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How to Keep Weight Off This Holiday Season

The holidays are a magical time of good cheer, giving, and gaining weight. Throughout most of the year, many of us go through periods of at least a month or two between indulgent holiday feasts, occasionally making room for a birthday or wedding party, but during the holiday season our schedules and stomachs are both packed. Not only Thanksgiving, but Christmas and New Year’s become decadent dinner parties for many, leading us to fill ourselves more often than we ever would otherwise. Some of us even anticipate the extra pounds we’ll put on during the holiday season, but you can stay trim and fit through the winter by following guidelines to keep the weight off.

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How to Organize an Awards Show Party at Home

Awards season is one of the most exciting times of the year, especially for those who make it their business to follow celebrities, entertainment, and pop culture. Each year, the entertainment industry trots out its most significant productions and its biggest stars to celebrate the movies, TV shows, and music that made the biggest critical and commercial impact over the preceding twelve months. For those who love all things entertainment, there are few more exciting times throughout the year, and what’s wonderful is that awards season also gives us an excuse to get together with our family, friends, and loved ones. An awards show is a great reason to throw a party and have an absolutely great time doing it, as the show provides an interactive centerpiece around which you can organize a night to truly remember. We’ll talk about some great ideas and activities that can really help your awards show party land in a big way so your guests go home hoping they get an invite again next year. Continue reading…

Top 5 Prep Tips for Prom Night

Dances are a blast, no matter what year of highschool you’re in. The prom dances, however, are typically reserved for upper class students — juniors and seniors at most educational establishments — and for this reason it’s important that as a parent, you create an incredibly memorable experience for your teen and his or her group of friends. We’ll talk about five of the most important pointers that can help you get your kids’ prom night off without a hitch, and many of them are a whole lot easier than you might have thought. Giving your children a prom experience that they won’t soon is completely possible with the right strategy.

1) Get Your Group Together

Plan a group to go together in advance. Even if your teen has a date, any prom or other dance is made a whole lot more fun by going with a group. Not only does this make the event itself a lot more fun, but it provides for a whole bunch of fun activities that your teen can participate in both before and after the actual dance.

2) Plan a Meal

Decide where your teen and his or her group of friends will be eating, and how. If you can afford it, send your little group of youngsters out to a fun, themed restaurant. The more exciting the evening, the more memorable the experience will be, and the pre-dance dinner is a great way to get this started the right way. You don’t even need to go out for a full-blown meal; a delicious home-cooked meal will do the trick just perfectly, and coming up with a fun or clever theme will make dinner that much more exciting.

3) Go Vintage

Clothes are expensive, and your teen’s prom outfit is no exception. If you’ve got an especially artistic or fun-loving kid, and you’re dealing with something of a reduced budget (or even if you’re not), then vintage prom-wear is a great way to go. Your teen will be able to show off a truly unique sense of style, and maybe even get a few good-natured laughs in the process.

4) Make Reservations

Make sure you plan ahead and reserve anything you’ll need for your teen’s prom night experience. There’s nothing worse than making plans and then finding out someone else has already beaten you to them.

5) Hire Your Ride

Sure, it’s easy to drop your kids off at prom in the old minivan, but how much more fun would it be to hire a limousine or vintage car to take your teen and his or her friends to the big dance? Plenty of limousine rental services offer discounts for students, and vintage cars have a tendency to be even more affordable.

Whatever you wind up deciding to do, there are plenty of ways to make sure that your teen’s prom night is one of the most memorable experiences in the history of organized dances. Most of them don’t even require a whole lot of money — just some creativity and forethought. No matter what you go with, your teens will be sure to have a great evening out if you make sure to follow the right steps when you prepare for prom.

Top 5 Tips for Using Fireworks Safely

Holidays can be a great time to enjoy fireworks as a part of your celebration, whether it is a professional fireworks display or a home made show in your own backyard. It is important to remember, however, that fireworks are volatile explosives and can be very dangerous when handled improperly. Follow these key safety guidelines to make sure your holidays are fun and safe for yourself and those around you. Continue reading…

Top 5 Ways to Make Your Wedding Reception Unique

No matter what you do, your wedding day will always be special and unique for you. But for all of the people watching you and your sweetie tie the knot, it’s bound to be the same boring thing they’ve seen a million times before (a unity candle AND a lariat? – yawn…). So unless you plan to have some kind of crazy skydiving ceremony, perhaps you should think about ways you can at least spice up the reception by making it a bit more unique. Here are just a few areas that you could touch on when planning a wedding reception that is truly one of a kind.

  1. Food. Steak, chicken, and a vegetarian option are pretty standard fare for weddings, whether you offer them via buffet or a five-course spread. But many couples these days are opting to do things a little differently. Some contract with catering companies that offer local, organic, or vegan options (whatever suits their sensibilities) while others spring for exotic foodstuffs from far-off locales. But since a lot of people these days are attempting to save a little money in order to start a married life free of debt, you could try an afternoon tea (finger sandwiches, petit fours, and all) or a DIY dessert bar. But if you go for one of these options, just make sure to inform guests ahead of time that dinner will not be served.
  2. Drinks. Alcohol can be a touchy subject at some weddings, but since most couples want people to eat, drink, and be merry at the reception, booze is usually available. If you want to do something unique, though, work with the bartender to create a couple of specialty cocktails for the event. Or hire yourself an old-timey mixologist (handlebar moustache and all) to create classic cocktails like juleps and punches for your guests.
  3. Venue. Most wedding receptions occur in ballrooms, country clubs, and gardens/parks – beautiful, serene, and virtually pristine settings, in other words. If you want your reception to be a bit different, think about taking your guests someplace that is special to you, like the restaurant where you shared your first date, the hiking trail where your honey asked for your hand in marriage, or even the bookstore where your eyes first locked over a copy of Pride and Prejudice (yeah, right). You might be surprised how many shop owners are willing to entertain romantic requests (especially if you have the rental fee to back them up).
  4. D├ęcor. If the flowered bowers and white linens of traditional weddings don’t appeal to you, think about decorating with some kind of theme in mind. You could go with an era or culture that you find fascinating or tap a favorite media influence (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, for example) to make your setting something special.
  5. Entertainment. Forget about the cheesy band, annoying DJ, or stuffy string quartet on your wedding day if you want your reception to be one of a kind. Instead, consider a few forms of entertainment that suit your style better than the traditional fare. For example, you could hire singing/dancing waiters to keep your guests smiling, book a wedding magician to wow the assembly, or even opt for circus sideshow acts like fire eaters, sword swallowers, and a troupe of tumblers for the evening’s entertainment. You might even want to arrange for something truly unusual like a jousting match a la Medieval Times. If you just think outside the box you’re sure to come up with some truly spectacular ways to keep all of your guests entertained during the reception.