Tips on Writing an Easter Message or Sending an Easter Wish to Loved Ones

It may not always be possible to see all of your loved ones on a particular holiday, so sending special Easter messages, letters, or greeting cards this time of year can really make a nice impact if your presence isn’t a possibility. Share your Easter sentiments with your loved ones through Easter messages, greeting cards, comments, text messages, or even just a simple phone call.

Easter may not be as popular a holiday as Christmas and Thanksgiving, but the idea of sending Easter messages or wishes can be perfect to show your family, friends, and loved ones how much you care. Consider these tips on writing an Easter message or sending an Easter wish to loved ones to help you collect your thoughts.

Spending Easter Apart from a Significant Other – Share an Easter Wish
Many times before you’re married, holidays get spent with immediate family and maybe extended relatives. If you won’t be seeing your boyfriend, girlfriend, or fiancé for the Easter holiday, consider sending a special Easter greeting card complete with its own handwritten Easter wish. You can share an Easter wish with your significant other to express how you feel and how much you look forward to getting together next.

Another option for an Easter message for your significant other would be to pen a poem or a song for your sweetheart. You can share handwritten verse or lyrics expressing your love and tying in elements of nature from the freshly sprung spring season.

Spending Easter Apart from Grandparents – Send Easter Greetings
More than likely, your grandparents will truly appreciate an Easter greeting card with sentiments you personally inscribe. You can personalize your Easter greetings for your grandparents by including a letter with some details on the recent happenings in your life, or you can include recent photographs of yourself and your family.

If your grandparents are the gambling type or even if they enjoy a little game of chance, consider including a few scratch-off lottery tickets in their Easter greetings. Remember to hand-write a special note to your grandmom and grandpop to let them know how much you care, that you miss them, and you can’t wait to spend time together soon. You can even deliver your special messages on the phone. Even if you will be spending the Easter holiday together with your grandparents, a handwritten Easter card can still go a long way to show you much you love them.

Spending Easter Apart from Parents or Siblings – Send Easter messages or letters
Perhaps this is the year you spend Easter with your in-laws. If you won’t be able to see your parents, siblings, or immediate family for Easter, consider sending an email or a text message to each family member. You could also stick a handwritten or typed letter in the mail. You should probably call your parents on the phone, but you can also send a greeting card or a letter to share your feelings at Easter.

You might also consider sending flowers to your mom with a special Easter message. You can base your Easter communications on how your family normally interacts. If you can’t spend this Easter with your family, try to make arrangements in the future to spend Easter together if you like. You can also plan an alternative get-together in the near future.

Easter Comments to Consider
Consider these key themes and ideas as you prepare your Easter comments:

Romantic Easter Comments
–    Beautiful spring flowers and nature remind me of our love.
–    Our love blossoms and grows like a new bud in spring.

Easter Comments for Family
–    Thinking of you and wishing we could be celebrating the holiday together. Happy Easter!
–    Despite the distance between us, you’re here in our hearts this Easter.
–    Wishing we could be together for Easter, but sending our love just the same!

Easter Comments for Friends
–    Wishing you and your family a lovely spring and a Happy Easter!
–    Thinking of you at this special time and wishing you a wonderful Easter holiday.
–    Happy Easter!

Remember to share your special Easter messages and an Easter wish with all those who are near and dear to you. Whether by phone, text message, email, letter, greeting card, or other form of communication, your special Easter messages will show your loved ones that you care and that they’re on your mind. Happy Easter!

Choosing Easter Flowers for Mom, Mother-in-Law, and Grandmother

Giving a gift of Easter flowers is a very nice gesture for family and friends. Your mother, grandmother, or mother-in-law will appreciate the flowers, which can serve as a symbol of thanks or a symbol of hospitality. As you think about the different types of Easter flowers, keep in mind your recipient’s favorite colors, fragrances, and preferences, if you know them. If not, don’t worry – your gift of Easter flowers will still make a great statement of thanks and appreciation.

Consider the following tips to help you select beautiful and fragrant Easter flowers for your mom, grandmother, or mother-in-law.

Different Types of Easter Flowers
Some of the earliest flowers to bloom when spring gets here are daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, and Easter lilies. You can find daffodils in yellow, white, or even a blend of white and pink or peach. Hyacinths most commonly come in pink, purple, blue, and white. Easter lilies feature white trumpet shaped blossoms on hardy green stems. Tulips come in just about every color imaginable, with many boasting a pretty two-toned or tie-dyed effect.

You can choose a perfect plant or bouquet from the different types of Easter flowers available, keeping in mind your mom’s, grandmother’s, or mother-in-law’s favorite types of flowers, favorite colors, or preferred fragrance. If you don’t know the best Easter flower off the top of your head, simply take your best guess – it is hard to go wrong with a gift of flowers!

Tips on Giving Easter Flowers as a Gift
Giving Easter flowers as a gift is a great option when you want to show appreciation for those you love. You can give pretty spring flowers as a gift when you go visiting for the Easter holiday or you can offer Easter flowers as a take-home gift if you are hosting the holiday at your own home. Consider these tips on giving Easter flowers as a gift in the springtime.

•    Consider giving each important female figure in your family or in-laws their own Easter flowers.

•    Think about giving potted flowers at Easter instead of a bouquet. Your recipient can plant the bulbs to keep the flowers coming back every year.

•    If you are hosting the Easter holiday, use the flowers as part of your décor and then offer them as parting gifts to your special guests.

•    If you do opt for live flowers, remind your recipients that they can plant the bulbs for new blooms next year.

You can usually find pretty spring flowers at your local nursery and even your grocery store or pharmacy from time to time. Be sure to water the flowers if you buy them in advance. If you opt for cut flowers, consider pairing the bouquet up with a nice glass vase to keep them fresh and fragrant. Enjoy!

Help Your Posture and Reduce Back Pain with Stretchsitting

Today’s corporate culture often involves sitting in cubicles in front of computers and telephones for the majority of the day, if not the entire day. Sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time often leads to slouching down in the desk chair and other poor posture habits.

Did you know you can actually improve the way your back feels on a daily basis simply by maintaining better posture? Try Stretchsitting – a comfortable way to sit that also helps to reverse the damage caused to your back by constantly slouching or hunching over in your chair. Improved posture can lead to reduced back pain, so why not give Stretchsitting a try?

Esther Gokhale is an expert in pain-free living and the author of 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back. She developed Stretchsitting, which she describes as “lengthening the spine against the back of a chair” as a means of immediately decompressing discs in your back and preventing new damage. Gokhale’s technique has shown that over a period of months, individuals practicing Stretchsitting can actually become ¼” to 1” taller over time.

Some of the other benefits of Stretchsitting include improved circulation and better nerve function around the spine.

To practice Stretchsitting for yourself, follow these steps by Esther Gokhale:

1.    Before you begin, attach a cushion to your chair so that it hits you at mid-back, below the shoulder blades. (Esther Gokhale offers a Stretchsit Cushion for sale.)

2.    Scoot your bottom all the way back in the chair.

3.    Lean forward from the hips, and tilt your ribcage forward, like you are doing a mini-crunch.

4.    Hold the armrests or side bars on your chair and, while still tilted forward, press against them to get a gentle stretch in your lower back.

5.    Keeping the stretch, lean back from your hips and stick your mid-back on to the Stretchsit cushion.

6.    Come out of the mini-crunch and relax completely, letting the Stretchsit cushion keep you in mild traction.

7.    Roll each shoulder back and rest your hands close in to your body.

8.    Angle your chin down slightly, letting the back of your neck be long.

–    All steps provided directly from Esther Gokhale.

You can feel healthier over time by practicing Stretchsitting, and you might just grow a tiny bit taller. The health benefits of good posture make Stretchsitting worth a shot. For more information on Stretchsitting and Esther Gokhale, please visit http://egwellness.com. To buy 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back, please find her book at Amazon.com.

Weekly Deal Dispatch – Hot Deals and Promo Codes for Online Shopping

Free Gifts From Our Top Brands at ULTA.comEveryone loves a good deal. That’s why we are going to be bringing you the hottest deals we can find on the Web each week so you can save money and get the most for your bucks. Because we’re going to be updating this very same page with the new deals each week, you can feel comfortable bookmarking this page and coming back as often as you like to check up on the great deals and promo codes on the Web with our partners and other exciting offers we find.

Enjoy these deals and promo codes for March 2010:

Saving money and getting good deals allows you to select nicer gifts for family and friends. Try to find great presents at a fraction of the cost, allowing you to choose memorable gifts for those you love.

Save up to 20% on Unique Gifts at RedEnvelope Red Envelope – Save up to 20% on unique gifts for him, her, or them. The men’s collar stays shown in the image to the left are a huge hit with my husband. They make a great gift for the guy who is the impossible one on your shopping list. No current expiration date.

Keeping up with the latest fashions can become a hard habit to break, but also an expensive hobby. When you scour the Web for deals and discounts at your favorite stores, you can save yourself some money as well as frustration.

Walgreens – 50% off photo prints (30+), valid 3/28/10-4/3/10. Use promo code EASTER

e.l.f. Cosmetics – All Mineral makeup 25% Off! Use Coupon Code EGMINERALC With Any Order Of $25.

Hammacher Schlemmer – Save up to 60% at the Hammacher Schlemmer Special Values Sale-While supplies last.

 

Where would your spring look be without cosmetics? Celebrity makeup artists love Smashbox products, and you will too. Score yourself some hot new makeup products and try all the trends of the new season.

$25 off $100 purchase

Smashbox Cosmetics – Enjoy this great deal by Smashbox Cosmetics… get $25 off your purchase of $100. Get all your spring makeup colors and revamp your look for the fresh air and warmer temperatures. Valid through 3/31/2010.

 

 

For all the odds and ends on your shopping list, you can get many things at Walgreens and the store even offers you a substantial savings. Preorder some of your health and personal hygiene needs or simply shop for the things you love.

Shop Walgreens.com!

Walgreens – Get $10 off your $50 purchase using this banner. Stock up on those items you always need to have, or find a way to pamper yourself while getting great savings. No expiration date yet.

 

Stay tuned for more weekly and monthly deals on items you can really use and great ways to save money on things you would be buying anyway. Enjoy!

Brighter, Fresher Teeth on the Go with the Colgate Wisp™

Let me start off by saying that I love the idea of this tiny disposable mini-toothbrush simply because it is so adorably cute. Plus, the Colgate Wisp™ does have quite a few favorable traits. It is small, easy to carry, and easy to use.

The Wisp is perfect for people of all ages, but it is particularly nice for women who want to look their best, feel their best, and kiss their best. This tiny little brush offers a clean taste with a little pick-me-up of minty freshness. I liked its taste and the fact that I could tuck it away into my tiniest of purses when going out-on-the-town for the night. In fact, this mini-toothbrush is so small that you can put it into a back pocket without any trouble at all.

Designed with a breath freshening bead that gives a fresh mouth taste without the need to use water to rinse, the Colgate Wisp is perfect for those of us who are constantly on the go. Skeptical at first, I quickly discovered that this handy little brush is worth its weight in gold. Not only did it freshen my breath and mouth with a strong burst of Cinnamint, but it also made my teeth feel clean.

As the makers of this tiny beauty tool suggest, it does provide a kissably clean smile. If you don’t believe me, try the Colgate Wisp™ for yourself and find out just how great it is. You have three wonderful choices for freshening flavors including Cinnamint, Peppermint, and Spearmint. I received a generous sample of the Cinnamint Colgate Wisp™ for the purposes of this review and I have to admit that I really do love it.

So, if you want to be prepared when you are out and about, tuck a two-pack of the Colgate Wisp™ into your purse and you can take a moment to discreetly clean and freshen your teeth anytime and anywhere. The packaging utilizes a slimshell design with an easy pull tab on the foil back. The mini-toothbrush is designed with a soft pick that is great for removing food after a meal or the plaque that tends to develop in between the gum line throughout a long day.

It might be a good idea to have one or more Colgate Wisps in your purse for the next time you get stuck in an airport, go hiking or camping, or take a long journey to visit a friend or attend a party. Colgate Wisp™ is sold in a generous 16-pack size for about $8.00 or a convenient 4-pack size that retails for $2.39.

Product provided free to writer for reviewFor more information or for a coupon for 50 cents off on Colgate Wisp™, visit http://www.colgatewisp.com/wisp/HomePage.

For Better Health, Energy, and Physique, Try these Nutritional Supplements

If you’re looking for (or are considering) an alternative to dietary supplemental vitamins, consider trying any of the following products. They are environmentally friendly and are organically tuned into the needs of their consumers.

Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of trying two liquid dietary supplements from Argo Labs as well as Oxylent premiere blend supplements. I have enjoyed not only the ease of “drinking” vitamins (rather than swallowing pills) but I’ve also enjoyed the benefits I’ve encountered in the process.

Naturally Noni 2X double strength was one of the first products I received from Agro Labs. At first taste, you’ll notice a very succulent, yet rich flavor of Noni Herbs (grown in Polynesia). I can’t even begin to describe the flavor to you, but I will say that I enjoyed the aftertaste as well as the initial trial run with this product. I’ve even noticed some of the effects from this herb taking place. I feel more at ease, I feel calmer and balanced; ready to tackle the day.

Naturally Noni is a sacred herb grown in the volcanic rich soil of Polynesia. Noni is known for its healing process for the body, mind, and soul (spirit). Naturally Noni 2X is available in 16oz and 32oz bottles and the recommended daily dosage is not to exceed three ounces.

I was also given the opportunity to try Naturally Pomegranate (made with organic Pomegranate). Just as Naturally Noni, it is in liquid form, but rather than working to toward enhancing your body, mind, and spirit, this product works towards maintaining and promoting optimal cardiovascular health.

Though I haven’t used Naturally Pomegranate for more than a week, I already feel better about using such a product. Maybe it’s because I know that I’m using a product that, in due time, will help promote better cardiovascular health (which is always a good thing). At this time, being new to using the Agro Labs products, I’m happy. I feel good both inside and out. I have not felt any ill effects nor have I felt an urge to quit using them.

If you are looking for an alternative to the normal daily vitamins and are looking for something that can promote more than what the daily vitamin has to offer, please consider reading more on Agro Labs’ products. They have many beneficial products to consider.

Naturally Noni, Naturally Pomegranate (as well as other Agro Labs Naturally products) can be purchased online by visiting www.Costco.com, the Vitamin Factory, or by visiting www.drugstore.com.

To add to the wonderful list of supplemental vitamins I received, I also received some nice and thirst quenching supplemental drinks along with a nice moisturizing lip balm from Vitalah that are sure to stay at the top of my vitamin lists.

Vitalah is unique in the sense that each drink (an array of flavors) is filled with high quality essential nutrients. Each drink creates a synergistic environment and you feel a boost of functionality at peak levels throughout the day.

Oxylent Lip Balm is definitely a product worth considering. I know that there are many lip balms to choose from and many that are very satisfactory; I will not dispute that, but once you’ve tried Oxylent Kisses for the first time, there’s definitely a difference. I was very, very impressed at how wonderful this lip balm truly was. It instantly made my lips go from “okay” to “amazing” in a matter of seconds. It kept my lips moisturized long after the balm had wiped away, and when used again, it gives that much more of an effect on the surface and feel of your lips. Did I mention it had flavor? Oops, it’s Raspberry – Yum!!

Every one of these products is worth the time to try, read about, and purchase. I for one am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to try them. I will be telling many friends about the two brands featured here today because I feel strongly about the companies and their products.

There are many products to consider and if you’d like to read more on Vitalah, please visit www.vitalah.com.

Products provided free to writer for reviewDisclosure: The statements and opinions I share are my own. Please be advised that these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are also NOT intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. I was sent these products for the purpose of my review; based on my experiences with the products, therefore, I bare no responsibility for others who feel differently. Thank you.

Tips for Planning a Fantastic Hockey Party

If you love the game of hockey, then you will love the idea of hosting a hockey party for your friends and/or family. Even if you aren’t a fan of the game yourself, you can still have a lot of fun planning a hockey party for your better half who might just be an avid hockey fan.

Depending on your preference, you can center the entire party on a hockey theme or you can tone it down a bit and focus just the decorations on this theme. You should be able to find hockey-themed party goods including plates, cups, napkins, banners, etc at most brick-and-mortar or online party stores. Buy plastic silverware in the team’s colors. Make a list so that you can stick to your budget. This is important if you don’t want to have an overly large credit card bill next month.

All Out Hockey Play for Your Party

Okay, while you might find some of the following suggestions to be a bit over-the-top, die-hard hockey fans are sure to appreciate them. Use a white tablecloth and colored markers to create your own hockey floor, but be sure you leave some space for the fans. If you want to go all crazy, use colored candies instead of markers to create the blue lines, etc.

Since you can’t exactly serve pucks for food, serve biscuits in a basket otherwise known as scoring a goal. Place these down at one end of the table in the goal section. Down at the end of the table where the net would be located, set up the cookies in place of the “cookie jar” or top section of the net.

Put the chicken wings out where the left and right wings would be in play. Set up the “hot dogs” in the center of play somewhere on the hockey rink that you have created.

Put some boobirds (blue marshmallow peeps) up in the nosebleed section. While you are at it, place a few puck bunnies (pink marshmallow bunnies) near the hockey floor so they can cheer the players on.

Draw up a penalty box area on the tablecloth and sit your burgers in there. Use some red hot dollar candies out on the ice for pucks. Turn some lollipops upside down along the penalty box for hockey sticks. For some true hockey fun, place a couple of toy zebras out in your homemade rink as well. With a little bit of imagination, you are sure to come up with a few good ideas of your own to add a personal touch to your display.

Whichever way you decide to set things up for your hockey party, make sure that you put some effort and time into your menu planning. A full tummy is a happy tummy and a happy tummy makes a happy guest. So, if you provide plenty of yummy treats everyone will go home happy whether or not the guest’s favorite hockey team won the game.

Planning the Hockey Party Menu…


Simplify Your Party Clean Ups with Flings® Pop-Up Trash and Recycle Containers

Having a party takes a lot of work and planning, but it is certainly worth the effort to see lots of smiling faces, hear giggling and laughter, and catch up with old and new friends. Clean up, however, is another story entirely. Sometimes, the time that I spend cleaning up after a party is longer than the time that I needed to spend to prepare for it.

Here a Cup, There a Cup, Everywhere a Cup- Enough, Enough!

After hosting a large event, I have already gotten frustrated when I discovered half-empty cups, paper plates, and napkins everywhere from the fireplace mantel to the bookshelves. Perhaps it isn’t that my guests are slobs or they figured that I could just clean the mess up at my leisure. Perhaps the problem is simply that my guests could not find the trash can.

Plus, maybe my guests haven’t always been sure that I recycle. Maybe that is why they have been more likely to leave their empty beverage cans out in the open on a table or window ledge rather than placing them in the trash can where they will end up in a landfill somewhere. Of course, they should have been able to discover my recycling container since I keep it right next to the trash can. Ah well, it is nicer to give my guests the benefit of a doubt.

Now, however, I won’t have to do that anymore because I have discovered the Flings! Let me tell you, I really wish that these clever stand-alone trash bags had been around when I was throwing four kids birthday parties a year- twice that if you count family parties for birthdays.

What Are the Flings® Pop-Up Trash and Recycle Containers?

The Flings offer an easy solution to trash and recycling concerns at any party. As long as you purchase enough of these free-standing trash and recycling receptacles, you won’t have to worry about clean up at all. Just set them up and forget about them until it is time to clean up from your party.

They offer a nice option to setting up trash cans all over your home, backyard, or rental hall or taping trash bags to the end of the table. Who has that many spare trashcans anyway? The Flings are big enough to hold 13 gallons of waste or recyclables; and they are sturdy and leak-proof.

With Flings, you don’t have to keep emptying your trashcan and replacing the trash bag. Just set enough of these attractive alternatives around the areas where you think you are going to need them and you are done! Once the Fling is filled, simply pull up the top of the bag and close it securely using the drawstring. Toss it in your primary trash receptacle and that’s it. No borrowed trashcans to return. No back and forth scurrying. It is simple, easy, and affordable!

What Do the Flings® Pop-Up Trash and Recycle Containers Look Like?

Flings are currently offered in five different patterns. The recycling design is easily recognizable with the green and white display featuring the recycling logo. Most people recognize this, so they have no problem knowing to place their recyclables in it. That is one of the reasons why this particular style of Fling makes it so terrific to use for tailgate parties and BBQs.

Pair the recycling design up with the picnic/BBQ design and you even have an extra touch of ambience for your party. The picnic/BBQ design is adorable. It features burgers and franks along with bright yellow swirls and suns.

The holiday design offers an attractive red and white display of bows. Two all-occasion designs are available with either cake and stars or balloons and stars. These are great for all types of parties including birthday parties, showers, retirement parties, and holiday gatherings.

Not only do you get easy clean up for each event, but you never have to worry about trash spilling over or out of trash bags that have been secured to the end of a table or on a doorknob.

Pricing and Shipment of Flings

Flings are sold in a variety of combinations that pair up certain designs. You have two quantity options: 4 for $15.99 or 10 for $29.99. If you are interested in trying these adorable freestanding trash bags, visit http://www.Flingsbins.com/Default.asp. There’s even a short YouTube video showing you how easy it is to set these up and use them. Plus, they are currently offering free shipping!

Product provided free to writer for reviewDisclaimer: I received one recycling Fling and two all-occasion Flings to review. I can’t see how you could possibly disagree, but you do have that right. These trash bags are terrific! It is about time someone created stand-alone trash bags that are attractive and functional.

Great Gifts for Pregnant Mommies and New Moms

Consider these great gifts for pregnant / expectant women.What kind of gift do you get for a new mom or a pregnant woman without overdoing the baby clothes and accessories? Sometimes a special gift with the mom herself in mind can be the best kind of gift. From pampering products to stylish nursing clothes, gifts for expecting moms and new moms have come a long, long way.  You might just have to get a little creative.


As you plan to select a gift for your pregnant friend or family member, remember to keep her personal tastes in mind. That can greatly help you in selecting a personal gift that is both useful and meaningful. Consider these gift ideas for pregnant mommies and new moms.

Gift Idea #1: Toe Stretchers, Yoga Toes, or Pampered Toes
Yoga Toes are great for pregnant moms.Sometimes the extra weight and the sheer exhaustion of being pregnant can cause pains in the feet, back, and other parts of the body. To help alleviate some of the discomfort, consider getting your expectant friend a set of toe stretchers like Yoga Toes or Pampered Toes by the maker of the Ped Egg. You can be sure she will appreciate the few moments of relaxation these types of products can provide to a tired mom-to-be.

Toe stretchers like Pampered Toes and Yoga Toes can range in price greatly. I recently picked up a pair of Pampered Toes at Bed Bath and Beyond for only $5, with the regular price being about $10. However, the Yoga Toes product typically sells for around $50 if my memory serves me. No matter what you decide, your friend’s body will thank you for it.

Gift Idea #2: French Toile Nightgown by Expressiva Nursingwear
Even new moms like to feel sexy during and after their pregnancies. A nightgown that is stylish and comfortable at the same time fits the bill for a perfect gift for an expectant mommy. The French Toile Nightgown by Expressiva Nursingwear is decked out in a fashionable red and cream pattern with lace trim at the bottom of the skirt and all the way around the bust area. The pattern includes hearts, flowers, and a bunch of swirls, curves, and abstract shapes, similar to paisley.

The French Etoile Nightgown by Expressiva - reviewThe bra cups for this comfy nursing nightgown are triangle shapes with adjustable straps and little clippies that easily unclip to reveal the hidden nursing area for easy breastfeeding while still keeping you covered up from sight. It seems like the folks at Expressiva have thought of every last detail in this lovely French Toile Nightgown. The style, pattern, and cut are gorgeous for any pregnant mommy or new mom. The fabric is soft and luxurious; a blend of polyester, rayon, and spandex. Add a pair of slippers and you have the perfect gift set. While I am neither pregnant nor a new mom at this point in my life, I am definitely going to remember this brand and their attention to quality when I am!

Expressiva specializes in nursing clothes for moms, such as supportive nursing bras, nursing nightgowns and pjs, nursing tops, and a nursing dress for special occasions. For more information, please visit www.expressiva.com.

Gift Idea #3: Gift Certificate to a Spa, Salon, or Other Special Store
Give the new mom or mom-to-be some special “me-time” with a gift certificate for something utterly indulgent like a day spa or high end salon. Your expectant friend can get a new haircut or indulge in a massage whenever she feels up to it following her pregnancy. A new haircut can help her feel sexy and sassy while a massage can truly rejuvenate her body and mind.

If the special mom-to-be isn’t a spa kind of gal, perhaps a gift certificate to a fancy boutique would do the trick. You can also look into gift certificates to nearby restaurants so she and her husband can escape for a romantic meal once things settle down.

No matter what, though, keep your friend’s preferences, likes, and dislikes in mind as you scope out her gift. All of these suggestions may not be a great fit for every expecting mom ever, but hopefully you can find the right gift in this list or while using this list as inspiration.

Novelty Items worth Remembering: The Rack Trap and Jack Cards Divorce / Breakup Cards

Do you ever shop online, looking for novelty items to purchase as a birthday gifts, anniversary presents, etc.? I always have so much fun looking for odds and ends. Things that would normally not be considered, I find, just because I’m “that person.” I’m the gal that has the cool and “un-thought-of” gifts at every party. I’m the gal that hunts high and low for something fun, quirky, and out of the norm… yep, that’s me.

I had an especially fun time reviewing the following two products. They are great novelty items that I’m sure you’ll find interesting too.

THE RACK TRAP – that’s right, The Rack Trap… it’s an item you’ll wish you had encountered a long time ago. It’s an interesting little number that you place in your bra and it holds anything from cash to credit cards and your license/ID to pictures. Practically anything you’d like to carry with you “on the go” without having to lug around anything else. It’s convenient, practical and so simple you can’t help but smile. The Rack Trap is definitely an ingenious idea and I give props to the makers!

Editor’s Note: The Rack Trap is an especially great fit for padded bras or supportive bras, but it can also work with decorative and delicate lace bras. If you plan to wear a more decorative bra, such as a delicate lace bra, proceed with caution so your shirt doesn’t reveal your secret pocket, or be sure to get yourself one of the lace style Rack Traps for a more delicate fit.

ARP: sold individually or in a set of four. Gold Version is $7.95 w/free shipping and the four packs are sold at $19.95 w/free shipping.

Available at: www.theracktrap.com

Next we have Jack Cards. Jack Cards is an amazing online Card store that has the funniest, cutest, most outrageous cards I’ve ever seen. Example: they have cards for any imaginable situation a person can fall into.

So you have a friend who’s just gone through a divorce; you so badly want to cheer your friend up because after all, we all know how tough that must be, right? Well, break the ice, fears, and sorrow with an amusingly fun card from Jack Cards. These cards will make anyone smile (even if only for a moment).

Let’s say there’s an occasion where a sincere card is more appropriate. Jack Cards can help. There are sections for birthdays and parties to humor and sincerity; romantic love to funny jokes and baby showers to giving thanks. In fact, there is not one occasion or situation Jack Cards won’t supply. The prices are exceptional and well worth the time to check them out; and with any purchase above $50.00, they are offering free shipping, too. Perhaps the nicest feature of all, Jack Cards will send your selected cards to you prior to the event or for you, addressed to your recipient. You still have the option to hand-sign each card with a personal message, while still enjoying the convenience of not having to visit the card shop.

ARP: As with any card, prices vary

Available at: www.jackcards.com

Products provided free to writer for reviewDisclosure: Sample products were provided in order to gather enough of an opinion based on my experiences with use. The thoughts and opinions within this article are my own and therefore I claim no responsibility for anyone who feels differently. For more information on the products listed in this review; please take a moment and visit the official websites provided. Thank you.

Mardi Gras Party Food Suggestions and Recipes

Try these tasty homemade beignets with this easy recipe to make them at home. Photo and recipe by Cafe du Monde.If you are planning a Mardi Gras party, your menu and party food ideas should be at the top of your priorities. Mardi Gras party food can be as basic or as elaborate as you’d like, and beginners have just as good a shot at creating the perfect Mardi Gras party menu as the experts. Simply decide what you would like to serve at your Mardi Gras party, gather the ingredients, and get cooking!

“The tradition of colorful beads and elaborate parades now stretches from New Orleans, Louisiana to all across the country. Mardi Gras is one of the fastest growing celebrations in the world and a great excuse to enjoy Cajun flavors. Ingredients such as shrimp, and bread pudding, and Louisiana yams are all representative of this unique cuisine. Everyone assumes that Louisiana food is hot and spicy, but I prefer to call it ‘well seasoned.’”


Prepare to host the party of a lifetime with perfect decorations and a star-studded Mardi Gras menu. Consider these Mardi Gras party food suggestions and recipes to help you plan your Carnival party.

Mardi Gras Food Suggestions
Depending on the amount of time you have and your own creativity, the food possibilities at your Mardi Gras party are virtually limitless. Baton Rouge based cookbook author of the trim&TERRIFIC cookbook series Holly Clegg offers the following Mardi Gras party food recipes from her latest book, trim&TERRIFIC Gulf Coast Favorites.

Mardi Gras Salad Recipe
“Get in the spirit with this festive salad of oranges, bacon, carrots, red onions, and green spinach representing Mardi Gras colors with a delicious slightly sweet dressing,” says author Holly Clegg. “Make the dressing ahead of time, have the salad ingredients ready to mix together, and toss when ready to serve.”

Makes 8- 10 servings

Try this colorful Mardi Gras salad featuring the traditional colors of Carnival. Photo and recipe by Holly Clegg.Ingredients:
2 teaspoons finely chopped onion
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 head red tip lettuce, washed, drained and torn into pieces
1 (10-ounce) package baby spinach, washed and drained
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 (11-ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
1/3 cup shredded carrots
4 slices center cut bacon, crisply fried and crumbled

Instructions:
1.    In a small bowl, whisk together onion, vinegar, sugar, mustard and olive oil.
2.    Refrigerate until ready to toss salad.
3.    In large salad bowl, combine lettuce, spinach, red onion, mandarin oranges, carrots and bacon.
4.    Toss dressing with salad when ready to serve.

Terrific Tip: Cook bacon in the microwave for crispy bacon without the fat. Drain on paper towels after cooking. Center cut bacon is a better choice to use.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya Recipe
“Of course, the best jambalaya is prepared in huge black cast iron pots, but here’s a quick home version that is equally good,” shares Clegg. “I used chicken and sausage but add pork or ham, if desired. This Louisiana favorite serves as a great family one-dish meal or is perfect for a large crowd.”

Makes 6-8 servings

For an authentic New Orleans dish, try chicken and sausage Jambalaya. Photo and recipe by Holly Clegg.Ingredients:
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
14 ounces reduced fat smoked sausage, sliced ½ inch thick
2 cups chopped onion
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cups rice
3 cups canned beef broth
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch green onions, chopped

Instructions:
1.    In large pot coated with nonstick cooking spray, brown chicken over medium heat until done, turning constantly.
2.    Remove and set aside.
3.    In same pot, coat with nonstick cooking spray and cook sausage until lightly browned.
4.    Remove and set aside.
5.    Coat the same pot with nonstick cooking spray and sauté onion, pepper, and garlic until tender about 5-7 minutes, scraping brown bits from bottom of pan. This adds color to the jambalaya.
6.    Add rice, broth, chili powder, thyme, cayenne, salt and pepper, browned chicken and sausage and bring to a boil.
7.    Lower heat, cover, and continue cooking until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 25- 30 minutes.
8.    Uncover, stir in green onions, and continue cooking over medium heat another 5 minutes.

Terrific Tip: When sautéing the chicken and sausage, the brown bits that stick to the pan give the jambalaya the lovely brown color and will come up when the broth is added. A secret tip is some add a little Kitchen Bouquet for that rich brown color.

Shrimp, Corn, and Sweet Potato Soup Recipe & Beignets…


Tips for Planning and Hosting a Mardi Gras Party

Throwing a Mardi Gras party can be easier than you think!For an unforgettable party idea, host a Mardi Gras party during Carnival season or any time of year. Your Mardi Gras party can be as tame or as wild as you like, but you should be sure to focus on your Mardi Gras party food and beverages, party favors and decorations, and of course, music. Consider these tips for hosting a Mardi Gras party to help you give your soiree the right atmosphere.

As you plan your Mardi Gras party, remember to make yourself a checklist of things to do as well as a grocery list of all the items you need to buy for your food and beverage offerings. Get a few CDs or create an iTunes playlist of your favorite Mardi Gras music and don’t forget to decorate your home for the occasion. For an even more memorable Mardi Gras party experience, encourage your guests to dress up in the Mardi Gras colors or ask everyone to wear a Mardi Gras mask to the party.

Consider these tips on hosting a Mardi Gras party from party planning experts and those who have attended Mardi Gras in person. You can always add your own special touches, too!

Mardi Gras Party Decorating Tips
Make sure you decorate for your Mardi Gras party.Setting the right atmosphere for your Mardi Gras party is vital to the way your guests feel when they walk through the door. Decorate your home with lots of gold, green, and purple to give the right feel to your Mardi Gras party. Be sure to get masks, beads, balloons, and feather boas to further decorate if the spirit moves you. Take some advice from the party pros or make up your own Mardi Gras party decorations however you see fit.

“Décor of traditional purple, green and gold should be abundant not only for the home (tablecloths, streamers, etc), but for the hosts and guests, too,” says Don Miller of Harrison Leifer DiMarco Public Relations. “Most party supply stores carry Mardi Gras supplies.”

Holly Clegg, Baton Rouge based cookbook author, suggests decorating your party tables with traditional Mardi Gras accessories like colorful beads and festive masks. You can strew them about the table for a casual yet classy look.

“Buy an assortment of green, purple, and gold paper napkins to enhance your theme and ensure easy clean up,” Clegg adds.

Mardi Gras Party Food Suggestions
Often the food at any party becomes a point of memory for years to come. If you plan your Mardi Gras party menu in advance, you can likely get all the supplies you need to create an authentic New Orleans style spread. Gather your favorite southern and Cajun recipes and let the fun begin!

Some top Mardi Gras party food ideas include:
–    Crab and corn soup
–    Jambalaya
–    Gumbo
–    Red Beans and Rice
–    Crawfish
–    Shrimp Po’boys
–    King Cake
–    Beignets

“Cuisine is vitally important, even for the non-experienced cook there are some good, quick dishes you can buy in the supermarket like jambalaya, red beans and rice, etc.,” Miller shares. “Andouille sausage is easy to find in most areas. Finally, an authentic King Cake can be ordered online and delivered in time for the celebration, and according to tradition, the person who finds the plastic baby in his or her piece of the King Cake gets to host next year’s party. First time revelers from my party last year are very enthused about hosting this year’s party and have been talking about it for months! Laissez les bon temps rouler!”

Don’t forget the ingredients or mix for your Hurricane drinks!

Mardi Gras Party Music Tips and Other Party Tips…