To-do-list when hosting a housewarming party

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Having a house warming party has been known as a part of culture in France when you just move into new residence. We called it “la pendaison de crémaillère”. It is actually a perfect occasion for the hosts not only to present their new home or apartment to their friends, but also to make a thank you meal to the friends who give them assistance to settle in their new place.

A house warming party is an informal party, before throwing this party last week, I did not expect any presents from the guests, I only expect that they will bring some drinks and flowers, just like typical french soirée. In fact, the guests are normally bringing presents for “the new home”, not for you. I was really surprise when my guests gave me lots of decorations, kitchen tools, I thought it was too much, but apparently the idea of house warming party for the guests is giving the presents to furnish your new home.

Well, now, let me help you to organise your house warming party:

1st step
Make list of the guests.

This is not only important to decide how many people who can fit in your new home and also foods and drinks that you are capable to afford with your budget. Besides, it also important to know if you have mix guests (elder people, kids, youngster, or average adults). For example, when one of your guests will bring their kids, make sure that you have some toys or balloon that they can play with, for elder people or average adults you need to make sure that you have enough seats available.

2nd step
Decide the menu and the drinks.

It’s very important to decide the menu at least two weeks before the party. So, you still have time to ask a catering to prepare you main meal for the party just in case you don’t have time to cook by your own.

When you throw house warming party, most of guests will stand, dance and talk. They are normally will drink and eat some light meals. So, here’s some tips for you:

  • Prepare more light meals and snacks as much as you can. Why? Because, when they eat too much appetizer and have lots of drinks, they will not that hungry by the time you serve your main meal.
  • Prepare only one main meal with two companies (rice and pasta, or pasta and chips or rice and potatoes).
  • Prepare your own home made cocktail in pitcher
  • Buy common drinks which everyone can drink, such as orange juice, coke, beers and bottle of waters.
3rd step
Make your own invitation and write down also the menu.

It’s pretty simple when you throw a party to your friends which you can just simply invite them on Facebook or messengers. However, when you are going to invite your colleagues, it’s kinda necessary if you make a proper invitation. It doesn’t need to be sophisticated, you just need to give a little effort to make your own invitation and print it :). To make your own invitation card you can use picture and edit with Adobe Photo Shop or Microsoft word for simple one. But, if you don’t really have artsy hand you can use below links for some idea.  This is very useful, when you want your party without kids or party with shoes off – the invitation is also a polite form to tell them. Some of your guests might have a company that they can’t go without, so you can write down in your invitation that they can bring their company with. Last but not least, do it during the weekend, so people less stressful and busy.

Here’s some useful links for free printable menu and invitation cards:

4th step
Send your invitations

Give your colleagues and friends date line to tell you whether they are able to come or not, also if they will come alone or with company. This is very important to prepare your food & beverages quantity.

5th step
Shopping time!

For those who do not have spare time to shop except during the weekend – I split the shopping in two times.  I went to supermarket a week before to buy groceries list which you can hold for a week, such as drinks, snacks, and disposable table ware. Then, I went one day before the party to buy fresh groceries. Don’t forget to bring your shopping list!

Tips: My Mom always said, when you invite guests, prepare double portion of drinks and snacks for your guests. It’s better to have more than less.

6th step
One day before the party
  • Re-check your shopping list and get your fresh groceries and addition
  • Arrange your chairs and table position.
  • Prepare your cooking preparation (cutting vegetables or meat) and put in tupperware and keep on the fridge.
  • Clean your laundry (you don’t want your guests to see your dirty laundry don’t you?). 
  • Prepare spare room or hanging wardrobe. If you don’t have enough coats hooks or hangers, you can free your hanging wardrobe and put your clothes temporarily on your luggage, so when you’re guest coming they can put their jackets or coats there. You can also use your spare room to put their things while having a party.
  • Sleep early. You need to save your energy for the P-day.
7th step
The P-day
  • Clean up your home in the morning (even it’s going to get dirty again after the party, you don’t want your guest to see your home is not tidy)
  • After having lunch, start to cook your meal. (Cook main meal that you can set aside and pre-heat before serving)
  • Prepare yourself at least two hours before the party!
  • Put the light meals, drinks, and snacks one hour before the party started.

Tips: Let your guests know where they can smoke, if you don’t have smoking space or you’re not allow to smoke in your residence. Let them know to go outside politely.

Important notes: make sure you have enough toilet papers and plastic bin.

Have fun 🙂 !

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10 websites to visit when you’re bored

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These are 10 free websites that you can visit to kill your time:

  1. Bored Panda

You will discover  leading art, design and photography community for creative people that sometimes turn into stories. They also have travel stories, DIY project, even parenting categories.

2. Konbini

I know this website from my friend, she was an intern at Konbini France. For those who like pop culture and want to know what’s gone viral at the moment, this is the right place.

3. House and garden

Wait a sec folks, it’s not only about house and garden, I found this website  when I was searching for some cooking idea. They have goods recipes with some tips, travel ideas, also some tips & advice for home decoration.

4. Learning English for work by BBC

If you’re not English native speaker and you just need to learn English very quickly because you do not have a lot of time to go to take lessons at schools, this website is giving you free lesson and some useful vocabulary that you normally use at work.

5. ZergNet entertainment

This is pretty much a website for guilty pleasure. Yep! It is a good place to find update of your favourite celebrity news.

6. Udacity

Are you interested to have free lessons in marketing management, web development, software engineering? They have some free courses which built and recognized by industry leaders  such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and even Amazon.

7. Travelbird

If you want to have a nice weekend getaway or an affordable package deal, I recommend this website a lot. They give you lots of choice of holiday package deals, city trip, spa trip and gastronomic restaurant deals.

8. Duo Lingo 

This website has free lessons for some languages around the world. It is useful for travelers.

9. Life hacker

Tips and tricks for improving all areas of your life.
10. 9 gag

Who doesn’t know 9 gag? This website has some everyday pictures or videos that turn into fun jokes.
Have fun guys!

why they treat palm oil as an enemy?

Again, palm oil is being an object during the French senate debate earlier this year, after the draft bill project has been clearly rejected by The National Assembly’s social affairs commission in 2013. This time, it was presented by environmentalists senators Aline Archimbaud, Gattolin André, Marie-Christine Blandin, Ronan Dantec and Joel Labbé, the amendment sets the tax to 300per tonne by 2017. It will be gradually increased to 900 € from 2020 ‘order allow industry time to adapt. Issue of illegal deforestation is not only being the only reason to increase import tax, but also the need of rebalancing oils taxes. In fact, oils produced in France, such as olive oil, are more heavily taxed than the palm. It is clearly trade protectionism that also need to be questioned. 

I might not an expert of biodiversity issues or trade protectionism, but what I know and also the world must know that there are massive efforts under-way to break this cycle and put the palm oil sector on a path to sustainability (see original source: “why palm oil isn’t an enemy”). Since 2004, the Round-table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has been transforming the palm oil industry in collaboration with the global supply chain, to put it on a sustainable path.

palm oil supply chain

Besides, issue of deforestation and trade protectionism, health risk is also becoming an issue to exceed the import tax of palm oil from South-East Asia. My question is whether palm oil is dangerous to your health? Since I’m not an expert of the health risk by consuming food that contained palm oil, you could check the article about palm oil wrote by expert Kurt Berger: “The secret of palm oil“.

Last but not least, it’s commonly known that lots of green activists around the world campaigning against palm oil, that’s why government of Republic of Indonesia is actively made a campaign against negative issues of palm oil. You can see the video campaign as follow:

Fun Facts!

Did you know that you consume palm oil every day? Yep, indeed! Palm oil is in your shampoo, hair color product, detergent, dishwashing liquid, cookies, chocolates butter, skin lotion, toothpaste, car lubricant, and you even find in your money (read: EUR).

 

What does “state of emergency” mean?

Just right after Paris attacks on 13th of November 2015, French President, François Hollande declared “state of emergency” in France. Some of you might throw some questions; like for examples: What does it mean? What is the impact to the people who lives in France, for the citizen or non-citizen? Can we travel across the borders?

So, I would like to let you know in a simple way to better understand about “state of emergency”.

For your information, this is not the first time that the French had declared “state of emergency”, it was firstly declared during the war in Algeria. Then, in September 1984 during the events of New Caledonia, and 10 years ago during the suburban riots in 2005.

  • Who’s made the decision of “state of emergency”?

Introduction into state of emergency taken by the Cabinet at the meeting of the Council of Ministers convened by the President of French Republic. Following the Paris attacks, state of emergency declared in the night of Friday 13 to Saturday, November 14, 2015: it was published by official decree n° 2015-1475 of November 14, 2015.

François Hollande with his new cabinet

Image source: theguardian
  • Does this apply on all French territory?

No, it is not. According to the decree, it is only applied in France Metropolitan and Corse. So, it is not applied in French Overseas Department  (DOM-TOM).

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Image source: click here
  • How long it’s gonna take?

It will take 12 days after the day of the decree. (source: click here) However, this period could be extended depending on decision taken by the law.

  • What is the impact to our daily life?

Under legislative scheme of state of emergency, public freedoms will be limited by the authorities, under exceptional power given to The French Police and The Ministry of Interior.

So it means, it gives the authorities to limit following public freedom:

  1. regulate the movement of people and vehicle in France (more polices everywhere)
  2. delineate areas of protection or security where the stay of persons is regulated
  3. prohibit somebody to stay in France if this person is likely to stop action of the public authorities
  4. have power to house arrest a person who considers as a public menace
  5. ban public gathering
  6. close the concert venue, amusement park like Disney land :(, or theatres and bars.
  7. conduct search of person of interest during day and night
  8. limit press freedom by censoring newspaper.
  9. order to surrender of weapons (indeed!)

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Image source: click here
  • Can we travel across the borders?

Yes we can, but do not forget your passport or other legal ID, because the authorities might ask you to show them your identity.

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Image source: click here

Like I said in my previous article, what happened in Paris lately is unexpected, it might happened anywhere else near you any time, so please be safe and keep praying. 🙂

Please simply respect our grieving.

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I still could not believe my self about what had happened in Paris on Friday, 13th November 2015. I was watching football on the telly at that moment, I just noticed nearly one hour after the first attack in Stade de France and Bataclan concert venue. The news told us that at least 13 persons was killed and approximately 100 persons were still in hostage inside the concert venue. I kept my self awake watching the police RAID officers tried to free people in hostage. I’ve never believed that it was part of our reality, I thought that only could happened in the box offices movies.

At half past four in the morning, I was woken up by some phone calls from unknown numbers. I woke up with my eyes half-open and those phone calls coming from Indonesian country numbers. So, I went back to sleep because it wasn’t my family’s numbers. My phone was still vibrating, so I finally decided to take it. It was from one of Indonesian press, the guy said he wanted to know the actual situation in Paris, he asked me about the 6 attacks in Paris, I told him in half asleep that I am not living in Paris, and I was not quite sure how many attacks happened, I only knew there was 4 attacks before I was asleep, and 13 persons were confirmed dead. Then, I ended up the phone call by saying “It’s 4 am in the morning and I’m asleep, please call me again later and thank you for your call!”

My phone is still vibrating couple minutes after, I looked up the numbers and two different numbers, so I guess it was from different press. I do not even know how can they get my number. I turned my phone off.

8 o’clock in the morning. I woke up pretty early that day, I still remembered the terror nightmare I had that night after the phone calls. I turned my phone on, there are lots of messages and missed calls. The first message I had opened was from my brother, he wanted me to call my mom as soon as I’m awake. So, I called my mom and told her that I am OK, also told her not to be worried because I lived 120 km away from Paris.

I turned the telly on. According to the news, 129 persons were confirmed dead, more than 300 persons were wounded, and some of them are in critical condition.

The Indonesian press called me again, I told them that I’m not living in Paris, and I could not get them accurate information but the news I’ve seen on the telly. I emphasized that the tragedy happened so quick and even the local media were still updating every minutes and every second. So, please help yourself updated by social media.

Calls and messages from Indonesian friends, colleagues across the continents. Then, bunch of condolence messages and posts expressed on Facebook, twitter, instagram and other social medias. I can say anything but thank you to people who cares about what happened in Paris. It shows us that humanity does still exist.

Yet, later that day, I’ve read some posts on my Facebook time line from people who I called friends, said worse things about people who suddenly grieving about terror in Paris, but this people ignored about what happened in Beyrouth, Lebanon, a day earlier before the attack in Paris which killing 43 people and at least 239 others were wounded.

Worse things: some people said in the social media, that France deserved this because France was also attacking people in Syria.

I believe some of you are among well-educated people in the world. And I do realise that now we are living in freedom of speech, you can say anything you want. But, what I wonder is  what a different between you and the killers when you have a cold heart. France is, for the fourth time (read: Charlie Hebdo, Thalys & Linde Gas tragedy) grieving. We are not talking about any religion or who’s deserved who. The act of killing innocent people is unacceptable by any religion in the world wherever it is. I still do not understand how people dare to give such opinion when other people is moaning for their lost.  This tragedy is more than a broken heart or crying over a sad movie. This is real life happened just next to you. I could not help myself cry over parents who lost their two daughters, when a brother lost their lovely sisters, a baby girl who lost her mother, a girlfriend who lost her boyfriend in her arm, and it is just more than a broken heart. It’s a national grieving and even it is difficult for us to understand how this just happened. And, what just happened in Paris is clearly unexpected, this is also proved that the terror might be happened anytime near you. So, I beg you please respect our grieving and have a little pray that similar tragedy won’t happen anywhere else.