Holiday Decorating & Meals

Last week, I had the pleasure of joining a number of other Boston area lady-bloggers for a lunch at Hamersley’s Bistro courtesy of Stop & Shop and 360 PR. In addition to a delicious meal, they provided us with tips on holiday food shopping, as well as inexpensive decorating ideas from Bryan Rafanelli of Rafanelli Events.

I had Bug in tow with me (they were kind enough to provide child care AND take Bug’s food allergies into account) and Big Guy had made off that morning with Bug’s epi-pens so we were running a bit late. As a result, I didn’t have much time at all to connect with the other bloggers. That was a bit disappointing, but I know there will be other opportunities.

I learned some interesting things… for example, did you know that turkeys and canned goods are least expensive around the holidays? Start stocking up, people! But what surprised me even more was that many people still hold an outdated notion that store brands aren’t as good as the “name” brand items on the shelf. I just had to take a moment to debunk that myth (and I have at least one friend who has bought into it). The store brands are packaged by many of the same companies that package the name brands. It’s very often the SAME food. There are a few things I’m picky about (I’m notoriously loyal to the Tropicana orange juice brand and I do actually prefer the Stop & Shop mac and cheese over the bigger brands), but in general, there isn’t a lot of difference. We buy store brands whenever possible, because they’re just as good, if not better, and significantly less expensive. Do a blind taste test and see what you think. =}

All in all, I had a wonderful time. I convinced MommyNiri to go along, too, and she managed to snag a huge chocolate lovers goody basket! We all went home with some nice Stop & Shop swag, so I can’t complain.

I do have to give a shout-out to fellow blogger, Jill Notkin of AlexCaseyBaby, who sent the invitation my way. Thanks!

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