Be the Super Bowl Appetizer Queen!

Are you headed to a Super Bowl party this weekend? Why not be the Queen of the appetizers? I could easily make a meal out of dips and spreads; in fact, I think there should just be a restaurant that serves only appetizers.

Over the holidays, I made this Hot Caramelized Onion, Bacon & Gruyere cheese dip, and it was smack your face delicious!

This recipe from Spicy Southern Kitchen will be a total touchdown at your Super Bowl party:

Hot Caramelized Onion Dip with Bacon and Gruyere
Recipe type: Appetizer
Ingredients
  • 4 bacon strips
  • 2 sweet onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • ¼ teaspoon tabasco
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere Cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup mayo
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly, ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to cool. Crumble.
  3. Add onions, sugar, and salt to bacon fat in the skillet and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until onions turn a deep golden brown color. This can take as long as 20 minutes. If onions start to burn, turn heat down to medium-low.
  4. Add sherry and cook 1 minute. Stir in thyme and tabasco. Remove from heat.
  5. Mix together sour cream and mayo in a medium bowl. Add crumbled bacon, cheese, onion mixture, and black pepper. Mix together well and transfer to a 2-cup baking dish.
  6. Bake 20 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown on top.
Notes
Yield: 2 cups

Sangri-Yum!

I need little convincing to enjoy a glass of Sangria – or as I like to say – sangri-yum!  For the holiday parties we produced in 2014, we loved this recipe for Winter Sangria. It is the perfect mix of fruit and spice. Our clients raved about this festive cocktail. Check out the recipe below from Food Network, although it takes a little prep time, it’s worth the work!

Ingredients

2 cups no-pulp orange juice
3 to 6 ounces orange liqueur
2 tablespoons honey
1 cinnamon stick
2 blood oranges or clementines, supremed
1 Anjou (red) pear, peeled, cored and chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
2 liters sweet sparkling red wine, chilled (recommended: Rosa Regale)
1 liter lemon lime soda, chilled

Directions

1 Granny Smith apple (or other tart apple), cored and chopped into 1/4-inch cubes

In a large pitcher or punch bowl, whisk together orange juice, orange liqueur and honey. Add cinnamon stick, blood oranges, apple and pears, stir to combine. Set aside at room temperature to macerate, at least 1 hour, until ready to serve. Add wine and soda, stir gently to combine, and serve immediately over ice.

Recipe courtesy Sunny Anderson, 2009
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Sangria

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Do You Want to Eat Well?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…no, we aren’t celebrating the holidays again already. It’s San Diego Restaurant Week – the best week to explore a cornucopia of culinary delights. With over 180 restaurants participating county wide between January 18- 24, we all have a chance to fill our bellies with delight. Participating restaurants offer a $10, $15 or $20 pre-fix lunch menu, and/or $20, $30, $40 or $50 pre-fix dinner menu. Reservations are recommended because this week is very popular!

San Diego Restaurant Week Here’s a list of the participating restaurants: http://www.sandiegorestaurantweek.com/

Let us know what is on your San Diego Restaurant Week agenda! Happy eating!

 

An Intimate 50th Anniversary Celebration!

We recently had the opportunity to produce a very special 50th Anniversary Weekend for a client and her extended family. From enjoying VIP festivities on 4th of July at a San Diego Padres Game to an intimate celebration for 16 guests at the Birch Aquarium, we took care of every detail!

Together with San Diego’s best vendors, we produced a visual bounty for the eyes, and an event that yielded rave reviews from the client! Go Team Henley!

 

Photography:  Merima Helic Photography

 

Meet Ms. Henley…

With our new branding, comes the introduction of Ms. Henley….MsHenley_Final

 

Ms. Henley is the ambassador for The Henley Co. She is the magic behind the brand and she is a connoisseur of living the good life. She has her finger on the pulse for current events, unique experiences and creating a lifestyle, not just a life. When Ms. Henley gives her approval, she is endorsing a product or service of distinction.

Ms. Henley is your go-to girl. She is sophisticated, and super connected. She always knows what fun is going on, and you can always count on her to bring any event or task to the next level. She is your Wonder Woman who makes magic happen.

Ms. Henley is the extra set of hands everyone needs and their secret superhero. She is savvy and smart, poised and professional, impeccably fashionable and contemporary.

The Henley Co., through Ms. Henley, champions the spirit of its visionary founder, Nicole Matthews. The personality of Nicole is infused in this personification of the brand, and Ms. Henley represents the level of poise and creativity that everyone in the company aspires to.

Fans of the brand can spot Ms. Henley around town making magic happen. Be sure to follow her on all Henley Co. social media sites.

 

Twitter:       @henleyco

Instagram:   @mshenleyco

Web:              www.TheHenleyCompany.com

 

What can Ms. Henley do for you?

 

 

The NEW Henley Co!

Happy 7th Anniversary to us!

On July 13, 2007, The Henley Company hung out our shingle and opened the first event management AND concierge firm based in San Diego. It has been an amazing journey, and we are more excited than ever about the future. Over time, our brand and website seemed to get the seven-year itch so we decided to make a change! Without hesitation, we called up the super-talented, design-genius, Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York and asked for her creative brilliance as we started to re-brand!

You might have known us as:

 

New Year

 

 

But effective July 1, 2014, it’s out with the old and in with the new! We are delighted to introduce you to the NEW Henley Co!

 

TheHenleyCompany

 

Operating now as an event, travel and lifestyle concierge firm, Henley Co. has a new look and a beautiful new website: www.TheHenleyCompany.com We are still delivering the same level of first-rate experiences for our clients; we are just doing it now in a cuter outfit!

 

postcard

 

Check out our new site and let us know what you think! Oh, and do us a favor, invite your friends to check out our new website by posting the following on your social media accounts:

“Ready to live the life you want? Check out @HenleyCo ‘s new website http://www.TheHenleyCompany.com!”

 

Cheers!

 

11 Meaningful Flowers For Earth Day & Why You Should Immediately Fill Your Home With Them

April 22nd is Earth Day! Take a minute to enjoy these beautiful mementos from nature and celebrate the day to give thanks to the earth! Wouldn’t you agree that flowers help to brighten up any room?

11 Meaningful Flowers For Earth Day & Why You Should Immediately Fill Your Home With Them.

Give Thanks to Your Administrative Professional

Remember, the all important day to celebrate your Administrative Professional is fast approaching! Wednesday, April 23rd is the day you should be acknowledging all of the hard work your admin / secretary / executive assistant provides you all year-long!

 

Admin Day

 

Here’s the deal…

Tell us why your Admin is the best of the best and she/he could win 1-hour of personal concierge service!

Go to our Facebook page and nominate your Admin by tagging her/him and telling us in 140 characters or less why your Admin is fabulous!

 

Easy, right? Let your friends know to “Like” your story to nominate your Admin for the 1-hour of concierge services. The most compelling story plus the number of “Likes” will equal the winner!

Part 3: Take the Daze Out of the Holidays – Ms. Henley’s Guide to A Stress Free Holiday

Day 3 of our Take the Daze Out of the Holidays – Ms. Henley’s Guide To A Stress Free Holiday Season focuses on shopping. With the benefit of technology, making lists and having the ability to shop online just got easier.  We love Pinterest, so it’s not surprising we would incorporate a wish board into our Top-10 list.

Pinterest Logo

#4.         Pin:                                                                         

Make your shopping efforts easier this holiday season by creating a private Pinterest Board for your family. Task everyone with pinning their wish list to your board so that you have all of their wants, needs and desires in one easy location. Be sure to download the Pinterest App so you have the information at your fingertips. You can also go directly from the Pins to the website so you can order online.

Follow our Pinterest board at to check out our favorite things!

 

#3.         Shop:                                                                         

Tackle your shopping by being organized before you set foot in the mall. Create a gift-giving spreadsheet with the names of everyone you need to buy for and their current sizes. Keep a list as you buy that not only tracks who gets what, but also how much is being spent, what needs to be mailed and/or ordered on-line.

Helpful hint: Keep an envelope in your purse that keeps all of your receipts in one spot. Immediately, on the receipt, write the name of whom the gift is being given so that you have an easy record if a return is needed.

 

#2.         Eat:

Take the stress off of holiday meal planning by turning them into potlucks. Guests always ask, “what can we bring?” Now is the time to take them up on the offer. Also, create a meal-planning list so you have all of your recipes and shopping lists in one central location.

If you are the guest asking, “what can we bring?” you can decide on one-appetizer or one side dish that you are going to take to all holiday parties. Don’t stress over trying to get creative for every party. Buy ingredients in bulk so you have enough to make several dishes.

 

How is your holiday planning coming along? Let us know!

The Dirty Little Secret – No One is REALLY Working 8 Hour Days


If you are reading this article, it’s more than likely between the hours of 9-5 and you are sitting at your desk (which is owned by the company), reading this on your computer (which the company provides) and taking a “break” from your “demanding” work (which the company pays you to do). From the outside, you look busy because your eyes are aimed at the screen. This should make your manager happy. The reality is that this virtual “smoke break” will not be just the standard 15-minute break from your workload. Instead, it will morph into 2.09 hours per 8-hour workday, not including your lunch break or allocated break time, according to American Online and Survey.com [1] That’s 2.09 hours PER employee. Now multiply that by the number of employees you see in your immediate eyesight and you realize that there is a whole lot of nothing being done each day. The research by American Online and Survey.com has shined a bright light on the fact that employees are wasting twice as much time as their employers think they are wasting. And to really add salt to the employer’s wounds, Salary.com ran the numbers and found over $750 Billion (yes, with a B!) is spent on salaries (translation= compensation for actual work) for work that was never performed. Who’s pulling a fast one on whom?

Now before the employees start muzzling me for exposing the dirty little secret, it’s important to take a look at why they are spending so much time sitting at their desks without actually producing any relevant work for their employers. Given the current economic implosion, it’s easy to justify the feeling of burnout most employees are experiencing and the overwhelming inability to manage work / life balance.

53% of employees would opt for a personal assistant rather than a personal trainer. [2]

Only 14% of Americans take two weeks or more at a time for vacation. The average American spends more time in the bathroom than on vacation. [3]

88% of employees say they have a hard time juggling work and life. [4]

70% of working fathers and working mothers report they don’t have enough time for their children. [5]

64% of Americans report that time pressures on working families are getting worse, not better. [6]

Work is inevitable but does it mean we have to give up our personal life for the sake of a paycheck? Not at all. It just means that employers should recognize that work / life balance is a huge motivator for employees. So if you can’t beat ‘em, why not join ‘em? A corporate concierge program can bring sanity to an otherwise scattered workplace filled with unsuspecting managers overseeing unproductive workers.

Texas Instruments is a perfect example of a company that understands happy, stress-free employees make for profitable champions for the business. According to the Texas Instruments website, in 2010, their concierge program served more than 2,900 U.S. employees and fulfilled more than 8,000 requests. They also expanded on-site services, providing 1,276 employees an opportunity to save a trip away from the work site during business hours. [7]

Implementing a corporate concierge program equates to:

  • The ability to retain and recruit quality talent
  • A far more productive and engaged workforce
  • A reduction in absenteeism
  • A lower level of stress within the workplace

Corporate concierge programs can be operated either virtually, with employees having access to the concierge through email or a dedicated website, or on-site, where employees can interact with the concierge in a face-to-face engagement. The concierge is retained to provide a solution to the employee’s work/life balance problem.

Frequent requests include:

  • travel coordination
  • errand running,
  • household management
  • personal shopping
  • personal assistance and
  • event planning

Imagine stopping by the concierge desk in the morning on your way into work with a request for designing and planning tonight’s dinner party; only to leave the office 8 hours later armed with the necessary groceries, a customized cd for background music, a paired wine selection and personalized favors for each guest. A corporate concierge becomes the one-stop solution for the time strapped employees. Without a concierge, the employee must manage this to-do list from their own desk and their lunch hour is spent running the errands.

As the workforce begins to shift from retiring Baby Boomers to Generation X & Y prodigies, employers need to evolve. What worked “back in the day” in terms of designing a workplace is completely foreign to today’s up and comers. Gen X & Y demand instant gratification because they have grown up in a world of access.

Although this might seem extravagant to those over the age of 45, the “children are the future.” (cue Whitney Houston).  I think this is what Darwin would call “survival of the fittest.” The strongest employee benefits package will become King of the Jungle. If you don’t make their life easier, I’m sure your competitor would be glad to invite them over. Now is the time to be a trailblazer and create a workplace that can be a place for a Gen X / Y’er to park themselves for a while because their work/life balance needs are met, versus just being a hop, skip and a jump on their resume.

Nicole R. Matthews is Chief Experience Officer of RECESS by The Henley Company, a concierge firm specializing in events travel and lifestyle experiences. She set out to create a company that gives clients the gift of time to experience life. Living a life that incorporates RECESS is a commitment, not just a hope and a dream.  Working with corporate clients, busy individuals and executive families, Nicole designs lifestyle management programs that create work / life balance. She champions the implementation of corporate concierge programs because she knows happy employees are productive employees. When she is not in the office, Nicole can be found with a Diet Coke in hand planning a trip to somewhere that requires her passport, kicking a soccer ball, drooling over fabulous accessories, scanning her social media sites (@henleyco / FB= Recess By The Henley Company) or belly laughing with her family. Follow her journey on her blog: www.henleyco.wordpress.com.

 

[1] Salary.com, 2005

[2] Circles, 2001

[3] The Families and Work Institute

[4] Aon Consulting, 2000

[5] Family Matters Survey; The National Partnership for Women & Families, 1998

[6] The National Partnership for Women & Families; Family Matters Survey, 1998

[7] Texas Instruments, 2012