What is Possible for the New Year, PAZAZ™ Style!

Group of friends celebrating New Year’s eve.

The end of 2019 brings hope for the New Year. What are your goals and dreams for 2020?

In the framework of the yearly calendar some of us lost close friends or family which always adds a particular sad footnote to the year. With sadness springs thoughts of those wonderful souls that will give us very special memories for the rest of our lives. Within the context of those memories the sadness will eventually bring smiles giving us the connection to them etched in the foundation of our lives.

Life is about beginnings and endings. Each year can and will bring to us the most amazing, challenging, and thoughtful experiences always evaluated by our reaction to those events or circumstances. “It’ not what happens to us, its how we react to it.”

This year, 2020, I believe will be one of the best years ever. I am blessed to have Nancy in my life to always take care of me through her love and kindness. I am blessed to have Chelsea in my life as my daughter teaches me how to take my eyes off of myself and put them on others. Chelsea is off to Germany to study the language, go to law school, and eventually keep me in the life style I’m accustomed to.

Beyond the financial goals which are fleeting (like nailing jello to a tree), the most important aspect of life is our health. All the travel, financial, spiritual, and other goals are all based upon our being able to function within our busy schedules. This is certainly not possible without our health. Lets give our health the number one priority for 2020 and feel better than we have in 2019.

January 25th 2020 is the beginning of the Chinese New Year. The main zodiac element is metal and the animal sign is Rat, and hence, 2020 will be the year of the Metal Rat. The Rat is the Chinese zodiac sign known for being inquisitive, shrewd, and resourceful. The Rat is also the first in the rotation of the 12 zodiac signs, meaning that a Rat year is a year of renewal.

The Rat zodiac will have many fantastic prospects during the year 2020. You will be able to control your destiny as you like provided you put in plenty of hard work. There will be progress in all facets of life. Success in life is assured because of your charisma and pleasant disposition.

Top 7 lucky foods and symbolism for the Chinese New Year:

  • Fish – An increase in prosperity
  • Chinese Dumplings – Wealth
  • Spring Rolls – Wealth
  • Glutinous Rice Cake – A higher income of position
  • Sweet Rice Balls – Family togetherness
  • Longevity Noodles – Happiness and longevity
  • Good Fortune Fruit – Fullness and Wealth

The Chinese New Year festival that begins on January 25th is called the “Spring Festival”.

The Spring Festival marks a new year on the lunar calendar and represents the desire for a new life.

For all those in your life I hope and pray for peace, love, and compassion… and of course a healthy and stress free life filled with all the possibilities you deserve. I also hope and pray that you will purchase my PAZAZ™ Kitchen Tools for the discerning chef so that you may produce the “Magic of Cooking” for all those you love and care about.

Christmas is coming and so is Saint Nick!

Christmas is fast approaching and with it comes a bevy of tasks for Saint Nick, Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, or simply Santa if you prefer. Santa is a legendary figure originating in Western Christian culture who is said to bring gifts to the homes of well behaved children on the night of Christmas Eve or during the early morning hours of Christmas Day.

As a young boy growing up I loved the idea of a mythical character climbing down a chimney with a bag full of toys knowing exactly what every boy and girl wanted as gifts for Christmas. It was so perfect that any thought it wasn’t real never entered my mind. The beauty of this concept was that it was so simple, so pure, so childlike. This was the perfect compliment to Christmas trees, candy, and the magic of giving to others that it seemed its very essence was to capture the best part of childhood. Then it would expand this idea with a magical reference to the north pole, reindeer, fairies, and somehow build up to the perfect gift on Christmas.

The Christmas Season would always begin after Thanksgiving honoring each holiday within a framework of traditions that became a part of our family life and the very culture of our town, state, and country. Each holiday would build upon the ideas of the past bringing new toys, trends, and technology into our adopted traditions. New lights would sparkle there way onto our homes and businesses always captivating our hearts with the message that Christmas was not far off.

All of us remember that one Christmas that brought the perfect gift delivered by Santa surrounded by all the ornaments and costumes highlighting that magical day. The food, the system in which gifts were given out, the saving of the paper for next year, the guessing what gifts were under the tree, and the surprise of it all wrapped around the love for each other.

And then there was Christmas… all night barely being able to sleep… listening for Santa and the reindeer but instead drifting into a dream of Santa, elves, reindeer, and the enchanting gift of the experience. The next morning awakening to a gift perfectly placed by Santa bringing the smile we pray we never lose, which is the child within.

To honor that experience I would say that unlike the very young boy I was I now thrive on giving to others that smile which is symbolic of what this season represents. Christmas in essence to me is the culmination of everything that is good wrapped up into whats important in life…. Our families, our love for others represented through random acts of kindness, and the hope that next year will bring humanity closer together.

Today I see that the presents are not what’s important… its the message on the card relayed from the heart to connect the spirit to bring the best of whom we are to life.

Merry Christmas to all and to all I wish you the blessings of a wonderful future filled with all the possibilities you deserve.

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things… PAZAZ Style

Christmas is fast approaching and it is the time of year to give thanks for all you have, but most importantly the people you love and all those lives you can help in this season of giving. Aren’t we blessed to be in a place and time to witness the bounty of the holidays highlighted by all of the traditional festivities…

I can’t help smile when I see gingerbread houses, the festive green, red, gold, and white lights adorning Christmas trees, and the department store windows brought to life. Shinny and sparkling gifts wrapped in thick bold ribbon beckon us to open our favorite present. All of this and every imaginable candy either in gold boxes or strewn throughout magical villages with beautiful candy canes guarding our favorite Santa’s Village.

Never lose the child within. Our most important lesson this season is to not only give to those in need but also to never stop believing in the magic of things that have not yet appeared. These future gifts reveal themselves in many unexpected places if you believe in all the possibilities you deserve. Life is a Cabernet!

I remember the unbridled beauty of Nob Hill in San Francisco with the Fairmont Hotel decorated to the nines always in competition with the other “Big Three” Nob Hill classic hotels… there’s the Mark Hopkins, the Huntington, and the Stanford Court… all sitting on top of one of the most beautiful places in the world. The park in the center of Nob Hill looks like Santa’s playground. The most amazing lights, Christmas trees, surrounded by the majestic “Big Four” brings the spirit of the holidays to life.

Then there are other places like Niagara on the Lake forty miles east of Niagara Falls looking like a mirror reflecting the dreams of yester-year with cobble stone streets, whimsical store fronts all in a Victorian motif, and horse drawn carriages to take you to your next eggnog. The ballet of reality and fantasy plays to the Christmas theme in this snow globe town with ice wine flowing from the wineries that dot the landscape around the fairyland that is Niagara on the Lake.

And today we are in Lewiston Idaho standing on the threshold of a dream. Not only are we viewing the beauty of the “Locomotive Park” adorned in every color imaginable but we are also looking to the future to live in Orofino Idaho. To live in a forest, by a lake, with the sound of a creek illuminated by the vision of a “starry, starry” night.

“Flaming flowers that brightly blaze

Swirling clouds in violet haze”

A poetic insight into a vision touched by the hand of God.

And to all… a very Merry Christmas!

‘Tis The Season, PAZAZ™ Style

Each one of us has chosen the place we live because our parents lived there, our spouse “suggested” we move there, or a job has drawn us to our current domicile. Whatever the reason, it ‘Tis The Season’ to look at the beautiful decorations in our towns which make this a very special time of year.

Depending on where you live, the decorations take front and center stage to enhance the first look into the Christmas snow globe. The snow globe is a metaphoric term I use to describe all the creative and festive garnishes that bring a smile to our faces. This time of year we bear witness to sparkling Christmas lights, angles, nativity scenes, garland, toy soldiers, small Christmas trains, and of course the greatest symbol of all… the Christmas tree.

Brought to America by Germans (of course) in the 1800’s the image of the Christmas tree was defined as a tribute to the winter solstice and the embracing of this beautiful symbol as a sign of everlasting life with God. Whatever your beliefs I think you’d have to agree that a Christmas without a Christmas tree is like a day without sunshine.

Each town we live in has their own festivals, and from those traditions their is born a persona that helps create a magical experience that lights up our faces with Christmas smiles. Those smiles are a combination of seeing the joy from others and our own look into the past when certain ‘family’ traditions started by our parents, their parents, and so on, became a gift we give ourselves.

As many of you may or may not know we live in Vegas. The beauty of living here is watching the talent of some of the greatest showmen/women entertaining us along with some of the greatest chefs in the world. In addition to entertainment and culinary delights it really is Christmas time when Vegas becomes a showcase for amazing displays of the most beautiful, engaging, transcendent decorations the world has ever seen.

From the Aria, Bellagio, Venetian, Caesars Palace, Wynn, and Encore there is a flow of creativity that brings Christmas to life. The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a must see with highlights including but not limited to a small train dancing past poinsettias and Christmas trees adorned with huge glass ornaments in gold and silver flanked by Polar Bears made entirely from white roses. Each season brings a new display with each Botanical masterpiece a tribute to the commitment to excellence and detail that is the trademark of this legendary hotel/casino.

Above all this season is the season of giving. For those less fortunate we can bring a small semblance of joy through our “random acts of kindness” that highlight the best of what this season really stands for. Family, god, and the great possibilities at our finger tips to reach out to all those that can use a kind word. These simple gestures can help create a new beginning for ourselves and others touched by our spirit and enhanced by the goodwill under the umbrella of peace and love for all.