A Photo Checklist for Your Wedding Day

If a picture speaks a thousand words, this article may be worth just as many to you as you plan for your wedding photographer’s level of involvement on your special day. The going rate for wedding photographers is a pretty penny, and you’ll be smart to get your money’s worth. Creating a wedding day photo checklist is the first step to ensuring you receive all the pictures your heart desires on your special day. A photo checklist is easy to create on your own if you play your wedding through in your mind, but you may wish to have a look at this photo checklist and either use it or customize it to meet your needs.

When it comes to telling your wedding photographer exactly what you want for your wedding day, don’t be shy. Those photographs will be yours to cherish for the rest of your life. They’ll lift you up when you’re down, and they’ll remind you of your perfect wedding day and all your loved ones who shared in it. They’ll be a treasured keepsake from the day when you and your sweetheart joined your lives together as one. A wedding photograph checklist helps to ensure you receive all these photos.

As you plan for your wedding day and the photographic opportunities that await, be sure you cover every base. It is better to be overly prepared rather than to look back and wish you had spent a few more moments getting organized. Here is a general breakdown of the highlights you’ll probably want to secure in your photographer’s itinerary. Don’t forget to customize the photo checklist by adding special photos you’d like to have in addition to these general shots.

Getting Ready for the Big Day

• Bride getting ready
• Her accessories – dress hanging by a window, her shoes on the bed, her garter, etc.
• Bride getting ready with mom
• Bride getting ready with bridesmaids
• Bride and maid of honor getting ready together
• Bride and bridesmaids posed
• Bride’s bouquet
• Groom getting ready
• Groom with father
• Groom with groomsmen getting ready
• Groom and groomsmen posed
• Additional photos (fill in your desired extra shots here)

At the Wedding Ceremony

• Groom and groomsmen before the ceremony
• Bride and bridesmaids before the ceremony
• Nervous/excited bride by herself before ceremony
• Flower girl / ring bearer before ceremony
• Church or wedding ceremony site inside prior to guest arrival
• Church or wedding ceremony site outside prior to guest arrival
• Guests arriving
• Guests awaiting the bride’s entrance
• Bride arriving at the ceremony location
• Entrance of the grandparents
• Entrance of the parents
• Bridesmaids entrance
• Flower girl and ring bearer entrance
• Close up of flower girls / ring bearer
• Groom and groomsmen in the front, waiting for bride
• Musicians
• Religious officials
• Bride walking down the aisle with father or escort
• Close-up of bride walking
• Groom watching bride and waiting for her
• Bride and father as she meets her groom
• Sweeping shot of altar or ceremony location
• Shot of bride and groom during vows
• Close-up of bride and groom during vows
• Close-up of bride and groom during exchange of rings
• The couple’s first kiss
• Bride and groom during recessional
• Bride and groom celebrating with guests
• Bride and groom leaving the ceremony site
• Bride and groom seated together in car or vehicle
• Additional photos (fill in your desired extra shots here)


Portraits (Bride and groom, family shots, bridal party shots)…

Perfect Parent Gifts for Your Wedding Day

With all the planning you’ve been doing, have you remembered to get something extra special for the people who gave you life and brought you into this world? It is a wonderful idea to give your parents a special thank you gift on the eve of your nuptials or sometime during your wedding day. Parent gifts are a tradition for many, and they’re customary in many circles. You can customize the perfect parent gift or choose a traditional parent gift that best suits your needs.

With so many things to plan and so many decisions to make constantly, it’s no wonder that some things can be easily overlooked or pushed aside for more pressing issues. Parent gifts may be one of those after-thoughts, but they don’t have to be! Whether you just can’t think of a good gift or if the thought hasn’t yet crossed your mind, here are some helpful parent gift ideas for all budgets.

Shopping on a Shoestring Budget
When cost-conscious doesn’t begin to describe your situation, fret not. Countless meaningful gifts are out there, and many of them are just not as costly as you would think. Consider these options or use them to brainstorm for your own ideas for wonderful and memorable parent gifts.

Here are a few options for parent gifts on the lower end of the wedding budget:

Memories… Make a scrapbook or photo album with pictures of you and your future spouse together, in addition to pictures of you with your parents and siblings. Make an album for each set of parents and rest assured that they will cherish your thoughtful compilation.

Special days… For around $20, you can custom-design a calendar to include a dozen of your favorite photos and special dates that are meaningful to you and your families. Create a custom photo calendar so you are on your parents’ minds all year long!


Managing a Mediocre Amount
When you’ve got a little bit of cash to spare but still need to keep an eye on the price tag, smart shopping comes in very handy. Consider your options and select a gift that suits your parents well.

A Crystal Clear Message… Envision a few lines of your own special text engraved next to a beautiful photo you select. This lovely keepsake is one they’ll treasure always.

Cheers to you… Select beautiful and classy stemware for your parents so they have a unique reminder of your wedding day that they can enjoy using again and again. If you wish, have their names engraved on the glasses, or simply, “Mom” and “Dad”.


Price Is Not an Issue
If you could get anything in the world for your parents, what would it be? A cruise? A new car? To keep things down-to-earth and still much tied into the emotion of your special day, here are a few options that could really make a big “thank you” statement.

Bed and Breakfast… Rather than spoil your parents with many gifts or an exotic trip, present them with a thoughtful escape from the norm. A night’s stay or weekend away at a nice bed and breakfast can bring relaxation into their hectic lives.

Wine Club… As a romantic idea for a thank you gift to your parents, give them a membership to a wine club. The monthly bottles of wine will give them something to look forward to as well as a nifty conversation piece.

To come up with the most appropriate thank you gift for your parents, consider all the factors in terms of price, when you need the item in hand, and what your parents specifically like and enjoy. Base your gift on their personal interests or on special memories you share.

No matter what, remember to thank your parents personally for all they’ve done to raise you and to help you prepare for the biggest day of your life.

Bridal Hairstyles and Hair Accessories for Brides and Bridesmaids

Your bridal hairstyle is a vital part of your entire wedding day ensemble. You’ve got the dress and you’ve decided on your makeup. The special jewelry items you choose accent your look, but it is your hairstyle that you will notice in every picture that contains your face. Bridal hairstyles run from casual to simple and elegant to exquisitely elaborate, or even on the border of the wild side.

Bridal hairstyles often boast spiraling curls and twisted up-dos, loosely pulled-back tresses, or even a style that is only partially pinned up. Some brides and bridesmaids even opt to wear their hair down. When it comes to choosing the right look for you and your right-hand ladies, consider whether you’d like to dress things up a little with some hair accessories or keep it toned down for a more sedate look.

Some Examples of Accessories for Bridal Hairstyles:
– Flowers
– Decorative combs
– Antique hairpins
– Heirloom hair ornaments
– Crystals
– Feathers or feathered hair ornaments
– Pretty barrettes
– Decorated bobby pins
And more!


Hair accessories lend themselves to your creativity. They give you a perfect chance to personalize your hairstyle in such a way that only you can imagine. They also help to mimic the hottest hairstyles bedecking the pages of magazines and the billions of Web pages online. To create your perfect bridal hairstyle and exceptional hairstyles for your bridesmaids, consider these tips:

Three Tips for Choosing Hair Accessories for Your Wedding Day
Usually, the bride chooses a hairstyle that will set her apart from her bridesmaids. Her style may be complete pulled atop her head, half-up and half-down, all the way down, completely curly, completely straight, wavy, and so forth. She may choose to don barrettes or hair accessories, or she may suggest that her bridesmaids do so. Perhaps she’ll decide against them altogether. Whatever the case, the selection of hairstyles for the bride and her attendants is a critical decision that will impact hundreds of photos taken at the wedding.

– If you are interested in flowers for your hair, speak with your florist. Many florists will have the latest tips and trends in flowers as adornments for the hair. Check out magazines to get other ideas, and clip out pictures of the styles you like best.

– Take pictures of your sample hairdo with and without the hair accessories or flowers. Get your mother’s and your bridesmaids’ opinions on the hairstyle and which they prefer – with accessories or without.

– Don’t go overboard. You really don’t want your barrettes or the flowers in your hair to take away from your headpiece or to compete with your tiara. Ask your stylist for her opinion if you aren’t sure whether you can get away with both.

While accessories can be lots of fun, many brides choose to wear their hair sans adornments. Many times a bride may opt for curls or waves over fancy barrettes, decorative combs, or flowers in her hair. Simple bobby pins and a generous amount of hairspray can give hair all the lift it needs to withstand the entire wedding day.

Wildflower Bouquets for Weddings

Wildflowers have taken the stage recently as wedding flowers of choice for many couples. A wildflower bouquet offers a simple yet unique and elegant feel while adding a relaxing and calming element to the wedding plans. Often, wildflowers can be a cheaper alternative to more traditional blooms. A step back from formal bouquets, a bunch of wildflowers brings vivid colors to the celebration, accenting the bride’s gown and the bridal party’s attire, not to mention centerpieces, altar flowers, and more. Just think of all the fun and creative arrangements you can create with wildflowers!

The more natural look of a wildflower bouquet gives the wedding a comfortable, somewhat low-key feel, while also providing vibrant colors and a unique mix of flowers. Popular types of wildflowers for bouquets, centerpieces, and arrangements may include poppies, cornflowers, Queen Anne’s lace, butterfly weed, tall ironweed, thimbleweed, Canada lily, Carolina spring beauty, New England Aster, everlasting pea, Indian blanket, tall bellflower, Turk’s cap lily, European Columbine and true forget-me-not, just to name a few.

Securing wildflowers for your wedding may not be as difficult as you would think. For a garden-style wildflower bouquet, grow a variety of wildflowers yourself, find a location where you can pick them together with someone special to you – mother, sister, even your groom, ask a friend or family member to take on the task of growing an assortment flowers, or lastly, speak with your florist to get additional ideas. A wildflower bouquet that you are able to create yourself – or a bouquet that a dear friend grows for you – will be a very special aspect of your big day. And, if it saves you some money as a cheaper alternative to roses and lilies, all the better!

Growing your own flowers would save a lot of money – many couples spend approximately $1,500 to $2,000 or more (some even spend as much as $7,000 and up!) on wedding flowers alone. The chances of getting exactly the styles and shades you desire are within your reach, but you should have some knowledge of growing flowers before you embark upon such an important part of your wedding planning. If you are set on growing your own wildflowers for your bouquet, you may wish to enlist the help or guidance of a trained professional in the field, merely for tips and a backup plan in case something doesn’t go quite as planned. Special precautions should be taken to prevent unexpected mishaps, so grow an abundance of flowers so you can pick only the best and most beautiful. Also, a back-up plan should be in store, so a local florist should be on call to jump into action if something should go wrong at the last minute.

Some very important considerations to keep in mind when choosing your wedding bouquet include the color scheme, style of the bouquet (loose-tied, cascade, etc.) and the shape and size of the bouquet. Once you determine those factors, selecting (and creating!) your bouquet will be much easier.

To aid you in your decision-making process, research all of your options prior to selecting your seeds and bulbs or visiting your florist or garden shop. View as many photos of other brides’ flowers as possible. Search the Internet and examine bridal magazines, books and catalogues to get a better idea of your likes and dislikes. If you have access to the flowers prior to your wedding date, attempt to arrange a sample bouquet and see firsthand whether you like the colors to blend together or to differ significantly. Take some time to mull over the possibilities and do not make a final decision on your wildflower bouquet until you know you are happy with it.

A wildflower bouquet would make an especially nice addition to a country wedding. Sprinkle wildflowers on the guests’ tables or press flowers and scatter them about to match the bouquet. Wildflower seeds are also popular in sachets to be given as gifts to the wedding guests, and a wreath of wildflowers adorning the bride’s hair is a fairly common sight as well.

No matter what you choose, make sure you set aside a few of your wildflowers to dry or to press between books. These will serve as special reminders of your wonderful wedding day and of the creativity you explored to create beautiful wildflower bouquets!

How to Curl Hair: Curling Iron Versus Hot Rollers

Before digging out the spongy pink curlers or running to your stylist for a hasty perm, check out these effective alternatives for an evening of uncustomary curls! You can curl your hair a number of different ways, but curling hair with a curling iron or with hot rollers are two great at-home options. Use either of these curling techniques to curl your hair easily at home.

Curling hair can seem more challenging than it actually is, when it all comes down to it. Consider your hair’s texture and normal response to curls. Decide if you are comfortable with the idea of a curling iron vs. hot rollers, and read on to get more details about each curling technique.

Curling Iron:
Inexpensive, relatively user-friendly and quick for minor touch-ups, this device can give you a glam look with a few minutes’ investment. If you’re donning only a partial head of curly locks, a curling iron could be just the tool you need for an immediate response to your need of a few well-placed curls.


Glamorize your up-do with a curling iron by emphasizing your style with a few loose spiral curls around your face or one or two seductively sweeping along the back of your neck. Creating these curls can be a quick and easy process, but don’t forget to spritz them with a little hairspray, or else they may not last the entire evening!

Another common use for a curling iron is tending to your hair’s ends. Tuck them under or flip them out a bit wildly, but you won’t get the same results with a set of hot rollers! A curling iron is versatile enough to curl precisely the strands that you want curled, in whichever manner you wish to achieve. Even if you wish to curl more than a few small sections of hair, a curling iron is capable of curling your entire head as well.


Time Involved: Curling Iron use may take anywhere from 5 minutes or less to 45 minutes or more, depending on style’s involvement.

Hot Rollers:
Just a touch more expensive than the curling iron, hot rollers can achieve a full head of flawless curls, typically in under an hour. Hot rollers generally have a small amount of wax inside that is heated when the set is plugged into an electrical outlet. When the curlers are ready for use, the color may change color so that you know to begin applying them.

Forget about fighting with the curling iron and trying to decide which way you want the curl to spiral. Instead, enjoy the remarkably easy process with hot rollers—once you have fastened the curlers in your hair, your hair will all curl simultaneously!

It is still a good idea to use some styling products such as a non-sticky hairspray or gel to retain the shape of the curls. (Curls formed by hot rollers tend to last considerably longer for me than those I create with a curling iron, as my hair is typically resistant to curling in general.)

Tip for Hot Rollers: Try to wash your hair the night before you want to employ the hot rollers. Sometimes very clean, sleek hair tends to resist curling.


Time Involved: Hot Rollers may take about 10 minutes to warm up and anywhere from 10-20 minutes to apply, and about 15 minutes to set. (Color of curler will revert back to original color to indicate that the curl has set.) Add additional time as necessary for styling your locks if you intend to use barrettes, bobby pins or other adornments and styling products.

Curling Iron Versus Hot Rollers:
– Both beauty appliances require time to heat up, but hot rollers may require a few extra minutes.
– Hot rollers are very easy to use when styling the whole head or a section, but don’t count on them to curl your ends out or under. Leave that to the curling iron!
– Color of hot rollers indicates when they are ready to use and when your curls have set.
– Curling iron gives great flexibility for choosing between loose spirals and tight ringlets, but you can always brush out your curls formed by hot rollers to achieve the style you desire.
– Curling irons are much easier to transport when traveling and staying in a hotel or other location away from home.
– Hot rollers save more time if going for a full head of curls. Success rate for curls enduring the entire evening may also be better.
– Both devices are useful in and of themselves—the best advice for you is to try them both and see which you like the best!

Choosing and Applying Dramatic or Subtle Shimmery Eye Shadow Hues

Eye shadow is big on self expression. The colors and hues available are virtually limitless, and eye shadow textures range from light dusts and powders to glitter, cream, or even liquid that turns to powder as it dries. Eye shadow can really dress up your look, whether you opt for dramatic colors that accentuate your eyes and your outfit, or subtle, neutral tones that complement your clothing and skin tone.

The eye shadow colors of the season seem to be bright and bold or smoky and seductive, although glimmery whites and neutrals add a lovely, soft element. Favorite eye shadow colors in many parts of the world seem to be in the purple and aquamarine families – especially amethyst, and purples paired with shimmery whites. The unspoken rule: don’t be afraid to go a little bolder, a little darker!


Bold Shades – Brilliant, Daring, and Dramatic
Makeup gives us an opportunity to enhance our best features, and for many, the eyes are among the top. If you enjoy setting and following trends, the bold and intense eye shadow colors might be perfect for you. Just imagine a lovely purple hue accenting your look, or a sparkling turquoise drawing attention to your eyes. You can pair these deeper shades with pale counterparts or a shimmery white eye shadow for a sexy, come-and-get-me look.

Many brands started offering eye shadow sets boasting three, four, or even five complementing hues. Another popular style of glimmery, shimmery eye shadow is loose shimmer dust. New York Color Sparkle Eye Dust Shimmery Eyeshadow is a spa and salon favorite, but it is available online for only about $3 to $7. The loose powder colors cascade through an icy blue to frosty pinks, all presented in a spill-proof jar with their own makeup brushes.

Beautiful spring organic shades like orange, green, yellow, blue, and brown are making waves in the makeup world. Score some bold and beautiful eye shadows in these shades and experiment to create your own daring look. Mix and match eye shadow colors or stick to a single shade. Enjoy creating a look that works for you!

Neutrals – Soft and Sensuous
If you aren’t quite brave enough for a brilliant teal or turquoise splash of color across your lids, or a pummeling of purple atop your eyes, you may want to stay within the realms of less is more. Don’t be disappointed if you aren’t comfortable with intense shades of eye shadow. With less of a dramatic hue, you can still have a rockin’ look. Just choose a product that offers a subtle sparkle!

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Bronzer, Blush & Eye Shadow is a fabulous product for adding just a hint of color to your lids. I chose this type of combination eye shadow, blush, and bronzer makeup to wear on my wedding day. It worked out beautifully and I can’t get enough of it still! The shimmer strips are available in several hues, and each compact features five different shades. The powder packs a punch with built-in sparkle. Turn it up with the darker, bottom color strips or tone it down with the top shimmer strips in lighter shades.

The nice thing about Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Bronzer, Blush & Eye Shadow is that you can use it all over your face to add shimmer and a tanner appearance. The highly practical and functional versatility make this makeup product well worth the $10 to $12 it costs. The texture is clean and smooth, and it goes on easily as eye shadow. In my experiences, it’s even stayed put for all day or all night wear!

Wearing eye shadow can change your appearance as a fun and daring draw to your eyes. Express yourself through your eyes – after all, eye shadow can only add to your mystique when paired with powerful eye contact!

Financial Tips for Valentine’s Day Gifts

The special day for lovers comes with a price tag these days…. Whether you are seeking the perfect piece of jewelry, state-of-the-art video game system, iPod or another pricey Valentine’s Day present, your credit card might just do most of the work for you. To prevent your plastic from kicking into overdrive, use some discretion when shopping for your sweetheart’s Valentine, and realize that he or she loves you for you, not for the number or cost of the presents you purchase when February 14 rolls around.

The typical dinner and a movie Valentine date works as a great standby for an evening together, but if the two of you share this outing several times a month, it may get a bit stale. Surprise your sweetheart with a special date that costs even less so you can get him or her the perfect present you’ve had your eye on. Ice-skating and stargazing, though perhaps a bit chilly if living up north, present unique date ideas that cost very little, if anything. Romantic and inexpensive… these options conveniently leave necessary funds for the Valentine’s gift.

In order to get your Valentine the perfect gift regardless of the price, some savings plans may be necessary prior to the actual purchase. Here are some tips to ensure that you have enough funds available to wow your sweetheart with a special Valentine treat:

– Keep a good track record of responsible personal finance behavior. Pay bills on time with at least the minimum amount due, monitor your spending to avoid overlimit fees and try to keep your balance as low as possible, if not completely paid off. By keeping your remaining balance low, you open up additional dollar amounts before hitting your credit limit. No one wants to get slammed with a finance charge for spending over his or her limit!

– Save up money along the way and put the rest on plastic. So maybe you are planning to pop the big question on or around Valentine’s Day…. That could surely cost a pretty penny, but if you save up for months prior to the big date, your credit card bill won’t seem quite as painful when you remember you have a secret stash squirreled away somewhere for the special occasion. Do your best to pay for the whole thing in full. If you must put your purchase on plastic, pay off as much as you can and then consider doing a zero percent balance transfer to avoid racking up interest.

– Limit your spending to reserve funds for your Valentine purchase. Forego the chicken cheese steak for lunch, leave the second bottle of wine on the shelf and forget about that new TV you’ve been dreaming of… with a little self control in your spending habits, you will open up the gates to more affordable bill payments and less regret when putting bigger purchases on your cards.

– Preplan how much you are willing to spend. Once you have determined what you want to spend on your Valentine’s gift, do not go over that amount. Before jumping on the Internet or leaving your home, figure out a set amount that you will spend and stick to it, no matter what!

– Shop the sales. Notice how stores start setting up for Valentine’s Day right after Christmas? Also notice how many items are drastically reduced or put on clearance after the holidays? Store management officials are smart enough to know that most people just finished spending all their money on holiday shopping.

Why not pick out your Valentine’s gift while the sales are still going strong? If you wait for the week before or the week of Valentine’s Day, you will likely be forced to pay full price for the same item you could have bought at a 50% discount a month or two ago.

Also avoid impulse shopping, as it generally encourages buyers to just pick something and be done with it. Put some time and thought into the perfect present, select the total price you are willing to pay and stick to your guns. Bear in mind that Valentine’s Day embodies the passion and romance of a relationship and the intimate connection shared by two people in love; love itself is not defined by the numbers on a price tag.


10 Sweet and Romantic, Crafty Valentine’s Gifts

Each year, we wonder what to get our significant other for one of the most romantic days of the year. When chocolates or cologne just won’t do, we try to think outside the box for a much better Valentine’s Day gift. From clothes to movies to small electronics, nothing seems quite right. You may be a procrastinator, waiting till the day before, or even the day of, to make your final selection. Be careful, lest you end up with yet another box of chocolates and a greeting card!

If all that shopping for breathtaking Valentine’s Day presents is giving you a headache, relax and put your natural creativity and talents to use instead! Here are ten creative gifts you can make or do yourself:

1. If you are musically inclined, compose a song for your one-and-only. Personally, I melt when someone sings to me or plays an instrument for me… Who doesn’t love to be serenaded? Writing a song for someone you love is perhaps one of the most sensitive and intimate gifts you can give, and it will surely be cherished and appreciated.

To add a more tangible artistic element for your Valentine’s Day gift, create a special CD case with pictures of you and your sweetheart, and don’t forget to print the lyrics out in a little booklet. You may want to perform the song live, but giving a hard copy of your hard work only adds to the impact of your gift.

2. If music isn’t exactly your thing, consider writing a poem for your mate. The feeling and meaning that can be intricately woven throughout the lines of poetry is unmatched in emotion by many other signs of affection. If time allows, be especially creative and use a software imaging program like PhotoShop to dress up your poem with beautiful graphics.

Not the computer savvy type? Buy a picture frame and some matting to create your own work of art! Print out or nicely scribe your poem on a fancy piece of paper, then apply the matting, fit everything inside the frame, and you’ve got one beautiful and personalized Valentine’s Day gift!

3. If your talents lie more on the artistic side of things, design some artwork. A beautiful sketch or drawing that you yourself design would be a wonderful sign of your love. Frame it if you wish, or roll it up and fasten it with a nice ribbon like an ancient scroll.

4. To capture your memories in a more tangible format, consider making a scrapbook or memory book for your sweetheart. All those photos from way back, ticket stubs, dried flowers, and your own personal special touches can culminate into a very thoughtful and sentimental gift. Or, if you don’t have time for all the bells and whistles of a true, traditional scrapbook, look into digital scrapbooking. It’s one of the latest and greatest ways to capture your memories with ease!

5. If you enjoy cooking and baking or find yourself particularly good at either one, make use of your talent. Make your sweetie a mouth-watering dinner or a scrumptious dessert. Add candlelight, mood music, or your own special touches to romanticize it even more. For twice the fun, see if your honey is interested in cooking together. You can have a great time while being romantic together as you add and mix ingredients and enjoy taste testing the results. What a fun Valentine’s Day activity!


6. Create a calendar with photos of the two of you. It may be February already, but there are still ten and a half good months left in the year. You can create a photo calendar easily at a site like the Kodak Online Gallery or Snapfish. If money is an issue, you can always create the calendar on your own computer and print it out at home. This Valentine’s gift is one your sweetheart can enjoy all year long!

7. Make a music compilation filled with songs that make you think of your honey. Chances are, he or she will love it and most likely will play it when you are not around or when you are on their mind. Make a copy for yourself, too, just in case you find yourself missing your love and wishing you were together at that moment.

For the crafty approach, design a CD case and cover for your sweetie. Don’t forget to make a little booklet with a list of all the songs and artists you decided to feature. If you are feeling especially ambitious, add a little quote as to why you selected each of these songs.

8. Construct a coupon booklet of little freebies you are willing to give your partner—free back massages, dinner at a favorite hotspot, a home-cooked meal, a night where he or she is boss, full control of the remote, a fill-in-the-blank coupon…you get the idea! Be creative, but personalize it according to your relationship. Draw little images to dress up each coupon, or add stickers for a fun, special touch.

To save some cutting and gluing, you can also craft your coupon book on the computer using one of many different software applications. Print it out, staple it together and you are ready to present a sweet and thoughtful handmade gift that lasts beyond Valentine’s Day.

9. Using glass paints and a mug, glass, or vase of your choosing, craft a stained-glass work of art. If you are not totally confident with your painting and designing abilities, find an image you would like to use (or for words and phrases, type whatever you would like the glass to say on your word processor and print the document out) and tape it on the inside of the glass so you can easily trace over it with the paint.

Be sure to allow enough time for the item to dry and for the paint to set before giving your masterpiece to the recipient. For a sweet touch once the glass is dry, you can fill it with your mate’s favorite candy.

10. Crochet or knit a blanket, scarf or other specialty item for your honey. Handmade gifts mean a lot because much thought and time have been invested. If you’re crafting an afghan or blanket, you will want to plan ahead several months to ensure you complete it on time. Perhaps this is a project for another year!

Bachelorette Party: Scavenger Hunt

Why do the bachelors get to have all the fun? Not anymore, with this clever bachelorette scavenger hunt game for the bride-to-be! Whether she’s your friend, your cousin or your sister, make this a night the bachelorette will never forget. No purchase necessary, no strings attached…just some good, old-fashioned fun for a bachelorette party extravaganza. A bachelorette party scavenger hunt game can keep you laughing for hours…. This bachelorette party and bride-to-be scavenger hunt is sure to knock your socks off!

Bachelorette party time is something just about every bride anticipates. A bachelorette party is a chance for one last night out with the girls as a single, unmarried woman. Granted the bride is soon to be married, but the bachelorette party time is a chance to experience for one last time what it feels like to go out and have a carefree good time. Create some hilarious memories with a bachelorette scavenger hunt!

Gather together the girls for a night on the town and be sure to have a designated driver if drinking is in the agenda. You might want to adorn your bride-to-be with a cute or mischievous veil to wear out, or maybe even a suggestive T-shirt proclaiming her last night of freedom. Whatever the case, prepare to send your girlfriend on a chase for some hilarious items and situations! Bride-to-Be Scavenger Hunt List and Dare Game: Safety in numbers, the more the merrier, and may the best lady win!

Put your gal-pal to work with these innocent, obnoxious, and embarrassing objects and situations in the bachelorette party scavenger hunt. OK, if you are feeling particularly generous, the rest of the female crew can join in the fun to see how many items the gals can check off the bachelorette scavenger hunt list of attractions! Make sure someone in the group takes pictures of the fun with each numbered item so the memories live on beyond the buzz.

Last Night Out Do-or-Die List:

1. Get a guy to serenade the bride-to-be. This shouldn’t be too hard if you know the right places to go… like a karaoke bar… or the local dive where you know everyone and their cousin!

2. Get a guy to buy her a drink. This should be an easy one if she has a veil or a T-shirt explicitly stating that she will be off the market very soon. A lot of guys may congratulate the bachelorette and hopefully at least one will offer to buy her a drink. If not, it shouldn’t be tough to get some unsuspecting male to pick up the tab for at least one shot. If alcohol is not part of the evening, opt for a soda or some spring water.

3. Get a guy’s phone number on a napkin. Again, this is child’s play. How old are we again, twelve? Let’s go, ladies, we should be on number five by now!

4. Get a guy to let the bride-to-be wear his hat. First you have to find a guy wearing a hat. Then you have to hope he isn’t superstitious about his sports team and his lucky hat. Once you’ve got that squared away, you’re golden. OK, onto the next project!

5. Get a guy to give up his underwear/ boxers. See, I tried to warn you this was the toughie. But I have faith that you girls will be able to stand up to this demand… after all, there’s a zany guy in any bunch—you just have to find him! Well, and get him to drop his drawers and hand over his loincloth. Good Luck!

6. Meet a guy with the same name as the groom-to-be and get the bride-to-be’s picture taken with him. Just think how great that will look in the scrapbook, with the caption saying, “Jane and John, before the wedding.” Honestly, this could be fun… Just hope your bachelorette pal isn’t marrying someone named “Poindexter” or “Wilfred” or some other unusual name!

7. Do a “Body Shot.” This one is targeted for the bride-to-be, but one of her faithful heroines can bail her out if she blushes or shies away from the notion. If alcohol is not involved in this party, skip to the next item.

8. Find a guy with an accent. Let her get it out of her system now while she is technically single. Many women seem attracted to men with foreign accents, so now is a much better time for her to get past that than on their honeymoon in Australia, Fiji or Jamaica.

9. Find a guy with an out-of state Drivers License. Who knows if it’s a fake ID or not… your only purpose is to find someone who isn’t a townie!

10. Find a guy who shares a love of the bride-to-be’s favorite sports team. (If she doesn’t like sports, she needs to pretend… OK, just kidding! Pick a team amongst the group and search for a fan).

Creative Wedding Centerpieces

Calla LiliesThough they won’t be the center of attention, the decorations that adorn the center of the guests’ tables at a wedding deserve quite a bit of careful contemplation. Wedding centerpieces can be extremely elaborate or subtle and simple. Flowers, candles, and mirrors offer popular options for wedding centerpieces, but your only limitations are your imagination and your budget.

Traditional wedding centerpieces often revolve around floral arrangements, although the modern era welcomes inventive and contemporary styles.

Unleash your creativity and open your mind to new and memorable ideas for unique wedding centerpieces. Some of the most elegant, unusual and unforgettable decorative touches can exist even within a strict budget.

Popular “convertible” items to mix and match for clever and creative wedding centerpieces:
– Candles
– Glass bubble bowls
– Glass dishes/shallow bowls
– Ivy
– Mirrors
– Floating candles
– Foliage/flora

Gather some of the above-mentioned decorations or use your imagination and come up with a creative centerpiece of your own. Often the reception hall may have standard wedding centerpieces available onsite, though they will be more than willing to accommodate your special requests or often, they will credit you for the centerpieces if you opt to create your own. If you are having your wedding reception at a private location, such as your home, a fire hall, park, or other non-commercial location, consider crafting your own wedding centerpieces. Below some ideas are listed for a traditional centerpiece design.

For a traditional, classic and sedate feel for the wedding centerpiece décor, consider:
1. Glass bubble bowls with ivy and a white or colored pillar candle
2. Floral arrangement in a handmade ceramic pot or planter
3. Etched or stained glass vases with a single, long-stemmed flower
4. Mirror with a candle sitting upon it – a sculpted design or a standard pillar candle
5. A small basket of various colored wildflowers to accent the wedding’s color scheme

If thoughts of generic pillar candles and flowers are not your idea of an ideal wedding centerpiece, perhaps you need to spruce things up a bit. Listed below are a few ideas for simple yet stylish wedding centerpieces.

For a simple yet classy wedding centerpiece, try:
1. Shallow glass dish with floating candles and river rocks or marbles
2. Glass bowl with floating candles and petals
3. Small metal pail with seashells, flowers, floating candles, etc.
4. Hand-painted flowerpots with flowers or hand-poured candles inside
5. Small basket of flowers with love poem scrolls

When nature, the great outdoors and the simple pleasures of life are important to you, let them come out for the celebration. Let it be known at each table how much you and your sweetheart enjoy the beauty and wonder of nature and a relaxing moment to revel in peace and serenity. Select a centerpiece based on your own enjoyment of life’s simple gifts. Listed below are some examples that might be helpful to a garden or country themed wedding.


For a garden or country wedding theme or an old-fashioned wedding centerpiece style, consider:
1. Painted birdhouses, color coordinated to match the wedding’s color scheme
2. Dainty teapots or teacups and saucers – you can even place a floating candle inside the cups!
3. Hand-painted or stained wooden clocks
4. Small basket of flowers, herbs, etc.
5. Snow globes – you can get these custom-made or learn how to make them yourself!
6. Christmas ornament – get the traditional glass ball ornament personalized for your special occasion. Do it yourself with a paint-pen to save some money if you wish.

If none of the aforementioned centerpiece ideas knock your socks off, start thinking of the types of centerpieces that guests will talk about for years to come. Think unusual, creative and outrageous and see what you come up with…listed below are a few ideas.

For a contemporary wedding centerpiece, try:
1. Lucky Bamboo plants, to share the luck of the newlyweds to their special guests
2. Bonsai trees
3. Candy jar with Hershey’s™ Hugs and Kisses from the new Mr. and Mrs.
4. Glass bubble bowl with a colorful beta fish (or other type of fish) and pretty stones or glass marbles to match – add floating petals and place a mirror below the bowl for a special effect.
5. Mini mailboxes or wishing wells with notepaper and pens for the guests to leave hints and advice for the newly weds!

Countless themes and color schemes are available for brides and grooms to blend into their weddings, and the freedom to select the perfect centerpiece adds an element of creative control to the planning process. No matter what your budget, creative designs and decorative fashions can be easily prepared and displayed with a little bit of time and careful crafting. Use your imagination and look through wedding magazines to decide upon the perfect wedding centerpiece for your wedding.

Try Juicing for More Vibrant, Healthy Skin

JuicingDid you know that your diet contributes greatly to the clarity and condition of your skin? It’s true. Pay attention next time you eat an entire candy bar by yourself, or take notice of your skin’s tone and texture if you opt for a better diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, salads, healthier foods, and lots of water. Try juicing for a tasty and highly effective change to your skin!

Juicing can positively contribute to your skin’s condition while also boosting your overall health and wellness. Because juicing utilizes raw fruits and vegetables, your body absorbs more of the nutrients than if you cook your veggies. Whether you’ve got a cheap juicer or the latest and greatest juicer, juicing a couple times a week – or even every day – can really enhance your skin, its complexion, and your overall health.


Nutritional consultant and author Elaine Wilkes, N.C., M.A. offers a delicious tip to getting radiant, glowing skin. In her book Food Choices Made Easy! Finally A Summary of What All The Health Experts Say!, Wilkes provides helpful tips compiled from hundreds of health advisors on how to get skin that looks and feels healthy and young. In these tips, she delves in to include advice on weight loss, great foods to eat and those to avoid, and money saving tips, to name a few.

So what is the secret to smooth, healthy, youthful skin? Wilkes points to a fabulous beverage recipe as the answer – Juicing!

“Believe me, I have tried everything,” Elaine Wilkes says. “But, doing this tip, I have had strangers come up to me and ask me why my skin looked so healthy. Say goodbye to weary skin with juicing.”

Elaine Wilkes is also a Certified Practitioner of Metabolic Typing, which means she matches people’s nutrition to their metabolism, taking into account their genetics, personality, blood type, etc. She recommends creating a juicy cocktail for a vivacious skin tone and healthier complexion, and to help anyone achieve glowing skin.

“Combine fresh green vegetable juices such as cucumber, celery, kale, parsley, spinach, and a little bit of apple for a delicious taste, into a juicer,” she instructs.

Wilkes also suggests also adding lemon and ginger for a yummy zing.

“Soon, you will notice a glow to your new, plumped-up, radiant skin,” she details. “For more added benefits, drink half your weight in ounces of water each day. Beautiful skin is about what is going on inside your body. Nourish your inside with these tasty, healthy juices and your skin cannot help but look terrific. Oh, and you’ll feel great, too.”

* * *

For healthy skin that looks and feels great, make a conscious effort to improve your diet. Also take the time to practice a regular cleansing routine, and engage in a realistic exercise program. Try juicing to deliver much needed vitamins and nutrients to your body. Juicing, proper cleansing efforts, improved diet, and regular exercise can all contribute to better skin and better health. These commitments to yourself will give your body and skin the boost they’ve needed to get on and stay on the right track.

Five Yummy Coconut Beauty Products

CoconutCoconut is one of those flavors that you either love or hate. Me, I love it. It reminds me of the Bahamas, where my husband and I got engaged. It reminds me of sipping pina coladas out of a real coconut. It reminds me of the good, expensive sunblock that a lot of people wear to the beach. It reminds me of summer… of carefree days basking in the sun. Coconut brings visions of my favorite Easter candy. If I catch a whiff of coconut anything, I can almost taste a delicious shot of coconut rum in my hot chocolate! Coconut beauty products rate high on my list of favorite beauty items.

If you are another big fan of coconut and coconut flavored or fragranced items, read on.

Here are some top coconut beauty picks that could send you on a daydream vacation!

#1: Alba Naturals – Coconut Cream Lip Balm – .15 oz.
Alba Naturals Coconut Cream Lip Balm just happened to be one of my guilty pleasure purchases at the drugstore. Without a doubt, this lip-smacking product was one of the best impulse buys I’ve ever made! Alba Naturals Coconut Cream Lip Balm is a smooth ChapStick type lip gloss product that satisfies thirsty lips every time. The lip balm contains organic coconut oil that moisturizes lips, in addition to natural plant waxes to protect your lips against drying out. The gloss also boasts Vitamin E to restore your lips to their full kissable potential. This coconut beauty product is well worth the $3 or $4 price tag!

The flavor of Alba Naturals Coconut Cream Lip Balm is sweet and succulent. It is reminiscent of pina coladas and wonderful tropical libations. This yummy lip balm also contains organic jojoba seed oil and aloe, which help to further prevent your lips from drying. Coconut lip balm is a great way to taste the tropics any time of day or night, in the winter or the summer or anytime in-between.

Coconut, courtesy of Roswitha Schacht, morgueFile

#2: Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Crème with Vitamin E – 4.34oz.
Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Crème is a truly organic experience for your tootsies. This foot cream is more than just your everyday lotion. It contains generous amounts of coconut oil and other all-natural emollient ingredients and botanical oils that penetrate the skin to repair cracked, dry, and worn skin. Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Crème also boasts a touch of peppermint, one of the all-time favorites in foot care products. This coconut beauty product can repair your cracked, dry skin easily and effortlessly, so give it a try!

To best pamper your feet, apply this cream generously before you hop in bed. Because of the product’s strong ability to seep through the skin to soften your feet, it can leave your feet feeling a bit slick right after you apply the cream. The product’s instructions suggest putting on a pair of cotton socks. Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Crème is not tested on animals. Some of its key ingredients are: vegetable glycerin, olive oil, oat flour, coconut oil, oat oil, peppermint oil, rosemary leaf oil, and fragrance, to name a few.

#3 and 4: Coconut Shampoo and Conditioner…