Travel Beauty Kit on the Go for Holiday Parties, Special Events, and Fancy Dinners

While routine beauty care is the best strategy for maintaining gorgeous skin and hair, a woman often needs to perform a touch up or create a completely different look for herself at the end of work or after a day journeying from one location to the next. This is when having a beauty travel kit can be quite helpful. With only a bit of careful planning, it is easy to create one simply by tossing a few carefully chosen beauty care items together in a bag of some type. I like to keep my beauty kit ready and accessible at all times so I can simply toss it in the car before I leave home.

What types of items should a woman put in a travel beauty kit? The most obvious items are cosmetics, personal hygiene items designed for use away from home, and attractive fashion accessories that can be used to transform an outfit from ordinary to spectacular. Here is a break down by category with a few suggestions that I found to be quite helpful to include.

Fashion Accessories

Tom’s Footwear: Offering a fantastic array of stylish shoes, Tom’s shoes are quite popular these days. If you had a pair, you would understand why this is. The high quality of Tom’s shoes is readily evident once you take a good look at them. Toms’ shoes offer an elastic V that makes them easy to put on and take off (a real plus for anyone) as well as their signature TOMS toe stitch. Most styles also feature a latex sponge arch for comfort and support, a classic suede insole with rubber cushion for comfort, and a one-piece outsole constructed from a mix of rubbers to offer flexibility, durability, and resilience. My pair of pomegranate cords also offered a super soft fleece lining for added warmth and comfort. The eye-catching designs are pure magic for those of us women who simply adore adding another pair of shoes to our already large collections. From canvas classics to cords to grommet styles to cordones, Tom’s shoes have enough variety that you should be able to find a favorite style for yourself.

For every single pair that is purchased, Tom’s Shoes is donating a pair of shoes to a child in need. With such a worthy cause, it is difficult to resist the purchase of one of these attractive styles of shoes. Personally, I found it difficult to select just one pair of shoes as each style is just as attractive as the next. In fact, my youngest daughter was so envious of my new pair of Tom’s that she just about cut off her toes to squeeze her feet into them. I highly recommend Tom’s shoes for a beauty travel bag because they are stylish and oh, so adorable. Plus, if you purchase a pair, you can help out someone less fortunate than yourself. Don’t take my word for it. Visit the Web site and see just how attractive these shoes are. I found my pair to run a bit small, so make sure you order the right size. Available for purchase at Tom’s Shoes.

SummerJasmines: A compactable evening and pedicure shoes, SummerJasmines are one of the greatest fashion creations of our time. Cleverly designed to fold up, SummerJasmines tuck easily into a travel beauty kit or purse. This stylish pair of sandals is designed with elastic cords separating the toes, allowing you to leave them on while getting a pedicure. No more waiting for your nails to dry. You can simply walk away with these stylish sandals on since they keep your toes separated and the tender bottom of your foot protected. You can bring SummerJasmines along in their tiny black pouch to offer your tired feet some comfort while still allowing your feet to look stylish. Check out summerjasmines.com for a look at all of your color options. More supportive than a traditional flip flop, this crystal-studded sandal is perfect for almost any occasion. Check out SummerJasmines for a look at these adorable pedicure / comfortable dressy sandal.

Wallaroo Hats: The attractive line of hats offered by Wallaroo should be considered for inclusion in your travel beauty kit. Not only are they fashionably stylish, but they are also lined with sun protection to guard against damage created by the sun’s harmful rays. I included the Tamworth in my travel beauty kit and was pleasantly surprised. Initially, I hadn’t been aware that the Tamworth would offer UPF 50+ protection. Since I need to protect my skin from the sun’s harsh rays, this is an important facet of this line of hats. As a side note, the Wallaroo hat company pledges to donate a portion of their profits to skin cancer research. If you are like me, then you probably know one or more individuals who are dealing with skin cancer or who may even have died from it. This is a worthy cause, so even if you aren’t creating a beauty kit, maybe you can consider a Wallaroo hat and participate in the effort to help treat/cure skin cancer. Visit wallaroohats.com for a look at the newest collection of hats for 2011. Keep your skin safe in the sun with a fully-lined, sun-protective hat by Wallaroo.

Leonisa’s Shapewear: All too often, it is difficult to stay in shape, and that is where Leonisa’s Body Reductor Shapewear can come in quite handy. Designed with advanced powernet technology, Leonisa’s shapewear is designed to tighten the abdomen and reduce the waist size while toning the body into a finely shaped masterpiece. Leonisa’s styles are quite comfortable since they have been designed with an anti-bacterial microfiber that feels cool and soft, allowing women who wear this brand of shapewear to feel fresh no matter what the temperature is. Wearing Leonisa’s Body Reductor Shapewear on a regular basis helps to tone a woman’s body while also improving her posture. It all sounds good to me, so I was anxious to try out the style (brief panty compression body shaper) that I generously received for the purposes of this guide. After all, like most women who have gained a few pounds, especially after the age of 40, I am always looking for a little help returning to a slimmer body shape. I give this style of lingerie a thumbs up. This particular style can be found at Leonisausa along with a wide assortment of other shapewear styles.

Hygiene Travel Products


Groundhog Day Nail Art Designs

Holiday nail art can be lots of fun, so why leave out Groundhog Day? The second day of February marks the time we find out how much longer we can expect the winter chill to last. Punxsutawney Phil, the popular groundhog from Pennsylvania, comes out of his home before many visitors to see if he sees his shadow. No matter if the groundhog sees his shadow or not, you can still prepare for this annual holiday and the seasons it brings with fun and festive Groundhog Day nail art.

To create your own groundhog nail art designs for February 2, gather the following materials and follow the steps below.

 

Materials for Groundhog Day Nail Art Designs
–    Desired nail polish base color
–    Clear topcoat
–    Brown nail polish
–    Light brown or tan nail polish
–    Black nail polish

Steps to Create Groundhog Nail Designs
To create furry groundhog nail designs for a fun Groundhog Day manicure, follow these steps:

1.    Paint two coats of nail polish in your desired background color.

2.    Once dry, paint a round oval with somewhat rough edges in brown for the groundhog’s body.

3.    For the head, paint a smaller bump at the top of the oval.

4.    Use tan or light brown nail polish to paint the groundhog’s paws.

5.    Use black nail polish to paint the claws.

6.    Also paint two dots for eyes on the groundhog’s head. Don’t forget to add a nose and a downward pointed mouth for your groundhog.

7.    Use the brown and tan nail polish colors and a thin brush or toothpick to paint some fur along the edges of the oval for the groundhog.

8.    Complete your design with a clear topcoat.

This is just one variation of a groundhog manicure that you can paint for Groundhog Day. You can also paint the groundhog with a man in a black top hat or with a sun or a snowflake in the background. Use your creativity to come up with a beautiful manicure that gives a fun and festive look for Groundhog Day.

Travel Ideas for the New Year: Top 10 Vacation Destinations for 2011

When the New Year rolls around, many people start to think about their vacations for the year. During the colder months of the year, travel destinations may lean towards warm and tropical locations, sunny beaches, and cruises full of sun-soaked things to do. No matter if you want to travel with your sweetheart, your family, or a group of friends in the New Year, consider these vacation travel destinations for 2011.

Top 10 Vacation Destinations for 2011
Consider these travel destination ideas for vacationing with your sweetheart, family, or friends this year:

1.    Take a cruise. Plan ahead for a good deal and be sure to enjoy the many activities and food options offered to your group.

2.    Go on a road trip. Find a place you would like to visit within six or eight hours of your home and hit the road.

3.    Make arrangements to go to Disney. This trip would work best with a group of friends, a family trip with kids who are old enough to remember the experience, or even as a romantic getaway for two.

4.    Choose a mountain retreat. Whether you plan a ski trip or an exclusive getaway away from civilization, take your travel companions and enjoy some fresh mountain air.

5.    Plan a camping trip. You might not have to spend much, but you can really cash in on making a ton of memories!

6.    Hide away at an all-inclusive resort. If you can afford to sneak away for a long weekend or a full week, an all-inclusive vacation helps you get the most for your money and your time.

7.    Spend some time at a lakeside resort. You can enjoy water sports, fishing, boating, and more. Take the family vacation or enjoy a secluded romantic lakeside getaway.

8.    Check out some national landmarks.
You can have a great time soaking up the nation’s history and natural wonders. Don’t forget your camera for this memorable vacation.

9.    See what there is to see in Canada. You can enjoy Niagara Falls or Nova Scotia or countless other amazing destinations across the Canadian border.

10.    Consider a European or Asian vacation destination if your finances allow it. You might need to save your money for a while, but the vacation you take to another country will be well worth it!

These are our top 10 travel destination ideas for 2011, no matter if you are traveling with significant other, family, or friends. We hope one of these destinations offers you the perfect getaway. If you have other ideas, please share them in our comments!

 

Winter Nail Art Designs

Wintertime is a great time to paint your own manicures and pedicures with winter nail art designs. You can have a lot of fun with colors like silver and blue, white, black, and metallic nail polish colors, too. A pretty winter manicure can really dress up your look no matter what’s on your agenda. Doing your own manicures and pedicures in the winter can save you some money, also allowing you exercise your creativity and artistic ability. Consider these different styles of DIY winter nail designs you can try at home.

Before you get started painting your own winter nail art, think about your favorite winter scenes and other things you enjoy in winter. You can paint winter animals, winter landscapes, and so much more. Try these suggestions with step-by-step instructions to create your own DIY winter nail art.

 

Snowflake Nail Designs
1.    Choose a dark background color for your nails. Paint your nails evenly and allow them to dry completely. Add a second coat of nail polish if needed.

2.    Next, paint three lines that intersect, creating an asterisk * to serve as your snowflake. To do this, use white or silver nail polish to paint one straight vertical line on your nails, followed by an intersecting horizontal line, followed by one diagonal intersecting line. You may need to let each line dry just a bit to avoid smudging your designs.

Tip: You can paint one large snowflake or a few snowflakes of various sizes on your nails. Paint longer lines for large snowflakes and shorter lines for smaller snowflakes. You can also do some snowflakes in silver and some in white, or do all of them in white and apply a glittery topcoat with silver specks for added dimension.

3.    Allow your snowflakes to dry completely. Consider adding a clear or glitter topcoat to preserve your nail designs.

Artistic Snowflake Nail Designs
1.    Choose a dark or bold background color for your nails. Paint your nails evenly and allow them to dry completely. Then decide if a second coat of nail polish is necessary.

2.    Paint a plus sign on your nails.

3.    Paint shorter, diagonal lines coming out from each intersecting point of the plus sign.

4.    On each line from the plus sign, paint two small diagonal lines in opposite directions toward the end of the line.

5.    Consider adding a few white or silver dots here and there on your nails for smaller snowflakes in the distance.

6.    Allow your snowflakes to dry completely. Consider adding a clear or glitter topcoat to preserve your nail designs.

Figure Skates Nail Designs
1.    Choose a background color for your nails. Remember to keep good contrast by using dark backgrounds for light nail designs and vice versa. Paint your nails evenly and allow them to dry completely. Then decide if a second coat of nail polish is necessary.

2.    Using white, paint a boot with a slightly pointed toe. To break this down step-by-step, paint one vertical line for the back and heel and paint a downward sloping line for the front of the skate. Paint an opening at the top (as a curvy line) and paint the sole of the boot with a little heel at the back.

3.    Using silver nail polish, paint the blades as a horizontal line that connects to the sole of the ice skate at the heel and toe areas.

4.    Add some laces to the front of the boot using silver or another light color.

5.    Apply a topcoat to protect your ice skate nail designs.

Hockey Skates Nail Designs
1.    Choose a light background color for your nails. Paint your nails evenly and allow them to dry completely. Then decide if a second coat of nail polish is necessary.

2.    Using black, paint the boot of the hockey skate. You can use the instructions in step 2 above, but make the boot a bit stockier and thicker for the hockey version of the ice skate. Bring the tongue of the boot up higher in the front and bring the line in the back up a bit higher too.

3.    Using white, paint the plastic area that holds the ice skate blade. This is sort of like a horizontal line with two smaller vertical lines connecting it to the boot. On nails, though, this won’t be very pronounced.

4.    Add some white laces and white accents to the hockey skate itself.

5.    Using silver, paint the blade at the base of the white horizontal line.

6.    Apply a clear topcoat to preserve your hockey skate nail designs.

Mittens Nail Designs
1.    Choose a contrasting background color for your nails once you know what color mittens you would like to paint. Paint your nails evenly and allow them to dry completely. Then decide if a second coat of nail polish is necessary.

2.    Using the color for your mittens, paint two ovals in any direction you like, leaving enough room to add the thumb.

3.    Paint another smaller oval connected to each of the larger ovals. This will be the thumb part of the mitten.

4.    Add the cuffs for each mitten by painting either a lacy cuff or a straight cuff.

5.    Using a very fine nail art brush or a toothpick, paint a curving string connecting the mittens to each other.

6.    Apply a clear topcoat to preserve your mittens nail art designs.

Winter Hat Nail Designs
1.    Choose a contrasting background color for your nails once you know what color winter hat you would like to paint. Paint your nails evenly and allow them to dry completely. Then decide if a second coat of nail polish is necessary.

2.    To create the hat, paint half a circle with the rounded part toward the top of your nail.

3.    Paint a rounded rectangle at the bottom part of the half-circle to create the part of the hat with the opening for your head.

4.    Paint a circle for a pom-pom on top if desired.

5.    Apply a clear topcoat to preserve your nail art.

Leave us a comment to let us know what you think of these fun winter nail art designs!

Best Selling Author of Romantic Comedy Says Romantic Notions Run Deep

Always the Baker Never the Bride“When I pick up a book by Sandra D. Bricker, I know I’m going to have to strike a delicate balance between two certain facts,” writes Sherry Ann Braddock from Covington, Kentucky. “#1: I’m going to laugh my rear end off, and #2: the romantic in me is going to be absolutely thrilled!”

Bricker receives a high volume of reader mail via her Web site that reads just like this one. From her first inspirational romantic comedy, Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas, unleashed on readers several years ago, she’s been inspiring them to find that same delicate balance between hilarity and a belief in happy endings—A fact which begs the question: What makes Sandra D. Bricker so funny, and yet such a hopeless romantic?

Always the Baker Never the Bride“Ah, the question of my lifetime!” she says with a chuckle. “But the truth is I have no idea why I look at things the way I do. I’m always the person who will find something funny about the most un-funny things, often to the complete horror of the people around me. But my romantic notions… those run deep, all the way back to a goofy teenager growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio.”

Bricker’s “first love” came in the form of a burning crush on a local Cincinnati musician. “His name was Gary, and he was beautiful!” she exclaims. “Dark hair, blue eyes, tall and lean, really funny, and just as sweet as they come. Of course, the fact that he was a musician didn’t hurt either. How romantic is it to look up at a stage from the second row, and feel like every song is being performed just for you? Of course, I didn’t figure it out for a few years that every other girl in that audience felt the exact same thing!”

And when she says those first romantic notions ran deep, she isn’t kidding. “A few years later, I fell in love for real with—guess what!—a musician. Dark hair, blue eyes, tall and lean … Well, you get the idea. And he was the love of my life. He never grew tired of teasing me about my former crush. ‘Look, I know I’m no GAAAARY!’ he would say, just to embarrass me.”

What ever happened to the man she labels the great love of her life? “He died in a car accident some years later,” she says sadly. “I often imagine that we’d still be together to this day if not for that heartbreak. But then experience has kind of taught me that heartbreak so often plants the seeds of deeply-rooted romantic notions.”

Those seeds of romance, whether planted by heartbreak or her penchant for “sappy old Doris Day and Cary Grant movies,” have paid off in a big way for Bricker. She has won multiple awards for her books over the last few years, and she is now considered a “best-selling author” since being named as one of Doubleday Book Club’s Top 100 Best Sellers. In fact, in 2010 alone, the author has created quite a bit of buzz with the release of three romantic comedies, all receiving high acclaim.

The Big 5-Oh! from Abingdon Press greeted the year to stellar reviews and propelled the author to #3 on amazon.com’s list of Most Downloaded; and Love Finds You in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California from Summerside Press brought the author’s passion for the era of classic film to the forefront. But September’s publication of Always the Baker Never the Bride took Bricker to new heights.

“It was released in September,” she says, seemingly a little stunned by the news even now. “It went into its fourth or fifth printing before the end of the year, and Abingdon came back to me and asked me to write three more novels based on those characters and set in the same location. It was just astonishing! … In a great way, of course.”

Always the Wedding Planner Never the Bride, Always the Fashionista Never the Bride, and Always the Baker Finally the Bride will be released by Abingdon Press over the next couple of years, starting this fall.

“This is what I love about Sandie’s books,” says Rachelle Gardner of WordServe Literary Group, Bricker’s agent for the last couple of years. “She is the consummate romantic, and she’s so funny that you always close one of her novels feeling really, really good. There aren’t many authors in the inspirational fiction market these days who offer readers what she does. She sort of re-created a very specific niche, and she continues to fill it with book after book.”

“Sandie is one of the sharpest, funniest people I know,” says David Page, a special friend to the author for more than ten years. “Combine her wit with that deeply romantic thread running through her—the one that makes her cry at commercials or make up a happy ending for a movie before she’s finished watching it—and there you have it. It’s impossible not to see the connection between the person of Sandie and the author of Sandra D. Bricker. There’s really no one like her, and I think her readers sense that in a big way.”

It would appear that Bricker cherishes her readers just as much in return. An avid supporter of organized book clubs across the country, she has recently lent her name (and countless free copies of her books as well) to The Book Club Network, a new organization devoted solely to providing support and fellowship to readers and book club members. “They have created an awesome community,” Bricker says, “where readers can meet and discuss books. Plus—Score!—Fred and Nora St. Laurent run some really fun contests, with great prizes.”

If readers haven’t tried a Sandra D. Bricker novel yet, and they would like to, amazon.com is hosting a full week of FREE Kindle downloads of Always the Baker Never the Bride, starting on Friday, January 7. Hilarity, heart-pounding romance and a happy ending almost certainly guaranteed!

 

More Things to Do on a Rainy Day – Ideas for Dates or Activities Indoors

Rainy days can completely destroy your mood and make you feel like there’s nothing to do. A rainy day takes away your chances of doing a lot of things outside, but it can also impact your plans for a special occasion like your birthday or your anniversary. If you are looking for something different and exciting to do on a rainy day, consider these suggestions.

Places to Go on a Rainy Day
If it’s raining outside, you can still have fun indoors. Find rainy day activities to try in your local area. Consider these ideas for places you can go to have fun on a rainy day:

 

1.    Drink – Visit a local winery or brewery.

2.    Play – Go to an arcade or an indoor fun zone with mini golf, laser tag, or other activities.

3.    Watch – See a movie at the theater.

4.    Learn – Check out a museum or other local indoor cultural attraction.

5.    Skate – Go ice skating or roller skating.

6.    Listen – Try to find a local concert or other indoor musical performance.

7.    Experience – Get tickets to a play, dinner theater, or comedy club.

8.    Cheer – Go see a game at a local hockey arena or check out a lacrosse team, arena football team, or indoor soccer team.

9.    Eat – Grab lunch, dinner, or dessert and drinks at your favorite nearby restaurant. A fifties diner or soda jerk type place could be a great fit for a rainy day.

10.    Sing – Try out your singing voice at a local karaoke bar or karaoke club.

11.    Dance – Check out a local dance club or night club.

12.    Shop – Hit up the mall to spend some of your rainy day cash.

13.    Observe – Go to a farmer’s market to shop or people watch.

14.    Discover – Take a class or workshop on crafts, cooking, wine tasting, photography, or something else you like.

15.    Compete – Challenge your friends or sweetheart to a game of bowling.

These are just a few ideas for places you can go to have a good time on a rainy day. All suggestions might not be appropriate for everyone. If you have other suggestions for something fun to do or somewhere cool to go on a rainy day, please share below in our comments.

“Rugged Men” – Your Man Could Smell Like: McGraw Silver Cologne and Pure Nautica Cologne

Some men are cologne men. And often cologne men have their cologne: the one that they put on when they were young men and wore until they became old men. A mere sniff of a certain man’s cologne can bring with it a whole lifetime of memories.

Introducing your man to a new cologne for Christmas, birthday, anniversary, or Valentine’s Day could be a risky proposition. Fortunately, neither the McGraw Silver Cologne or the Pure Nautica Cologne try to re-invent the wheel. Unfortunately, both smell very similar.

The McGraw Silver is the third cologne issued by the House of McGraw, named for Tim McGraw, country artist and star of the recent film The Blind Side. McGraw presents himself as a rugged country star, although his cologne speaks to a more urban lifestyle. The overwhelming scents in this cologne are sandalwood and a hint of musk – this smell almost overwhelms the rests. Careful sniffing will also detect the promised notes of lavender and general “woodsiness.” This is a pretty heavy cologne, so should be used with caution.

My biggest issue with the cologne is the packaging. The bottle tries to force a black leather top onto a glass bottom in an attempt to “signify Tim McGraw’s country style in an urban environment,” but it just looks disjointed and cheap. Not to mention that it is tiny. 1 oz will set you back $24.50 and 1.7 oz $31.50. On the plus side, it can be found at most drugstores – perfect for holiday procrastinators, or at Amazon.com or the official Tim McGraw Store. A little goes a long way with this cologne so perhaps it’s worth it, but I think the Nautica is the better deal.

Pure Nautica contains many of the same scents as the McGraw Silver, with a touch more refinement. It’s a little lighter, which allows one to smell more of the notes including Mandarin, Ambergris, Driftwood, and Patchouli. There’s even a hint of Suede which can be very lightly detected. This scent wraps you up and makes you feel relaxed and at home. It’s also the kind of scent that, worn by the right man, could get your heart racing a little bit.

The bottle is classy and simple: five white lines cross a basic square glass bottle. And at 50ml for $49 or 100 for $65 you are definitely getting your money’s worth. It can be purchased at the Nautica Web site: www.nautica.com or at local retailers including Macy’s or even on Amazon.com. If you’re looking for a solid gift for a classy guy, this cologne is a good choice for standalone or stocking-stuffer.

CYGALLE Healing Spa’s Honey Oatmeal Cleansing Crème Product Feature

Before I begin sharing information on CYGALLE Healing Spa’s Honey Oatmeal Cleansing Crème, let me first say that it was so nice to use a facial cleanser that not only smells good, but did wonders to the feel of my skin for the day’s entirety.

Okay, here’s my idea of the perfect facial cleanser: I prefer suds, lots and lots of suds, but it’s not absolutely necessary. What I do expect though, is a cleanser that is going to smell clean, one that will leave my skin feeling soft (no residue), and one that will inhibit breakouts. Oh, and above all, one that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to use.

When I tried CYGALLE, that’s what I got… my ideal facial cleanser (minus the suds). After the very first use, I could tell I was going to love it. The cleanser had these little specks of oatmeal particles that gently exfoliated my skin and all its impurities. The Almond and Jojoba Oils nourished and moisturized my skin making it feel so nice and soft… and the smells, oh those smells were simply intoxicating. It was the perfect combination of sweet smelling goodness, all wrapped up into one bottle! Yes, it was divine.

About the Product:
CYGALLE Healing Spa Honey Oatmeal Cleansing Crème
Buy Online at: www.cygallehealingspastore.com
Origin: Made in Canada
Cost: The Honey Oatmeal Cleansing Crème sells for $65.00 (8oz), but is available in mini 2-oz bottle for $25.

This product is specifically formulated for dry to normal skin types and contains organic Almond and Jojoba oils, which are blended with Seabuckthorn and Aloe to nourish, moisturize and promote elasticity, all without leaving oily residue in its place.

Also available: Licorice Spice Face Wash, Herbal Soy Balancing cleanser, and Grapefruit Organic Foaming Cleanser.

Final thoughts:
I’d recommend this to anyone who’s looking for something more from their facial cleansing crème. Though the price is a little steeper than I go for in a product, after using it the first time, I realized the price was worth it.

To find the perfect cleanser for you, please visit www.cygallehealingspastore.com .

Product provided free to writer for reviewDisclosure:
Product was provided for the purpose of my review. This was not a paid post nor did receiving product influence any ‘positive’ feedback. Thank you.

Heart-Shaped Food for Valentine’s Day or Romantic Occasions

Candlelight, wine, cooking together – all of these things can be romantic. Heart-shaped food can also be a special way to show you care. If you are looking for a fun way to step up your meals on Valentine’s Day or another special occasion, think about making a meal featuring heart-shaped food, whether for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, or just a snack. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

You can come up with creative ways to serve heart-shaped food for any meal. Just use your imagination! Try these suggestions for heart-shaped food you can enjoy for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, or snack time.

 

Heart-Shaped Breakfast Food
Heart-shaped food for breakfast can be a lot of fun, especially if you decide to make it as part of breakfast in bed. Breakfast in bed can be a romantic way to start your morning, especially on Valentine’s Day or your anniversary or birthday. Consider these heart-shaped breakfast foods:

–    Heart-shaped Pancakes
–    Heart-shaped Eggs
–    Strawberries, sliced in half with stems removed
–    Cereal in heart-shaped bowls

Heart-Shaped Lunch Food
Lunch can be a little challenging when it comes to finding a delicious meal to enjoy with a heart shape, but just use your imagination and you will find lots of creative ways to serve a romantic heart-shaped lunch. You can easily make your sandwiches into hearts with a cutter, but there are other options for you to try as well. Consider these heart-shaped lunch options:

–    Heart-shaped Grilled Cheese Sandwich
–    Soup in heart-shaped bowl
–    Homemade calzone or Stromboli shaped like a heart
–    Homemade pizza shaped like a heart

Heart-Shaped Dinner Food
Dinner is the meal that most people associate with romance. You can enjoy a romantic dinner for two with a heart-shaped theme for a side dish or entrée. Consider these ideas for heart-shaped dinner items:

–    Meatloaf sliced like a heart or individual  meatloaf shaped like a heart
–    Chicken parmesan, with chicken breast trimmed into a heart shape
–    Heart shaped pasta with shrimp or other seafood
–    Heart-shaped biscuits
–    Heart-shaped Ravioli

Heart-Shaped Desserts and Snacks
Don’t forget dessert! Heart-shaped desserts may be some of the easiest to create. Think about all your favorite sweets and go crazy making them for your sweetheart or for a special meal together. Here are a few heart-shaped desserts to consider:

–    Heart-shaped sugar cookie cutouts
–    Heart-shaped cake or pineapple upside-down cake
–    Chocolate-covered pretzels
–    Strawberry Shortcake with strawberries trimmed like hearts
–    Heart-shaped candy

Your whole meal doesn’t need to be shaped like hearts, but you can easily accent the meal with one key entrée or side dish that does feature a lovely heart shape. If you are stuck and can’t find a suitable type of food to make into heart shapes, you can still dress up your dinner table for the romantic holiday or special occasion. Consider serving your meal on heart-shaped platters or even on your fancy china with drinks in crystal glassware.

What other heart-shaped food ideas do you have? Please share them in our comments so other readers can try them out and enjoy!

What to Do When You Are Single on Valentine’s Day

Being single on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a drag. You can still have fun or simply ignore the date and all the buzz behind it. If you are newly single, you might find Valentine’s Day a particularly tough day to get through. Even if you aren’t in the best mood when February 14 rolls around you can still have fun with your friends, family, or pet. Consider these ideas for what you can do on Valentine’s Day if you are single.

Rather than feel sorry for yourself about being single on Valentine’s Day, find something to do that makes you feel great. Make this day your chance to be selfish. Do what you want. Buy something. Go somewhere. Order your favorite foods and enjoy them. Hang out with friends you haven’t seen in a while. Remember, not every suggestion will be the right fit for you personally. Check out these ideas for things to do on Valentine’s Day and see if you can find one that works for you.

1.    Get together with a group of single friends and go out for dinner or drinks.

2.    See a movie with your friends or family.

3.    Spend Valentine’s Day with your dog. Take your dog to a dog park or dog beach, or simply go for a nice walk around town.

4.    Watch movies and dig into your favorite impulse foods and drinks, whether chocolate, ice cream, pizza, beer, wine, or something else entirely.

5.    Go bowling with a group of single friends or family.

6.    Go on a first date with someone if asked or if you find someone appropriate to ask out on a date.

7.    Order Chinese food, sit around in your pajamas, and watch sports, movies, or episode reruns of your favorite show.

8.    Cook a meal at home that you’ve always wanted to make – whether turkey, ham, or something more exotic.

9.    Bake. Make yourself some yummy treats to enjoy and share with your neighbors, friends, family, or coworkers.

10.     Go shopping. Why not? Buy yourself a few special Valentine’s Day gifts – you deserve it.

When all else fails, you might consider a mini vacation or last-minute cruise over Valentine’s week or weekend to take your mind off of things. Get out, meet some new people, and have some new adventures. It could be just what the doctor ordered.

Again, all of these ideas are not perfect. In fact some are flawed… you don’t want to become a couch potato who gorges on takeout, sweets, salty snacks, and junk food. But one day of selfish self preservation probably won’t hurt! In fact, it may be just what you are needing right now. So don’t feel sorry for yourself that you are single on Valentine’s Day. Feel happy that you are free and independent and able to make your own choices and live your life the way you want it. Most likely you will only be single for so long, so take this time to do things for you and enjoy them.

Valentine’s Day Cookies – Tips & Tricks for a Fun Valentine Activity

You might not need an excuse to bake cookies, but baking beautiful heart-shaped cookies for Valentine’s Day can be a lot of fun. Whether you are baking for your family or for your sweetheart, you can create gorgeous, delicious valentine cookies that look and taste great. Consider these tips and tricks for making Valentine’s Day cookies this year.

Before you get started in making your valentine cookies, be sure you have all the necessary ingredients, especially eggs, flour, sugar, vanilla, chocolate chips, and everything else in the cookie recipes that you will be using. You might also want to make sure you have a nice selection of heart-shaped cookie cutters or other Valentine’s Day baking accessories.

Consider these tips as you make your own Valentine’s Day cookies:

•    Choose the type of cookie based on your sweetheart’s or family’s favorites. Even if you want to decorate hearts for Valentine’s Day, you can still have fun making other types of valentine cookies. If your boyfriend or husband prefers chocolate chip cookies, just spruce them up for the occasion with pink and red M&Ms!

•    Try a variety of heart cookie shapes for a pretty display. You can craft your cookies to look like conversation hearts, lace-trimmed valentines, cupid hearts with arrows, double hearts, and so much more. Find a nice heart cookie cutter set so you are prepared to make a fine selection of Valentine’s cookie shapes!

•    Bake cookies together with your sweetheart for a romantic activity to do on V-Day. You might have to twist his arm a little bit, but you can definitely have a great time baking cookies together, or making anything in the kitchen for that matter.

•    Decorate your sugar cookies with sugar crystals, sprinkles, and frosting or icing. You can have lots of fun decorating each valentine cookie with a different color, pattern, or style of baking decorations. Use your creativity to make a batch of beautiful heart cookies!

•    For a different look, consider dyeing your cookies pink with food coloring! You will love how nice the pink cookies look, especially if you are making heart-shaped cookies. You can also do some regular cookie dough and some pink cookie dough so you can make lacey-heart valentine cookie styles as well.

If you like your cookies to stay soft, you can place a slice of bread in the Tupperware container. The bread will get hard, but the cookies will stay nice and soft. Soft and chewy cookies often steal the hearts of cookie lovers everywhere, so be sure to try this trick at home.

What other Valentine cookie baking tips do you have? Please share them in our comments below.

Valentine’s Day Breakfast Ideas, from Breakfast in Bed to Brunch

Valentine’s Day doesn’t always have to be about dinner and a movie. Why not celebrate with your significant other in a more relaxing and intimate way – breakfast in bed! You can also enjoy breakfast at your favorite local diner, brunch at a fancy restaurant, or even a simple breakfast of donuts and coffee. Here are a few Valentine’s Day breakfast ideas to give you and your sweetheart a wonderful start to Valentine’s Day.

No matter if you prefer to cook, indulge in breakfast pastries, or go out to eat, these Valentine breakfast ideas should give you some options to ensure you have a lovely and romantic breakfast together. Check them out and choose the one that works best for you and your lover.

Breakfast in Bed on Valentine’s Day
Few things in the morning can be as romantic as breakfast in bed with the one you love. No matter which one of you does the cooking, you can really enjoy some romance while indulging in your favorite breakfast foods in the comforts of your bed. For a successful breakfast in bed experience, you might want to have a breakfast in bed table on hand, which is great for carrying and for use as a table. Be sure you have juice, fresh fruit, coffee or tea, and some of your favorite breakfast items, whether pancakes, waffles, bacon, sausage, eggs, hash browns, home fries, breakfast pastries, or even cereal.

Valentine’s Day Heart-Shaped Pancakes
Nothing says love like heart-shaped pancakes on Valentine’s morning. Use a pancake shaper with a heart design to create your perfect heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast. You can make chocolate chip pancakes, strawberry pancakes, blueberry pancakes, or regular buttermilk pancakes, or even search for other recipes depending on your tastes. The heart shape of your pancakes makes all the difference!

Valentine’s Day Breakfast Sandwiches with Heart Eggs
Using the same tool as you would use to create heart-shaped pancakes, you can make heart shaped eggs to go with bacon and cheese on a croissant, English muffin, or bagel. This perfect and romantic Valentine’s Day breakfast sandwich is sure to start your morning off with a romantic note. What guy doesn’t love a good breakfast sandwich?! You can make split yolks, sunny side, egg white only, or even scrambled egg hearts. Be sure to fry up some potatoes on the side for a yummy complete meal.

Belgian Waffles for a Romantic Breakfast
What can be more deliciously romantic than rich Belgian waffles with chocolate, strawberries and whipped cream? Whether you go out to order them or make them at home, this decadent dish can be a great choice for a romantic breakfast on Valentine’s Day or anytime. If you have a Belgian waffle maker at home, or if you plan to get one, be sure to check out recipes so you have all the ingredients you need. You might even end up making Belgian waffles with ice cream!

Valentine’s Day Pastries or Donuts and Coffee
If you want to take the lazy approach and simply snack on some sweets for Valentine’s breakfast, consider going to your local bakery or Dunkin Donuts shop to stock up on some delectable sweets like donuts, muffins, Danish, and other yummy breakfast pastries. You can also pick up coffee and tea or make a pot at home. The most fun part will be sitting around in your pajamas eating goodies for breakfast!

Valentine’s Breakfast or Brunch at a Restaurant
Sometimes going out to eat is just easier all around. If you prefer to go out for breakfast or brunch, you should be able to find a nice variety of choices for your first Valentine’s meal of the day. Consider your favorite local diners as well as fancy establishments that might have a Valentine’s Day brunch buffet. You can also skip right to lunch if you aren’t a fan of the morning menu.

Valentine’s Day breakfast can be anything you want it to be. You can even skip right over it if you like. Spending time together in the morning can be just as rewarding if not more so than spending time together in the evening. Getting your day started with some breakfast can often give you more energy for whatever you plan to do during the day. Whether you decide on a Valentine’s breakfast in bed, breakfast or brunch at a restaurant, or something in between, you will be sure to start your day off nicely.