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New Baby Showers Party Trends for Party-throwers & Party-goers

Green foot prints

While the idea of throwing a baby shower is nothing new, baby shower trends are becoming less and less traditional — embracing unique gifts, surprise baby gender reveals, and, dare I say it, co-ed guests.

The basic baby shower has been upgraded! So, make sure you’re ready to celebrate the glowing couple with personalized baby gifts and trendy ideas for everyone in attendance.

Whether you’re throwing the baby shower, shopping for the perfect gift, or both — make sure your contribution stands out above the rest! Use our guide to new baby shower trends to get ideas for the next baby shower you’re planning to throw or attend.

Gender Reveal Parties

This particular baby shower trend makes for one exciting party for both the parents and the guests. Gender reveal parties are exactly what they sound like. Expecting parents find out the baby’s sex alongside their closest friends and family, with guessing and picking sides making for a lively party.

Party-thrower Logistics:

If you want to throw a gender reveal party for your expecting sibling or friend, make sure you check with them first and get the logistics in order. Often, the party-thrower will get the gender mailed to them from the expecting couples’ doctor, with the parents' permission, and then the planning begins!

Fun ways to do a gender reveal:

Cakes seem to be the most common form of gender announcement, typically done by dyeing the inside of the cake either blue or pink, but other ideas include:

  • Busting a piñata filled with pink or blue confetti
  • Letting a batch of pink or blue balloons fly
  • Hitting an exploding baseball
  • Cracking hard boiled eggs with the egg being dyed either pink or blue
  • Brainstorm an idea that’s unique to mom and dad's favorite hobbies with one of these creative gender reveal ideas

Party-goer Ideas:

Guests get in on the fun and excitement at a gender reveal party. So don’t forget to choose a side and go all out, with pink or blue attire and accessories!

The only tough part of the day may be the gift. If you’re panicked about selecting a gift when you don’t know which gender you’re shopping for, we’ve got you covered. Find personalized gift options for girls, boys, and gender-neutral ideas that you can customize with a sentimental quote, date, or last name.

Green foot prints

The Green Shower

Forget pink and blue. Go green! More and more parents-to-be are heading down an eco-friendly path when planning for the arrival of their baby. Show them your support by planning a green shower and getting practical gifts they’ll use over and over.

Green Baby Shower Ideas for the Party Thrower:

  • Send out evites instead of your standard paper invitations
  • Have guests bring gifts in reusable bags that the couple can use for groceries and baby supplies in the future
  • Get eco-friendly reusable party decor — try reusable straws and utensils to cut back on waste
  • Create an idea book where guests can write down “green” parenting tips (you’ll be surprised what experienced parents have come up with!)

Party-goer Ideas:

Everyone wants to be unique when it comes to shower favors, but there’s a fine line between unique and unusable. Selecting thoughtful but functional gifts can be difficult, so prioritize usefulness when making a selection.

  • Get the parents-to-be a gift bag full of your favorite eco-friendly baby brands like Hello Bello!
  • Buy useful eco-friendly gifts for the mom-to-be — like these customized reusable diaper bags!
  • Help parents skip trial-and-error by putting together a “green” basket of everyday baby items that are reusable and better for the environment. This will help the expecting couple establish a few go-to trusted brands and baby products for their parenting arsenal. 

Dad and baby

A “Dadchelor” Party

With so much focus on the woman as the mom-to-be, the man shower trend helps dad collect some goodies for baby while feeling more included in the process. A little bit of male bonding paired with a celebration for the new baby may be exactly what he needs to ease the tension.

Dad Shower Ideas for the Party Thrower:

Baby showers for guys are a fun new trend that shows dads-to-be that they’re important too — plus, they’re really easy for party-throwers to whip up without spending too much or going overboard. Try these fun & simple suggestions:

  • Quick and easy apps and BBQ are a must
  • Set up a baby supply station right by the food or front door so the guys can drop the gifts off right away
  • Skip the gift-opening part and opt for a tournament-style yard games to keep everyone entertained. Pro tip: Set up basic yard games, but make the guys hold a baby doll while playing any of them.

Party-goer Ideas:

Most baby shower gifts are just for baby or just for baby and mom, so try to go above and beyond by finding a gift that includes dad, too:

Mark the First of Many Wonderful Memories for the Parents-to-be

A baby shower is an experience that is unique to both the person planning it and the guests invited. Whatever the case may be, help celebrate with the expecting parents with personalized baby shower ideas and thoughtful gifts that will get them excited for a future of parenting!

Get something for everyone with our wide selection of customizable gifts that are always high quality and budget friendly!

Planning the Perfect Valentine’s Day Weekend Getaway

Planning the Perfect Valentine’s Day Weekend Getaway

This year, Valentine’s day falls on a Friday, which makes it especially perfect for a romantic weekend getaway. There’s nothing like a few days of uninterrupted quality time together to remind you both just why you fell in love in the first place. Here are a few tips for planning an enchanted weekend away together this holiday. 

Embrace the element of surprise

The grand romantic fantasy is to spirit your loved one away to a weekend of delights, without them ever knowing what’s up. Okay, it’s easier said than done, but there’s nothing like watching their eyes light up when you unveil the plan. The logistics are up to you. We all lead busy lives, and it might not be possible to put together a totally secret trip. If not, there are still plenty of tricks to keep up your sleeve. Tell them you’re going away, but don’t tell them where. Play travel agent, arrange everything, and tell them to relax and trust you. Knowing that your partner took the time to organize a whole trip just for you is deeply heart-warming.

Destination, destination, destination

The best part about escaping daily life with your beloved (aside from unlimited time alone together) is sharing a new experience. Scientists have found that novelty is one of the strongest drivers in lasting romantic happiness: it’s tied to all kinds of feel-good hormones and chemicals which light up brains in love. So choose your destination with freshness in mind. You don’t necessarily have to go far. Large cities are a great choice: even if you’ve been there a hundred times before, there’s always a new side to explore. Research is key here. If you’re more of a sweet B&B type of couple, seek out accommodation with especially beautiful surroundings and, even more importantly, privacy! You’ve only got the weekend, so you don’t want to spend too much time in transit. Pick somewhere within a few hours’ journey. Spending too much time in airports can be a mood killer, (definitely avoid connecting flights) but if you’re both avid travelers, the thrill of jetting off together is hard to beat. Check out cheap last-minute flights on Hipmunk. For something completely different, don’t forget the train! Traveling by rail has its own special kind of romance, with lots of time to relax and watch the world go by.

Pick one or two unforgettable experiences

Don’t overplan your weekend. Lingering over one more glass of wine before you chase each other upstairs, lolling about in bed together enjoying room service, and being free to follow a whim at a moment’s notice are all priceless parts of a weekend away. Still, to make it a getaway you’ll never forget, choose one or two “anchor” experiences to lift you both out of the ordinary. Book dinner at a Michelin Star restaurant, a sunset cruise, or a snorkeling expedition: you know your partner best, so choose a surprise they’ll love, and organize your itinerary around it. It’s that novelty magic at work again. Couples who share adventures see each other in a new light, which perks up the excitement and strengthens their bond, with long-lasting effects. You’ll make life-long memories and have lots to talk and laugh about as you unwind after your day.

Don’t fear the cheese

This is not the time for sophisticated cynicism. Embrace the silliness inherent in Valentine’s day and plan ahead for a little mushy romance. If you’re taking a roadtrip, make a swoony mix to play on the way. Call the hotel and arrange for champagne, chocolates, and strawberries to greet you in your room. Hold hands, whisper sweet nothings, write something saucy on the mirror with lipstick. Seek out photobooths, paddleboats, hot air balloons, heart-shaped jacuzzis, over-the-top lingerie, and rose petals on the bed. You can get away with it because it’s just the two of you. We might sneer at these tropes in public, but they bring up strong sweet associations for just about everyone. At the very least, they’ll bring out the giggles. Call us crazy, but laughter lies at the heart of most great love stories. And a little bit of sentimental nonsense goes a long way.

Above all, relax and remember to enjoy each other. Valentine’s Day only comes once a year, but the time you spend together this weekend will keep the spark burning bright far into the future.

 

Source:

http://www.positscience.com/brain-resources/brain-facts-myths/brain-in-love

 

The History of the Shamrock

The History of the Shamrock

The shamrock is likely one of the most common symbols we associate with St. Patrick’s Day. But just what makes the little green plant so special? It turns out, there are several reasons. The shamrock began as a simple symbol of good luck (an association it still holds today). Over time, it became more and more popular until it reached the point of representing an entire nation.

According to popular legend, the shamrock was a sacred plant in Ireland, especially to the Druids. The plant was so special because  because it has three leaves, and three is a magical or mystical number in the Celtic religion. Celts also used the shamrock to supposedly help with their crops. The belief was that burning shamrock leaves and spreading the ashes over their fields would ensure a good growing season. The shamrock also served as a sign of the coming spring, as it was one of the first plants to sprout after winter. When farmers saw the shamrocks start poking out of the ground, they knew growing season wasn’t far behind.

The shamrock became even more popular in the fifth century when St. Patrick used it to illustrate the principle of the Holy Trinity as he introduced Ireland to Christianity. It has three leaves, but it is still one plant – much like the Christian concept of one god in three parts. Stories surrounding St. Patrick say that he would often pluck a shamrock from the ground as he was speaking, and relate to his listeners in a “common” way.

By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had transitioned from being associated with St. Patrick to becoming synonymous with the entire Irish nation. During this time, the English were seizing Irish land and forbidding the use of the Irish language and the practice of Catholicism. As a result, many Irish began to wear a shamrock as a symbol of ride in their heritage – an action that was actually punishable by hanging.

Through the nineteenth century, the shamrock was depicted in virtually every aspect of culture – from illustrations in books and postcards to popular songs and ballads of the time. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the shamrock became a popular architectural feature in Ireland, featured on the facade of many buildings, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It also became a popular decoration on light fixtures and monuments. From there, it made its way into numerous items in Irish homes, like glass, china, jewelry and fabrics. Today, you’ll still see the shamrock used in the logos of many national organizations, especially those dedicated to heritage and history.

Setting Up and Decorating Your Home Bar

Setting Up and Decorating Your Home Bar

Picture this:

You come home at the end of a long, productive workweek and walk through the front door to a neat and cozy place. You head to your well-stocked bar, make yourself your favorite drink easily because everything you need is within arm’s reach. You kick off your shoes, switch on some music and sip your drink as you send your friends messages to set up some great weekend plans.

Setting Up and Decorating Your Home Bar

That sure beats coming home to find that the one beer you had left is not even in the fridge and there’s nothing else to drink. And then you waste five minutes debating whether you should go to the store to get something or just wait a few hours till your friends agree on the bar for tonight’s outing.

Setting up and decorating a home bar is easy – it doesn’t need a large space or a big budget, and it can be a great way to make entertaining at home stress-free. With just a few choice items, you can have it all ready in one go.

Here’s what you need to do…

Pick A Spot

Survey your place for a good spot. A home bar doesn’t actually have to be a bar with stools, though if you have the space and you like that idea, go right ahead. There are some bars with high stools that don’t actually take up a large area.

But the other way to go about this is to designate part of a cupboard or table that you already have.

One of most popular spots is the dining room. This makes “dinner and drinks” easy to pull off and you don’t have to keep getting up from the table to top up. Another popular spot is the kitchen so you can have quick access to the fridge for ice, white wine, beer and mixers.

But don’t worry if the spot you really like is not close to the fridge. One piece of equipment you can use to fix this issue is an ice bucket. Otherwise, if everything is already set up at the bar and all you have to do is walk to the fridge to get the rest of what you need, then it’s not going to be a hassle.

Another great place to set up a home bar is in the area where you entertain most frequently. For example: if you have a game room in the basement, or if you do movie nights in your living room, or if you like to sip cocktails on the patio, those are all options to consider.

Any area of the house is fine as long as the bottles are not exposed to direct sunlight, and can be kept in a cool and dry environment.

Another smart idea is to set up a bar cart so you can just move it around depending on where you want to hang out.

Barware Basics

With just a few pieces of equipment, you can have everything you need to create a large selection of drinks. Here are the basics:

  • Bar spoon – this is for stirring, measuring ingredients, layering different spirits in one drink, and garnishing
  • Muddler – this tool is used for mashing ingredients like fruits or herbs that are used in cocktails (think: mojito, old fashioned), as well as for crushing ice
  • Jigger – this is the bar “measuring cup”, it has two sides, one that measures one ounce and the other two ounces
  • Shaker – made up of two metal pieces that fit together, this is what you use to mix cocktails of the “shaken, not stirred” variety
  • Strainer – this is like a sieve that fits on the shaker so that when you pour out the cocktail, ice and other bits don’t go into the glass

You’ll also need ice bags, ice cube trays, an ice bucket and ice tongs, as well as a box of toothpicks for cocktail onions and olives, a couple of small bowls for nuts and other nibbles, napkins, and coasters.

Glassware

Depending on how many people you plan to entertain on the regular, you’ll need to get sets of different types of glassware. Those include:

  • Beer mugs or pint glasses
  • Red wine glasses
  • White wine glasses
  • Champagne flutes
  • Martini glasses
  • Highball/tall glasses
  • Rocks/short glasses

Four to eight of each should be enough. On average, most people have three drinks, with three or four ice cubes each, and a napkin for each round. Some will use the same glass and some might want to try different drinks, so plan to have minimal extras of everything just in case.

The Alcohol

The star of the show, of course, will be the selection of alcohol you have on hand. But even so, you should start with a small collection of your favorite and most often used alcohols. You can build from there later on.

Some of the most popular are:

  • Gin – for gin tonics, gin martinis, tom collins
  • Vodka – for vodka tonics, screwdrivers, white russians/black russians, bloody marys, cosmopolitans
  • Rum – for mojitos, daiquiris, mai tais, cuba libres, piña coladas
  • Bourbon – for old fashioneds, manhattans, whiskey sours, mint juleps
  • Scotch – for rob roys, rusty nails, godfathers
  • Tequila – for margaritas, sunrises, palomas

Each of these spirits has different brands and types. For example: light and dark rums; vodkas distilled from potatoes or sugar cane or grains; there are gold and silver tequilas.

In general, you want to use the more expensive brands for drinking straight or on the rocks, while the less expensive brands for mixing. But you never want to go really cheap either way. And one thing to remember is that although alcohol stores well for long periods of time, the emptier a bottle gets, the more quickly the alcohol in it will spoil due to the air inside.

Next up you want to have some wine. You don’t need a wine cellar; a few good bottles of red and white wine, with maybe one or two Rosés should be enough. As you probably already know, red wine is served at room temperature and white wine should be chilled.

And of course, you should have a pack or two of beers stocked.

Mixers and Garnishes

Again, you don’t want to go overboard with mixers because you might end up spending a lot of money and using only a little.

So just stick to a few basics:

  • Red vermouth for manhattans
  • White vermouth for martinis
  • Cointreau
  • Bitters to make the different ingredients in the cocktail blend well
  • Juices (orange, pineapple, cranberry and tomato)
  • Tonic
  • Ginger ale
  • Cola
  • Sprite

Garnishes can include:

  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Oranges
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Hot sauce
  • Worchester sauce
  • Mint
  • Olives
  • Cocktail onions

Start Mixing!

Now that you have everything ready, you might want to try your hand at a few cocktails first before you have a cocktail party. You can find lots of recipes online, on YouTube, or you can buy a cocktail recipe book.

You should even make a night of it. Invite a few friends over and experiment with different recipes. Pick your favorite five or six and master them. That is always better than mixing a dozen not-so-great cocktails.

You’ll also need to master some of the basics, such as how to shake, how to strain, how to use a bar spoon, how to use a muddler, how to crush fruit and herbs, etc. The different layers of your cocktail should be composed of the base spirit, like the vodka or gin, plus something bitter and something sweet to give a nice balance of flavors.

If you really want to go all the way, check out some mixology classes in town or online.

Get Personal

And that means two things…

One – get to know your regular guests and what they like.

 

Two– personalize your equipment.

We have some really cool stuff you can check out, like:

 

Two liter personalized whiskey barrel

Personalized wall-mounted bottle opener

Personalized amber growler

Personalized pint glasses

Personalized Leonardo DeCapper bottle opener

Personalized mixologist cocktail shaker

Personalized whiskey growler set

You can browse our entire personalized home bar collection here. We’ve also got personalized wine gifts and accessories.

Non-Alcoholic Options

Some friends of yours may not be drinking alcohol – for whatever reason – and you want to make sure that you don’t leave them out. Just handing them a can of cola or a box of juice is not good hosting, so why not learn a couple of non-alcoholic cocktails and impress them?

Some easy favorites include:

  • Flavored sparkling iced-tea
  • Lemonade or limeade
  • Non-alcoholic punch
  • Orange spritzer
  • Watermelon cooler
  • Asian pear sparkler
  • Pink grapefruit soda

There are many recipes online for different virgin cocktails, or “mocktails”, that taste just as delicious as the alcoholic ones. A spicy, savory virgin bloody mary is one example. You will also find non-alcoholic wines you can make virgin sangrias and mimosas with. And there are even pretty good non-alcoholic beers on the market nowadays.

So as you can see, with just a little bit of planning and creativity, you can set up and decorate a home bar that can everyone can enjoy and, more importantly, one that you can enjoy.

Ten Amazing – And Easy- Ways To Personalize Your Wedding

Ten Amazing – And Easy- Ways To Personalize Your Wedding

DIY weddings are all the rage these days, but planning and preparing every aspect of your wedding yourself can be both daunting and time consuming. After all, it’s not easy to create individual handcrafted party favors for a hundred guests. The good news is that there are plenty of ways you can add meaningful, personal touches to your wedding without going to extreme lengths or spending a small fortune.

Here are ten things you can do to make your day extra special, even if you aren’t particularly ‘crafty’!  

1. Create a canvas print to welcome guests to your wedding.

Thanks to a rise in low cost digital printing options, ordering a personalized canvas to display by the entrance to your wedding venue couldn’t be easier, or better value- even when you factor in the cost of sourcing a wooden easel to place the canvas on. Many couples decide to use a favourite photo of themselves, but there are other options too such as this lovely tree carving image. You can then keep the personalized image as a permanent reminder of your day.

2. Create a collage of photos showing you and your fiancé/fiancée growing up.

Via stylisho.com

It’s always fun to look at baby pictures, and even more fun to see people grow and change. By printing out and framing a series of baby, child (and awkward teenage!) pictures of you and your other half, you’ll amuse your guests and give your wedding a truly personal touch.

3. Make personalized centerpieces.

 

Table centerpieces don’t have to be floral. If you have a specific hobby or interest, use things you love instead. If you’re both bookworms, why not tie ribbons around stacks of old novels? If you’re a gardener you could create centerpieces out of home grown fruits and vegetables. 

4. Ditch the bridesmaid bouquets.

 

Similarly, who says that your bridesmaids have to carry flowers? Why not dispense with the floral tradition altogether and have them carry a personalized satin cosmetic bag, clutch purse – or even a funky water bottle? Unlike flowers, a bag or purse will last forever and they can keep it as a permanent reminder of their day.

5. Create personalized photo frames for your bridesmaids.

 

Your bridesmaids will inevitably look fantastic on your wedding day (without overshadowing the bride, of course), so why not treat them to a photo of them looking wonderful as a thank you gift…and commemorate your friendship at the same time? 

6. Ask your friend to officiate.

Via Adventuresinweddingplanning

Not having a religious ceremony? Ask a friend to officiate. (It’s free to get ordained online through the Universal Life Church.) Fun fact: If you live in Colorado or some parts of Pennsylvania, you can even marry yourselves!

7. Use ribbon wands instead of rice.

Via factorydirectcraft

Throwing rice at weddings can be messy and you may end up with most of it caught in your hair! Instead, why not source some ribbon wands like the ones used in gymnastics competitions. An added bonus is that you can often match the color of the ribbons to your wedding color scheme.

8. Swap your guest book for a photo mount.

Instead of having guests write in a book that will end up being tucked away in a drawer, why not get them to write on a photo mount, then insert a wedding photo after the event and frame the comments and photo together? You’ll then be able to read the comments and loving messages from friends and family every day.

9. End the ceremony with your favorite cocktail.

Via Brides.com

Why not end your ceremony in style by having ushers hand out your favorite cocktail after you kiss the bride/groom, and encouraging your guests to raise a glass to your new status as husband and wife? It’s certainly a fun way to kick off the evening’s festivities.

10. Dance down the aisle to your favorite song.

Via weddingelation

Who said that processional music has to be traditional? If you and your partner have a favorite song that makes you think of a particularly happy time you shared, you should use it in the ceremony. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with bopping down the aisle to a hit by Lady Gaga, or rocking out to Bruce Springsteen’s back catalog.

 

 

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