Corrections or additions?
These articles by Jamie Saxon were prepared for the November 3,
issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
It was the hottest booth at the New York Gift Show," says Dale Stokes,
"and we’re the only ones in this area carrying it." "It" is a body
whip that’s scooped out like ice cream and comes in equally yummy
"flavors" like strawberry and kiwi.
Stokes is the owner of Do Me a Favor, a company that specializes in
social printing (stationery and creative invitations), upscale gift
giving, and party and event planning. Last fall Stokes held a holiday
extravaganza in her West Windsor home to showcase her products and
services but this year she says she wanted to add a charity element.
She has paired up with Marjorie Young, director of Community House, an
organization that offers summer computer camps to underprivileged
children in Princeton, to transform the Carl A. Fields Center on the
Princeton campus, into a winter wonderland of 14 "vignettes." A
portion of the event’s sales will go to underwrite the costs of the
The Pamper Yourself vignette, fashioned around an antique 300-pound
clawfoot bathtub that the resourceful Stokes (who one Christmas made a
gingerbread house in the exact likeness of her own house) found on
eBay, features a host of treats for the work-weary, like a neck wrap
filled with lavender and shaped like a stuffed animal that you
microwave and wrap around yourself after a hard day at work. "It’s an
instant massage," says Young.
Other vignettes include a country store, personalized holiday cards
(offered at a 20 percent discount), pottery, baby goods, jewelry,
toys, handbags and small leather goods, and candy and cookies. A diva
of the unusual, Stokes, who represents close to 200 printing and
giftware companies, scours the New York Gift Show and does extensive
research to find the creative and unusual. "I had six candy buyers out
there looking for me," she says: "We have the most incredible
low-carb fudge. You absolutely can’t tell it’s low-carb. Among the
dozens of unique gift offerings are paper dolls drawn to look like
your child, hand-painted eggs from Austria, and hand-painted candles
from South Africa.
Stokes and Young met the way lots of parents meet – through their
kids. When Young’s fifth grade son was about to start at Chapin, the
school paired them up, as they do with all new students, with another
parent and student – in this case, Stokes. "The first time we spoke on
the phone," says Young, a Lawrenceville resident, "we talked for two
hours," setting in motion a fast friendship. (Both their sons are now
in high school.) "While the rest of us send holiday cards that say
‘We’re barely making it,’" says Young, "Dale sends a CD with her son,
Gregory, playing jazz music on the piano, labeled ‘Have a Jazzy
In summer, 2005, Young plans to expand the Community House summer
computer camp program with "Explorations" camps in drama, science,
ethnic dance, art, and other "things you’re not going to find at the
Y," says Young. "If they’re not here doing this, what would they be
Do Me a Favor Holiday Extravaganza. Saturday, November 13, 10 a.m. to
6 p.m.; Sunday, November 14, noon to 4 p.m. Carl A. Fields Center for
Equality and Cultural Understanding, 86 Olden Avenue (corner of
Prospect Street), Princeton. Children welcome. Entertainment includes
a cappella groups of Princeton students and giveaways. 609-936-8885.
There’s not a kid in a dark corner forcing your kids to smoke weed,"
says Dr. Ron Taffel, a noted psychologist and family therapist who New
Woman magazine has called "a Spock for our time." "Kids make these
decisions on their own to get closer to each other. Their friends
become their second family, just as or even more powerful than the
first family at home. It’s not peer pressure. I call it peer bonding.
It’s the power of the second family."
Taffel, who has appeared on the Today Show, 20/20, and Larry King
Live, writes a monthly column called "Family Life" for Parents
Magazine and is the author of "The Second Family: Dealing with Peer
Power, Pop Culture, the Wall of Silence – and Other Challenges of
Raising Today’s Teens." He speaks on "The Tyranny of Cool: What Every
21st Century Parent Needs to Know about Listening, Limiting, and Maybe
Saving Your Teen’s Life," Tuesday, November 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the
Hun School in Princeton. He will discuss safe privileges, back-talk,
lessening negotiating, reducing stress, and handling the new realities
about teen sex and drinking.
Taffel defines the tyranny of cool as the pressure to be cool, the
pressure to fit in. "The tyranny of cool does not reach a fever pitch
in high school, but rather starts early and becomes the most intense
in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, when kids are already vulnerable
to the pressures of adolescence."
Taffel wants parents to look at early adolescence in a different way.
"There is a lot of information out there, a glut that changes from
week to week. It can be very confusing. But after years of working
with kids and going over research, there is rock solid stuff we know
that works with kids and practical, concrete tools parents can use."
"The Tyranny of Cool, What Every 21st Century Parent Needs to Know
about Listening, Limiting and Maybe Saving Your Teen’s Life," Dr. Ron
Taffel, Tuesday, November 16, 7:30 p.m., the Hun School, Edgerstoune
Road, Princeton. Free. 609-921-7600. Sponsored by CommonGround, a
collaborative of twelve Princeton area independent schools.
There are two truths to the holidays: one is that you’ll finish
decorating your tree, plug in the lights, and one strand will be dead.
The other is – people will come to your house and expect to be fed.
And for many working professionals that means a big bother.
The 125 members of the St. George Ladies Philoptochos Society, many of
them first- and second-generation Greek mothers and grandmothers, have
spent the last three weeks cranking up the eight ovens and
industrial-size Kitchen Aid in the kitchen of St. George Greek
Orthodox Church in Hamilton, cooking and baking like mad so that you
can fill your freezer with delicious Greek home-baked foods like
moussaka, baklava, and pastries – way ahead of the holiday craziness.
Nearly every dish sold in Yiayia’s Kitchen can be frozen. "Many of our
members rely on their purchases from Yaiyia’s kitchen to reduce their
cooking duties from Thanksgiving to New Year’s," says Fotini Floudas,
president of the Philoptochos Society, adding that all the items also
make wonderful gifts. A Princeton resident, Floudas came to the United
States in 1986 with her husband, Chris, a chemical engineering
professor at Princeton University.
Yiayia is the Greek word for grandmother – and all of the recipes,
says Floudas, are family recipes. There’s not a cookbook in sight; in
fact the Society is hoping to publish their own.
"Everything that can be frozen comes with full instructions on how to
bake," says Floudas. In addition to moussaka (baked eggplant with meat
filling and cream sauce), Yiayia’s Kitchen offers roast chicken
oregano, pastipsio (baked macaroni with ground beef filling with cream
sauce); spinach pie, and roast lamb with Greek herbs. Also freezable
are baklava (layers of filo strudel sheets sprinked with a mixture of
chopped walnuts and spices and bathed in a honey syrup), tsourekia
(holiday bread loaves that you can slice and freeze), honey cakes,
finikia (rich spicy cookies dipped in honey and sprinkled with nuts),
and kourambiedes (powdered sugar cookies).
Philoptochos means "friends of the poor," and proceeds raised from
Yiayia’s kitchen will benefit the many charities the Society serves.
They bake and bring food to sick people, visit hospital patients, and
hold fundraisers. Although Floudas earned an undergraduate degree in
chemistry in Greece, the only chemistry she is using now is in the
kitchen. She says: "I’m so busy (with the Society) I can’t work."
Yiayia’s Kitchen, Friday and Saturday, November 12 and 13, 11:30 a.m.
to 8:30 p.m., St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 1200 Klockner Road,
Hamilton. Foods for entertaining and gifts. Lunch, $8; dinner, $10.
Take-out available. 609-586-4448.
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