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Host a Chinese New Year Party on

chinese new year entertaining guide

February 7, 2008 marks the start of the Year of the Rat. It is also the beginning of the Chinese New Year celebrations.

If you have nothing planned for tonight, there is still plenty of time to improvise with the quick entertaining guide I wrote for the Web site of Food Network Canada.

About the decor

I illustrated some of the key elements of the party so you know what to look for to design your décor. I took the picture of the red lanterns while I was visiting Las Vegas two weeks ago. There are the kind of lanterns you should look for.

If you live in a town with a Chinatown neighborhood, you will have no problems finding the red lanterns, a trio of spring couplets or the red envelops for the pocket money. Wrap your party favors in red packet or small bags.

Decorate the table with red and gold accents. Make a centerpiece in an instant by nicely arranging a bowl of oranges and tangerines. Display some with the leaves on, if you can.

What to eat?

If you have no time to cook, Chinese food take-outs can come to your rescue. Make sure to order spring rolls, dishes with noodles plus several dishes with fish and chicken.

I also prepared a list of recipes taken from you wish to cook, try any of my suggested recipes. They are simple to prepare.

Fortune station

Chef Michael Smith showed us how to quickly make your own fortune cookies. When they arrive ask your guests to write three fortune. Set up a station with pens and cut paper pieces.

Wear a red dress and you are ready to enjoy yourself with your friends and family.

Read my article on Food Network Canada to understand the symbolism behind the various elements of the Chinese New Year. This way, you can easily host a meaningful Chinese New Year party.

Gung Hey Fat Choy — Happy New Year and be prosperous!

Photo credit: Spring Festival Couplets by poorfish
Photo credit: Lion Dance by stu_spivack
Photo credit: Chinese Buddhist New Year, Amsterdam by Cookiemouse
Photo credit: dbs red packet by hermanwest
Learn more: Host a Chinese New Year Party by Kim Vallee, entertaining expert on


Twice in the news today

Le TVA 17 heures

I had an eventful day which is why I did not publish a post earlier. This will wait until tomorrow because I had to finish wrapping all my gifts before we head off for our Holiday resort.

This morning

I was interviewed about two weeks ago by a journalist from the Journal de Montreal, the most popular daily newspaper in Quebec. Jessica Nadeau was writing about party etiquette. A photograph came and took my picture at the office.

The article was published this morning. See here what Wikipedia says about Le Journal de Montreal.

This afternoon

Then, just before noon, I got a phone call from a researcher of Le TVA 17 heures, a popular news TV show. They discovered me by reading the article this morning. She asked some questions and if I would be willing to be on the show around 17:30 for a 3 minutes live interview with Pierre Bruneau.

It was my first time experience on a major TV show. I was interviewed once in the past on TV but for a show on a small TV channel. TVA is by far the premier TV channel in Quebec. The good think is that I liked the experience and have a good idea of how to improve my performance next time.

Finally, they asked me to film at a location where I could set up a table (it is great that I stocked tableware props at home).

My husband Jerome took a video of the preparations while the cameraman was filming the teaser. I will go through the process in another post.

It was an eventful day for sure. My Christmas shopping is completed and wrapped. So I can go eat dinner now.


Inspiring the readers of for Holiday entertaining


You can imagine that being published on a publication for the first time is a great feeling. I am sharing the good news with you.

I wrote two articles for the Entertaining Guides of Food Network Canada. Even better, my subjects are two styles that are dear to me.

I wrote about a French Country Fête and a Scandinavian Modern Christmas. Tips on the menu, the tableware, Christmas decorations and the music define the unique character of each celebration.

Take a look. Four more Holiday celebrations complete their Holiday Entertaining guides. I am doubly happy that my two articles made their Our Top Picks list. It is time to go back reality now.

Get inspired: French Country Christmas Guide on
Get inspired: Throw a Scandinavian Modern Christmas at
Photo credit (bottom): Pont Aux Choux dinnerware by Gien – photo taken by me at Arthur Quentin


My feel good moment


I was glad this morning to see that I appear on the Fabulous Reads of the popular entertaining blog Hostess with the Mostess. Especially that I am surrounded by an established circle of people. Thanks.

This gives me the occasion to suggest that before you complete your holidays shopping, you have a look at these five kitchen gadgets. The avocado slicer is a nifty kitchen tools.

What is coming today?

Stay tuned! I am writing a post on stylish wrapping options for your Holidays cookies.

And I will announce a giveaway.

Via: Hostess with the Mostess


My first crop for the Canadian 1% Army Blogging Tournament is out

Submissions for Canadian 1% Army Blogging Tournament

I submitted this morning my 3 posts on which one had to be written after August 11, 2007. We will be judged on 5 factors: overall impact, clarity of thought, did it make me want to think/act differently, did it want me to comment/participate and originality.

On my short list, there were also articles on home decor for entertaining and inspiration boards. It was hard but at the end of the day I decided to submit:

At last, my muffin presentation

I selected because this post is a clear example of what I try to accomplish with my blog. I want to give you tips for stylish easy entertaining. The fact that Apartment Therapy Chicago talked about it obviously made me proud. There was a good amount of research involved to create the finished product.

How to serve water in style at an afternoon barbecue party

This one shows you that you can be eco-friendly and fashionable at the same time. It is a good example of how I try to make you think or act differently. I preached through the visual impacts of my inspirations. Two readers also share their experience and gave us useful tips.

I also feel that I reused the story of Ice Lolly pop of Nienke Vording in a creative way.

Some plating inspirations from Couture Cuisine & Event Artistry

Trends are a big part of my blog. My post about dishing trends reached out many of you. I gave you on tips to reproduce the look at home.

If you did not read these posts yet, I invite you to do so. I also invite you to comment more often. Unless you are a blogger, you may not know that your comments are the rewards of writing a blog. I want to have a conversation with you; so do not hesitate to give your honest opinion.


The Canada’s 1% Army Blogging Tournament is on

Canada's 1% Army Blogging Tournament

I told you earlier that I am participating in a friendly tournament with other Canadian bloggers. The tournament has now officially begun.

What is it?

We are 128 Canadian born or Canadian residents that are taking part in this fun blogging competition. It is a nice way to discover new blogs. The topics of these blogs are not exactly home décor, cooking or entertaining. You can find blogs on photography, gadgets, marketing, currents events and random thoughts.

As you can read on Buzz Canada, it is more a community of marketers/ digiterati / media-ites / flacks who like to create content and start conversations. I read a few blogs so far and I read interesting stories from good bloggers. So I invite you to go through the list.

The first round

They will keep two bloggers out of 4. I compete in the first round against three male bloggers from Montreal. They are:

What is your favorite post from this blog so far?

I have to submit my best posts. I made my own compilation. It is a good opportunity to find out what my readers think. I want to understand better what you like to read on my blog. I would like you to answer this question: What is your favorite post from this blog so far? Feel free to comment.

Learn more: The 1% Army Canadian Blogging Tournament Begins published on Buzz Canada Blog


My week in review

Sale report: 20% off on all Riedel stemware at The Bay until July 26, 2007.

My muffin presentation got some coverage on the blogosphere. A few bloggers honored me and I want to return their support. In alphabetic order,

Absolutely Beautiful Things featured one of the kitchens I displayed earlier this month in Kitchen Love – part 2. Absolutely Beautiful Things is produced by an Interior Decorator from Brisbane, Australia. I like to visit her for inspirations. Later this year, she will turn 30 years old. I invite you to take a look at her birthday’s inspirations so far.

I was happy that I inspired Jen from An Eye for An I:nterior to plan a romantic picnic with her husband. Making time for special moments keeps the passion in a couple. I know a thing or two about this subject. My husband and I will celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary next September. I am a regular of Jen’s blog. Last week, Jen introduced us to several portfolios from movie / photo shoot location firms. Have a look at An Eye for An I:nterior. You will see home decors that will make you dream.

Then, Apartment Therapy: Chicago talked about my blog and made a reference to my muffin presentation. I assume you are all familiar with the admired AT:Chicago. I am an avid reader of their blog and the entire AT franchises.

Scandinavian design is such a source of inspirations for me. I like to visit Purple Area, a blog written in Swedish. This blog is full of wonderful treasures for the eyes. In bonus, you get an English synopsis in every post so you are not completely lost. Purple Area brought out my latest post on backyard design for entertaining. Take a look at a table top from Better Houses and Homes where you get white plates highlighted by pink orchids in turquoise glasses. A fantastic palette.

The blogosphere is full of blogs with wonderful ideas. We are lucky to experience this incredible time. Enjoy it!

Via: Kitchen Love – Part 2 published on Absolutely Beautiful Things blog
Via: 134 Because Of Love published on An Eye for An I:nterior blog
Via: Blog: At Home With Kim Vallee published on Apartment Therapy: Chicago blog
Via: Terass för umgänge published on Purple Area blog


I am in a friendly tournament of Canadian Marketing/Media Blogs

I am running late today on my normal story schedule; I will post it this afternoon tonight. But in the meantime, I have a message of interest for all great Canadian bloggers. You can submit your blog or nominate a Canadian blog that you admire to join a friendly blogging tournament. It is a great way to get exposure and to discover the best of Canadian blogosphere.

I was thrilled this week when I received my invitation. I am officially in. I am new to this; but I guess I may need the support of my readers. So I will let you know. I start to go through the list of new blogs I discovered through the 1 % army.

If you are a member of Facebook, check out the Canada’s 1% Army (Marketing/Media Bloggers) group for more information. Otherwise, you can get the details on Buzz Canada Web site.

An extended view of friendship through social networks

If you are in Facebook and want to add me as my friend, I invite you to do so. A popular blogger Robert Scoble with his “Add me as your friend” approach started this trend. You may not know about this story. My husband wrote a simple follow up article on the impact of Facebook and the definition of friends in social networks. He pointed out related links.

And do not worry. I will come back to our regular programming style starting with a post on French style outdoor party.

Link: Canada’s 1% Army (Marketing/Media Bloggers) on Facebook
Link: The 1% Army Wants You – A Tournament of Canadian Marketing/Media Blogs
Link: Facebook: how to make Robert Scoble is Media’s life simpler


Being in the spotlights two days in a row

It started with a wonderful review published in studio wellspring blog. This is the blog of a San Francisco-based interior design.

Studio wellspring is a place where this blogger shares the menagerie of inspiration she discovers along the way. She has a good eye. Take a look at the beautiful coffee and tea serving set that she shown us on her Robin’s Egg Bliss post. This is what I call entertaining in style.

Then, I got the honor to be on the Apartment Therapy – Los Angeles edition (AT:LA). I made it to this week Slinks with my post about Small Space Outdoor Entertaining. I wrote this last May.

Wow! I have been a fan of Apartment Therapy since I started reading blogs. I am sending my thanks to Gregory from AT:Los Angeles.

For the ones that do not know what slinks means:

n. (slingks) Surreptitious web links to other good sites.

July 2nd, 2007 Update:

In fact, it was almost three days in a row since yesterday on their Happy Canada Day post, Mom2Mom Lounge referred their readers to my Canada Day menu ideas.

+ how to host stylish parties, + more published on studio wellspring blog
+ June 29, 2007 Slinks published on Apartment Therapy:Los Angeles
+ Happy Canada Day! published on Mom2Mom Lounge


Featured in Emmas designblogg

 kid birthday shot by Design Delicatessen

I was the subject on a piece in a Swedish blog this week-end. As a fan of Scandinavian design, I visit Emmas designblogg to see what going on in other parts of the world.

Today, she talked about a Danish online store called Design Delicatessen. This retailer mastered more than a thing or two about the art of styling a catalogue.

I am leaving you with this kid birthday shot by Design Delicatessen. You got a glimpse at how this retailer promotes a festive banner. Like I told you before, doing a little more makes a difference. Go visit Emma’s blog to see the rest.

Link: Design Delicatessen post on Emmas designblogg
Featured in: New to me blogs on Emmas designblogg