It’s Not Too Late to Make Good on those Resolutions!

Let Your Spirituality Be Your Guide, Says Noted Doctor

The New Year is already well under way. Job deadlines – or job searching – has begun anew, and the stresses of bills, kids in school again, and the sometimes endless treadmill of daily life can make us forget those New Year’s resolutions we made not so very long ago.

Physician and healer Amnon Goldstein, who has earned an international reputation for his practice of both Western and Eastern medicines, says it’s time to slow down and re-evaluate.

“You’ve heard it said before and you know it in your heart, but it’s the external pressures that leave us feeling stressed, depressed, disappointed and overwhelmed,” says Goldstein. “Add to that the lingering economic troubles, families in flux and all of us working harder just to maintain our standard of living and it’s easy to forget the most person to take care of first is – you.”

Those resolutions to exercise more, eat healthier foods, meditate or otherwise tend to spiritual needs, they should be priorities, Goldstein says. They will ensure you’re stronger, happier, and better able to manage the external pressures, maybe even with a smile.

Quiet contemplation and a focus on spiritual growth – no matter one’s religion or beliefs – will lead to a clearer vision of how to accomplish the goals set for this year, Goldstein advises.

“Spirituality is no longer linked only to religion,” says Goldstein, the author of the recently released book Screwed: The Path of a Healer, a title that reflects the twisting nature of his global journeys as a healer and his own experiences with depression, divorce and illness.

“More and more people understand that they must nurture both body and spirit, which is why they make the sorts of resolutions they do. No matter how difficult your life, it will become easier and more joyful if you keep to those goals.”

Israeli-born Goldstein has practiced medicine around the world using conventional Western, traditional Eastern and less-familiar spiritual and mystical methods. In Screwed, he chronicles the path to wellness, understanding and enlightenment, a journey that takes the traveler to unexpected places.

Goldstein has known the horrors of war, witnessed the birth of new nations and experienced the mysterious healing powers of unconventional medicine. As a physician he has explored unconventional approaches to age-old physical and mental health challenges, embracing an over-arching philosophy that a life well-lived is not one which follows a straight or uncomplicated path.

Goldstein advocates proper nutrition as the basis for good health (no overeating, no dairy, no sugar), and exercise and meditation as the foundation of healthy living.

“We can live healthier and more fulfilled lives by looking inward,” Goldstein says. “Most of us will find that we have everything we need to celebrate the holidays in one form or another – either a healthy family, a warm home or some aspect of our lives that brings meaning. Expectation of perfection at this time of the year is toxic to our minds and spirits. Every healing is self-healing, but we need to take the time in the midst of our busy lives to take care of ourselves.”

About the Expert:

Amnon Goldstein, M.D. is a physician with more than 40 years of experience in conventional Western medicine and holistic and Eastern medicine. He has specialized in trauma care, vascular surgery and hypnosis, and has done in-depth study into the evolution of HIV and cancer research and treatments. A resident of Florida, Dr. Goldstein retired from medicine but continues to travel the world, learning, teaching and sharing with others the healing powers within each person. He is the father of three grown children.

 

Tax Time Tips for Stress-free Filing

Tax time always seems to sneak up on us when we are busy worrying about other things. The good news is you get an extra two days to file this year. The bad news is, there is still never enough time to file, as far as busy professionals and business owners are concerned. Don’t let too much time pass before you get yourself organized for filing your taxes. Whether you owe money or you’ll be getting a rebate back, it is important to take the time to make sure all your financial ducks are in a row. Consider these helpful tax time tips to get you off on the right foot when it comes to filing your taxes this year.

Andrea Woroch, consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc., shares the following tax season tips to help you get the most out of your tax filing experience, from deductions to how to spend your refund (here’s to hoping we all get one!).

1. Identify Your Deductions.
“Before you start number crunching, be sure you know what expenses to write off; you don’t want to miss out on a single tax-deductable expense,” Woroch says. “The list is quite long, so take the time to read it thoroughly and highlight anything that applies to you. You can find the Top 500 Itemized Deductions on the IRS website.”

2. Organize, Organize, Organize.
Andrea Woroch recommends organizing your receipts and other documentation by category to make it easier when filing. This can make the entire process easier when you go to document everything from business lunches to corporate travel and office supplies, among countless other tax deductible expenses.

3. Keep Track of Your W2s.
According to federal law, employers must send W2s to their employees no later than the last day of January each year. In cases where you can’t find or didn’t receive your W2, Woroch recommends contacting your company’s HR department or your supervisor immediately to ensure you get a new copy. She then recommends filing immediately once you receive the W2.

4. Find Discounts for Software.
If you plan to prepare your own taxes rather than enlisting the help of a tax pro, be sure you have the right tax software geared up and ready to go. You can find great deals on tax software and even tax preparation services at deal and discount websites like CouponSherpa.com, CouponSnapshot.com, and Retailmenot.com.

5. Save on Professional Help.
Sometimes you can find discounts for professional tax help as well. If you own your own business, it may behoove you to engage a tax pro to file your taxes. This can often reduce the chances of an audit. Keep watch for discounts on tax services during the beginning of the year to help you save money on taxes, and don’t forget to deduct the cost of filing with your tax pro if you are a business entity.

6. Analyze Your Refund.
“It’s tough to compete with the glee of receiving a hefty tax return, but not owing anything to the IRS is the sweetest gift of all,” says Woroch. “If your withholdings are too high, you’re missing out on monthly income. If they’re too low, you’re living the high life until an abrupt wake-up call on April 15. Ultimately, you want to break even with Uncle Sam, so use the IRS Withholding Calculator to determine the optimal deduction from your paycheck.”

7. Spend Your Refunds Wisely.
Some of the top ways to spend your tax time refund may include paying down debt, saving for a rainy day, donating to charity, and adding to your emergency nest egg. You may want to spend the money on vacation or a special purchase for yourself – just be sure the rest of your finances are in order before doing so.

What other tax time tips and suggestions do you have to share? Please leave a comment with your favorite tax tip or advice to help all of our readers get ready to file their taxes.

About the Expert:
Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. As a nationally recognized media source, Andrea has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. For more information, please see http://www.andreaworoch.com.

 

Fun Baby Shower Games and Activities

If you are planning a baby shower want to keep the guests busy and the party interactive, consider planning some fun baby shower games and activities for everyone to enjoy. No matter if you are having a grand scale shower at a special venue or a more intimate shower at someone’s home, you can still find a great balance of baby shower activities and games to play with all the guests. Here are a few of our favorite baby shower games and activities.

Before you get started with this aspect of shower planning, remember that some baby shower activities require more advanced planning than others. That said, let’s take a look at some of the fun options out there to spice up your baby shower!

Onesie Decorating
Buy an assortment of plain onesies and a selection of puffy paint or fabric pens. Be sure to get different colored fabric markers or puffy paint and different sizes in the onesies. Set everything up on a table and allow guests to decorate the onesie of their choice with a fun saying or a pretty picture. Take digital pictures of guests with the onesies they created or have them put their name somewhere so the mom-to-be will know which artist created each design. Tip: You can also find plain maternity tank tops and t-shirts that guests can decorate as well!

Baby Shower Gift BINGO
Make up a blank BINGO card where guests can write in a different gift idea in each box. The center square is “free.” Give each table a few sheets of tiny stickers, BINGO markers, or regular markers so they can keep track of their correct answers. When any guest gets BINGO, you can offer that guest the prize of her choice. You can accept as many guests as you like. This can be a lot of fun with very little maintenance, and it will encourage great interaction as the more competitive guests get a little more vocal. Have fun!

String around the Belly
Let each guest cut a piece of yarn or string as long as they think the mom-to-be’s belly might be. Then use a real tape measure to measure around her tummy for the actual length. The guest or guests with the closest measurements win.

Guess How Many?
Place baby shower themed candy in a glass jar or vase and ask guests to guess how many pieces. Be sure you already know the answer! Tally up the votes and award the jar of candy to the guest with the closest guess. I’ve also seen this done with unwrapped tootsie rolls and a newborn diaper around the bottom of the glass jar. It all depends on your personal preferences and what you think the mom-to-be would like best.

Guess What Age?
Add a nice selection of photos of the mom-to-be to a piece of cardboard and label each photo with a number or letter. Give guests a sheet of paper with a “word bank” of ages and then have a list numbered or lettered the same as the images on the poster board. Guests have to guess how old the guest of honor was in each photo, and the guest with the most correct answers wins. Some pictures will be easier than others, for example, First Holy Communion, graduation, and possibly even wedding day. The guests who know the mom’s birthday will probably have the best shot at getting the most correct answers. For the benefit of your most special guests, try to include a few personal photos of the mom-to-be with her grandmother, best friend, husband, siblings, and other special friends and family members.

Baby Animal Trivia
Put together a worksheet with different animals and blank lines next to each. Have the guests guess the name of the animal’s baby; for example, joey for kangaroo, puppy for dog, kitten for cat. You can also ask a few random trivia questions about baby animals, such as the longest gestation, shortest gestation, and so forth. You can award a prize for the guest or guests with the most correct answers.

What other baby shower games and activities can you think of or which ones have you played or done at a shower recently? Share your favorites in our comments below so that all readers can benefit from the clever and creative ideas you’ve already experienced.

 

Pink and Orange Baby Bedroom and Nursery Themes for Little Girls

Cocalo Tropical Punch Baby BeddingMy husband and I are expecting our first baby – a little girl due in the beginning of May. We’ve been struggling over choosing furniture, and a baby bedding set, and painting the baby’s room, and all the other things that go along with your first child. Thankfully we finally narrowed down all the baby bedding options and selected our top two picks.

I am a big fan of the raspberry pink and orange color combination. I had hot pink and orange flowers in my wedding and I still enjoy the color combo very much. While looking for this combination, I found several pink and orange baby bedding sets and patterns that we liked a lot. In case you are also looking for pink and orange baby bedding for your little girl, I’m going to share my favorites out of the styles and patterns that I found.

Cocalo Tropical Punch Baby BeddingCocalo Tropical Punch Baby Bedding
This set is definitely my favorite and I’ve added it to our baby registry. I was originally looking for a cute koala theme for the baby’s room, just because my husband and I like koalas, and I stumbled upon this cute bedding set called Tropical Punch almost accidentally. I love that it has a cute mama and baby koala predominantly on a lot of the accessories, but also has an elephant, zebra, and others. All the animals are very cute, and the color combination of pink, orange, and cream looks awesome together.

You can get this pink and orange nursery bedding set at a number of retailers, including Amazon.com where you can find many different accessories as well. Look for the koala pillow, Sherpa blanket, and child’s lamp for a few examples.

JoJo Designs Pink and Orange Butterflies Baby BeddingJoJo Designs Pink and Orange Butterfly Bedding
We also included this pink and orange baby bedding set on our baby registry as a backup in case we weren’t 100% sold on the first set. The more we looked at it, the more my husband and I both liked it. This set has a cute butterfly pattern in a bright pink and orange and white color scheme. There are many accessories that go along with the JoJo Designs Butterfly set as well, including a baby hamper, changing pad cover, and diaper stacker, to name just a few. This set is very cute for a girlie girl and gives you the option to paint your walls a different color other than pink.

JoJo Designs Pink and Orange Surf Baby BeddingJoJo Designs Pink and Orange Tropical Hawaiian Surf Bedding
This originally was one of my top two picks for pink and orange nursery bedding sets, but my husband didn’t like it as much as the other two. I think the colors were just a bit too bold and in-your-face for him, plus I wasn’t exactly sold on the surfboard. I really love the hibiscus designs and palm trees but could do without the surf stuff. However, this Pink and Orange Hawaiian Surf set is still adorable and may be a nice fit for lots of babies since they may not grow out of it quite as quickly as with some of the other baby girl nursery patterns.

Hula Baby by Trend Lab Baby BeddingTrend Lab Hula Baby Pink, Green, and Orange Baby Bedding
This set called “Hula Baby” by Trend Lab fell to the bottom of my pink and orange baby bedroom themes list, but only because I liked the other patterns so much more, not by any fault of its own. This set is very cute and simple – I just liked the versatility of the pink and orange baby animals set and the butterflies and the Hawaiian surf set. This baby bedroom set offers a lovely pink and green color combo with white and orange accents – a fresh and fun color combo for any baby girl’s room. Tropical flowers bedeck the bedding and pink and green stripes set off the pattern nicely.

These just happened to be my favorite pink and orange baby bedding sets out of all the research I did – they are by no means the only sets for you to consider. I was looking for cute baby animals and tropical or Hawaiian themes for the baby as well, so these sets seemed to nicely complement the color combination I wanted as well as the nursery theme I was hoping to find.

I am pleased to mention that we also selected “Luminary” by Behr (Home Depot paint) and painted the baby’s room this weekend. We still have a little painting for the trim and closet and also need to get our furniture, but we are off to a lovely start as far as I’m concerned. The Luminary paint color is a gorgeous peach that has a very soft orange hue – I am so excited to see the baby’s room when it’s all done, especially once we get the perfect pink and orange baby bedding set!

 

The Beauty Benefits of Contact Lenses

Beauty Benefits of Contact Lenses - Colored ContactsNot everyone is lucky enough to be born with perfect 20/20 vision. Many of us have slightly compromised eyesight that worsens as we get older. Sometimes our eyesight is impacted enough that we need to improve our vision with glasses or contacts. Glasses and contacts each have their own pros and cons, and it is up to the wearer to decide which means of enhancing vision is best. Many will argue that the beauty benefits of contacts outweigh the beauty benefits of glasses. Consider these great reasons to consider contact lenses as a means to improve your vision.

Contact lenses give you an easy way to enhance your eyesight without anyone even knowing you’ve done a thing. Contact lenses are virtually invisible and undetectable, giving you better vision without changing your appearance. Glasses come in many shapes, colors, and styles, and they can certainly supplement your look while accenting your fashions and wardrobe choices, but not everyone likes how they look in glasses. Contact lenses give you the best option for adjusting your vision without the hassle of glasses.

 

Contact lenses do require a bit more maintenance than glasses, since they are worn directly on your eyes instead of just on your face. Good personal hygiene habits are crucial for contact lens wearers to ensure you don’t give yourself any irritation or infections in your eyes. Contact lenses are available in a wide variety of styles, including disposable lenses and those that you would wear over and over. Some are daily contact lenses while others tend to be monthly lenses. You can find hard lenses or soft lenses to suit your personal eye comfort.

If you’ve ever wondered what you might look like with a different eye color, contact lenses may be just the way for you to see that for yourself. You can find contact lenses in a nice array of eye colors, including brilliant blue, sparkling green, steely gray, brown, hazel, honey, and even amethyst and turquoise. Fun colored contact lenses allow you to change your look and correct your vision at the same time, if needed. Colored lenses can also be fun for Halloween or any time you might need to dress up in costume.

Of course, it can make a lot of sense to own both contact lenses and glasses, especially for those times when your eyes may be bothering you from seasonal allergies or other irritants. Glasses can also be useful for when you wake up in the middle of the night and need to do something before going back to sleep. Having both contacts and glasses on hand gives you the option to alter your look however you desire to fit the occasion.

Have you ever worn colored contact lenses? Do you prefer daily lenses or longer wear contacts, or simply stand by your glasses? Share your favorite tips and personal experiences in our comments below.

 

Healthy Snacks – Making Your Own Trail Mix

Homemade trail mixMany people tend to place a big focus on eating healthier and losing weight after New Year’s, in the springtime, and throughout the summer when the weather is nicer. Remember, losing weight and being healthier isn’t just about exercise – it’s about eating healthier, too. Sometimes the snacks we choose can be like a sinking ship in terms of our weight loss goals. Making your own trail mix is a great way to put together a satisfying snack at home that won’t break the scale. You can still get your salty fix and your chocolate fix without messing up your diet.

I make my own trail mix at home as a snack for me and my husband so we can be healthier while still eating things we enjoy. My husband has a peanut allergy, so our trail mix may be a bit different than the trail mix you would choose to make or buy, that is unless of course you or someone in your family has a peanut allergy, too.

To make a delicious snack for at home, at work, or on the go, I simply combine my favorite nuts and dried fruits to make a great trail mix blend. I include the following ingredients in our homemade trail mix – roasted unsalted almonds, Craisins or dried cranberries, black and yellow raisins, roasted salted sunflower seeds, Pepitas (dried pumpkin seeds), and of course, my personal favorite – dark chocolate chips or Special Dark chocolate chips. (Dark chocolate is considered healthier for you than other chocolates, in case you didn’t know.)

Some other fun things to include in your trail mix may range from peanuts (if you aren’t allergic) to other kinds of nuts like pecans, cashews, and hazelnuts, to dried cherries, dried pineapple, and so forth. You can also include M&Ms candies or other little treats like mini marshmallows to entice your kids to enjoy a (mostly) healthy snack.

Making your own trail mix can be a lot cheaper than buying premade trail mix pouches. You can make enough trail mix to last you a week and enjoy it until it’s gone, then make more on the weekend. If you are going on vacation, trail mix can be a great airplane snack, beach treat, or picnic snack. You can certainly enjoy the heck out of homemade trail mix on a road trip with your family as well!

What other ideas do you have for making your own trail mix? Please share them below in our comments so other readers can enjoy and benefit from your suggestions.

 

Mardi Gras Party Ideas – Everything You Need for a Fun Fat Tuesday Celebration

Mardi Gras Party IdeasMardi Gras is a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends. You can have a party, go to someone else’s party, check out the bar scene, or actually head off to the real deal in New Orleans. Hosting your own Mardi Gras party can be a lot of fun and it doesn’t have to take a lot of planning. Consider these Mardi Gras party ideas for a fun and exciting Carnival celebration at home.

Before you get started planning your party, think about who you’d like to invite and what special accommodations you might need to make for your guests. In most cases, your Mardi Gras party will probably be adults only, so you can plan for fun music, decorations, drinks, food, and festivities. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Mardi Gras Party Planning Tips
Here are some ideas to help you plan your Mardi Gras festivities:

•    Gather a few supplies and prepare to make fun Mardi Gras cocktails for all your guests to enjoy. Try hurricanes as the main drink, but include a few others for everyone to enjoy. You can also provide beer, sodas, and iced tea or lemonade.

•    Come up with some fun Mardi Gras food ideas to serve your guests. You can make Jambalaya, shrimp po’boys, chicken gumbo, and more.

•    Don’t forget the traditional Mardi Gras dessert – King Cake! You can find lots of King Cake recipes online to help you whip up this classic treat.

•    Create a playlist of music to set the mood for your party.

•    Decorate your home or party space with fun Mardi Gras beads, masks, and feather boas in the traditional Mardi Gras colors. Consider these other Mardi Gras decorating tips for centerpieces, party favors, and more.

Once you’ve finished planning and preparing for your Carnival celebration, take some time to decide what to wear for your Mardi Gras festivities. Also, be sure to get lots of Mardi Gras beads for yourself and your guests.

If you still feel as though you need some inspiration for your Mardi Gras party, consider these other tips and suggestions for a Fat Tuesday party or Mardi Gras party at your home. Please share any Mardi Gras party ideas or tips of your own in our comments below.

 

Valentine’s Day Cocktails

Feeling in the mood for love? Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show your romantic side to your loved one or a new beau. Play your cards right and you might even get a second date out of it!

The holiday isn’t all about cards, chocolate and roses though. Restaurants can be a nice change from a norm, but why not head back to your place rather than the bars for some themed cocktails. Play bartender for the night and impress your date with your skills. These aptly named cocktails will put you and your special someone in the holiday spirits.

Names for Valentine’s cocktails may sound girly and too cutesy for your guy. Rather than emasculate your dude, play around with the drink names.  If your guy wants a “manly drink,” simply give it a name to suit his ego rather than a lovey-dovey one, which many of these have. Some suggestions are Love Potion or The Casanova. Just make sure he doesn’t go ordering drinks by these names next time you’re out at the bar, or things might get confusing!

Godiva Chocolate Infused Vodka

What better what to celebrate Valentine’s Day then to offer your loved ones a bottle of chocolate rather than a box! I received a bottle of Godiva® Chocolate Infused Vodka to try out chocolatey cocktail recipes. This product is a perfect solution for combining two guilty pleasures of mixed drinks and chocolate!

Use the Godiva spirit in cocktails or serve on the rocks. Godiva offers a variety of chocolate liqueurs and vodkas. You can find more drink recipes as well as other spirits at drinkgodiva.com and Godiva Spirits on Facebook.

If you aren’t a bah-humbug about the holiday and don’t have a special someone to share the night with, chose one of the following drinks to cozy up on the couch with a romance novel or your favorite Rom-Com!

Lover’s Lane

Created by Lynn House, Mixologist, Chicago, IL

Ingredients

2 ounces Godiva Chocolate Raspberry Vodka

1/4 ounce orange liqueur

1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

Raspberries for garnish

Preparation

Combine Godiva Chocolate Raspberry Vodka, orange liqueur and fresh lime juice into a martini glass and stir. Garnish with raspberries.

The Lovebirds

Created by Jonathan Pogash, Cocktail Guru

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces Godiva Chocolate Vodka

1/2 ounce orange-flavored liqueur

Champagne or sparkling wine for top

3/4 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice

Handful of mint leaves

Lemon peel for garnish

Orange peel for garnish

Preparation

Combine Godiva Chocolate Vodka, orange-flavored liqueur, freshly squeezed orange juice, and mint leaves into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with champagne or sparkling wine. Garnish with orange and lemon peel wrapped around each other.

Baileys Irish Cream

Mixing with Baileys might not be everyone’s “thing,”  but if the drinker is a fan of sweet, creamy drinks, these are sure to please. Think of these recipes as indulgent alcoholic milkshakes. Since you are using ice cream in your drink, leave the ice cream out a bit to soften to allow for easier and smoother mixing.

I received Baileys Irish Cream for the purpose of this article. You can substitute regular Baileys in the recipes, rather than the flavored versions. If you only have Baileys Irish Cream, you can add a caramel ice cream topping to the drink for “the hint of caramel”. This will, however, add to the thickness of the drink. Since the drink tends to be thick, consider adding a straw to the mix.

The Baileys cocktails recipes are strong, so don’t expect to kick back a number of drinks. Simply pour yourself a cocktail as well as one for your date and enjoy the company of your significant other. Perhaps light a fire or some candles to set a romantic mood.

Chocolate Caramel Classic

Ingredients

2 ounces Baileys with a hint of Caramel

2 ounces Vanilla Ice Cream

1 ounce Chocolate Syrup

Whipped Cream

Chocolate Shavings

Preparation

Blend Baileys with a hint of Caramel, vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup in a blender until smooth. Serve chilled in a martini glass garnished with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake in Mint Condition

Ingredients

2 ounces Baileys with a hint of Mint Chocolate

1/2 ounce Smirnoff Black Cherry Flavored Vodka

2 teaspoons Cheesecake Pudding Mix

1 Black Cherry

Whipped Cream

Dark Chocolate Shavings

Mint Sprig

Preparation

Shake together Baileys with a hint of Mint Chocolate, vodka and pudding mix in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with black cherry, whipped cream, dark chocolate shavings and mint sprig.

The POM Pink Angel

Ingredients

1 oz. POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice

1 1/2 oz. kurant vodka

1 oz. triple sec liqueur

1/4 oz. fresh lime juice (or squeeze 2 lime wedges into the shaker and drop them in)

Orange peel for garnish

NUVO Kiss

Ingredients

4 oz NUVO Sparkling Liqueur

1 1/2 oz Frangelico

*Serve in a Champagne flute

Midnight Pink

Ingredients

4 oz NUVO Sparkling Liqueur

1 1/2 oz Kahlua

*Serve in a Highball glass

Keep Reading for More V-Day Cocktails…

Anti-Valentine’s Day Cocktails

Just because you don’t have anyone to celebrate Valentine’s Day with, doesn’t mean you have to spend it alone! If you are one of those individuals who abhor February 14th, then have we’ve got a list of drinks for you.

This time of year is tough for singles. Instead of crying by yourself on a couch eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s watching a sappy movie, spend some time with your girl friends who also have no one to call their own. Set up your place for the perfect girl’s night and create your very own bar complete with everything you need to forget about what everyone else is doing on this date.

The following cocktails are themed perfectly for those who have no interest in celebrating lovey-dovey things. These drinks are sure to set you and your gals in good moods, give you some girl power, and prepare you to have some quality fun with your best buds.

Fun & Fabulous

Created by Beate Kiser, Mixologist, New York City, NY

Ingredients

3/4 ounces Godiva Chocolate Vodka

1/4 ounce ginger liqueur

1/4 ounce sparkling wine

2 fresh mint sprigs

Ice

Preparation

Combine Godiva Chocolate Infused Vodka, ginger liqueur and a sprig of fresh mint into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain over ice into a champagne flute.Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

Cupid’s Miss

Ingredients

5 oz. VOGA Sparkling

½ oz. Chambord

½ oz. Gran Marnier

Preparation

Combine ingredients in a champagne flute, garnish with blackberries and an orange peel

Bitter and Bubbly

Ingredients

Cinnamon sugar

2 drops peach bitters

1 sugar cube

1 oz. Pama pomegranate liqueur

5 oz. VOGA Sparkling

Preparation

Rim a champagne glass with cinnamon sugar. Add bitters directly to the sugar cube and drop the cube into the champagne flute. Pour the pomegranate liqueur and Grand Marnier on top of it. Fill the rest of the glass with sparkling wine.

On the Rocks


Ingredients

VOGA Sparkling

0.25 oz Whiskey

0.5 TSP Sugar

Dash of Bitters

Preparation

Mix whiskey, bitters and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Fill up the remainder of glass with VOGA sparkling wine.  Garnish with a cherry.

Keep Reading for Sangria Roja and more…

Exciting Super Bowl® Party Ideas from Food to Alternative Plans and Everything in Between

Super Bowl Party and Food IdeasSuper Bowl comes around every year, leaving us cheering for our favorite team or merely watching for the funny and over-the-top commercials that come out during breaks in the game. Whether you plan to host your own Super Bowl party or go to a friend’s house for the fun, be sure to consider some fun football food ideas, Super Bowl desserts, and so much more to make sure your big game day is complete.

Here are some of the popular Super Bowl articles we’ve shared on Life Love Beauty over the past couple of years, all gathered together in one place to help you ensure you have all the plans in place for your Super Bowl Sunday this year.

Food Ideas for Super Bowl Parties:
Consider these fun articles with football food suggestions and recipes to make your party a huge hit!

Football Shaped Food
Don’t just plan your menu for the Super Bowl party – make adorable, football-shaped appetizers, entrees, and desserts for your friends and family to enjoy!

Super Bowl Party Snacks, Appetizers, and Dessert Ideas
Consider the must-have chips and salsa or dip, easy no-fuss appetizers, and football themed cookie cakes!

Super Bowl Dessert IdeasFood Ideas for a Super Football Bash or Super Bowl® Party
Check out these ideas for easy apps, a variety of dip recipes, including a guacamole football field, and scrumptious dessert ideas like Rice Krispie mini footballs.

Super Bowl Party Food and Football Recipes
Don’t miss out on these classic football party snacks, like buffalo chicken dip, piggies in blankets, and more.

Tips for Hosting a Super Bowl Party or Making Alternative Plans:
Consider these ideas for Super Bowl decorating and hosting tips as well as different things you can do besides the traditional Super Bowl party.

Super Bowl Party Planning Tips – Decorating and Food Preparation with Football on the Brain
Try these awesome Super Bowl decorating and party tips from LLB readers – you’ll get some real-life tips from experience of hosting parties year after year!

Cool Traditions and Other Fun Things to Do on Super Bowl Sunday
The entire day doesn’t have to revolve around watching the game. Try these fun activities on Super Bowl Sunday as well.

What other fun Super Bowl ideas and traditions do you enjoy? And what do you think about these suggestions? Please share your thoughts in our comments below!

 

Cute, Modern and Classic Songs for a Baby Lullaby Playlist or CD

Usually the most thoughtful gifts and gestures are those that come from the heart. Consider making up a fun iTunes playlist or mixed CD of songs for your own baby or as a gift for an expecting friend or family member. No doubt this caring gesture is one that mom and baby can enjoy together even before baby is born. The songs can be simple and melodic or truly baby themed all the way. You should try to keep a consistent theme in your playlist and create multiple baby music playlists if you feel so inspired. Consider these suggestions for cute, modern songs for a baby lullaby playlist to play for an unborn baby.

As you plan the modern songs for baby playlist, keep in mind the typical music preferences of the mom-to-be as well as the tone of each song. Seek songs that are soft and melodic and peaceful to listen to, while still upbeat and pleasant. The music should be overall happy and sweet sounding.

Here are some suggestions for songs to include on a baby lullaby music playlist or mixed CD:

1.       Somewhere over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

2.       You Are My Sunshine – Liliana Rose

3.       What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

4.       Have I Told You Lately That I Love You – Rod Stewart

5.       Unforgettable – Nat King Cole

6.       Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin

7.       The Rain Song – Led Zeppelin

8.       Open Arms – Journey

9.       Never Let You Go – Third Eye Blind

10.   Sail Away – David Gray

11.   Babylon – David Gray

12.   You Belong to Me – Jason Wade

13.   You Were Meant for Me – Jewel

14.   Wherever You Will Go – The Calling

15.   You and Me – Lifehouse

16.   Breathing – Lifehouse

17.   Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing – Aerosmith

Another option for mom and baby to enjoy music together would be the wide selection of CD sets. This series of compact discs covers everything from melodic Beatles midis to toned-down, lullaby renditions of Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Smashing Pumpkins, and so many others. You can find just about any mainstream band that the mom-to-be enjoys in this collection of modern lullabies.

You might also want to make a playlist of classical music to enjoy with your little one. Consider sweet, melodic songs like Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, and even some of the romantic classical tunes often used in weddings, like Pachelbel’s Canon in D and Bach’s Air on the G String. Babies are said to enjoy the songs of Mozart while sometimes showing dislike for songs of Beethoven, exhibited by more intense kicking.

If you would like to bond with your baby before he or she is born, consider playing music and enjoying tunes together for a few minutes each day. You can use old school headphones on your belly or take advantage of a soft and cuddly alternative – the Lullabelly Music Belt, which grows with you in your pregnancy. This item has an adapter that allows you to listen with headphones while a small speaker delivers the proper decibel of sounds to your baby in the womb through your tummy. The Lullabelly product paired with a baby lullaby playlist or iTunes gift card can be a fantastic baby shower gift that the mom will cherish for this baby and any subsequent siblings to come.

What other songs can you think of that would fit nicely on a baby songs playlist or mixed CD? Please share them in our comments below so others can benefit from your great ideas. We’ll be sure to update the article as well.

 

Fun and Crafty Activity Weekends for Girls

Girls’ weekends can be so much fun! Whether you are an adult in need of a girls’ retreat or a teenager looking for fun things to do with your friends on the weekend, activity weekends for girls can be just the thing you need to relax and unwind after a busy, hectic week at work or school. So many crafty activities can become the perfect filler for your weekend of fun activities with your favorite girls. Consider these suggestions for activity weekends for girls or use them as inspiration to come up with other ideas.

Depending on your interests, you can find a wide variety of weekend activity ideas and crafts to try with your girlfriends. You and the girls can go to a certain venue for your girls’ activity weekend, or you can gather all the supplies and host an activity weekend for the girls at your own home. Consider these suggestions for fun weekend activities to try with your friends.

Ceramics or Pottery Weekend
Taking a class in sculpting or using the pottery wheel can be great fun for a group of girls. Depending on your skill level or interest in learning, you can try to make bowls, vases, and even small sculptures. If you and the girls aren’t up for a girls’ weekend activity as involved as pottery, you can also consider painting ceramics at a studio. This craft is less intense and more relaxing, and you can often choose from many different pieces to paint. Some pottery studios even allow their guests to enjoy wine during their workshops and sessions.

Glassblowing Weekend
A glassblowing workshop can be the perfect weekend activity for girls. This activity is often offered in instructional workshops of two to four hours for groups of a few people at a time. At most glassblowing classes, you will learn about various techniques and the equipment used for glassblowing first. Then you will have a chance to make a decorative glass creation of your own under the guidance of the instructors. Many classes allow you to make paperweights, ornaments, or other decorative glass objects. This can be a great bonding experience with a nice memento of the occasion.

Jewelry Making Party
A jewelry making party can be a fun girls’ weekend activity to host at your own home. Ask each friend to bring some supplies – connecting pieces, beads, wire, or tools. You can make anything from necklaces and chokers to earrings, bracelets, and more. This activity can be great fun for girls and women of any age. Even young girls can enjoy making beaded necklaces and bracelets.

Painting Party
A rising trend for women is going to a painting party and enjoying a bottle of wine with your friends. You and the girls can paint the day away, enjoying great conversation, companionship, and perhaps a glass or two of wine or some other refreshments. Look for studios in your area or relatively nearby that offer this kind of workshop activity.

Stitch & Bitch
If you and your girls are into knitting or crocheting, you can have a great time throwing a stitch and bitch gathering. This is basically a knitting and crocheting party with snacks, wine, and the opportunity to vent about whatever’s been bothering you lately. You can also add in some movies or other enjoyable background to set the mood and create a great setting for your girls’ weekend.

Cookie Bake
Who doesn’t love baking? You can make a really fun girls’ activity weekend with a cookie bake party or a weekend where each guest brings her own recipe and unique ingredients as needed. You can make lots of yummy treats or new confections in the comfort of someone’s home. Be sure to have wine on hand as well as pizza, Chinese food, or other easy takeout foods. The cookies and baked treats will be your dessert and something that you can all enjoy together, over the weekend and as take-home treats.

These ideas should get you started in planning a fun and crafty activity weekend for girls. What other activities would be a good fit for a girls’ weekend? Please share your ideas in our comments below.