutions Revamp your Routine


hen sedentary or unhealthy routines become habitual, your mental and physical health 
likely suffers the consequences. Make a change to your life by committing to add more beneficial behaviors. The additions do not have to be drastic to make a significant impact on your health. Consider adding some healthy habits to your lifestyle by promising to incorporate these positive actions to your list of New Year’s resolutions.

Get Active If your idea of unwinding after a day’s work is shacking up on the couch and binging your favorite shows, you may be inviting dangerous health risks. A study by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center reveals that bingewatching television can increase the risk of developing deep-vein thrombosis or a life-threatening blood clot. Before settling in for the evening, try to add a moderate or intense workout into your routine. A study by the National Institutes of Health shows that mental



health can be directly affected by regular exercise. Symptoms and disorders like anxiety, depression and a negative mood are proven to be reduced through physical activity while improving your self-esteem and cognitive functions. According to the American Heart Association, adults should meet these guidelines regarding physical activity. • At least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. • Add moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening workouts at least twice per week. • Spend less time sitting — even light activity can offset some risks involved with a sedentary lifestyle. If you’re new to a physical routine, consider hiring a personal trainer to show you the ropes, or team up with a friend who will hold you accountable.

Eat Fresh Cut out the junk food that makes its way into your diet. Instead of snacking on foods that are high in sodium or fat content,

consider adding superfoods like broccoli, leafy greens and lean proteins. Get creative in the kitchen with new and exciting recipes to avoid falling into old bad eating habits. You can meal plan for the week and use a calorie-tracking app to keep a log of your foods.

Be Realistic Committing to a healthier lifestyle won’t happen overnight just because the calendar year changes. You will need strict determination to alter the behaviors that may already be developed. Remember to take it slow while your body learns its new healthy routine. m

Create an Emergency Fund


he unexpected COVID-19 pandemic left millions of Americans without their jobs and income they rely on to make ends meet. Kaiser Health News reports that as of May 2020, more than 39 million Americans had filed for unemployment benefits. The sudden shutdown of businesses large and small can teach us the importance of having an emergency fund to help get through tough times. America’s Debt Help Organization recommends that people have enough savings to cover at least three months of expenses. An emergency fund that can last up to six months is preferable, as it can protect you and reduce your need to rely on highinterest credit cards or loans.

Slow Growth Building an emergency fund can seem like an uphill battle if you find it challenging to add to a savings account

after your monthly commitments. Consider these tips that can cause significant growth over time. • Get a part-time job during your free time. Commit to using the additional funds solely for saving. • Cut expenses that cause a strain to your budget. Consider avoiding eating out or buying a daily coffee. • As you spend cash throughout the day, promise to add all the change into a jar. Once the container is full, deposit the accumulated coins into a savings account. These simple guidelines will help you gain traction in an emergency fund plan while providing satisfaction as your nest egg grows.

Face Your Debt You can find more room in your budget for savings by cutting down high-interest debts and high monthly payments. Analyze your financial responsibilities on

paper by jotting down the due dates, costs and interest. Talk to your lenders about more feasible commitments or consider lumping credit-card debts and loans into one manageable payment. You may find a better interest rate that will save you a significant amount of money that can be included in your emergency fund.

Open a Separate Account It’s essential to keep emergency funds separate from an easily accessible checking account. Try to monitor your primary account and transfer any surpluses to savings to prepare for an unexpected expense or other financial situation. m


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Find a New Love in

or many, a New Year’s resolution to read more books falters as the hustle of daily life gets in the way. However, there are strategies to help. One of the most important tactics is to schedule the time you have for reading. Think about when your day slows to create a window to read. For instance, is your home quieter in the evening when the kids are winding down, or can you find more free time early in the morning before your housemates’ days begin? Consider how much time you spend watching television and try to replace screen time by diving into a great book.


Eliminate Distractions E-readers and smartphones make compiling good reads in one compact package simple. However, reading from your phone can introduce distractions like text messages or social media notifications. Once these intrusions make their way onto your device, it can be easy to push aside the book to respond or scroll through your news feed. You can eliminate electronic interruptions by committing to buying physical copies of your favorite novels and put the phone in silent mode. If you worry that hard-copy books may be more expensive than their digital counterparts, consider signing up for a membership at a local library or looking for bargains at a bookstore.

Mix It Up Avoid becoming bored with reading by choosing stories from a variety of genres. Rather than sticking to the same books or authors, explore the shelves to find a great adventure from a different perspective. As you navigate your store’s shelves, look for novels geared toward a diverse audience, or ask the store clerk for their recommendation of famous writers. You can quickly research upcoming books on review-based websites or find lists of highly anticipated inclusions from a variety of authors. Try to include various

genres like self-help books, mystery, nonfiction and science fiction to entice your mind and potentially find a new passion for reading.

Join a Book Club Find a network of bookworms in your area by seeking a club to discuss different stories. Most groups will designate the reading material and meet to discuss its themes, ideas and impressions that were gained. It’s an efficient way to stay on track for New Year’s resolutions that are dedicated to getting back to the books. m

Sticking to Resolutions Whether you resolve to lose weight or change an unhealthy habit, sticking to a year-long commitment requires determination and dedication. For many, staying on track is easy for the first few months. Still, as the calendar marches on, some struggle to maintain. The key to succeeding in your New Year’s resolutions is by setting realistic goals for yourself. When deciding on a long-term objective, create a list of small steps to take that make the ultimate achievement more accessible. Reaching little milestones throughout the year can help make the process more fun and rewarding. Check out these tips from the American Psychological Association to keep yourself 34


motivated and achieve the great results you desire.

Change One Behavior at a Time If you have several bad habits that you plan to resolve, avoid becoming overwhelmed by addressing each one separately. Consider which behavior is most important to cut out of your life and start there. When your goal is to get into the gym, but membership is hard to afford, you can work on cutting out habits like smoking or eating out to save money. Until you have the savings from avoiding expensive behaviors, work out at home before funding a year-long member

fee at your local facility. Cutting out expensive or unhealthy addictions will lead to a healthier lifestyle that can impact your performance once you do hit the gym.

Find a Support Group Working toward achievements with friends or like-minded peers is a great way to be held responsible for ultimately reaching your goals. Find people in your life who plan to set similar New Year’s resolutions and ask to team up or form a bond of support. Plan to communicate each week and discuss how things are going and talk through any setbacks. When unable to find someone

close to you for support, take advantage of social media groups where you can connect with people all over the world. The multiple points of view can paint a better perspective that will help reach your goal in a different way than you imagined.

Don’t Become Discouraged Try not to beat yourself up if you don’t meet the milestones as quickly as you imagined. Changing your lifestyle can be difficult. Use the setbacks as learning experiences to put into action when you are discouraged or feel like giving up on your resolutions. m


Family Reunion

an Event


pending time with friends and family is a beneficial way to improve your relationships. While attending the events of others can provide satisfaction, hosting your own get together can give you a sense of satisfaction and boost your confidence. However, organizing a large occasion can take a significant amount of time, so give yourself plenty of opportunity for planning. When adding this task to your list of New Year’s resolutions, consider if it’s a process you can tackle yourself or if recruiting help from another is necessary. In addition to finding a reason to celebrate, you must decide on a venue, catering menu and a list of guests. Begin your year by building a list of ideas for fun events to call your own. It may become an annual tradition that those in your life look forward to attending.

When planning a family reunion, be considerate about the travel plans for relatives. Rather than beginning your event with a set date, create a list of potential days and allow family members to vote for the ideal time. Once you have a save the date in place, you should decide on the location, food and activities. If this is your first time planning a large-scale event, consider hiring a professional planner to help show you the ropes.

Super Bowl Party Watching the big game is only half the fun surrounding Super Bowl Sunday. Rather than joining in on the fun and driving home after the game, plan to host the event at your place. If your entertainment room lacks space or innovative devices, make a New Year’s resolution to update the technology or renovate the area. While some renovations may be sizable

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investments, keep in mind that you can use the room year-round for various gatherings and everyday family fun. When arranging the Super Bowl party, don’t forget to prepare a menu in advance. Fill it with easy-to-eat finger foods, delicious dips and football-themed snacks. Invite your guests to bring along their favorite dishes to offer a diverse smorgasbord. m

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Find a Mentor or Role Model


rowth and learning are essential to thriving both professionally and in your personal life. Finding a role model who abides by ethical leadership and moral values provides you with a guide that can help set goals and navigate stressful situations. If you’re unsure of whom to reach out to as a mentor, pay attention to the behaviors of people in the office or your circle of friends and family. Look back to your childhood and think of figures that you looked up to most. Now, consider your passions as an adult to find the right person who can provide guidance. It’s promising to look to those who share the same interests toward similar goals. Watch how they tackle problem-solving methods and treat others who facilitate their space. Once you have a potential role model in mind, approaching them for direction can seem daunting, but it may be easier than you think.

You should also try to discover if anyone in your network already has a relationship with a potential mentor. Ask your friend to gauge their contact’s interest and consider arranging an introductory meeting.

Being a Good Mentee

Finding a Mentor When searching for a mentor to assist in your professional development, find someone who has a similar job that you feel is obtainable in the near future. Do your research before reaching out to them by learning their education history and career milestones. Social media accounts will make it simple to follow one’s achievements. Understanding their journey will help the conversation go smoother when you do inquire about their interest in guiding you.

After arranging a plan, you must show appreciation to your mentor by sharing your growth and abiding to constructive criticism. Be honest about your pace toward reaching the goals that have been set. If your mentor decides that a new strategy is required, you can work together to speed up the process. It’s also essential to meet consistently and discuss concerns. If physical interaction isn’t always possible, consider conducting your conversations through email or video-call platforms. Don’t forget to take notes during discussions to create a journal you can look to when you feel stuck. m

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Three recipes for



asagna with pistachio and ham is a fabulous first course of baked pasta, an alternative to classic lasagna, appreciated by true pistachio lovers. This lasagna is perfect for lunches or dinners with friends or relatives, on holidays, or for Sunday lunch. The main ingredients are pistachio, preferably of good quality such as, for example, that of Bronte, and ham. A delicious combination, the creamy pistachio pesto, with a strong flavor enhanced by the flavor of the ham slices: wonderful. To make the recipe, you start with choosing the egg sheets for the lasagna: you can make them at home by preparing a simple fresh pasta made from durum wheat semolina and eggs, or you can buy them at the supermarket choosing between dry and fresh sheets. If you use dry lasagna, for an optimal result, it is better to give it a soak in water and oil before assembling the lasagna. However, if you are in a hurry, you can also use them raw, they will cook directly in the oven. The sheets of fresh lasagna, on the other hand, are ready to use without blanching them first, making them even more practical. Lasagna with pistachios and ham are prepared by alternating layers of egg puff pastry, pistachio pesto mixed with béchamel, ham, provolone, and parmesan: what a pleasure. They can also be prepared in advance. In addition, lasagna can also be frozen both raw and cooked, according to your needs. Whether you freeze it raw or cooked, it is better to defrost it the night before so that it cooks in the oven evenly. Now you just have to read the recipe!


Prep: 30 minutes Cooking: 45 minutes Difficulty: Low Portions: 6 people Cost: Medium


400 g fresh or dried lasagna (* to make it at home) 200 g pistachio pesto (recipe to make it at home) 200 g thinly sliced ​​ham 300 g bechamel (recipe for making it at home) 150 g fresh provolone 150 g mozzarella fior di latte 50 g grated parmesan Chopped pistachios to taste * For the Fresh Egg Pasta 3 eggs 300 g re-milled durum wheat semolina 1 pinch of salt


Preparing Pasta For Lasagna If you want to make egg pasta for lasagna sheets, follow this recipe. The process is the same. I advise you not to make the sheets very thick as they will then tend to remain raw during cooking. If you use dry lasagna, you can blanch them in water and a little seed oil, so that they don’t stick to each other. It only takes a few minutes, just long enough for them to soften and shape in the pan. With a skimmer, remove them from the water and place them on a clean cloth well apart. Let them cool down. If you use fresh lasagna this step will not be needed, so continue with the preparation of the recipe. Preparation of Pistachio Pesto Prepare the homemade pistachio pesto following the recipe on the next page. I recommend it must be creamy and not very grainy as it will then be mixed with

the béchamel. The “grainy” effect will be given by the chopped pistachios that you will distribute in each layer. Béchamel preparation Use the recipe on the next page to prepare classic bechamel at home is really simple, follow this and you will get a perfect and lump-free bechamel. Preparation of Pistachio and Ham Lasagna Put a layer of pistachio béchamel on the bottom of a baking dish. Arrange the lasagna sheets side by side and spoon the bechamel, slices of speck, provolone, and diced mozzarella and parmesan. You could, if necessary, drain the mozzarella and provolone in a colander for an hour before using them so that they do not release too much liquid. Continue with the layers alternating all the ingredients, until finished. I advise you not to do more than 5 or 6. Bake in a static oven at 350° for about 40 minutes. To check the cooking of the lasagna, just check the pastry and see that it is no longer white inside. *You can replace ham with prosciutto or, to go vegetarian, you can skip it.



Pistachio pesto


istachio pesto is a preparation with a fresh and aromatic taste that enhances the unique and unmistakable flavor of this fruit. The secret to obtaining an exquisite pesto is undoubtedly to use top quality pistachios. Making it is simple: prepare a mixture of just blanched pistachios and flavor with basil, parmesan and lemon zest. Pistachio pesto is the perfect condiment to dress a starter with prawns, any kind of pasta or a fantastic lasagna! Of course it can also be enjoyed spread on crunchy toasted bread to be served as delicious appetizers. 373 Calories per serving Difficulty: Very easy

Prep time: 15 min Cooking: 5 min Average cost


Unsalted pistachios (shelled) 200 g PARMESAN CHEESE (for grating) 35 g Lemon zest ½ Garlic ½ clove Extra virgin olive oil 100 ml Water 100 ml Basil 3 leaves Salt up to taste Black pepper to taste


To make the pistachio pesto, start by placing a pot full of water on the fire, bring to a boil and then pour in the shelled pistachios , cook for 5 minutes or the time necessary to soften the peel then drain the pistachios. Remove the peel of the pistachios and collect them in a small bowl. Transfer the pistachios to a blender, pour the olive oil, the grated Grana Padano, the basil leaves, half a clove of garlic and the grated zest of half a lemon, then pour in the water, the salt, the pepper and blend the mixture until you get a smooth cream.

STORAGE Keep the pistachio pesto in the refrigerator for 4-5 days in a jar or freeze it. COOKING TIP You can flavor the pesto with your favorite aromatic herbs, with marjoram or mint. If you don’t like garlic, you can omit it.

Béchamel sauce


échamel is an ancient basic sauce claimed by both the French and the Italians as their own creation. The most reliable theory is that it was Caterina de’ Medici who imported it into France with the name it was known by at the time, i.e. “salsa colla” (glue sauce). But it was thanks to the courtier Louis de Béchameil that it became known as béchamel sauce even though Pellegrino Artusi preferred to Italianize it in his recipe book as balsamella, now obsolete. Béchamel sauce is the most versatile of cooking sauces, easy and quick to make, it will give an extra boost to all your dishes. From lasagna to baked pasta such as pasta au gratin with fennel and béchamel sauce, its possible uses are countless. It’s also the perfect filling for crispy, hearty monachina eggs. Here you will discover all the secrets to obtain a creamy béchamel sauce without lumps! 368 Calories per serving Difficulty: Very easy

Prep time: 5 min Cook time: 10 min Serving: 4 people Cost: Very low

INGREDIENTS FOR 4.25 CUPS OF SAUCE Butter ½ cup (100 g) Flour 00 ¾ cup (100 g) Whole milk 4 ¼ cups (1 l) Salt 1 pinch Nutmeg to taste - grated


To prepare the béchamel sauce, heat the milk in a saucepan (whole, fresh milk) 1;

Shopping guide

separately, melt the 7 tbsp (100 g) of butter over low heat 2, then turn off the heat and add the 11 tbsp (100 g) of flour all at once 3, stirring with a whisk to prevent lumps from forming. Then put the saucepan back over low heat and stir until the mixture turns golden. You will have thus obtained what the French call roux 4; flavor the milk with nutmeg 5 and a pinch of salt (this can be done at the end, when the béchamel sauce is ready); pour a little hot milk on the roux to dilute the bottom 6, then add the rest, whisking vigorously. Cook for 5-6 minutes over low heat until the sauce thickens 7 and starts to boil. With this recipe you will obtain an average thickness 8. Your béchamel sauce is ready: you can use it for complex dishes such as lasagna, cannelloni and many other first courses. It is excellent for flavoring roasted meat dishes, boiled vegetables, fish, soufflés, in short... it’s up to you! STORAGE If you don’t use your béchamel sauce immediately, pour it into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap touching its surface, to prevent it from forming a skin. Once cold, béchamel sauce can be stored in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 2-3 days. To restore its smooth and creamy texture, just whisk it with a mixer. Sauce can be frozen for about 1 month. TIPS If you prefer a runnier béchamel sauce, decrease the amount of butter and flour; for a thicker béchamel sauce, increase the amount of butter and flour. If lumps form in the béchamel sauce, don’t panic: just pour it through a sieve! FOR A VEGAN VERSION To make a vegan version of béchamel sauce, you can replace the butter with olive or vegetable oil and the cow’s milk with the non-dairy vegan milk of your choice. FOR A GLUTEN-FREE VERSION And if you want to make a gluten-free béchamel sauce, just replace the flour with any of the recommended starches available on the market with a crossed grain symbol.


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his salmon and potato parmigiana is a truly mouth-watering second course. If you love smoked salmon you can’t miss this recipe which, in addition to being fabulous, is not even high-calorie. In fact, it is a fish parmesan without bechamel with few ingredients, with fresh scamorza cheese. It is fast because there is no need to boil or cook the potatoes before assembling them. You can use both smoked salmon (as in this recipe) and fresh salmon if you prefer. What do you think? A delicious and different fish parmigiana. This delicious salmon and potato parmigiana is very good, easy, and quick to prepare, also ideal for Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve dinner. Now you just have to read the recipe and save it. Salmon and potato parmesan recipe with scamorza cheese and second-course easy tasty recipe Preparation: 10 minutes Cooking: 23 minutes Difficulty: Very easy Portions: 2 people Cost: Low


3 small potatoes 100 g Smoked salmon 100 g sweet scamorza cheese (or provolone or mozzarella) 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan Herbs to taste Olive oil to taste A pinch of salt and pepper


To prepare the salmon and potato parmigiana, peel the potatoes and rinse them. With a mandolin, slice them to obtain very thin slices, the thickness is important as they will not be cooked before being baked. Season the potatoes with very little oil, aromatic herbs to taste (sage, rosemary, oregano, chives), and salt and pepper. Mix them with your hands so that they are all seasoned. Put some parchment paper in a baking dish, make a layer of potatoes, smoked salmon into small pieces, and sliced ​​ smoked cheese, and proceed with the layers.

On the surface, add the grated Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes until golden brown. The salmon and potato parmigiana is really delicious, you can also prepare it in advance and reheat or bake it on the spot.

BATTERED PRAWNS with parsley


delicious fish-based finger food that is simple to prepare, perfect for a fish-based New Year’s Eve celebration. The recipe consists in the preparation of the classic batter that is used for pancakes and battered vegetables in which the prawns are dipped and then fried. For a fish-based appetizer, prawns in batter are perfect, perhaps for a New Year’s Eve dinner. This savory appetizer can be served either hot or cold and it can be prepared in advance. Preparation: 15 minutes Cooking: 15 minutes Difficulty: Very easy Portions: 4 people Cost: Medium


20 fresh prawns 100 g flour 1 pinch Salt 100 ml sparkling water 1 sprig Italian parsley 5 g brewer’s yeast (* read advice) q.s. Seed oil for frying


To prepare the prawns in parsley batter, first prepare the batter that will have to rise. In a bowl, mix the flour with the sparkling water in which you have dissolved the brewer’s yeast. Add a pinch of salt. The consistency

should be neither too liquid nor too thick. Let it rise covered with plastic wrap for at least an hour until you see the bubbles appear. Boil the shrimp in salted boiling water for a few minutes. Shell them leaving only the tail. When the batter has risen, add the chopped fresh parsley and mix. Heat the oil for frying, Dip the prawns in the batter holding them by the tail and dip them into the boiling oil. Cook until golden, add salt and serve. Prawns in parsley batter are excellent both hot and cold, you can prepare them in advance or fry them on the spot. If you want to speed up the time, you can replace the brewer’s yeast with instant powder.



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