Blog :: 12-2013

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Broker's Open House in Southampton

Attention Maple and Main friends.  The illustrious, industrious and creative Lisa Darragh, along with her charming and talented partner, Ozzie Ercan, have put together a broker's open house of 3 different Southampton listings this coming Monday, December 16th from 11-1 pm.  There will be a prize of $300 awarded to one lucky attendee.  Hot mulled cider and holiday treats to be served.  Come one, come all!


Shut Your Pie-Hole!

I love that line.  I love Robert DeNiro, and even though I hated his character in 'This Boy's Life', that line has stuck in my brain for many years and won't go away.  Anyhoo, as I was elipting* at the Y the other day, it came to me that what I want to write about this week is how to get through the holiday season without overdoing it.  I realize that this topic has little, if anything, to do with real estate in Northampton MA.  But it does relate to entertaining and to the holidays.  So let me put my nutritionist hat back on for a second and say a little something about moderation.

Before I was a realtor, I was a nutritionist in private practice for 10 years.  Even though I have switched gears, professionally speaking, I still believe in, and try to live by, the notion of "everything in moderation".  With Thanksgiving/Chanukah behind us, and Christmas, Kwanzaa, Solstice, New Year's Eve, Boxing Day (and other other important holidays that I might not be remembering) before us - many of us have at least a couple of holiday functions to attend in the coming weeks.  Aside from that, anyone who works in an office generally has to navigate the mounds of chocolates, cookies, cakes and candy that tend to show up this time of year.  In addition, it's getting colder outside, so we New Englanders tend to spend a lot of time inside vs. outside, and inert vs. active.  With all of these factors in mind, here is my list of suggestions to enjoy the holidays without overdoing it.

1.  Plan Ahead!  Have an idea of how many nibbles and drinks you are going to allow yourself before you get to a party.  2 pigs in a blanket, 2 crackers with cheese, 1 small slice of pie, 2 glasses of wine, etc.  The same can be said for the office - if you really want a chocolate, have one... just don't have 3.

2.  Never show up excessively hungry!!  If your event is in the evening, make sure to eat a sensible lunch and breakfast that day.  Even a late afternoon snack will help stave off the desire to scarf down everything in sight upon arrival.  Again, the same applies to the office.  Make sure to eat real meals so that you aren't scavenging for cookies and chocolate in place of food.

3.  Always put your food on a plate!  This will both give you context about how much you are eating, may allow you to eat slower, and help discourage you from filling your plate multiple times.  If you find yourself doing so, refer back to item #1.

4.  Plant yourself far away from the food table.  If the party is crowded, it will be harder to get there (once you have had something to eat, of course)

5.  Try to stay away from the "all or nothing" mind set.  "Well, I really screwed up already so I might as well have at it.  I'll pull things together after the holidays".  This type of thinking is what leads to unwanted weight gain.  Even if you overdo it on one occasion, that does not negate more positive eating behavior before and after the event.

6.  Don't drink *too* much (again, refer back to #1).  Drinking lowers inhibitions and will make it harder to makes good choices.

7.  Try to stick to your exercise regimen (if you have one) during the holidays.  Hiking, skiing, sledding (if there is snow), even walking can take the place of the gym if you can't get there.

Those are my words of wisdom for the day.  Happy Holidays!

*I must give credit to the creation of this semi-newly minted verb to my dear friend Katy Schneider - artist, musician, chef and humorist.

I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas...

Ok, not really.  But a thought had occurred to me.  Having grown up with a mish-mosh of holiday celebrations around this time of year, when November rolls around I do tend to start thinking about how to balance my husband's discomfort with decorating the house for the holidays with my children's deep desire to do so.  It's not that he's a scrooge - it's just that he was raised in an observant Jewish household wherein Christmas was just another day.  I was raised by atheists who embraced the spirit of the holiday, if not the religious messages that are supposed to go along with it.  My father's family always has a giant, decorated Christmas tree, stockings on the mantle, etc.  My mother and stepfather ran a school that we all attended, and every year "Santa" would come to the school for the holiday party to give out presents and sing holiday songs with us.  I'm pretty sure that my nuclear family (Mom, Stepdad, sibs) exchanged gifts on Chanukah, vs. Christmas - but I faithfully traveled to see my father and his family every Christmas.  And every Christmas eve, my small home town would welcome "Santa" on a different mode of transport to the village green (horse, fire truck, space ship, etc) - where he would disburse stockings filled with fruit and candy to all of the children who awaited his arrival.  It is still an event that the kids and I look forward to each year.

The year after I graduated college, my best friend and moved to Vail, Colorado for the year.  It was a stupendous experience in many ways.  We were living in crappy Vail Employee Housing, selling lift tickets and such, working in restaurants, skiing on our days off, etc.  It was super fun and one of the most beautiful parts of the world in which I've ever had the pleasure to spend time.  Just in time for Christmas that year, some friends and I went 4-wheeling into the woods to chop down a pine tree (if memory serves, this was actually legal.  I think we paid a small fee to do this and were sent to some specific wooded area to find our Christmas tree).  It was such a wintry, snowy, Colorado adventure!  However, I now live with a staunch environmentalist, so even if Christmas were a holiday that we celebrated as a family, I'm sure I'd have to come up with a green alternative to chopping down a tree every year.  We make do with a string or two of blue and white Chanukah lights on the mantle as it is -- but this has got me thinking!

Back when I was a kid it was certainly frowned upon to have a fake tree vs. a real tree.  I guess it seemed tacky to me at the time.  Here in Northampton, a friend of mine who is a fantastic craftsperson and graphic designer hauls out a sparkly white reusable Christmas tree every year - and decorates it tastefully and beautifully.  No mess, no hassle of hauling a big tree home, and no concern over how to dispose of it after the fact.  It turns out, there are many interesting and beautiful alternatives available out there, thanks to sites like Etsy - and to the internet in general.  Feast your eyes:
















This is only a small sampling of the many interesting options available out there in cyberspace.  Ok, so they aren't green and they don't have that lovely pine needle smell -- but you have to admit they are cool looking!

Happy tree shopping and decorating everybody!




  1. Peggy on

    I loved this blog. Thank you for sharing such fond memories. It's OK to dream of a green Christmas. We have had them before. I know mine will be green as I will be in MS! Peggy