Thursday, November 20, 2014

‘Twas the Week Before Thanksgiving……

‘Twas the week before Thanksgiving, and my girlfriends and I are having lunch, as we do every year at this time, before strapping on our dancing shoes.  The annual holiday dance begins next week.  It starts as a languorous waltz, picks up speed and ends in a frantic tarantella.  But, for now, we will enjoy this quiet time with each other as we clink our champagne glasses and vow NOT to let the holidays leave us in an exhausted heap.  Two months later, over a postmortem lunch, we will clink our glasses again to celebrate our survival. 

In my little colonial town of Haddonfield, the holiday celebrations begin the day after Thanksgiving with candlelight shopping and weekend horse-drawn carriage rides through the center of town to the delight of young and old. 
I just adore wandering through its cobblestoned streets at Christmas time.  Along Kings Highway you are likely to run into a group of carolers in top hat and muffler, who’ve stopped by one of the quaint boutiques to offer a hearty “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” in return for a warm smile and a hot cup of wassail.  Have they left Tiny Tim outside to warm himself by the fire of roasting chestnuts?  Or perhaps he stayed behind to feed a shiny red apple to the carriage horse. 

If you don’t live in a colonial town, as I do, you’ll probably want to do your shopping in a decidedly post-colonial way -- on the internet.   Not only does it save time so that you can spend more time enjoying the festivities of the season, but it’s a great way to grab some FREE make-up and beauty samples.   This time of year, retailers tend to be especially generous with their on-line samples.  They make wonderful stocking stuffers and are the perfect way for you to try new products/colors/fragrances.  The trick is to get in there early!!

Here are three of my favorite websites for great samples.

We all know and love L’Occitane beauty, bath and skin care products, especially their Shea Butter hand cream.  How can you possibly get through the winter without it?  You get 2 FREE samples of your choice with every on-line order (orders over $49 ship FREE). 


In addition to Sephora’s usual offer of a selection of 3 FREE samples with your purchase, they are currently offering a PARTY PACK containing 12 samples with every purchase of $25 or more.  Offer good while supplies last. 

The most generous, in terms of sample size, is Laura Mercier.  I have discovered so many great, new products through her on-line samples, some of which are so large that I have used them for months (The lip stain lasted almost a YEAR!  Sadly, they have discontinued it.)  The website has just been redesigned and, to celebrate, Laura is offering a FREE (1 oz.) primer (one of her signature products no femme d’un certain âge should be without!) with your foundation order, plus 2 additional samples of your choice. 

Well, that should help get you started.  Now all you’ll need is soft candlelight, someone special in your arms and a beautiful Christmas Waltz to get your holiday off on the right foot. 

Renee Fleming Christmas in New York Decca Classics EPK
May I suggest Renée Fleming’s new Christmas CD to really set the mood?  If you missed the Super Bowl (she sang the National Anthem) and don’t know this gorgeous, superstar soprano, it’s time you curled up by a warm holiday fire with that beautiful voice.  Here’s a sample: 

Renee Fleming Christmas in New York Decca Classics EPK

Are you ready to go shopping? 


  1. I haven't even begun to start thinking of the holidays yet! Your town sounds so picturesque and charming. I vow to not work myself to the bone as well...and should succeed as we might be away. Renee has an amazing voice, simply amazing. This would make a great stocking stuffer...I'll point hubs this way.
    Hope all is well.
    xox Jennifer

    1. My dear friend, I owe you a loooooong e-mail looooooong overdue. Yes, my town is picturesque and charming and I would love to share it with you some day, especially at Christmas time when it is at its most inviting. We're not toooooo far from your hometown, you know. I'll be over to check out your latest post very soon.

      xoxo, M-T

  2. Can anybody in the world be as cute, and as amazing, as Renee Fleming? I hadn't realized that she released a Christmas album - thanks for sharing!

    1. Actually, she does "elegant" as beautifully as she does "cute," and there's no argument on that amazing voice. I've been privileged to hear her in so many operatic roles since her early days when she was just that beautiful voice and then developed into this amazing artist, as well.

      Thanks for stopping by (I know how busy you are.)

      Warm holiday regards, M-T

  3. I also did not know you have a Christmas Album

  4. I meant to say she instead of "you" peggy

    1. It's her very FIRST Christmas album. The reviews have actually been mixed. Her opera fans are somewhat disappointed that she did not do a full-blown "operatic" Christmas album, but I think she had something different in mind. She's reaching out to a larger audience. Crossing over, as we say in the opera world, has a long tradition. Enrico Caruso did it. So.............. if it's good enough for him.............. Always a delight to hear from you, Peggy.

      Cheers, M-T


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