Mother’s Day: Thoughtful Jewelry Gifts for Mom

Although Mother’s Day comes around just once a year, we should really show Mom we care every day! And often when we no longer live with our parents, it becomes more and more difficult to spend as much time with our parents as we would like. That’s why it is a great idea to get Mom a beautiful Mother’s Day gift that she can enjoy all year long and for many years to come. Jewelry items make great Mother’s Day gifts, and here are some to consider for your own mom.

Diamond Toe Rings from CliQ collection (Courtesy of SuperFit Inc.)

“The best gift for our mothers is an indulgence that they would otherwise deprive themselves,” said Eric Alulis of SuperFit Inc. “And what is more indulging than DIAMONDS! Adding extra sparkle to their jewelry arsenal is always a welcome concept – but it’s your mother, so think practical and fun – not over the top and sexy. Diamonds that every woman should have and can wear regularly….

Diamond Earrings“Perhaps when giving her a break from the kitchen by taking her to the nicest restaurant in town, you include some diamond hoop earrings. Or maybe get together with some siblings and chip in to give a fun watch (

It is always nice to get people gifts they wouldn’t ordinarily buy for themselves. The indulgent factor really adds to the special meaning behind the gift, because you want to give Mom something nice that she will appreciate, but also something that is thoughtful and personally selected.

“The ultimate compliment to that spa retreat would be a diamond toe ring from CliQ,” Alulis added. “CliQ™ rings open and close on a virtually invisible hinge, giving you a toe ring that fits perfectly whether you are wearing it with a new pair of heels or on the beach.

For additional information on CliQ, see

Token Tags

Token Tags™ are another popular gift for Mom. Moms are often so proud of their kiddos, and a personalized jewelry item offers one more way for kids to keep themselves on Mom’s mind. Token Tags are sterling silver, hand-stamped charms that can bear any special name, word, nickname, or certain phrases.

Because they are hand-crafted, no two Token Tags are exactly like. They are fully customizable and each one is made-to-order. The tags are available as charm necklaces or as key chains. Necklaces are about ¼” wide by 1 and 1/4” to 1 and 1/2” long, depending on the length of the desired word. Key chains are stamped on a heavier sterling sheet for extra sturdiness, and they are about ½” wide, with the length also determined by length of the selected text.

Personalize Token Tags with your favorite words or phrases.“For a Mom there is nothing more personal than keeping a reminder of your angel around your neck,” said Token Tags creator Elizabeth Lindsay. “Whether it is a name, birth date, or nickname, these tags will always bring a smile to a proud mother’s face.

“Imagine tags that read: ‘Thanks Mom,’ kids’ names, or a double sided tag that reads (One side): ‘Home is’ (The other side): ‘where mom is.’ Because these are 100% personal, the options are endless and speak to Soccer moms and fashionistas alike.”

To learn more about Elizabeth Lindsay Creations, visit on the Web at

Shampoo and Conditioner for All Hair Types

If you want shiny, wavy, curly, fragrant, or naturally beautiful hair, you have come Paul Mitchell Lavender Mint Shampoo and Conditioner Setto the right place. I’ve scoured the shelves and put my own hair to the test with a variety of different shampoos and conditioners to bring you my best of spring beauty for your hair. These products offer different benefits for different hair types and styles.

Read on to see what shampoo and conditioner beauty pick will work best for you!


Suave Professionals Vibrant Shine Shampoo and Conditioner

Top Traits: Shiny, Flirty Fragrance, Clean

After using Suave Professionals Vibrant Shine Shampoo and Conditioner, my hair instantly felt cleaner and smoother. I noticed a distinct sheen to it when I styled my hair as usual. The shampoo and conditioner left my hair extra silky and easy to manage. The product line claims it restores hair’s shine as well as Sebastian®. Although I haven’t ever tried Sebastian, I really did enjoy the results of Suave on my hair – so I would believe it!

The fragrance of these products is light, flirty, and delightful. The shampoo contains tiny sparkles that glisten in the product, which must lend themselves to the quest for shiny hair. The conditioner is a smooth and creamy potion that works its way easily through hair. The Suave Professionals Vibrant Shine Shampoo and Conditioner products work best with normal to dry hair, but it is gentle enough for color-treated hair.

Suave Professionals Vibrant Shine Shampoo and Conditioner products contain silk amino acids, which work to remove build-up and restore your hair’s natural shine. I’m convinced that this is why my hair felt so soft and clean after using the products. Both products also contain Vitamin E, which is great for so many reasons!

Suave Professionals Vibrant Shine Shampoo and Conditioner retail for $1.92 to $2.49 for 14.5 oz.
Suave Professionals Vibrant Shine Shampoo and Conditioner are complemented by counterpart styling aids: Suave Professionals Vibrant Shine Hairspray and Suave Professionals Vibrant Shine Mist. Suave products and the Suave Professionals Vibrant Shine collection can be purchased at various drugstores, mass merchandisers, and grocery stores across the country.

To learn more about Suave products, visit


Sunsilk Waves of Envy Shampoo and Conditioner

Top Traits: Waves that truly do behave, great smell

Beach tossed waves are perfect for this time of year, and so is Sunsilk Waves of Envy Shampoo and Conditioner. These products offer a lovely fragrance of rose, jasmine with cassis, amber musk, peach, and mango. I absolutely adore Sunsilk Waves of Envy Shampoo and Conditioner, from its pretty aqua-colored potion to its luscious and lightly fruity, flirty fragrance, to the way it makes my hair flip beautifully after each use.

Sunsilk Waves of Envy Shampoo and Conditioner left my hair feeling truly refreshed and fashionable. After the first time using it, I felt as if I had been to the salon to have my hair cut and styled. The waves really came out in my stubborn hair, which normally resists curls and waves of all kinds. The Sunsilk Waves of Envy collection contains sea botanicals and light moisture therapy to promote smooth and flowing waves for manageable hair. The shampoo and conditioner products are safe for color-treated hair.

In the product lineup, Sunsilk Waves of Envy Shampoo and Conditioner are just the beginning. A lovely Waves of Envy Sea Mist spray product refreshes hair and encourages more definition and texture for beach waves. The spray contains silicone for shine and sea salts for the perfect tousled beach look. Waves of Envy Gel & Cream Twist delivers sculpted glamour waves with definition and longevity.


Sunsilk Waves of Envy Shampoo and Conditioner retail for around $3.49 for 12 oz. Sunsilk products are available at mass market retail stores such as CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid, Target, and various grocery stores, to name a few. For more information, visit Sunsilk on the Web at For additional wave-enhancing tips, visit


Relaxation Techniques: Drift Away from Stress

Find a peaceful place... (Photo courtesy of Romeo Koitmäe, morgueFile)

High-stress jobs, multiple roles, and endless personal obligations may leave just about anyone torn and tattered. Renew body mind and spirit with simple relaxation techniques that require only minimal time and energy investment. Take a few moments for yourself every day to refresh and renew your body and spirit. Try yoga, meditation, and massage for a complete rejuvenation of your whole self.

In addition to relieving a degree of one’s current stress load, practicing relaxation techniques on a regular basis has also been shown to promote overall healthier living, better mental condition and fewer incidences of heart attacks, strokes and repeat heart attacks.


With strong focus on deep, rhythmic breathing, yoga has become a popular form of alternative healing. Allowing participants to clear their minds and focus on personal goals and calming energies, yoga also aids in the body’s flexibility and overall tone. Deep breaths coupled with yoga stretches and poses assist in renewal of the body, mind and soul. Even if practiced for only a few moments, yoga can positively impact a person’s outlook, guiding him or her effectively toward goals and aspirations.

As an extremely popular activity in recent times, yoga classes are offered at many colleges, health and fitness centers and gyms. For those wishing to learn yoga on their own, countless books and videos are available for that very purpose. Gathering with a group of friends may motivate a first-time yoga participant to make a regular routine of yoga, even if only for a few moments every couple of days.


Pick your perfect time of day to meditate. (Photo courtesy of Romeo Koitmäe, morgueFile)By exercising and harnessing the power of the mind, one can truly find mental freedom and escape from stress. Meditation combines a quiet location with a comfortable position, a focus item or idea and a perfect equilibrium between awareness and relaxation. Different posture and positions may be used for those who wish to become more experienced in meditation. When practiced regularly, meditation can positively merge one’s mental, physical and emotional worlds.

Meditation practice does not have to be anything fancy or highly technical. By simply sitting in a comfortable position in a private location, one can use visualization with positive imagery. Repetition of a calming word, phrase or sound, such as “peace,” may aid in one’s ability to focus. Participants may choose whether they wish to meditate with open or closed eyes.


In addition to yoga and meditation, massage is a great release for both physical and mental tension. Whether receiving a full body massage or a simple but rejuvenating foot massage, special treatment for tense muscles goes a long way. Find a partner and swap massages so both of you can enjoy the healing effect. Instantly feel relaxed and refreshed after reaping the wonderful benefits of a massage.

Yoga, meditation and massage are all wonderful techniques to restore peace and balance within the body, mind and spirit. The power of the mind can be a truly amazing thing – allowing us to dream, believe, conquer and become those things we most desire. Practice relaxation techniques on a regular basis in order to maintain a healthy spirit and calm, tranquil mood.

LifeLoveBeauty Newsletter Contest: Win Free nubar Nail Polish!

Editor’s Note: This contest has already concluded. 

The Life Love Beauty Newsletter makes its debut in May and we are accepting e-mail addresses for free subscriptions now! For a limited time, if you submit your e-mail address to the newsletter mailing list, we will enter you for a chance to win a free bottle of nubar nail polish in Hollywood Pink. nubar Hollywood Pink


On May 15, five lucky winners will be selected to receive a free bottle of nubar nail polish. Hollywood stars have been featuring vivid colors this year, so nubar created a color that’s just as hot as any star. Hollywood Pink shines so bright that it deserves a spot on the walk of fame!


nubar is “The Healthy Alternative for Beautiful Nails.” All nail lacquers are Formaldehyde FREE, Toluene FREE and DBP Phthalate FREE.


Sign up for the Life Love Beauty Newsletter today for your chance to win a beautiful prize! Good luck!

Continue reading LifeLoveBeauty Newsletter Contest: Win Free nubar Nail Polish!

How to Use Mineral Makeup

Mineral makeup kits make it easy to get started.

If you look in the beauty aisle of your favorite store, throughout the pages of your favorite women’s magazine, and in some of the recent posts of your favorite beauty blogs, you are likely to come up with the same item on everyone’s hotlist – mineral makeup. Women, makeup artists, and dermatologists rave about mineral makeup and its healthy properties. Mineral makeup offers many benefits for those with sensitive skin, mature skin, and problematic skin, as well as those who just want a healthy, beautiful glow.

What Is Mineral Makeup

One of the hottest lines of makeup to grace magazine pages and store shelves and Web site shops in the past five years, mineral makeup is an often-powdery, mineral-based product line that is lightweight and great for long-lasting wear. Natural, true mineral makeup does not contain fillers, and can offer many benefits for all skin types and all ages. Some imitation mineral makeup products contain talc and other fillers, which often clog pores.

Mineral makeup contains natural SPF for sun protection. Mineral makeup products contain real vitamin and mineral ingredients, and they are safe for those with sensitive skin, skin allergies, eczema, rosacea and other skin conditions.

“Mineral makeup has increased in popularity as we become more and more conscious of the effect products have on our skin and bodies,” said makeup artist Terry Akins. “Mineral makeup is free of irritants like perfumes, preservatives such as parabens, alcohols and dyes that many traditional makeup brands use.

“However, many mineral makeup lines contain Bismuth Oxychloride. Bismuth Oxychloride is a chemical that produces shine. Although the FDA has approved this for use in cosmetics, 75 percent of the users (mostly women) are allergic to this chemical. When you use a product containing Bismuth Oxychloride, you are pushing small metallic particles into your skin that will clog your pores. Acne and rosacea sufferers who use these products find that they also irritate and aggravate their conditions.”

Akins explained that itchy skin after makeup application is the typical indicator of being allergic to products containing Bismuth Oxychloride. The chemical also causes a shimmery look that lends itself to a mask-like appearance, which enhances wrinkles and makes skin look older (and drier) than it really is.

Terry Akins recommends Afterglow Cosmetics, a 100 percent vegan product line that contains all pure mineral ingredients. Afterglow Cosmetics do not contain parabens, gluten, Bismuth Oxychloride or other potentially harmful chemicals.

“Afterglow mineral bronzer gives you a natural looking glow without the fake looking shine associated with many bronzers and mineral makeup brands,” Akins said. “I have always avoided using bronzers when I work on model / actor photo and film shoots, and on myself because the shine looks fake and screamed, ‘I’m trying to fake a tan!’

“That is why the bronzer from Afterglow cosmetics is so great. I can have the color that I would want to achieve on my very fair skin (or the skin that I am working with) and it looks natural. I cannot go in the sun because my skin burns so easily.”

Tips for Using Mineral Makeup
Here are some mineral makeup tips on how to use mineral makeup, from Terry Akins:

For dry, flaky skin

1. Add a small amount of powder into the palm of the hand.

2. Add a drop of moisturizer.

3. Blend the two products together until a smooth, creamy consistency is achieved.

4. Use your fingers or make-up wedge to apply.

For young or blemished skin

Apply makeup in very sheer layers, bronzer or foundation, with a vegan kabuki brush or flat top brush all over the face.

NOTE: Loose powder mineral makeup is NOT designed to work with a sponge.

To apply bronzers and blush

1. Apply with a fan brush, blush brush, kabuki brush, or flat top foundation brush.

2. Apply to areas where you want a fresh sun-kissed glow.

To apply eye shadow

1. Dip an eye shadow brush into the desired color.

2. Apply to your eyelids.

For liquid eyeliner

1. Wet your brush with water.

2. Dip into the desired color of mineral powder.

3. Mix water and powder together on the back of your hand or in separate container until well blended.

4. Apply to the lid as desired.

To create your own lip shades

1. Dip your lip brush into your favorite lip balm, lipstick, or gloss and then into the mineral powder of your choice.

2. Blend well and then apply to lips.

“Afterglow Cosmetics has ten shades of organic lipstick and five shades of organic lip gloss with botanicals,” Akins said. “These are premixed for ease of use.”

About the Expert and the Cosmetics:
Terry Akins is a professional makeup artist. Afterglow Cosmetics are 100 percent vegan and contain pure mineral ingredients. Afterglow products are free of gluten, parabens, and bismuth oxychloride. For more information on Afterglow cosmetics, see:

Bridal Shower Games: Word Scramble

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



ohnomoney ___________________________________________________

gindewd ___________________________________________________

arigmare ___________________________________________________

draibisem ___________________________________________________

nahdbus ___________________________________________________

igwdned sdabns ___________________________________________________

megnneagte ___________________________________________________

omdniad ___________________________________________________


muesilnoi ___________________________________________________

wolfrse ___________________________________________________

morgo ___________________________________________________

qutobue ___________________________________________________


grooraphehtp ___________________________________________________



rowfel rigl ___________________________________________________

girn rearbe ___________________________________________________

raiytshel ___________________________________________________

nitaivoitn ___________________________________________________

tneocenanmun ___________________________________________________

ostat ___________________________________________________


loyrelt ___________________________________________________

mignotseh lebu

ladbri rcahm ___________________________________________________

rentale ___________________________________________________

sniroslaece ___________________________________________________

bslubeb ___________________________________________________

tiboew ___________________________________________________

udtoxe ___________________________________________________

vafros ___________________________________________________

ecapl dracs ___________________________________________________

tsianeg harct

sroh dveeorsu ___________________________________________________

leyrewj ___________________________________________________

mogneroms ___________________________________________________

niswgih lewl ___________________________________________________

vrefeor ___________________________________________________


Game compliments of

How to Get Sexy, Smoky Eyes

Too Faced GalaxyGlam eye shadow in Deep Space

Seductive, smoky eyes deliver a hot look that sends sexy signals day or night. Applying smoky hues to your eyes gives a dramatic effect that brings you a more daring and mysterious appearance. Stars like Avril Lavigne, Alicia Keys, Beyonce, and Keira Knightley sport the smoky eyes like the pros they are – and you can too. Just follow these simple tips!

For a glamorous, just-stepped-on-the-runway look, get together your favorite dark eyeliner, complementing mascara, and deep, smoky color of eye shadow. Don’t forget to select an eye shadow base to give yourself a nice foundation so your eye shadow stays put.


– One or two shades of eye shadow
– Eyeliner
– Mascara
– Makeup brush
– Q-tips
– Eye shadow base / primer (You can also apply your foundation right to your eyelid and around your eye if you don’t have a base.)

Steps: How to Get Smoky Eyes

The hottest colors for smoky eyes seem to be blacks, browns, grays, golds and earth tones, and greens. For a sultry and seductive look that can’t be beat, practice the following steps to perfect your technique.

Jerrod Blandino, the co-founder of Too Faced, suggests the following steps to get a sexy, smoldering look for your own smoky eyes:

Too Faced Galactic Glam eye shadows (Courtesy of Eyes – Galactic Glam

1. Apply Shadow Insurance all over eye lids as your base to lock down shadow.

  • TIP: You can also apply your standard eye shadow base or primer, or whatever foundation or cream concealer you like to use. This keeps the shadow from smudging and shifting unintentionally.

2. Apply your favorite Galaxy Glam eye shadow shade close to the lash line and blend gently up towards the crease.

  • FYI: Galaxy Glam eye shadows come in four colors at present: Super Nova (black with peach and pink), Deep Space (black with cobalt blue), Moon Beam (black with laser light green), and Shooting Star (black with galactic gold).
  • TIP: For a soft, smoky look, apply a lighter shade such as silver, shimmery pearl, or ivory to the area right beneath your brow line.

3. Use Liquif-eye Liquid Liner to apply Galaxy Glam shadow as a deep intense liner that won’t smudge.

  • TIP: Use a thin eyeliner brush to substitute eye shadow as eyeliner. Simply wet the brush and pick up some of your favorite eye shadow, and then use the brush to draw a straight line at your lash line.

4. Finish your smoky eye with tons of Lash Injection Mascara for a dramatic, out-of-this-world lash look!

Smoky eyes can have a jeweled-tone, too. (Photo courtesy of David Kitchenham, morgueFile.)Feel free to experiment with different looks. To get a jewel-tone style of smoky eyes, opt for more color and sometimes a combination of blues and greens or purples and greens, or shades of topaz. For blending purposes, use a Q-tip to gently sweep the colors into one another.


1. If you’re giving your eyes the sexy, smoky treatment, go easy on your lips so the two don’t compete. You don’t want your lips to overpower your new smoky eye look. Choose a nude or very subtle lipstick or gloss. You might also enjoy a simple, sparkly or shimmery lip balm.

2. Apply the smoky colors most intensely by the lash line and gradually thin it out. This achieves a graduated smoky look rather than an all-over dark appearance.

3. Play with color. Don’t feel confined by the blacks and browns that are oh-so-customary. Test the waters with pretty purples or sparkling greens, as well as smoldering grays. Color coordinate your eyeliner and mascara, too, if you wish.

4. For a more intense smoky eye look, apply a light-colored eyeliner to the lower part of your eye. Next, smudge the liner so that it looks more dramatic. This tip looks especially great when you use complementing colors throughout.

About the expert:
Jerrod Blandino is co-founder of Too Faced® brand cosmetics. He started out as a sitcom actor and sales consultant for Estee Lauder and worked his way up to crafting his own creative, colorful and high quality cosmetic products for celebrities and others.

Visit Too Faced on the Web at

Best of Spring Beauty: Treats and Tools for Feet and Perfect Pedicures

Spring is the perfect time to put away the boots and break out of the rough, dry skin that we tend to get during the bitter winter months. New life is all around in nature, so why not continue the trend by welcoming fresh, soft skin on your feet? Pedicures, foot files, and pedicure tools, foot scrubs, and hydrating foot creams and lotions offer an effective means to a great end – soft, smooth feet! Here are our top beauty picks of treats for your feet this spring.

Microplane XL Pro Foot File

Beauty products for feet are becoming more and more abundant. Stores are lining their shelves with everything from at-home pedicure kits to specialized, battery-powered tools to gently slough off dry, dead skin cells. Here we offer a rundown of the spring’s top products to get your feet in beach-ready shape, for flip-flops, strappy sandals, and of course, barefoot relaxation.

Many of us know that yoga is great for the body, mind, and spirit, but… for the toes? Sure – why not! Exercise keeps the body healthy and fit, so it makes sense that exercise can also improve the health of our feet.

YogaToes® are made of soft and flexible, hypo-allergenic medical grade gel that carries a lifetime guarantee. They are surprisingly soft, comfortable, and easy to use – just slip them onto your tootsies and relax! (You can hold them under running water to make it easier to get them on.) The flexible band of gel gently and effectively stretches and strengthens the muscles in your feet, which relaxes tired feet and helps to repair and prevent foot problems.

I received my YogaToes in the mail on a Friday, after a long week at work. Sitting down in front of the television with my husband, I decided to see what I thought. They easily slipped right over my toes, and while I could feel them stretching my feet, it was a comfortable and pleasant stretch. I kept the YogaToes on for roughly 15 to 20 minutes and instantly felt a difference in my feet when I removed them.

YogaToes are available as gift sets....

As a former runner and wearer of cleats in other sports, I look forward to continued use and improvement in the health of my feet. YogaToes really are like yoga for the feet. The refreshing stretch offered by YogaToes makes me feel great, as if I’d just had a pedicure. Now that would be an interesting pairing!

YogaToes are available in unisex small and medium sizes, where most women fit in size small, and most men wear size medium. The colors give YogaToes a nice touch, from orange, pink, crystal, or sapphire to metallic blue, green apple, black, or silver.

Learn more about YogaToes on the YogaPro Web site,

Microplane® Personal Care XL-Pro Foot File
The Microplane® Personal Care XL Pro Foot File is a comfortable and easy way to get softer feet for spring. This must-have beauty tool can give you the results you’ve been seeking instantly. Use the Microplane XL Pro Foot File to gently and effectively buff away rough calluses, revealing the soft and smooth skin underneath.

Available in two colors, Marbled Earth or Tuscan Gold, the foot file features a long handle and replacable cartridge, and a built-in compartment. As you filed away the dead skin cells from your feet, the built-in compartment catches the skin particles safely and effectively. You can clean the foot file easily with soap and water after each use – just read the instructions to see how to take it apart.

I used my Microplane XL Pro Foot File and noticed favorable results immediately, where the roughest areas on my feet suddenly felt softer and smoother. Since it was my first time using the file, I felt like my feet still had some rough patches from the scraping motion, so I just applied foot cream before bed for a more comfortable sleep. After using the file several more times over the course of a week, I noticed silky, soft skin on my feet rather than rough, dry skin.

The Microplane XL-Pro Foot File retails for $29.95 at various stores such as Bed, Bath, and Beyond, QVC, Ulta, Beauty First/Pure Beauty stores, salons and spas nationwide, and at

Artemis Woman Heel Smoother
Artemis Woman Heel SmootherThe Artemis Woman Heel Smoother is a battery operated pedicure tool. This product features special DuraCrystals®, which are comprised of aluminum oxide crystals – the same as used in microdermabrasion treatments. Artemis Woman Heel Smoothers use removable and interchangeable tips for use on different parts of the foot. The larger oval tip worked fairly well for my heel, while the smaller, thinner tip was gentle and more forgiving on my toes.

At first, the tool may seem a little intimidating to try, as it did for me. Don’t be worried! It just takes a few moments of practice, though, to get down a rhythm and find your best approach to exfoliating the dead skin cells from your feet. In my experience, it takes several uses before feet are perfect, but this is understandable due to a long winter’s worth of dry skin. Truth be told, I noticed a positive difference, especially in my heels, immediately after use.

The Artemis Woman Heel Smoother is available in four package types. The heel smoother is available in either a waterproof or non-waterproof version. Some packages include a 1 oz. jar of Topaz™ Foot Butter, which contains aromatherapy essentials – oils of lemon, tea tree, and bergamot, as well as real topaz crystals to nourish and moisturize skin.

The packages retail prices range from $16 to $19.99 for the non-waterproof heel smoother, $19.99 for the HS-250 (which is waterproof), $29.99 for the HS-1000 and a jar of foot butter, and $49.95 for the rechargeable Heel Smoother Optimum HS-5000, which comes with a variety of tips and a jar of foot butter. Artemis Woman Heel Smoothers are sold at Wal-Mart, Target, The Sharper Image, Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens, QVC, Sky Mall,, and more. For more on this product, see

Dr. Scholl’s® For Her Foot Butter, 2.5 oz….

How to Save Money on Your Wedding

The dress, the veil, the shoes, the flowers, the limo, the photographer, the cake, the caterer or country club… not to mention your wedding bands, honeymoon, bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts, parent gifts, and on and on. Don’t be fooled – the list of things to buy and book and do for your wedding is just as endless as you think, if not more so. Here are some great tips for how to save money on your wedding.

When it comes to congratulating you on your special engagement, everyone is there with open arms and beaming smiles. When it comes to shelling out the cash to pay for the big event, everyone points the finger. What gives? You only get married once, right?

Nowadays, there seems to be little rhyme or reason to the question on all our minds – who pays for the wedding. Some of today’s modern couples decide to undertake the bulk of the cost themselves. Sometimes the bride’s family follows the tradition of generations past and foots the bill on their dime. Other times, the bill can be split between both families, and often with help from the bride and groom. But any way you slice it, someone has to pay, and unfortunately, that money isn’t going to grow on the trees lining your backyard.


To make the most of the money that you do have to put toward your special day, keep this one thought in mind. Weddings are to wedding vendors what Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, and birthdays are to Hallmark, chocolate shops, jewelry stores, perfume makers and other gift merchants.

Weddings mean business. Weddings mean good business – megabucks. The vendors know just how important your special day is to you, and they capitalize on your emotion. They sense the flutter in your heart or they catch the tear glistening in your eye when you try on the dress and there, waiting in the wing, is the veil, the tiara, the shoes, the jewelry…all waiting on an assembly line once you’ve found “the dress.”

Call up anonymously and ask your preferred reception site what it would cost to book a graduation party, or a birthday celebration, or even a family reunion. I dare you. You’ll be sickened at the dramatic drop in price when the “w” word is no longer rolling off the tongue. On second thought, don’t call, unless you intend to book your special day incognito. You might lose your appetite for the whole thing.

To help you save money on the planning of the most special day, I’ve kept some notes on my own adventures in wedding planning. Take it for what it’s worth or leave it for the others; whatever floats your boat. Remember, while your wedding is going to be the happiest day of your life, it will also be the one of, if not the most expensive. Any savings you can rack up do add up, and you’ll be so grateful when your monthly credit card bills don’t supersede your monthly mortgage payments as your deepest debt.

Tip #1: Shop the discount racks, the clearance sales, and the going out of business sales.

I have always been a sucker for a bargain. As long as you aren’t dreaming of a wedding ala Christina Aguilera, you should be able to score some really great deals everywhere from bridal shops and party stores to gift stores, departments stores, even grocery stores, and of course, online merchants.

Keep your eyes peeled for sales and don’t be averse to taking a road trip now and again. You might just find the wedding dress of your dreams at an über discount. It happened to me! I was too lazy to walk upstairs to dig through my mail pile to find a flyer for a local bridal shop that was going out of business, so I searched for it on the computer. Instead, I came up with a bridal shop going out of business in Maryland, about three hours away. My mom and I made the drive, and the last dress I tried on was “the one.” I got a designer gown that I wouldn’t otherwise have considered at a discount of 1/3 off the price.

Tip #2: If timing is an issue, ask for a flexible payment schedule.

I feel your pain. I need an $800 deposit for this, a $1000 deposit for that, just put $1500 on the credit card, and within three weeks, voila, my bank account is the lowest it’s been in four years. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Most of the vendors and reception sites require the deposits in order to protect themselves.

When a photographer or videographer, a dj, or a caterer books with you, many times they are cutting off all other prospects and ties to that date. Once you provide the initial deposit to secure the service, the vendor should be sympathetic to your financial situation, and most times they are willing to work out a special payment plan.

Tip #3: Don’t be shy. Ask for discounts.

If you’ve ever been to an auction, a flea market, or a community market in a vacation destination area, you might have some experience with haggling. Even if you don’t know the first thing about it, now is the perfect time to learn.

I expressed my financial concerns to my photographer, a highly skilled professional whom I chose despite his higher price tag. After a few days without a response, I soon received an email with him presenting us with a free engagement photo session, valued at $400.

Tip #4: Play the vendors against each other, gently.

If Reception Hall A offers you a discount, but you like Reception Hall B considerably better, speak up. Tell the banquet manager or wedding coordinator of your preferred reception hall that you’ve been offered a discount of x% (in my case it was 10%), and that you’d really like to book with her, but your budget dictates your options.

Chances are, if you are booking a wedding within the same calendar year, you might just be able to get that discount and get the reception hall you like best. If you are planning your wedding for a little further out, you may not have the same leverage, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. The costs of the food and banquet services are so inflated that any given reception hall should be able to offer you some sort of incentive, no matter when your wedding is.


Tip #5: Collect coupons. Collect wedding magazines because they contain coupons.

So far I’ve seen everything from 25% off your total wedding purchase at a craft store to free gifts and more. These coupons do add up. Buy the Sunday paper each week and you’ll find even more coupons. (Hey, if you save on your groceries, you’ll save even more money!)

The more coupons you use, the more money you save. The more money you save, the nicer your reception can be while spending even less than you intended.


* * *

Take my tips or leave them. I hope that something you’ve read here helps you to save yourself or your family some money. I’m still learning the ins and outs of this wedding planning myself, but I have to admit, it feels really great to save a buck or two here or there. Plan your budget and hang tough. Find savings wherever and whenever you can. You will make it through and you’ll cherish every moment of your special day.

No matter where you cut the corners or how much money you spend in the end, your wedding day will be absolutely unforgettable as you take those meaningful steps toward the love of your life.

What’s Fresh and Ultra Clear for Spring – Top No-Show Deodorant Picks

Dove go freshSpring has sprung. Warmer weather’s almost here for good, which means tank tops and sundresses aren’t far behind. When we start to bare our bodies just a bit more with spaghetti straps and string bikinis, it’s vital that our deodorant stays put and invisible. For fresh and fragrant deodorant that sticks to your skin and not your clothes, here are our top deodorant picks for spring.

Choosing a deodorant or anti-perspirant is a very personal yet very important decision to balance. You want to be confident in your every day that your body is protected from embarrassing odors and wetness, but you also want to ensure that the product doesn’t cake itself under your arms or smear all over your clothing. You also want to make sure it’s effective for the duration of your day.

If you haven’t already found a tried and true deodorant or anti-perspirant product, I urge you to consider Degree® Women Ultra Clear (Little Black Dress Approved – and it is, too!) and Dove ® go fresh™ product lines.

Even if you are a faithful supporter of one particular brand that never fails you, I encourage you to check these products out. I have been a faithful user of the same deodorant product for probably between eight and ten years. These products offer true dependability, and their fragrances alone offer a pretty strong argument for a switch!

Degree Women Ultra ClearLittle Black Dress Approved Degree Women Ultra Clear has passed my test for both clear and smudge-proof factors. The anti-perspirant delivers the ultimate wetness protection and also stays on your skin, not on your clothes. The best thing of all is that it doesn’t leave those embarrassing white marks on your shirts or dresses – trust me, I checked. I even went to the mall wearing it, tried on a few dresses, and only got a very small, barely visible smudge on one dress when I literally had to wrestle my way out of it.

I tested this product a few days during the workweek, and I am happy to report that the fresh and flirty fragrance stayed with me throughout each day. Sweaters, close-fitting shirts – it didn’t matter what I wore; Little Black Dress Approved Degree Women Ultra Clear deodorant’s results remained the same. In fact, I would sometimes catch a whiff of the deodorant, smelling so good that I would almost think I recently applied an aromatic lotion or body spray fragrance. Nope, just my deodorant, doing its job!

According to product literature, Little Black Dress Approved Degree Women Ultra Clear uses a TriClear™ formula that allows it to go on clear and stay clearer. In my experiences using Degree Women Ultra Clear, this formula is highly effective, as I didn’t notice any smudging, smearing, flaking or other problems caused by so many deodorants.

Degree® Women Ultra Clear retails for roughly $3.64 for a 2.6 oz. container, but prices may vary. Available fragrances include: Pure Petal, Pure Satin, Pure Clean, Pure Rain, Pure Powder, and Pure Oxygen.

Designed for 20-something women who have way too much stress to battle in their daily lives, the Dove go fresh™ line offers women a fresh new selection of products and fragrances. Dove’s collection aims to remind women to refresh, cool off, and energize – because it is so important to recharge our batteries every day, even if only for just a few moments.

Dove go fresh Ultimate Clear Invisible Solid deodorantI tried out the Dove go fresh™ Energizing Ultimate Clear Invisible Solid deodorant. The product applied very smoothly and cleanly, without any additional residue. The grapefruit and lemongrass fragrance is a delightful and refreshing scent that helped to get me moving in the morning (I am so not a morning person).

According to product literature, Ultimate Clear Invisible Solid contains ¼ Translucent Moisturizers™ that help to leave underarms softer and smoother in five days. The deodorant delivers 24-hour wetness and odor protection while offering a fresh and flirty fragrance that is oh-so delightful compared to standard powder-based products.

Dove Ultimate Clear Invisible Solid retails for around $3.79 for 2.6 oz. product or $0.99 for a 0.5 oz. travel size product. Available fragrances include Refreshing (clean waterlily and fresh mint – blue cap), Energizing (juicy, sparkling grapefruit and lemongrass – yellow cap), and Cooling (crisp cucumber and calming green tea – green cap).

Limited time offer: Try a free sample of Dove go fresh™ Ultimate Clear Invisible Solid here!


I really enjoyed both products enough to purchase them on a regular basis. I’m actually a firm believer that every woman should always have a spare deodorant anyway, either in her car or set aside with other vital items (like spare toothpaste and toothbrush), ready to travel at a moment’s notice.

For more information, check out Degree online or Dove online.

Wedding Ring and Engagement Ring Trends – Stylish and Stackable

Trax Flat Matte Wedding Band, Courtesy of Superfit Inc.An engagement ring and the wedding bands to follow are certainly the most emotionally precious and sentimentally valuable pieces of jewelry you will ever own. When a man proposes to his intended wife, it’s often true that he placed much thought into the engagement ring that serves as a sign of the couple’s intention to marry. Then, the couple often considers wedding band styles together. Trends in engagement rings and wedding rings are ever evolving and circling back to vintage designs. One of the most exquisite and utilitarian designs of the present day is the stackable set of rings.

Trax Flat Matte Wedding Band, Courtesy of Superfit Inc.

Finding the balance between her taste and cash can be difficult with so many styles to consider. For a little insight, visit Blue Nile reviews and see rings or cuts that have given loved ones design and value.

Stackable engagement rings and wedding rings offer versatility and unique beauty to the wearer. The styles are classic and timeless. Stacking rings deliver a startling elegance that also carries a special convertible element. Wear the wedding ring by itself, with your diamond engagement ring, or together with another special ring you’ve received.

“I love stackable rings since they bring versatility to what can be a substantial investment due to soaring precious metals prices,” says Eric Alulis, a specialist in New Product Development for Superfit® Inc.

“They also make a great bridge between traditional bridal jewelry and fashion jewelry,” he says. “Their ‘stackability’ allows one to customize rings that hold sentimental value, and coordinate a look with a particular situation – vacation, party, etc.

UnityLine Flat Matte Wedding Band, Courtesy of Superfit Inc.“I love jewelry that can be worn with a formal gown, to work, and to a barbeque. And that is something you should consider when choosing your bridal jewelry.”

Stacking rings give their wearers options. They can mix and match the order of the rings, or only wear certain ones at a time. Other rings may be presented as gifts in the future – such as anniversary bands or birthstone rings to celebrate the birth of a child. The possibilities are virtually endless, as the purchaser’s own imagination is the chief limitation.

UnityLine Round Matte Wedding Band, Courtesy of Superfit Inc.“When shopping, keep in mind the different ways you intend to wear your set,” Alulis suggests. “Will you want to wear your diamond engagement ring alone? Will you want to wear a single wedding band alone and leave the larger diamond at home? This will help shape your final decision because choices can seem overwhelming.”

The option to wear the rings very separately is a nice alternative to wearing your diamond engagement ring to the beach or even during a backyard volleyball game. Stacking rings allow you the flexibility to wear several rings in the same sequence, or sometimes in a different sequence, as rarely or as frequently as you wish.

“A favorite designer of mine, Maeve Gilles (Maevona,, offers wonderful selections of truly fashion forward and unique bridal sets,” Alulis notes. “She always puts a lot of forethought into creating ensemble pieces that are a real departure from the standard mass marketed offerings.”

Stacking rings present a dramatically different appearance for the traditional engagement ring and wedding ring set. For example, a recent groom surprised his new wife on their wedding day with a set of stacking rings as her wedding band and a matching gift. He worked with his jeweler to create an identical ring to match his bride’s wedding band.

Together, the two men custom designed a set of stackable rings that would create a gorgeous symmetry between his wife’s engagement ring and the wedding band he designed for her. Justin’s wife had no idea that this additional ring existed until the moment when they stood together at the altar on their wedding day, within seconds of taking their vows. Justin’s own wedding ring also involved a custom creation – a platinum band featuring two tracks with a brushed center, boasting a number of petite diamonds set and spaced inside.

“Customization is a great way to add personal meaning to a bridal set,” Alulis explains. “Remember to mix metal colors and stone patterns to maximize versatility and create a unique look.

“This is also an opportunity to coordinate the gent’s band with the lady’s band, with respect to the traditional masculine look of men’s jewelry and the more delicate taste in ladies’ jewelry. Perhaps it’s an old fashion notion, but I really think bridal jewelry should have special meaning to its purchaser. It stands for an emotion, it reflects a sentiment as well as a special period in life, and a consumer shouldn’t necessarily settle for status quo.”


About the rings:

The rings shown belong to the CliQ collection. All are available in Platinum, 14K gold, and 18K gold. Superfit® rings have an invisible hinge that safely and securely allows you to open and close your ring seamlessly for a perfect fit.

About the expert:
Eric Alulis works as a New Product Developer for Superfit® Inc. For more information, visit Superfit® on the Web at

How to Choose the Right Wedding Photographer

Wedding Photo by Kim Calakoutis

If ever in your entire life you get to feel like a movie star, it’s bound to be on your wedding day. The wedding photographer you select will spend hours with you, capturing your every expression, your every smile, on camera. Because you and your spouse-to-be will be working so closely with your photographer all day on your special day, it’s important that you ensure a comfortable chemistry between yourselves and the photographer.

The best starting point in selecting your photographer is to view many, many photographers’ portfolios and get to know what’s available these days. Consider all the possible styles and packages. Decide if you’ll be hiring a single photographer or a dynamic duo or photographer team. Keep your budget in mind as you shop for your wedding photographer. Remember, your wedding photography will probably be one of the more expensive elements of your wedding.

Wedding Photography by Kim Calakoutis

Many people agree that your wedding photography package is one place you don’t want to cut corners or skimp on your budget or on your planning. Wedding photos are something you will cherish and treasure forever. To get the best wedding photographs possible, you will want to enlist an experienced photographer who has a good personality and close attention to detail.

Kim Calakoutis is a professional photographer who specializes in weddings. She recently established her own wedding Web site to help brides as they plan their weddings. Calakoutis suggests considering the following items as you prepare to choose a wedding photographer.

As you plan to select your wedding photographer, Calakoutis stresses to consider these four elements closely:


1. Find a photography style you love. “When you picture your wedding photographs, what words come to mind? When you look at photographers’ Web sites, look for Web sites that match those words.”Photography by Kim Calakoutis

2. Personality is everything! “Do you feel comfortable around them? Are you able to tell them what you really want? Do you feel they are listening to you or just merely pacifying you?”

3. Budget is the bottom line. “We all hate to admit it, but budget is always a factor. Small things make big differences in pictures, so if you can afford it, try and find a photographer that works as a team. Having someone there to fix your dress, or facilitate the group shots will help the pictures run smoothly and quickly without compromising the quality.”

4. Reputation, reputation, reputation. “Need I say anymore? Are they well-known? Even if you don’t see them on your reception’s preferred vendors list, are they on anyone’s? Do you know anyone that used them? Do they have a studio? Are they experienced?”



As you prepare to choose your wedding photographer, make sure you review all the photo package options and any applicable discounts. Consider the photographer’s schedule if you are planning a wedding with short notice.

TIP: Wedding Photo Checklist – Don’t forget to compile a photo list of the most precious images you would like captured on your special wedding day! Here’s a sample wedding photography checklist to get you thinking on the right track. Good luck and best wishes!

About Kim Calakoutis:

Kim Calakoutis is a wedding photographer and recent bride who started her own Web magazine for other brides. Visit her wedding magazine, A Visual Guide for the Online Bride, at or check out her photography site at