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Take It From Me

Itís Just a Dinner Party

How to entertain without terror c

Plan, but be flexible. I make lots of listsówhat to buy, what to make ahead, when to tackle different tasks. But if you want to make butternut squash soup and the store is out of butternut squash, youíll need to change direction. Similarly, if your guests are at the table and you realize you forgot to put the rolls in the oven, just skip the rolls. No oneís keeping track of your lists except you.

Take no more chances than youíre comfortable with. Not every recipe turns out perfect on the first try. If you feel confident, mix some first-time dishes with recipes youíve made before. If youíre terrified, stick to the tried and true.

Balance your workload. Yes, itís impressive when you make an elegant appetizer, mix your own vinaigrette, bake a cake, and churn the ice cream for dessert, as well as prepare a beautiful main dish and two glorious side dishes. But it is absolutely not necessary to tackle all that. Pare down the number of homemade dishes and buy the rest. Even better, let your guests bring somethingósalad, cheese, wine, dessert. When theyíre the hosts, you can return the favor.

Remember, itís not about you. The most important thing is that your guests have a good time. You neednít draw up a seating chart, but consider how this particular group will fit together. If guests have something in common besides knowing you, conversation will flow more easily.

Follow these guidelines and youíll sit down to a pleasant dinner.

Which Yoga for You?

Choosing the right style neednít tie you in knots

If youíre looking for an athletic workout, and youíre already fit and flexible, VINYASA, POWER, FLOW, or HOT YOGA may be your thing.

If youíre nursing an injury and seeking therapeutic benefits, check out VINIYOGA, a gentler form.

KUNDALINI classes can be quite rigorous, incorporating powerful breathing practices, mantras, and movement. The classes may also take on a spiritual tone. ARHUM YOGA, a relatively obscure tradition, also employs mantras and breathing practices.

IYENGAR YOGA emphasizes precise alignment, and its use of props makes it accessible to almost everyone. The RESTORATIVE version offers a particularly restful experience.

Want classes that incorporate philosophy, breath, classical versions of the poses, and meditation? Try SIVANANDA or INTEGRAL HATHA YOGA, or one of the newcomers to the hatha yoga tradition: SVAROOPA, used for deep release of tension, or ANUSARA, which focuses on specific paths that energy can follow. Finally, YIN YOGA concerns itself with stretching the connective tissue.

Wedding Toasts with Class

Remember the four Bís

Be prepared. If, like most people, you find it difficult to get up in front of a crowd, write down your toast, and refer to your notes. Otherwise, you may find yourself rambling.

Be sincere. You care about the bride/groom/couple, and you want her/him/them to know. You are happy they found each other. You wish them a wonderful future together. It warms all the guestsí hearts to feel the love in the words of the toast.

Be brief. It is no fun to have a dinner waiting to be served, or food in front of you that you canít eat, or a party that canít get started, all because someone is speaking endlessly. A short, cute story that does not embarrass the bride or groom is fine. Welcoming someone, or that personís whole family, into your own family is wonderful. (If you must have long speeches, warn the caterer.)

Be seated. Raise a glass, toast the couple, and sit down.

Birds and Bees 2.0

Five things to tell your teens about you-know-what

Oral sex is sex. Yes, you can have oral sex and still be a virgin, but that doesnít mean itís a trivial experience emotionally, or even physically (you can get STDs from it).

No sexting. What you put on the Internet is forever, and can be viewed by anyone. If you want to share something with a friend that you wouldnít share with a large group, donít send it in a text or an email or post it on Facebook.

Condoms are not optional. In the United States, nearly one in three girls will get pregnant before she turns twenty, and half of all young adults will get an STD by age twenty-five. Using a condom shouldnít upset or insult your partner. Condoms are just part of sex, and any partner who cares about you will be cool with that.

Sex is not a love potion. Girls, especially, need to understand that having sex isnít going to make someone care about them or create feelings that arenít there.

Sex is a big deal for guys, too. Itís not something a guy should automatically feel ready for just because heís a guy.

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