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Archive for December, 2013

Holiday Party Planning Simplified

Posted on: December 16th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

The season is upon us for celebrating which means lots of parties, libations and festive food.  If you are hosting a holiday get-together or a soiree to ring in the new year, here are a few tips to help with your party planning.


By now you’re home is likely already decorated for the holidays but, if not, don’t overdo it before your party.  Your guests are coming to see you and enjoy your company and won’t be spending much time in front of your Christmas tree.  If you’re planning to serve a sit down dinner, spend your energy decorating the table with a few festive items.  A small topiary or rosemary tree looks great strung with lights and placed on your table or outside your front door.  Many of our local nurseries carry these trees this time of year.  I recently bought one at The Banyan Tree at 81197 Overseas Highway in Islamorada and had it potted for under $100.

Festive Drinks

The drinks served at your soiree are as important as the food.  The rule of thumb when considering what to purchase is 50% will drink wine, 30% will drink beer and 20% will drink mixed drinks.  You can simplify your bar by only serving beer and wine, or instead of a full bar,  offer a signature drink such as eggnog or pomegranate martinis.  Not only are signature drinks more festive but they’ll also save you money so that you’re not having to purchase a full bar of liquors and mixers that may not be used.  And for your New Year’s Eve festivities don’t forget the champagne.  There is nothing more fabulous than ringing in the New Year with some bubbly.   For something different, offer a DIY champagne bar with fruit juices including orange and pomegranate and fresh fruit such as raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.

The best time to buy your holiday party libations is during sales.  Most local liquor stores offer one day a week with discounts up to 30% on everything in the store.  On Tuesdays, stock up for your holiday soiree at the Green Turtle Wine & Spirits at 81219 Overseas Highway in Islamorada for a great discount.

Create a menu and Make a list

When deciding on the menu for your holiday party, be sure to make a very good list of all the ingredients you’ll need and preparation times needed for each recipe.  Many recipes can be made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight to save you on preparation time the day of the party.  There is nothing worse than starting to cook only to realize you forgot to buy half the ingredients and a good list prior to shopping will ensure this doesn’t happen to you.  Consider a non-traditional menu for your gathering with a Florida Keys themed menu including shrimp, lobster, crab claws and sushi.  Also, hosting a party at a non-traditional time such as brunch can be a lot of fun.  A lobster frittata and mimosa bar will provide more than enough to satiate your guests.

Simplify your party planning

Simplify your hosting responsibilities by getting a little help from a caterer.  Hiring a bartender or server  can make all the difference between you enjoying or working at your party.  They will ensure all your guests are served and will also help you clean up after the last guests have left.  Consider also having a caterer provide all the food for your event.  The holidays are already busy and stressful,  and parties should be fun.  Megan Hylton, the catering manager with Catering by Green Turtle and Kaiyo Grill is an expert at planning amazing events your guests will remember.  She’ll help you come up with a theme, create a mouth watering menu and will make sure you and your guests have a fabulous time.  Contact Megan by phone 305.393.6215 or email meganh@greenturtleinn.com for more information.


Enjoy your next gathering by hiring a caterer such as Catering by Green Turtle and Kaiyo Grill

Enjoy your next gathering by hiring a caterer such as Catering by Green Turtle and Kaiyo Grill

Holiday Shopping

Posted on: December 9th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

It’s that time of year to pick out a few special gifts for your family and friends.  Holiday shopping can seem stressful but remember that these gifts are meant to show your love and appreciation for the special people in your life.  No matter the gift, large or small, it’s the thought that counts.   When in doubt, opt for an experience.  Surprise your wife and offer to fly her to visit her best friend for a weekend, give her a gift certificate to her favorite restaurant with the promise of flowers and you dressed up for the occasion, or let her know how thankful you are for all she does by giving her a spa day to relax and rejuvenate.  Below I’ve highlighted a few gifts I hope to receive and a few gifts I’m planning to give.  Happy shopping.

Find a great selection of diamond earrings at Blue Marlin Jewelry in Islamorada

Find a great selection of diamond earrings at Blue Marlin Jewelry in Islamorada

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

A beautiful pair of diamond earrings are a wardrobe staple every woman should own.  They’re like the little black dress of jewelry.   If you’re looking for something special for the woman in your life, consider investing in a pair of diamond earrings.   Diamonds symbolize lasting love and friendship.  Diamond earrings can come in a variety of price points with factors such as size, color and clarity affecting the price.  Because these stones will be worn on her ear lobes, a lesser clarity stone is just fine as the clarity of the stone is not as visible from a distance.    If you are buying for a more petite woman, you’ll need to consider the size of the diamonds.   If they are too big they will look out of proportion.  You want to buy something dainty and yet size appropriate for her so that they’re comfortable to wear and can be worn often.   If the woman in your life already has diamond earrings or you’d like to buy her something more unique, consider buying her a pair of sapphire earrings.  Sapphires are the second hardest gemstone next to diamonds.  Most commonly known for its shade of celestial blue, sapphires are actually available in a range of colors including yellow, pink, and green.

Blue Marlin Jewelry in Islamorada can work within anyone’s price point and specializes in offering quality jewelry with unique designs that you will not see in other stores.

Blue Marlin Jewelry is located at 81915 Overseas Highway in Islamorada and is open Monday through Saturday 9:30a.m. to 5:30p.m. and Sundays 11:00a.m. to 5:00p.m.

Key Largo Chocolates, Leah's Fabulous Finds, Leah Maki

Bob’s Chippers Photo Credit Hibiscus Marketing

Sweets for our Veterans

This holiday season Key Largo Chocolates has partnered with the American Red Cross to let the many hundreds of patients in our Veterans’ Hospitals know that we have not forgotten their sacrifices for our nation. For the specially reduced price of $8.50, you can donate one or more half-pound boxes of Bob’s Chocolate Chippers to be sent to our sick or wounded soldiers.  These chocolate covered potato chips are absolutely delicious and are a great way to bring cheer and chocolates to our veterans this holiday season.

Stop by the Key Largo Chocolates location at 100470 Overseas Highway in Key Largo or call (305) 453-6613 to order the Chocolate Chippers for Veterans for $8.50.  Or go online at KeyLargoChocolates.com and place the order here.

Dry Tortugas, Key West Seaplane Charters, Leah's Fabulous Finds, Leah Maki

The view of the Dry Tortugas from Key West Seaplane Charters

A Birds Eye View

Perhaps the perfect gift for that special person in your life is the gift of an experience they won’t forget.  Enjoy our beautiful chain of islands from a birds eye view while on board a helicopter or plane tour of the Florida Keys.  See dolphins, sharks, ship wrecks and iconic landmarks from a new perspective.  In Key West, you can travel by seaplane to see the Dry Tortugas, the true end of the Florida Keys located 70 miles west of Key West.  With Key West Seaplane Adventures, full and half day excursions range from $224 to $495.  Go to KeyWestSeaplaneCharters.com or call 305.293.9300 for more information on these tours.


Sip & Shop Soiree – Thursday, December 5 6-8 p.m.

Posted on: December 2nd, 2013 by Leah No Comments

You’re invited to sip, shop and socialize during the ultimate shopping soiree. Enjoy complimentary wine and light hors d’oeuvres from Green Turtle and One Small Bite (Cake Design Studio) while shopping at your favorite local boutiques.

Get a head start on your holiday shopping and support some of your favorite local boutiques including: Miss Monroe Boutique, uCúmbe, Seaside Glassworks, Zero Dress Code, Wear With All Boutique, The Banyan Tree, D-Luxe Boutique, Islamorada Mercantile, Wild Lily Boutique, Stella & Dot Jewelry, Ava Anderson Non Toxic by Rachel B. Mcelveen, Island Decor and Islamorada Fitness.

When: Thursday, December 5th from 6-8 p.m.

Sip & Shop Soiree will be held at Ocean Sotheby’s International Realty in Islamorada – 81888 Overseas Highway, MM 81 Bayside.