7 Tips for Hosting a Holiday Potluck Party

Holiday potlucks are a fun and economical alternative to the traditional corporate holiday party or holiday family gathering. Holiday potluck parties offer an interactive element that allows your guests to get involved by cooking, baking, or even picking up a snack or dish from the store or a restaurant if time is of the essence. With a few tips for hosting a holiday potluck party, your event can be as successful as can be.

Holiday potlucks offer a great option for a Thanksgiving party or a Christmas dinner party. You might also enjoy a holiday potluck in between holidays with your coworkers and friends from work. Holiday potlucks around Easter can be just as much fun – just don’t forget the Easter candy. You can, of course, host a potluck party any time of year – it needn’t be a holiday. Holidays are just such a great excuse to organize a potluck!

“There is nothing tacky about asking guest to bring something – you’re not skimping; you’re simply encouraging others to share in the creation of this event,” says Jes Gordon, celebrity event producer and author of Party Like a Rockstar.

As you prepare to host your holiday potluck, don’t forget to give your guests quite a bit of notice so they have time to contemplate recipes, make a shopping list, buy ingredients, and prepare their chosen dish. A minimum of two weeks advanced notice would probably be a good place to start, but if you have a spontaneous crowd, you can surely give less notice and see how it works out. Consider these tips for hosting a holiday potluck party to help guide you in planning your own special potluck event.

1.    Consider keeping track of the potluck dishes your guests plan to bring. Ask guests what they would like to make or bring so that you have a running list for the menu. Don’t force the issue if people still want to think about it – planning ahead is just a good practice to ensure you don’t end up with five hams and no sides or a room full of desserts. Once you know what most or all of your guests are bringing, you as the host or hostess can then fill in the gaps for whatever items are missing once the potluck date gets closer.

2.    For a festive atmosphere, consider a color scheme or theme for your potluck.
“So tell folks to bring something other than the ubiquitous green bean casserole – get them involved in the environment as well,” says author and celebrity event producer Jes Gordon. “As with any type of co-op, the best way to make it a success is with some form of structure. I suggest coming up with a holiday palette for the party. Instead of regular red and green and blue and white, re-imagine your own holiday hues like chocolate brown and copper – or put a spin on the originals by using navy blue and silver for a Hanukkah party. This way when you request items, you can tell guests to keep the color palette in mind when making their offerings.”

3.    Make your potluck a little competitive and a lot of fun. “We have a potluck lunch for the corporate office right before Halloween that is very successful,” says Kathy Doyle Thomas, executive vice president for Half Price Books in Dallas, Texas. “We vote on the best themed dish and best tasting dish. Each department enters a decorated pumpkin and we vote on the most creative. We have great entries. I always bring my mac and cheese and it is a favorite! I have won best tasting for two years, so I have taken my name out of the entries.”

4.    Get creative with how you warm up potluck food and keep it warm. “Most people bring desserts because they are easy to keep,” explains Kathy Doyle Thomas. “Hot or cold is never an issue, but we have had great stews and soups in crock pots. My take on the party is that most people like hearty warm foods. Since we do not have an oven in the break room, I have gotten metal containers with lit Sterno under them to keep the food warm.”

5.    Open the potluck invitation

Tips for Throwing a Sweet Sixteen Birthday Bash

Sweet Sixteen comes only once in a lifetime per person, and so many young girls look forward to this special birthday for so long. Sixteen marks the age in many states where a driver’s license may be obtained, and also a step closer toward adulthood. Celebrating the Sweet 16 birthday is a must for families with a teenage daughter. Depending on your daughter’s likes and dislikes, you can find the perfect Sweet 16 celebration style to suit your sweet teen.

Before you begin to plan your daughter’s Sweet 16 party, consider your teen’s personality and party preferences. Some girls may prefer an all-out birthday bash while others may prefer a smaller gathering with a few very close friends and family. Consider the following tips on throwing a Sweet 16 birthday bash for your daughter.

Sweet 16 Birthday Party Ideas for Outgoing Party Girls – A Surprise Party: Sweet 16 Birthday Bash
Outgoing birthday girls may truly enjoy a large scale event with all the fixings. A super surprise Sweet 16 birthday party may be the perfect treat to tickle this teen’s ego and personal preferences. Consider teaming up with some of your daughter’s closest pals to put together an unforgettable surprise party for your teen.

When it comes to the Sweet 16 party details, your outgoing daughter may appreciate a pink punch fountain for drinks and a chocolate fountain with all kinds of fruits and confections for dipping. Don’t skimp on the sweets and treats, snacks, appetizers, and of course, the music and decorations. Be sure to include all of your daughter’s friends, cousins, and family on the invite. Ensure that the Sweet 16 birthday cake is a sight to behold, and don’t forget 16 candles.

Sweet 16 Birthday Party Ideas for Intellectual Teens and Artistic Girls
Your intellectual daughter or artistic daughter may enjoy a cultural or a creative experience for her birthday. Plan a special birthday event such as a tour of a museum or a local historical sight, or an interactive craft session. You could really take advantage of a fun experience such as a ceramics class, pottery throwing class, or even a glass blowing demonstration / workshop for a small group.

Your artistic / intellectual teen might also enjoy an interactive cooking class where everyone in the group can participate, and of course, taste the results of their efforts. Painting, beadwork, and sculpting are just a few other options for the creative types of Sweet Sixteen birthday party ideas.

Sweet 16 Birthday Party Ideas for Athletic Girls and Sports Fans
A Sweet 16 party for the athletic daughter and sports fans can be especially enjoyable to Dad and the athletic or sports fan mom. Consider all of the fun professional and semi-pro sports teams in your area for a few ideas of what you can plan for your daughter’s Sweet 16 birthday party. If your daughter has a favorite sport or a loyal following to a particular team, that is a great place to start in planning her Sweet 16 party.

Depending on your budget, you might consider bringing a few friends to a pro or semi-pro sporting event or even renting out a party suite at the sporting venue if cost is not an issue. Remember though, the admission, the food, and the souvenirs at a sporting event can all add up quickly. Don’t forget to ask the venue’s ticket office or salespeople if there is a birthday party package available. If you plan your daughter’s sports related Sweet 16 party enough in advance, you might even be able to get her name and age noted on the screen or scoreboard at the game!

Sweet 16 Birthday Party Ideas for the Princess Type
If your daughter is really a princess at heart, you might find plenty of pinks and purples in decorations a wise choice. You can glitz things up with some glitter and streamers, and make if a fun day full of fantasy and excitement. Go the whole nine yards on the Sweet 16 birthday cake and make the entire day a big production.

Another fun option for your princess daughter is to organize a fun day of glamour and celebrity for your teen and a few select friends. Rent a limo and plan a day where the girls get to attend spa treatments or a show, concert, movie, or other fun event. Be sure to include a special stop for a Sweet 16 birthday meal, complete with cake, and don’t forget to end the day with sparkling cider or grape juice. If your daughter prefers, a slumber party may also be a great option for this special Sweet Sixteen birthday party.

Sweet 16 Birthday Party Ideas for Shy Girls and Low Key Loving Teens
If your daughter tends to be on the shy side, that doesn’t mean you can’t still make her Sweet 16 special. First, consider talking to her a few weeks to a month in advance to see what her ideal birthday party would be like. Perhaps it is merely a special dinner out with the immediate family. Perhaps it is a baking party with a few of her closest friends. You can get extra creative to ensure your shy teen has a memorable and enjoyable Sweet Sixteen party.

If your teen tends to be more relaxed and low key rather than shy, you can still plan a rather tame Sweet 16 party idea. Instead of going all out with the decorations and novelties, consider making the day special in other ways. Your daughter may simply want to invite a few friends over to watch movies and eat popcorn. She might prefer a simple pizza party for her sixteenth birthday. Either way, you probably have it a lot easier when it comes to planning your daughter’s Sweet 16 party!


No matter what you decide to do for your daughter’s Sweet Sixteen birthday bash, remember that this is a memorable occasion she’s likely anticipated for much of her life. You don’t have to break the bank to make this particular birthday special. Stick to your budget and find creative ways to enhance the atmosphere and the occasion without spending more than you can muster. As long as you put in a little effort, your daughter will be sure to appreciate all that you’ve done for her 16th birthday!

Satisfying the Male Appetite Isn’t Easy Unless You Have “Mad Hungry- Feeding Men and Boys” Among Your Cookbooks

Written by Lucinda Scala Quinn, the top expert on food entertaining for Martha Stewart, “Mad Hungry- Feeding Men and Boys” emphasizes preparing tasty recipes designed to provide vitality and health while satisfying appetites for both men and boys. It features recipes, strategies, and survival techniques that can be used to feed hungry men and boys. Let’s face it, satisfying the hunger of males is not an easy task. The recipes are simple, healthy, and delicious! You might want to find out for yourself and simplify your hectic life at least in the kitchen.

“Mad Hungry- Feeding Men and Boys” is divided into 5 excellent chapters:
•    Tools, Flavors, and Theories
•    Breakfast
•    Lunch
•    Dinner
•    Dessert

It makes a great deal of sense to start a cookbook off with a few important pointers on the preparatory tools needed to start a meal. Obviously, not all of us have been blessed with mothers who were culinary queens in the kitchen and this type of added help is certainly useful. From the obvious pots, pans, and utensils to the necessary shopping list and trip to the store to the final step of preparing the recipe, the tips include an eclectic array of practical, functional techniques. From tips on using a knife to tips on setting up a pantry to tips on shopping with the kids in tow to tips on cleaning up, you will find everything you need to know to get started in Chapter 1.

You will discover an amazing medley of recipes destined to show up on the breakfast table for the heartiest of appetites (a man’s) in Chapter 2. Try the Omelet for One for starters as it is truly delicious! From hot and cold beverages to just about every type of cooked egg imaginable to breakfast-friendly pastries to hearty meats, breakfast at the house for your guys will certainly never be the same once you begin to use this cookbook.

Chapter 3 continues the quest to serve up satisfying meals that will tempt the guy in your life. Only this time, the menu is one that includes a bevy of lunch-friendly temptations. As we all know, any food that can be eaten without the benefit of kitchen utensils offers a win-win situation. Not only can a wife, mother, or girlfriend prepare a healthy lunch for their man, but they can also be assured that it will be eaten and heartily at that! Suggested recipes include pocket pies, tasty sandwiches, empanadas, and burgers. Of course, utensils eventually enter the picture with a medley of healthy salads, soups, salsas, and pastas.

This book features an interesting array of flavorful suggestions for dinner as well, starting with a popular entrée of fried chicken and continuing through an entire bevy of different methods to prepare chicken. The pictures alone look tempting enough, so just imagine what you can do with the recipes.

If chicken isn’t your guy’s favorite, tap into some of the recipes for short ribs, chili, meatballs, lamb, pork, turkey with all of the trimmings, or a sensational set of steak entrees. For fish lovers, this book also includes some terrific tips on how to prepare healthy and delicious recipes for tuna, bass, salmon, and shrimp. You will also find instructions for preparing paella and lasagna so that you can satisfy the craver of carbs in your household. Following these recipes, you will even have your boys eating vegetables out of your hand including greens, smashed potatoes, and Italian fries!

The final chapter touches upon the Achilles heel of most women – DESSERT! Just try to avoid this chapter and you might discover that preparing a few of these tasty temptations for your men folk is actually the same as preparing them for yourself. Whether it is busy-day chocolate cake, old-fashioned apple pie, or oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, there happens to be a recipe to satisfy everyone’s discerning palate when it comes to desserts.

Product provided free to writer for reviewWhile you might not be as lucky as I have been to receive a free copy of “Mad Hungry- Feeding Men and Boys,” it is well worth the small price to purchase the book.

Simple Feng Shui for Your Thanksgiving Celebration

Most if not all of us know just how hectic it can be to plan a memorable and successful event, much less a special holiday meal for the whole family and extended relatives. Sometimes everything comes together perfectly, sometimes nothing does. This year rather than stress, try out some simple Feng Shui tips for your Thanksgiving festivities, compliments of ChicagoHealers.com Practitioner Dr. Andie Pearson, DMD.

Simple Feng Shui for Thanksgiving should not be intimidating to you in the least. You can start with as many or as few Feng Shui tips as you like for your holiday decorating. ChicagoHealers.com Practitioner Dr. Andie Pearson, DMD, shares her favorite five tips for simple Feng Shui at Thanksgiving time.

Simple Feng Shui for Thanksgiving Tip #1:
Clean and Clear – “No matter what the occasion, the first step in Feng Shui is clearing clutter and cleaning the area,” says Pearson.

Simple Feng Shui for Thanksgiving Tip #2:
Analyze – “After you have cleared, cleaned, and organized the area where you will be entertaining, you need to decided on themes, purpose, how many people will be invited, who will be there, and what activities and foods will you have,” Pearson explains. “This should help you with the rest of your planning.”

Simple Feng Shui for Thanksgiving Tip #3:
Color It Warm – “Plan the decorations with warm, relaxing colors,” Pearson suggests. “Use goldenrod, earthy greens, tans, amber, deep rich reds or maroons, etc. You want a color scheme that will be both relaxing and welcoming. Fall and Thanksgiving colors lend themselves to this very well.”

Simple Feng Shui for Thanksgiving Tip #4:
Traffic Flow – “Create a good flow of traffic throughout,” she adds. “Ask yourself – Are you having an actual sit down event, buffet, or cocktails with appetizers?”

•   Feng Shui for a Formal Thanksgiving Dinner: “If you are having a formal dinner, have that room separate from the rest of the party, allowing the rest of the party area to be designated as the place for social gathering,” Pearson instructs.

•    Feng Shui for a Buffet Style Thanksgiving Dinner: “For a buffet-style Thanksgiving, have an area for the food and a section for drinks,” she adds. “You will also need to have seating scattered about in organized fashion that doesn’t block flow of traffic.”

•    Feng Shui for a Thanksgiving Party or Cocktail Party: “A Thanksgiving party that is just snacks, appetizers, and cocktails has a bit of free flow,” Pearson notes. “You can arrange several areas for food and drinks scattered throughout the room so that people can stroll from place to place and socialize.”

Simple Feng Shui for Thanksgiving Tip #5:
Minimalist – “Decorations should be pleasing to the eye, but kept to a minimum,” Pearson advises. “Overly large or overwhelming items or too much clutter can create an environment of anxiety. The stimulation will be too much and will make it hard to relax into the party. Flower arrangements on the table or throughout the room should be conservative and moderate to short. Anything big or tall will not allow for conversion across the table. Because people will be visiting and talking, music would be very nice, but needs to be low and soft so that it doesn’t compete with everyone there.”

As you plan your Thanksgiving festivities, consider these helpful and simple Feng Shui tips from Dr. Andie Pearson, DMD. If you aren’t ready to go full Feng Shui, take note of any suggestions that do work for you and try those out first. You can always create a warm and inviting atmosphere with the right mindset – sometimes it just helps to have a bit of direction when it comes to Feng Shui.

“If you stick to the basics of Feng Shui, your party will be a success,” Pearson encourages. “So remember, clear and clean, plan in detail, go low and conservative on decorations, and allow for good social flow patterns throughout the party area.”

About the Expert:
Dr. Andie Pearson, DMD, is a practitioner at ChicagoHealers.com. She practices holistic dentistry, general dentistry, craniosacral therapy, body-based orthodontics, and dental homeopathy. For more information, visit www.holisticdentalservice.com.

Thanksgiving Traditions to Enjoy with Your Family

Thanksgiving time is a great time of year to remember why we’re thankful in our lives. Celebrating a special holiday like Thanksgiving with family can become a cherished family tradition. You can also make up your own family traditions to enjoy each year at Thanksgiving. Spending time with your family often blossoms into great memories and family traditions. Here are a few family traditions to consider for your loved ones at Thanksgiving.

1.    Cook or bake together. Make the stuffing together or bake up some Thanksgiving sugar cookies. Don’t forget the pies!

2.    Have everyone explain what in their lives makes them thankful. This is best practiced right after you say grace and right before you dig into your feast!

3.    Look at old family photos together and add new ones to the collection.
This can be especially fun when your sons and daughters are in their teenage years – especially if their significant others stop by for dessert!

4.    Watch the football games. This might also be a good time for a nap after all that turkey!

5.    Play flag football or touch football outside. This can be great fun with your family, friends, and neighbors. Just be careful not to get hurt!

6.    Go shopping together on Black Friday. Some shopping locations even open late at night on Thanksgiving to kick off the shopping festivities early.


7.    Swap your favorite recipes for the leftover turkey or ham.
This plan works great with your older children and your daughters-in-law especially.

8.    Play board games or card games after dessert. From Chinese checkers to Charades, you can surely find a fun board game that matches your family dynamic.

9.    Enjoy a signature cocktail. Shirley Temples for the kids! What a great way to unwind after all that cooking, cleaning, and visiting!

10.    Watch a movie snuggled under blankets and pillows. There’s no better way to relax with your loved ones on Thanksgiving night.

Whatever you decide to do for Thanksgiving with your family, consider starting or continuing a family tradition that you can enjoy every year. A Thanksgiving tradition can be lots of fun and a very memorable way to spend the holiday. Ask your family members what they would prefer to do and you can really make a great Thanksgiving family tradition for many years to come.

1 lb Down in 5 Days Challenge – Fitness Tips from a Celebrity Personal Trainer

Kristin Anderson demonstrates atomic crunches.Repeat after me: “I am ready to be the fit and healthy person that I have always wanted to be.”  I am serious. Say it out loud because positive self-talk is going to help you tune out all of the other negative talk that keeps us from reaching our goals.
What I am about to say may sound too simple but it’s true. If you can lose 1lb, then you can lose as many pounds as you want. All you need to do is believe that you can. It’s as easy as cutting 200-300 calories out of your dietary day and committing to a little exercise. In losing the first pound, you’re establishing habits and laying the groundwork for pounds 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, etc…

These are your tools for success; Planks, Lunges, Abs, Cardio (PLAC), and writing down your food. If you are honest with your food and fitness, then you are guaranteed to succeed.

Here is a 5 Day plan to get you started:

Day 1 Plank/Cardio: 1-5 minutes of Planking and 30 or more minutes of cardio.
Tip: Write down your food and replace one after 4pm carb snack with a lean protein and/or skip bread with dinner.

Kristin Anderson demonstrates how the plank positon should look.

Plank – Come on to all fours and then lift your knees up so that your body is in a straight line. Your hands should be under your shoulders, your sternum should be lifted while your tailbone is slightly tucked under and your low belly area is engaged. Tuck your chin slightly so that your neck is long. Press into your heels and fire up your whole body. Hold for as long as you can. Keep scanning your body for your form.

Day 2 Lunges/Cardio: 1-2 minutes of Lunges and 30 or more minutes of Cardio.
Tip: Eat smaller servings at each of your meals today.

Kristin Anderson demonstrates lunges should look.

Lunges – Take a parallel stance and stagger your feet with one foot going front and one going back. Make sure you have a large enough stance. Bend both knees and lower yourself down until your front thigh is parallel to the ground. Your torso should be slightly hinged forward, your ribcage should be up, stomach pulled it and back leg engaged. Your weight is in the heel of the front foot and on the toes and foot of your long back leg.  Draw your torso back up with control and repeat.

Day 3 Abs/ Cardio: 1 min of Bicycle crunches, 1 min oblique crunches and 30 or more min of cardio.
Tip: Plan your strategy when eating out and stick with it.

Kristin Anderson shows off some atomic crunches.

Abs – Lie on your back with your arms extended over your head and legs straight out in front.  Lift your arms and legs slightly off of the floor then contract your abs until you are in a full crunch, balancing on your butt with your arms hovering over your legs. Lower yourself back down with control and repeat. For an easier version you may do this with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.

Day 4 Plank/Lunges/Abs: 1 min of Plank, 1 min of Lunges each leg, 1 min of Abs (bicycle crunches). Repeat 3-5 times.
Tip: Log your food as soon as you eat it or right before. The longer you wait the less honest you may find yourself.

Day 5 Cardio “Plus”: 30 minutes of Cardio plus an extra set of stairs, walk around the block, or set of push-ups against the kitchen counter.
Tip: Steak in salad can be more satisfying than chicken or fish, helping you not to snack afterwards.

Kristin Anderson shows us how to do a cardio workout.

Cardio – Cardiovascular fitness refers to the ability of your heart, lungs and organs to consume, transport and utilize oxygen. When your whole body is literally breathing, you naturally feel better. To do “cardio” is to persist in continuous rhythmic exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, aerobic dancing, rowing, cycling, step training, skating, and cross-country skiing.  IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT HEALTH-RELATED COMPONENT OF FITNESS!!!

You can start these 5 days whenever you feel ready and repeat them as many times as you want. Now you have the tools to do it.

You may substitute M-TRAIN workouts for 1 or 2 cardio workouts per 5 day cycle. This can help keep you from getting bored or hitting plateaus.

In case you get overwhelmed, here are some “Cliff Notes” to help you:
*Consistency= Results
*Community= talking to people about your goals
*Using your body as a weight makes you leaner

Losing weight is not that complicated. It feels like it is because we make it that way.  Getting out of your own way and simply getting started is the key to losing weight and getting fit.  Focus on that first and the rest will come pretty easily.

About the Expert:
Celebrity Fitness Expert Kristin Anderson is a highly sought after personal trainer in Los Angeles. Anderson urges her clients and Web following to take the “1 lb Down in 5 Days” challenge. By following the 5 day cycle of Plank, Lunges, Abs and Cardio (or M-TRAIN) and keeping an honest daily food log, Kristin guarantees results with this challenge. For more information, please visit www.m-train.com.

10 Activities You Can Do With Your Teen Daughter for the Holidays

As a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and mother, I understand how difficult it can be to get quality time with your teen daughter. With all of the demands that the holiday season brings, it can often be overwhelming. Between the parties, shopping, cooking and planning, sometimes the really important things, like spending time with your teen, get pushed aside. Participating together in activities that connect you to your daughter not only help keep the spirit of the holidays real, they can be the best gift you give to each other. Spend time together making memories!

10 Activity Ideas

1.    Have a baking day. Together, pick out special recipes and spend the day baking. There is nothing like rolling out dough together to give you a chance for some meaningful conversations.

2.    Invite your daughter’s friends and their mothers over for a Holiday Tea.
You’ve already made the cookies. It allows you to get to know her friends and their moms while doing something fun.

3.    Volunteer. Together, pick a charity and spend time volunteering. Not only do you get the opportunity to be together, but you get into the spirit of the holidays by giving to others. This is a great message.

4.    Search for a craft project that would make great gifts for friends or neighbors and make them together. For example, one year we made cookie mix in a jar, decorated the jars, and took them to our neighbors.

5.    Have an afternoon of culture. Go to a Christmas play, concert, or ballet. You don’t have to spend a lot of money doing this since there are many local productions.

6.    Have a Christmas movie marathon. This is one of my favorites. Each year we get out our favorite Christmas movies, put on our PJs, pop popcorn and lay on the floor and watch movies continuously.

7.    Have a spa day at home. Get some festive nail polish and do mani-pedis. Who needs to go to the spa when you can do it in the comfort of your own home? When it is just the two of you and you are relaxed, the conversation just flows.

8.    Christmas shop together, but start early with breakfast out.
My favorite is to get up really early when all of the stores have the early bird specials. Take the advertisements, head off to your favorite breakfast place and come up with your game plan.

9.    Go for a walk one evening, and look at holiday decorations in the neighborhood. Then decide on the most beautiful as well as the house with the “most over the top” decorations.

10.    Start a holiday memory book. Get a journal and each of you write about the holiday season from your point of view. Don’t forget to put in photos. This is something you can do every year, and when your daughter has her own family, it can be passed to her.

Remember, the shoes you give her will go out of style or wear out, the designer jeans will do the same, but the memories and time you give her will always be in her heart.

About the Expert:
Start Talking: A Girl's Guide for You & Your MomJanine Sherman is an OB/GYN nurse practitioner in Houston, TX, who specializes in caring for teens and their moms. She is also the co-author of the book Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You & Your Mom. This easy-to read, lively, down-to-earth book is definitely teen-friendly and is ideal to help both mothers and daughters have engaging conversations about tough topics.

Top 10 Seniors Travel Getaways for Older Singles and Mature Couples

No matter what your age or what activities you enjoy, you should be able to find the perfect seniors travel getaway to suit you and your friends or your sweetheart without stressing over it. From cruises to secluded retreats, you can match your favorite activities and destinations to a great seniors travel getaway. Plan a trip with your sweetheart and other mature couples or get together with your favorite senior singles for an unforgettable vacation.

Senior travel ideas can be as low key or as exciting and adventurous as you wish. Your seniors travel getaway can include other people or just yourselves, and your mature travel destinations can work within any budget. Consider these top 10 seniors travel getaways for mature singles and older couples:

1.    Cruises – You can enjoy a cruise just about anywhere there’s water, from the Caribbean to New England to the Danube and beyond. You can cruise through Europe or cruise Alaska.  Whether you decide to cruise with your sweetheart only, with special friends, or with some of your family, a cruise can be just the ticket to relaxation and excitement all in one place. Seniors travel getaways via cruise ship can be especially exciting due to multiple ports of call and probability of other single seniors and mature couples.

2.    Disney Vacation with the Grandkids – If your kids will let you take their kids on a vacation getaway with you, a Disney vacation with the grandchildren may be the perfect mature travel destination for you. Walt Disney World and Disneyland both offer countless fun things to do with or without grandkids in tow, so even if you can’t swing a trip with the little ones, a Disney vacation may still be a great seniors’ getaway.

3.    Casino Getaway – A casino themed trip can be an excellent senior singles getaway or mature couples vacation. If you like to take your chances and try your luck, a trip to Las Vegas may be great if you’re all in. For a less extravagant seniors’ vacation getaway, try Atlantic City, Connecticut, or Michigan.

4.    Broadway Escapade – A trip to New York City can be a great way to relax and recharge your batteries as well as a fun place to enjoy a little nightlife and excitement. Visit New York with your closest mature friends – whether singles or couples – or simply your sweetheart for a memorable experience. Stay at a posh hotel and dine out at some of the city’s best hotspots. See a show on Broadway and make it a weekend to remember.

5.    Napa Valley Wine Tour – For a truly indulgent and relaxing senior getaway, consider a week or a weekend of wine, dining, culture, and leisure. If you aren’t able to make it all the way out to California for a true Napa Valley wine tour, consider getting together with some other mature seniors couples and plan your own local wine tour.

6.    Niagara Falls Romance – For a scenic and truly romantic seniors’ getaway idea, consider taking a trip to Niagara Falls. You can visit the American Falls or the Canadian Falls with your sweetheart or a few other mature couples for an unforgettable and romantic escape. If your budget allows, find a hotel room with a great view of the falls. While you’re there, enjoy shopping, dining, wine tasting, sightseeing, and more.

7.    Tropical Relaxation – Book a trip to your favorite tropical destination for some relaxation and respite. On your tropical senior getaway, you can enjoy tropical cocktails, relax on the beach, soak in the sun, and just enjoy the lovely warm weather. Sit hand-in-hand on the beach, gazing off at the horizon across the ocean in the distance.

8.    Mountains Retreat – Sometimes seclusion is the perfect senior getaway idea for any mature couple. Ignite the spark in your relationship at a romantic mountains retreat where you can spend quality time together for hours on end. Enjoy the views, take in some fishing or boating, and simply relax the days away. Meet up with other senior couples if your mature friends would like to enjoy a mountains retreat getaway too.

9.    Grand Canyon Adventure – A Grand Canyon vacation is another exciting, scenic senior getaway to consider. If you don’t mind heights – or even if you do – you can find a plethora of things to do in the Grand Canyon region with your senior sweetheart, other mature couples, and single senior friends. Plan to take a lot of pictures and take in the sights. The Grand Canyon seems like one of those places everyone should visit at least once!

10.    European Tour – For a cultural experience, a fancy and luxurious European vacation can be a great way to spend a mature couples’ getaway or even a senior singles vacation with your closest friends. From fabulous food to great wines, countless sights to see, shops to visit, and so much more, a European tour may be the perfect senior getaway.

No matter what you decide to do for your seniors’ vacation, remember to take a lot of photos and enjoy each day and each experience fully. Share tales of your mature travel experiences with your friends and family so they may also learn from your tips and enjoy their own fabulous senior vacations.

Healthy Holiday Travel

The holiday season is upon us, which means lots travel, unhealthy food, memorable moments, and our famous excuses such as, ”I’m traveling, there are no healthy options!” and “I’ll work it all off when I get home.” A typical American may gain upwards of 15 pounds during the winter months, including holidays. Why put you and your body through this when there are simple tips and ways around the holiday bulge?

Whether you travel by plane, train, or automobile, the only things moving are the means of transportation.


When traveling by car, I suggest the following tips:

– Stop to eat instead of sitting in the car and going through the drive-thru. For the budget conscious, this doesn’t have to be at a restaurant; there are some great sandwich shops that offer healthy and affordable meals!

– Take a break from the long drive and walk around for 10-15 minutes, this short amount of time can be a great benefit to your health.

– For close destinations, pack a picnic. This is a great way to get the family involved and find a great place to pull over and eat on the way.

When traveling by train:

– Get up, walk around and stretch as much as you can.

– Bring snacks to avoid over eating the full, typically, unhealthy foods trains provide. Trail mix and nuts are some of the best options to bring!

– Bring a book! The train is the perfect place to relax and stimulate your mind.

While traveling by plane:

– Power walk in the airport! Don’t worry, you won’t look weird, usually others who are late to their flights are doing the same so you’ll fit right in!

– Make sure you plan ahead. If you are traveling internationally check to see if they offer a vegan menu or bring your own food to eat that you know you’ll enjoy.

– Snack frequently, never allowing yourself to over eat or binge at one sitting.

– Keep alcohol to a minimum while traveling, as well as caffeine, and sodium. All tend to dehydrate the body, and while flying it is important to stay hydrated, plus it helps prevent the dreaded jet lag!

With these simple tips, you can help keep the pounds off while traveling this holiday season! Remember, being prepared is the key to traveling success!

About the Expert:
Shauna Johnson is Culinary Instructor at Wellspring Weight Loss Camps. (www.wellspringweightloss.com) Shauna has a passion for healthy living, including living and cooking a healthy diet. She has been the head instructor for flagship Wellspring Academy of California for four years, and has designed the curriculum for Wellspring Camps around the globe. Shauna earned her Nutrition and Culinary Education degree at Fresno State University. Shauna has also continued taking courses, including a recent “Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives” curriculum developed by Harvard Medical School in association with Culinary Institute of America.

30 Fun Things to Do to Celebrate Your 30th Birthday

You only turn 30 once, so why not celebrate it in style! Instead of dreading age 30, embrace it. Your life is not over, not even half way, so welcome age 30 with a smile and instead of moaning about your age, make some fantastic memories. If you can’t think of something extra special to do for your 30th birthday, consider these 30 fun ways to celebrate turning 30.

Whether you are into sports or the arts, relaxing or going out on the town, these 30 fun things to do to celebrate your 30th birthday should give you an idea of a great way to celebrate the big 3-0. Get together with your best pals, your family and everyone you know, or just your sweetheart for an exciting way to celebrate your 30th birthday.

Here are 30 fun ways to celebrate turning 30:

1.    Go to a baseball game.

2.    Rent out a party suite at a hockey game.

3.    Go to a football game.

4.    Plan a golf weekend.

5.    Plan a spa weekend.

6.    Throw a party.

7.    Go out to dinner with friends or family.

8.    Have a happy hour.

9.    Tour a brewery.

10.    Plan a wine tour.

11.    Go on a road trip somewhere.

12.    Check out a casino.

13.    Go to a Broadway show or other theatrical event.

14.    Go to a comedy club.

15.    Go to Las Vegas.

16.    Go to New York City.

17.    Go on a cruise.

18.    Go to your own surprise party. (Inevitably, someone will throw a surprise party for probably half of you guys who read this.)

19.    Go out to a club to go dancing.

20.    Check out a male revue or a strip club. (Just for kicks!)

21.    Take a class with a group of friends.

22.    Plan a vacation to someplace you’ve always wanted to see.

23.    Go to a fancy restaurant with a great view with your sweetheart.

24.    Go to a big kids’ arcade, like Dave & Buster’s, where you can play skee ball to your heart’s content.

25.    Do something adventurous like skydiving, bungee jumping, or going for a ride down a zip line.

26.    Go bowling with a group of friends.

27.    Try your luck at miniature golf with your closest pals. Losing team buys ice cream.

28.    Plan a fishing trip or charter your own boat.

29.    Rent a cabin in the mountains or a cottage at the beach and chill with your best buds.

30.    Sleep in, lay around in your pajamas all day, and then spend the night anyway you like!

No matter what you decide to do to celebrate your 30th birthday, we hope you have a safe and wonderful special day. Be sure to do something special to pamper yourself or to create great memories of your 30th birthday. Wishing you many more happy years!

Top Five Reasons to Quit Smoking

If you smoke, you’ve surely been told by countless friends, family members, and doctors to quit smoking. Well, many of us know that is easier said than done. If you would like to quit smoking but need a few tips or some motivation to help you achieve your goal, here are the top five reasons to quit smoking from an emotional standpoint.

1. Quit smoking for yourself and a longer, healthier life. You’ll live longer. You’ll have fewer health problems and fewer potential complications and risk factors. It’s a win-win.

2. Quit smoking for your children. No one wants to bury a parent, so don’t up the odds for your own kids. If you don’t have kids yet, quit for your future children – stay in their lives as long as you can.

3. Quit smoking for your daughter’s wedding (or your son’s wedding). You want to be around for it, don’t you?

4. Quit smoking for your first grandchild — and your last. My grandpop died from lung cancer when I was seven years old. He didn’t even get to meet my baby sister or my baby brother who arrived three years later.

5. Quit smoking for the health and the lives of those around you. Secondhand smoke has very detrimental effects on those around you. Minimize the health problems of the ones you love by not exposing them to unhealthy secondhand smoke.

Try to think about the lives of the ones you love, and how they want you in their lives for as long as they can have you. Don’t cut that timeline short because of cigarettes. Give up smoking to extend the time you have with your family and friends.

Pink Ribbon Product Guide – Shop for the Cure: October 2009 and Beyond

This guide of pink ribbon products for October 2009 and beyond offers you a great way to show your support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You can shop for the cure by making smart choices on breast cancer donation purchases this October, and for some products, even throughout the year. Many companies have joined efforts to find a cure for breast cancer. It’s easy to do your part, especially when you can contribute to the fight for a cure by doing things you normally would do anyway, like buying household goods, groceries, and gift items.

Pink Ribbon Product Purchases - SwitchFlops BCA Pink Flip Flop

Some companies and organizations contribute to breast cancer research and support groups by donating a portion of the proceeds of particular “pink” products or “pink ribbon” products. Some companies and charitable groups focus on an annual or even just a one-time special event that will benefit a good cause.

Jump for the Cause, the leading nonprofit group that organizes skydiving fundraisers, recently held a group skydive in Perris, California from September 21- September 27, 2009 to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month and raise funds for cancer research at City of Hope. In an effort to to build the new Women’s World Freefall record, the team skydive event required 10 planes to lift the 180 women skydivers to 17,000 ft. for about 30 jumps over the course of the single week.

Mallory Lewis, daughter of puppeteer Shari Lewis and sister to the adorable Lamb Chop, co-founded Jump for the Cause after Shari Lewis lost her battle with cancer in 1998. The famous, beloved puppet Lamb Chop joined in the skydiving fun by stowing away in one of the skydivers’ jumpsuits.

As an example of an annual event set to raise funds for breast cancer research, Massage Envy clinics across the USA participated in a one-day massage event, known as Massage for the Cure. Massage for the Cure took place on Tuesday, September 15 at all participating Massage Envy locations, 18 of which are located in the DC/Baltimore area. The one-hour massages given that day cost $35 and raised $10 per massage for the local Susan G. Komen affiliate. This year, 2009, is the first year the Massage for the Cure event went national, with all locations working together to raise money toward breast cancer education, screening, and treatment programs.

Vespa USA also contributes to this great cause by offering a number of exciting Breast Cancer Awareness events. A number of these events include:

Pink Ribbon Product Purchases - Pink Vespa Scooter

· The Breast Cancer Research Foundation: Highest bidder at their online auction on charitybuzz.com Sept. 29 – Oct. 22, 2009 will take home a pink Vespa.
· BreastCancer.org: Win a pink Vespa Vespa by participating in their Fuel the Cure event on Nov. 14, 2009 in Philadelphia, PA.
· Bright Pink: Win a pink Vespa on eBay during the month of October with eBay’s Giving Works
· The Cup with Love: Win a pink Vespa by entering their raffle from Oct. 1 – 31, 2009
· Dr. Susan Love Foundation: Win a pink Vespa by participating in their social media contest titled “How Would You Recruit an Army of Women?” through the first week in November 2009.
· Susan G. Komen: Komen Greater NYC will offer the pink Vespa LX 50 as the top prize in a drawing of 2009. Race registrants who raise a minimum of $250 between Sept. 14 and Oct. 31, 2009.
· My Vision: Make a minimum $100 donation through October for a chance to win the pink Vespa LX 50.
· Nueva Vida: Enter the raffle for a pink Vespa from Sept. 23 through Oct. 31, 2009.
· Prevent Cancer: Sign up for “Screen Your Boobs” alerts through October and participants are automatically entered to win the pink Vespa.
· Young Survival Coalition: Through Nov. 16, 2009 become a fan on the Young Survival Coalition’s Facebook page and you will be entered in the running to win a pink Vespa LX 50.

You can read more about Vespa pink ribbon promotions online.

To follow you will find a number of exciting “pink ribbon” products and items whose purchase contributes to Breast Cancer research and prevention when purchased during the month of October, or in some cases, on an ongoing basis. Check out our categories of breast cancer donation purchases that contribute toward Breast Cancer Awareness, research, and prevention.

From clothing to accessories and more, you can make a difference while changing up your wardrobe or your current look. If you love pink, or if you just love helping out a great cause, consider checking out some pink ribbon clothing, shoes, and accessories for yourself, your family, friends, and loved ones. Your breast cancer donation purchase makes a difference in the effort these companies are making to contribute toward various breast cancer support and research organizations.