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  • 12/13/13--11:08: Tea Anyone?
  • I was invited to a delightful Christmas Tea.

    A place card for me at the table

    It was a gathering of ladies to celebrate the holiday season. I met new friends, and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of laughter and great conversation.

    My new friends, Cynthia and Claudia

    The celebration included a variety of teas and delicious refreshments.


    We participated in a fun Pollyanna gift exchange.

    Pollyanna Gift Table

    The gifts I received (snowman candle holder and candles, and other goodies)

    And, at the end of the event, everyone received empowering quotes to inspire and encourage us in the new year.

    I received this Mandela quote.

    Another reason to be grateful at the holidays -- the opportunity to be inspired by, and make new friends!

    Me with hostess Gail Bennett and other tea attendees

    Merry Christmas!






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    Hi, foodies...Amy here, In the Kitchen with David Senior Copywriter. I’m sneaking into David’s blog today to share something very special.

    If you watched the show on Wednesday, you know David is celebrating his 20th Anniversary with QVC. If you missed the show, the team had a few surprises planned for our head foodie...including a visit from David’s boss, Jack.

    Surprised David!

    And, what 20th Anniversary would be complete without a celebratory message written in bacon? (Do we know David or what???)   

    Mary QVC

    Foodies, what you didn’t see on Wednesday is a video we, the ITKWD team, created under the guidance and direction of our genius multimedia producer/editor, Wes. Happy Anniversary to you, David, our friend, colleague, and our favorite foodie.

    And now, here’s what David prepared for you all today...be sure to wish him a Happy Anniversary on Facebook, Twitter, and all his social platforms!

    Hello, foodies…

    (Close your eyes and picture me saying that with a thick British Accent!) Why? Well, we’re traveling to England for “Christmas Around the World” month this Sunday on In the Kitchen with David! Where, specifically? We’re headed to the South East Corner of the country. Many thanks to Amy (our Senior Copywriter) for introducing us to her friend Mark (and his adorable kids!

    Amy: Mark, tell me about the days leading up to Christmas in England. How did you celebrate?
    Mark: There are a lot of similarities to Christmas in the U.S. as far as customs...decorations tend to go up around the 1st of December and that includes a tree, mistletoe, lights, everything. And, children go ‘carol singing,’ which is similar to trick-or-treating but the kids actually sing carols on your doorstep in the hopes they’d get some sort of treat. That’s worn off a bit now, though, I think. In terms of food, we ate mince meat pies (ignore the name, they're actually made of fruit) and sausage rolls.

    Amy: Does anything special happen on Christmas Eve? Or does the magic all happen on Christmas Day?
    Mark: Christmas Eve isn’t quite as important as Christmas Day, but it certainly signaled the start of the holiday. Most people attend mass, and there are two: a nativity mass, which is held around 6pm and revolves around the kids of the church re-enacting the nativity scene; or, you can attend a traditional midnight mass, which is what we did when we got older.

    Upon returning from the nativity mass (at least that’s what I know it as), we would get ready for father Christmas. (I think Santa is an American term, although slowly growing across the world.) We would ensure we left a carrot and milk for the reindeer and a mince pie and whiskey for father Christmas. Everyone would bring down the presents that they bought for each other and put them under the tree. Our empty stockings would be put at the end of our beds and then we’d try to sleep…

    Amy: So what happened when you awoke?
    Mark: Well, “Santa” had magically appeared in the night and he left loads of presents under the tree and filled the stockings that were left on beds. The lounge door (where the tree was) was locked so we could never peek at the gifts until Mum had prepped lunch. A traditional lunch would consist of roast turkey, duck, or goose. We tended to opt for the turkey and the trimmings included pork, sage, and onion stuffing; roast potatoes; pigs-in-a-blanket; sprouts; carrots; peas; and gravy. Then, for dessert, we had a yule log, more mince pies, and a traditional Christmas pudding (which I think it’s also called plum pudding—and “plums” are raisins). It must be covered with brandy at the table and set on fire. I can still see it flaming now! Bloody love Christmas pudding…and Christmas!

    Wow! Thanks, Mark. While we may not have a flaming pudding recipe for you, foodies, we do have a Chestnut & Apricot-Stuffed Turkey Breast! Here’s the recipe and photos to boot.

    Chestnut & Apricot-Stuffed Turkey Breast
    Serves 6-8

    This recipe is prepared with the Rachel Ray Hard Anodized Roaster with Rack (K39936).

    Go to David's Recipe Item Page for the full list of items that David has used in his recipes.


    • 1 stick butter
    • 1 cup celery, finely diced
    • 1 cup onion, finely diced
    • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
    • 1 cup chestnuts, roasted, peeled & halved
    • 2 cups chicken stock
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • 1 tsp sage, chopped
    • 1 tsp thyme, chopped
    • 8 cups day-old French bread, cubed & toasted


    • 1 (4–4.5 lb) boneless turkey breast
    • Salt & pepper, to taste


    To prepare the stuffing, melt the butter in a large sauté pan. Add the celery and the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.

    Add the apricots, chestnuts, chicken stock, salt, pepper, sage, and thyme. Bring the mixture up to a simmer, and then remove the pan from the heat.

    Add the bread cubes and toss until the liquid has been fully absorbed. Place the stuffing on a baking sheet and refrigerate until it’s completely cooled.

    While the stuffing is cooling, prepare turkey breast. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    Carefully remove the skin from the turkey breast in one piece and place it aside to be used later.

    Butterfly the breast open like a book using a small, very sharp knife, being careful not to cut all the way through. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the entire breast.

    With a meat mallet, pound the breast into an even thickness of about 1/4", and then remove the plastic wrap.

    Begin stuffing the turkey breast by spreading the bread mixture lengthwise down the middle of the breast. Roll the turkey around the stuffing and then roll the breast over, so the seam is on the bottom.

    Stretch the reserved skin over the top of the breast, and then tie it in 6–8 sections with butcher’s twine around the middle.

    Place the turkey in a roasting pan and season it with salt and pepper. Place it in the oven for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 155°F on a meat thermometer.

    Let the turkey rest, then slice and serve.

    Are you hungry, yet? Does it feel like Christmastime? What do you think of that stuffing? Until we developed this recipe, I hadn’t had stuffing with chestnuts or apricots. But, I’m a FAN! So, for today’s blog question, how do you make your stuffing? Do you have any secret ingredients? Maybe you do a cornbread stuffing with cranberries? Maybe a classic…but you add celery and carrots? Or, do you prefer a sausage stuffing with sage?

    On Sunday, we’ll be 10 days away from Christmas…join me and we’ll get your gift list wrapped up! See you at Noon ET.

    Keep it flavorful!

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    Our Fashionably Early Christmas Wreath event was a huge success! Everyone on the FEW team rallied around this challenge and we had an absolute blast creating our masterpieces.  Since your votes chose Traditional and White Christmas as our themes – Jayne and I created these wonderful wreaths...

    Check out these creative ones from our FEW family: Bottle-cap theme, gingerbread men, world globes, ballerina, and  jewels..



    To cap off the festivities, all of our wreaths were delivered to our local Veterans Hospital so that our brave servicemen and women can enjoy them for the rest of the season.  Thank you all for your support and from our hearts to yours, have a Blessed Holiday and a healthy and Happy New Year!

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    Here are the most frequently asked questions from our customers about the HALO Photo/Document Scanner Mouse w/Pad & Easy Share Software.  Don't see an answer to your question? Post your question to this blog, below, and check back throughout the day on Wednesday, December 18, 2013, to have your question answered by our HALO team of experts!
    Q: Does it come with an owner’s manual?
    A: Yes.
    Q: Is it Windows 8-compatible?
    A: Yes.
    Q: Is it Mac-compatible?
    A: Yes, with OS X 10.6 or later.
    Q: Is the software Mac-compatible?
    A: Yes, with OS X 10.6 or later.
    Q: Can slides be scanned?
    A: Yes.
    Q: Can you scan negatives?
    A: Yes.
    Q: What file format does it save the image in?
    A: The HALO Scanner Mouse can save in the following six file formats: .jpg, .doc, .pdf, .txt, .xls and .png.
    Q: What size originals can you scan?
    A: The size of the originals you can scan varies depending on the specs of your computer and the resolution settings set for the HALO Scanner Mouse. On average, the maximum size photograph you can scan is approximately 8.5x11. For text documents containing less detail and color than a photograph, you can generally scan larger, up to legal size.
    Q: Can you scan photos that are framed and covered with glass?
    A: No, you cannot scan photos that are framed and covered in glass. You will need to remove the photo from the frame to effectively scan it.
    Q: What is the dpi for the scanner?
    A: The HALO Scanner Mouse resolution settings can be set to one of the four following dpi’s: Full: 400 dpi, High: 320 dpi, Medium: 200 dpi, and Low: 100 dpi
    Q: How quickly can you scan an original?
    A: The time it takes for you to scan an original varies based on the user’s computer settings and the user’s comfort level with using the HALO Scanner Mouse. On average, a scan can be completed in two minutes or less.
    Q: Can you scan X-rays?
    A: Yes.
    Q: Can you scan business cards?
    A: Yes.
    Q: Can you scan receipts?
    A: Yes.
    Q: Can you scan envelopes for stamp collections?
    A: Yes.
    Q: Can you scan professional photographs?
    A: Yes.
    Q: Can the firmware be updated? If so, how do you update it?
    A: Yes, the firmware can be updated. HALO will release an update through your Scanner Mouse application if an update is required.
    Q: Will this work with 64-bit systems?
    A: Yes, the Halo Scanner Mouse will work with both 32-bit systems and 64-bit systems.
    Q: Once I scan a photo, can it then be enlarged?
    A: Yes, you can enlarge a photo but enlarging a photo may change the resolution and quality of the photo enlarged.
    Q: Can a wireless mouse be connected to a computer at the same time as the scanner mouse?
    A: Yes, you can have the HALO Scanner Mouse and a wireless mouse connected at the same time.
    Information provided by HALO.

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    Steve and I had so much fun this weekend hosting a stocking gender reveal party at our house where we announced the gender of our sweet little baby! There was no way we'd be able to wait until Christmas to share the news!

    Getting the house all set up for the party

    Steve pouring a champagne toast + sparkling cider of course for my nieces and me

     The whole family! My neighbor was nice enough to stop by to take the photo for us

     My mom and dad

     Steve's parents and his sister & brother-in-law

     Abby and Reese with their Chic-Fil-A

    It's a girl!

     Homemade candy from my girlfriend who knew it was a girl :) We put this out after we announced to everyone!

    I have to share my clever hiding spot for the stocking and the chocolates — the dryer!

    I hope you enjoyed the photos! It was a beautiful day with the family.


    PS: remember you all took a poll to guess the gender a couple weeks ago? Well, 60% of you knew it was a girl ;)




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    We've been hit three times by snow in just a little over one week and they are predicting a little more tomorrow morning. Each year at the first snowfall, I like to make Cherries in the Snow. It's a sweet treat and the red and white ingredients make me think of Christmas. Enjoy!

    P.S. In my first cookbook it's on page 140 and is called, "Cherry-Berries Dessert", but I like to call it "Cherries in the Snow".

    Cherries in the Snow

    • 6 Egg whites
    • 1/2 Teaspoon cream of tartar
    • 1/4 Teaspoon salt
    • 2 3/4 Cup sugar
    • 6 Ounce softened cream cheese
    • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 Cups whipping cream
    • 2 Cups miniature marshmallows
    • 1 Can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling
    • 1 Teaspoon lemon juice
    • 2 Cups frozen strawberries (or sliced fresh fruit of your choice)

    Heat oven to 275 degrees. Grease a 9" x 13" pan.

    Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until frothy.

    Gradually beat in 1-3/4 sugar. Beat until stiff and glassy, about 15 minutes. I love my KitchenAid!

    Spread in prepared pan.

    Bake for 60 minutes. Turn off oven leaving meringue inside to cool overnight, about 12 hours.

    Remove pan from oven after about 12 hours.

    Mix together cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar and vanilla.

    Gently fold in whipped cream and marshmallows.

    Spread over meringue and refrigerate overnight for about 12 hours.

    Cut into serving pieces and top with a mixture of the cherry pie filling, strawberries and lemon juice.

    I wanted the dessert faster, so I added the fruit topping before allowing it to refrigerate for 12 hours. It's just another option and gives a little different consistency.


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    Sinead, Solvar Jewellery

    What is your most favourite part of the holiday season? Mine is the run up to the holidays! And this year has been by far the most exciting! For those of you who don’t know me, I am a mum to 4-year-old twins, Caoimhe and Alannah. The two days I don’t work, I walk them to Irish School and they shout to everyone that passes by “Merry Christmas Eve!” This started December 1st and gradually as the days pass, the excitement builds. Last Friday they had their Christmas Play where they were angels! What a special moment, and I couldn’t help think of my mum and all the traditions we had as a family growing up in Oldcastle Co Meath.

    The next day, my husband Cathal and I brought them to see Santa at Causey Farm, not far from my old homestead. What a special time! The girls got to hold puppies, feed the goats, pet the calf’s, meet the reindeer, hold the baby piglets, and, most importantly, got to meet the man himself…Santa! On Sunday, we put up the Christmas tree, and it was adoringly decorated on the bottom left hand side with 40 ornaments. Sunday night, Mum & Dad collapsed in a heap!

    This weekend we have planned to make our Christmas pudding (which should have been done weeks ago), and we will all take a moment to make a wish when stirring it! This is an old Irish tradition, and, of course, no Irish Christmas would be complete without the pudding! Another tradition for us as kids was to decorate our home with holly. My dad always insisted that this be done as it was a way in to invite the fairies to come and visit and bring us luck for the following year!! I must add this to the “To-Do List”.

    Do you have much left on your list?

    Nollaig Shona Duit!

    The O’Connor Family


    ShopSolvar Jewellery on QVC.com.


    Stephen, Connemara Marble

    I can't believe it's almost Christmas and the end of another busy year. In Ireland, we close for almost two weeks during the festive season, and it's a wonderful time to spend with family and friends and celebrate the birth of our Saviour. Over the weekend, we had our annual staff party, and, as you can see from the  photos, a good time was had by all. There is an old saying, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull lad" - so you can see we can mix work and pleasure too!

    Our gift shop all lit up for Christmas!

    Me (in the back with the Santa hat on) with some of our work colleagues at our staff party!

    Me behind the bar!

    Here are videos to our Irish vendors Christmas song and Christmas greetings. Enjoy!

    So, on behalf of all the Connemara Marble team, I wish you, your family and friends a very happy Christmas and every good wish for the new year!



    Shop Connemara Marble on QVC.com.



    Until next time!


    Shop our Irish assortment on QVC.com.

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    Have you made a New Year’s resolution for your skin? I love making resolutions I can keep (not like the ones I've made about going to the gym year after year!). Thanks to StriVectin, I can keep my resolution to take even better care of my skin. What do you say we both take time this New Year’s Eve to start the year off right with new StriVectinLABS Extreme Cream?

    StriVectin Extreme Cream 

    StriVectinLABS Extreme Cream is formulated with EXTREME technology to deliver EXTREME moisture and EXTREME rejuvenation. This highly nourishing treatment provides deep hydration that lasts over 24 hours.

    Did you know that when your skin lacks moisture, it can make you look older than you actually are? As you know, StriVectin is big on research. Well, our research has shown us that not only do smart women shop at QVC, but they also rank dehydration as their biggest skin-care concern. They want products that supply intense moisture. Extreme Cream provides skin with the moisture needed to help fight the signs of aging. Now, we're not just talking fine lines here. In our clinical study, the look of COARSE wrinkles was reduced in just four weeks. I'll take that!

    Extreme Cream is formulated with our antiaging NIA-114 technology, moisture-seeking molecules, and our brand-new energizing oxygen complex. Together, they help revitalize skin for immediate suppleness and improved texture.

    Incorporating Extreme Cream into my daily routine is a beauty resolution I can keep. Please join me and my good friend Jill Bauer for the premiere of StriVectinLABS Extreme Cream on December 31 at 4pm ET and be one of the first to try it. Tell me, are you looking for younger-looking skin in 2014?


    Youthfully yours,


    —Meg Flather

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    Not even the Grinch himself could resist these adorable (and healthier) holiday Grinch Kabobs!

    Now, let me be clear. I LOVE this time of year. The parties, the feasting, the cookie swaps…everything is all so unbelievably enticing and delicious.

    But every gathering comes with some pretty tough choices. The Gingerbread Brownies or the Almond Bark? The  Eggnog or my mom’s Overnight French Toast Casserole for Christmas morning? Decisions, decisions…what’s a famished foodie to do? And the toughest call of all…exactly how early do I need to set my alarm so I can get up and exercise to undo all the delicious damage I did?

    This year, though, I have a secret weapon: A holiday party recipe that not only tastes scrumptious, but looks even cuter. Plus, it’s deceptively healthier, so no need for post-party guilt trips! AND it’s a hit with kids from one to 92. Because who doesn’t love THE GRINCH?

    Grinch Kabobs



    24 medium strawberries, greens cut off

    24 whole green grapes

    2 firm ripe bananas                    

    2 Tbsps lemon juice

    ½ cup water

    24 6-inch skewers

    48 mini marshmallows

    Yields: 24 kabobs


    1.   Peel and slice banana into ½-inch slices. Mix lemon juice and water and soak banana slices in lemon water for 5 minutes.

    2.   Starting with a grape, slide onto skewer long ways to one inch from bottom of skewer.

    3.   Add banana slice, then strawberry

    4.   Finish with two mini marshmallows, up to tip of skewer.

    5.   Arrange on Temp-tations 9 x 13 Lid-It.

    6.    Serve chilled (you can also fill a 9 x 13 baker with ice and place Lid-It with Grinch Kebobs on it).

    Tip: A riper, firmer banana works best as it does not brown as fast as softer bananas.


    That’s it! So easy, you will have plenty of time to enjoy these Grinchy favorites with your own friends and family! How about you…do you have any go-to holiday favorite recipes that you can enjoy guilt-free? Post your favorite recipes below!



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    I can’t believe this is our last PM Style before Christmas! Ah… what are we going to do?  Have you finished shopping yet?  I just finished up this weekend and I can’t tell you the weight that has been lifted off my shoulders.  Now on to the wrapping… My problem is I watch Christmas movies while I wrap and it takes me forever! I don’t mind because it gets me into the Holiday Spirit, but sometimes I’m thinking “Where did the time go?!”  I think this year I’m going to be watching Elf, only because I can’t stop watching Christmas Vacation.  Do you have a favorite Holiday movie? 

                I have some BIG NEWS… we’re adopting a fur baby!  Christmas came early for me this year and I could not be more excited.  I love Allie-Schnooks and Millie so much but I was anxious to add to our family and now it’s finally happening.  Now I DO have pictures but unfortunately I can’t post yet.  This sweet doll that we met needs to be tested for his cat interaction and if he passes, he’s coming home to us as soon as we get back from Christmas Vacation.  So, cats out of the bag… we’re rescuing a sweet baby boy!  We are SO EXCITED!!  Adding to our family was #1 on my list, what is #1 on your list?! 

    {As you can see, the Girls can barely contain their excitement}

                Other news: I chose my Bridesmaids :)  I am so happy to share this journey with these girls and I can’t wait for them to say YES to what’s in their UPS Box.  Here’s a little preview of what I got…

                BEAUTY OBSESSION: Josie Maran 6 Piece Argan Luxury Holiday Color Collection, A237575

                I feel like the Holidays are an opportunity to look and feel your best.  You’re seeing people you haven’t seen all year, or maybe you’re seeing the same old crew, but you want to stand out a little from every other day of the year.  That’s why I chose this Holiday Color Kit from Josie.   The Big thing for me… the Argan Illuminizer.  It’s all about the glow.   It’s like you’ve drenched your skin in liquid argan gold. Unlike most highlighters there is no “Hurry and rub it in before it dries after 2 seconds” fuss.  This is lustrous, hydrating, and absorbs into your skin like an oil, but without the sheen.  The Luminous Hydrating Liquid Powder, which is only available in this set, locks the illuminizer and your makeup into place, without taking away glow or color. 

                Josie’s Mascara wand is to die for.  The big, fluffy bristle wand is probably one of the best wands and formulations for getting you the closest to enhanced natural lashes around. 

                Last but never least, I love that Josie gives us color with warmth and hydration and that is perfect for any skin tone.  These color combinations have a sense of romance to them that looks effortless when worn.  This is that set that you’ll wear everyday… sometimes a little casual and sometimes a little more sultry. 

    What do you think?


    PM Style:

                Since last week was a marathon PM Style, this week is only going to be 2 hours.  Sad day we only have 2 hours of Fashion and Beauty, but that just means we’re a few hours closer to seeing our next Today’s Special Value… Here’s a sneak peak and don’t worry, I will be picking up two pairs myself.  I can’t contain myself. 

    Project Runway:

                It is so exciting and incredible to see where I come to work every day on the BIG screen! Now I know you thinking we’re on TV so it doesn’t matter anyway, but honestly, none of us feel that way.  We feel like we come to work to hang out with our friends (all of you) and talk about things we love.  Sometimes I barely notice the cameras, which sounds weird to say, but that’s just my norm. 

                Red Carpet Gowns… Wow.  Our Red Carpet Style Event is one of the biggest events QVC puts on each year.  We pull out all of the stops and really take everything up a notch, so I was really curious to see what the designers would come up with for LR.


    Christopher- I loved the color and the black leather was such an LR accent!

    Seth- I loved the front of the dress… but oh the back…. Wah wah. 

    Korto- I was so impressed with the flow of the gown.  The colors were dreamy and if you know LR, you know she loved this style dress.

    Elena- I was so proud of you of you for doing something different.  It was edgy and unexpected from you. I loved the color scheme, and can’t believe that you put all time into creating your own fabric.  I feel like with the time crunch something had to suffer, and unfortunately it was the silhouette of the dress.  It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t stellar. 

    Irina- I can’t believe you pulled that off in less than a day.  It was a stunning dress, who cares if you can’t walk in it :)  I was sad to see you go this week, but I know all will be well with you. 

    Viktor- I just couldn’t vote you in tonight because I know LR would not be excited about the color scheme you chose.  I have to say the cut and the detail was award winning, just maybe not for this challenge. 

                CONGRATS TO KORTO for winning Last weeks Challenge- we can’t wait to see her on PM STYLE tonight! I hope you’ll join us for her BIG debut and to see her gorgeous dress in person. 


    See you for PM Style!

    XO, CC

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    Hello, foodies…

    We’re getting so close! We’ve got a little over a week for the big holiday and I’m feeling the crunch! I’ve finished nearly all my shopping. But I haven’t started wrapping. And, this weekend I’m hosting a holiday party! It’s going to be a busy couple of days…how about you? Are you feeling the Christmas crunch? Or, are you done with the bustle and ready for the fun?!

    Whether you need some company while you wrap gifts or you still have some shopping to finish, join me this Wednesday night on In the Kitchen with David…we’re heading to Germany for “Christmas Around the World” month. And, we’re making a German specialty I know you’ll want to make and enjoy over the next few weeks: Butter Grog.

    Butter Grog

    Butter Grog
    Serves 4

    This recipe is prepared with the Temp-tations® Old World Set of 4 Mugs with Figural Spoon (H201205).

    Go to David's Recipe Item Page for the full list of items that David has used in his recipes.

    Tip: To make this Butter Grog an alcoholic drink, simply replace the rum extract with 3-4 oz of your favorite rum.


    •    1-1/2 Tbsp butter
    •    4 cups apple cider
    •    1 Tbsp brown sugar
    •    4 whole cloves
    •    2 cinnamon sticks
    •    Peel from 1 lemon
    •    Peel and juice from 1 orange
    •    1" piece ginger root, sliced
    •    2 tsp rum extract


    1.    Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan. Add the cider, brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, lemon and orange peels, orange juice, and ginger. Bring the liquid to a simmer, and then remove pan from the heat. Add the rum extract. Let the mixture steep for at least 30 minutes. Strain and reheat to serve warm.

    Foodies, some of you may not know it, but Mary QVC has lived in a lot of places. Her father was in the Army, so they moved from state to state and she even lived in Germany for about eight years. I sat down with Mary to find out what she remembered about Christmas in Deutschland.

    David: What are some of the most popular Christmas customs in Germany?
    Mary QVC: Well, before Christmas ever comes, Germans celebrate St. Nikolaus Day on December 6, where St. Nick visits overnight and in the morning you’ll find candy, clementines, and chocolate in your boot if you were good. But, if you were bad, you get coal and you would have gotten a beating from St. Nick with his stick!

    I also remember the Christkindl. It’s this outdoor Christmas market where you can get everything from heisse maronen (hot chestnuts that come in paper cones) to gluhwein (hot, spiced red wine) to handmade wooden Christmas ornaments customized on the spot. The whole thing was probably created just for American tourists and we loved every square inch of it.

    Christkindl ornament
    (See that wooden ornament on the tree? That was from Christkindl.)

    David: Where did you live? Did your family have any special traditions?
    Mary QVC: Frankfurt, Hanau, and Tansus. We were born in America so we had traditions like making cookies, but we adopted some German ones like having personalized advent calendars. Most are made out of wood and are something you keep for a lifetime. You can buy disposable ones in the grocery store, but we got the real ones. And, we made all the little things that went in each door…little Christmas ornaments. I remember one year my sister and I did origami stars. Every German has a calendar and everyone fills each other’s calendars with little personal trinkets. Danny and I have a giant advent calendar now and we share it. I take the odd days and he takes the evens.

    We also were sure to light the Adventskranz, which is an advent wreath. It has four candles on it and you light a candle every Sunday in December; the last you light on Christmas Eve.

    David: Is Christmas Eve just as important as Christmas Day?
    Mary QVC: It really is. Everyone goes to church, you come home and eat, then, while you were at church the Christkind (Christ child) brought you presents. Christmas Day is more about family time. We always sang carols on the 25th and when we moved to Germany, we added German Christmas songs (like O Tannenbaum) into Christmas day rotation. We had Christmas dinner on Christmas Day, of course…there was a lot of goose, venison, and game. There’s no ham and turkey stigma in Germany—you could eat more exotic things.

    Speaking of unusual foods, I’m reminded of Frau Novak—she was our housekeeper in Germany. Like most Germans, she gave back-breaking hugs and she was the first to introduce us to eel. Her husband was a fisherman and she cooked up eel for us one night and it was delicious. Seeing the eels swim around in our bathtub before cooking them was not so pleasant….

    David: What other kinds of food did you enjoy at Christmas?
    Mary QVC: I seem to remember lots of apple dishes and there was always fondue made from simple ingredients. No oils—just cheese and beer. We dipped bread and anything my mom would let me. I would have put my head in there if she had taken her eyes off me for a second…

    Mary's Family in Germany
    (Here’s my family in front of our Tansus home. These were our neighbors and dear friends.)

    Thank you, Mary. I can just taste that homemade fondue now...I think I just might make one for dinner along with a mug of Butter Grog to wash it all down.

    For today’s blog question, tell me what’s your favorite holiday beverage. Do you like eggnog, mulled cider, hot cocoa, gluhwein? I just love my Snowball Cosmopolitans. I’ll see you on Wednesday at 8pm ET.

    Keep it flavorful!

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    I'd like to introduce you to my mother Connie.  She has heart disease.  She's had issues for over 25 years.  Thankfully she has been in the AMAZING care of my sister Beverly for the last few years - and has never been happier!  (In fact it's amazing to see her smiling in this photo and not hiding!) We'll be visiting her in Alaska this summer!  We can't wait!


    I will be making a special donation in her honor to the American Heart Association -> click here.


    For so many who suffer from Heart Disease and to help us understand more about Heart  Disease and prevention - please consider giving the Gift Of Joy this season with a donation to the American Heart Association.  Please click here for all the information: American Heart Association


    During this month were also focusing on 3 additional charities along with QVC for you to consider. QVC will also be matching up to $150,000 for this event!


    Ovarian Cancer Research Fund


    Cancer And Careers


    Dress For Success


    Best wishes, blessing and health to all of you!

    Jacque :)

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    Greetings, Fellow Pet Lovers!! With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season in full swing, I am happy to introduce you to my most "CHILL" pet! He's the "top cat" at our house, and his name is Grey Poupon!

    Grey Poupon (named for his beautiful sterling grey, smooth as silk coat) came to us via my great Los Angeles friend, Barbara Miller, who managed my favorite pet supply store in Burbank years ago when we lived in Southern California. (Barbara is a pet lover like  you and me, and rescued many pets over the years. She is the one who introduced me to the wonderful world of pet birds...but that is another story!) One day, Barbara called me to say someone had left two little boy kittens out near the dumpster behind her store. They both were missing their tails. (We still don't know if they lost their tails or if they were born that way, but it never mattered!)  Barbara said these little guys were super special...she could just tell....and she was going to keep one and wanted me to keep the other. When I met them, I knew she was right and I was happy to give my little guy a new home! It was December and I remember him sitting in the pet carrier on the way home.... a tiny little grey cat.... staring at all the holiday lights that decorated the shops in town, and  the neighborhood homes on the way to our house. We had only one other cat at the time...our big orange tabby, "Orangie Porangie", who had been rescued a year earlier. They soon became fast, inseparable friends. As more cats, dogs, bunnies and birds came to live with us over the years, Grey and Orangie held court over all. Nothing phased them, and all the others knew who ruled the roost. Grey was always the better jumper, with his very long legs. He could jump (and still can) to amazing heights from a standing position. He was quite familier with the "top shelf" of all of our bookcases and shelving units and the refrigerator. One day, when Orangie was about 8 years old and Grey Poupon was 7, we discovered why Orangie was never as athletic as Grey, and that he was very sick from a problem with his heart. It was very sudden and we lost him a few days later, despite the best efforts of several veterinarians. He had been hiding his condition very well, even from Grey.  Needless to say, we were heartbroken, but no one took it harder than Grey Poupon. He became very depressed at the loss of his friend and companion, and refused to eat for days and days. We tried our best to comfort him, but finally had to take him to our vet, who was able to treat him, thank goodness, and eventually he came around. That was almost 7 years ago, and today, Grey Poupon, at age 13, is a happy, healthy, totally "Chill" cat. He is now our senior kitty boy, who mostly naps and saunters around the house at a regal pace...never in a hurry, always cool, calm and collected. It is amazing how he can still put the other, much younger cats in their place with a mere glance, or wave of his paw. He loves to hang out with us when we watch TV or observe from a shelf near the kitchen when I'm cooking dinner. The only thing that makes him hustle nowadays is the sound of the cat food can being opened....at which he will appear like magic, from out of nowhere! Now that my holiday shopping is finished, I'm taking a lesson from Grey Poupon, sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the remaining days of the holiday season (and waiting for Santa Paws!)

    Merry Christmas and Blessings of the Season to you, your family and furry friends, from Grey Poupon, my husband and me, and our "little zoo".




    BREED: I'm a Rescue, but mom did some research and says I am a KORAT from Thailand.

    AGE:     Between 12 and 13 years

    HOBBIES:  Jumping, staring, napping, mealtime, bossing the other cats when I feel like it, plus the occasional walk around the house while meowing loudly....just so everyone knows I'm still the boss!!

    FAVORITE FUR FRIEND:  Now that Orangie has moved on to Rainbow Bridge, I kinda like Miles (he's another orange cat who came to live here a year ago) and I like Eliza Jane (who doesn't?) but mostly I like my mom the best now.

    FAVORITE SPOTS IN OUR HOUSE:  The top of the grandfather clock, the top of the stairs, the top of the BACK stairs, the top shelf looking into the kitchen. (Notice a pattern here?)

    FAVORITE CAT TOY: Anything stuffed with catnip!!


    WHAT I ASKED SANTA PAWS FOR:  A new catnip stuffed mouse, a large case of Fancy Feast (any flavor will do) and especially that ALL homeless cats find a forever home for the holidays! Please consider rescuing a shelter cat this season!! MEOW!!


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  • 12/17/13--12:10: Army / Navy 2013
  • It has become a holiday tradition for our family to attend the Army/Navy game.  This is our 3rd year and this time Lauren, Chelsea & Brittany were able to attend.


    Brittany, Chelsea and Lauren

    My brother-in-law, Ricky, is the lacrosse coach for the Naval Academy, so of course we were cheering for Navy but as proud Americans we support all of the branches of the military.  Their commitment and sacrifices for this country should never be overlooked and the sacrifices their families make are equally important.  To them we say thank you.  James organized a fundraiser element this year.  All proceeds benefited T.A.P.S. (an agency that supports the families of fallen military veterans). We raised $700.00! www.TAPS.org

    We learned after the first year of attending the game that it is a long day and if you participate in the tailgate you need a place to warm up.  So we rented a RV.  Go Big or Go Home!!

    We had a DJ as part of our groups tailgate.  We did the Electric Slide and grabbed people that were walking by joined in.  Everyone had a great time. 


    This Mid-Shipman was a good sport!

    It was a cold day in Philadelphia with snow then sleet then rain.  Ultimately Navy won the game. But in my estimation they are all winners!  

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    Hi, everyone! There are EIGHT days until Christmas!

    Need a last-minute gift idea? If you’ve got Oreos and white chocolate chips, you’ve got Oreo Fudge.

    Oreo Fudge

    •    1 (12-oz) bag white chocolate chips
    •    2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
    •    1 tsp vanilla
    •    2 cups Oreos, crushed

    1.    Grease an 8'' x 8'' square pan with butter.
    2.    Melt the chips and milk in a medium-size saucepan over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla and crushed cookies. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan and chill. Cut into small squares before serving.

    This is perfect for the mailman, the kids' teachers and the teachers' assistants, your boss, your hairdresser, or that super-nice neighbor that always gets you a gift. And here's how you can wow your recipient with your presentation!

    Decorative Boxes

    That’s a regular gift box you can buy at any craft store or even a specialty supermarket. And, all I did was cut some scrapbook paper to size and pasted it on the top of the box. Then, I took some ribbon and tied it around the box. Isn’t it beautiful? You can add a gift tag if you like…even the recipe for the treat you put inside, if you like. Be sure to take the time to line the inside with parchment paper so your recipe doesn’t soak through the cardboard.

    Feel free to decorate a box any way you’d like…use more of those old greeting cards, card stock, fabric—take the opportunity to use up the supplies in your craft drawer. I make a few of these at a time so I have them handy when gifts-on-demand are needed.

    I’m neck-deep in Christmas at my house…cleaning, wrapping, baking. And, the kids finished their lists to Santa last night. Am I too old to write a list, too? What do you think? At what age should you stop asking Santa for surprises? :)

    I’m back on this Wednesday at 5pm ET, I hope you can join me.

    From my home to yours,

    Warnning: Do NOT Get Caught While Searching!!
    Your IP : - Country : - City:
    Your ISP TRACKS Your Online Activity! Hide your IP ADDRESS with a VPN!
    Before you searching always remember to change your IP adress to not be followed!
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  • 12/17/13--14:30: Snicker Blossoms!








    In my last blog, I asked you to let me know what gluten free recipes you would like to have. The overwhelming response (I am assuming because of this time of year) was “COOKIES”!

    Gluten free cooking and baking can be sinple, if you have some help. This recipe is an example of the simple end of the scale for Gluten free baking. These cookies are a spin on a classic peanut butter cookie recipe and I sure hope you love it! I call them “Snicker Blossoms”.


    16 oz. Creamy peanut butter
    2 cups light brown sugar
    2 eggs
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1 tablespoon flour (OR gluten free bisquick)
    Snicker Bites (sold unwrapped in a bag)


    Mix all the ingredients together in one bowl (except the "bites") until creamy. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 20 minutes (18 if you're too excited). Spray a small ice cream scoop with a little oil and scoop dough onto parchment paper, or sprayed cookie sheet. Cook by the dozen at 350 degrees for 14 minutes. They will be brown a bit on top when they're done. Let them cool for 3 minutes, and then press a snicker bite gently into the middle.

    Then let's see if you can let them cool completely before you eat them! Enjoy! ~ @Mary QVC


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    I love those countdowns that the Late Night Talk Show Hosts do, so I thought I would put my own together for these TOP 10 JEWELRY GIFTS that we can still guarantee for Christmas Delivery – for NO additional shipping and handling.  If you are still shopping , this might help.  Don't forget - you have to use a credit card - and you have to order by THIS FRIDAY DECEMBER 20th!

    Ok - Here you go:

    #10:  The Diamonique Design of the month this flattering Epiphany Band Ring 

    #9:    Set of 4 Steel by Design Initial Bangles – right on trend!

    #8:   DQ Set of 3 2.00CT Stud Earrings– keep one give two! {#emotions_dlg.biggrin}


    #7:   Honora Pearl 18” Necklace, Bracelet and Earring Boxed Set– a timeless classic

    #6:   Black Spinel Faceted Bead Bracelet– sparkle for days – and a price that will knock your socks off!


    #5:   S/S 14KT Gold Crucifix Pendant– many of you have asked for more crucifixes.


    #4:  Steel by Design Pave Heart Initial Rolo Bracelet– fun and flirty!


    #3:   14KT 1” High Polish diamond cut Hoop Earrings– your choice of white, yellow or rose…..AND only $59.00!


    #2:  Set of 12 Honora Bracelets– The more the merrier!  Give them all the colors or pick and choose. Smile 


    And my #1 JEWELRY gift pick is  …………………… (DRUMROLL …………………….)

    My Mega Diamonique Ring!  10 amazing carats of bling for your special someone!  



    I hope it helped and have a very Merry Christmas!!!!  

    XOXO  A

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  • 12/18/13--09:03: Happy Birthday Susan!
  • What...My birthday again? How do the years slip by so quickly? It feels like only yesterday when I took this picture!

    December is one of my favorite times of the year. The snow is falling, and the air is crisp and cold. Streets and homes are decorated for the holidays, and it's my birthday!! So much excitement packed into one incredible month.

    Pebbles in the snow!

    Normally we try to escape to warmer weather during this time of year. My husband, Richard, is a sailor and usually sails to the Caribbean, and I fly down to meet him for a week, if possible.

    Me and Richie in Tortola for my last birthday!

    This year, we are staying at home and gathering with family and close friends at one of our favorite restaurants in NYC. We were able to get a private room so we can eat, drink, and be very merry!! I'll be sure to post pictures on my Facebook page!

    I feel so blessed to be where I am at this stage in my life, with wonderful family and friends. They mean the world to me, and the greatest gift I could receive is having my loved ones with me and knowing those close to me are happy and healthy.

    Please join me this Thursday 9am ET for last minute holiday fashion. I'll be back December 26th with lots of surprises!!!





    Shop my complete collection on QVC.com.

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    SPONSOR: This Sweepstakes is sponsored by QVC, 1200 Wilson Drive, West Chester, PA 19380 (“Sponsor”).


    ELIGIBILITY: No purchase necessary. Must be 18 years or older to enter. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the United States and the District of Columbia, excluding Rhode Island, who are 18 years or older at the time of Submission and have submitted a valid Submission prior to the end of the Sweepstakes. Any person who submits any information to Sponsor or any other party in connection with the Sweepstakes is a “Participant”.  Any references to “you” or forms of “you” shall mean the Participant.


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    Without limiting any other provision of these Sweepstakes Rules, any winner may be required to sign and return a Release as a condition to receipt of a prize under this Sweepstakes.


    SWEEPSTAKES PERIOD: The Sweepstakes begins on December 20, 2013, and ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on December 22, 2013 (the "Sweepstakes Period"). 


    HOW TO ENTER: There are two (2) ways to enter the Sweepstakes, online via www.qvc.com or by mail.


    To enter online, you must have access to the QVC Community.  To gain access to the QVC Community, you must open a QVC account.  No purchase is necessary to open an account.  Creating a QVC account requires providing a title (i.e., Mr., Mrs.), first name, last name, email address, physical address, and phone number.  You then submit your “Story” within the comments section of the Blog on www.qvc.com.  Follow the submissions guidelines listed in these Sweepstakes Rules and submit your Submission ("Submission").  A Submission includes any story, text or any other information or data in any form that a Participant submits in any manner, directly or indirectly, to Sponsor in connection with the Sweepstakes.  Sweepstakes is limited to one (1) Submission per Participant.  Duplicate Submissions will be removed.  In the event Participants exceed the stated limit, only the earliest Submission will be reviewed. No e-mail or fax Submissions will be accepted.


    To enter the Sweepstakes by mail, send your name, address, and daytime telephone number and Submission Story on a standard 4 inch by 6 inch postcard addressed to Sarah Potempa Holiday Party Stories Sweepstakes, 1200 Wilson Drive MC – 201, West Chester, PA 19380. (“Mail Entry”).


    Online Entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. ET on December 22, 2013. All Mail Entries must be postmarked by December 22, 2013, and received by December 24, 2013.


    Limit of one (1) entry per person during the entry period either by mail or online. Any person who attempts to participate with entries in excess of these entry limitations will be disqualified.Any other attempted form of Sweepstakes entry is void. Any person who attempts to participate under multiple identities or uses any device or artifice to enter in excess of this entry limitation will be disqualified; use of programmed, automated or like means of entry is prohibited. All duplicate entries will be discarded. All Mail Entries are the non-returnable property of Sponsors.


    Sponsors are not responsible for lost, misdirected or late entries caused by hardware or software errors or other technological malfunctions or failure of any kind or invalid/non-operational device, or lost, late, mutilated, misdirected or postage-due mail. Sponsors are not responsible for the failure of the delivery carrier responsible for delivery of any entry.



    DRAWING:  Each eligible submission will be entered once in a random prize drawing to be held on or about December 24, 2013. QVC, Inc. retains the right to delay the prize drawing. Winner will be chosen at random from the pool of eligible entries received. Odds of winning are determined by the number of eligible entries received. Winning entry is subject to validation.


    PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected to receive:


    One (1) Sarah Potempa BEACHWAVER Rotating Curling Iron Gift Set:  Approximate Retail Value $232

    One (1) Sarah Potempa Holiday Wrap-Up Collection: Approximate Retail Value $29.75


    Total Approximate Retail Value of all two (2) prizes combined: Not to exceed $261


    Prizing is limited to one prize per person per household. Prize is limited to what is listed in these official rules. Prize winner (“Winner”) is not entitled to any surplus between actual value of prize and stated retail value. In the event Sponsor is unable to award prize as stated, Winner will receive a substitute prize of equal or greater value, at Sponsor’s discretion. Any costs or fees not specifically listed herein are the responsibility of the Winner.


    If a potential Winner is unable or unwilling to accept the prize for any reason, he/she will be disqualified and the entire prize forfeited; and, in such event, an alternate Winner shall be selected from among all remaining eligible Submissions received.  Prizes cannot be substituted or transferred by Winner. If a Prize must be forfeited, Winner will not be given the cash value of the prize or any component of the prize.  Winner is solely responsible for all expenses not expressly included. All taxes are the responsibility of the Winner. Winner may be required to sign an IRS Form 1099, Form W-9, or the equivalent for all prizes valued at $600 or greater, or for any prize as to which Sponsor, in its sole discretion, believes it is warranted.  PRIZES PROVIDED BY QVC.


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    ONCE TRANSMITTED ALL SUBMISSIONS BECOME PART OF THE SWEEPSTAKES AND MAY NOT BE REMOVED BY THE Participant, EVEN IF Participant CEASES OR WITHDRAWS FROM SWEEPSTAKES CONSIDERATION. Any Submission may be posted on Sponsor’s website and/or any other website specified by Sponsor and may be available to be viewed by anyone with access to the Internet.  All Submissions may remain on any website specified by Sponsor in perpetuity or for as long as Sponsor deems appropriate to archive.


    REPRESENTATIONS AND WARRANTIES. By entering the Sweepstakes and making any Submission, a Participant hereby represents and warrants to Sponsor and its affiliated entities that (a) the Participant has obtained all permissions necessary to post publicly the Submission and any portion thereof; (b) the Submission is an original work of authorship, created by Participant, has not been previously published or won any award, and there are no conflicting rights in the Submission, including but not limited to copyright, rights of publicity or privacy, or other intellectual property rights; (c) the Submission will not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of any third party, including by way of example and not by limitation, any copyright, trademark or patent rights or rights of publicity or privacy belonging to any third party; (d) the Participant is a legal resident of the United States or the District of Columbia, excluding Rhode Island, and is at the time of Submission, at least 18 years of age; (e) the Participant has the right to agree to, and fully perform the Participant’s obligations under these Sweepstakes Rules; and (f) the Participant has the consent of any third parties as required to grant the rights and licenses granted by Participant hereunder, including without limitation all licenses, rights, assignments of rights, waivers of non-transferable rights, consents and permissions to any portion of the Submission or performance contained in such Submission, and to all underlying elements or other works incorporated into the Submission (including without limitation any dialog/monologue, music, lyrics, voices, statements, photos and likeness releases for any person who appears in or is identifiable in the Submission).


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    WINNER NOTIFICATION: The potential Winner will be notified on or about January 16, 2013. The potential Winner will be required to respond (as directed) to the phone and/or e-mail notification within the time period specified in the notification (“Notification”). The failure to respond timely to the notification may result in forfeiture of the prizes; and, in such case, Sponsor may choose an alternate Winner from the remaining eligible submissions. The potential Winner also will be sent an affidavit of eligibility / liability / publicity release ("Release"); and together with the Notification and any other release or document required to be executed by Sponsor, the (“Prize Acceptance Documents”). Unless restricted by law, the potential Winner will be required to complete and return the Release within the time period specified therein. As a condition of receiving a prize, potential Winner shall, in the form specified by Sponsor, provide a perpetual non-exclusive license to Sponsor to use the Submission in any and all media throughout the world, in perpetuity, for any purpose whatsoever, without any additional compensation, the term of which shall be the entire life of the copyright. Should potential Winner be unwilling or otherwise unable to enter into the license, or provide such permissions and/or releases or otherwise cannot accept or receive the prize for any reason, an alternate Winner will be selected by Sponsor from the remaining eligible Submissions until one who is able to meet all requirements can be selected. Potential winner must provide Sponsor with all signatures on the Release and return all documents in a timely manner as required pursuant to these Sweepstakes Rules in order to be eligible to receive any prize.


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    The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these Sweepstakes Rules or the Prize Acceptance Documents will not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision.  In the event that any provision of the Sweepstakes Rules or the Prize Acceptance Documents is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable or illegal, the other provisions will remain in effect and will be construed in accordance with their terms as if the invalid or illegal provision were not contained herein.  Sponsor’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Sweepstakes Rules or any Prize Acceptance Documents will not constitute a waiver of that

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    Hello, foodies…

    I’ve always been an advocate of planning ahead for parties and big events. There are so many little details that can be done ahead of time. And, now that Christmas is just around the corner, it’s time to put together a game plan. I know you don’t want to spend the entire holiday cleaning and cooking. And, your guests deserve to spend time with a calm, cool, collected you.

    Be sure to tune in to bethenny tomorrow…I’ve got some great recipes and prep ideas that you can start on this weekend. Imagine having everything DONE for your big holiday gathering!

    Check your local listings to see what time bethenny is on. Here in the Philadelphia area, you can find the show on Fox 29 at 11am ET.

    See you tomorrow. Keep it flavorful!

    P.S. By the way—I’m using a terrific piece from our Mario Batali collection tomorrow. In case you’d like to pick it up for your own holiday party, go to QVC.com and look for the Mario Batali by Dansk Classics Cast-Iron Baker (K301501).

    Warnning: Do NOT Get Caught While Searching!!
    Your IP : - Country : - City:
    Your ISP TRACKS Your Online Activity! Hide your IP ADDRESS with a VPN!
    Before you searching always remember to change your IP adress to not be followed!

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