Top 10 Romantic Things to Do for or with Your Significant Other on a Tropical Island Vacation

If you and your sweetheart are going on a tropical island vacation together, you’re almost guaranteed to have a completely amazing time. From the beautiful scenery of the tropics to the romance in the air all the time, you can only imagine the memories you’ll make together until they happen in real life. Despite the natural magic and wonder of a tropical island vacation, you can still plan a few romantic things to do so you can surprise your significant other with a truly unforgettable tropical vacation experience.

When you are on a tropical island for your vacation, some of your planning may be limited, but don’t be afraid to lean on the hotel staff and concierge for some tips and assistance in pulling off your more elaborate romantic plans. If you prefer to keep things low key, you can surely impress your sweetheart with romantic activities and surprises that don’t cost a penny, and ones that don’t require any special skills either.

For an unforgettable and exciting trip with your lover, consider these top 10 romantic things to do for or with your significant other on a tropical island vacation.

1.    Write your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s (or husband’s or wife’s) name in the sand. Take a picture for a permanent reminder of your romantic notion.

2.    Request that the live band or outdoor singer or lounge singer play or sing “your song” and dedicate the song and performance to your significant other. If you are feeling especially daring, you could see if they will let you on stage to sing!

3.    Find the perfect place on the beach and watch the sunset together.
This romantic activity during a tropical vacation could also benefit from a bottle of wine or toting a camera along so you can take a snapshot to cherish forever.

4.    Share a bottle of wine and dance under the stars together in the evening. You can also lay a blanket down on the ground and count the stars while you cuddle.

5.    Work out a plan with the hotel staff to place rose petals on your bed or a trail of petals in your room leading to a soaking tub and/or a bottle of champagne. Sometimes hotels offer a “romance package” that would include a nice display like this, so inquire before you book your reservations, if possible.

6.    Schedule a couples massage or day at the spa together. If you can score a massage on the beach next to the sounds of the surf, even better yet.

7.    Enjoy a dinner for two on the edge of the ocean or at an intimate table for two just before sunset. Some resorts place romantic dinner tables for two right at the water’s edge where you would be dipping your toes into the surf.

8.    Go on a sunset cruise together. Drinks and appetizers or even dinner or dessert would be divine.

9.    Wake up – or stay up all night – and watch the sunrise. Get some orange juice and champagne for your own refreshing Mimosas. Just think of all the fun things you can do together before and after the sun rises.

10.    Propose!
Many women will agree, few things are more romantic than getting engaged at a tropical paradise where dreams really do come true.

Top 10 Fun, Exciting, and Romantic Fall Date Ideas

Fall offers a lovely backdrop of color that can best be enjoyed outside and in the arms of the one you love. For a perfect fall date idea, consider the following top 10 fun and exciting fall dates. You can enjoy a romantic afternoon, a thrilling evening, or anything in between. You can invite your friends along for a fun fall double date or keep your sweetheart all to yourself for a romantic autumn date.

1.    Go apple picking. There’s nothing quite like the taste and smell of fresh-picked fall apples. Pick and purchase a basket full and take them home to make delicious treats like homemade apple pie, candy apples, sliced apples and more.

2.    Go pumpkin picking at the pumpkin patch. Once you’ve found the perfect pumpkins, take them home and carve them to perfection.


3.    Find your way through a corn maze.
Give your body a gentle autumn workout while giving your mind a challenging task. Work together as a team with your sweetheart to find the end of the maze.

4.    Go on a haunted hay ride or visit a “haunted house.” With Halloween falling in the end of October, a fun and exciting fall date may just involve the headless horseman, a mummy, and countless other goblins and ghouls to make you jump out of your skin and into your sweetheart’s arms.

5.    Take a trip to enjoy the fall foliage.
No matter where you go in the northern part of the country – mountain, lakeside, highway, back roads – you are sure to find a lovely display of fall color. This makes for a remarkable and romantic fall date idea. Bring along your camera so you can capture some of the natural beauty and wonder of the changing leaves.

6.    Spend a few moments raking up the leaves in your yard and then jump in them together. You can play wrestle and have a lot of fun rolling around in the leaves. Rest, relax, and enjoy being in each others’ arms – all the simplest components of a romantic autumn date.

7.    Go on a horseback ride.
With fair weather and a colorful backdrop, horseback riding makes a fun and exciting fall date idea for sure. Find a ranch near your home and visit for a half-day horseback excursion.

8.    Plan a romantic fall picnic. Pack tasty fall treats like apple slices with caramel dip. The two of you can enjoy the lovely fall weather and then find shapes in the clouds together.

9.    Go for a hike. If the weather isn’t bitter cold yet, you can really take the time to enjoy all the sights and sounds of Mother Nature. In this fun fall date idea, you get to exercise together with the added bonus of pretty fall colors all around.

10.    Attend a fun fall festival in your area, or travel to an enticing one nearby.
Many times you can find individual towns hosting fall events and festivals, or sometimes larger groups organize outdoor concerts or other attractions. You can have a lot of fun at a fall festival or state fair, not to mention an outdoor concert or other attraction.

Tip: You can look online for a corn maze, pumpkin patch, apple orchard, haunted hayride, fall festival, and other fun fall attractions near you.

Roles for Dogs in Your Wedding – From Guest to Ring Bearer

Have today’s weddings gone to the dogs? Maybe to some extent…. If you and your four-legged, furry friend are as inseparable as can be, finding a role for your dog in your upcoming wedding may not be a crazy idea at all. After all, dogs are an integral part of our lives and a cherished member of the family. Dogs are there through thick and thin, by your side for most of life’s curveballs, ups and downs.

In modern weddings, couples are opting for more contemporary, sometimes even out-of-the-ordinary options, such as hosting destination weddings instead of traditional ceremonies, wearing more than one wedding gown, and even wearing contrasting, colored wedding shoes under the wedding dress. Alongside trashing a wedding dress for some really edgy wedding photography, does inviting your family pet to the wedding really seem that outlandish?

If you have a wild and crazy canine, you might find it difficult to fit your furry friend into your wedding day plans. You don’t want to get one of your friends or relatives tied up on doggy-sitting detail, so in this case, inviting your pooch pal to the wedding may not be the best move. However, if your dog is well behaved and good in a crowd, you should have much better luck getting your pet dog involved in your wedding day festivities.

Dogs as the Ring Bearer
Dogs very often fit the job description of the ring bearer in a wedding setting. As long as the dog is able to obey basic commands, like “Come,” you should be in business. If your pet responds to gestures and body language, your puppy dog is even better suited to participate in your wedding.

“My pup was the ring bearer,” says Marisa Perry of New York City. “He was fabulous and we could not get married without him there. My husband had his custom suit maker make him a special pouch for his rings, which he wore around his neck.”

“My fiancé and I have a dog named Scooby Doo; he is a shepherd collie mix and will be turning 10 years old in a couple of weeks,” says soon-to-be bride Colleen Wright. “He is a very important part or our lives, so we thought what better way to make our wedding a family affair than to have him as the ring bearer (but of course he will not be really brining the rings down… out of fear they would get lost). He is a very mild mannered, calm dog, but he does not like to be on a leash, so against [our instincts] we are going to have him run down the aisle when my fiancé, Jay, calls him (we are hoping this does not end up in disaster).”

Wright says Scooby Doo will be wearing a black bow tie for the occasion.

“We decided against a doggy tuxedo or harness covered in flowers because he will most likely just try to get it off and ruin it,” she adds. “We are very happy to be able to include him, but it was not easy to get the hotel to agree. We are getting married at an upscale golf resort in Rochester, NY. The venue does not allow pets on an everyday basis. So we were told, after much prodding, that we would be allowed to bring Scooby but he had to be snuck into the hotel (thus, we are going to wrap him in a towel and carry him upstairs – he is a medium sized dog, not real small, so this should be interesting). Then he is supposed to be in a crate the whole time he is in the room (which he will not do well in) and we have to pay a $100 fee for the hotel to clean the room upon departure.”

“I am not too worried about him being in the wedding,” Wright says. “He is a very good dog and listens very well to my fiancé. All and all I think it will be a nice addition, and very special. Plus, his short moment in our wedding will be documented in our wedding pictures for years to come.”

Despite the hassles and hoops to jump through, the ability to include their beloved pooch in the wedding is well worth the cost and potential drama. Having their dog as the ring bearer in the wedding will be a priceless memory for a lifetime to come!

Other Roles for Dogs at a Wedding
While it may be perfectly acceptable in some cases for the bride’s or groom’s (or the couple’s) dog to participate in the wedding, a guest’s dog should not be in attendance… unless of course it’s an extreme circumstance or medical reason, and the bride and groom are privy to the situation, and they are OK with it. One such example is the role of the Seeing Eye dog.

“When my late husband and I were married in 1986, our minister was not sighted, so she had her Seeing Eye dog with her,” says Mary Westheimer. “The ceremony was short and sweet, and its highlight was when the minister stepped on her dog’s tail and he yelped. Talk about unique!”

Finally, the couple’s dog may simply attend the wedding as a guest. Outdoor weddings may be great for doggie guests, but a concern could be the dog getting loose and running off during the wedding ceremony or the reception. Of course, there are typically always pros and cons to every situation, so if you’d like to invite or involve your dog in your wedding day, weigh the pros and cons to ensure you are fully comfortable with the decision and aware of any potential outcomes or consequences.

Top 10 Summer or Warm Weather Adventure Date Ideas

Summertime offers the perfect excuse to try exciting new things and explore new adventures while enjoying the warm weather. Summer adventure dates can be lots of fun for couples or for double dates and group dates. Depending on your preference, you can plan a summer or warm weather adventure date with your significant other and your closest friends for an unforgettable and exciting summer activity.

If you and your sweetheart or new love interest (or group of friends) are seeking an unforgettable summer adventure date, you can first narrow down your options by deciding if you want to stay dry or get wet. Determining if you want to plan a water adventure date or an adventurous date on land can make a big difference in the planning of your date.

Begin planning your summer or warm weather adventure date by first thinking of all the adventurous date ideas you can try. Here are our top 10 summer or warm weather adventure date ideas for you to try:

1.    Whitewater rafting or tubing – Few warm weather outdoor activities happen to be as exhilarating as whitewater rafting, where you and your group are at the mercy of the rapids in your chosen river. If whitewater rafting is a bit too adventurous of a date for you, consider tubing down a river instead. Check with the park office or other authority in charge of the river before planning this date, just to make sure your desired river is safe for tubing. The Delaware River in Pennsylvania is one such river that is great for tubing!

2.    Scuba diving or snorkeling
– While scuba diving and snorkeling typically require you to be along the coast or on a tropical island or coastal vacation, you can surely build in a snorkeling or diving trip into an existing trip to an appropriate location. Diving and snorkeling truly embody a fun sense of adventure and excitement for your adventurous warm weather or summertime date.

3.    Overnight fishing trip
– If you and your significant other enjoy fishing in general, why not kick things up a notch and go out on a deep sea fishing adventure on an overnight angling excursion. Bluefish are a classic catch for these overnight fishing treks and hooking into a bluefish holds an excitement all its own. If you are feeling extra adventurous on your date, place a wager as to who will catch the biggest fish or the most fish on the overnight fishing trip.

4.    Parasailing – Parasailing may be a fun and relaxing yet exhilarating date adventure, as long as you aren’t afraid of heights or water. You can take turns going single parasailing and take pictures of each other in the air, or for a more romantic date adventure, find a location like Key West that offers tandem parasailing!

5.    Surfing or windsurfing
– If your athletic urges are going strong, consider surfing or windsurfing as an exciting adventure date. If you and/or your partner aren’t familiar with the ways of surfing or windsurfing, look for a workshop or an instructor that can give you all the guidance you need to get started. If you can’t find a class or don’t want to bother with lessons, opt for the easier, yet still exciting water adventure – and grab a boogie board!

6.    Sailing – Sailing on the open sea or in a serene lake makes for a truly romantic adventure date that is still exciting and enjoyable on many levels. Whether you sail a Sunfish sailboat or a catamaran, your warm weather date adventure will be a memorable one. Bring a picnic lunch and don’t be surprised if your date tosses you in the water for a refreshing dip!

7.    Kayaking – For a bit of an active date adventure, try kayaking in a lake or stream. You can try sea kayaking, too, but this might be best left for the more experienced kayakers. Kayaking together with your date gives you both a workout as well as an exciting tour of the nature around you.

8.    Waterskiing or wakeboarding – Put your leg muscles and your balance to the test with a fun date of waterskiing or wakeboarding. If you have access to a lake and a ski boat, let the games begin. Enjoy an exciting and adventurous date on the water on a nice, sunny summer day.

9.    Hiking – Perhaps water sports aren’t your thing. If this is the case, consider going on an adventurous hike with your sweetheart. Choose a trail that offers breath-taking views, a challenging climb, or a picnic spot at the pinnacle. You can bring a picnic lunch in a backpack along with some water, bug spray, and other necessities.

10.    Controlled thrills – Visit an amusement park, carnival, or boardwalk with rides and games and all the junk food you can imagine. Take a ride on the Ferris wheel or the roller coasters. Challenge your significant other to a competition at one of the game booths and don’t forget to enjoy some funnel cake.

Whatever you decide to do for your exciting adventure date with your sweetheart in the warm summer weather, make sure you take a few pictures to document and remember the experience. An adventure date typically arouses thrills and chills, so be prepared for anything at all. Take caution on any potentially dangerous situations, and most importantly, have a great time!

“Jon & Kate Plus 8” Divorce, 4th of July Gathering, Mark Long Road Ahead

Despite trying to make nice for the 4th of July holiday with the kids, Jon and Kate Gosselin – the stars of “Jon & Kate Plus 8” – have a long road ahead – involving divorce and raising eight children separately in a now broken home. News reports state that Jon and Kate Gosselin spent the 4th of July holiday together at their Pennsylvania home for the kids’ happiness.

Reports also state that Kate Gosselin filed for divorce on June 22, 2009. While no allegations have been confirmed on either side, various photographs have surfaced showing Jon Gosselin with a 23-year-old schoolteacher, so it’s plain to see that Kate Gosselin is going through some pretty heavy stuff right now.

Author Ginger Emas, who penned the amusing and supportive “Back on Top: Fearless Dating After Divorce” (Globe Pequot Press, 2009), offers divorce survival advice for Kate Gosselin based on her own experiences.

“A break-up or divorce is never easy, and especially not for Kate, who has eight kids and a very public life,” Emas comments. “I applaud her. I’m rooting for her. And when she’s ready to date, I’ll be glad to babysit.”

Divorce Survival Tips for Kate Gosselin from Author Ginger Emas
Ginger Emas offers the following divorce survival tips for Kate’s split with Jon:

1.    Decide to have an amicable split from Jon, no matter what it takes. With eight kids, you’re going to need a supportive co-parent, especially when they hit puberty – all at once! It won’t always be easy, but you get to create your own divorce. Maybe you won’t bring your ex home for the holidays like I do, but strive for a friendship that allows you to raise the kids without yelling and arguing. After all, if you wanted to scream at each other, you would stay married.

2.    Do not say mean things about Jon in front of your kids. Ever. This is an opportunity to tap into your best self, your truest character. You will feel so incredibly good about yourself, at a time when it’s easy to get down on yourself. Be nice. Your kids are going to be feeling torn, confused, scared. They need to know that Mommy and Daddy love them, and the way kids feel that is to see that Mommy and Daddy are nice to each other. You won’t be able to change Jon’s behavior (you already know that), you can only change how you react to his behavior, and how you guide your children. That’s a big enough job!

3.    Take care of yourself. It’s not going to be easy with a houseful of adorable preschoolers, but you’re going to need some self-love here. Surround yourself with girlfriends you trust, who really care, and who can help you smile through some of the hard times. I know this isn’t the happily ever after you dreamed about on the day you got married. (Although I have talked with several women who told me they knew as soon as they walked down the aisle that their marriage was doomed; I certainly didn’t. I was thinking, “This is the best day of my life, this is the man of my dreams, I’m sure I can change him.”)  Kate, we all feel different things – we’re scared, we’re worried, we’re lonely. What you’re doing also takes courage — especially because you live so publicly. Just remember that you are making the choices that are right for you — and you don’t owe anyone an explanation. But you do owe it to yourself (and to your kids) to take care of yourself.  Breathe.

4.    Don’t even think about dating. I know this is odd advice coming from the woman who wrote the book on “fearless dating after divorce,” but all the experts agree: you won’t be ready for at least a year. That doesn’t mean you should sit home alone (who am I kidding? You’ll be lucky if you’re ever alone between now and the time your kids go to college) but do some things that you enjoy. When your children are with their dad or with relatives or a nanny, take Salsa dancing or fashion designer classes or something else you’ve always wanted to do, now listed under “Classes for the Newly Divorced.”

5.    When you do decide to date, don’t date on your kids’ time. One thing that helps keep me balanced is to remember that I am a mom first. This is why my son thinks he is the center of the universe. And for a little while longer, your kids are, too, Kate. As you start dating, consider your kids’ feelings first. That means keeping your dating life private, separate from your family life, until you are dating someone exclusively and have been seeing him for at least six months. (We can all do the math, this is at least 18 months from now!) It can be confusing and scary for kids to meet a revolving door of dates. Quick tips: Your children do not need to meet your dates; sleepovers should be kept to nights that your kids are not home, and only when you are in a serious relationship; don’t feel guilty about dating (or not dating), be supportive of your ex dating, and finally: love your kids, respect your kids, spend time with your kids. And while I tell most women to be wary of their neighbors, for you: beware of the paparazzi.

6.    Never, ever think you must date. No matter how many times you say “Not yet” when friends who think they are just being supportive ask if you are dating. Unless they offer you the name, age, photo, and financial and mental health records of an eligible bachelor, I think you have just as much right to ask them if they are still having sex with their spouse. If you are out there dating because you think that you should or that this is your one last chance or someone wants to offer you another reality show, dating really will be a disaster.

7.    Do not date looking for your next husband. Do not date for security. Do not date to meet some societal standard of couplehood. This keeps us in relationships with men we wouldn’t even sit next to on the subway. Relationships that could be harmful to our health and self-esteem. You will wind up dating a lot of “frogs” this way. Well, no matter what you do, you’ll probably wind up dating a lot of frogs. Just don’t marry them.

8.    And my all-inclusive advice: Don’t do anything too stupid.

–    The above tips and comments are courtesy of Ginger Emas.

About the Expert:
Ginger Emas is the author of “Back on Top: Fearless Dating After Divorce” (Globe Pequot Press, 2009). For more about Ginger and the book, visit online at: and on the social media site Ginger created for women finding the courage to date again,

The Attraction of Dating a Married Man in the Celebrity World – Sahel Kazemi and Steve McNair Meet an Untimely End

Perhaps the cheating ways of celebrities and professional athletes receive more attention because of the high profile lifestyles they lead. Tabloids and gossip columns continually shout about new suspicions for who is cheating on whom and where these two people were seen together, such as the cheating allegations against Jon Gosselin, and other possible cheating suspicions on Kate Gosselin, both of the hit reality series, Jon & Kate Plus 8. It is not often clear how much of the celebrity news is true and how much is speculation.

In the case of former NFL Quarterback Steve McNair and 20-year-old Sahel Kazemi, the attraction of dating a married man may have been more along the lines of McNair’s fame and fortune, or the fact that he was an older man, 16 years her senior. One can only guess that the two felt an attraction for each other, despite the fact that Steve McNair was a married man.

Sadly, Steve McNair and Sahel Kazemi were both killed in a double murder or murder-suicide during the 4th of July holiday (yet to be determined at the time of this writing). News reports state that Steve McNair’s wife Mechelle McNair did not know about his affair with Kazemi until after the bodies were discovered. Despite these reports, search queries this week are off the charts for the search term “Steve McNair wife photo.”

It is hard to imagine what Mechelle McNair must be going through right now. If the news reports are accurate, she not only lost her husband in this awful double murder (or murder-suicide), but she also found out after his death that he was cheating on her. Finding out about her husband’s affair with Sahel Kazemi produces an entirely different gut-wrenching emotion; but to deal with both at the same time seems simply unbearable. It’s also very possible that through the questioning, she had to suffer through police questioning related to her husband’s death.

Yet despite this terrible tragedy for Mechelle McNair and the McNairs’ four children, all of these Web searches for “Steve McNair wife photo” and “Steve McNair’s wife photo” cause us to wonder just what America thinks about the tragedy and the killer. Perhaps people want to see Steve McNair’s wife’s photo to compare it to his mistress, or to see if Mechelle looks like a killer. A number of Internet users suspected that Steve McNair’s wife Mechelle herself is the killer, despite the reports that she didn’t know he was cheating on her. If she is innocent, as it seems she is, what an awful thing to be accused of a murder after you’ve just found your husband was killed and that he was having an affair!

New evidence shows that Sahel Kazemi purchased a gun on Thursday night. It seems very likely that she may have shot Steve McNair and then herself, especially if McNair was refusing to leave his wife for her.

Reports state that Sahel Kazemi and Steve McNair took a number of vacations together, and that Kazemi had expectations of marrying McNair sometime after a divorce to his wife Mechelle. Stories also say that Kazemi’s family saw her as being happy with McNair, although they may not have approved of the situation.

Little is known or divulged regarding the double murder or murder-suicide involving Steve McNair and Sahel Kazemi at this point, but surely new evidence is coming to light and should continue for the days to follow. All that is sure is that this is a tragedy for both the McNair and Kazemi families.

Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom Makeup Trends for At-Home or Professional Makeup Application

Getting your makeup done professionally or doing your makeup for a special wedding can be an enjoyable experience, but it definitely helps if you go into it knowing how you want your makeup to look. If you aren’t entirely sure how you want your makeup done for your son’s or daughter’s wedding, you might consider following the latest makeup trends for mother of the bride and mother of the groom.

Makeup trends change on a fairly regular basis, sometimes even with the seasons. Some makeup trends tend to stick around for a while, like the smoky eye look, although that may not be appropriate for your son’s or daughter’s wedding. If you want to find dashing and glamorous mother of the bride and mother of the groom makeup trends and styles, consider checking out magazines for photos of mature celebrities that you admire as a good place to start. You can also consult your hairstylist for additional ideas.

To learn about some of the makeup tips and trends for mother of the bride (MOB) and mother of the groom (MOG), read on. Makeup Artist Vanessa Elese shares the following answers to our burning questions about makeup trends and tips for the bride’s mother and groom’s mother.

Q. – Life Love Beauty:  What makeup color trends would be good for mother of the bride and mother of the groom? Should they match, complement, or accent their wedding attire, go with a look based on skin tone, etc.?

A. – Vanessa Elese: When you are looking at what colors to wear for the big day, focus not only on your skin tone, but also a look that will represent sophistication, your personality, as well as timeless beauty.  Essentially for mother’s of the bride / groom, focus on colors that complement your skin tone as well as enhance your eye color. A tried and true color trio can be seen with the bronzes, pinks, and earthy tones, which are certainly very popular and were all over the red carpets and runways this year. You can achieve a similar glamorous look with earthy tones then choose a plum or deep navy liner to complement your eyes and make them truly sparkle in the pictures.

Something to keep in mind… When looking for eye shadows, try Chanel’s Eye Shadow Quads in “Sequoia” or “Dune” – great complements of pinks, browns, and golds. Be sure when wearing eye shadow that you balance shimmer with flat colors. Too much shimmer can detract from your gorgeous eyes. Try a slight shimmer on the very inner part of the lid to awaken the eyes and use flat silky hues to add definition.

Skin tone: My true belief is to accent, rather than hide. For skin, start with a primer, to help hold your makeup for the long day ahead. Try: Smashbox’s “Photo Finish” Foundation primer with Dermaxyl Complex. This primer helps fill in fine lines and pores and allows makeup to apply flawlessly, ensuring continuous wear.  Also, you can try the Bodyography “Veil Foundation Primer,” which acts in the same way, but also contains antioxidants while helping to repair and prevent premature aging.

Next, make sure your concealer and foundations truly are your shade. There’s nothing worse than cakey makeup showing up in naturally lit photos. Your color should blend seamlessly without notice.

Q. – Life Love Beauty:  What kinds of makeup are important for the bride’s mother or groom’s mother if planning to do their makeup at home?

A. – Vanessa Elese:
Today is a very proud day, presenting either your daughter or son. Make sure your makeup complements rather than detracts. Your true beauty will shine through with these simple steps.

1.    First, apply a primer for lasting and restorative results.
2.    Spot cover any blemishes or marks, then assess whether a full foundation is necessary. Oftentimes a little foundation applied with a damp sponge will allow all flaws to be concealed and with seamless radiance showing through.
3.    Choose a lipstick that is along the peachy/rose tones. These tones will add the amount of color desired without looking garish.

Q. – Life Love Beauty:  What tips do you have for mothers who want to get their makeup professionally done on their child’s wedding day?

A. – Vanessa Elese: When looking for a makeup artist, make sure your concerns and ideas are thoughtfully addressed. Also, your artist will be present while your photographer is taking pre-ceremony pictures and can be hired throughout for touchups. Be mindful of appearance and professionalism.  With that in mind, consider price, but do not hesitate to spend for a true professional. Remember, these pictures and memories will be those you cherish for your lifetime. Cutting corners can often lead to more drama on your day than what you anticipate. A makeup artist’s job is to not only provide a flawless result and boost confidence, but also soothe their clients with reassurance that all the planning, time, and investment is well spent.

About the Expert:
Vanessa Elese is a makeup artist whose primary clientele includes members of the media, fashion, entertainment, and arts industries. For more information, visit online at

9 Reasons Why He May Not Propose (Right Now or Ever)

Waiting for your boyfriend to propose can be a tiresome, exasperating experience, especially if you don’t know where he is coming from. Having conversations about your future can help, or it may leave you dangling with even more questions. Why won’t he propose? Is something wrong with me? Why do my friends get engaged but I don’t?

If you are always the bridesmaid and never the bride, or maybe just depressed by weddings in general, these observations below should give you some insight into the inner workings of a guy’s mind. While these reasons why he may not propose don’t necessarily cover all the bases, these are a lot of common reasons why a guy may not ask you to marry him when you expect that he should.

1.    He wants to be financially responsible and needs to have all his ducks in a row before he proposes. Maybe he’s waiting for a better job. Maybe he is trying to save a bigger down payment for a house to buy with you. It really doesn’t matter what the holdup is – the end result is the same. This man loves you and wants to be a good provider. He may not be on your time table, but at least you can rest assured he is in it for the long haul.

2.    He’s a free spirit who is perfectly content to drive through life one day at a time. Lots of people – both men and women – find themselves in a state of complacency. Occasionally one of them hits a wall and everything comes tumbling down. If your man is a free spirit who likes to live life day by day with one small adventure at a time, you may have better luck talking to a wall than trying to reason with him. However, he could one day hit the wall that changes his mind and gets him motivated to explore his life to the fullest.

3.    He doesn’t want to be the first one of his friends to get married. Some guys find the right girl and can’t wait to tie the knot, no matter what. Other guys may find the right girl, and love her like crazy, but find themselves not ready to make things more permanent. Give him some time. We know it can be excruciating to watch all your girlfriends pair off and get married, but remember that nothing is gained by rushing in too fast.

4.    He still feels like a child himself and doesn’t want to grow up too fast. If your guy loves video games, drinking parties, going out with the guys all the time, and / or lives in his parents’ basement (no offense if he does!), it may be time to help him move toward maturity. Again, a couple of years here might make all the difference.

5.    He has conflicting emotions and emotional baggage from a previous relationship. If your man has been burned in the past, chances are he’s a bit gun-shy. This emotional issue may not be a permanent one, but it could delay your union. Once your beau is able to get over his emotional baggage, he should be able to gather up his courage and confidence to propose.

6.    The two of you want really different things out of life and he’s not sure that it will work. In closely examining relationships, many couples want different things out of life. If you disagree on major issues, such as having kids, where you live, etc., you may find yourselves in a predicament prior to getting engaged. In this case, he is protecting himself, but also you, by not rushing in despite your differences. If you think this could be the case, perhaps you can work out your differences for a better shot at your future.

7.    He likes you, and loves you, but he’s not sure if it’s that “forever” kind of love. We hate to think about this one, yet it does creep into our minds every once in a while. If the two of you don’t exchange “I love yous” or kind thoughts and sentiments even once in a while, this might be a cause for concern. You could always try having the “where-do-you-see-things-going” conversation… unless of course you’ve already had it… sixteen times… with no resolution. (sigh) Good luck.

8.    He’s a player and he’s waiting for the next best thing to come along. While we would hope this is not the case, there are times when the man fits the mold. If he is secretive, has lots of female friends, and doesn’t commit, you might become a bit suspicious if this is the case. Unless you can catch him (without snooping or stalking, of course), it’s quite difficult to prove this, and often it’s difficult to get past.

9.    He doesn’t want to get married. Maybe his parents had a rough marriage and he went through a lot as a kid. Maybe he has seen more than his share of ups and downs in relationships of those around him. Maybe he just doesn’t want to get married and doesn’t know why. A number of people do occasionally decide to live together and go through life as if they are married but without the titles or the actual authenticity of being married. If you want to get married and he falls into this category, you might want to consider all the factors and choose your best move.

Book Review – “Stern Men” by Elizabeth Gilbert

A novel with an interesting tale to tell, “Stern Men” by Elizabeth Gilbert is a book for those who enjoy reading as much for the style as for the tale. altDespite this fact, this is not a story for those who enjoy an easy-to-read novel that one cannot bear to put down. Far from the light and breezy style of a Harlequin romance novel, “Stern Men” offers a sedate story that winds through several generations of the heroine’s family. If one can hang in there for the finish, it is worth the wait.

Although I did indeed find myself laughing out loud at times, I also found myself wishing that these moments were more frequent. Perhaps I’ve changed in my likes and dislikes as far as reading goes because this is exactly the type of novel that I used to enjoy thoroughly and completely. Unfortunately, I cannot say this is true anymore. If you want to read a book of substance, then this is a book that you should pick up. If you want a quick read, visit the corner store.

Set off the coast of Maine, the novel traverses the lives of strong women who must undergo discrimination, recrimination, and the lot that befalls them simply because of birth. The tale takes one along the lives of women who suffer much while trying to find a few moments of happiness. It involves the lives of people who live separately on two remote islands. Despite the separate nature of these lives, they become intertwined in a not-so-happy manner.

The heroine of “Stern Men” has a mind of her own and finds a way to combat the idiosyncrasies of island living. Embracing her heritage and doping with the provincial minds of men set in their ways, she breaks out of the mold and uses her wits and intelligence to forge a life for herself on the islands that have been so dominated by men all of these years.

One of the facets to this book that I did thoroughly enjoy are the little tidbits of lobster lore at the beginning of each chapter that were culled from various sources including “The Lobster Fishery of Maine,” “The American Lobster: A Study of Its Habits and Development,” and “Crab, Shrimp, and Lobster Lore.” Each of these tidbits is interesting and educational at the same time.

For readers who can smell the salt of the sea almost upon command or taste the flesh of expertly cooked lobster at will, “Stern Men” is the read they are looking to enjoy. In fact, for readers who enjoy seeing women get the best of men, this is a story that is sure to please.

Editor’s Note: You can order “Stern Men” by Elizabeth Gilbert online at as a paperback at a bargain price.

Top 10 Fun and Exciting Summer Double Date Ideas

Summer creates the perfect time of year to plan fun and exciting double dates. You and your best friend or your sweetheart and theirs can have a blast enjoying countless summer double date ideas, from the adventurous and athletic to the relaxing and entertaining. Consider these top 10 fun and exciting summer double date ideas to give you an idea of what kind of group date suits you best.

1.    Go tubing or whitewater rafting in a nearby river.
For the more adventurous crowd, consider an exciting double date upon the water. You can bring a water-resistant underwater camera to capture the unforgettable memories you make on this wild and crazy dating excursion.

2.    Plan a camping trip for your group either at a campground or another recognized camping locale. You can have a campfire, or better yet, cook over a campfire. Enjoy a hike or take some time out on the lake. Any way you slice it, a camping trip can be a wonderful weekend double date idea for the summer.

3.    Visit a local winery for a tour of the vineyard and a wine tasting session. A number of wineries offer complimentary tastings with the hopes that you’ll bring home a bottle or two of your favorite wines. Other wineries offer a nominal tasting fee but deliver a fine tour of the winery and its facilities as well as a healthy tasting session. A winery tour and tasting makes a lovely double date idea for couples of any age, for any time of year, but especially during the lovely summer months.

4.    Find a festival with outdoor music on a nice day. There’s nothing quite like live music on a beautiful, sunny day to lift your spirits and your mood. Get together with your sweetheart and your favorite couple for a fun day of music, food, and outdoor entertainment.

5.    Rent paddleboats and cruise around the lake together. For a fun double date idea in the summer, why not spend some time on the lake with a paddleboat? You can get a paddleboat for four people to fit everyone or rent two separate paddleboats, with one for each couple. Either way, you’re sure to have a great time floating and paddling about.

6.    Check out a local farmer’s market. Sometimes walking around and taking in the sights, sounds, and smells can be an interesting way to spend a day. At the farmer’s market you can enjoy all kinds of food, various items for sale, and people-watching, among other things. Bring home some fresh produce from the farmer’s market and make a nice garden salad or fruit salad for your group when you are done.

7.    Take a day trip to the beach and the boardwalk, even though things haven’t completely ramped up for the main season yet. Play some two-on-two beach soccer or doubles beach volleyball for an exciting double date competition. Spice things up with boys against girls or play in couples mode for a more romantic approach.

8.    Go on a deep sea fishing double date excursion. No matter what the ages or expertise of your group date, you can enjoy a really fun and exciting summertime double date on a deep sea fishing boat. Head boats go out into the ocean and provide everything you need for a relaxing or invigorating day of fishing, from fishing rods and tackle to beverages, interior cabin, etc. For a few extra bucks, everyone can chip in to the fishing pool and try their luck at a chance to win the money for landing the biggest catch.

9.    Play teams in miniature golf or chip-n-putt. Miniature golf is a classic and timeless double date idea for summertime or even spring and fall. You can play teams as couples or even boys against girls, depending on how closely knit your group happens to be. Once you’ve finished the last hole, tally up the scores. The losing team buys ice cream or Italian water ice for the winning team and themselves!

10.    Go to a drive-in movie. This can be a fun summer double date idea for a group of friends who’ve been good friends for a while. Don’t forget to bring popcorn, movie candy, other snacks as desired, and beverages.

Wearing Colored Shoes with Your Wedding Dress instead of Matching the Wedding Gown Fabric

If you’re looking to doJamie Haley wore hot pink wedding shoes on her wedding day. (Photography by Sara McDermott from SjMackyPhotography) something a little different for your wedding, have you considered wearing colored wedding shoes instead of matching your wedding shoes to your wedding dress? It’s a trend that’s catching on in more ways than one, and perhaps best of all, you can wear your shoes over and over again after your wedding day.

“Color is a great way to express yourself,” says Summer Bellessa, Editor-in-Chief of Eliza Magazine. “Back in the day, white dresses were thought to be an extravagance; a dress you could wear after the big day, was more practical. If a pink or yellow dress isn’t your thing, then spice up a traditional dress with colorful shoes, ribbon, or under slip. Give the flowers a little competition.”

“I don’t think color should be a faux pas,” Bellessa adds. “It’s your wedding; you get to pick what kind of bride you are.”

With this new take on color in mind, think about your own wedding and whether you’d like to pull off some colored wedding shoes to show off your personal sense of style and unforgettable wedding fashion. You can match the color of your wedding shoes to your wedding’s colors and theme, to your own favorite color, or as the “something blue” in your traditional getup. Whatever you decide, you’re sure to look back on your wedding photos and smile whenever you see that sudden burst of color peeking out from under your wedding dress!

Match the Color of Your Wedding Shoes to Your Bridesmaid Dresses and Wedding Color Scheme
An easy and classy way to weave colored shoes into your wedding palette is to match the color of your wedding shoes to your bridesmaids’ dresses, flowers, or the overall theme and color scheme of your wedding. The possibilities are virtually endless when you consider all the many hues and shades of beautiful, sexy shoes on the shelves and online.

Irma Koopersmith wore apple green wedding shoes under her wedding gown. “I actually wore apple green heels to my wedding four years ago and I thought they looked adorable,” says Irma Koopersmith, who is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she and her husband got married on February 26, 2005. “They matched my bridesmaids. I really liked the look.”

As the story goes, one bout of inspiration leads to another. Koopersmith was inspired by a friend’s red wedding shoes at a wedding a few months prior to her own wedding, and then with her green shoes, Koopersmith inspired her friend Emilie Valle to pull a similar fashion stunt on her wedding day.

“I was then inspired by her to add my own pop of color with blue,” says Emilie Valle, who wed her husband Pete on October 13, 2007. “I thought it was a great way to be expressive and different. Blue is my favorite color; it’s reflected in everything I wear on a day-to-day basis. My bridesmaids wore blue, my engagement ring includes sapphire – it just fit. While people can see your shoes, it’s a subtle way to add a pop of color and expression.”

Jamie Haley wore hot pink wedding shoes on her wedding day. (Photography by Sara McDermott from SjMackyPhotography)Enjoy a Splash of Your Favorite Color with Your Color Choice for Wedding Shoes
If for no other reason, add a splash of color into your wedding attire by donning wedding shoes in your favorite color. No matter what your favorite color happens to be, you are sure to find pretty, fashionable wedding shoes in your preferred color – red, pink, green, blue, purple, orange, black, yellow, brown, and on down the line.

“I wore red shoes in my wedding last year, basically because red is my favorite color and I went traditional on most of the other aspects of my wedding — by God I deserved a little flair!” says Delisa Reavis. “You could barely see them under my dress, but I kept having people coming up to me at the reception asking to see my feet (by then I’d already switched into pink glittery rainbows since the cute red shoes rubbed a blister on my heel–guess I should have broken them in!) I thought it was a fun way to express a little individuality without rocking the boat too much with my uber-traditional mom!”

Another bride, Laura N. Ward decided to wear red shoes under her ivory wedding gown. Her red shoes looked radiant, a perfect fit for a holiday wedding with red bridesmaids’ dresses and pretty poinsettias.

Laura Ward wore lovely red wedding shoes on her wedding day around Christmastime. “I had some great comments on them and mostly favorable,” she says. “I think I shocked my grandmother though. I had a Christmas wedding and I love red so I just went for it. I’ve known brides to wear tennis shoes and flip-flops so why not red shoes!”

Keep Reading: Let Your Colored Wedding Shoes Be Your “Something Blue”…

Top 10 Date Ideas for Weeknights

Weeknights can be a tricky time to fit in a date, but dates on weeknights can be essential to strengthening your relationship and your romantic bond. Whether you are boyfriend and girlfriend or husband and wife, a weeknight date every once in a while can go a long way to bringing you closer together.

If you don’t yet live together, weeknight dates nicely increase the amount of time you get to spend with your significant other, giving you an extra few hours on top of the typical weekend. If you are married and living together, weeknight dates can help to keep your relationship fresh and exciting or they can help to reignite the spark that first drew you together.

No matter if you are dating or married, here are 10 date ideas for couples to enjoy on weeknights:

1.    The tried and true dinner and a movie date never really goes out of style. You can do this one every week or every other week, or once a month if budget is a concern. But, the dinner and a movie date gives you a nice chance to talk over dinner and then relax together, holding hands as you watch a new flick on the big screen.

2.    Join a local sports league that has one game per week. You might consider a volleyball team, dodge ball, kickball, softball, flag football, indoor soccer, etc.

3.    Go for a walk together. You can stroll around your neighborhood, around the park, or somewhere new you haven’t yet explored.

4.    Take a trip to the mall, a furniture store, or an art gallery. You can scour the stores, walls, and warehouses for a perfect new addition to your home or apartment. Then, when you are all done, treat yourselves to dinner at a favorite nearby restaurant.

5.    Go to a hockey game, baseball game, or even a Monday night football game. You and your sweetie can snuggle up while cheering on your favorite professional, semi-pro, or even college or high school athletes.

Take an art class or do a craft together for a fun weeknight date. (photo courtesy of morgueFile)6.    Take an art class or a photography workshop together. You can enhance your skills and explore creative talents you may not even know you have. Painting, sculpture, and ceramics are just a few options. Such a class may only involve a few hours on a weeknight – a perfect non-weekend date.

7.    Check out a carnival or fair near you. You can have a lot of fun trying to win prizes, riding on the rides, and eating cotton candy and funnel cake all night long. Carnivals and fairs can be great weeknight date ideas, but they only come around to your town or area every so often, so keep a lookout!

8.    A concert makes a great weeknight date…
if you don’t mind being tired and half-deaf at work the next day. A Thursday night might be the ideal concert date night, since you’d only have to make it through Friday then. You can really have a lot of fun listening to live music and being in each others’ company.

9.    Visit your favorite local bar for Karaoke. You might have even more fun if you open this weeknight date idea up into a weeknight double date idea. Get together with your sweetheart and your friends for a night of fun and entertainment. And if you happen to overdo it at the bar, well, hey, it may not be the first time you had to call out sick on a workday.

10.    Order take-out and enjoy a lazy, relaxed meal in front of the television. Let’s face it… some nights we are just too darn tired and stressed from work to want to go out or do anything. Why not indulge yourselves in a chance to relax… together. Order some take-out food – Chinese food, cheese steaks, pizza, etc., and simply relax on your comfy couch and watch a movie, prime time television, or Sports Center. You know you want to.