Monday, April 30, 2012

Win a Wedding Cake from Twenty Four Fifth!

Twenty Four Fifth is holding an amazing contest for engaged couples.  Simply upload a photograph of you and your fiance, along with a short story about how the two of you met to Twenty Four Fifth's Facebook page.  Then, tell your family and friends to vote on your photo.  The couple who receives the most votes will win their dream wedding cake - valued at $1,500!  Click here for more information - and good luck.  May the best couple win!

Mother's Day Gift Idea - Sun Jar

Is your mom the sunshine of your life?  Why not give her a little piece of the sun in Convenient Gadgets and Gifts Sun Jar for Mother's Day this year?

Mother's Day is rapidly approaching.  Don't wait until the last minute to buy mom a gift this year!  Yes, it is the thought that counts, but show mom that you put a little more thought into her gift this Mother's Day, rather than stopping on the side of the road to purchase a bunch of overpriced flowers on your way to see her.

The Sun Jar is a large mason jar, made of frosted glass with a traditional clamp lid.  It works with a rechargeable battery, a solar cell and LED lights.  Inside the jar, are two switches, one to charge the battery, and the auto on/off switch.  The Sun Jar works by soaking up sunlight during the day.  When it gets dark, the Sun Jar automatically switches on and gives off a beautiful, warm glow.  The Sun Jar also has a waterproof seal, so you can leave it outside all the time if you wish, without the weather harming it.  These are so much better than candles for outside use on your deck or patio.  Candles burn down and need replacing frequently, and can be affected by wind and weather.  Sun Jars stay lit no matter what.

The literature inside the box said The Sun Jar should stay lit approximately 5 hours after letting it charge in direct sunlight.  I tried my Sun Jar out last night and it stayed lit from 8:45pm until the sun rose this morning when it switched off - way more than 5 hours!

Not only would this make a wonderful gift for mom, they would be the perfect addition to a shabby chic or rustic wedding.  I've seen so many pictures of mason jars with candles inside, lining outdoor pathways, or gathered together on tables. Sun Jars would eliminate the need to keep checking on the candles - and prevent the fire hazards presented by candles. (Many historical venues won't even allow candles.)  Sun Jars would also make beautiful centerpieces and table accents.  Visit Convenient Gadgets & Gifts' website for more information about the Sun Jar and other great Mother's Day gift ideas.

Disclosure:  I received the Sun Jar at no cost for this review.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tetley Tea celebrates the one-year anniversary of William & Kate

Just one year ago, we all sat glued to our televisions, mesmerized as we watched Prince William, Duke of Cambridge marry Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.  The wedding was spectacular, the likes of which many of us haven't seen since watching Prince Charles marry Lady Diana Spencer so many years ago.  For every little girl watching, it was a fairy tale come to life, and Kate was the princess.
In honor of the one year anniversary of their wedding, Tetley Tea is celebrating by giving away a year of FREE TEA to married couples named William and Kate!  Wedded couples with legal first names that are any variation of the names William and Kate are qualified to enter (such as Billy & Katie, Will & Catherine, Wills & Kit, etc.).  If you qualify, you must either post your marriage certificate to Tetley Tea's Facebook page or email it to by midnight on April 29, 2012.  Only U.S. couples may enter.  The winners will enjoy 12 full-size boxes of different varieties of Tetley Tea. 

The deadline is tomorrow, so if  you qualify and are interested in entering, be sure to send in your marriage certificate ASAP.  Best of luck to you.  And, happy anniversary William & Kate!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Today is Take Your Child to Work Day - a guest post by my daughter

Hello people who read my mom's blog! This is her daughter, Gracie.  I am going to be the one who is "blogging" today.  Today as you all know is Take Your Child to Work Day.  So I am staying home with my mom.  As far as I am concerned it is way better than school!  I'm 13 years old so school is really boring, even though I get pretty good grades.  But, I really like writing, so leave a comment on how you think I did!

Today I learned some interesting things about blogging.  Blogs and websites are different.  Blogs are updated very frequently and websites only give information that is not regularly updated.  We looked at my mom's stats for the blog. We learned that most of her viewers come from America, and she gets the most viewers from a website called Pinterest.  The second most amount of viewers come from Google.

Even though I don't know much about blogging, I do know that I don't want this link to end up on the second page of Google.  I mean really, no one ever looks there.  Anyway, if you like my blog, please leave a comment, and maybe I'll post another!  Also if you like,  this than my mom's blogs will blow you away, so check them out! Thank you so much! - Gracie

Monday, April 23, 2012

Brides - win a free pair of shoes!

Photo courtesy of Bridal Shoe Style
It's a well known fact that most women are obsessed with shoes.  When a woman who loves shoes is planning her wedding, it presents her with the opportunity to find the ultimate pair of shoes - sky high heels, bling, beads, feathers, silk, leather, anything she desires!  These are the shoes she's drooled over, the shoes she's thought about and coveted.....Her DREAM shoes.  If you're that bride, then Bridal Shoe Style wants to help make your bridal shoe dreams come true -  for free!  You can find the contest details here.

Photo courtesy of
Bridal Shoe Style
From now until the end of April, simply visit and "Like" their Facebook page.  Then, "Like" at least one of the posts (past or present) or, leave a comment on a post.  That's all there is to it!  Your name will be entered into the drawing.  One fan will be chosen at random at the end of the month.  The lucky bride will get to choose a pair of shoes from their website valued at $80 or less.   

Time is running out, so be sure to visit Bridal Shoe Style's Facebook page for your chance to win.  Best of luck!

Ideas to help make your wedding reception memorable

Today, I am re-posting an article (with permission) given to me by Jay Congdon, President of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago wedding DJ, and Chicago Uplighting Company. This article provides some ideas to help personalize your wedding reception and make it a memorable event for you and your guests. Thank you for the inspiration, Jay! When planning your events, be sure to visit Jay's websites for information on DJ services, audio and lighting.

Pimp My Wedding Reception - by Jay Congdon
Photo Credit:  Jolie ImagesThere are several ways you can personalize your wedding reception to your individual tastes, and provide some memorable moments for your guests. They have proven to be popular practically everywhere. So whether you have a Chicago DJ, a New York DJ or a London DJ, he'll be able to guide you and your guests through some of the most memorable moments of your big evening. Here are just a few options for your consideration.

Children's Activities - If you're going to have many children at your reception, arrange for a separate room with children's activities like board games, crafts, coloring books, a clown/balloon/face-painting artist, or even a movie. That way, the children won't be thrashing around the main dining room, knocking things over and tripping over your adult guests. Be sure to have adult supervision for the kids.

Love Songs to the Bride and Groom - Typically your reception guests will clink their glasses together, to get the two of you to kiss. Instead, some couples ask their DJ to make an announcement that anyone who wants the bride and groom to kiss must sing them a line or two from a song with the word "love" in it. The guest's entire table rises together and sings. Sometimes, they come up with some very creative songs that give everyone a good laugh.

Karaoke - Karaoke can be a big hit or a big flop at a wedding reception. It depends upon how well you know your guests. It requires a completely separate sound system (and an extra cost), a video screen to display the lyrics of each song, and a separate library of Karaoke instrumentals to back up your guests as they take turns singing popular songs. A DJ who brings a Karaoke setup usually has a library of thousands of songs from which to choose.

But beware. If Karaoke doesn't work, you'll get a lot of howls and cackles for the first performer, a few cheers for the second, polite applause for the third, then total boredom and impatience from you guests because your Karaoke performances are cutting into their dancing time.

Disposable Cameras - Set a camera on each table, and let the guests take their own photos. Have someone from the wedding party collect all the cameras at the end of the evening. You'll end up with some very memorable candid pictures.
Photo Credit:  Jolie ImagesVideo or Slide Show - Some couples like to produce and show a video of themselves individually as children growing up, then as a couple dating. Another option is a computerized slide show or Power Point presentation. You'll probably need to rent a video projector. They can be found online by searching "Party Rentals" in your community. Ideally, your banquet room will have light-colored walls, and you can project your presentation onto a wall instead of a small screen, so everyone in the room can see it.

If your presentation includes its own music, you may connect your computer to your DJ's sound system. Ask about the types of plugs you'll need, and get a long enough patch cord with a plug at one end for your computer output, and another plug (either 1/8" mini-plug or dual RCA plugs) to tap into your DJ's sound system.

Centerpiece Giveaway - You can coordinate this with the banquet facility. Put a little sticker on the bottom of one chair at each table. The guest with the sticker gets to take home the centerpiece. Another way to do it, is to have the guests compare birthdays. The one at each table with the birthday closest to your wedding date, gets the centerpiece.

Choreograph Your First Dance - If you have the time and the inclination, you may wish to take ballroom dancing lessons together, and dazzle your guests with a rehearsed performance. Be sure the bridal gown is cut to accommodate such a dance. Start your lessons about 3 months before your wedding. Keep the song to 3 minutes or less if you can. Be sure your DJ has the right version of the song; and tell him in advance how you'll alert him that it's time to start the song. His cue can be something as simple as a nod of your head.

Dollar Dance - The bride and groom begin a slow dance together, then the guests are invited to cut in and dance briefly with either the bride or groom, for a dollar (though a smart DJ will remind the guests that there's nothing wrong with 10's or 20's). Sometimes it takes two or three songs for everyone to get a chance to dance with the bride or groom. People can either pin their money to the bride's gown if someone provides straight pins, or the Best Man and Maid of Honor can collect the money. It's a nice way to give the newlyweds a little slush fund as they head off for their honeymoon.

Anniversary Dance - All married couples are invited to join the bride and groom on the dance floor. A slow song starts. After a few seconds, the DJ asks all couples who've been married less than 5 years to leave the dance floor. A few seconds later, all couples married 10 years or less must leave. Eventually, the couple married the longest remains alone on the dance floor, and a big cheer goes up as the DJ tells the newlyweds, "Here are your role models."

"Soul Train" - Two parallel lines of dancers form at opposite sides of the dance floor, and couples take turns dancing down the middle, just as they did on "Soul Train." It's a great way to get everyone involved in the dancing.

Conga Line - The bride and groom lead the way, and the line forms behind them, with each person putting his/her hands on the waist of the person in front of him/her. Popular songs for a Conga line include "Hot Hot Hot," "Party Train," "C'mon & Ride It," and of course, "Conga." Always a nice photo op.

Line Dances - People love dances that they know. And there are plenty of line dances that we've all seen a million times -- "Electric Slide," "Cha Cha Slide," "Macarena," "YMCA," "Chicken Dance," "Cupid Shuffle," and so forth. Even if you absolutely hate every one of them, please don't spoil it for your guests. Even if they don't normally like to dance, they'll be on the dance floor for the line dances, and their inhibitions and spirits will be lifted. Remember, your reception is a party you throw for your friends. Let them have a good time, too. You can always tell your DJ not to play any line dances unless someone requests them. But putting them off-limits denies your guests some wonderful bonding moments.

*Photo Credit:  Jolie Images

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hairstyles and accessories for the mother of the bride

Photo by Frox of Falkirk
As the mother of the bride, helping to plan your daughter’s wedding is no doubt a joyful, if not bittersweet time in both your lives.  With all the preparations, it’s probably also very stressful.  You should have already purchased your mother of the bride outfit.  As the big day draws closer, it’s time now to focus on your hairstyle and accessories for this momentous event.  Here are a few tips to help you find the perfect look for the big day.
Color and cut

Decide well in advance if you’re going to change the color of your hair for your daughter’s wedding.  A special occasion such as this is not the time to make a major change at the last minute.  If you are definitely set on changing the color of your hair before the wedding, try it out about 6-8 weeks before the big day.  That way if you choose a color and really don’t like it, you have time to change it back.  If you love the new color, you’ll need to get a touch-up about a week or two before the big day to make sure the color looks fresh.
Have your hair trimmed in its usual style about a week before the wedding as well.  Again, this isn’t the time for any major changes.  A week should give you enough time to get used to styling your hair in the new cut.  If by some stroke of bad luck your hair is cut too short, this will give it enough time to grow back in a bit.

Photo by Frox of Falkirk
Just as your mother of the bride outfit shouldn’t overshadow your daughter on the big day, neither should your hairstyle.  Most moms will go to a salon and have a professional style their hair in their usual style on the day of the wedding, for a classy, polished look.  If it is going to be an especially warm or humid day and you have longer hair, you may want to consider an updo.  Many older churches are not air-conditioned.  There is no hairstyle, no matter how much hairspray is used, that will hold up after an hour or two of heat and humidity inside a stifling hot church.  You don’t want to have flat, damp, stringy hair stuck to your face for the rest of the day.  Worse still, you don’t that kind of hair disaster memorialized in all the wedding photos.

After the world sat mesmerized last year watching as Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, married Catherine Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, never before have hats, fascinators and hair accessories been more popular all around the world.  As the mother of the bride, it’s so important to make sure you let your daughter be the one who “shines” on the big the day, so your outfit should be more understated, classic and elegant.  But wearing a beautiful hat or hair accessory is a great way to add your own touch of style and whimsy to your mother of the bride of the outfit.  Beautiful feathers, rhinestones or beaded clips can add a beautiful touch to your mother of the bride outfit.
Photo by Frox of Falkirk
Keep these tips in mind when finishing the preparations for your look for your daughter’s wedding day.  You’ll not only look polished, classy and elegant, but you’ll feel fabulous as well! 
Special thanks to Frox of Falkirk for these beautiful photos.  Be sure to visit them for mother of the bride and mother of the groom outfits and accessories.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tips to help ease the stress while shopping for your mother of the bride dress.

Mother of the bride outfit by Frox of Falkirk.
Shopping for a special occasion dress is stressful under normal circumstances, but when the occasion is your daughter's wedding, the pressure is really on!  Not only do you want to look perfect in front of family and friends (some of whom you may not have seen in years), but also because it's your daughter's special day.  Everyone will be looking back at these photos for the rest of their lives.  That's a lot of stress added to what is an already tense situation.  Add to that your daughter's thoughts on what she wants you to wear, the pressure of having to find your dress before the mother of the groom shops for her dress (wedding etiquette dictates that MOB shops before MOG) and things can become volatile pretty quickly.  Before you consider giving your daughter money to elope so you don't have to deal with any of it, take a deep breath and relax. Read this article for some tips on how to find the perfect dress while keeping your daughter (and yourself) happy and stress-free in the process.