Valentine Gifts for the One You Love

With the most amorous holiday quickly approaching, husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends begin the ultimate quest of the year: the search for the perfect gift. For some, it’s off to the mall. For others, shopping outlets, independent merchants and superstores like Wal-Mart, Target and the like. For still others – the lazier, or more time efficient, whichever way you look at it – the Internet plays a key role.

As you plan your shopping for your sweetheart this year, some careful thought and anticipation are necessary to ensure that you find an appropriate gift. Below are some suggestions for him and for her – consider them for a special treat or use your imagination and start searching the stores!

For Him: A holiday treat for the one who still gives you butterflies…
1. For the sports fanatic, get him a warm and cozy blanket of his favorite athletic team so the two of you can snuggle while you watch the game together. See, everybody wins.

2. Nothing says “Happy Tailgating” like a case of beer, snacks and a delicious dinner for two, all packed into a brand new thermal cooler. Do some research and you will find that some have both heating and cooling capacities so you can bring your meals along for longer road trips.

3. Make him a calendar to kick off the New Year with photos of the two of you throughout the year, or simply with photos of yourself that you know he will enjoy.

4. Pay attention to what he talks about on a daily basis – does he want something electronic? A new gadget for his car? A couple of new movies or CDs or video games? Start to think like a guy and you should have a much easier time finding the perfect gift!

5. Books, magazines and board games may also appeal to him if you know his particular tastes. Try to link his hobbies with the publications and print items you select.

For Her: A special gift for the one who never ceases to dazzle you…
1. A silk robe is a sexy yet sophisticated gift for a woman of any age. Adding a bottle of bubble bath or a bath-related gift set is a nice touch. To follow up with the theme, you can give her slippers and a book you know she’s had her eye on since last Valentine’s Day!

2. Scented candles, if she likes them for burning or decorative purposes, are a wonderful gift because of their diversity. Based on her tastes, candles are designed in a wide array of shapes, sizes and fragrances. Aromatherapy candles make nice gifts for someone who likes to relax while candles with a hurricane votive are great for those who share a love in interior decorating. Couple them with massage oil (that you intend to use for her aching muscles), pajamas or a snuggly stuffed animal and you should be in her good graces for months to come!

3. A bottle of wine and a nice set of wine glasses make for a classy gift while some chocolates or desserts will likely earn you extra favor. (Or save the chocolates as an escape hatch in case you need one…)

4. Anything handmade will really get her heart going. If you do wood crafts, make something special just for her. If you like art, paint or sketch something that you know she loves. If your talents are more within the realm of words and music, compose a song for her or write her a poem. Frame it or give it to her as a scroll, loosely tied and penned on parchment paper.

5. Take her to see a show, a concert or the orchestra, or for a romantic walk through one of the holiday locations. Many public gardens and some theme parks are decorated especially for the holidays, encouraging couples, families and friends to stroll through the winter wonderland.

6. Though we may try to hide it sometimes, most women adore jewelry. From earrings to necklaces to bracelets and rings, it is pretty hard to go wrong with a sparkly, as long as you have a general idea of her style and know whether your love prefers silver or gold. If you want to be different, get her a jewelry box for safekeeping. Just don’t be surprised if she expects you to fill it! (You can lovingly tell her that you’ll have a long time together in which to fill it.)

For Anyone:
1. Preserve the memories by putting together a nice photo album, scrapbook or collage. Include pictures from events long past that he or she might smile with surprise upon seeing. If you wish, include movie ticket stubs and sporting event stubs, or other memorabilia from dates you have shared.

2. If it realistically fits into your collective lifestyle, a puppy or kitten will melt their heart on even the chilliest winter’s eve. As a word of caution, do not attempt this gift if you are not 100% sure that your sweetheart would be completely thrilled with the pet and able to take care of it. (Keep their work schedule in mind as you make your decision.)

3. A brand new watch can instantly become a favorite new possession – as with the jewelry, keep in mind the preferred color of the metal and size, etc.

Expressing one’s love is far more important during the holidays than the gift beneath all the bows, ribbons and wrapping. The spirit of Christmas may be the spirit of giving, but giving does not always have to relate to money. Be sure to give of your time by visiting those who are most important to you – parents, grandparents and those you know who could use a shoulder to lean on if times are tough. It’s not the price tag but thoughtfulness and love that create the best gifts.

Sweet Nothings – Romantic Things to Say to Your Sweetheart in Foreign Languages

Whisper sweet nothings into your lover's ear for a romantic evening! (Photo courtesy of morgueFile)Few things are more romantic than whispering sweet nothings in your lover’s ear, or having your sweetheart whisper sweet nothings in your ear. But when it all comes down to it, what kind of things can one say as sweet nothings?

For starters, you want to share intimate, sexy, or amorous thoughts and feelings with your sweetheart. Throw in the element of another language – especially one of the romance languages – and your sweet nothings will be hard to beat.

Mark Frobose, aka: the Language Guy, is the author and creator of Macmillan Audio’s entire ‘Behind the Wheel’ foreign language line, which offers Spanish, French, Italian, German, Arabic, Portuguese and more.  The ‘Behind the Wheel’ series compact disks feature an English speaker and a native speaker of the foreign language.

“You must know how to say
‘I love you’ in three languages.”

Ti amo (Italian)…….
……Je t’aime (French)
………Te quiero (Spanish)

“Languages are romantic,” Frobose says. “They are also perceived as being romantic by most Americans. The most popular languages of romance are French and Italian. Very sexy.”

Frobose himself speaks five languages fluently and actively encourages others to learn foreign languages as a guest language expert and through various media efforts as well as his free podcasts. This compact disk learning system could be especially beneficial for commuters – after all, if you’ve got to be stuck in the car, you might as well do something worthwhile and interesting with your time!

Frobose shares the following romantic sweet nothings in Italian, French, and Spanish:

TIP: Make sure you practice your romantic words and phrases that you plan to whisper before you actually plan to say these sweet nothings. Make sure you’ve got your pronunciation right, and consider brushing up on your accent and your speaking skills with a good CD course like Behind the Wheel (which does include this ‘good stuff’).

Love
Amour means “love” in French.
Amore means “love” in Italian.

Greetings
Ciao bella – “Hello beautiful.” (to a woman) Italian
Ciao bello – “Hello good looking.” (to a man) Italian

Romantic and Sexy Words and Phrases – Sweet Nothings to Whisper
Try whispering these sweet nothings to your lover in French, Italian, and Spanish for a new thrill on Valentine’s Day or any day. Arouse your sweetheart’s emotions and spend some quality time together whispering back and forth with romantic words and phrases you can say on a special night together.

Whisper sweet nothings in your sweetheart's ear for a romantic and seductive twist. (Photo courtesy of morgueFile)“Give me a little kiss.”
Fais-moi un bis-bis (fey mwah uh bee bee) – (French)

Dame un besito (thaw may oohn bay see toe) – (Spanish)

“Hug me.” / “Hug me a little more.”
Serre-moi (sayre mwah) – “Hug me.”  (French)

Stringimi un po’ di piu (steegeeme oohn poh dee peeooh) – “Hug me a little more” (Italian)

“I’m passionately mad about you / You turn me on”
Estou apaxionado por voce (ishto ahpayshonahdoh por voceh) – (Brazilian Portuguese Man to Woman)

Estou apaxionada por voce (ishto ahpayshonahdah por voceh) – (Brazilian Portuguese Woman to Man)

“How about making love?”
Si on faisait l’amour (see own fey zeh lah moor) – (French)

* * *

“The ability to speak a few words of love to one you love in more than one language heightens the senses and resembles a lovely soft and personal music which emanates from the mouth of your lover,” Frobose says.

Frobose shares this special, romantic Valentine’s Day Hint: “Spend time together huddled before a warm fire with wine and Brie and mutter sweet nothings to one another in French and Italian.”

“In closing…  You must know how to say ‘I love you’ in three languages in order to be a great hit with your lover.  Here they are…”

Je t’aime (French)
Ti amo (Italian)
Te quiero (Spanish)

About the Expert:
Mark Frobose, aka: The Language Guy, is author and founder of Macmillan Audio’s ‘Behind the Wheel’ foreign language series. His free podcasts and downloads are available at: www.macmillanaudio.com.

To Buy: You can buy the ‘Behind the Wheel’ series at Barnes and Noble and Borders bookstores or online at http://us.macmillan.com/Audio.aspx or directly from www.macmillanaudio.com. You can also download from Audible or buy ‘Behind the Wheel’ at Amazon.com: Mark Frobose ‘Behind the Wheel’ Selection at Amazon.com.

Top Ten Fun and Exciting Winter Date Ideas for Couples

Winter brings with it an inherent desire to stay inside where it’s warm and toasty, to relax, eat, and sleep. But for many fun couples, this sedentary mentality would never last a month, let alone an entire winter season. When the weather is colder, when the nighttime comes sooner, when we feel less active and sleepier most of the time, we must break out of the mold and consider our options for fun and exciting winter date ideas.

Enjoy a winter wine tasting excursion! (photo courtesy of morguefile)Depending on your personal preferences and interests, you and your sweetheart may already have a long laundry list of date ideas you’ve always wanted to do. Even if you don’t have something in mind, finding a fun or exciting date idea to spice up your love life can be easy with a bit of research. And better yet, many of the winter date ideas below cost very little or nothing at all.

Consider these top ten fun and exciting winter date ideas for couples:

1. Go ice-skating, sledding, or snow tubing. This winter date idea works wonderfully as a double date or group date activity.

2. Plan a ski trip. From hot chocolate in the lodge in front of the fireplace to showing up your significant other on the slopes, this winter vacation getaway is great if you can spare the expense.

3. Attend an ice hockey game.Where you live may determine whether you are able to catch a professional ice hockey game or a college or high school ice hockey game. Either way, you’re sure to be in for a great time.

4. Stay at a Bed & Breakfast for a night or two. Nothing else spells romance quite like getting away from it all for a little while.

5. Visit a local winery or plan an entire wine tour. This event would work well either by yourselves or with your favorite couples. Don’t forget to secure a designated driver if you plan to indulge in more than a couple of glasses of wine. An even better idea – just enjoy a small sampling of a few varietals and bring home a few bottles of your favorite blends to enjoy in the privacy of your home.

Enjoy a winter wine tasting excursion! (photo courtesy of morguefile)

Make special desserts together during your date. (photo courtesy of Roswitha Schacht, morguefile) Put together a puzzle. (photo courtesy of morguefile)

6. Bake holiday cookies or special desserts together. Baking and cooking together can be tasty and even adventurous. Making a mess in the kitchen has never been this much fun!

7. Work on a jigsaw puzzle together. Even lazy and low key kinds of days can involve a simple winter date idea without even leaving the comforts of home. Grab some snacks or holiday cookies (see above) and enjoy a slow paced day.

8. Enjoy the traditional dinner and a movie. For some reason, this date idea never gets old during any season. Unless of course it is your only date idea. But let’s hope not! Enjoy the classics.

9. Take an art class together, such as pottery, ceramics, or glass blowing. Unleash your creative minds and see how much you can learn, experience, and enjoy together. These are just a few suggestions for art classes, but you can definitely add on more and more programs as you accomplish each.

10. Snuggle up in some blankets and watch a movie at home. There’s nothing wrong with spending some quality time in each other’s arms. Relax and enjoy.

Remember, while these are ten fun and exciting date ideas for you to consider this winter, this list is just a drop in the bucket of all the possible date ideas you could enjoy as a couple. When kicking around winter date ideas with your partner, discuss your favorite things, your interests, hobbies, and dreams. You’ll be sure to come up with even more enjoyable winter date ideas in no time!

How to Live Like a Romance Novel Heroine

Have you ever wanted to indulge in the finer things of life, embark on adventure after adventure, and find yourself in a romantic caper that works out for the absolute best in the end? Living like a romance novel heroine can seem like a fantasy and something out of a true fiction novel, but the truth is, every woman has the ability to live like a romance novel heroine.

Live like a romance novel heroine! (Photo courtesy of morgueFile)To live like a romance novel heroine, you can immerse yourself in romance novel after romance novel, or, you can make up your mind to pick the most important factors and apply them to your life. Romance novel heroines seem to be showing off qualities and characteristics that would be easy enough for the modern woman to add to her own life. Read on for tips from best-selling author Loree Lough on how to live like a romance novel heroine.

 Q. – Life Love Beauty: What does it mean to Live Like a Romance Novel Heroine? Aren’t those just fictional female characters, perfectly created to live out a fantasy lifestyle that never happens for any of us in real life?

A. – Loree Lough: Living like a romance novel heroine is the direct result of being a strong, smart, savvy, self-possessed gal who’s proud of her hard-working nature and independent spirit.  Family, friends, neighbors and coworkers respect who you are and what you’ve accomplished, and the man in your life is at the top of that list. And those who don’t have you on their People to Admire list are few and far between.

Q. – Life Love Beauty: What are the top qualities most romance novel heroines possess?Romantic heroines have interesting hobbies! (Photo courtesy of morgueFile)

A. – Loree Lough: Long, long ago, romance novel heroines were weak’n’whiny clinging vines who needed a man to feel complete. Their major accomplishment in life was that long walk down some white-carpeted center aisle, where they filled all their missing parts by linking arms with a guy in a tux. These days, no self-respecting publisher would print a book featuring a character like that…because readers of romantic fiction can’t stand weepy, needy, spineless females!

Q. – Life Love Beauty: What kind of talents and skills and interests do romance novel heroines typically have?

A. – Loree Lough: The heroines in today’s romance novels, whether the stories are set in contemporary times or some period in history, are tough-and-together gals who can take it on the chin, figuratively and literally. They’re survivors, not victims. They’re go-getters, not absorbers. They’re doers,  not watchers. That means they succeed at life and love. They’re doctors and lawyers, teachers and nurses, CEOs and entrepreneurs. They can mete out discipline without making excuses…but they’re just as likely to dole out hugs and kisses to those who need ’em.

Q. – Life Love Beauty: What kind of men do romance novel heroines tend to go for? Should we go for the same kind of men?

A. – Loree Lough: Because romance novel heroines are made of sturdy stuff, a namby-pamby guy just doesn’t appeal to them. These gals like guys who are at least as strong as they are, who’ll give ’em a run for their money, who won’t ‘cave’ and give her her way if frustration or fury drives her to tears. She can’t respect a guy who’ll do as he’s told, but she does admire a fella who’ll listen to reason, and even change his mind or behavior…for the right woman…or the right reasons. Gone are the days when all romance novel heroes are tall, dark, and broodingly handsome. You won’t find a bully or a brute among ’em, and when he makes love to a woman, it’s because she wants physical and emotional fulfillment as much as he does. These men don’t do anything half-way…so when they give their hearts, they do it in a big, bold way, so yeah, by all means, set your sights on guys like these!

Live a sexy life full of romance! (Photo courtesy of morgueFile)Q. – Life Love Beauty: How can a married woman live like a romance novel heroine?

A. – Loree Lough: Personal experience (and the confessions of married girlfriends) asks married gals to think back to the days when they were busy, wooing the man of their dreams. They wore mascara and teased their hair. Took showers before every date and shaved above their kneecaps. They listened to their favorite guys at least as much as they talked. Their actions said “Babe, you hung the moon in my sky!”

Q. – Life Love Beauty: How can a single woman live like a romance novel heroine?

A. – Loree Lough: I see absolutely no difference between the single woman and the married woman…except that the unattached gal has a list of fellas to choose from…so she needs to figure out which guys are worth ‘going the extra mile’ for!

Q. – Life Love Beauty: Is it possible to live like a romance novel heroine when our lives are super busy?Dress up, spoil yourself once in a while, and live every day to the fullest! (Photo courtesy of morgueFile)

A. – Loree Lough: Do you make time to get your hair cut, have your fingernails manicured, catch that amazing sale at Macy’s? Do you make time to watch your favorite shows on TV? Call your best friend to share a tid-bit of good news…or bad? I guess my point is…busy or not, we all make time for the things that are truly important in our lives. And what could be more important than the guy who’s gonna love you long after your hair’s gone white and ya can’t read a romance novel without magnifying lenses!

Q. – Life Love Beauty: What kind of dates would romance novel heroines most enjoy?

A. – Loree Lough: Romance novel heroines are appropriately grateful when rich handsome dudes usher ’em onto private jets, and wings ’em off to exotic locales. But they’re just as happy when their Prince Charmings stumble around the kitchen, putting together a barely edible meal. They’re adorable in aprons, endearing when they burn their fingers, taking overcooked casseroles from the oven, and downright handsome when they pour wine and say “Keep me company while I do the dishes.”

Wear some makeup, pucker up, and spice up your love life! (Photo courtesy of Krystle, morgueFile)Q. – Life Love Beauty: What kind of flirting or seduction techniques do romance novel heroines employ?

A. – Loree Lough: rong> Romance novel heroines are not manipulators! They’re smart, savvy women, remember…so they don’t need to resort to strategies such as deliberate flirtation or seduction. These capable gals can wheel and deal with the best of men…and they know how to do it without emasculating them. So any seduction that results from their flirting comes from the heart, and the reward is fulfillment and satisfaction that covers all the ‘bases’!

Q. – Life Love Beauty: Anything else you would like to add?

A. – Loree Lough: To the rare gal who believes romance novels are trashy, time-wasting, exploitive tomes, I’ve gotta point out some important statistics: Romance novels (which include sub-genres like thrillers, action-adventures, suspense, mystery, paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and inspirational) are history-making in that they are the all-time top sellers of the publishing industry. Yep…that’s right…of all paperback fiction published every year, romance novels top the charts.

Don’t take my word for it. Visit www.rwanational.com to see for yourself how it out-sells all other paperback fiction! That tells me (and publishing big whigs) there’s big money to be made from this slice of the industry pie, because it’s rock-solid evidence that more than half of all fiction fans love romance better than all the other stuff available!

About the Expert:
Loree Lough is a best-selling author who has written countless works of fiction and nonfiction, won a number of awards, and even taught writing –related courses. She is also a very upbeat, friendly person with a knack for gripping and inspiring love stories, among others, and is an avid wolf enthusiast. Read more about Loree Lough at www.loreelough.com.

An Exclusive Interview with Author Irene Brand – Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska

The Love Finds You™ series by Summerside Press delivers a healthy helping of the flavor of local life across the United States. The novels feature unique but authentic American towns with unusual yet captivating names that inspire romance and fun. Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska, by Irene Brand (Available at Amazon.com!)Each Summerside Press fictional story is a romantic and inspirational tale that draws on the gripping history or the distinctive charm of a real place in the United States.

Author Irene Brand sits down for an exclusive interview with Life Love Beauty, where she shares the scoop about her latest inspirational romance novel, “Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska,” as well as sharing pieces of her own life with us. Read on for details, an excerpt, and tips for your own fabulous love life.

Q – Life Love Beauty: Could you tell us a bit about yourself and what you enjoy most about this kind of writing?

A – Irene Brand: I’m a native of West Virginia and have lived in the same community all of my life.  Although we’ve visited all of the 50 states and traveled in 35 foreign countries, there’s no place like home. The longest I’ve ever been away from West Virginia is three weeks. I’ve been married for more than 50 years to my husband, Rod.  We have no children. I was a public school teacher for 23 years – teaching History and other Social Studies subjects to ninth graders. I retired in 1989 to devote more time to my writing.

I’m very active in my local Baptist church where I’ve been a member since I was eleven-years-old.  I’ve taught Sunday School classes since I was sixteen. I currently teach a class of young adults. I’m active in the musical program of the church and I serve as the church treasurer.

I’ve been publishing inspirational romances since 1984 and have a total of 45 published books to my credit.  Most of these are fiction books.

With my church responsibilities and writing, I don’t have much free time for hobbies at the present. We live in a rural area and we walk a couple of miles several days each week, depending on weather conditions.

Q – Life Love Beauty: Do you write from a completely creative standpoint, or do you weave in bits of truth or experience from your own life?

A – Irene Brand: I never write about my personal life. In other words, I’m never a character in the book nor do I pattern my characters after “real” people. However, I believe that all of an author’s work is a composite of what the author has read, listened to, participated in or seen during his/her lifetime. My plots are original and all of my characters are fictitious, but I endow them with characteristics that I’ve observed in people. I do, however, write about real places and historical events and use historical characters in my books.

Q – Life Love Beauty: What are the underlying themes in your book, Love Finds You in VALENTINE, NEBRASKA?

A – Irene Brand: Love is great enough to overcome any or every obstacle that would keep the hero and heroine from finding true happiness.

Before people can receive God’s forgiveness, they must forgive themselves.

Q – Life Love Beauty: Can you tell us anything about your characters? Who can identify with them?  

A – Irene Brand: One of the main characters is a dog named Wilson. He’s important enough to be pictured on the cover of the book. Wilson will steal the heart of every dog lover who reads the book.

The heroine, Kennedy Blaine, is an only child and is mourning the death of her father when the book opens. Among her inheritance is the Circle Cross Ranch near Valentine, Nebraska, which had belonged to the Blaine family over a century. Kennedy had never visited her ancestral home because of a long-running feud between the Blaines and her maternal family, the Morgans. But when she has an offer to sell the ranch, Kennedy decides to check out her Nebraska property before she settles the estate.  Kennedy has many relatives in the area, most of whom she’s never seen, including her maternal grandfather, Gabriel Morgan.

When Kennedy arrives at the Circle Cross Ranch, she meets the manager, Derek Sterling, and an immediate attraction builds been Kennedy and Derek. Up until this time, Kennedy had never encountered anything she couldn’t buy if she wanted it. Now she meets Derek, an adopted kid, who comes from an unknown background. He’s already made up his mind that he won’t marry and perhaps hand on a tainted heritage to his progeny. In spite of the fact that he loves Kennedy and believes that she loves him, he never lets her forget the wide chasm that keeps them apart. His background doesn’t matter to Kennedy, but she has little hope of changing his mind. Besides, Derek has a secret past when he was involved in questionable activities as a youth. He hasn’t forgiven himself and he doubts that God has forgiven him. He doesn’t want Kennedy to know about the past.

 (b)  Most any adult who has loved the wrong person (or who seems to be the wrong person) can understand the trauma between the two protagonists. The numerous people who are adoptive parents or those who’ve been adopted should be able to identify with Derek’s fears and concerns. Anyone who has a secret in his/her past that they fear will become known and ruin the relationship they have with others could empathize with Derek.

Those who have strayed from the biblical teachings of their parents and gone their own way only to find that God is able and willing to forgive regardless of what they’ve done.

Get your own copy of “Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska” by Irene Brand at Amazon.com.

Q – Life Love Beauty: Have you ever visited Valentine, Nebraska? Either way, can you tell us a bit about its charms or challenges?

A – Irene Brand: My husband is a native of Nebraska, and we’ve averaged at least one yearly visit to the state during our married years. We’ve been in Valentine a few times – once we went with a large family group to a trout farm in the Sandhills of Nebraska near Valentine. We caught our “dinner” in the local lake and the trout were prepared by a local restaurant and served to us in style.

Our most memorable visit occurred in April of this year while I was making final edits on my book, LOVE FINDS YOU in VALENTINE, Nebraska. Our Nebraska sister-in-law died and we went to the funeral. When we made flight plans we arranged two extra days to drive to Valentine and do some last minute research – mostly to confirm things I’d already written about. There were blizzard warnings, but we continued with our plans. We did have a fruitful afternoon and evening the first day. We went to Young’s Western Wear shop where I gleaned some information. We ate in a restaurant where I subsequently took my characters. We visited the newspaper office and went to evening services at one of the local churches.

The blizzard struck the next morning. We had 250 miles to drive to catch our plane for home the next day, so we decided to leave before the storm worsened. We drove about 20 miles and the roads were so treacherous we turned around a
nd returned to Valentine. We spent that whole day and night in the Holiday Inn. Fortunately our rental vehicle was a sturdy van with 4-wheel-drive. The next morning, we started out early and the weather was horrendous. For the first several hours, we encountered blowing snow, slick roads, and white-outs where we couldn’t see the road. Only by the grace of God did we arrive at the airport eight hours after we started from Valentine. That probably ranks high as one of the longest day of my life. And BTW, I didn’t have a blizzard in my book.

But don’t let our experience deter anyone from visiting Valentine. It’s a Paradise vacation spot. The town of 1200 residents has an Old-West flavor to it. The people are friendly. Accommodations are great. One of the interesting points is that red valentines are painted all along the sidewalks on Main Street. The Niobrara River offers canoeing, tubing and kayaking, Merritt Reservoir located 28 miles south of Valetine is a mecca for fishermen or hunters. Valentine is the county seat of Cherry County, located in the Sandhills of Nebraska, which is one of the best rangelands in the country. Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge is nearby. Historians will enjoy the Arthur Bowring Ranch State Historical Park, which offers an opportunity to see early ranching methods

Keep Reading: Q – Life Love Beauty: Do you have any tips for readers and their own love lives…?

Fun and Flirty Halloween Costumes for Couples

As the days grow closer to Halloween, the stores are already featuring their festive fall items, delicious candy items in bulk, and of course, Halloween costumes. No matter what you’re seeking, you’ll surely find countless Halloween costumes for couples or costumes for individuals. Mermaid and Fisherman costumes by Shirley of HollywoodFrom adorable to terrifying, innumerable trendy and unique Halloween costumes can be found at costume shops, online specialty stores, and merchants of all kinds.

For a fun spin on your traditional Halloween costume, consider donning fun couples Halloween costumes with your sweetheart. From traditional favorites to pop culture and everything in between, the possibilities for couples Halloween costumes are virtually endless. Depending on your preferences, you and your sweetheart can pick out Halloween costumes for couples in just about any theme and category. Consider the classic couples’ Halloween costumes, funny couples’ costumes, trendy couples’ costumes, edgy couples’ costumes, and more.


Even if you don’t have a significant other when Halloween rolls around, you can still plot and plan to come up with an exciting and creative costume. Team up with your best friend, a family member, or a group of friends to select a great themed Halloween costume. Just think of all the fun you could have, showing up at Halloween parties as a team.

Halloween costumes for couples are becoming more and more popular. From favorite Flintstones characters to Hugh Heffner and the Playboy Bunny, you’ve got a big decision ahead of you. Consider the following Halloween costumes for couples for your own Halloween costumes:

Character Costumes for Couples
From Mickey and Minnie to Bonnie and Clyde, couples costumes can feature any characters from any time period. Use your imagination, entertain all the possibilities, and you will be sure to come up with the perfect Halloween character couples costume.

Consider these fun and adorable Halloween character costumes for couples:
•    Adam and Eve
•    Aladdin and Jasmine
•    Bamm-Bamm and Pebbles
•    Batman and Catwoman
•    Dorothy and / or Scarecrow, Tinman (or Tin Woman!) or Cowardly Lion
•    Little Bo Peep and her Sheep
•    Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf
•    Musketeers
•    Peter Pan and Tinkerbell
•    Popeye and Olive Oyl
•    Superman and Wonder Woman

Don’t forget about your favorite fairy tales too – Alice in Wonderland and the Cheshire Cat, Cinderella and Prince Charming, and all the others!

Classic and Traditional Halloween Costumes for Couples
If you tend to like the more traditional Halloween costumes, you will be sure to enjoy these classic and traditional Halloween costumes for couples. From the angel and the devil to royalty, pirates, and more, these are great tried and true, standby costumes for you and your sweetheart to don this Halloween.

Consider these traditional and classic Halloween costumes for couples:
•    Angel and Devil
•    Bride and Groom
•    Caveman and Cavewoman
•    Cowboys
•    Cowboy and Saloon Girl
•    Football Player and Cheerleader
•    Hippies
•    Indians
•    King and Queen
•    Pirates
•    Prince and Princess

Keep Reading for More Couples Costumes…

Tips to Keep the Romance Alive in Your Long Distance Relationship

Being apart from your loved one on a regular basis can cause some very trying times. In many cases with long distance relationships, couples often spend more time apart than they do together, even early on in the relationship. Keep in touch! (Photo courtesy of morgueFile.com)Despite the inability to be together, couples can still find special ways to show their love and keep the romance alive in their long distance relationships.

When many miles stretch between you, it can be especially difficult to develop a strong bond or a true sense of commitment with your significant other. The good news is that many long distance relationships do survive and ultimately result in one or both of the parties making a move to be closer to the other person. If you and your partner are both willing to put in the effort to keep your long distance relationship alive and to enhance the romance despite the miles, your relationship will be so much better for it.

Here are some tips to keep the romance alive in your long distance relationship. Take them or leave them – everyone’s relationships are different, so some tips that seem romantic and sweet to one person may seem cheesy to another. Get to know your long distance lover and choose romantic notions that best match up with your relationship.

Tips to Keep the Romance in the Long Distance Relationship Alive
1. Take turns visiting each other as often as your budget permits. One person should not be doing all or even the bulk of the traveling unless there are certain special or extenuating circumstances.

2. Find special ways to let the other person know you are thinking of him or her. Call or leave a voicemail message, send a text message or a picture message, or send an e-mail or an e-card. You can also go a bit old fashioned and send a letter by postal mail.

Talk as often as you can... (Photo courtesy of Mary Thorman, morgueFile.com)3. Send a letter through the mail, but first spray it with your favorite fragrance that you wear. This is a great way to bring yourself to the front of your long distance love’s mind. They say scent is the strongest sense tied to memory, so strike up those good, romantic memories with a little spritz of your perfume or cologne.

4. When you visit each other, you can also spritz some perfume or cologne on your significant other’s pillow. This is another special and effective way to keep yourself on your sweetheart’s mind. Just be careful not to spray too much!

5. Send surprises in the mail – cookies, greeting cards, singing telegrams, etc. Who doesn’t love getting good mail? Any day that doesn’t involve a mailbox full of just bills has got to be a better day than it would otherwise. Make some cookies for your loved one or send your sweetheart some candy or another small but special gift.

6. Send cookies to your sweetheart. No matter if you are a guy or girl, you are fully capable of making cookies to send to your partner. Whether homemade or the cookies in the pre-made packages in the refrigerated aisle of your supermarket, it’s the thought that counts!

7. Send photos often. Just like when there is a new puppy, kitten, or baby in the family, take pictures often to send to your loved one. Send general photos of you with your friends, outside in nature, or just relaxing and being yourself. You can also take special photos specifically for your significant other, which really lets him or her know you care.

Long Distance Love (Photo courtesy of xenïa antunes, morgueFile.com)8. Talk on the phone as often as possible, but don’t be discouraged if you run out of things to say. Sometimes being in a long distance relationship can be as taxing on the mind as it is on the emotions. To get the most out of your phone time, try to share interesting or exciting tidbits from your day and ask your partner to do the same. Talk about your goals, your passions, and things that make you laugh. Don’t be discouraged if your conversation includes a couple of awkward silences – it happens to everyone.

9. Avoid fighting whenever possible. When it comes to being apart in a long distance relationship, couples may face a tough time during times of conflict. If disagreements do arise, try to mitigate them and do your best not to pick a fight on purpose. Being in a long distance relationship naturally adds more stress and anxiety to the equation, so be sensitive and understanding whenever possible.

10. Schedule time to see each other as often as you can, in advance so you both can look forward to it. Holidays and birthdays are a great time to get together with a loved one, especially during a long distance relationship. You might also consider planning a vacation at a half-way point or an interesting destination where you can meet.

As you consider these ideas, remember that they are just suggestions and there are always many more things you can do to help your long distance romance survive. Follow these tips on keeping the romance alive or make up your own. Remember that every relationship has different dynamics than the next or the last, so each couple must find their own way on the road toward each other.

Best wishes in your long distance relationship. We hope you find success in drawing yourselves closer together and in keeping the long distance romance alive!

Anniversary Gift Guide – Modern and Traditional Gifts for Celebrating Each Year of Your Marriage

As you prepare to celebrate your wedding anniversary, don’t forget about selecting the perfect gift – no matter if it is your first anniversary or your 50th. If you want to give your husband or wife a special gift according to the traditional wedding anniversary gift themes or the modern wedding anniversary gift themes, this anniversary gift guide will help you to select an item that is a good match for your mate.
Send a gift certificate for travel!

Celebrate each year of your marriage with a special anniversary gift according to the traditional themes or the contemporary gift themes. It can become a fun tradition for you and your sweetheart to see who comes up with what kind of great ideas for celebrating according to the year of your marriage. Even if you have another special anniversary gift in mind for your spouse, you can still accent the gift with a present selected according to the traditional or modern themed anniversary gift list.

If you find that you still cannot decide upon the perfect gift for your husband or wife in the traditional theme or contemporary theme, there is nothing wrong with going out on your own to find a gift that better suits your sweetheart’s personality, interests, or needs. Remember, in gift giving – even for anniversaries – it is the thought that counts!

Here is a list of the traditional anniversary gifts and the more contemporary wedding anniversary gifts:

 Anniversary YearTraditional Themes Contemporary /
Modern Themes
 1stPaperClocks
 2ndCottonChina
 3rdLeatherCrystal / Glass
 4thFruit / FlowersAppliances
 5thWoodSilverware
 6thSugar, Candy, IronCandy / Iron
 7thCopper / WoolDesk sets
 8thBronze / PotteryBronze / Pottery
 9thPottery / WillowLinen / Lace
 10thTinLeather
 11thSteelJewelry
 12thSilk / LinenPearls
 13thLaceTextiles / Fur
 14thIvoryGold Jewelry
 15thCrystalWatches
 20thChinaPlatinum
 25thSilverSilver
 30thPearlDiamond
 35thCoralJade
 40thRubyRuby
 45thSapphireSapphire
 50thGoldGold
 55thEmeraldEmerald
 60thDiamondDiamond Jubilee

The First Year: Your First Wedding Anniversary!
Wow – where did all the time go? It seems that only yesterday you were planning your wedding, and now here you are getting ready to celebrate your first wedding anniversary! Time goes by when you’re having fun, as they say, and now you’ve got a major decision on your hands. How will you set the stage for your future years of swapping anniversary gifts?

To celebrate your first wedding anniversary, consider a gift that shows your spouse how much he or she means to you. You can offer a traditional first wedding anniversary gift of paper, such as artwork or travel vouchers, or you can select a modern first wedding anniversary gift such as a wall clock or desk clock.

If you can’t find an appropriate paper anniversary gift to celebrate your first year together – or if you just don’t want to follow these traditions – you can easily find a great gift for your partner with a little creativity and a bit of shopping. Just don’t forget that first anniversary greeting card!

Keep Reading – Traditional First Wedding Anniversary Gifts…

A Chat with Authors Sandra D. Bricker and Andrea Boeshaar

Summerside Press’ Love Finds You™ series gives 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.

The first two novels in the series will be available in bookstores October 1st:  Sandra D. Bricker (“Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas”) has been with us for more than a month as we’ve hosted the “Anything For Love” contest. Today, she brings her friend, Andrea Boeshaar, the author of the second book in the series launch, “Love Finds You in Miracle, Kentucky,” to LifeLoveBeauty.com, and the two of them sit down for an exclusive chat.

Sandie: Thank you so much for having us! I’ve really come to love this site, with all its focus on girl power and the issues that women face, and I’m so happy to have the opportunity to share the environment with Andrea.

Andrea: Thanks, Sandie, and I’m thrilled that you asked me in for this chat today!

Sandie:  It’s been a lot of fun starting to see what the contest entrants had to say about what they’ve done for love. Personally, I’ve done some pretty crazy things, too … none of which I’m willing to write an essay about, but many of which you’ll find behind the mask of some of the heroines in my books.

Andrea:  Well, okay, I’ll fess up to something crazy I did for love. When I was seventeen (“back in the day” as my sons would say), I babysat a lot and one night I wanted so badly to see this hunky guy I had the hots for, so I persuaded the man whose kids I watched that night to drop me off at the bar instead of at home. The bar was a hangout for my high school as well as a local Catholic school (yes, Catholic kids hung out at this bar too!). At this particular bar, the guys liked to shoot pool and the girls liked to get the guys to dance with them. (Think Saturday Night Fever.) Anyway, the man whose kids I watched was hesitant to let me off in front of the bar, but I managed to convince him that my parents wouldn’t care. (HA!). So he dropped me off and I got to see my honey. Later, Daniel dropped me off about 2AM and my folks thought I babysat the whole night. CRAZY! Well, I ended up marrying this handsome fellow I liked to go meet at the bar and dance with – to Johnny Rivers’ “Slow Dancing.” Daniel and I have been married now for more than 30 years. J

Sandie:  Andrea! I’m SHOCKED!  … You know, love is the bottom line of all our books. Mine, a full-on, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy, is set in the Ozarks on a church retreat where lovable goofball Lucy Binoche is hot on the trail of her dream guy. The problem is that Mr. Dreamboat and Lucy have nothing in common. He’s an outdoorsman and, as the blurb on the back cover of my book says, Lucy’s idea of roughing it is standing in a long line at Starbucks!

Andrea:  I can’t wait to read your story, Sandie! My book is what I like to call “real live fiction.” My character, Meg Jorgenson, finds that wrong decisions have caused her to hit rock bottom and, in an effort to turn things around in her life, she moves in with her grandmother who lives Miracle, a small rural area near Stanford, Kentucky. She gets a job at the elementary school, teaching 3rd grade, and is drawn into the life of one of her students, little Cammy Bayer who’s been in a wheelchair for the last three years of her young life. Cammy’s dad, Vance, is a single parent, doing his best to make it from day to day, caring for his little girl while earning a living. He, like many of the single men in town, is curious about Meg, although she doesn’t seem interested in dating. But when their lives collide because of their deep concern for Cammy’s future, falling in love seems an unlikely option – unless you believe in miracles!

Sandie:  I’ve read many of Andrea’s books, and my favorite thing about her writing is the way she paints a picture and sets a scene. Her characters have depth, and her stories have the ability to really tug at the heartstrings because of the accessibility of the people in them.

Andrea:  Thanks, Sandie. What I love about your books is the humor. I’m just finishing “Wish I Weren’t Here.” What a fun read!

Sandie: 
Thank you so much! Even my suspense books have had some degree of humor in them. It’s just a huge part of who I am, and how I cope with life. Aside from that, I think the foundation of my books has always been my fascination with destiny. God has a Master Plan for our lives, and I always find it so amazing the way He pulls together seemingly unrelated events and makes something beautiful and cohesive out of them.

Andrea: I love putting humor in my stories too, but my books are healing fiction for hurting hearts. I think so many women have been hurt in life and don’t quite know what to do with the pain. I’ve been there because it hasn’t always been sunshine and roses in my marriage. But Daniel and I recovered and now I find it rewarding to encourage other women to go past the heartache and start living – and loving – again.

Sandie: Before we close, I wanted to take this chance to thank the LifeLoveBeauty.com members for participating in the contest and for making this such a fun experience. We’ll be awarding the top 3 entrants with an autographed copy of my new book, and I hope everyone else will pick up a copy as well, and then stop by my Web site (www.SandraDBricker.com) and let me know what you thought about it. I really love hearing from my readers, so I look forward to getting to know all of you.

Andrea:
  I’ll be having some fun book giveaways, too. Just log on to my Web site at: www.andreaboeshaar.com and sign up for my FREE e-newsletter. I’ll be announcing BLOG tours and contests via my newsletters.

Sandie: Oh, and if anyone is interested in having a look at the video trailers for our books, they’re posted on www.youtube.com at the following links.

Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas:

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1ef-l86YVw)

Love Finds You in Miracle, Kentucky:

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xklpZID7
TD0)

Andrea, thank you so much for stopping by today and sharing this great experience with me.

Andrea:  Thank you, Sandie, for asking me in. And thank you LifeLoveBeauty.com members for allowing me drop in and visit!

Ten Ways to the Average Man’s Heart

Bake your way to your man's heart! (Photo courtesy of morgueFile.com)

Relationships are always a learning experience. Even in long-term relationships, couples continually learn new things about each other, their likes, dislikes, and favorite things. When it comes to finding a way to your man’s heart, you may need to try a few different approaches before you find what he really loves best.

If you want to show your man how much you care, consider these ten easy ways to the average man’s heart.

1. Make him cookies. Unless your guy has an aversion to all things sweet, this should be a shoo-in. Pretty much every guy loves to snack on chocolate chip cookies or other delights.

Share a romantic evening with a delicious meal! (Photo courtesy of morgueFile.com)2. Make him dinner. Set the table with linens and the good china, and complete the ambiance with candlesticks. Dress to kill and your romantic evening is complete. Not the cooking type? Order some of your favorite food as takeout and spend a cozy evening at home together.

3. Watch sports with him. Most guys love their sports and especially their favorite teams. Bond with your man by sitting down and yelling at the television when his team scores or makes a bad play. Share a six-pack of his favorite beer for an even way to your man’s heart.

4. Straighten the house or clean up something he’ll notice. Some guys don’t mind, but a lot of them like having their personal space. If you are living together, do your best to keep your things neat, organized and put away. If you and he have your own domiciles, consider straightening up things for him, so long as you can guarantee he won’t be missing whatever items you put away!

5. Surprise him with sexy lingerie. Every once in a while, a new lingerie item may pique his interest. It shows him that you care about his level of desire and also shows that you want to look good for him.

6. Buy him a little “something” for no reason. Surprise him with a new golf shirt or something as simple as his favorite candy bar. You didn’t have to do that, and he knows it. All the more reason to love you!

7. Give him his space, but tell him – or show him – you miss him. Your man deserves his time to go out with the boys for poker night or to head over to the golf course to get a break from it all. Don’t make a big deal out of your time apart, but make it a point to do something special together when he gets back. Let him have his time away, but also let him know how much he means to you.

Flaws schmaws. Learn to live in peace. (Photo courtesy of morgueFile.com)8. Let him keep his minor flaws – we all have them. One thing that really turns guys off is knowing their mate wants them to change. The guy has to want to change too, or else this can be a real pain point. If you want your man to quit a bad habit, encourage him and be supportive – don’t be argumentative or negative. And for those lesser evils, learn to live with his flaws rather than battling over them.

9. Choose your battles and opt not to fight when possible. Realize that you cannot win every battle in a healthy relationship. Also realize that some battles are not even worth fighting in the first place. Try to avoid fighting with your man unless the issue is of true importance to you.

10. Roll with the punches. Have you heard of the term “high-maintenance”? Sometimes it is best to stay as far away from this word as possible. Try to keep a casual, carefree attitude with many things you do in life. You’ll be happier, he’ll be happier, and you’ll probably both live longer for it!

Anything for Love: Crossing Lines

She picked up the phone and dialed, hoping his wife was at work. He answered. He gave her the brush off.

Things were not right at his house but maybe in the future things could work out for them.

She said, “Oh…..that’s okay.”  She couldn’t believe those words came out of her mouth.

Her husband walked into the bedroom. She quickly hung up the phone. “Who was on the phone”, he asked. “No one”, she said.

All day long she pretended that everything was fine. It was not! 

Continue reading Anything for Love: Crossing Lines

Anything For Love – A Not-So Perfect End to the Perfect Day

“Gosh! What a beautiful sunset…” Marie sighed as she dipped her toes in the cool, aqua colored water. They stroked across the surface, creating miniature ripples in the ocean. Everything was so perfect; I was relaxed in my oversized Marathon 2007 tee, and watching the sunset, with my best friend in the whole universe.

I flipped my jumbled locks of oatmeal colored hair and leaned back, enjoying the sunset, fading into brilliant shades of coral, chocolate, and firebrick. Suddenly, out of the corners of my pale blue eyes, I spotted him. He was sporting this wonderful navy blazer with a shiny zipper that ran like railroad tracks all the way down to his khaki cargo shorts. His hair was perfectly groomed, and his eyes sparkled like a pearl from the sea.

Continue reading Anything For Love – A Not-So Perfect End to the Perfect Day