Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas: A note from Author Sandra D. Bricker

I’ve learned a lot from the experience. Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas - By Sandra D. BrickerUnfortunately, I’ve discovered that my dog isn’t exactly the Rhodes Scholar of Dogdom; I’ve learned how to put a little romance into my bedroom’s decor, even though my dog is the only one who shares it with me these days; and I now know at least 20 ways to relieve stress.

Hopefully, I can provide part of #1 … snuggling up with a good book … for your readers!

On October 1st, a new line of inspirational romance will be launched by a publisher called Summerside Press. The Love Finds You line of romance novels will give readers a peek into the flavor of local life across the United States. The novels, uniquely titled after actual American towns with quirky but intriguing names, inspire romance and fun. Each fictional story draws on the compelling history or the unique character of a real place, and Summerside will be releasing two of them every month.

As soon as I heard what they were planning, I really wanted to be a part of it. I put together several proposals but, when the editor finally called me, she started out by saying that they weren’t going to be publishing any of them. I thought, “You’re calling to tell me you’re NOT buying my books? That’s different.”

But she went on to say that they wanted some lighthearted comedy to launch the line, and they thought I was just the author to deliver it. Since everything I’d proposed was rather serious in nature, I asked her, “Um, what would make you think that?” As it turns out, the e-mails we’d exchanged throughout the proposal processes were what sold them. She said my e-mails cracked them up.

Author Sandra D. BrickerAnd so, if you can believe it, they chose ME as one of two authors to launch their new line upon the world! Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas is a full-on romantic comedy that hits bookstore shelves on October 1, 2008.


Note: You can enter our latest contest to share your story about the craziest thing you’ve done for love, for a chance to win an autographed copy of Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas! See the official contest rules here.

And now, for your reading enjoyment, an excerpt of Sandra D. Bricker’s book, Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas:

Tips to Avoid First Date Drama or Embarrassment

Picture this: You’re dressed to kill in a semi-sheer black top with a black camisole underneath, you’ve got on a sexy suede miniskirt and your legs look fabulous in translucent black hosiery. Your high heels not only add a few inches to your height but make your derriere look great as well. Your hair looks great, you’ve completed the finishing touches on your makeup and you’re actually ready to roll before your date even rings your doorbell. What’s wrong with this picture?Give your first date a chance! (Photo courtesy of Mary R. Vogt.)

Well so far, nothing at all. But as any woman knows, what seems too good to be true often is. So avoid any and all first date mishaps with a few moments of pre-date prep. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth about five gallons of solution in this case, so take your time and be sure you’ve got all your bases covered. From a devastating runner in your hosiery to the classic broccoli in the teeth, a gal can never been too careful on a first date!

To save your tail and keep your date interested in your gorgeous appearance, prepare for the evening with Murphy’s Law in mind. Keep a small “emergency kit” with you at all times, whether safely inside your purse or tucked close within the inside pocket of your coat. You can keep it inside your glove compartment too, but a lot of good it will do you if you aren’t the one driving! This lifesaving kit should include all of the following:

– Dental floss – If not the entire spool, pack a small coil of floss wrapped inside a tiny bit of tinfoil. This very small yet oh-so-important item will really save face – literally – should a bit of your meal decide to cling stubbornly to your teeth.

– Toiletries – If you happen to receive an unexpected visit and find yourself completely unprepared, nothing could be more mortifying than dragging your new beau to the drug store to pick up some Tampax. As the days creep nearer to your time of the month, be sure to keep at least one tampon or pad with you no matter where you go.

– Clear Nail Polish or Spare Pantyhose – If you’ll be wearing a dress or skirt in the cooler months, chances are you’ll be wearing tights or hosiery.

– Gum, Mints, Mouthwash or Listerine Strips – No matter what delicious menu selection you choose for dinner, your breath will probably need some freshening before you go in for a killer smooch. Excuse yourself to the ladies room, check your hair and makeup and “freshen up.” You’ll find any of the above to be a godsend.

Other helpful items to have on hand should include your mobile phone for emergencies, change for tolls and parking meters, eye drops and pressed powder, concealer or cover-up so you can touch up your makeup if a blemish should appear.

If you’re wearing a strapless gown or an outfit that leaves your arms bare, remember to be careful with the deodorant. Many women perspire more when they are nervous in certain situations like a job interview, a court date or a first date. Deodorant can be a pesky substance, often rubbing off even hours later onto furniture, seats in cars and even onto other people’s clothing. If you typically apply the stuff liberally, be very cautious when hugging or kissing your date goodnight. The last things you want to linger are your soft lips, your flirty fragrance and your sexy appearance…not white deodorant residue on his clothing!

Get to know your date and forget your cares! (Photo courtesy of Matthew Hull.)

Also, if your cell phone rings, think twice before answering it – especially if you don’t recognize the number. You don’t want to get a reputation as Chatty Cathy because you spend too much time on your cell phone when you’re out on a date with someone. To avoid any potentially awkward moments, it may be best to avoid phone calls altogether, unless you are expecting an important call from a family member.

If you are nervous about your first date, sit down, close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths. Plan a couple of icebreakers in your head incase awkward silence should invite itself along and just relax. Give yourself a mental compliment on how terrific you look and realize that chances are he is just as nervous as you are!

Suitable, Unusual Wedding Gifts for Young Couples

Brides and grooms are making things much easier on their guests nowadays. When it comes to wedding present shopping, most couples pick a few stores, set up a bridal registry of gifts they’d like to receive, and leave guests to choose items from their lists.

giftwrapAnd while shopping from the gift registry is sure to secure a present you know the happy couple will want and enjoy, it doesn’t leave you with the most original, creative wedding present by any stretch.

If you want to give the bride and groom a gift they will love and cherish for years to come, you had better find something besides that decorative potholder set or the trio of mixing bowls. Here are just a few creative options for your consideration.

For the cultured couple

Find a stunning piece of artwork – a painting, a sculpture – or get a professional artist to render a sketch or painting from a photograph you provide of the happy couple. For friends with a passion for music, consider passes to the orchestra, the symphony, or the opera.

For the domestic couple

If your friends love to cook and/or eat, get them a unique cooking appliance. Forget about your run of the mill mini kitchen gadgets and devices… you need something unusual and unforgettable. Better yet, get them something they can both use at the same time – like a fondue set, or Raclette, a Swiss dish that has a grill on top of the appliance and little dishes to melt cheese or heat sauce underneath.

For the fun-loving couple

Fun outdoor games are great for the couple's new home! (Photo courtesy of Jane M. Sawyer, spur of the moment, say anything, try anything once type friends, the wedding is sure to be a blast and your gift had better be, too! Ponder a few upscale game sets that would nicely accent their fun style. Check out dartboards that come with their own solid wood cabinet, or look for other social items. Scour the glassware section for a classy margarita set, some shooters, and other useful barware items.

For the sentimental couple

Ahh, the memories. If your best friend or a close relative is just about to tie the knot, think about all your memories together and the best possible gift may come to mind. Create a memory book or a scrapbook for your friend, showcasing many times you spent together. Use your own handiwork to craft a handmade blanket. Pick out some velvety photo albums and elegant photo frames so the new couple can fill their home with happy memories and images of loved ones. Rack your brain for any details about the couple’s first date, the proposal, or any event in the relationship that could relate to a gift of some sort. Indulge them with a gift basket if you think of too many memories!

For the sporty couple

Get them a season ticket plan to their favorite local sports team – major league or minor league, depending on your budget. Most sports franchises offer partial season game packs, so you can hook them up with a five-game plan of minor league hockey or a mini-season of baseball, basketball or the like.

* * *

One’s wedding day typically falls as one of the biggest, happiest moments in a person’s lifetime. If you do opt for the gift registry route, the store will print out a copy of the bride and groom’s wish list and give you a good push in the right direction. The rest is a scavenger hunt. Have fun!

Whether you select an item from the bridal registry or use your own creativity to select the perfect present, commemorate the special occasion with a gift and warm thoughts that come from the heart.

What to Do When Your Sweetie Hates the Telephone

It’s not a matter of “he loves you, he loves you not,” but rather a strong dislike of the telephone!

You met the most adorable guy last week and still can’t get over the fact that you’ve got a date lined up with him for next Saturday. He’s cute, funny and such a gentleman. The catch? You met him a week ago and he hasn’t called you once. Not wanting to be pushy or over-eager, you sit back and wait for his call…minute after excruciating minute.Waiting for that phone to ring? (Photo courtesy of

Before you get yourself wound up in a tizzy when your new love interest doesn’t call, relax and consider all the factors playing into your relationship. How your new partner feels about you is not necessarily contingent on how often or how soon he dials your digits. Working from the ground up in a new relationship, you’ve got some ground to cover before you are both comfortable calling each other at all hours of the night. Ask yourself a few simple questions before you worry about the other’s feelings for you, and whatever you do, don’t base your perceptions about the relationship on how soon your phone rings!

Continue reading What to Do When Your Sweetie Hates the Telephone

The Perfect Fit – Tips on Selecting and Buying an Engagement Ring

A perfect fit is vital for the engagement ring! (Photo by Justin P. Van Druff.)

As much an emotional investment as a financial one, engagement ring shopping can become a daunting duty. Can I afford it? Will she like the same one I do? What if it doesn’t fit perfectly? Many elements must be considered when selecting the perfect engagement ring, from the type and color of the metal band to the size and shape of the diamond, its clarity and color, and the overall design of the ring.

Cost very often serves as a parameter in choosing the ring, so be sure you determine the amount you would like to spend before walking through the doors at the jewelry shop.

Things to know before setting off on your mission:

– What size is her ring finger? If you don’t automatically know the answer to this question, you can ask a family member, or more subtly, borrow one of her rings to get an idea of the sizing once you get to the jeweler.

– What color is the majority of her jewelry? Your sweetheart most likely wears predominantly one type of gold – either yellow or white. You should have an idea of her preference before choosing a ring so that you know she will be happy with it.

– Does she prefer a certain cut – round, princess, heart, marquis? Many women will be flattered that you took the time to select the diamond how you thought it would look best on her hand. Meanwhile some other women prefer a certain cut above the others. Try to get an idea without letting onto your plans if you’re trying to surprise her.

Determine whether you'll be getting a solitaire or a ring with several stones. (Photo courtesy of– Does she prefer a solitaire or a setting with more than one stone? You will find countless styles and ring designs ranging from one large stone to three or more smaller but moderate sized stones, or even one larger stone with a few accent stones. Try to find out your sweetheart’s preference without dropping any hints!

– What can you afford? Try to have a ballpark figure in mind before you set foot into the store. If the ring you like best is out of your price range, tell the jeweler you’d like some time to think about it and keep shopping around.

1. Take your time in the selection process. You’ll probably be very excited about the idea of buying the engagement ring, but take your time. Just like buying a first car, you don’t want to rush into a costly decision.

2. Find a jeweler you trust. For personalized service, consider going to a privately owned jewelry store. Chain stores offer a wide selection but having a close personal tie with your jeweler can be very beneficial in the long run, as he or she will remember you and your experience. If you have to come in afterwards to resize the ring or for any reason, you’ve already developed a relationship.

3. Shop around. Visit a couple of different stores online to get an idea of what styles are available. Go to a couple of stores locally and see which shop gives you the best service. Try to avoid buying from a closeout sale when a store is going out of business. If a store shuts its doors for good, you are stuck with whatever you’ve got!

4. Know your sweetheart and her specific tastes. Without being too obvious, try to get an idea of her favorite styles, colors, etc. Observe which pieces of jewelry she admires most when window-shopping and if you dare, take her to a store window and let her peer inside. She may get the idea, but better to know what she likes than to drive blind. If all else fails, drag along her sister or best friend on the hunt!

5. Be sure to get a diamond certificate. Jewelers must disclose to you all the critical information regarding a diamond – from carat size to color and clarity. The clearer the diamond, the more expensive it will be. You definitely want to have documentation to prove what you’ve purchased is of a certain quality.

Regardless of the amount of time and money you spend, the important thing is that you’ve made a decision to spend the rest of your life with the person who matters most to you. You have decided to express your love to your significant other, and together you will make a promise to love each other and be true for the rest of your lives. The ring is just a physical symbol of that everlasting love.

Wedding Favors and Trinkets for Beach Weddings

Many brides want to give their guests a special little something to remember the newlyweds and their wedding day. For some it’s as simple as a bookmark or a container of after-dinner mints. For others, the wedding favors may be more detailed and involved, such as hand-painted pottery or ceramics, blown glass, or a handmade holiday ornament. Beach weddings and tropical themed weddings present brides and grooms with a myriad of possibilities for wedding day favors and gifts for the guests.

If you would like to send your guests home with a reminder of your wedding day, consider the colors and theme of your wedding as well as the amount of money you would like to spend on each guest’s gift. If you are planning a beach themed or tropical wedding, read on for some suggestions on wedding favors you can personalize for your guests.

Continue reading Wedding Favors and Trinkets for Beach Weddings

How to Make Your Own Seashell Christmas Ornaments as Wedding Favors

Many brides agonize over what to give their wedding guests as a wedding favor or special memento to take home with them after the wedding day celebration. If you would like to present your guests with a gift they can take home and enjoy year after year, perhaps a handmade Christmas ornament is a good match for your crowd.

Choose your shells wisely...

You can choose from a wide variety of seashells if you would like to craft a handmade seashell Christmas ornament. Consider sand dollars, miniature conch shells, and scallop shells as three very viable options. Order your shells in bulk from a seashell retailer like Sunset Beach Gift Shop in Cape May Point, N.J. (, 800-757-6468) or from an online retailer like Sanibel Seashell Industries (

Gather the following materials and complete the following steps to create your own beautiful and special reminders of your wedding day.


The number of guests attending your wedding determines the number of shells, glue sticks, and spools of ribbon that you will need for this project. Trial and error may be the best approach, unless you are buying items on closeout. In this case, it is best to buy more than you will need rather than to risk running out of materials.

– Seashells with a smooth surface for writing
– Fine point or ultra fine point Sharpie permanent marker in desired wedding color(s)
– Ribbon in wedding color(s)
– Hot glue gun
– Glue sticks for glue gun
– Metallic ribbon with built-in wire
– Wax paper
– Pencil
– Boxes or plastic tubs with lids for storage

* For the purpose of this article, the instructions relate to a miniature conch shell of about 3 – 3.5” in length. You may need to get creative to vary the steps for other types of shells.


This project can be a relatively easy and beautiful way to create a handmade gift for your guests. The tricky part comes when you’ve got many of them to create in a short period of time. If you’d rather not wait for your guests to RSVP to the wedding, you can always get a head start and begin crafting the shell ornaments before you even send the invitations. Just remember that you may want to make more shell ornaments than you expect to need, because it is usually better to have some extras leftover rather than to run out.

1. Gather all required materials.

2. Make the bows:

a. Cut the colored ribbon into strips long enough to make a bow with two dangling tails.

TIP: Cut the ribbon so that the ends are angled and they line up properly with the bows. This takes some practice and trial and error to figure out which angle is needed.

b. Cut the metallic ribbon into strips long enough to twist around the center of the ribbon bows.

c. Wrap the metallic ribbon around the center of the bows, leaving two ends dangling, and secure.

d. Twist the ends of the metallic ribbon around a pencil so they are curly.

e. Cut the ends of the ribbon to be angled, if desired.

f. Repeat for the number of guests attending, plus a few spares.

3. Make the hangers for the ornaments:

a. Cut the metallic ribbon into strips about 7 – 8” in length.

b. Fold each strip in half and twist to make a stronger cord.

c. Fold each stronger, twisted cord in half and twist the ends together.

d. Secure and create a loop.

e. Repeat for the number of guests attending, plus a few spares.

4. Clear a workspace near a power outlet and set up your materials.

5. Lay out wax paper or newspaper to keep your work surface clean and free from glue or markings.

6. Plug in your glue gun and ensure that it is not in any potentially dangerous location that could cause fire.

NOTE: If you are using the miniature conch shells and using these directions verbatim, your shell ornaments will hang upside-down for a pretty, unique look and stable construction. Keep this in mind as you prepare to write on the shells. 


7. Position the shell appropriately for writing. In your best handwriting, write your name, your fiancé’s name, and your wedding date on the smooth surface of each shell with the Sharpie permanent marker. You could vary this however you wish – perhaps include a favorite phrase or quote about love as well, if space permits. Allow the shells to dry.

8. Glue the ornament hanger into the skinny, pointy end of the conch shell. If you are following these directions closely, you will turn the shells over and add some glue in the skinny opening at the top of the shell so that it will hang upside-down.

9. Place a drop of hot glue on the smooth side of the shell with the writing, just above your names and on the opposing side of the ornament hanger.

10. Stick the bow on the drop of glue and press down gently.

11. Set the shell aside to dry completely.

12. Continue this process until you have created one ornament for every guest, as well as one for yourselves and several extras, just for good measure. When all shells are dry, place them neatly in boxes or plastic tubs with lids.


TIP: You can use these ornaments as your place card holders, too! Simply create small tags on the computer and print them out on nice cardstock with each guest’s name. Punch a hole in each tag and loop it through the hanger on the shell. Voila! You now have wedding favors AND place card holders for your wedding guests!

Sexy Non-Sex Activities for Couples

Finding a new love interest often fills us with an unmistakable feeling of bliss, often described as a fluttery feeling in one’s stomach. Ten years gone by and you’ve still got butterflies flitting about? Have fun without cutting too loose...No doubt you are in love! To give your relationship a nice balance of passionate playtime, consider varying your romantic routine from time to time.

Every couple engages in a different style of sexual behavior, but turning things down a notch in the lust department and heating them up on a sensual level can truly reignite the spark that initially drew you together.

No matter if your romance has survived the test of time or if it is merely beginning its path down love lane, take the time to pamper your partner, and enjoy some pampering yourself! Consider these options for a romantic, passion-filled evening, and modify them to suit your relationship’s style and your and your partner’s needs.

Spend an evening preparing a romantic dinner together.


Set some melodic music to play gently in the background as you prepare food together and indulge in a glass of wine. Relax and take pleasure in the culmination of your combined efforts. Linger at the table until the last drop of wine has kissed your lips and stare deeply into each other’s eyes.

Challenge your mate to hold your gaze simply by the intensity caught within your eyes. Share a slice of dessert on the same plate and take the time to feed each other the delicious delight. As your meal concludes, kick off your shoes and hold each other close as you begin to slow dance in the living room.

Treat each other to aromatherapy and full-body massages with essential oils.

First decide if you would like to wear your bathing suits, your undergarments, a towel, or less. Select a location such as a comfortable bed, a lounge chair or a nice clean spot on the floor, stretched across a soft blanket. You may choose to play gentle background music or sounds such as ocean or brook soundtracks, or those featuring the wind, rainforests, etc. Be sure to select an aromatic essential oil to massage into your sweetheart’s skin for a soothing and sensual experience.

Take turns pampering each other and stimulating one another’s muscles by firmly massaging the back, neck, shoulders, arms and even the hands to start. Pay special attention to the lower back, as this area experiences a lot of stress from general daily activities and from being on the job. Work your magic on your partner from head to toe, focusing more energy on the muscles that seem tighter or those that have been neglected. The backs of one’s legs should benefit significantly if massaged properly. You may wish to consult a book on different types of massage before engaging in the full-body massage.

Indulge in a hot bubble bath for two, complete with wine and sweet treats, candlelight and the spark between the two of you.

Select a fragrant bubble bath that appeals to both your senses and drift away in a relaxing pool of warm, sudsy water. Gently caress each other’s backs and enjoy the peace and solitude surrounding you. Sip wine or hot tea, indulge in chocolates or small dessert pastries and revel in your stolen moments together. While the dim flicker of the candle sets the mood, the two of you can unwind in the comfort of a warm bath, wrapped in each other’s arms.

If you are not yet at the point in your relationship where you feel comfortable taking a bath together, consider a dip in a hot tub under the stars at a bed and breakfast or fancy hotel. Go out for a night on the town in a bustling city and settle down for the evening by relaxing in the lodge’s sauna, swimming pool and whirlpool tub.


No matter what you do with your sweetheart during your passionate evening together, remember to pay special attention to his or her senses. Breathe sweet nothings into an unsuspecting ear, gently brush your fingertips across the arm while talking, trace a trail of soft, sweet kisses across the neck. Let your heart dictate your every move and enjoy true love in all its bliss!

Catch This – Perfect Customized Wedding Day Garters

Weddings offer countless opportunities to customize all the details of the event to create an overarching theme or color scheme. A number of traditions still find favor with today’s brides and grooms, including “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue,” the bouquet toss, and of course, the wedding day garter.

Customized garters are lots of fun for your wedding day! (Garter created by

Whether they realize it or not, brides have many more options for selecting the perfect garter than what they will find in any bridal shop, department store, or lingerie retailer. Thanks to the power of the Internet, brides can search and find unique garters online, or they can request custom-made or personalized garters that are perfect for their wedding day.

“We have found that many brides are taking the customization of their weddings quite seriously and want all of the details to match,” said Julie Goldman of The Original Runner Company. “We have had many requests lately for monogrammed garters for the bride and we happily oblige. We have personalized our garters with crystal monograms or their full names.”

Personalizing your names is a great way to customize your garter! (Garter crafted by The Original Runner Company.)

The Original Runner Company specializes in creating custom aisle runners for weddings, but they also offer custom garters. The garters can be personalized with the bride’s and groom’s names, just the groom’s name, the new last name, or monograms. Designs are often simple and classy.

Swarovski crystals, rhinestones, and acrylic paints help to accessorize the custom garters. The fabric used may be silk or polyester, depending on the bride’s budget constraints. For more information on The Original Runner Company, see


Customized Colors, Themes, and Adornments

Your wedding day garter can be as colorful and as creative as you like. You can incorporate your wedding theme or a special theme or memory that is special to you and your fiancé. You can customize your garter to feature a contemporary style or to illustrate vintage throwback designs.

Fun and funky colors are all the rage! (Garters crafted by ( noted that this season’s favorite shades tend to include “all the bright colors – especially spring green and hot pink and orange”.

“I also have a new line of polka dot garters that is selling really fast right now too,” she added. “All the sports garters are also very popular. Most of my brides think it is really fun to add an element of their fiancé’s personality into the garter. It could be his favorite baseball team, or a Batman themed garter, if he collects Batman items. Other brides love to use the colors of their bridesmaids’ dresses for the garter colors.”

Some of Kristi’s favorite or most interesting garters to date include a garter with a beer theme, John Deere garters, NASCAR racing garters, a Superman garter, and a garter featuring all four of the bride’s favorite baseball and football teams.

Karen of Eye Catching Creations agrees that hot pink and lime green are all the rage this year, but so are red, black, and brown. In addition to the ever-popular sports garters, she also shared that her top themes include camouflage, mossy oak, and Irish wedding garters, as well as polka dots. Her shop manufactures licensed garters for 300 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada so many brides and grooms can create a personal tie between their favorite university and their wedding day.Irish weddings call for Irish garters! (Garter by Eye Catching Creations.)

“Just like the rest of the wedding you want it to be perfect,” Karen said. “Most brides today order two garters – one to toss and one to keep. Many are adding personalized ribbons with their names and date on them. It is a beautiful keepsake. I recommend to brides who order two garters to get themselves a shadow box and display the wedding garter in it, hang it on their wall until their little girl gets married….”

For more information, see

If you’ve already found the perfect garter for your wedding day, consider adding a personal touch.

Ten Summer Date Ideas for Couples in ‘Lazy Mode’

Let’s face it – even the most romantic, most exciting, and more outgoing couples fall into a stale lifestyle every once in a while. Maybe months of too many plans finally built up to the point where it’s really great to have a few free weekends in a row. We all need those lazy, nothing-to-do weekends. Pack a picnic lunch!But more often, it seems that we just get into a habit of not planning anything and not doing anything spontaneous on the weekends.

If you’ve fallen into this tired trap, consider these fun day trips and date ideas for a summer full of exciting and adventurous weekends!

1. Visit a local winery or brewery / microbrewery. You can mix education with culture and end up with a day full of fun. If you’d like to swill some fine wines and beers, check the Web for vineyards and breweries within a reasonable drive of your home. You and your sweetie will have a blast tasting the different samplings, but just make sure one of you keeps your sips to a minimum so you have a safe ride home.

TIP: This is an especially fun activity for groups, too! Get together with all your favorite friends and rent a chauffeured vehicle to serve as your designated driver. You might have so much fun that you’ll turn this into an annual event!

2. Enjoy a picnic in the park or at the beach. Who doesn’t love sitting on a blanket in a beautiful location, noshing, and just relaxing? Gather your favorite edibles and make up some sandwiches or other yummy bites. Bring something to drink and plenty of napkins. You can also bring your camera to get some good nature shots, or a small stereo or MP3 player with external speakers so you can listen to your favorite tunes.

TIP: Pack a bottle of wine if you can walk to your favorite picnic spot from your home.

3. Score tickets for a local minor league sporting event. Trust me, a hotdog and a beer never taste better than when you’re engrossed in the action of an athletic competition. If you can find a rugby match, better yet. You can even check your newspapers for listings of potential athletic events or activities that you might enjoy.

TIP: Don’t forget your sunscreen!

4. Check out the nearest zoo. A sunny summer day is a great time to enjoy the wonder of our animal kingdom. When life gets dull from doing the same old stuff all the time, a trip to the zoo can bring things back into perspective. Just think about the polar bears playing or the otters doing their adorable tricks. You can watch the zebras and antelopes graze or check out the big cats in their terrain. Take pictures of your favorite animals – it gives you a creative outlet for your summertime adventure.

TIP: Bring along a knapsack with some snacks in case you get hungry or thirsty along the way. Also, don’t forget sunscreen here either!


5. Plan something active – go for a bike ride, go rollerblading, or go hiking. Staying active keeps us healthy and in better shape. Spending some time outdoors playing is the perfect summertime activity, whether by yourselves or in a big group. Get some people together for a team sport like volleyball or just enjoy a little one-on-one basketball or roller-hockey. You can go for a hike and take some pictures, or enjoy a bike ride along your favorite trails. Go running together, walking together, or even have a water gun fight.

TIP: Remember what it was like over the summer when you were a kid? Think about your favorite things to do back then – and relive some of them now!


More summer date ideas…

Creative and Unique Bridal Shower Centerpieces

From garden parties to tropical luau themes, bridal showers offer unlimited opportunities to be creative and expressive. They allow the bridesmaids and mothers of the bride and groom to select a theme and interweave it throughout the entire event. Pink Calla Lilies by Vera Wang (Courtesy of shower centerpieces are perhaps one of the most interesting and often colorful items at a shower. Here are some tips for choosing or creating beautiful and unique bridal shower centerpieces.

As you plan to select the shower centerpieces for the bride’s special event, consider the theme of the bridal shower and how you can weave together all the details. Debate whether you would like floral centerpieces, edible centerpieces (think fruit or stackable trays of goodies), sentimental centerpieces, or completely unusual and outrageous bridal shower centerpieces. Once you have an idea of the direction you want to go with the centerpiece, create a sample, if possible, to make sure you like the way it looks and lines up with your bridal shower theme.

Garden Party Bridal Shower Centerpieces

– Show off your bride-to-be’s favorite flowers, carefully tucked inside a beautiful ceramic pitcher on each table.

– Set a pretty decorative watering can on each table with the bride’s favorite flowers inside and spilling out.

– Set a beautifully painted birdhouse on each table. Add other embellishments as you see fit.

TaraSimone Powell, floral & event expert“With flowers for a bridal shower, less is more,” said TaraSimone Powell, Floral and Event Expert and owner of Barbara’s Flowers in New York City. “Use wonderful petite vessels with strong, bold blossoms on the tables or a small glass pyramid with three hand-tied miniature callas or French tulips.”

She adds, “Add a flirty and whimsical feel to your event by having an orchid and champagne afternoon and allowing yourself to not be so grown up with custom M&M’s and other ‘girl time’ details.”

Colorful Cues

– Fruit offers natural color and a healthy, useful option for bridal shower centerpieces. Create pretty fruit baskets or arrangements for your centerpieces, or consider ordering edible fruit bouquets, boasting pineapple, strawberries, grapes, oranges, and more. You could also introduce a carved watermelon. (Hey, you’ve seen how cool some jack-o-lanterns look!)

– Gather a mix of gumballs, jellybeans, or other colorful candies and place them in a decorative jar or glass vase or pitcher.

– Gerber daisies are a fast favorite. Gather bunches of them in different colors and set them up in lovely glass containers with hard lines. Rectangular or square vases work nicely for this idea, and you can add some ferns or other greenery if desired.

– For a fun and carefree, casual style, consider decorating each table in a different color scheme. You can get flowers all in the same color, and have each table showing off a different color of the rainbow.

In terms of exciting color, TaraSimone Powell suggests bridal shower planners “use vibrant color combinations such as raspberry and chocolate brown, Tiffany blue and cranberry, and tangerine and marigold. Also, don’t be afraid to use patterns, stripes, gingham or polka dots to the invitations or tablecloths.”

Floral Centerpieces…

Bridal Shower Games: Word Scramble

Share this word scramble with your bridal shower guests and award a prize to the person who correctly unscrambles the most words. Make sure you have a couple of extra prizes in case several guest have the same number of correct answers.



ohnomoney ___________________________________________________

gindewd ___________________________________________________

arigmare ___________________________________________________

draibisem ___________________________________________________

nahdbus ___________________________________________________

igwdned sdabns ___________________________________________________

megnneagte ___________________________________________________

omdniad ___________________________________________________


muesilnoi ___________________________________________________

wolfrse ___________________________________________________

morgo ___________________________________________________

qutobue ___________________________________________________


grooraphehtp ___________________________________________________



rowfel rigl ___________________________________________________

girn rearbe ___________________________________________________

raiytshel ___________________________________________________

nitaivoitn ___________________________________________________

tneocenanmun ___________________________________________________

ostat ___________________________________________________


loyrelt ___________________________________________________

mignotseh lebu

ladbri rcahm ___________________________________________________

rentale ___________________________________________________

sniroslaece ___________________________________________________

bslubeb ___________________________________________________

tiboew ___________________________________________________

udtoxe ___________________________________________________

vafros ___________________________________________________

ecapl dracs ___________________________________________________

tsianeg harct

sroh dveeorsu ___________________________________________________

leyrewj ___________________________________________________

mogneroms ___________________________________________________

niswgih lewl ___________________________________________________

vrefeor ___________________________________________________


Game compliments of