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The etiquette of being Thankful

 

Almost any gift or good deed deserves at least a brief, handwritten thank you note. If in doubt, send one.

As wonderful as paperless post is for a Christmas party or a gathering, there are some special occasions that need something extra special. I’m 63 years old and I love social media and search the web but I think its very important that moving forward that we don’t forget pen and paper.

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Each thank you note should be different and meaningful to the recipient and it’s even more meaningful if “Sent from my iPhone” is not in the signature.

Some tips:

  • If you are an organized person, you might want to keep a stack of cards on hand. Making them personalized makes them even more valuable and important.
  • The tone of your message should match the relationship you have with the person you are addressing it to. For example, a letter to a lifetime friend will be more intimate than one you would send to a prospective employer.

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When in doubt, a simple thank you in any form is the best thing you can do to show your appreciation.

Reasons to say thank you

  • Wedding thank you
  • After a friend hosting delicious dinner
  • Thank you to a wonderful teacher
  • A doctor you are grateful to
  • Your best friend – it is always important for someone to know you are grateful regardless of how close you are to them. Sometimes you take it for granted – especially those times are when it has even more value.
  • neighbour -thank you for understanding
  • After birthday wishes
  • Baby announcement

Ways of saying thank you:

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At its core, giving thanks for something you’ve received, whether it’s an object, an experience or something intangible like forgiveness or support, is something that just needs to be done. The form, timing and details are rarely as important as the simple act of saying thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dealing with Grief

Like all rehabilitation periods, grief is a time of patience and discovery. It provides reflection on the past, acceptance of the moment, and creative thought for the future. It allows family, friends, laughter, memories, and tears to bring us back to strength and steadiness, and it gives us time off from being perfect. At the same time, grief catapults change, forcing us to face pain at its source and find a way to move forward. We will never be the same as before, but we just may be stronger.

One day, we all have to deal with the loss of a loved one and unfortunately I was recently reminded of it with my own experience of losing my father. A beautiful eulogy was written for his passing, shared below

A Driver’s Final Journey…

Today we bid farewell to Sotirios “Sotos” Floris, our adored husband, father, brother,
grandfather, friend and countryman on his final journey.
We reflect on the life of a truly great man and the moments we shared together.
A distinguished man who lived his life with great dignity and infinite strength.
We remember his kind heart and generous spirit – his love of his fellow man, his
laughter and great sense of humor. He was the life of the party.
We celebrate his strength and his passion for life, a better life, one that he preserved to
achieve.
Born 96 years ago in the tiny village of Karyes, which held his heart until today, he was
one of five children that together would survive everything.
A lover of all things – nature, music and discovery lead him to the wheel of a bus –
where his legend would begin…
With laughter, music and storytelling he transported his countrymen and women, family
and friends, from place to place, with a smile on his face and love in his heart. Making
the journey always memorable and perhaps softening one’s reality even for a brief
moment.
His love of his birth place was evident in the many terms that he served as President of
his village, working diligently and tirelessly to improve his beloved community and
bringing joy always to young and old alike.
As many might remember, on one special Christmas he used his battery from his bus to
light up the town square Christmas tree (an anecdote that he very much enjoyed
telling). His love always surpassed his immediate circle and he could always be counted
on in one’s time of need.
His work ethic was unparalleled, a true family man who always put his family first. What
some might not know is that the best part of his trip was always coming home to his
beloved wife of sixty five years, Georgia, and beautiful daughters Litsa and Lena.
His love of community extended far beyond the village starting with the neighboring
village “Geraki” that stole his heart and expanded to the “Big Apple” where he watched
his grandchildren grow up: learning how to speak English and use the subway system
with his eldest and first grandson, Stratos, shopping with Vivia at Bloomingdales and
enjoying lunch at Forty Carrots, joyously applauding at Eirini’s ballet recitals, and
watching airplanes with his youngest grandson Manolis, who would then become a pilot
and follow in his footsteps.

Papou, we want to thank you for your unconditional love and sing softly to you, one of
your favorite choruses, ”Γεια σου μάγκα σ’ αγαπώ”, and to tell you that you will always
be the driver of our hearts and minds, watching us from above and guiding our
footsteps.
αιώνια μνήμη –May your memory be eternal.
Sotirios Floris is survived by his wife Georgia Floris, daughters Litsa Floris and Lena
Maninakis ,his sister, Dimitra Matsoukas, his four grandchildren and two great
grandchildren.

September 4, 1921 – January , 2018
Karyes Laconia

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As it is a difficult time, here are some practical tips on dealing with grief and loss of a loved one

  • Make arrangements ahead of time
  • Invite friends and family of your loved one
  • Share personal stories and give people the chance to say something short and sweet
  • Prepare money holders and thank you cards for the church
  • We the Greeks emphasize celebrating someone’s life, encourage your loved ones to do this
  • Instead of flowers dedicate some time or money to the charity of your loved one

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Friends and family,

We would like to take a moment to thank you all for the overwhelming outreach of sympathy and condolences extended to our family at this time.

In his memory and to honor the life he lived, we have established a fund for a museum dedicated to his hometown, Karyes, that he loved so much.

 

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Vasilopita – A Greek Tradition

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We all know the way too celebrate the New Year, between the fireworks and the champagne, but as Greeks, we have a special and unique tradition: that of the VASILOPITA.

A Vasilopita is a traditional Greek cake or bread served at midnight on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the life of Saint Basil. Vasilopita is made of a variety of doughs, depending on the region and almost every family has it’s own recipe. The Vasilopita is also decorated with almonds, which create the year number. When decorating with the almond, each one is ‘wished upon’, thus the almonds become wishes for the new year: prosperity, health and luck.
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 IT’S ALL ABOUT THAT LUCKY COIN
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Each family will cut the vasilopita with two slices, making a cross. After baking the vasilopita cake, a coin is inserted through the base and when cut the person who finds the coin is said to be granted luck for the rest of the year. The pieces are cut in a particular order:  The first piece is for Christ, the next piece is cut for the needy and then a piece for the house. The rest of the pieces are now cut for members of the family, starting with the head of the household, then each member of the family in
order from eldest to youngest, including those that are absent.
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No one is allowed to look at their piece until everyone is given theirs. Then, once the server or the head of the household gives his or her okay, everyone checks to see if they found the coin – the lucky one with the coin in his or her piece is the one who is going to have a fortuitous year!
In older times, the coin was often a valuable one, such as a gold sovereign. Nowadays there is often a gift that corresponds to the coin, usually a charm that is given to the coin recipient.
History of Vasilopita

The history of vasilopita can be traced back to the ancient festivals of Kronia and Saturnalia and is connected to a legend of Saint Basil. In honor of Saint Basil, or Agios Vasilios, people bake this bread every year. The tradition has evolved from the original story and now whoever finds the coin is said to have good luck for the rest of the year. However, the bread itself does serve as a reminder for all that Agios Vasilios did for people of Greece.

Recipe

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We woul love to share this recipe with you, from one of the best Greek Pastry chefs Stelios Parliaros, who happens to be a good friend, which you can find here.
Ingredients
  • 250 g butter
  • 250 g icing sugar
  • 125 g ground almonds
  • 125 g ground pistachios
  • 6 eggs
  • 250 g flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 300 g dried fruit, finely chopped
  • 200 ml Amaretto
Method
Soak the dried fruit in the Amaretto. Beat the butter, sugar and ground nuts until they are fluffy. Blend the dried fruit together with the Amaretto and add to the mixture continuing beating for a while longer. Add the eggs gradually. Add the flour and the baking powder, beating continually. Butter a baking pan and dust it with flour, place the mixture in it and bake at 180°C for one hour.
Καλή Χρονιά, sending you sweet and lucky wishes!

Christmas Thoughts

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Decorating for the holidays doesn’t have to be stressful or difficult to be beautiful. Here, we offer simple yet elegant little touches that you can use to decorate your home for Christmas and make a difference. From making Christmas candy and baking Christmas cookies, to decorating Christmas trees and gift ideas, find what you need to plan a perfect Christmas Decoration.

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  • Start planning your decoration around the element you currently loving, like favourite colours, and build from there. That object or color dictates the whole mood and theme of the table and setting. Don’t hesitate to go beyond the Green and Red (even though they always look beautiful) and explore the festive touches of white, silver and gold.IMG_3542
  • Use your heirlooms – Silverware looks beautiful filled with nuts and makes Christmas decorations extra special. 
  • Aim to update your decor in a way that feels seasonal and festive and add seasonal touches: garlands and wreaths are always fabulous. You can also concentrate on having a variety of beautiful candles or making a wonderful holiday drink based on champagne like the one you can find here.

  • Though it’s about also about creating Instagram-worthy setups, aim to go beyond just the visuals for your decorations. Carefully put together a playlist to set the mood and light a woodsy candle or a roaring fire. Accentuate them with bowls of nuts and baubles to reflect the warm setting.IMG_3547\
  • Continue the tradition of making cookies. When your guests arrive, you can also offer a Christmas Cheese Display, with fresh bread, dried fruits and surrounded by winter flowers.IMG_7458 (2)
  • It’s great to send your guests home with a small gift. For winter parties you can give gingerbread mixes, hot chocolate or mulling spices. It’s a fun activity to wrap the gifts as you’re getting ready for a party, and a way for your guests to take a little piece of the evening home with them making the evening just a bit more special. Make sure to serve something unique and different like these Baked Alaska’s in a lollipop.1
For example, on a professional note, Floris Special Events has created a Christmas Wedding recently in New York. Here are some pictures of the marvellous event

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December – It’s all about Birthdays!

What birthdays are all about
They say your birthday is just another day, so why go the extra mile?
It is another day. Nonetheless, why should that stop you from celebrating the joy of life? Why should it stop us from taking a few minutes, hours or an entire day to take stock of your life, your people, and most importantly, count your blessings.
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But what happens when you grown up? Is it tacky to throw a birthday party for yourself? If you ask me, birthdays are even better as an adult! When you host a birthday party for yourself, the size and style of your party is entirely up to you, including your choice of food, fun, and even the cake flavor. That’s better than anything you had as a kid, right?
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Birthday parties are like road trips: getting there is half the fun. Deciding on the theme, decorations, and activities makes the days leading up to the event seem like part of the celebration itself. It needn’t be elaborate — your friends will be happy with a small party as long as they are made to feel special. However, even a simple party requires planning; the sooner you start organizing, the earlier the excitement begins and the fewer details you’ll have to work out on the day itself.
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Celebrate each birthday – the big ones like someone’s 1st and 16th and your own big birthdays. I love my birthday and my zodiac sign. It’s fun to know your zodiac sign, yout birthstones (the ones for Sagittarius are topaz, amethyst, ruby, sapphire, and turquoise) and celebrities that have the same birthday as you (mine is Stephen Spielberg).
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I was blessed of having great birthdays because of my children. It is a family tradition for us to celebrate big birthdays and a few years ago I celebrated mine- my 60th birthday! My best friend and daughter designed something extraordinary at the Armani restaurant in New York. It was incredibly special, as they had taken the time to create something memorable that was exactly what I would have wished for and more. All pictures in this article are from this wonderful birthday!
 
Each Birthday is my favourite birthday!
Do’s and don’ts, inspired by the fabulous party thrown by my best friend and daughter in New York
– Send great invitations. Even though technology has evolved, everyone appreciates a stunning invite to a party. Send a save the date six months before and the invitation 6 weeks before the party, so that everyone that will have to travel can be there.
– Don’t forget the importance of doing things that have sentimental value: my daughter wore a dress, shoes and jewelry that I used to wear 30 years ago
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–  Always keep birthday calendar – although facebook is very helpful as it announces birthdays each day
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– Have a great photographer to capture every moment. At my party,  the wonderful Philippe Cheng took beautiful pictures of everything
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– Design the menu- know what your guests like and don’t forget to offer many options for your vegan and vegetarian friends
– The cake:
We all know it isn’t a party without a frosted mound of sugary goodness lit with candles. When you’re a whole year older, isn’t your birthday resolution to try something new? How about a red velvet cske, a pistachio cake, brownie sundae ice cake, or a light-as-air “cloud” cake! Today, so many wonderful pastry chefs personalise cakes with so many interesting things. Mine was black and white, themed “New York and Athens” and created by the wonderful Philippe Cheng

– Select a great place. My party took place at the Armani ristorante, which I absolutely love!
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– Themes are very important and create a great atmosphere. As I love black and white, mine was black and white glamour
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– Send thank you notes at the end to let your friends know how much you appreciated their presence
-It’s all about the guestlist. Invite people you love, business associates and people that know how to have a good time
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-If your party is at home make sure to send a gift to the neighbours (sentimental value gifts). Everything is about the idea and the thought behind, it, not the gift. its showing someone you know them and want them to be happy
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– Drinks are important for a good party! Try this cocktail dedicated to Sagittarians, which uses a base of Karlsson’s Gold Vodka, distilled from Swedish potatoes only once, yielding an earthy flavor. Add pepper, dill, tonic, and a hint of lime.
-Give out seasonal favours at the end. Mine was armani hot cocoa!
– Have treats for your guests to enjoy through the party. My party had a black and white candy bar
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– Dress attire: It’s important for people to know how to dress, especially when it’s a birthday party
 Once a month we’re going to post special birthday pictures and themes – Any excuse to celebrate!