Last-Minute President’s Day Weekend Getaways

Making vacation plans over a three-day weekend, like President’s weekend, can help you to extend your trip while taking advantage of a free vacation day in many cases. Long weekends away can be great for recharging your batteries, relaxing, or even doing something more adventurous on impulse. If you are looking for a last-minute President’s Day weekend getaway, just give yourself some time to consider the options and you should be able to put together a long weekend trip in no time.

Here are a few ideas for things you can do over President’s weekend for a special long weekend getaway.

•    Find availability on a last-minute cruise with accommodations still open. You can often get a rock-bottom deal when you purchase open inventory on a cruise ship shortly before the departure dates.

•    Head off to a bed and breakfast in a unique area for something new and different to do. You can relax the day away, check out local wineries, shopping, arts, and culture.

•    Find a quiet mountain retreat where you can hide away with the one you love. Consider a log cabin, house on a lake, or resort community in the mountains (like the Poconos).

•    Follow your sporting team for an away game that weekend. If you like hockey or basketball, you should be able to find a fun away game to enjoy at a unique location.

•    Go away for a weekend to play in the snow. In many parts of the country, February offers countless skiing options, as well as snowmobiling, snow tubing, ice skating, and so many other winter activities. Embrace the winter season!

These are just a few ideas to give you some inspiration for fantastic President’s Day weekend getaways that you can enjoy with your sweetheart, other couples, or even with your family, depending on what you decide to do. Planning a President’s weekend getaway at the last minute can still work out great as long as you have a budget and travel dates in mind. Have fun!

Fabulous Yoga Workout Clothes from GothamGear

When you have the right kind of motivation, your workouts can be so much more productive. Gorgeous yoga workout clothing from GothamGear gives you confidence and style all in one, boosting your workout potential and offering you stylish duds to wear around the house, to the gym, or simply during your favorite workouts.

GothamGear’s collection of yoga and fitness clothes, Mortal by GothamGear, offers a number of styles and colors to give your workout wardrobe the variety you love and the performance you crave. The brand grew out of one woman’s frustration in being unable to find workout clothing that she could wear while running errands or grabbing a bite to eat. She founded GothamGear to solve that problem, especially with the city lifestyle and limited storage space in mind.

 

I received a generous package including two yoga outfits (two pair of yoga pants and two tanks) as well as two BPA-free water bottles from Jenny Goodman, the owner of GothamGear, and I couldn’t be more excited! The sleek, silky, stretchy fabric of the yoga pants and tops make them so comfortable that you won’t want to take them off. The styles of the yoga tops and pants are especially flattering to your figure, giving you even more confidence for your workout or simply casual comforts when wearing them around the house.

All four of the garments I received are made of comfortable, durable MortalTech, which is comprised of 88% nylon (100% recycled) and 12% Lycra® fabric. MortalTech delivers effective moisture wicking and four-way stretch for a comfortable stretch no matter what your activity. In case you missed it in the explanation of the fabric, GothamGear Mortal yoga garments are “green,” made from technical stretch fabric with 100% recycled nylon.

Fold-over Waist Yoga Pant
The Fold-over Waist Yoga Pant is one of my new favorite workout pants, and I love wearing them around the house before I work out. I really enjoy the flexibility of these pants, as well as how nicely they contour to the body. The fold-over band of fabric is double the waistband height so you can choose a height that is comfortable and flattering based on your own body type and shape.

These pants feature perfect, flat seams, a non-elastic, self-banded waistband, and a double-layer gusset for complete comfort along all your body’s curves. The Fold-over Waist Yoga Pants are fitted through the hips and thighs for a very attractive look. These pants also include a small inside pouch pocket on the back left hip where you can easily store a few dollars, your key, your ID, or other small necessities.

Five Pocket Jean Pant
Another comfortable and stylish offering from GothamGear, the Five Pocket Jean Pant is a fashionable way to get your yoga on, not to mention running your errands, walking the dog, chasing the kids around, and whatever else you do on a daily basis. Fitted through the hips and thighs, these ladies’ workout pants fit like jeans but perform like the ultimate fitness wear.

For anyone who loves having back pockets in their pants, these yoga pants with functional, usable back pockets are a great fit! They also feature a self-banded non-elastic waistband, a double-layer gusset, flat seams, belt loops, back yoke detail, and more. The faux front pockets and faux fly add to the look and style of these eco-friendly yoga pants. These pants and the fold-over style are available in sizes XS through L and are available in black, indigo, and charcoal.

Twist-front Cami
Who says you can’t look super cute when you work out? The Twist-front Cami in the Mortal collection has a flattering sweetheart neckline, a straight back, and a twisted bust. This yoga tank has a feminine style but don’t be surprised when it performs beyond your workout expectations. One of my favorite features in GothamGear’s yoga tanks is the shelf-bra with non-elastic support. It’s a comfortable alternative to the elastic style shelf-bras.

The straps are adjustable and the flat seams offer the most comfortable fit. The yoga top is fitted throughout and looks amazing with either style of the Mortal yoga pants. One thing to keep in mind when ordering is the sizing. Consider ordering a size medium or above if you are typically wearing a C cup or larger in bra size. The size small in the Twist-front Cami top seemed to be a bit of a squeeze for me.

Side-tie Cami
I absolutely adore the style of Jenny Goodman’s Side-tie Cami. The fit is very comfortable and the side-tie looks lovely with either style of her yoga pants. The scoop neckline is flattering and comfortable, making it ideal for your yoga and Pilates workouts. At first my side-tie came undone while working out, but I had forgotten to double-knot it. Simply add a double-knot and you are set to work out without any issues!

Fitted throughout for an attractive look, the Side-tie Cami also features a self-banded waistband (instead of elastic) and self-banded shelf-bra. The adjustable straps make it easy to find the right fit for your frame, and they don’t slip or come undone while your body is in motion. Both of these yoga tops are available in size XS through L and in colors of washed blue, indigo, charcoal, and black.

I have run my new yoga clothes from GothamGear through the wash several times already and they are flawless. They dry quickly enough that I can wear them the same day I wash them and I really do enjoy the comfort, the fit, and the style. Even on days when I don’t feel like working out, these women’s workout clothes from GothamGear really seem to help push me toward my goals.

GothamGear is an eco-friendly women’s fitness apparel company located in New York City. Each purchase also receives a complimentary BPA-free water bottle. To learn more about GothamGear, please visit https://www.shopgothamgear.com.

For a limited time, Life Love Beauty readers can take advantage of a special coupon code – LIFELOVEBEAUTY – good from today through 2/18/11 for 15% off online purchases at https://www.shopgothamgear.com. The entire line of Mortal workout clothing is available at Glittering Conscience, 96 West Houston Street, NY, NY as well. (The discount is valid only online, not at the store.)

How to say “I Love You” Without Saying a Word – on Valentine’s Day and Every Day

Sure, it is important to tell our partner we love them – no doubt about it.  But, as the saying goes, talk can be cheap; therefore, back up those 3 little words: “I love you” with actions that validates the true meaning of those words.

1.   Write love notes and leave them in the most unexpected places. Notice I didn’t say write love letters – that can take up too much time.  Just write short, little notes expressing your love for your partner and leave them in a place where they will least expect it.  For example, put the note on the driver’s seat of their car. Or maybe write the words “I love you” in a steamed up mirror when your partner is taking a shower.  Or you could put a note in their lunch bag or under their pillow.  You get the point – be creative and have fun!

 


2.   Make their life a little easier.
For example, put toothpaste on their toothbrush in the morning or leave their favorite cereal in a bowl at night so they are surprised to find it waiting for them in the morning.  This is surefire way to bring a smile to your partner’s face.   If you wake up before your partner, don’t turn the light on – lay your clothes out in the bathroom the night before.  Surprise your partner and fill up their car with a full tank of gas – who wouldn’t love that? The point is to let your partner know you are thinking about them with tiny considerate gestures.

3.   Make a treasure hunt using little yellow post-it notes and have your partner’s favorite snack – or some other type of surprise – at the end of the trail.  They will love this.

4.   Make a fake temporary tattoo on your body with lipstick or eyeliner – maybe draw a heart with your partner’s initials inside it. How much fun would that be? Maybe it is corny, so what? Can’t adults have a little fun too?

5.   Bring home flowers or a romantic card – “just because”.  Let Hallmark do your talking for you – they certainly seem to have a way with words.

6.   Surprise them with their favorite movie and watch it together on the couch. Buy their favorite snack and drink and hunker away, together, for the evening.(I can almost here the words to the song: “Love is in the Air” here).

7.   Take your partner to their favorite restaurant one evening instead of going to yours. Never underestimate the power of a full stomach – especially for the guys!

Everyone loves to hear those three powerful words: “I love you” but showing your love with thoughtful little gesture are even more powerful – on Valentine’s Day and every day through out the year!

About the Expert:

Dr. Patty Ann is a sought-after public speaker, author, publisher and confidant to other professionals in the field of relationship advice. She is a world renowned relationship expert and a licensed psychotherapist who has helped hundreds of people learn how to increase romance and happiness in their relationships. For more information, please see www.drpattyann.com/blog.

Cool Traditions and Other Fun Things to Do on Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday is a great time to get together with friends and family, indulge in all the fantastic football foods you love, and kick back, relax, and watch the big game and all the funny commercials. Even if you aren’t a football fan you can still have a great time socializing with the ones you love during the Super Bowl. Consider these ideas for cool traditions and other fun things you can do during or in lieu of a Super Bowl party.

No matter if you are spending the day with friends or family, consider these ideas for Super Bowl alternatives or related activities you can enjoy on the big day of football:

•    Play your own game of backyard football! For many people this year, it may be a very strenuous game of “snow football,” which may be better yet since the snow can make tackling your opponent less dangerous.

•    Have your own playful bet on the outcome of the game. The winner with the closest predicted score goes home with a case of beer, a bottle of booze, or a few dollars from each participant.

•    Keep a running tally of the best commercials. Then, after the game, compare your choices online with all the confirmed fan favorites.

•    Set up a card table off to the side. Anyone who isn’t interested in the game can play poker, blackjack, or Go Fish.

•    Go out to a bar or restaurant to enjoy the game. Instead of planning a Super Bowl party or watching the game at your house, go to your favorite sports bar and enjoy the festivities on the big screen.

•    Watch the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. Who doesn’t love adorable, scrambling puppies that play together on TV? Don’t miss this annual classic on the day of the big game! (Or have your own puppy bowl by inviting a few friends and their dogs or puppies!)

These are just a few ideas for things you can do on Super Bowl Sunday in addition or in lieu of watching the game at your home. What other ideas can you think of?

Jack Link’s Beef Jerky – Perfect Workout Snack or Beer Pairing Treat

If you are looking for a yummy snack that is satisfying and pretty healthy for you, beef jerky might not be the first thing to come to mind. Truth be told, this savory, flavorful snack goes great with beer, makes a perfect road trip snack, and is even a great pick-me-up to enjoy after a strenuous workout. Jack Link’s offers such a wide variety of jerky flavors you’d be hard pressed to get bored with this nutritious, meaty snack.

Jack Link’s products originally came to mind as a great pairing option for a variety of different beers. In my recent workout frenzy, I found the many benefits of eating beef jerky as a post-exercise snack. Jerky is traditionally low in calories and high in protein, a great combination for anyone looking to lose weight, burn fat, and satisfy their hunger in between meals.

I received a generous supply of many different flavors and varieties of Jack Link’s Jerky for the purpose of this review. I was astounded at the countless types of jerky, and found each to be as delicious as the next. Jack Link’s offers jerky nuggets as well as the standard style of beef jerky. Even if you aren’t a fan of red meat, don’t write off this company just yet! Jack Link’s also offers the innovative turkey jerky, ham jerky, and buffalo chicken jerky – three very satisfying snacks that are out of the norm but very worth the change in pace.

Here are a few notes on some of the flavors of Jack Link’s Jerky that my husband and I have enjoyed so far:

Teriyaki Beef Jerky and Nuggets
Jack Link’s Teriyaki jerky products are a refreshing change from the typical beef jerky flavors. This variety had a sweet and savory flavor that was a perfect snack during an Eagles tailgate earlier this season.
14g protein, 5g sugars, 1g fat, 25% DV sodium

Peppered Beef Jerky and Nuggets
A traditional favorite of ours, the peppered beef jerky offers a slightly spicy taste that leaves you craving more. It is a perfect complement to a tall beer or a snack on your road trip or anytime in between meals.
15g protein, 3g sugars, 1g fat, 25% DV sodium

Original Hickory Smokehouse Beef Jerky
This flavor of Jack Link’s may make you want to drive on over to your nearest steakhouse. This delicious type is rich in flavor and one of the classic Jack Link’s favorites. It’s a very satisfying snack or a great appetizer.
12g protein, 5g sugars, 1g fat, 23% DV sodium

Original Turkey Jerky Nuggets
For the jerky fan that is ready for a change, consider turkey jerky, which is a healthy and fun alternative to traditional jerky. This flavor is dangerously good – you might have to apply some self control once you open the package of this delicious turkey jerky. This type is low in sugars and sodium – enjoy!
11g protein, 2g sugars, 1g fat, 16% DV sodium

Maple & Brown Sugar Ham Jerky Nuggets
If you like the idea of turkey jerky, you are going to love ham jerky. These diverse flavors can’t be beat and they are some of my very favorites so far. This type of jerky is satisfying the same way stealing a few slices of pepperoni off a pizza would be. Enjoy this unusual snack anytime – it’s a great change from the usual routine. A great bonus, this one is lower in sodium!
9g protein, 6g sugars, 1g fat, 15% DV sodium

Flamin Buffalo Chicken Nuggets
If you like buffalo chicken dip, this flavor of Jack Link’s is a must-have! These delicious bites of spicy, seasoned chicken can’t be beat. Try them as a snack whenever you need a little kick in your day. Added bonus – very low in sugar!
9g protein, 2g sugars, 1g fat, 25% DV sodium

In addition to being a great weight loss snack, Jack Link’s jerky products also make a great addition to your Super Bowl spread. You can set out a few bags along with your chips and pretzels or simply pour your favorite Jack Link’s into a dish for all to enjoy. You can even get portion-controlled sizes so your family can take the jerky to school, to work, or on the go.

If you are interested in pairing jerky with beer, you will find this is a great combination to enjoy at home or on the go. You can mix and match your favorite beers with your favorite jerky products at random or you can actually coordinate special courses to test and enjoy. If you are interested in pairing beer with jerky, be sure to check out the Jack Link’s site and their beer pairing section!

 

Valentine’s Day Ideas to Enjoy with Your Pet

Whether single or just not in the same location as your sweetheart, spending Valentine’s Day alone can be a bummer. You might be alone, but it doesn’t mean you have to be completely lonely, though! Consider spending some quality time with your pet dog or cat on Valentine’s Day so you remember how much love there is in the world.

Spending time with pets can be therapeutic on so many levels, even if you aren’t sad. You can play, go for a walk, have a play date with friends and their pets, go to the pet-friendly pet supply store, or just snuggle up and watch a movie together. Consider these special ideas for spending Valentine’s Day or any day with your favorite pet.

•    Relax – Veg out on the couch and watch a movie together. Enjoy snacks that you love and give your dog or cat some of their favorite treats, too.

•    Visit – Take your pet for a visit to a friend or family member’s house so you can all enjoy the evening together.

•    Shop – Go buy some presents for yourselves! Take your pet to your local pet-friendly store or boutique and pick out a few cute or cool new items, treats, or toys.

•    Play – Even if you don’t go anywhere at all, spend some quality time playing ball, chase, keep-away, Frisbee, or your pet’s other favorite game.

•    Walk – If nothing else, take your pet for a walk around the block. You can enjoy a peaceful stroll and clear your mind. Plus, the exercise is great for both of you!

No matter what you decide to do for Valentine’s Day, be sure to spend a few special moments with your pet. Pets are a very meaningful part of the family and sadly are not around forever. Take advantage of the time you have together, take some photos, and enjoy the memories you create!

Yoga and Weight Loss

With the NY Times writing an article (January 23, 2011) about a 29-year-old ex-dancer model who now teaches yoga and has penned a booked called “Slim, Calm, Sexy,” you might think yoga is the answer to all your weight loss goals. However, the operative words here are 29, dancer, and model. Having been in the modeling world myself, although it was way back in the (yikes!) 80’s and dabbled with a food disorder in college (one does not dabble actually, it is an emotional nightmare and a true call for help while others may be envying your thin-ness), I would suggest that yoga is a great way to stay physically and mentally fit and avoid the stereotypes of the ultra thin model who was either blessed to be born with thin genes or starves herself. The teacher featured in the article is undoubtedly a lovely young woman who is herself slim, calm, and sexy.

In the twenty-six years that I have been teaching tens of thousands of classes to women of all ages and shapes in various environments, I would say that the most important thing yoga can give us is self acceptance. The climate of yoga has become varied, which gives women a choice in why and how they practice yoga. At first women may attend a class as a great workout (A beautiful young woman said to me in class last week – “which yoga will help me lose this?” as she pulled up her yoga top to show a beautiful little tummy, no fat hanging over it, just a beautiful soft woman with, if I would label it, a slim build.) but then decide to add meditation and other helpful aspects.

If we take our yoga practice seriously, not too seriously (it should be fun too!), like any workout that will show results, we need to do it at least two to three times a week. It is important to find a type of yoga that you like, a teacher you like and someone you trust. Some people prefer to go to class where there is no inspiring talk; they want to do the physical poses only. Others like the encouragement and tidbits of yoga lifestyle / philosophy that may be woven into a class. It is all individual taste. Once you decide which type of practice you like – though Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Power yoga (and of course the hot yoga Bikram) can break a great sweat, Iyengar, Restorative and Kundalini can also give you a good sustainable workout – then you can see where the practice takes you.

Often a yoga practice will take you deep into one type of yoga or maybe it will cause you to explore, experimenting with other types and teachers, mixing it up. From there you might become aware of other aspects of your health, like what you are eating and how it affects your mood, your yoga practice, and your weight. Some yoga devotees eat only raw food, on the one extreme, to vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian (includes dairy) or pescatarian, eating mostly vegetarian but including fish. Others still include meat in their diet. As food habits become more conscious and change in these directions, weight will change, if it’s meant to, or you will stay in your own healthy weight but feel better for the changes, which is the real goal.
“Can yoga help you lose weight?” Yes, if you are overweight, no, if you are at your healthy weight. I have seen big women do amazing yoga practice and thin ones not so strong and flexible. Yoga will help you feel more strong and flexible, no matter what your body type. And when you feel that way, you radiate health and beauty at any age and weight.

Donna Amrita Davidge / www.sewallhouse.com Yoga Retreat Island Falls, Maine/NYC

 

Valentine’s Day Cocktails and Drink Recipes

Sweet Surrender Valentine's Day CocktailValentine’s Day is a romantic time to enjoy a special cocktail or drink recipe with your loved one. You can enjoy a romantic martini or mixer, a fun and fruity frozen drink, something pink or red, or even a nice glass of wine. Choose Valentine’s Day cocktails and alcoholic beverages that complement what you are eating, whether an entire meal, an appetizer, or just dessert. Try these Valentine’s Day drink recipes for some fun beverages that are sure to impress!

Just a few words of caution – observe the legal drinking age and remember not to drink and drive! Now let’s have some fun with these red and pink and super flirty Valentine’s Day drink recipes!

Cherry Kiss Valentine's Day DrinkValentine’s Day Drink #1: Cherry Kiss
Ingredients:

1 part UV Cherry
2 parts champagne

Instructions:

Shake with ice and strain into a champagne flute.

Sweet Surrender Valentine's Day CocktailValentine Cocktail #2: Sweet Surrender
Ingredients:

2 parts UV Lemonade
2 parts cranberry juice
Splash of triple sec

Instructions:
Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass.

Love Potion #9 Valentine's Day CocktailValentine’s Day Alcoholic Beverage #3: Love Potion #9
Ingredients:

1.5 oz   Prairie Organic Vodka
.5 oz     Peach Schnapps
3 oz      Blood Orange Juice

Instructions:
Combine with ice in shaker, pour into a pink sugar rimmed martini glass and garnish with a blood orange and cherry. (If blood oranges are not available, you can soak regular oranges in grenadine for the garnish).

Broken Hearts Club Martini Valentine's Day CocktailValentine Drink #4: Broken Hearts Club Martini
Ingredients:

4 parts Prairie Organic Vodka
(choice of adding vermouth or olive juice to taste)

Instructions:
1.    Pour Prairie into a shaker over ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.
2.    Garnish with three olives.

– Recipes courtesy of Phillips Distilling Company.

If you are in an anti-Valentine’s Day mood, you can also make these drink recipes into Anti-Valentine cocktails and alcoholic beverages. Simply change the names of the different cocktails to be more fitting of the occasion. Change “The Cherry Kiss” into “The Heartbreaker,” swap “Sweet Surrender” with  “Single and Ready to Mingle,” and turn “Love Potion # 9” into “The Prairie Prowler.” You can also make up your own Valentine’s Day drinks and cocktails or find more recipes online. Enjoy!

 

Winter 2010 – 2011 Hot Nail Polish Colors Preview

It’s hard to believe winter is here again in full swing! Many places had their first big snowfall just a few weeks ago, and again this week. It’s time to break out the hottest nail polish colors for winter 2010 – 2011 so you can rock a sexy manicure for New Year’s Eve, January, and February, especially Valentine’s Day. No matter if you like reds, pinks, metallic nail polish, or something else entirely, you are sure to find hot nail polish colors to love for the wintertime.

This is our preview for winter 2010 – 2011 hot nail polish colors so you can stay on top of the nail trends. Consider these hot and sexy nail polish colors for winter.

Winter 2010 – 2011 Nail Polish Trend #1: Metallics Are Still in Style, but Don’t Forget Sparkle!

As always, nail polish brand OPI is on top of the hottest nail colors and shades for the season, in this case winter. OPI offers the Katy Perry Collection, which includes colors such as Last Friday Night NL K10, a beautiful glitter blue that is as bright and pretty as it is sparkly, Teenage Dream NL K07, which is another swirly, glittery nail color but this time in a captivating rosy pink, the subtle sparkling Simply Smashing NL S17, which is a lovely cross of fresh lime and olive green, Not Like the Movies NL K09, which is a tough color to peg – I think it is a kind of grayish green, and finally another gorgeous shade – The One that Got Away NL K08, which is a vibrant and sparkly magenta color that is great for making a statement!

The glittery nail colors for winter are extra fun, boasting large, chunky sparkles and glitter instead of the usual subtle sheen. Perhaps the most exciting new offering from OPI (in my humble opinion of course) is the Black Shatter topcoat, which can give your manicures and pedicures an edgy look with great ease. To create a shattered manicure, simply apply one coat of the Black Shatter polish over any completely dry Katy Perry shade of OPI nail color.

Perfect Formula is another nail polish brand keeping up with the trends in metallic nail polish colors. Chambord is one of my new favorite nail colors, showing off the look of wonderful wine before you even open the bottle. The nail color goes on smoothly and evenly and looks great with two coats. Where OPI The One that Got Away is more in the pink family, Chambord is more in the purple family. It is a really fun and sexy nail color for winter. Beyond the color though, I am honestly amazed at how quickly my nails dried when I painted them with Perfect Formula nail polish!

Another metallic nail shade for winter 2011 from Perfect Formula is Mystic, which can best be described as liquid opal in a bottle. While I love the look of the nail polish in the bottle, it gets a little washed out on my nails when I apply it. I can’t really see the opal tones as well as I wish I could. The moral is this – if you want va-va-voom color for winter, Mystic is not your shade. However, if you are interested in a subtle nail color for a job interview or a nice understated look on your manicure or pedicure, this color could be perfect for you. In fact, if you prefer the natural look of your nails, this color adds a bit of shine without taking away from the natural beauty.

Dazzle Dry nail colors offer two sparkly shades for winter, a slightly sheer mauve-type shade known as Bleu Rosé and a gorgeous, glittering silver sparkle shade of nail color, Silver Lamé, which is reminiscent of minx nails. Bleu Rosé seems to dry into a flat shade rather than an overly sparkly shade. Silver Lamé, on the other hand, allows you to live all your sparkling dreams with a wild and reckless glitter coat. Nail colors by Dazzle Dry really do dry in a flash, with or without the three-piece vegan nail care kit offered by VB Cosmetics, the parent company of Dazzle Dry.

Finally, Unforgettable Moments nail colors, distributed by Payless ShoeSource Worldwide Inc, arrive in a fine array of sparkly, metallic nail shades for the winter season. Bringing back the gemstone outlook, the nail colors come in trios of mini nail polish bottles in colors such as Sapphire, Amethyst, Garnet, and of course, the metal tones, Gold, Bronze, and Platinum. These rich metallic nail polishes make a great winter statement and look especially great with dresses or even with jeans. These sparkly shades go on your nails nice and evenly and can look great even with one coat. Zoe&Zac Naturals, another nail brand offered by Payless, also has a fun and rich sparkly brown nail color known as Bronze Lady. What a lovely change from the typical nail polish colors!

Rachele Greco, Spa Director at Viana Hotel & Spa in Westbury, NY, shares her outlook on nails trends and colors for winter 2011. She recommends the following nail polish products this winter:

Gold: OPI’s Rising Star takes on a rich hue, and is not too yellow,” Greco says. “Unless you are a nail biter, this will look good on any nail length. Want to be daring? Use gold as the base for a French manicure instead of pale pink.”

Silver/Platinum: “A completely silver nail looks great for evening wear, but for a day look, it might be too flashy,” Greco tips. “I’ve used it just on the tip of my nails for a subdued yet elegant option. Nars’ Full Metal Jacket fits the bill.”

Reds:

“Always a great winter choice on nails and lips… Be careful to select a shade that complements your skin color,” Greco cautions. “If you are a woman of color, or just got back from San Tropez, select a more orange-based red like Zoya’s Haley. Those who have more of a pink tone to their skin should look for “true red” nail colors or ones with more of a blue pigment such as Le Vernis Pulsion from Chanel.”

Winter 2010 – 2011 Nail Polish Trend #2: Bright Colors…


Mardi Gras Party Favors, Centerpieces, and Fat Tuesday Decorating Ideas

Mardi Gras parties can be a lot of fun no matter what time of year, but they are especially popular in the first few months of the year, especially during the month of February. You can easily plan a Mardi Gras party at your home with a little advanced planning. Choose authentic New Orleans style cuisine and get ready to decorate to your heart’s content. You can also find a variety of fun and exciting Mardi Gras party favors and centerpiece ideas to try.

To fully capture the theme of Mardi Gras, be sure to choose a color scheme of gold, purple, and green, the three colors of Mardi Gras.

 

Mardi Gras Party Favors
The most important Mardi Gras party favors to have at your Fat Tuesday party or Carnival party are Mardi Gras beads. You can find beads in countless colors, shapes, and sizes. You can even find the more expensive Mardi Gras beads that the krewes throw from their floats in New Orleans during Carnival. Depending on the number of guests you are inviting, you can purchase Mardi Gras beads in bulk or you can look for some of the specialized beads and give each guest a gift of one special set of beads.

If you would like to give out other party favors at your Mardi Gras part, consider the other items that the krewe members throw at Mardi Gras. Small stuffed animals, plastic cups from each krewe, doubloons, and decorated coconuts are a few great options for Mardi Gras party favors you can give out at your party. If you are looking for specific Fat Tuesday party favors, consider giving each guest his or her own Mardi Gras mask. You can find lots of fun and unique ways to dress up your Mardi Gras party. Check out the selection of Mardi Gras party supplies from PartyMart for starters!

Mardi Gras Centerpieces
Mardi Gras centerpieces can be created or purchased in many shapes and sizes. Consider making your own Fat Tuesday centerpieces for your Mardi Gras party. Use your creativity to help you come up with the perfect centerpiece idea for your festivities. Here are a few suggestions for Mardi Gras themed table decorations:

•    Colorful Beads in Bowls and Vases – Order your Mardi Gras beads in bulk and use them to decorate your tables. You can strew the beads across the tables randomly or place lots of colorful beads in a glass or crystal vase or decorative bowl.

•    Mardi Gras Masks on Sticks – Instead of flowers, place pretty decorated Mardi Gras masks supported by sticks or thin dowels inside vases on your tables. These centerpieces can be just as pretty as flowers, showing off feathers and sequins in the festive Mardi Gras colors.

•    Mardi Gras King Cake – Rather than making an elaborate centerpiece for your Fat Tuesday party, consider making king cakes for each table so your guests can all enjoy and participate in this great tradition. The guest who gets the plastic baby is supposed to buy the next king cake. You could also award that guest with a prize!

Mardi Gras Ceiling and Wall Decorations
To complete your decorating scheme, don’t forget to look for festive Mardi Gras decorations to hang from your ceiling and walls. You can find tons of pretty Mardi Gras decorations in yellow, purple, and green, from regular party streamers to Mardi Gras door panels, street sign decorations, banners, and so much more. Make sure you create a special decoration for Bourbon Street!

If you want to add a little extra pizzazz to your party decorations, consider festive Mardi Gras lights, Mardi Gras masks, and feather boas. Pretty much anything you do in yellow, green, and purple should look great as well!

What other ideas do you have for decorating your home or apartment for a Mardi Gras party or Fat Tuesday celebration? Please share in our comments below.

Romantic Travel Destinations for Valentine’s Day (or Anytime)

Traveling for Valentine’s Day can be a special and memorable way to celebrate the holiday with the one you love. You can plan a long weekend for Valentine’s Day or even a full week away or longer. The most important thing in planning your romantic Valentine’s getaway is to choose a nice destination that you and your sweetheart will both enjoy.

Before you start planning your Valentine’s Day getaway, be sure you have a budget in mind. You don’t want to break the bank, but it will be good to have an idea of how much you can comfortably spend. Consider these romantic travel destinations for Valentine’s Day.

•    Wine Country in California – Check out Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley for an unforgettable week or weekend of tasting wine, touring, and enjoying the gorgeous scenery.

•    Florida’s sunny beaches – Whether you enjoy golf or sunbathing, you can have a great time relaxing and soaking up the sunshine in Florida. Stay at the Radisson Resort Orlando Celebration or one of the many other vacation resorts. Be sure you check out the sand, the surf, and the delightful activities that await in one of America’s favorite vacation hotspots!

•    A Caribbean cruise – For a memorable and unique Valentine’s vacation, plan a romantic cruise where you can enjoy countless activities, excursions, and cuisine options.

•    A ski trip in Colorado or Vermont – If you and your sweetheart are the athletic or outdoorsy type, consider a ski trip or other athletic themed getaway for Valentine’s Day weekend.

•    Hawaiian escape – If price is no object, a trip to Hawaii could be the perfect escape in February. Time to dream of palm trees, tropical drinks, and relaxing on the beach!

These are just a few options to help you plan a Valentine’s getaway. You might also be able to find something closer to home for a long weekend, like a bed and breakfast or couples resort. Please feel free to share any other ideas you have for romantic couples travel in our comments section!

Celebrating Groundhog Day: Dates, Ideas, and Activities

Groundhog Day comes once a year, often without much change in pace from a normal day. Rather than letting this once-a-year event pass you by, you can celebrate Groundhog Day, or even just recognize it with an activity with your family or significant other. You can plan a Groundhog Day date to enjoy with your sweetheart or plan activities for the day with your kids or family. Try these suggestions for a fun and festive Groundhog Day this year!

Celebrated each year on February 2, Groundhog Day is a holiday where a groundhog leaves its burrow to help determine whether winter will end soon or if we will have six more weeks of winter. The biggest celebration for Groundhog Day takes place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where the famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil makes an appearance each year.

 

If you are interested in celebrating Groundhog Day with your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, or family, consider these suggestions for Groundhog Day dates, ideas, and activities:

•    Visit Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania for the biggest Groundhog Day celebration ever. Crowds as large as 40,000 have gathered to celebrate this annual holiday.

•    Find Groundhog Day celebrations in other parts of Pennsylvania, including Quarryville in Lancaster County, the Anthracite Region of Schuylkill County, the Sinnamahoning Valley, and Bucks County. You can also check out groundhog celebrations around Frederick and Hagerstown, Maryland; Shenandoah Valley, Virginia; Woodstock, Illinois; Lilburn, Georgia; and various Amish populations throughout the United States (Credit: Wikipedia).

•    Enjoy Groundhog Day celebrations in Wiarton, Ontario and Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia in Canada.

•    Stay home and watch the movie Groundhog Day featuring actor Bill Murray.

•    See if the groundhog “Queen Charlotte” sees her shadow at the Charlotte Nature Center in North Carolina.

•    Snuggle up under blankets and watch movies to avoid more weeks of winter.

•    Do Groundhog Day crafts and games with your kids, including word finds, coloring pages, and making cutout groundhogs.

•    Play board games, eat snacks, and relax in the comforts of your home.

•    Go out for dinner and dancing and pretend you are in on the Punxsutawney festivities.

•    Make groundhog cookies using a sugar cookie cutouts recipe and circle or oval cookie cutters. Use frosting to make the groundhog’s face.

Relaxing and enjoying movies and snacks may be the easiest way of all to enjoy Groundhog Day with those you love. What other things can you think of doing for Groundhog Day?