Fun and Crafty Activity Weekends for Girls

Girls’ weekends can be so much fun! Whether you are an adult in need of a girls’ retreat or a teenager looking for fun things to do with your friends on the weekend, activity weekends for girls can be just the thing you need to relax and unwind after a busy, hectic week at work or school. So many crafty activities can become the perfect filler for your weekend of fun activities with your favorite girls. Consider these suggestions for activity weekends for girls or use them as inspiration to come up with other ideas.

Depending on your interests, you can find a wide variety of weekend activity ideas and crafts to try with your girlfriends. You and the girls can go to a certain venue for your girls’ activity weekend, or you can gather all the supplies and host an activity weekend for the girls at your own home. Consider these suggestions for fun weekend activities to try with your friends.

Ceramics or Pottery Weekend
Taking a class in sculpting or using the pottery wheel can be great fun for a group of girls. Depending on your skill level or interest in learning, you can try to make bowls, vases, and even small sculptures. If you and the girls aren’t up for a girls’ weekend activity as involved as pottery, you can also consider painting ceramics at a studio. This craft is less intense and more relaxing, and you can often choose from many different pieces to paint. Some pottery studios even allow their guests to enjoy wine during their workshops and sessions.

Glassblowing Weekend
A glassblowing workshop can be the perfect weekend activity for girls. This activity is often offered in instructional workshops of two to four hours for groups of a few people at a time. At most glassblowing classes, you will learn about various techniques and the equipment used for glassblowing first. Then you will have a chance to make a decorative glass creation of your own under the guidance of the instructors. Many classes allow you to make paperweights, ornaments, or other decorative glass objects. This can be a great bonding experience with a nice memento of the occasion.

Jewelry Making Party
A jewelry making party can be a fun girls’ weekend activity to host at your own home. Ask each friend to bring some supplies – connecting pieces, beads, wire, or tools. You can make anything from necklaces and chokers to earrings, bracelets, and more. This activity can be great fun for girls and women of any age. Even young girls can enjoy making beaded necklaces and bracelets.

Painting Party
A rising trend for women is going to a painting party and enjoying a bottle of wine with your friends. You and the girls can paint the day away, enjoying great conversation, companionship, and perhaps a glass or two of wine or some other refreshments. Look for studios in your area or relatively nearby that offer this kind of workshop activity.

Stitch & Bitch
If you and your girls are into knitting or crocheting, you can have a great time throwing a stitch and bitch gathering. This is basically a knitting and crocheting party with snacks, wine, and the opportunity to vent about whatever’s been bothering you lately. You can also add in some movies or other enjoyable background to set the mood and create a great setting for your girls’ weekend.

Cookie Bake
Who doesn’t love baking? You can make a really fun girls’ activity weekend with a cookie bake party or a weekend where each guest brings her own recipe and unique ingredients as needed. You can make lots of yummy treats or new confections in the comfort of someone’s home. Be sure to have wine on hand as well as pizza, Chinese food, or other easy takeout foods. The cookies and baked treats will be your dessert and something that you can all enjoy together, over the weekend and as take-home treats.

These ideas should get you started in planning a fun and crafty activity weekend for girls. What other activities would be a good fit for a girls’ weekend? Please share your ideas in our comments below.

 

2012 Trends in Maternity Swimwear

2012 Maternity Swimwear Trends, Colors, and PatternsBuying a swimsuit is hard enough in general. When you’re expecting, it can become even more challenging to find a bathing suit that is both stylish and comfortable. Maternity swimwear is available in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and styles. Women can choose between maternity tankinis and one-piece swimsuits, while some more daring moms-to-be may even consider a bikini, baring their entire bellies. To help choose the best maternity swimsuit for your body, consider these 2012 trends in maternity swimwear.

Depending on how far along you are and what styles of swimsuits you normally prefer, you can find a nice maternity bathing suit that looks and feels great. Some maternity swimsuits are very fitted to show off your bump while others are a bit looser, giving you some room to camouflage it for a bit. Remember, patterns can be fun and exciting, but dark and especially black swimsuits are often more slimming. It really depends on what you want to achieve with your maternity bathing suit.

Here are a few 2012 trends in maternity swimwear to consider.

•    A Pea in the Pod and Motherhood Maternity brands say the spring 2012 maternity swimwear trends are flattering for every pregnant woman. These trends lean towards print and color – vibrant shades, engineered stripes, blurry stripes, and color blocking.
•    Cute bottoms with added detail like gathering or side-ties add a nice touch to maternity tankinis.
•    Stores like Old Navy have great swimwear for reasonable prices. The trend here is a twist-front tankini or one-piece suit.
•    Tie-dye swimsuits continue to be popular this year as well, with fun fashions readily available online even if your favorite stores aren’t stocking maternity swimwear yet.
•    Look for side ruching in your swimwear, since that will give you a better chance of making it through the entire pregnancy with your swimsuit.
•    Tankinis with keyholes and halters with sweetheart necklines also seem to be all the rage this season.
•    Babydoll halter style swimsuits offer pregnant women a more conservative option in swimwear.
•    Black, pinks, blues, browns, purples, and daring patterns are some of the hottest fashions in maternity swimsuits this year.

These are some of the top trends in maternity swimsuits for 2012. What styles do you like best? What are you currently sporting? Would you ever wear a maternity bikini instead of something with more coverage? Share your thoughts in our comments below!

 

Pregnancy Travel Insurance – What You Need to Know

bellypic2My husband and I are planning a trip during the second half of my pregnancy. We are expecting our first child, so this is new to both of us. We’re pretty well used to being able to travel at our own convenience, making arrangements only for the care of our dog with family members. Now we have many other things to consider since I’m six months gone and we would never want to risk anything happening to negatively affect the pregnancy or most importantly, our little one. That’s why we decided pregnancy travel insurance is non-optional for our upcoming trip.

When I first started looking into travel insurance for pregnancy, I really had no idea what I was looking for or what questions to ask. I had never even purchased regular travel insurance before, let alone travel insurance specifically for our unborn child. Thankfully, I managed to learn pretty quickly about the different types of travel insurance that would be beneficial to an expecting couple. I’ll share those tips and key points with you in the hopes of saving you some time and trouble when you plan your own babymoon!

1.    Don’t delay in exploring your travel insurance options when pregnant. Most travel insurance companies require a very swift turnaround from when your initial trip deposit is placed to when you order your travel insurance. Most travel insurance companies require that you sign up for their plans within 10 to 14 days of making your initial trip deposit. Be sure to check with the companies of your choice to determine their exact policies so you don’t miss out on something.

2.    Decide what kind of pregnancy travel insurance you need – health insurance, trip cancellation or interruption, etc. The trip cancellation insurance can be good in case your doctor deems you unfit for flying or restricts you to bed rest or similar shortly before your trip. The trip interruption can be valuable if you have to suddenly rush home. Of course, the health insurance portion can be vital if any complications arise while you are away. There are often many other perks available in these different travel insurance plans.

3.    Understand that most travel insurance plans will not cover “normal pregnancy.” In most cases, your insurance would only kick in if you faced some kind of pregnancy complications or an unrelated condition. To insurance companies, pregnancy is typically considered a pre-existing condition.

4.    Ask about deductibles. Many plans make it easy to sign up, based on their low rates compared to what you might expect. Don’t forget to find out what you would be paying, should you need to cash in on any of the benefits.

5.    Understand what your options are, should you need to evacuate and return to your doctor. Many plans build in offerings for emergency medical evacuation, sometimes valued at up to or over $500,000.The hope is that you won’t need this service, but it is nice to know it is there if you do.

6.    Realize that not all travel insurances are created equal. While most won’t cover normal pregnancy, many seem to cover complications. However, not all travel insurance companies define complications the same way. Perhaps most importantly of all, not all travel insurance companies consider premature labor or the premature birth of your child as a complication. It is vital that you know exactly what your plan covers before purchasing.

I was able to gain additional information when I called around, and one customer service agent was even able to speak with a claims agent to check on some of my questions. Be sure to do your homework to ensure you are as protected as possible when you go away.

Have you ever gotten travel insurance during a pregnancy? If so, how did it go? Please share and questions or feedback in our comments below.

 

Top 10 Snowy Date Ideas to Enjoy

Wintertime is definitely one of those love-it-hate-it seasons. Some of us love it, some of us hate it, and some of us just plain love to hate it. Snow, ice, wintry mix, and freezing rain don’t exactly lend themselves to comfort. Thankfully, even with the cold weather, the darker days, and the unpredictable storm forecasts, it is still possible to enjoy the snowy season with the one you love. Consider these top 10 snowy date ideas to enjoy with your love.

Before you get started, consider whether you will be spending the day alone as a couple or potentially inviting other guests to join you. If you enjoy the winter weather now and then, you may enjoy a few fun and romantic things to do in the snow. Here are 10 snowy day date ideas to enjoy with your sweetheart:

1.    Go skiing or snowboarding.

2.    Stay inside bundled up under blankets, sipping hot chocolate and nibbling on cookies.

3.    Warm up in front of the fireplace and watch a movie together or simply snuggle.

4.    Make a snowman together.

5.    Have a snowball fight to lighten the mood.

6.    Go for a romantic hike in the snow and take pictures of all the pretty sights.

7.    Try your luck with cross-country skiing to see if you enjoy it.

8.    Visit a local winery or brewery as long as they are still open.

9.    Once the snow stops falling, try to find a place to play some pond hockey if possible.

10.    Start your date on a snowy day, but change your mind and take your sweetheart on a romantic, last-minute getaway somewhere warmer.

Now that you’ve seen our top 10 snowy date ideas to consider, be sure to choose the one that is the best fit for you and your significant other. If you have other fun or exciting winter date ideas, please share them in our comments below.

 

Easy Makeup Tutorial: How to Apply Eye Shadow

For some women, applying eye shadow can be a breeze. For others, it can be a challenging task, especially when hoping to try a new style or technique. This visual guide on how to apply eye shadow by Vincent Longo should make your next makeup session as simple as can be. Check out these eye shadow application tips and photos to help you achieve a glamorous look for your next outing.

Before you get started, gather your favorite makeup products, including concealer, loose powder, eyeliner, makeup brushes, eye shadow, lash definer brush, and of course, eye shadow.

Now follow these tips from Vincent Longo to get incredible, gorgeous eyes that mimic what you would see on the red carpet.

PREPARE
1.    Even out the texture of your skin and prepare your eyes for color with a dab of concealer to your upper and lower lids.
2.    Apply a light dusting of loose powder to set the concealer.
3.    Vincent’s tip: “Make sure that the inner corners of the upper and lower eyelids are well powdered.”

SHAPE
4.    Starting along the upper lash line from the outer corner to the inner corner, apply eyeliner in your desired color.
5.    Use brush #33 or similar to blend the line in an upward and outward direction.
6.    Extend the line beyond your lash line to elongate and define the eye.

CONTOUR
7.    Contour the crease of your eye using the in-between eye shadow color.

BLEND
8.    Blend across your lash line and flare slightly upward toward the outer corner of the eye using brush #18 or similar.

BALANCE
9.    To create a soft, smoky effect, apply color to brush #33 or similar and beginning at the outer corner, stroke lashes vertically until you’ve completed two-thirds of the lower eye. This keeps the intense color close to the lashes.

COMPLETE
10.    Comb your lashes with lash definer brush #2 or similar before you add any mascara.
Vincent’s tip: “Be sure to blend the eye pencil first and then the eye shadow.”

These step by step tips for applying eye shadow give your eyes a gorgeous, dolled up look that works beautifully in the office, for an evening out, or for any special occasion. If you have any special eye makeup application tips to add, please share them in our comments below.

About the Expert:

Vincent Longo Cosmetics is one of the world’s premiere color cosmetics brands, sold at Bloomingdales/Space NK, Space NK freestanding stores, CVS Beauty 360, Beauty.com, Makeup.com, and select spas and boutiques across the United States. For more information, see: www.vincentlongo.com.

 

Miracle Skin Transformer Body SPF20 Product Review

Now that winter is in full effect where long sleeves or cardigans are a necessity, going tanning can seem pointless if you are just going to cover up your body the majority of this cold season. Why spend time and money on the tanning process when you can simply pamper yourself with a natural lotion that gives you so much more than just a tan? Miracle Skin Transformer BODY SPF 20 is the perfect solution to look absolutely flawless when you choose to dress up in your strappy little black dress and expose some skin.

BODY SPF 20 is not a self-tanner. This product contains color minerals that act as a tinted treatment for your body that will make your skin glow and look radiant. BODY SPF 20 can give you that perfect, tanned look plus more in just minutes and with only one application.The lotion is easy to apply and there’s no problem to creating a streak-free look. The lotion dries quickly so there is no need to wait long to get dressed after application. Even if the body treatment gets on your clothes, it will wash out easily.

In addition to adding some great color to your skin tone, BODY SPF20 moisturizes your skin at the same time, giving your body a smoother, firmer look. The skin treatment contains Soy Amino Acids, Wheat Proteins, Hyaluronic Acid, Glutamine Peptides, and Jojoba oil, all which help hydrate rough skin and eliminate the ever-dreaded flaky, dry skin. Apply the lotion to arms, legs, back, and décolleté to experience instant hydration.

As the name suggests, BODY SPF 20 will protect skin from the sun. This product of course contains SPF, but that is not the only way the lotion provides care for your skin in the sun. Skin will be soothed by Aloe Vera, Cucumber Extract, Vitamin E, and Chamomile Extract. Organic Narcissus Tazetta bulb extract aids in correcting skin damage as well as preventing signs of aging.

BODY SPF 20 is available in three fabulous shades. Glow Enhancer is ideal for a light to medium skin tint. This shade works great with pale skin and looks completely natural. (I received BODY SPF in Glow for the purpose of this review.) Bronze Enhancer will create a medium to dark skin tint. The lotion is a super sheer formula and will work with both light and dark skintones. BODY SPF 20 is also available in Sheer Enhancer, which brings all the great benefits of the skin treatment without giving the skin any color.

 

1920s Hairstyles for a Fun, Retro Look

1920s hairstyles, old hollywood hairstylesToday, most fashion trends are dictated by Hollywood stars and other influential people mostly in the style business. Anything celebrities wear in public typically becomes a sought-after item. Most of these stars and actresses have started wearing the roaring 1920s hairstyles, which include the short bobbed and wavy hairstyles. Other styles include the sleek and feminine styles that were shiny and wavy at the bottom. These 1920s styles exuded a lot of sexiness and also made the wearers eyes look larger.

The 1920s were considered one of the most stylish eras. A search on the Internet will show you the styles that were popular at that time. The 1920s hairstyles can either be worn with casual yet feminine clothes or even a glittery, elegant outfit. To add spice to the ‘20s hairstyles, you can incorporate a few modern elements, for example, accessories that will give the hairstyle an unforgettable effect. Consider feathers, headbands, and other fun hair adornments. This will give you a perfect look for those formal, high profile gatherings and red carpet occasions.

If you wish to get pretty and glamorous like an old Hollywood glamour starlet, you can do so with some of the old Hollywood hairstyles. They are popular unique looks for anyone who wants to look like their favorite old time star. You can imitate some of the Hollywood stars, for example Katherine Hepburn, Olivia de Havilland, Betty Page, Bette Davis, and others who epitomized Hollywood glamour and style. Today’s celebrities are turning these old hairstyles to stunning, fresh looks. With such choices, you will definitely stand out in a red carpet event, at costume parties, cocktail parties, or other special occasions. Wearing these old time hairstyles is the best way of bringing back a beautiful part of our history.

If you are in love with the Hollywood hairstyles, you have a wide variety to choose from. Whether you love Cameron Diaz’s whimsical locks or Jessica Alba’s gorgeous caramel highlights, the choice is yours. If your Hollywood style is wavy tendrils but you cannot get it because your hair is fair, there is no cause for alarm. To get more volume, you can try hair care treatments to give you exactly what you are looking for in your tresses.

The Old Hollywood glamour hair style embraces smooth, cascading waves with deep side parts. You can get this look with finger waving or pin curling. To spice it up, you can add an eye catching vintage accessory at the back or on either side. Accessorizing with feathers or rhinestones is a great way of completing the look. Once you have decided what you want, it is time to look for a stylist who can recreate the look.

 

Bridemaids Giveaway!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Life Love Beauty is working with Movies On Demand on cable to bring our readers some great prizes. Movies On Demand allows you to view award-nominated flicks easily from your living room. Rent and watch movies before they are available anywhere else! For more information about the cable service, visit Movies On Demand on Facebook.

Bridemaids-PosterMovies on Demand hosts a variety of movies that are sure to suit your cinema cravings. If you’re a fan of Ryan Gosling (Who isn’t?), be sure to rent The Ides of March and Crazy, Stupid Love, both nominated for Golden Globes. Movies on Demand even has family hits like Cars 2!

Are you an Awards Season junkie, but missed a few films, or simply just want to see one again? Movies on Demand offers many of nominated films with just the click of a button. Some of these Golden Globe nominated films include The Help50/50, and Bridemaids.

Could you not get enough of the Spring 2011 hit Bridemaids? Many critics have it listed as one of the top ten movies of 2011. In case you haven’t seen it, the comedy’s about the woes of a maid of honor. We’ve got what you need to prep for your next wedding to plan or attend or just to enjoy a girl’s night. We are happy to offer not one, but two lucky winners a Bridesmaids prize pack.

Prize: Our giveaway features a Bridemaids prize pack! Two winners will receive 1- Bridesmaids T-shirt, 1- Wine stopper, 1- Water bottle, and 1-Tote bag.

Eligibility: Open to residents of the United States (including Hawaii) age 18 and up or age 13 through 17 with written parental permission. One entry per person. All state and local laws apply. Void where prohibited.

Time Frame: Contest begins Saturday, January 21, 2012 and ends Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Rules: Please read these instructions carefully and follow accordingly. Please note: You MUST follow the rules in entirety to be eligible to win this contest.
1. Leave a comment on this post with your favorite part about a wedding.
2. Subscribe to our exclusive mailing list. You’ll receive a monthly/seasonal e-newsletter that will keep you up on what’s new at Life Love Beauty and give you exclusive tips, and heads up on contests. Join and confirm your subscription to Life Love Beauty on the left hand sidebar of our site. If you are already a member, skip this step.

*** Include your e-mail address in your comment entry so we can contact you if you win or if you aren’t comfortable publishing your email, no problem – just email us at [email protected] with a copy of your comment that you posted.

• No purchase necessary. You have not yet won.
• Winner will be contacted via email, and they will be added to the list of winners posted on LifeLoveBeauty.com following verification.

Good luck!

 

 

 

Winter 2012 Hot Eye Makeup Colors and Trends

Best makeup for brown eyesThe eyes and lips often get the most attention out of all your facial features, so be sure to keep yours looking great. No matter if you have brown eyes, green eyes, blue eyes, or hazel eyes, a new shade of eye shadow could be just what you need to chase away the winter blues. We’ve interviewed the pros and can’t wait to tell you all about the hot eye makeup colors and trends for winter 2012. Read on to find out what colors you should add to your makeup stash.

Consider these sexy, sassy, and bold eye makeup looks from the pros to get you through the winter of 2012 with gorgeously done up eyes.

Winter 2012 Hot Eye Colors: Black, Midnight Blue, Grey
Winter 2012 Hot Eye Makeup Colors and Trends“The look right now is a thin to thick eyeliner or eye shadow in black, midnight blue or grey that extends outside the lash line and is paired with a neutral lid, giving a sultry, sexy look,” says Victoria Collotta, Spa Director at Jaie3 salon.spa.beautique in Medfield, MA.

To achieve this hot winter 2012 eye color look, Victoria Collotta shares the following step-by-step instructions:

1.    Apply eyeliner or eye shadow starting at the middle of your eye, above the iris. Stay close along the lash line using a small, angled brush and work the liner into a thicker, smudged line at the outer edge, using a sponge-tipped brush.
2.    Consider using a lash conditioner (Recommendation: Jane Iredale lash/brow conditioner) before applying mascara to achieve a “clumpy” outer eyelash look.
3.    Apply false eyelashes to the outer corners of your eyes for a more dramatic look, especially in the evening.
4.    Keep your lids relatively neutral as the emphasis should be on your lashes and liner.

Tip: “For a softer, smokier look, substitute blue for a plum blended with black or grey, or use gold blended with espresso,” Collotta recommends.

Photo Credit: Photo of the black, midnight blue, and grey look – Courtesy of Victoria Collotta

Winter 2012 Hot Eye Colors: Bold Jewel Tones
If you’re feeling vivacious, don’t be afraid to let it show. Darker, bolder eye colors are also a great fit for the winter 2012 season, giving you a pop of color that looks fab with so many fashions. Consider these tips from professional makeup artists.

“The trend for makeup this season is sassy and sexy BOLD jewel toned colors!” says Amy Brackman, makeup artist and owner of Luxe BeautiQue in Swampscott, Massachusetts. “Try dressing up your eyes with BECCA ‘Feeorin’ or ‘Nyx’ Jewel Dust for shimmering shadow on your lids. Add a sultry, smoky look by popping bright hues of pink, purple, blues, and greens into the center of the eye and glamorously smoking and contouring it to design your signature look.”

And the third trend in Winter 2012 Hot Eye Colors…

 


Get Gorgeous, Celebrity Style Skin in Five Minutes or Less

Celebrity Style Skin in 5 Minutes or LessDid you ever notice how most if not all celebrities seem to have flawless, glowing skin? Even the most beautiful, radiant skin takes a little bit of time and care. If you’ve ever wondered how you can get gorgeous, celebrity style skin that looks and feels great without expensive procedures or costly products, you are in luck. Celebrity Hair Stylist and consultant to the stars Billy Lowe kindly shares his favorite skincare tips for how you can get beautiful skin like the celebrities in five minutes or less.

Top Los Angeles hair stylist Billy Lowe has a background that spans far beyond his current profession. Previously he worked as the marketing and education director for such high end brands like Clinique and Erno Laszlo. Lowe firmly believes good skincare practices lead to true beauty on many levels. He also feels strongly that exfoliation methods should be a part of every skincare regimen.

“When I put someone on a skincare regime, it always includes at least a three to four times per week exfoliation inclusion,” Lowe says. “By speeding up cellular turn over and sloughing off dead skin, we reveal a brighter, more beautiful looking skin at the surface that says ‘go ahead – take my picture.’”

As a special tip, Lowe reminds us to avoid harsh walnut and apricot shell scrubs for best results. Instead, he recommends products with polyethylene (a plastic material), more commonly known as micro-beads.

To get glowing, celebrity style skin in five minutes or less, Billy Lowe recommends the following system three to four times per week (for most skin types):

1.    Use a pre-treatment oil for your face. This product can help to pre-cleanse, add extra moisture if needed, and remove unwanted residue. This also helps to pull oil and congestion away from the skin.

2.    Use a facial cleanser designed for your skin type. Apply the cleanser over the oil with comfortably hot water. Massage gently and rinse well, and then splash 15-20 times to help break down congestion in your skin.

3.    Use a facial cleanser a second time for heavy makeup, very oily skin types, or for deep cleansing.

4.    Use a mild facial scrub – I recommend Clinique Cosmetics facial scrubs – perfectly rounded polyethylene beads (plastic in structure – NOT apricot seeds). Massage gently for 30-45 seconds in a round / circular motion.

5.    Rinse well. Apply toner.

6.    Moisturize IMMEDIATELY to slightly damp skin for a fresh, radiant glow.

–    Tips courtesy of Celebrity Hair Stylist Billy Lowe

Billy Lowe will soon be launching La Piel Advanced Moisture Cream, a luxurious face cream that contains macadamia nut oil, safflower seed oil, and sunflower oil, especially suited for dry environments. This product is suitable for most skin types. For additional information on Billy Lowe, please visit www.billylowe.com.

 

Lullabelly Prenatal Music Belt Product Review

Lullabelly Prenatal Music Belt Product ReviewPregnancy is such an exciting part of life. Knowing your child is growing and developing in the womb is an amazing concept, and parents always want to do what’s best for the baby, especially as he or she is on the way. The Lullabelly Prenatal Music Belt is one way the mom-to-be – and even the dad-to-be – can bond with the baby through sweet music. The Lullabelly allows parents to play music to baby in the womb, directly from an iPod, MP3 player, music phone app, or even your computer.

I received a Lullabelly Prenatal Music Belt product for the purpose of this review and I am truly excited to have the opportunity to test this device. Lullabelly is made with an ultra soft fabric that has enough elastic to make the belt just about one-size-fits-all. The amount of elastic sewn into the music belt allows it to comfortably grow with your growing belly so you can listen to and play music for your baby as long as you are comfortable, definitely well into your third trimester. You can also play audio books, voice recordings, and lullabies. The sound level is purposely designed to be safe for baby, using a special technology to ensure this safety.

The paperwork included with the Lullabelly Prenatal Music Belt explains that a developing fetus can hear and respond to pulses of sound as early as 16 to 20 weeks. According to this information, active listening commences around 24 weeks for the developing baby. As a word of caution, check with your doctor to see how much listening time you should use the prenatal music belt. The Lullabelly documentation suggests one hour or less at a time, only two or three times per day.

Remember also that the amniotic fluid can be a good conductor of sound, so you needn’t play the music too loud. Ask your partner to help you adjust the sound to a reasonable level. Also, make sure the belt is fastened with the correct side inward. There is a little tag that indicates which side should face towards your belly. Also, the music belt has a zippered pocket that houses your earphones and splitter. When in use, you can also tuck your iPod or MP3 player inside this pocket for ease of use and convenience. Don’t forget to make a playlist just for this wonderful bonding experience!

I really enjoyed testing out this product – especially because I have a good reason. My husband and I are expecting our first child and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve delayed my review of this product a little bit because I wanted to ensure our baby could hear – not that I will even know, but it is a good feeling to know you are bonding and both listening to the same music at the same time. Also, I thought it would be nice to announce to our readers that I am actually pregnant and so my review of this product includes my true and honest perspective as an expectant mother.

While I was fumbling with my iPod looking for soft and melodic songs to play for the baby, he brilliantly suggested putting on Pandora and making a channel for Mozart. (In case you didn’t know, they say babies in the womb have shown positive responses to Mozart, but not so much for Beethoven.) I am on my fourth or fifth song and really enjoying the overall experience. The Lullabelly packaging suggests playing the same songs you play during your pregnancy after your baby is born to help with sleeping. Packaging also suggests that music encourages language and memory skills – wouldn’t you want that for your developing baby?

The Lullabelly Prenatal Music Belt comes with a sound splitter and earphones so mommy or daddy can listen while the music plays for baby. I found the earphones a little big for my ears but after some twisting I was able to find a comfortable and stable placement. I thought about trading them for my usual earbuds, but I really like the ability to change the volume independently on my earphones with the set that came with the device. I have another splitter upstairs and I may eventually try to add that to the mix so I can see if my husband and I can listen together. It might be especially nice if we go away on a little trip before our baby is born. We both like to sleep on the plane.

The Lullabelly belt is washable and the speaker comes out easily so you can pop it in the washing machine as needed. By the way, if your speaker is damaged or lost, the company will replace it free of charge, at only the low cost of $2.95 for shipping and handling. At the same shipping charge, moms can get an additional 18 inches of extended belt in the same color and style as her Lullabelly – free of charge other than the ridiculously low shipping charge!

Listening to music in general can help to reduce stress, so it seems listening during pregnancy is a great way to keep your mental and emotional outlook upbeat. Also, the Lullabelly product is so comfortable – at 18 weeks along, I felt like I wasn’t even wearing it. Even now at almost 24 weeks it feels cozy and comfy – not tight or awkward at all. This product also seems much more fashionable than wearing big headphones on my belly!

Lullabelly is available in five colors – Apple Green (it is lovely – this is the one I received… green with white polka dots), Sky Blue, Princess Pink, Sunshine Yellow, and Chocolate Brown/Mint.

Lullabelly is available at Baby Depot at Burlington Coat Factory, at Amazon, and online at Lullabelly.com. Lullabelly retails for $55. If you are interested in ordering your own Lullabelly, you can score free shipping by using a special code – LLB – during checkout at Lullabelly.com. For more information, please visit Lullabelly at www.lullabelly.com.

 

Destination Wedding Centerpiece Ideas

Destination Wedding Centerpiece IdeasWhen you opt for a destination wedding instead of a traditional wedding near your home, a number of factors change. Most brides say it is a lot easier to plan a destination wedding based on the wedding coordinator arranging the bulk of the details. Brides still have decisions to make, but the stress and time required for planning become considerably less demanding. Still, there are a lot of fun things for destination brides to pick out, from her dress and bridesmaids gowns to shoes, accessories, style of wedding cake, bouquets, and especially the destination wedding centerpiece ideas she likes best.

When it comes to choosing the flowers and centerpieces for your destination wedding, you’ve got to keep a few things in mind. First of all, your wedding destination may have certain flowers that are native to the locale while others would need to be shipped in sometime before your wedding. This can be a bit costly if you opt for something out of season or out of region. Before you decide on your flowers, consider the indigenous species first. You might find that you love the idea of a birds of paradise bouquet or a hibiscus flower in your hair. Once you know what your bouquet will be, you can more easily coordinate the flowers for the wedding ceremony and especially those for the destination wedding centerpieces.

Centerpieces for destination weddings come in countless shapes, sizes, colors, and fragrances. You can speak with your wedding planner about the typical centerpieces they offer and see what you think. You may be able to browse a large collection of photos from past weddings and special events to give you some ideas. You might also like to coordinate your bouquets and other flowers with the destination wedding centerpieces for a consistent look throughout your special day.

Destination Wedding Centerpiece Ideas (courtesy of morguefile)If you are doing a tropical or beach wedding, consider large shells with tropical flowers spilling out as one option. Another choice to consider may be a clear or translucent glass or crystal bowl with floating tropical flowers and floating candles. Consider large shells with tall, cream colored pillar candles or starfish and smaller shells in glass bubble bowls. You can do so much when you combine mirrors, candles, and flowers into a single centerpiece for destination weddings. The oft tropical theme of most destination weddings makes it easy to find a great style with a fun pop of color.

Of course, if your destination wedding is more on the other side of the spectrum – a big city wedding or a wedding at a winter ski resort – you can find additional destination wedding centerpiece ideas that would be more appropriate for your special day. In most of these cases you may want to consider floral centerpieces that match the theme or colors of your wedding. Showy flowers like calla lilies in clear glass water-filled tubes may be an elegant centerpiece choice for your destination wedding. You can also choose more extravagant centerpieces or over the conversation centerpieces for big city destination weddings or similar.

These are just a few destination wedding centerpiece ideas to consider for your tropical or big city wedding escape. Please share any other ideas or suggestions you may have related to centerpieces for destination weddings in our comments below.