Pretty Pink Cocktails for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day can be fun no matter if you are married, dating, divorced, or single–it’s another day on the calendar, meaning the day is all that you make of it. Whether you plan to have a romantic cocktail with your sweetie or a sassy sipper with your best girlfriends, some pretty pink cocktails for Valentine’s Day can be the perfect way to celebrate this weekend.

Here are some of our favorite pink drinks for Valentine’s Day, with a few inspired back from Breast Cancer Awareness last October. You can enjoy these pink cocktails exactly as written or add your own special twists.

Feel free to try these delightful and beautiful pink alcoholic beverages and let us know what you think and which ones turn out to be your favorites!

PRETTY IN PINK

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. Van Gogh Citroen Vodka
  • 2 oz. Chilled Lemonade
  • 1 oz. Cranberry Juice
  • Squeeze of Lime Juice

Instructions

  1. Build vodka, lime juice, lemonade, and cranberry juice in a Collins glass with ice.
  2. Top with a squeeze of fresh lime. Garnish with a lime wedge.
    Courtesy of Van Gogh Vodka

La Vie en Rose

Ingredients 

  • Vodka 1.5oz
  • Strawberry 3
  • Rosé wine 1.5oz
  • Lemon ¾ oz

Instructions

  1. Squash the fruit.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients with ice.
  3. Shake and strain.
  • Courtesy of The St. Regis Mexico City and The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort’

Mrs. Pink

Ingredients

  • Montelobos mezcal 1.5oz
  • blueberries 10
  • Rosemary 1
  • Lemon juice ¾ oz
  • Natural syrup ¾ oz

Instructions

  1. Squash the fruit and the rosemary.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients with ice.
  3. Shake and strain.
  • Courtesy of The St. Regis Mexico City and The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort’

Pink Ginger


Ingredients

  • Gin 1.5 oz
  • Ginger syrup ¾ oz
  • Lime juice ¾ oz
  • Raspberries 5
  • Rosé sparkling wine 2 oz

Instructions

  1. Squash the fruit.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the rosé sparkling wine) with ice.
  3. Shake and strain.
  4. Add the sparkling wine on the top.
  • Courtesy of The St. Regis Mexico City and The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort’

Suave® Professionals Body Care Product Review

My husband and I went to Hawaii on our honeymoon, which feels like ages ago. While there, we enjoyed massages in a private cabana on the beach. Truly an amazing way to enjoy some of nature’s best elements, the sandy shore, the fresh air… Now with a two-and-a-half-year-old child, I can only dream about going back to Hawaii, or can I? The Suave® Professionals premium Body Care line brings the incredible spa experience and some of the scents of Hawaii to your very own bathroom!

Continue reading Suave® Professionals Body Care Product Review

Hauntingly Halloween Cocktails

Whether it’s ghosts giving you chills or a bartender serving you chilled drinks, everyone has their own pick of activities to celebrate Halloween. For those of you staying in and putting on the costume of bartender, it’s fun to have a list of themed beverages to set the holiday mood. The following collection of themed sweet and spooky cocktails is sure to provide some adult treats. (The tricks you’ll have to come up with yourselves.)

If you’re searching for a particular spirit, here’s an index to help you find your pick of poison.
Tequila- Page 1
Vodka- Page 2
Rum- Page 3

Don’t see any cocktails you like? Can’t find what you want to drink? Comment below so we can find something to suit your cocktail preferences!

Continue reading Hauntingly Halloween Cocktails

Fun and Delicious Easter Cocktail Ideas

The weather is finally getting warmer, the birds are chirping and the trees are blossoming. The grass is green, the sun is shining brightly and it’s as if the whole world is saying: spring has finally come. Spring is here, and with it soon will come a favorite springtime holiday – Easter. To celebrate, consider sipping some fun and delicious Easter cocktails with family and friends!

Whether you’re relaxing with friends while the kids are out hunting for Easter eggs, having an Easter brunch or dinner, or if you decided to go celebrating with family or friends, there is no better way for you and your loved ones to commemorate this special day than with some delicious, refreshing and fun Easter cocktails. Mixing your own cocktails is always fun and easy to do ,and you can always add something new to spice up the flavor. On several occasions, we tried to help you with some of our Easter cocktail ideas, and this year we are back with lots of new and interesting recipes you’ll definitely be needing for a refreshing Easter drink. For teens and designated drivers, we have a whole array of tasty non-alcoholic Easter beverages that will look and taste just like the real thing. Take out your cocktail mixing equipment and read carefully because here we go!

Easter Cocktail Ideas – Fun and Beautiful!

Peep-tini

This is a really special Easter cocktail – it’s both yummy and insanely refreshing and just the thing you need to help you relax.

 Ingredients:     image001

1 ½ oz. Sobieski Lemon Meringue Vodka
½ oz. white chocolate liquor
1 oz. cream
Sugar
Peep for garnish

How to:

Dip rim of chilled martini glass into sugar to coat.  Add Sobieski Lemon Meringue Vodka, white chocolate liquor and cream in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into sugar coated martini glass.  Garnish with a Peep and serve.

 

Spring Fling

Looks stylish and elegant, tastes heavenly and is the hit at any cocktail party. Definitely one of our favorites!

 image002Ingredients:

1 ½ oz. CAMUS VS Elegance
¼ oz. pomegranate syrup
1 oz. cranberry juice
3 fresh strawberries
red rose for garnish

How to:

Muddle strawberries and liquids in a shaker tin. Fill shaker with ice cubes, and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a rose.

 

Bunny’s Tail

Ingredients:       image003

1 ½ oz. Lucid Absinthe
½ oz. orange flower water
1 tsp. white or clear crème de menthe
1 large egg white
Ice

How to:

In a cocktail shaker, combine the ingredients and shake vigorously until frothy and well blended. Strain into a tall chilled cocktail glass and serve.

 


Mimosa MistMimosa Mist  

Ingredients:    

1½ ounces Florida orange juice
5 raspberries
¾ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce simple syrup*
Ice
Champagne

How to:

Muddle raspberries in cocktail shaker; add Florida orange juice, lemon juice, simple syrup and ice. Shake and strain into champagne flute; top with chilled champagne. Garnish with Florida orange twist and raspberry.

*For Simple Syrup: Combine 1 cup sugar and ½ cup water in saucepan; heat over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes. Cool syrup completely and refrigerate in covered container for up to 1 month.

Next – Fun and delicious non-alcoholic Easter cocktails for youngsters

Delicious and Fun St. Patrick’s Day Cocktail Ideas

It’s March already, and we are only days away from our favorite holiday of the season – Saint Patrick’s day. March 17th is the day when the whole world becomes Irish! Cities are overwhelmed with green hats, clover T-shirts, the aroma of corned beef and cabbage, and gallons of good ol’ dark Guinness are enjoyed while singing to “The Irish Rover” by The Dubliners. It’s safe to say that St. Pat’s isthe day for drinking, fun, and merriment

If beer isn’t your deal, you have a huge variety of cocktails and shooters to enjoy. If you liked our earlier article about fun and tasty cocktail ideas for St. Patrick’s Day, then you should also enjoy these new and interesting St. Patty’s cocktail ideas that are easy to whip up and absolutely delicious to drink. Whether you’re staying at home with your friends and family or going out to a bar or a club,  you should definitely have a drink or two to relax and unwind, and with these fun St. Patrick’s Day cocktails, you can celebrate with a festive Irish twist.

Green St. Patrick’s Day Themed cocktails 

Green hats, green T-shirts, green flags – why not green cocktails? Keep with the spirit of St Pat’s with some of these amazing cocktails:

image003

Emerald Crush
Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Blue Ice Organic Wheat Vodka
  • 1/2 organic kiwi, peeled
  • 1/2 organic lime, cut into quarters
  • 1 teaspoon organic sugar

How to:

Muddle fruit and sugar in a mixing glass until well crushed and juicy. Add ice and vodka and shake vigorously. Pour all contents over ice into a tall tumbler and drink with straws. This is a very special St. Patrick’s Day cocktail that will tingle your whole body and leave you asking for more.

 

Green Apple Martini

Ingredients

  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 part apple juice
  • 1 part DeKuyper Sour Apple Schnapps

How to:

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well and serve. Simple as that!

 Refresh-ZING Shamrock

Ingredients image002 (1)

  • 1.5 oz. ZING Vodka
  • 5 Cucumber chunks (approx 1 oz juice)
  • 1 Basil leaf
  • Splash Lime juice

 How to:·

Muddle cucumber and basil add ingredients and shake served Up. Garnish with a cucumber. Preferable Glass: Highball rocks or coupe.

image001Camarena Shamrock Shaker

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz Camarena Reposado Tequila
  • 1/2 oz Sour Apple Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz Agave Nectar
  • 2 oz Lime Juice
  • Sliced Green Apples for Garnish

How to:

Combine liquids in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to blend and chill. Strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with a fan of thinly sliced green apples.

Midori Sour 

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. Midori melon liqueur
  • 1 oz. whiskey sour mix
  • 2 oz. Sprite
  • 2 cherries

How to: 

Fill glass with ice cubes. Add Midori liqueur, sour mix and Sprite. Stir quickly. Add cherries as garnish.

Lemons, oranges, pineapples, and grapefruit make yummy beverage bases

These yummy cocktails are for those who prefer their drink with a fruity taste. Delicious and fun, they are very easy to prepare and will make your body feel fresh and elevated.

image002Irish Castaway

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce Shellback Spiced Rum
  • 1 ounce Irish Whiskey
  • 1/4 ounce Vanilla Liqueur
  • 1/4 ounce Lemon Juice
  • Bar spoon of Brown Sugar
  • 2 ounces Brut Champagne

How to:

Combine brown sugar and liquids except champagne in cocktail shaker, no ice. Stir to dissolve brown sugar. Add ice. Shake to blend. Strain into highball glass over fresh ice. Top with brut champagne.

Kiss Me I’m Irish image

Ingredients:

  • 50ml/2 oz Belvedere Vodka
  • Dash Elderflower Syrup
  • 3 chunks pink grapefruit

How to:

Muddle grapefruit with elderflower cordial. Add crushed ice and churn. Re top with crushed ice and garnish with a pink grapefruit wedge.

 

 image (1)The Lucky Charm

Ingredients:

  • 1.5  Belvedere Bloody Mary
  • 1 oz  Pineapple juice
  • ¼ oz Lemon juice
  • 2 bar spoons Rosemary syrup

How to:

Shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.

 

Green Tea-ni Thyme 

  • 50ml/ 2 oz  Belvedere Lemon Tea  image (2)
  • 20ml/ ¾ oz Lemon Juice
  • 20ml/ ¾ oz Green Tea Syrup
  • 3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme

Gentle press thyme in base of shaker. Add remaining ingredients and shake hard over ice. Fine strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a sprig of thyme.

 

We hope you enjoy these fun Irish St. Patty’s Day cocktail ideas. Leave us a comment about your favorite one if you try them!

 

Creative Food Tips for Parents of Picky Eaters

IMAG4237My daughter is not even two yet and I feel like she barely eats anything. If it weren’t for pancakes, macaroni and cheese, and cream cheese bagels, I don’t think the poor girl would eat! Don’t get me wrong, she likes fruit and will try the occasional chicken tenders and other foods, but it’s never a “sure thing,” if you know what I mean. I often feel like our fridge is jam-packed with food in the hopes that she will actually eat SOMETHING. Then, inevitably, we end up throwing twice as much stuff out as we would before now. It’s frustrating to feel so wasteful!

I struggle with this every day. The pediatrician’s office had me all flustered when she fell from the 10th percentile or so down to third percentile for weight and fourth for height. She is a tiny little thing, but so cute and very healthy – not really a major concern. I’m not tall myself, so she likely got my genes as far as height and body type. Still, the doctor’s office got me so worried before that I have desperately been trying to get her to eat as much as possible, whenever possible.

Sometimes I bribe her, sometimes I just keep trying new things, other times I cycle through the few things I know she does like. We have occasional success with fish or fish sticks, pasta, and pretty good success with pizza. I have tried to creatively make special things for her to enjoy while still getting essential nutrients, and most times, have failed miserably. For example, my parmesan broccoli fritters looked and smelled (and even tasted) delicious when warm, but once cool enough for a baby’s palate, all bets were off. She didn’t even see the green of the broccoli that I popped in her mouth and still spit it out.

So, out of desperation in my own quest to get my child to eat more, I have decided to make a list of my most successful tips. I’d be thrilled if you can share any of your own tips in the comments so I can add them to the article and try them myself with N. Here’s my top list of tricks to get a toddler to eat more:

  1. Try to avoid letting them fill up on milk, water, juice, or whatever they are drinking. Keep their beverages out of site at first, at least until they get a little food in their belly.
  2. Offer different kinds of snacks often. We rotate through cereal, crackers, goldfish, dried fruit, fresh fruit, bagels, muffins, and other snacks.
  3. Sneak food into their mouths as they are feeding themselves. At this toddler phase, kids will never be as efficient at feeding themselves as you would be. Unfortunately, it seems they may also not be as agreeable to you doing the work as they once were. Sneak in what you can and allow them to have control over at least some of their food.
  4. Encourage your child and praise him or her for eating well. Use a tone that is fun and exciting, expressing how proud you are of their efforts.
  5. Consider bargaining if appropriate. It may not be a practice you want to do all the time, but bargaining can be instrumental in getting your child to try new things or to eat in greater quantity.
  6. Try different settings to give your child variety. The high chair gets old after a while. If you can pull your child’s chair up to the kitchen table without the tray, that could be a suitable alternative. I’ve also seen great success with the portable booster chairs for toddlers and even just letting them run around and pick food pieces up from a TV tray or table.
  7. Have a [willing] family member or guest offer your child their snacks or meals. I have seen more success with my daughter eating snacks she gets from someone new and exciting than from offering what we keep in the cabinets.
  8. And finally, my favorite tip of all – Disguise food as something they love. Create cute animal shapes with the food or use cookie cutters, food molds, or pancake and egg shapes to give your kid a more entertaining, more enjoyable option when it comes to eating the same foods day after day.

IMAG4236

If you have other tips and ideas to get your toddler to be a better eater, please share them in our comments below! You may think your tip or suggestion seems basic, but to someone else it could be a godsend.

Tastes of the Season: Holiday PEEPS® Candies

The company that makes PEEPS® Brand Candies, Just Born, is located in Bethlehem, PA. I’ll be the first to point out I have a bias for my “hometown” foods-soft pretzels, tasty cakes, and of course, cheese steaks of all varieties. However, that does not mean that they aren’t worthy of my praise and affection. The brand has expanded into an online shop and even recently opened a hometown store, which I always liken to a mini-Willy Wonka’s factory.

Whenever I think of the fluffy marshmallow PEEPS®, I’m brought back to springtime, pastels, and bunnies. I was very pleasantly surprised when I received my products to review and opened a box filled with what seemed like an endless supply of wintertime variety.

The complete holiday collection features seasonal flavors, seasonal shapes, and even seasonal plush PEEPS® chicks! The candies are available in Christmas flavors like peppermint, chocolate, candy cane, sugar cookie, mint, and gingerbread.

The traditional PEEPS® chicks come chocolate dipped and regular. Mint flavored trees are available completely covered in chocolate. These treats are individually wrapped so you can one up for your personal indulgence. Another individual sweet treat is the PEEPS® pop- four chicks on a stick.

For a colorful addition to the dessert table or a sugary gift for someone sweet, consider the bigger PEEPS® packages. Stars, snowmen, trees are available in counts of nine. Gingerbread men and reindeer come in a package of six.

Find out what stores you can purchase these candies here.

Thanksgiving Wine Pairings and Cocktails

It’s that time of year when everyone pinpoints what they are thankful for. If you can’t say you are thankful for your flawless ability to create delectable homemade dishes, consider bringing all the makings to a holiday cocktail of your choice to the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Or if you truly tried your best at great-grandma’s classic Thanksgiving dish and failed to live up to hype, fall back on these quick foolproof recipes. (You can say you’re thankful for credit cards and 24/7 grocery stores.)

For fans of Pumpkin flavored recipes, check out our articles featuring some of our recommendations and suggestions. Find my favorite here. It is “technically” named ‘Halloween Brew,” but I’d drink it any time of the year. Flip the name to ‘Thanksgiving Brew’ and guests will be none the wiser.

Sterling Aromatic White

Pick out the perfect wine for the classic dishes of Thanksgiving dinner. Sterling Vintners offers the staples of red and white wine ideal to pair with many holiday foods. Pair Sterling Vineyards Carneros Pinot Noir with anything from appetizers up to the main courses. The Pinot Noir should be your go-to with the Turkey dinner as well as stuffings, especially those with chestnuts or mushrooms.

If turkey is not the main course for some diners, the alternative could be a spinach based salad with fresh pears. Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Chardonnay pairs flawlessly with a salad of this type because the wine’s crisp acidity is an ideal balance to the acidity in the salad dressing. For other food that may be served, Sterling Vintners Collection Aromatic White goes best with fruit and cheese appetizers, particularly those with dried fruits like apricots.

Want to mix things up for a change? Avenue restaurant in Long Branch, NJ mixes a sweet and spicy cocktail called the Cranberry Jalapeno Mezcal Margarita for Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Jalapeno Mezcal MargaritaCranberry Jalapeno Mezcal Margarita

1 oz. Mezcal
1 oz. Triple Sec
1 oz. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
½ oz. Jalapeno Sour Mix
½ oz. Lime Juice
2 T. Fresh Cranberry Jam
Garnish: 5 Spice Rim (Star Anise, Fennel, Cinnamon, Schezuan Pepper, & Cloves)

Combine all ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain over clean ice.

 

Looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth? Bring the easiest to make desserts with practically candy-coated cocktails. Smirnoff Vodkas’ new flavors, Wild Honey and Cinna-Sugar Twist Flavored Vodka, are easy solutions with their simple recipes.

It might seem difficult to find an easy recipe with such bold and distinct flavors. Have no fear! Each flavor has two recipes below with one each being simple enough you might not even need to buy any mixings. Smirnoff’s site offers more recipes, not just for these flavors, but every bottle they offer.

Wild Honey Vodka

SMIRNOFF Honey Nut Cake

1 oz. SMIRNOFF Wild Honey Flavored Vodka
0.5 oz. Hazelnut Liqueur
0.5 oz. Creme de cacao
1 oz. Cream

Preparation: Add ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Finish with grated nutmeg as garnish.

Honey Cider
1.5 oz. Smirnoff Wild Honey
2.5 oz. apple juice
2.5 oz. cider

Shake and serve over ice in highball glass.

 

SMIRNOFF Cinna-Sugar Twist Cheeky ChurroCinna-Sugar Vodka

1 oz. SMIRNOFF Cinna-Sugar Twist Flavored Vodka
0.5 oz. orange liqueur
0.5 oz. Bailey’s Irish cream liqueur with a Hint of Vanilla Cinnamon Flavor
0.5 oz. light cream
Glassware: Coupe glass
Garnish: Grated cinnamon

Preparation: Shake and serve

Lucky Lemonade

1.5 oz. Smirnoff Cinna-Sugar Twist
2 oz. lemonade
3 oz. apple juice

Add all ingredients together, shake well and pour into stemless wine glass over ice. Garnish with lemon wheel.

What are your Thanksgiving cocktail go-tos?

 

Writer’s Note: I received samples of Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Chardonnay, Sterling Vintners Collection Aromatic White, Smirnoff Cinna-Sugar Twist Vodka, and Smirnoff Wild Honey Vodka.

Fashion Tips to Look Taller and Thinner

look-taller-and-thinnerDid you know that you are considered “petite” if you stack up 5’4” or shorter? Many women don’t mind being a shorter height, “good things come in small packages,” you know. But ask yourself this: Have you ever worn high heels and wound up with terrible foot aches within hours? If you’ve ever wished you could look taller, read on for tips to creating an illusory image that conveys tallness.

Rock out with vertical stripes and lines!

Whether you choose pleats, patterns, or plain old stripes, you’ll love the illusion of added height you get from fashions boasting vertical lines. They elongate your body while also giving you a slimmer, trimmer appearance.

Add other vertical elements into your wardrobe.

racing-stripes-outfitTry button-down shirts and sweaters, zip-front apparel and racing stripes. Get a little sexy with a slit in your skirt – front, back, or side will do just fine. Pinstripes are totally trendy, but you can also sport beads, embroidery, pretty patterns, corduroy, and any number of creative customization options in a vertical format. Ribbed patterns and pleats also add to the vertical aspect.

Wear a v-neck shirt or sweater for the appearance of added height.

The v-neck gives an illusion of a longer torso, a perfect help to those wanting to use fashion to help them look taller. A v-neck also draws attention to the bust, which can be a plus for those looking to appear thinner.

Introduce accessories that will add height to your image or distract from your “problem areas.”

Silky scarves, dangling earrings and long pendants, pearls or necklaces should give a nice boost to your stature. Accessories like sunglasses, hats, barrettes and shawls can also add to the height factor as well as making your overall appearance more interesting.

When selecting pants, choose those that fit properly and brush the tops of your shoes.

Your pants should definitely cover your socks, creating an appearance of longer legs. Some trendy pants of varying lengths (for example, capris or floods) may not be the best for you if you are trying to add the illusion of height to your physique. Find pants that fit comfortably but give the illusion of a slimmer figure. Dark pants, especially black slacks, can help to trim down your curves.

Create a few true extra inches with platforms or high heels.

slit-in-dress-tallerDepending on the rest of your outfit and the particular shoe types in style at the moment, you can judge if the chunky heels, stiletto heels, or platform sandals will work best. Don’t forget about the timeless value of a nice pair of boots! Every girl’s wardrobe should contain a staple of shoes – blacks and browns, summer and winter styles, open-toe, closed-toe, and boots. If your feet become sensitive to pressure easily, consider wearing platforms over heels, or just skip the stylish shoes altogether and opt for flats.

Worry less about the things you can’t change and focus on the things you can change.

Finally, when everything is said and done, the perfect dress or suit can really make the occasion. Put your main focus on coordinating the perfect outfit – from the clothing itself to the best shoes, purse, and accessories you can find.

Keep Reading for Tips to Help You Achieve a Thinner Look…

Decorating Ideas for Thanksgiving

thanksgiving-decorating-ideas

With Thanksgiving weekend nearly at the door, you’re probably frantically searching for ideas and tips on decorating your house or apartment for the upcoming festivities. You’re thinking of seating and table arrangements for the Thanksgiving dinner, making room for all the guests, decorations to make the place look not just presentable but amazing, what to cook, what to wear

Most if not all of us know just how hectic it can be to plan a memorable and successful event, much less a special holiday meal for the whole family and extended relatives. Sometimes everything comes together perfectly, sometimes nothing does. With this in mind, we would like to ask you to stop panicking, take a deep breath, and relax, because we are about to make your worries just a little bit lighter.

For this year’s decorating ideas, we have decided to concentrate on Feng Shui, the ancient art of decoration that is ofttimes incorporated for maximum positive energy and harmony in a living environment as well as great aesthetic appeal. To present you with the best possible advises and tips, we have taken the help of an expert, ChicagoHealers.com Practitioner Dr. Andie Pearson, DMD, as well as some of our own smart ideas. With our help, Thanksgiving can be a fond memory instead of a traumatic experience!

Clean, clear, and analyze your environment

First things first – Get rid of the mess and clutter that is surrounding you and create space that will both make your home seem less crowded and more open and welcoming. “No matter what the occasion, the first step in Feng Shui is clearing clutter and cleaning the area,” says Pearson. Maybe you can fit a person or two more than you thought in your house, huh?

After you made your house spotless and created the extra space you’ll be needing, it’s time to start planning for the event. How many people are coming and who exactly will be there? What kind of a gathering are you having? “You need to decide on themes, purpose, how many people will be invited, who will be there, and what activities and foods will you have,” Pearson explains. “This should help you with the rest of your planning.”

When planning, you have to think on every guest’s personalities and preferences. If your  cousin Grace is bringing her three little children, make sure you have some room where they can play and keep all the grown-up stuff where they can’t reach things. If Uncle Bob really likes your brownies, try and find the time to bake them. You may have to put in a lot of effort to make everybody happy, but at least you know that it will pay off in the end.

Decorate with warm and relaxing colors, but keep it minimal

Since Thanksgiving is in the middle of fall, seasonal colors will feel best for this occasion. “Use goldenrod, earthy greens, tans, amber, deep rich reds or maroons, etc. You want a color scheme that will be both relaxing and welcoming. Fall and Thanksgiving colors lend themselves to this very well.”

Be careful though and try not to over-decorate. If you exaggerate, not only will your home look tacky, but it will also feel cluttered and crowded – and with all those people, you really don’t want that. “Flower arrangements on the table or throughout the room should be conservative and moderate to short. Anything big or tall will not allow for conversion across the table. Because people will be visiting and talking, music would be very nice, but needs to be low and soft so that it doesn’t compete with everyone there,” Pearson suggests.

It’s also advisable to use side lighting instead of overhead one. If you have table lamps or candles, consider lighting these up to create a warm, mellow atmosphere that is both relaxing and makes your guests feel right at home. A bright overhead light might make them anxious and this would seriously disrupt the positive environment you’re trying to create.

What kind of an event are you having?

file711289155461It’s very important to keep the traffic low, to avoid crowding as well as frustration and the anxiety that can come from that. Planning out the event thoroughly and systematically can be crucial for its success or failure. “Ask yourself – Are you having an actual sit down event, buffet, or cocktails with appetizers?”

“If you are having a formal dinner, have that room separate from the rest of the party, allowing the rest of the party area to be designated as the place for social gathering,” Pearson instructs. “For a buffet-style Thanksgiving, have an area for the food and a section for drinks,” she adds. “You will also need to have seating scattered about in organized fashion that doesn’t block flow of traffic. A Thanksgiving party that is just snacks, appetizers, and cocktails has a bit of free flow. You can arrange several areas for food and drinks scattered throughout the room so that people can stroll from place to place and socialize.”

These tips are very simple, yet they have the power to make your Thanksgiving party into a memorable experience. Still, no matter what you do, the most important thing is to enjoy and be thankful for the company you have around you and have a great time!

About the Expert:

Dr. Andie Pearson, DMD, is a practitioner at ChicagoHealers.com. She practices holistic dentistry, general dentistry, craniosacral therapy, body-based orthodontics, and dental homeopathy. For more information, please see http://holisticdentalchicago.com.

Festive ChapStick Holiday Inspired Lip Balms

IMAG4041You can always count on ChapStick to keep your lips soft and kissable for the next big holiday or special occasion. I’ve always loved the fun flavors and products ChapStick brings to the lip care market, but I feel like the new holiday collection of limited edition gift tins and wintry flavors ups the ante this year. I constantly find myself thinking I need just one more little item for so-and-so when finishing up my holiday shopping, so this time I’m prepared ahead of schedule. I know just what I’ll buy for those people on my list who need a little extra TLC this year.

Like anyone, I have my favorite flavors and favorite lip products, but it’s exciting to add new lip balms to my stash when one season rolls into the next, or even on a passing whim. ChapStick kindly sent me a selection of their holiday lip balms and gift tins for the purpose of an honest review, and I’m delighted to share my experience with you.

ChapStick Classic Cherry
IMAG4135Okay, I’m convinced. It’s completely impossible to go wrong with ChapStick’s Classic Cherry lip balm. It is still the same flavor and fragrance I remember as a young girl trying out ChapStick for the very first time. It takes me back, but it is also so wonderfully smooth and tasty that it keeps me happy right where I am. I am pretty sure you’d have to be devoid of at least two of your five senses if you don’t like the cherry ChapStick, at least that’s my own humble opinion. This flavor is available separately or as part of a few variety-pack holiday gift tins by ChapStick, available at Walmart and Target in a nice collection of designs and colors.

ChapStick StrawberryIMAG4137
Similar to the cherry, the ChapStick Strawberry flavor is familiar and pleasant. I find these two to be lip balm staples. The strawberry flavor is nice for any time of year, and like its cherry counterpart, the soft pinkish shade of the lip balm is rather appealing. I don’t think there’s much else to say about the strawberry flavor – I like it and recommend it. Sometimes I could swear I caught a tiny tingle on my lips while using it, but I’ve also been using two minty flavors as well, so it’s hard to say….

ChapStick Spearmint
IMAG4134When it comes to chewing gum, spearmint is always my first pick. I find it tasty and refreshing, so it’s nice to see spearmint offered in a line of lip products as well. The ChapStick Spearmint flavor goes on just as smoothly as all the other ChapStick products, but it almost convinces me I’ve got fresher breath or a tingly kiss just waiting to happen. I adore its pale green hue.

And, you’ve guessed it—now I want a stick of gum. In fact, I think I would use this ChapStick for sure if I found out I had run out of gum. It would also be great right before a kiss. I like this one a lot – just remind me not to wear it outside in the bitter cold or I might think my lips are about to fall off!

ChapStick Limited Edition Candy Cane
IMAG4138The Candy Cane ChapStick flavor invigorates your senses with a burst of peppermint that starts as a fragrance and quickly escalates to a teasing tingle on your lips. (I guess the Spearmint one does this too, but I am feeling more inspired writing this part of the review!) I don’t usually prefer mint flavors aside from chewing gum, but this ChapStick is a winner due to its refreshing approach to lip care. After I applied this flavor to my lips, I lost track of how long the tingling lasted, perhaps because I got bored waiting for it to fade. In fact, my lips are still tingling now, about 20 minutes later. Candy Cane ChapStick is available individually wrapped or as part of a holiday gift tin.

The Candy Cane Swirl holiday tin (MSRP: $5.99, exclusively at Walgreens) contains three sticks of lip balm, making this a great gift for any girl who’s got to have a stick in her purse, pocket, and a spare (aka, me). I think this set would also be nice for sharing, since ChapStick products always seem to last nice and long, even though I apply them multiple times per day. I especially like the pretty design of the Candy Cane Swirl tin and look forward to picking up a few of these during my holiday shopping this year.

ChapStick Gingerbread Kiss
IMAG4136Surprisingly subtle, I like this ChapStick for that very reason. It has enough flavor for you to notice a hint of gingerbread, but it does not overpower your senses. I like that a lot, especially because I feel, at least for me personally, gingerbread is something I like once in a while around the holidays, but not all the time, and not necessarily over other cookie flavors. Chocolate chip, sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin – those I love all the time, but gingerbread is special for the holidays and I like it very much as a limited edition lip balm flavor from ChapStick. Think of it like when the pumpkin craze starts in the very early fall… if you aren’t one of the crazy pumpkin flavor fanatics, you certainly know one. (Looking in at least one friend’s general direction…) Gingerbread Kiss is a great lip balm to bring along for all your holiday visiting or to simply keep your lips soft and kissable while winter’s bite sinks in this year.

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When I showed my husband the new wintry offerings from this all-star lip care company, he told me I most certainly did not need any more lip balms or ChapSticks. He still remembers a plastic box or drawer I had in college with “at least 200 ChapSticks,” he swears. I’m pretty sure it was a small tub with about 30 or so sticks, but I guess that’s the difference between a lip balm enthusiast and the person lucky enough to be their mate!

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I must admit, my only disappointment in the whole experience of testing and tasting these delightful flavors is that, try as I might to avoid it, I almost always peeled some of the label off the ChapStick tube when trying to break the seal holding the cap in place. Perhaps you’ll have better luck. Not that it matters AT ALL, but I just like my ChapSticks to look as nice as they taste, if it even matters to anyone besides me.

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I really love ChapStick® Collector’s Edition Ornament Tins and the individual flavors. I can’t wait to pick out a few holiday recipients with whom I can share the joy. (Truth be told, I also can’t wait to see what comes out next from ChapStick… Valentine’s flavors like chocolate-covered strawberry or champagne kiss? St. Patrick’s flavors? Easter styles teeming of coconut, dark chocolate, and marshmallow? I can hardly contain myself. ChapStick, if you’re reading this, please don’t keep us in suspense too long!)

IMAG4144You can find a variety of ChapStick’s holiday sets at Target, Walgreens, and Walmart, making your holiday shopping just a bit easier this year. For additional information, be sure to check out www.chapstick.com or visit ChapStick on facebook at www.facebook.com/chapstick.

Have you had the pleasure of trying any of these yummy flavors this year? Feel free to share your thoughts in our comments below.

Disclosure: The ChapStick® products and sales information have been provided by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. The opinions expressed herein are my own unbiased feelings and assessment following product use.

 

Thanksgiving Getaways and Travel Ideas

thanksgiving-getaway-ideasWhile it’s not for everyone, Thanksgiving getaways are a popular type of travel for many people. The extra day or two off from work for the holiday add to the vacation time when you travel for Turkey Day. Whether you want to spend the Thanksgiving weekend getaway with family or with friends or simply your significant other, you can find the perfect long weekend trip to celebrate the holiday.

TOP Thanksgiving Weekend Getaways
Where do you want to go? Is it going to be just you and the sweetheart, or are you taking the whole family with you? Are you thinking of isolated retreats or big cities? Are you packing bathing suits or skiis? Here are some of our ideas for the perfect Thanksgiving experience.

A Family Visit – Thanksgiving is not just stuffed turkey, pie, and cranberry sauce – it’s also about family. This is why lots of people want to spend their Thanksgiving with their families. If your family lives far away, consider going for a visit – a warm family gathering celebration might just be just the thing you need for a perfect Thanksgiving.

thanksgiving-turkey-fryResort Hideaway – Perfect for the lovebirds looking for some time alone for Thanksgiving, consider a romantic escape for just you two. Deep in the Smoky Mountains, the Blackberry Farm in Tennessee offers a relaxing atmosphere for the body and soul. The whole Thanksgiving week is full with activities, including a turkey fry, bonfires, apple pressing, and more. If you’re thinking more in terms of bathing suits and umbrella drinks, the Tropical Palm Resort is having an entire Thanksgiving weekend event, complete with a pie eating contest!

A Family Adventure – Take your spouse and kids and go on a fun Thanksgiving adventure! Consider thinking of California – San Diego’s Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival, Sea World, and the San Diego Zoo are all places where everyone can have fun on this very special day. You can also celebrate Thanksgiving at sea by taking a cruise with Disney Cruise Line. There’ll be a turkey dinner, themed dinners, and a lot more for the whole gang to enjoy.

file0001747233568An Urban Experience – The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York is an unforgettable experience. For 80 years, this parade is one of the biggest and greatest, and to be a part of it is truly a privilege. The Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade is the oldest of its kind in history and also one of the most beautiful. Enjoy this kind of Thanksgiving experience at least once in your lifetime!

A Ski Getaway – Since November isn’t peak season for skiing, you can get cheaper packages and lodging rates. If you think turkey is too conventional, you’ll be thrilled with The World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition on Thanksgiving Day at Beaver Creek. If you’re interested in culture, be sure to visit the Thanksgiving Art Festival at Mammoth Mountain.

Since lots of other people will also be traveling for Thanksgiving weekend, you can easily find yourself in a tight spot. To avoid fully booked venues or flights, you should make your preparations and reservations at least a week or two ahead. You should also be prepared for more congested airports and heavier volume at the other forms of public transportation, such as buses, trains, and the subway. If you can plan your trip outside of the top travel days (typically the Wednesday of Thanksgiving week), you should spend less time waiting in line and on your commute. Give some advance thought to your travel plans for Thanksgiving and you should be in good shape!