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The Perfect Dinner Party – The Fab Five of Entertaining

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I love to entertain and people always ask me what the secret is to throwing the perfect party. Today, I will focus on elements for a mid-sized dinner party for 6 to 12 people. Now, for any gathering to be successful, you will need what I call ‘the Fab Five’: Atmosphere, Drink, Food, Company and You.

Atmosphere

Creating an atmosphere for a successful event will include elements such as lighting, music, decor and any other elements that will enhance the atmosphere of any gathering. Focus on what the guests with see, smell, feel (tactile and emotional). Candles are usually a good idea, creating soft, forgiving lighting and hiding a multitude of sins! Music should not be too noticeable if you want to encourage guests talking, but just enough to create an ambience. Flowers can be a nice touch, but, really almost anything can be used to make great centerpieces.

Drink

Give your guests something to drink within 5 minutes of their arrival – wine, a martini, beer, champagne – just something! And always remember to have something for people who do not drink alcoholic beverages. Water and soda will not cut it! Get creative: seltzer with fruit garnishes is a very simple mocktail idea. (A ‘mocktail’ is a virgin, or non-alcoholic cocktail). You can find other mocktail ideas on many websites online. Don’t have people drinking for more than one hour before dinner is served – your guests will either drink too much, or get too hungry. It’s called cocktail hour for a reason! Have about one bottle of wine per guest and probably a little more red than white. According to Esquire’s The Big Black Book – and in my experience – red wine drinkers will generally not switch to white wine, but white wine drinkers might not mind as much.

Food

Once your guests have drinks, have some hors d’oeuvres ready for them. Crudités with an assortment of dips are always a good idea, so is a fruit and cheese platter. But of course, you can make stuff as well. You are only limited by your creativity and how much time and effort you have available at your disposal. But don’t give your guests too much to eat, otherwise, your painstakingly made dinner will go to waste!

If you are cooking dinner yourself, never, ever, try to make a dish you have never prepared before. Anything could go wrong. If you want to try something new, do a practice run first to make sure you can get it done the way it’s supposed to be before you try making it for your guests. Also make sure you ask your guests if they have any dietary restrictions so you can plan your menu with that in mind.

Company

If many of your guests will be strangers to one another, invite people you think have something in common. That way, you are free to interact with all your guests without thinking you need to babysit anyone. And, for the love of all that’s good, don’t invite people who don’t like each other or are not talking to each other! It’s safe to seat people in boy-girl-boy-girl fashion, but I prefer to separate couples and place people next to someone they may not have met before, but will have something in common. And, next to them, I’ll seat someone they already know, just in case they need an out, if my hopes for connecting new people didn’t work!

You

Finally, you should plan your prep time so you can spend as much time as possible with your guests and not trying to get things done. You need to enjoy your party as well. Your guests came because of you. Don’t drink too much, so you can be alert. Just be your charming self, enjoy your company and everything else will fall into place and be just fine.

Happy entertaining!

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Realistic Movies – The Craft Of Creative Minds

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In this 21st century, entertainment is the one and only means of providing relaxation to the mind from worries. The most modern version of mass medium for entertainment is cinema. The motion picture has grown with the innovation of technology. With the advent of motion picture entertainment has taken the form of an industry.

The history of filmmaking goes back to the year 1895 when Lumiere brothers of Paris started Projection of films for the Persian public. Earlier filmmakers in Europe and America concentrated more on producing commercial pictures. Up to 1910 to 1920, films in U.K and Hollywood were meant only for entertainment. But films like City light (1931), The Great Dictator and many more made by the great Charlie Chaplin, give a new definition to the world cinema.

We remember Chaplin a little man with a tight jacket and loose pants held up with a string; over size boots and undersized bowler hat. He was the only man who tried to portray the true picture of the underprivileged world. He tries to depict through comedy, a hard core of truth and painful experience of his life.

Changes were also seen in the European films. In the Soviet-Union films were made on First World War. Russian films on Lenin and Russian Revolution tried to bring out in front of his audience the political scenario as well as the social scenario of Russia. Efforts of few famous film makers of the first world country to make film with the hard core realities society and life, given birth to a new category of films, which latter popularized into realistic films for the audience.

In post war Europe, realism was in the air in its film cities, particularly in Italy and France. Writers, who were professed Leftists and made new kinds of films, departing from Hollywood tradition. To match the stories with reality, directors like De Sica, Lattuada and Castellani of Europe took their camera out in the streets and engaged non-actors to play leading roles. These films were shown in Indian cities also after their releases in Europe. These realistic films influenced many young aspirants. The realistic films began its journey in India from Bengal. The internationally acclaimed filmmaker Satyajit Roy was the pioneer of realistic filmmaking. In his first film: Pather Panchali (1955) he worked on the conflict and issues of post independent India in the background of his state of Bengal. There were also few other filmmakers like Mrinal Sen, Ritwik Ghatok who were impressed by Italian, French and Japanese neo-realist films.

This trend of making off beat movies is also seen in other regional movies. The genre of realistic film has given birth to many ace filmmakers in the Indian film industry. Realistic films were made in almost all languages. Realistic film made mostly in Hindi and South Indian languages from time to time but it was Shyam Bengal’s debut hindi film Ankur (1973), which started an offbeat wave. This genre of offbeat film was nourished by many big names of Indian film industry like Govind Nihalani, Basu Chatterjee, Ketan Mehta, Mahesh Bhatt, Kalpana Lajmi and Nabendu Ghosh. They pioneered a new path in filmmaking.

In the 21st century this trend of making realistic movies has been kept alive by filmmakers who believe that cinema was the art of the directors, not that of the artistes or technical experts. These offbeat films not only make us aware of the social economic condition prevailing in our society, but also show different aspects of life. The new Indian cinema having great social significance, presenting a modern, humanist point of view in contrast to the fantasy world of popular cinema. We hope that in future the Indian creative minds will keep alive this genre of realistic movies.

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Camping Rainy Day Entertainment For The Kids

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It’s such an amazing camping experience when the weather is great. Everyone relaxes, the children entertain themselves, birds sing and the sun warms our backs. There’s very little work to be done and it’s fantastic value for money as we don’t have to go to an attraction or visit something as there are loads of free entertainment just outside. However, it doesn’t always turn out the way we hope and although some tricky weather isn’t a bad thing, when it really turns nasty over a long period of time we really need to prepare for it.

We’ve camped through rain storms, burst river banks, thunder and lightning, and hail storms. In fact you name it and we’ve pretty much experienced it! On one trip water came up through the ground into the tent and the camper van was dripping on the inside from condensation. It even sank five inches into the mud and was a whole heap of trouble getting out! Those cold gloomy days of non-stop heavy rain were the type that made us swear we would never go camping again, and it didn’t help that the kids were frantically running around us in an attempt to entertain themselves and let off steam.

Since then we’ve always packed a rainy day emergency pack, which is a box full of activities and entertainment that keep the kids happy for hours and definitely help bring a better camping experience in bad weather.

Always Plan Ahead

First of all you should make sure you always plan ahead. Think about taking a couple of activities from book like Making Stuff For Kids or The Rainy Day Book (we love this one just for the cover!) and some of the materials you’ll need to do the activities. There’s nothing like settling down to be creative with the kids when you’re all snug and warm and you can hear the rain hammering down outside.

Make A Story Bag

The other thing we like to do with the kids is have a story bag, which has to be packed with the right bits and pieces before setting off on the trip. Our glittery colourful bag is full of small toys and trinkets. One person gets to start by picking an item out of the bag and coming up with the first bit of a story based on that item. Then when they’ve finished they pass the bag on to the next person who picks another item out and shapes the story around that. You get the idea. It’s creative, brain taxing, gets the whole family involved and best of all its free as it is made from an old bag and bits and bobs just lying around at home. The only thing you need to add is your imagination!

Collect Puzzles And Games

Puzzles and games are perfect for keeping everyone happy for hours and for those who haven’t heard already, there’s a new kid on the block that’s challenging the famous rubik cube to a puzzle duel. It can hypnotise the player and observers and eat the hours, with the only problem being having enough to go round.

Collect Free Books

One of the things we rate very highly is the digital reader. In these gadgets you can store your entire digital book collection and a heap of free books made available from authors who just want to get their work out there. In fact you can store enough books to keep any bookworm busy during bad weather.

This really is an amazing digital age! You can go for the Kindle, iPad, Nook or any other digital reader. If you haven’t used one before then we would really recommend you get one for your next camping trip with the kids. It’s worth getting even if it only comes out for the holidays as it saves packing all those books. The biggest bonus is when it’s time for ‘lights out’ you can carry on reading your favourite novel without disturbing anyone… with only the hoot of the owl for company! Now that’s happy camping!

Have you got any great entertainment ideas for rainy days at the campsite? Carry on the conversation at http://www.InspiredCamping.com

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What Is the Role of an In-Flight Entertainment Content Service Provider?

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Loyal customers are crucial for all airlines and there are a number of factors that can influence people to become repeat passengers. Ultimately, they need to enjoy their overall experience when using the airline and to achieve this requires a number of elements to come together.

One such element is in-flight entertainment (IFE); a high quality IFE offering can play a major role in leaving passengers happy with the experience they’ve received. But what is the role of an IFE content service provider (CSP)? How do they bridge the gap between content suppliers and airline?

There are four common services that a CSP should provide:

• Content – A good quality CSP maintains exceptional relationships with a network of global suppliers, so that an innovative and diverse range of content is made available to the airline to show on-board.

• Research – The best in-flight entertainment is targeted to its audience, so an experienced CSP will be able to undertake extensive research into passenger demographics, seasonal changes, route networks and local content. This will ensure that the content package that the airline receives is well suited to its passengers.

• Quality control – An airline’s CSP will screen all content before making its recommendations. Films, TV shows, music and any other form of content needs to be suitable for its audience, of the highest levels of quality, and entertaining enough for passengers to enjoy.

• Scheduling – Strategic and creative experience is vital in a quality CSP. They need to be able to provide a customise schedule that ensures each airline gets the right updated content at the right time.

Among the different types of content provided by an in-flight entertainment CSP are:

• Movies – From the Hollywood studio blockbusters and independent titles to cinematic classics and regional titles, a great CSP will have access to a wide selection of great movies.

• TV – CSPs will be able to provide airlines with a wide selection of TV shows from which to choose from. Many CSPs will have a team dedicated to short programme buying, so that the best possible content can be provided.

• Audio – Passenger music tastes will vary widely. Some may want pop music, while others prefer easy listening or classical music. Others may even opt for business news, audio books or comedy shows. An airline’s CSP should be able to provide a wide selection of audio content.

• Sleep & Relaxation – Some passengers prefer to sleep rather than watch a movie or TV show, so it’s important that they’re catered for. One such solution is pzizz, a unique patented sleep and relaxation app used by over half a million people in 100 countries.

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Entertainment Centers

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You want to steal the show when you’re at home, don’t you? It’s understandable because a lot of people want to. Your entertainment center, though, is often the first things people at when they walk into your home. Entertainment centers should exhibit a sense of achievement. Some people may have table and chairs as a set up for an entertainment, while some are perfectly content with a television sitting on top of a stand.

If you want a more elaborate it then you have to consider several things.

Size

How big do you want your entertainment set to be? Big, small, medium sized? Measure out the height and width of your room and determine whether or not you can feasibly put in the desired entertainment set in that space. Often, entertainment furniture are large and bulky, but there are space-saving designs that help you build your entertainment sets and accessories better.

Furniture

What kind of furniture do you want in regards to your entertainment center? Knowing this will go a long way in determining what kind of accessories you want to have with your furniture. Accessories can take up a lot of space if you’re not careful.

Cost

You can get great deals and prices on entertainment sets and accessories. You don’t want to go for the most expensive one because you can find more value in ones that are priced lower.

Guests will appreciate a nice entertainment center. You can be as creative or plain as you want it to be.

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Creativity – Why It’s For Everyone, Not Just For Artists

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What do you picture when you think of someone highly creative?

Do you think of a musician onstage in the throes of performance? A painter with her dancing brush bringing life to a blank canvas? A photographer with sophisticated and expensive equipment capturing perfect landscape shots?

Most of us equate being creative with those in the classic and traditional arts. Like the musician, the painter, the photographer, and so on. Yes of course these are all creative careers. But what we then do is allow our thinking to discount all other kinds of creativity.

We convince ourselves that unless we ourselves take part in one of these classic creative pursuits – and unless we’re hugely talented in them – then we can’t possibly consider ourselves as a creative person.

The fact is, these artistic careers are only a tiny proportion of what we can consider to be creative.

What about the young mother who entertains her three children all day, prepares a different delicious meal every night and balances her partner’s business accounts?

Or the local gardener that takes neglected weed riddled gardens and turns them into glorious multi sensory environments?

Or the internet entrepreneur who has websites, products and courses in 7 different specialised areas, and is about to launch their 8th, 9th and 10th ventures?

Creativity is not an expensive suit than only a chosen few are allowed to wear.

Creativity is everyone’s right and can be everyone’s daily uniform. How you choose to explore and express your creativity is completely up to you. But it begins with recognising that you are creative in many different ways, and many times each day.

Creativity is a way of thinking, seeing, being, doing. It’s not a title on your business card. It’s so much deeper, more expansive and more encompassing than that. It’s in your blood, your breath, your DNA.

Choose to acknowledge your creativity from this point on.

Simply saying “I am creative and I choose to create” many times over will shift your thinking drastically. Following that thinking up with the actions to match will ensure you’re a creative artist – in your own unique way – for the rest of your life.

Creativity is for all of us, welcome to the party! And yes, that includes YOU!

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Inexpensive Entertaining Options

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Prices have been constantly rising, and it seems like everyone is struggling to make ends meet. Somehow our income is not going as far as it used to and our bills are getting higher by the minute. However, that does not mean that you have to be house poor and simply go home every night. You can definitely have a social life by simply creating some inexpensive entertainment options. The key is to be creative!

Game Night

A little healthy competition gets everyone’s blood pumping, so why not set up your own game night? Invite a few of your friends over by sending out cute invitations. You can put together a crossword puzzle invite or even a word search. From there you need to set up your evening. Pull together a variety of board and card games. For this evening you will want to have easy to eat finger foods and yummy drinks. For example maybe you want to put together some mixed nuts, veggies and dip, and cheese and crackers along with some delicious flavored sodas in glass bottles. When your guests arrive you can simply get down to the fun at hand!

Wine Tasting

If you are looking for a sophisticated evening with friends then you might want to look into hosting a wine tasting for your friends. A great way to do this is to ask all of your guests to bring their favorite bottle of wine to share. From there you can get started on the food. One of the best ways to handle the snacks is to do cheese and chocolate which both go with wine fantastically. Head to your local grocery and pick up a variety of different cheeses and crackers to display on different platters. Additionally, pick up several different types of chocolate that you can put out for your party. In preparations for your guests you will want to set out your food, and have a bunch of wine glasses out for your guests to begin tasting with.

Pot Luck

Food and friends is always a good combination so why not host a potluck. Potlucks are wonderful because it can save on costs, but more than that it gives everyone an opportunity to share some of their favorite recipes. Invite your friends to make their favorite dish, but also request that they write down the recipe for display by their dish. Then provide the rest of your guests with pens and recipe cards to write down and keep their favorite recipes of the evening. A great way to invite your friends to this is actually by creating an invitation from a recipe card with one of your favorite recipes on it that you are willing to share with your friends.

Entertaining does not have to be expensive. Instead, with a few great ideas you can set yourself up for an evening of fun interactions with your friends without spending and arm and a leg. Allow yourself to be creative and you will be in for a great time!

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