Stocking Stuffers for Guys

Filling a holiday stocking for your husband, boyfriend, or son is a nice tradition every Christmas. To be sure you are choosing the best stocking stuffers for guys, consider your special guy’s favorite things – sweets, gadgets, jewelry, and so forth. You can come up with a theme for his stocking or simply include as many of his favorite things as you can fit!

The size of the stocking determines the number and size of the cool stocking stuffers you’ll be able to include. Stocking stuffers for guys are available at just about any kind of store – grocery stores, drugstores, mass market retailers, and even online shops like Amazon. When you go out shopping for stocking stuffers, try to make a quick list to get you started, but keep your eyes open for other small items to place in your husband’s, boyfriend’s, or son’s Christmas stocking.

Best Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Guys
Consider these suggestions for cool stocking stuffers for your husband, boyfriend, or son:

•    Candy
•    Chewing Gum
•    Car Air Fresheners
•    Razor Blade Refills
•    Cufflinks
•    Gadgets
•    Beer Clip Bottle Opener and Money Clip in One (Item features an image or design and up to three letters engraved on gold colored metal foil)
•    Gift Cards
•    Small Toys or Trinkets
•    Travel Games like Chess, Scrabble, or Zobmondo! Would You Rather…? (a game of sick and twisted questions where you must not only answer the questions but also correctly predict what other players would say)
•    CDs
•    Movies (DVDs or Blu-Ray Discs)
•    Socks
•    Boxers / Underwear
•    Face Wash or Moisturizer
•    Cologne or Aftershave
•    Cool Keychain
•    Batteries or Rechargeable Batteries
•    ChapStick
•    Christmas Ornament
•    Sporting Event Tickets or Concert Tickets
•    Universal Remote Control
•    Nice Pen Set
•    Tools

Desk gadgets are another option you might want to consider. Buckyballs are a set of 216 powerful, rare Earth magnets, each with two poles so one side attracts while the other repels. Unlimited creations are possible with Buckyballs, which have been called “Silly Putty for the 21st century.” I received a set of Buckyballs for the purpose of review. My husband has enjoyed tinkering around with them for the past half hour and I think he might take them to work with him. (For more information and to purchase, see www.getbuckyballs.com.)

The list above is just a selection of example stocking stuffer goodies for guys. You can use your own creativity to come up with other ideas for things you can include in your son’s, husband’s, or boyfriend’s Christmas stocking. If you and your sweetheart are exchanging filled Christmas stockings, consider setting a budget or limit for your stocking stuffers. Some items can get very expensive, like razor refills, jewelry, gift cards, and electronics.

Romantic Love Letters: Tips on Writing and Sending

Romantic love letters are something to cherish for a lifetime. Some people hold onto them still, even after the relationship has ended or after meeting someone new. The power of a romantic love letter is incredible, conveying and evoking emotion with only written words. If you would like to spice up your relationship or share your feelings with the one you love, romantic love letters are a wonderful way to express how you feel.

You don’t need to be an experienced writer to write romantic love letters. In fact, as long as you write from your heart, the most important thoughts and feelings will come through in your letter. Consider these tips to help you in writing romantic love letters for your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, or other love interest.

 

Tips on Writing Romantic Love Letters
Whether you are writing your first love letter or your fiftieth, try these romantic love letter writing tips:

•    Send a love letter to keep a long distance relationship closer to your hearts. Even if you’ve got the distance between you, romantic love letters will allow you to express your feelings while making the other person feel good about your relationship.

•    Write your love letters by hand and send through the mail.
Even though we have instant communication with email and text messaging, consider sending your love letters through the mail so your sweetheart can look forward to something other than bills and junk mail.

•    Spray a little of your perfume or cologne on the love letter.
Adding your scent to your written words plays upon the senses as well. The lingering fragrance will remind your lover of you and it makes you closer to almost being there.

•    Write a rough draft of your letter if you are nervous or unsure of what you want to say. Even the best writers get tongue-tied or face a bout of writer’s block. Even when writing a romantic birthday card note or letter, you can write a draft of what you want to say on a different piece of paper so you don’t damage the card or stationery with any mistakes.

•    Write your romantic love letters in different colored ink for a fun burst of color. You can try colors like red, pink, purple, blue, and green for a fun change from black and blue ink. If you are feeling especially playful, add a sticker or two for added fun.

•    Include photos of yourself or of the two of you with your love letter. Your significant other will appreciate the new snaps you send of the two of you or even ones of just yourself. It helps to minimize the distance between you.

•    Write from the heart. Let your emotions do the talking.
Let your significant other know things like:

o    I miss you.
o    I can’t wait to see you.
o    You’re always on my mind.
o    I love you.
o    You give me butterflies.
o    I am counting the days till I see you again.
o    You’re the guy / girl of my dreams.

•    Spruce up the envelope of your love letter with a lipstick kiss or an old-fashioned wax stamp. Sure, it is just a detail, but why not focus on every detail of your romantic love note being perfect? Sealing wax and stamps are a romantic and elegant way to seal a love letter. The way the envelope looks is the first impression your letter will make on its recipient.

What other love letter tips and tricks do you think are important? Please share them in our comments below.

Flirty Texts to Send

Text messaging is hotter than ever, so it helps to have a small arsenal of flirty texts to send to the one you like or love. If you are in a committed relationship, you can more easily get away with sending flirty texts to your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife. If you are in a new relationship or simply pursuing your crush, you might want to take it easy on the flirty text messages until you can see how your love interest feels in return.

Flirty texts can spice up your existing relationship. You can entice your lover or share some of your romantic thoughts. Consider these suggestions for flirty texts to send to the person you like.

Sweet and Flirty Texts to Send
Try these romantic things to say to your lover in a text message:

•    I like you.
•    You’re cute.
•    You’re mine.
•    Thinking of you.
•    You’re hot!
•    Hey Good Lookin’.
•    I like your [insert compliment here]

Meaningful or Useful Text Messages to Send to Your Crush
If you like someone, consider these text message ideas to help get you together for a date:

•    Want to grab a bite?
•    Milkshakes – my treat?
•    I challenge you to [ insert sport or activity here]
•    What’s the last movie you’ve seen? (Next text: Want to see [movie name] tonight / this weekend?)
•    Let’s grab a drink after work…

While fun and a great way to stay connected to your significant other, sending flirty texts doesn’t come without its risks. You should be careful when sending flirty or racy text messages in case you accidentally select the wrong contact from your phone book. Few things could be worse than sending a sexy text message to your boss, coworker, or family member. You should also be wary of sending flirty texts to your ex when you’ve had a little bit to drink. It’s important to avoid situations that could become uncomfortable whenever possible.

If you have other ideas for flirty texts to send or flirty text messages you would like to receive, please share them in our comments!

 

When is Touching Flirting

If you are wondering, when is touching flirting, think about your intentions or the intentions of the other person. Touching can be flirting in a variety of instances, mainly when a person’s intentions are romantic or lustful. Touching is a key form of flirting, along with eye contact, which both help to convey your feelings for someone without use of words.

Flirting is a playful and often mysterious way to express romantic feelings or to urge on sparks in a relationship. Find out what kinds of touching can be considered flirting.

Some examples of flirting through touching can include:
•    Holding hands
•    Putting your arm around the person, especially at a movie
•    Touching or rubbing the person’s arm, leg, or shoulder
•    Placing your hand on someone’s arm while talking to them
•    A playful shove

Other kinds of touching can also be considered flirting in certain contexts. If you challenge your crush to a competition of some sort, you can give a playful shove or even a high five with a flirtatious smile. A pinch or flipping a girl’s ponytail can also be considered flirting through touching.

Remember, flirting with touching can be sweet and innocent or in some cases it can be risky. You don’t want to come across as pushy or physically aggressive. If you flirt too frequently with someone who may not be interested, your advances may become more visibly unwelcome and in some cases may be perceived as sexual harassment when conducted in inappropriate situations or with inappropriate people.

Use your best judgment when flirting with friends, too. You can permanently change the dynamics of a friendship by flirting with a friend who may not share the same romantic feelings. When you engage in flirting with touching, it is often best to proceed slowly and innocently with caution. If your crush returns your flirting advances, you may be in a better place to flirt more often or more seriously.

Gauge the body language and facial expressions of the person you’re flirting with to understand if you are both on the same page. Your relationships will be stronger if you stay in tune with the signals you are given through another person’s flirting or lack thereof.

 

Fun Rainy Day Dates

Fun rainy day dates are one of the most memorable kinds of dates you can have. Bad weather can make us hesitant to go out and have fun, but it can still be romantic even if it’s the worst weather that you encountered in your life. The important thing is that you had the chance to spend it with your special someone. Lovers will definitely rekindle the relationship and it can add spice to your relationship in having a date on a rainy day. Here are some tips and suggestions that you can use while the rainy season strikes for both of you whether you like to spend time indoors or outdoors in the rain.

Rainy Dates: Activities

1.    Enjoy a movie together. You can watch one of the all time favorite romantic movies “The Notebook” starring Rachel Mc Adams and Ryan Gosling — that is, if you are the type of person who is a hopeless romantic. This movie will open your mind to believe that love still moves even if your memory fades out.

2.    Play indoor games like chess, scrabble, card games, or even Wii games that will leave you smiling and laughing out loud. Wii sports allow you to work out and burn calories in the house without going outside.

3.    Read books or any magazines together while sitting on the couch or bed.
This is one of the relaxing rainy dates that would be nice to do all the time.

4.    Prepare a candlelight dinner and cook his / her favorite dish while playing romantic music in the background. Isn’t it romantic to eat your dinner on a rainy day while listening to your favorite song? What the best romantic rainy dates have in common is that you and your sweetheart get to spend special time together, even if the weather isn’t very nice.

5.    Cuddle with your pet dog or or cat and play with them together.
Having a pet of your own, will make you a more optimistic person and reduce stress all the time.

6.    Play hide and seek inside your house. Try to turn off the lights so that it will make your game more intense, which for both of you heats up the moment.

7.    Play videoke. Sing your favorite songs together with your special someone.

8.    Play truth or dare. Try to share your deepest secrets or challenge each other with a wild task when playing truth or dare.

9.    Make a craft. Making a scrapbook can be a very special activity to enjoy with your loved one as a rainy day date idea. Having a scrapbook will give you memories that you can share and enjoy from time to time. It also relieves stress seeing your scrapbook and thinking of all your happy times, rain or shine.

One of the amazing rainy dates that you can enjoy outside with your partner is to walk along in the rain using your umbrella. This is very romantic, even if it’s already kind of cliché, but it works. For men out there who wish to attract their date’s attention, consider taking your date in the park and while walking along the street, share your funny jokes and snap a stolen picture of her.

You will love the idea that there are a lot of great things to do even if it’s the rainiest season that you experience in life. It will not be boring because you have found someone beside you to make it through the rainy season in life. Remember that weather is not a hindrance when you want to share quality time with your partner; it is the quality time that matters most. Spending quality time with your partner in the rainiest season will allow you to have a memorable date that you can remember for a lifetime. Everyone is not given a chance to do this with their partner. Now it is your chance to show your special someone how romantic it is to have a date in a rainy day. Don’t just sit there when the rain pours. You will now surely know what to do to surprise your partner and show how beautiful life can be, even when you need to enjoy a date on rainy days.

Mother of the Bride Dresses, Suits, and Pants Suits: Tips and Trends

Consider these lovely mother of the bride dresses for 2010.Today’s mother of the bride dresses are anything but matronly! They come in countless colors and styles, but you’ve also got other mother of the bride wear to consider, like pants suits, suits, slacks, and skirts. In most traditional weddings, mother of the bride gowns or dresses seem to be the preferred attire, but more and more modern moms are moving toward suits, pants suits, and other mom of the bride outfits.

Mother of the bride clothes have come a long way since our parents’ weddings. The wide array of apparel choices for the bride’s mom range from casual to dressy casual to formal and of course, black-tie worthy. Fashion designers know not everyone is comfortable in a dress, so modern moms can find countless styles of mother of the bride pants suits and other outfits without the super dressy look and feel.

Tips for Choosing Your Mother of the Bride Dress or Outfit
Consider these lovely mother of the bride fashions including pants suits for 2010.If you are looking for mother of the bride dresses, suits, or outfits, consider these tips and trends for the important weddings in your life.

•    Traditionally, the mother of the bride chooses her dress or at least the color of the dress before the mother of the groom. This may not be practiced as widely today, but it’s a general tip of wedding etiquette.

•    Visit more than one bridal boutique so you can scope out all the latest trends and styles of mother of the bride outfits.

•    Consider the colors of the wedding party, flowers, decorations, and the wedding theme. Find a color in the happy medium where you don’t blend in and you don’t stand out. Your gown should complement the wedding party and wedding colors.

•    If you need to find a plus size mother of the bride dress or outfit, don’t fret. Countless boutiques and even department stores offer a wide variety of fashions for curvy women.

Consider these lovely mother of the bride fashions including pants suits for 2010.•    Consider mother of the bride suits and pants suits if you are not comfortable with the dresses and gowns available for bride’s mom.

•    If you prefer the style of mother of the bride wedding dresses where the gown is strapless or has only thing spaghetti straps, consider getting a matching shawl or jacket to keep your shoulders covered as needed.

•    After your daughter has found her wedding dress, consider asking her if she would like to go shopping with you to check out mother of the bride dresses. You can ensure her stamp of approval on your dress or outfit if she’s there shopping with you.

Trends for Mother of the Bride Dresses
Since 50 is the new 30, today’s mother of the bride dresses and outfits are looking a lot younger and more stylish than the MOB (mother of the bride) dresses of old. You can expect to see more bright and bold colors, sexier lines and cuts, and fashionable jackets that look great on or off.

Consider these mother of the bride dress trends to help you decide what kind of gown to get for your daughter’s wedding.

New Appropriate Lengths for MOB Dresses
Depending on the formality of the wedding, you don’t have to settle for a floor-length gown. You can find countless stylish mom of the bride dresses in cocktail length, knee-length, and of course the ever popular tea length mother of the bride dresses.

Hot Colors for MOB Dresses
Today’s moms are often opting for brighter and bolder shades when it comes to choosing mother of the bride dresses. Designer mother of the bride dresses as well as even cheap mother of the bride dresses give moms an option of countless colors like eggplant, slate blue, pink, champagne, and silver, to name a few. Consider jewel tones, earth tones, pastels, metallics – it all depends on what the wedding theme and wedding party colors are going to be.

Consider these lovely mother of the bride fashions including pants suits for 2010.Popular Styles of MOB Dresses
As earlier stated, the popular styles of the mother of the bride dresses now include sexier cuts, romantic and feminine tiered skirts, and various fabrics that give a contemporary feel. More mature mothers of the bride and grandmothers of the bride may appreciate two-piece suits or some of the more conservative mother of the bride dresses.

Consider these lovely mother of the bride dresses for 2010.Designer Rina di Montella features many close-fitting gowns for mother of the bride, including a number of mermaid style gowns, strapless mother of the bride gowns, and even a few strappy or halter style gowns in a variety of blues, greens, and earth tones. Tiers and lace truly are popular themes for mothers of the bride this year.

You can find dresses for the mother of the bride in so many different color and style combinations. Be sure to visit the boutiques and department stores where you can try on the dresses before you commit to buying them. Consider designer mother of the bride dresses if you can afford them – brands like Alfred Angelo offer a lot of options for everyone in the wedding party. Most of all, have fun choosing your dress for this very special occasion!

 

Mother of the Bride Speech Tips for the Wedding

Try these tips if you plan to give a mother of the bride speech at the wedding.A mother of the bride speech is probably the last thing on your mind if your daughter is getting married. There’s so much to plan and so much to do, so many decisions and payments to make. Finalizing every detail becomes challenging to say the least. While the mother of the bride wedding speech may not be on the top of your list of mother of the bride duties, don’t let it fall off your radar completely! If you want to say a few special words to your daughter’s wedding guests, by all means prepare a sentimental mother of the bride speech to share with those you love.

If you would like to give a speech as the mother of the bride, consider these tips to help you put together the perfect words to share at your daughter and son-in-law’s wedding.

•    Speak from the heart. Think of fond memories, heartfelt sentiments, and all the warm fuzzies you would like to share with the wedding guests.

•    Recognize those at the wedding who deserve special thanks – grandparents, your daughter’s new in-laws, the bridal party, etc.

•    Write down your mother of the bride wedding speech and practice it before the big day.

•    Don’t be nervous as you prepare to give your mom of the bride speech. You are with family and friends, and everyone is interested to hear what you have to say!

•    If you are shy, consider giving a mother of the bride toast instead of a full speech. Your toast can be as short and sweet as you like. Cheers!

•    If you are too nervous to speak, you can have your husband do a father of the bride speech instead! Simply stand by him to show all the wedding guests your support and let him do the talking. You can even write the wedding speech together as thoughts from the parents of the bride if you like.

As long as you take some time and put a little thought and heart into your mother of the bride speech you should have a great experience in sharing your sentiments. A mother of the bride wedding speech is not a fixed requirement for today’s weddings, but it is a nice touch if you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts.

If you don’t want to give a speech, no worries – the best man speech and maid of honor speech are always classic elements of the wedding reception. Perhaps you’d feel more comfortable (or have more time) at the rehearsal dinner. You can give a nice mother of the bride toast or speech the night before the wedding if you prefer. No matter what you decide, be sure to relax and enjoy the special day!

 

Top 10 Fun Dinners to Cook Together with Your Significant Other (or Family)

Making dinner together with the ones you love can be an enjoyable, memorable experience. From a simple homemade pizza to an elaborate Thanksgiving turkey dinner, you can make your meal as easy or as complex as you like. Cooking and baking as a couple, or even as an entire family, can be a great bonding experience. When you cook or bake with your sweetheart, it can also be a romantic activity for the two of you to enjoy.

Cooking and baking together give you a chance to work together toward a goal, piecing together a project until it’s complete and you get to enjoy the results. Consider not only the main course of the meal you plan to cook together, but also the side dishes, appetizer, bread, dessert, and wine or other beverages. Plan the menu together and also complete the meal preparation. Most importantly, have fun!

Consider these suggestions for fun dinners to cook together with your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife. You can select one of these or make up your own gourmet meal to cook.

Top 10 Dinners to Cook Together
1.    Turkey Dinner with All the Fixins
2.    Homemade Pizza
3.    Homemade Stromboli
4.    Chicken Parmesan (or Eggplant Parmesan)
5.    Spaghetti and Meatballs
6.    Stuffed Pork Chops
7.    Seafood Stir Fry (or Vegetable Stir Fry)
8.    Shrimp Scampi
9.    Surf and Turf
10.   Lobster Risotto

Cooking dinner together for two just wouldn’t be complete without homemade dessert! Be sure to prepare a dessert that appeals to both of you or to the entire family if you are preparing the meal as a group. Here are a few suggestions for the top 10 desserts to bake or make together with your sweetheart.

Top 10 Desserts to Bake Together
1.    Decadent Chocolate Raspberry Cake (or another flavor you prefer)
2.    Chocolate Chip Cookies
3.    Homemade Cheesecake
4.    Homemade Ice Cream
5.    Pies (Pumpkin Pie / Apple Pie)
6.    Strawberry Shortcake
7.    Tiramisu
8.    Baked Alaska
9.    Lemon Meringue Pie
10.    Peach Cobbler

No matter what you decide to cook with your sweetheart or your family, be sure to have a little taste here and there – after all, that’s half the fun!

 

Surviving a Summer Wedding – Tips to Stay Cool

Try a fancy fan to keep you cool at a summer wedding.Summer is a lovely time to have a wedding, but the traditional heat of the season often has a big impact on the festivities. Depending on where you live and where the year’s summer weddings are located, the hottest season of the year can often be unbearable for wedding guests, the bridal party, and of course, the bride and groom. Finding creative ways to stay cool during summer weddings can save the day on so many levels!

No matter if you are  a guest to summer weddings or a bride or groom about to get married, consider these summer wedding survival tips to keep yourself (and your guests) cool, dry, and happy.

Tips to Help You Stay Cool at Summer Wedding Ceremonies
If you are planning to attend any weddings in the dead heat of the summer, consider a few tips to help you keep cool during the wedding ceremony, dinner, and dancing.

Dress appropriately for the weather during summer wedding season.•    Dress appropriately for the occasion and find other creative ways to keep cool.
•    Wear your hair in an up-do style to keep your neck cool and to preserve a nice look.
•    Apply baby powder to your most delicate areas to prevent perspiration.
•    Bring blotting papers or pressed powder to apply to your face to keep your skin from becoming too oily.
•    Wear a light colored dress and a lightweight fabric to avoid overheating at the summer wedding.
•    Try to choose a dress with a shorter to mid-length cut.
•    Bring sunscreen and always wear a moisturizer with sun block in the ingredients.

Tips for Brides and Grooms to Keep Guests and the Bridal Party Comfortable at Summer Weddings

Summer weddings can be marvelous, from gorgeous, amazing flowers to beautiful sunny skies and a perfect selection of wedding flowers. It’s no wonder summer wedding dates are so appealing! Consider these tips as bride or groom to help keep your guests cool and comfortable at your summer wedding.

•    Decorative Fans – Offer paper, silk, or sandalwood fans as wedding favors to allow your guests to fan themselves and stay cool. This can be especially beneficial at outdoor weddings or destination weddings where the heat index is very high.

•    Evian Spray – On a really hot day, have the wedding reception staff offer your guests a gentle mist of spring water with Evian Facial Spray. The mist should be light and airy, enough to refresh but not enough to dampen clothing or soak hair or ruin makeup.

•    Ensure Shelter – Be sure to provide at least some kind of shelter for your guests. Large outdoor tents do a nice job of providing shade while electric fans can circulate a bit of a breeze, even if the weather is much hotter than expected.

Drink lots of water on a hot wedding day!•   Cold Beverages – No matter what you decide to serve, ice cold beverages can be an excellent way of keeping your guests cool and relaxed.

Remember, your comfort level is vital to having a good time at a summer wedding or other special occasion. Do whatever you can to keep cool and make it through the day. Drink lots of non-alcoholic fluids and take your time. Avoid exhausting yourself while dancing as well. Enjoy!

 

AXE Twist Deodorant Body Spray Review – Great Fragrance to Keep Women Interested

Consider this review of AXE Twist body spray and deodorant.AXE Twist brands itself as the fragrance that changes to keep guys interesting to girls. It is an appealing concept with a clever and amusing commercial to keep the marketing and advertising efforts interesting to both guys and girls. The AXE Twist products are nicely packaged with yellow and green accents on the outside of the bottles or deodorant containers. The external styling is attractive and inviting.

When it comes to actually trying the new AXE Twist body spray, I really enjoyed the scent of it on my husband. On first application, Twist smelled citrusy and alluring, reminding me of romantic and exotic vacations and those perfect, warm summer days. As I was waiting and thinking so hard about the fragrance changing, I might have missed some of the keynotes, though. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing – I just might not have as sensitive a sniffer as the next. I’ve read there are notes of cedar and sandalwood in addition to the initial citrus blast. Both these additions sound lovely. I am not sure if I picked up on these notes as I am not super familiar with picking them out in a mixed bouquet, but I did notice that the Twist fragrance tames and tones itself down throughout the day, leaving a pleasant and refreshing fragrance that I could still detect toward the end of the day when my husband got home from work. I really enjoyed it and felt it was an upbeat and fun fragrance.

Consider this review of AXE Twist body spray and deodorant.My husband on the other hand, is more of a fan of the older, more traditional AXE fragrances. He wasn’t a huge fan of “walking around smelling like lemon-lime,” he said, but the fragrance does change a bit over time to become more subtle. Usually my husband tends to be more of a fan of rugged and woodsy scents, so I am not entirely surprised or turned off by his impression. I think if AXE reversed the order of the notes in the Twist fragrance to start out with cedar or sandalwood that might have been more his speed. The truth is, nothing is for everyone and you can’t always make everyone happy.

I think AXE Twist is the perfect product for your guy to toss in his gym bag on the go. It’s a nice and refreshing scent that is definitely noticeable. For more corporate events, perhaps a traditional cologne will do, but I have no personal objections to the new and exciting AXE Twist. In fact, I think it is the perfect fragrance for guys to enjoy this summer at the beach, pool parties, after the gym, around the house, and beyond!

AXE Twist is available at your favorite drugstores and at most of your favorite mass retailers. AXE Twist deodorant body spray and deodorant products retail for roughly $4 – $6. You can also order them in bulk at Amazon.com. Product provided free to writer for reviewFor more information on AXE Twist and other AXE products, please visit http://www.theaxeeffect.com/#/axe-campaigns/twist.

You Don’t Have to be Southern to Enjoy a Little Southern Living: Wedding Planning and the Joy of Wedding Cakes

Always the Baker, Never the Bride, by Sandra D. BrickerI love the month of June. If April showers bring May flowers, it’s only for purposes of arranging those flowers in fabulous ways for the many weddings in June. At least that’s the way it plays out in my head.

I didn’t have any sisters to grow up with, but I had some awesome female cousins. I vividly remember the wedding of one of them, the fabulous Norma Jean. I’d always admired Norma for her bohemian style and strong sense of self. I spent years copying her hairstyles and trying to learn to crochet, just because she did.  I looked up to her in hopes that I’d one day be just like her, and hers was the first big wedding I ever attended.

One of the highlights of that event was dancing with my father at the reception, but on the beautiful summer day when Norma walked down the aisle toward her groom in her magical, slightly poofy, sparkling white dress, and she took the hand of the man waiting for her and they pledged their endless love and commitment … I honestly look back on it as the birth date of the hopeful romantic I eventually became. What could be more spectacular than the romance and fairy tale-ness of an enchanting bride and a full-on dream wedding?

And of course if that wasn’t monumental enough on its own … Afterward, there was cake!

Always the Baker, Never the Bride, by Sandra D. BrickerOh, how I’ve always adored wedding cakes! Yes, okay. I like eating cake. But almost as much as that, I’m fascinated by the construction and execution of this sweet expression of the story of the bride and groom. My favorite indulgence to this end?: Those wedding issues of Southern Living Magazine.

They covered everything from centerpieces to dance bands to creative honeymoon ideas. And of course there were cakes. Beautiful, other-worldly cakes with flowers and multiple tiers and whipped icing that took the shape of chiffon, lace, and taffeta. The summer pages of Southern Living Magazine were just mesmerizing to me.

By the time reality television emerged with such offerings as Platinum Weddings, Amazing Wedding Cakes and Cake Boss, I’d been long-since hooked. So when I pitched the idea of a novel based on a baker of wedding cakes, with the added complication snatched from my very own life of dealing with diabetes, the blaze of my enthusiasm sparked a fire within my editor as well. And so Always the Baker, Never the Bride was born, and the romantic comedy makes its debut on a simpatico cake-loving public in September.

Early reviews of my novel have confirmed what I’ve always believed: EVERYONE LOVES CAKE!

“Not for dieters,” writes author Debby Mayne. “Always the Baker, Never the Bride by Sandra D. Bricker attacks the taste buds and heart and doesn’t let go. Close your eyes, and you just might be able to taste the award-winning creme brulee wedding cake that almost becomes one of the characters in the story.”

“Filigree swirls of the unexpected distinguish this novel as one of both culinary and storytelling artistry,” adds Cynthia Ruchti, author of They Almost Always Come Home, and president of the American Christian Fiction Writers organization. “Bricker fills the pages with charming characters, an imaginative plot, and a reason to keep reading. My compliments to the baker!”

Between the chapters of Always the Baker, Never the Bride, readers will find an ongoing homage to my love affair with Southern Living Magazine’s coverage of everything wedding. There are cake recipes, wedding planning tips, even suggestions on the best way to crumb coat a wedding cake.  If LLB readers would like to taste a sample, they can read the first three chapters and/or pre-order the book at Amazon.

Meanwhile, it’s June! The beginning of wedding season. Any day now, there will be frilly dresses, oceans of flowers, clean-lined tuxedos, and irresistible rhinestone shoes, all set to the soundtrack of couples’ meaningful signature songs. And yes. There will be cake. Lots and lots of gorgeous cake!

About the Author:
Sandra D. Bricker has been publishing in both the Christian and general market for years with novels for women and teens, magazine articles, Christian devotionals, and short stories. With eleven novels in print and four more slated for publication through 2012, Sandie has carved out a niche for herself as an award-winning author of laugh-out-loud comedy for the inspirational market. Keep up with Sandie via her Web site or her popular weekly blog.

 

Important Things to Discuss with Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend Before Marriage

Talk about these important things BEFORE marriage.Finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with can be challenging or very easy. Once you and your significant other are thinking about taking your relationship to the next level, it’s important to discuss various issues to ensure your future together works. Whether you want kids or not is surely an important discussion to have. Even if you and your boyfriend or girlfriend are on the same page regarding children, there are still many issues to consider and discuss before getting engaged.

Consider these tips on various discussions you should have with your boyfriend or girlfriend before walking down the aisle.

ChicagoHealers.com practitioner, Financial Planner Julie Murphy Casserly CLU, ChFC, CFP shares various important financial discussions you should have with your sweetheart before getting married. Be sure to bring up these important topics before you and your significant other get married.

Discuss and be honest about debt levels

“When you marry someone, you also marry their money and their debt,” says Casserly. “Everyone brings financial baggage into a relationship but it’s important that each of you disclose exactly how much debt you are carrying so you can develop a picture of your financial responsibilities after marriage. It’s also not a good idea to hide some of your debt from your future spouse. As the old adage goes, “it’s never good to start a marriage on a lie” and it will just create negative energy between the two of you once the secret is out.”

Examine your credit scores

“If one person’s score is below 700, consider keeping your finances separate for awhile until you can work to improve the score,” Casserly recommends. “Work as a couple to help the person with the low credit score pay off debt and take care of overdue bills. Do not apply for any joint credit cards. Instead, put the cards in the name of the person with good credit and make the other person an authorized user.”

Set goals together

“It’s important that you both have a clear vision of your financial goals so you can help each other achieve them, or talk about the differences before trouble starts,” Casserly says. “Create a complete picture of your financial situation in the following three areas. It is easier to stay on track when you understand your full financial situation.”

Financial Planner Julie Murphy Casserly CLU, ChFC, CFP, shares the following tips for setting goals with your significant other:

  • Past – “Review and discuss all of your past choices and work to pay them down now.”
  • Present – “Review your current monthly bills and purchases and set a budget that fits into your allotted incomes.  Try to live the quality of life you want today on a cash basis, not a credit basis.”
  • Future – “Plan for your short-term, mid-term and long-term financial goals and make them a priority. Enlist the help of a financial planner who can help you set up savings and investment accounts that will help you reach all of your life goals.”

Make choices for two

“Once you have created your complete financial picture, make sure you agree that you will both clear a space in your life to obtain these goals and make life choices that align accordingly,” she says.

Being honest and open with your loved one is vital to a successful relationship, and most importantly, a successful and lasting marriage. Be sure to discuss these important topics with your soon-to-be-spouse before you tie the knot. Best wishes!