Just 11 more days 'til Christmas, mes amis, and I suspect you're all shopping like crazy and partying, of course. I'm getting ready for my own fête, making final decisions on red and green-colored cocktail recipes and a fabulous outfit. It wouldn't be the holidays without music, though, and y'all have to pick up a copy of Charlene Howard's new CD, My Christmas Angel. Her release party was held at Wally Romero's party palace in Arbolada, with pianist Phil Chandler and combo playing in a heated tent behind the house. The warm reception included Charlene's supporters ' friends and family ' celebrating the sale of the CD's first 1,000 copies. The second printing is under way! Charlene's young son Joshua rambled through the house with his cousins, and musician Ted Broussard gave guests an update on his son Marc's current tour with Bonnie Raitt. Matt and CeCe Stuller, Charlene's mom Kathy Howard and sister Janice, along with Celeste Gravois, also helped ring in the holiday. My Christmal Angel is in the permanent holiday rotation in Party Girl's CD changer, and should be in yours, too!

What comes second to music during the holidays? Food. City Garden Market was the place to taste cranberries mixed in with several delicacies. The market held its first-ever Bayou Chef Competition, with The Townhouse's Al Massa and Blue Dog Café's Jean Paul squaring off Iron Chef-style in River Ranch Town Square's gazebo. Cranberries were the chefs' required ingredient, and Al Massa took home the honor for his Quail and Fois Gras Beignet with Cranberry and Pecan Fig Jam. "It was a hoot," says The Townhouse's Cecile Hebert. "Two local chefs sparred for an hour."

With all the eating and drinking, Party Girl's glad Frank Camalo's keeping exercise in mind. He and his son Gabe participated in the Lance Armstrong Foundation bike ride in Austin, Texas, recently, along with 7,000 riders. The ride raised $7 million to help fight cancer, and PG's glad Lafayette had such a great representative. Last on my holiday list this week are diamonds and Lee Michaels' ribbon cutting in its new Mall of Acadiana location. Guys, if you find yourself on Christmas Eve without a gift for your special someone, diamonds really are a girl's best friend. Lee Michaels' Scott and Lee Berg and their staff can make sure your Christmas is merry!

Party On! ' PG

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