This is default featured slide 1 title

This is default featured slide 1 title

You can completely customize the featured slides from the theme theme options page. You can also easily hide the slider from certain part of your site like: categories, tags, archives etc. More »

This is default featured slide 2 title

This is default featured slide 2 title

You can completely customize the featured slides from the theme theme options page. You can also easily hide the slider from certain part of your site like: categories, tags, archives etc. More »

This is default featured slide 3 title

This is default featured slide 3 title

You can completely customize the featured slides from the theme theme options page. You can also easily hide the slider from certain part of your site like: categories, tags, archives etc. More »

This is default featured slide 4 title

This is default featured slide 4 title

You can completely customize the featured slides from the theme theme options page. You can also easily hide the slider from certain part of your site like: categories, tags, archives etc. More »

This is default featured slide 5 title

This is default featured slide 5 title

You can completely customize the featured slides from the theme theme options page. You can also easily hide the slider from certain part of your site like: categories, tags, archives etc. More »


How to plan a stress-free family vacation


Family vacations often start with the best of intentions. There’s going to be lots and lots of fun. And when the vacation gradually descends into an exhausting and stressful experience, you announce that this will be the last time you take your family on vacation. You said the same thing last year. And the year before.

You don’t have to go through the same experience over and over though. Here are some tips that can help you plan that perfect vacation for your family.

Choose your destination together

Sit down with your kids and let them have a say when choosing your destination. Every destination is unique in its own way, and some are certainly family-friendly than others. This doesn’t mean you only plan a trip to a kids-friendly destination or an adult-friendly destination. If you have kids of different ages, make sure that the destination has something for everyone to do.

Maintain the excitement

Travel plans are usually made way before the trip, but that doesn’t mean you don’t think about it. Pick up a guidebook and a few travel brochures and share them with your children. Find books about the destination and read them with your kids. The internet has several websites with information and pictures of your vacation destination.

Be prepared

Create a list of things you’ll need to carry on your family vacation, such as travel documents, first aid kit, and travel insurance information. Include the telephone numbers of your medical insurance company, doctor, and dentist. Check the requirements for passport and visa several months beforehand to ensure you’re all set.

b2dafdf6c305a2602a812521a4e157ff-5f9021427b3f7b8251b1338c3279be23Pack wisely

You might be tempted to pack everything into a single suitcase, but don’t try it. Just pack 3-4 outfits per child, and do the necessary load of laundry. It’ll save you lots of trouble later if you keep it simple.

If you are traveling by car, pack a backpack of surprise toys, games, snacks and books to keep your kids entertained during the long trip. If you’re flying, bring a 24-hour survival kit in case you lose your luggage or your flight is delayed.

Go at the right time

If you are traveling by road, leave late in the evening or early in the morning to avoid traffic jam and let the children take a nap. If you are traveling by air, be sure to leave more time for connections. If your kid has a nap routine,consider that when planning your trip. This will ensure that you have a much smoother trip.

Make it special

Let everyone in your family choose what they would like to do during the vacation. This will make everyone feel more involved and will start off the vacation on a more positive note. If your budget is tight, explain that in advance and say how much things will cost. Let the children research online to find what they would like to do.

Follow a routine

If you are traveling with young kids, try to follow a regular schedule of meals, baths, and bedtime. Bring their favorite books and toys, and try to create a familiar environment as much as possible. It’s amazing that healthy meals, nice baths and adequate sleep will help keep away the tantrums.

Picking the Right Wedding and Reception Venue

Intimeate wedding venue charlotte NC

Picking a wedding venue needs to be done with utmost care. Think of all the possible constraints that may actually disqualify a venue. Before settling on one, here are some of the things you need to do and think about when making your final decision.

Ensure you schedule a date and visit the venue. This way you get to know just how it suits to your style. Ensure you check for the dates available for the venue. Some places are usually overbooked. Confirm if there will be other events happening in the same venue on your wedding day. This will enable you to avoid distractions. The size and layout of the venue needs to be able to accommodate the number of guests you are expecting. Confirm about the cancellation policy of the venue and the possibility of getting your deposit refunded.

The number of guests expected at the venue should be able to have adequate parking. The space for guests to move around freely is also very important to consider. Some of your visitors may have special needs or requirements. For example, some elderly people may be on wheelchairs or you may have children at the venue. There is need to ensure they will be able to access proper facilities. In some venues, smoking is prohibited. It is therefore necessary to confirm just in case you have guests who smoke. Alcohol consumption is also necessary to check.

Ambiance of the environment is important for a wedding venue. It needs to have a great view. The lighting of the venue needs to be adequate. This is important for good quality of photos. The privacy you require needs to be a priority for you. Ensure that you do not end up making a decision and end up getting unwanted guests. Confirm if there are any contingency plans concerning changes in weather. Weather changes can ruin a wedding reception, so know if there are precautions they can take to help you cope.

cheap-wedding-reception-venues-in-kentCheck for the services they provide. Some venues will require you to exclusively use their catering services and beverages. Ask if you can get your own caterers. There is need to confirm if the sound systems will be provided at a charge. The tables, chairs and linen availability need to be a major concern to you. Check if they will suit the sitting arrangement you are going for. Consider the possibility of bringing your own beverage.

The venue needs to be accommodating to your needs. Find out about any restrictions in terms of time. Check the time they close down the venue and the possibility to have an extension. In some cases, you may have to pay for overtime. If the reception is different from the venue of the wedding, check to ensure that, you consider the traffic and time it will take to drive to the venue. This will save time for your visitors. The accessibility of the venue needs to be easier. It needs to be in a place where visitors will not get lost.

By doing all the above, you will be closer to pick the right venue for your wedding. With all services and preferences suited for you.

Swan Manor Wedding Venue in Charlotte and Monroe NC

Finding The Best Wedding Planner

Table Decor wedding PLanners in Charlotte NC and Monroe NCYour wedding day is one of the most memorable occasions of your life, which is why a lot of effort has to be put into the planning in order for it to be a complete success. Modern weddings incorporate quite a number of things, ranging from choosing the venues to the catering to the entertainment, photography and decorations among other things. It is advisable to enlist the services of a professional wedding planner to handle all of the detailed aspects of the day. If you wondering what to look for in a great wedding planner, there are three main insights that will help you land the best planner available.

Consider experience and reputation

Wedding planning is a professional service just like any other and requires a number of skills to effectively integrate all aspects of a wedding into the event. When searching fro great planners, professionalism is the first element to evaluate. During one of the preliminary meetings you have with potential planners, gauge the level of professionalism from the type of communication and approach. It is also advisable to choose wedding planners who have been in the field for a longer period of time.

Experienced wedding planners already know a lot of what is to be done. The only remaining part is to identify your requirements and then customize and personalize the service to meet each of these requirements. Nevertheless, not all experienced wedding planners are great and some new professionals can perform much better. It is therefore important to consider reputation and go through a number of reviews and comments from previous clients for an external opinion about the level of service quality.

Shop around

Wedding planning services are offered by thousands of planners and finding one should not be an overwhelming task. However, landing great planners will require careful evaluation and filtering. Great wedding planners have various attributes that distinguish them from others. In order to find the best planner, you will need to sort the list and eliminate less preferable options depending on your requirements and budgets.

Meet with a couple of potential planners and evaluate their offers together with cost. You can then settle for one that meets your entire requirements at the most affordable price without compromise on quality of service. Look for recommendations, reviews, client comments and testimonials as well as complaints for a better perception of the services you are likely to receive from a particular wedding planner.

San-Francisco-Wedding-Planners-300x225Check for capacity and quality guarantee

As aforementioned, weddings involve a number of activities that range from venue selection to reception, meals and entertainment. The wedding planner should exhibit full capacity to plan every aspect of the wedding. They should have a dedicated planning team that is trained with professional skills and mobilized to support various activities.

They should provide a quality guarantee and arrange convenient meetings for any clarification or extra details. They must deliver to the agreed standards and this should be sealed with a service quality guarantee. A great wedding planner will accommodate all aspects of the wedding although some grand weddings may require more than one planner in place.


If you are looking for how to find a great wedding planner, then the three points mentioned above are the main things to consider. Choose credible licensed professionals who are allowed to offer wedding planning services in our area. It is more recommendable to choose experts close to your residence to reduce the cost and time spent in meetings and planning.

Five Keys To Planning The Perfect Dinner Party


happy people in a restaurant!

There are 5 important things that you should always keep in mind when planning a dinner party. Whether you want to throw a large party or a small intimate grown-up gathering, you need to understand the things that are likely to contribute to the success of the party. Remember that this is an occasion that is supposed to spur a lot of happiness among the people who will be attending. In order to get the best results, here are the five keys to planning the perfect dinner party.

1. Handling the invitations

Be sure to have an accurate guest count because there is no way you can plan effectively when you are not even sure about the attendance. You can easily remind your guests about the upcoming party by sending out formal invitations, even if you had already communicated to them over the phone or by word of mouth. The best thing to do is this case is to send the invitations a few weeks in advance so as to allow the guests enough time to prepare for it. It also is enough time for them to either confirm their attendance or excuse themselves.

2. Setting the table

A table that is beautifully set is the canvas of a wonderful meal and an enjoyable time. Be sure to go to the flower market on the morning of the dinner party and choose some beautiful flowers to be included in the set. If you want to include candles in the package, you might have to consider whether you need scented ones or just the normal candles. You also should be cautious about the colors when you opt for a candlelit dinner. Set the table in a way that makes the guests comfortable by giving the enough space.

dinner-party-menu-ay-x3. Seating

Although people used to prefer assigned seating arrangements, things have significantly changed and so, you are free to try anything that is best for you. At larger parties, you specifically should consider an arrangement that allows the guests to converse more effortlessly. You definitely do not want them to keep leaning on their sides or over the table just to pass a point across to the other person.

4. Entertainment

Ensuring that your guests are well entertained is another one of the five keys to planning the perfect dinner party. One of the easiest ways to create an ambiance for the party is by having some cool music playing the background. You however, should be careful with the volume.

5. Preparatory measures

When playing host at a dinner party, you also need to look for the right equipment to help you with the efficiency. For instance, you should look for an outfit such as aprons that are pretty enough so that you do not have to worry about keeping them on when the guests start to arrive. You need to create an image of a person who fully understands what to do.

Of course, there are many other things that you will need to consider. At the end of it all, the most important thing is to make it a success.

Help For Your Wedding Reception Planning

Java-Reception-facing-BuildingIdeally, wedding reception planning would be a fun endeavor that is completed in a relaxing manner. The reality is often so very different, turning even the most chillaxed bride-to-be into a raging Bridezilla.

Indoors or Outdoors or Both?

Prior to having any real idea about what kind of space you have to work with and how you are going to lay things out, you need to decide on your venue. Once you visit and take a few pictures, you will have a better idea moving forward of how you envision your wedding reception. You will be able to decorate and develop particular areas for your guests to enjoy throughout the evening.

Perhaps there is a garden area off the deck or patio that would make an excellent photo opportunity. You can have your DIY photo booth set up there. Maybe there is a balcony with a spectacular back drop. This could be where the smoking lounge is designated. Having your guest book or DIY wedding scrapbook or recipe cards of wisdom set up near the bathrooms is always brilliant. You can ensure every guest will pass by at some point.

Decor vs. Nature

If you are holding your reception in a picturesque setting, consider saving on decorations and let Mother Nature take all the credit. Incorporating a green or nature theme can be done regardless of where you are having your venue. Creating homemade wooden candle holders or hanging some grass woven hearts can bring the outdoors in and complement your green side. You will have more money to spend on food, beverages and photography by creating your own decor with pieces from nature.

wedding-drinks-and-snacksFood and Drink

Are you planning on serving a sit-down three-course meal with servers? Is a potluck-style feast more to your liking? Does a self-serve buffet fit the bill? Only you and your fiancé know best about what suits your style, taste and budget. Some couples may order pizzas to be delivered every hour on the hour. Other couples might choose to have a late-night ceremony and serve tapas style snacks alongside a dessert buffet. It’s all in what’s meaningful to you. Wedding & Event Catering

Signature Drink

Creating and serving a signature drink can be a fun way to lighten the seemingly neverending wedding planning mood of appointments and writing deposit checks. Experiment with some liquor, fruit juice or fizzing drinks and see what you come up with. Embellish with monogrammed drink umbrellas or stamp your bar napkins for some added details.

Scheduled or Free-Flowing?

Do you foresee a structured evening that has a ton of events including first dances, speeches, garter tossing, and watching a video montage? Or, do you just want a low-key, lots of mingling, free-flowing party? It is important to decide early on which traditions you wish to incorporate, if any, and how and when those events will occur as the night progresses.


Many families like to offer their guests a night to remember by having some spectacular fire dancers or having musical entertainment booked. Decide what suits you best. Perhaps you forego the DJ and present a live band. Maybe you decide to have a campfire outdoors instead of a home movie. As already stated, the trick to making this an enjoyable experience is to be true to yourselves and incorporate items that mean something to the two of you.

Tips For Planning an Unforgettable Wedding

A wedding is a public celebration of a couple’s love. Particularly for women, weddings are special events that have been imagined for a lifetime. Therefore many brides-to-be feel pressure for the wedding to be flawless. If you want your wedding to be worry-free and smooth running, here are some planning tips that you might find helpful in your wedding preparations.

Set Realistic Expectations

One of the most essential wedding planning tips that you need to consider even before you start planning for your big day is setting realistic expectations of what you want. In some instances, you can overwhelm yourself if you have unrealistic ideas. Women want their weddings to be unique and sometimes they may even think of never-been-done-before ideas that can lead to disappointments if their expectations are not met. To have a wonderful wedding that will bring you joy rather than stress, it is important that you set your goals on things that are special yet realistic. Don’t create needless anxiety for yourself by pursuing the impossible.

Hire a Professional Wedding Planner

Sometimes people will ask family members and friends to act as their wedding planner. With all of the stress and responsibility of preparing a wedding, most people are not able to shoulder everything that must be done. This can even strain relationships with loved ones if the expectations are not met. If you want to ensure that your wedding will be handled with precision, you should hire a professional wedding planner to help you with the preparations for the big day. A wedding planner will take care of even the most minute details to make your wedding a total success.

Some of the details to be considered include taking care of the wedding music, making sure that the venue is decorated, ensuring that the rings are on the premises and ready to go, and many other little details that need to be looked after. As the bride, this is your special day and certainly you will not be in a position to take care of these things. It is wise to have a wedding planner working on your behalf to take care of all of these things that require attention.

wedding_2327459bPrepare Your Own Vows

Writing your own wedding vows is a personal touch that will make your ceremony intimate regardless of its size. You and your fiance will cherish forever the opportunity to speak from the heart about one another in front of your gathered loved ones. This is definitely one of the simplest yet most meaningful things you can do as part of your nuptials.

In closing, keep in mind these basic wedding planning tips — especially hiring a wedding planner. Also, talk to your friends and relatives who have been through the same experience. Ask them to share the things that made their weddings fabulous, the things they forgot to do and the things they wouldn’t bother with at all if they had to do it again. Their answers will give you the information you need to make your wedding unforgettable.

Planning For the Arrival of a New Baby

Planning for the arrival of a new baby doesn’t have to be a stressful situation. Remember, you are a resourceful person and we live in a modern society with every available convenience. This is a most joyous, miraculous and exciting time in your life. Try to focus on the sheer amazement of nature and the human life growing each day inside of you when things seem overwhelming.

Your body is changing, freedom as you have only known is fleeting and you find yourself rearranging your home to accommodate the newest member of the family. There are some easy things you can do ahead of time to make this transition go as smooth as possible.

Baby Furniture

Having a crib or bassinet on hand before you bring baby home will help you establish a sense of boundaries and routine. Many parents enjoy the convenience of a change table to accommodate all of the diaper changes. The ever popular gliding rocking chair and matching rocking ottoman will offer you a haven for late night feedings. Have a warm chenille throw on hand and some slippers nearby in case you have an unexpected sleepover with the baby.


Everyone involved is going to have their own expectations and ideals of what to expect and what is important when welcoming the baby. This is a time to practice genuine patience and compassion. You need to have patience with yourself and your drastically altered physique. You need to have patience with your fluctuating hormones and bouts between outrageous laughter and unexpected tears.

It’s a good idea to have patience with your closet and all of the clothes and shoes that no longer fit right. It is also important to have patience with all the friends, family members and coworkers who are giving you copious amounts of advice, regardless if you asked for it or not.

Mostly, decide to have patience with your partner whom is also embarking on the mysterious and wonderfully enlightening journey of parenthood along with you. You will both see certain aspects of being a parent differently and this is normal. Being able to effectively communicate your thoughts and feelings from a place of respect and teamwork will get you through your most challenging times.


Diapers are going to become your newest hobby. Decide whether you are going the cloth or disposable route and stock up. Many parents hire a diaper service to arrange pick-up and drop-off of the diapers. Whichever route you decide on, stock up on some natural, unfragranced baby wipes to keep everything fresh and clean.

Keep a Cabbage In the Fridge

Breastfeeding mom’s often experience painful, engorged breasts. This condition can be easily remedied by placing some raw cabbage leaves into your bra. This natural home remedy keeps everything soothed and un-inflamed. Have one onhand close to your due date. It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Prepare To Be Housebound

Having a newborn means hours of blissful napping together, nursing together and taking so much effort to leave the house that you may just decide to stay home. Bunker down with your creature comforts. If you have a taste for dark chocolate, stock up. If you are lucky enough to make time to read your novel each day, be sure to have the next book in the series on hand. How is your pajama selection these days? Yoga pants and easy-to-nurse tops may become your new uniform. Be sure you have all the appropriate undergarments and clothing to be comfortable in your new career as a loving and doting mom.

Planning For a Family Vacation


Planning for a family vacation can be an exciting activity for every member of the family. It is great to start planning ahead of time if possible so that you have adequate time to brainstorm. Lots of families have the option of planning their holidays at least a year in advance; however, many other families fly by the seat of their pants due to their jobs. Some jobs offer a well-organized schedule, while others are more spontaneous. Regardless of how your holidays flow, you can start planning at home anytime and have your idea preparation completed.


Is your family happier by open water and is a beach vacation on the top of your list? Is sun and sand and water your main requirements for a relaxing getaway? Figure out what activities everyone likes to do. If the kids are living on their bikes this year, then perhaps packing them along is something to take into consideration.


Are you more into experiencing a rustic adventure? If yes, setting up a tent, renting an RV or booking a campground cabin may be up your alley. If family time in an unplugged fashion is important to you and if you love cooking over a fire and seeing the stars away from the city lights, a camping vacation may be just the call to nature you are craving.

Five-star Resorts

Perhaps you wish to be pampered and enjoy someone else doing all the meal preparation. Booking a relaxation or deep tissue massage and spending a day at the spa might be your ultimate form of indulgence. Many resorts offer kid’s programs so that they can be entertained and crafting away being creative while you are sipping a mimosa poolside. The possibilities are endless. Some beach side hotels even offer kid’s day trips to go out on the water with sailing lessons, clam digging and wildlife viewing.

The Cruise Adventure

This is a win-win for every member of the family. The cruising option leaves no stone uncovered. If you want to experience local culture, get off ship during the 6 to 8 hours you will be docking in various cities. This gives you a great chance to explore local cuisine and try new things in different countries.

When you are on board however, you can take in the waterslides, the hot tubs and pool, the movie theatre and the fun on-board entertainment. Again, Mom and Dad can have adult time if they wish with the super convenient on-board babysitting services that include day, afternoon and evening activities specifically designed for the kids.

54eaba6ab774f_-_wd-s-guide-to-planning-a-family-vacation-mdnThe Ultimate Drive

Perhaps you want to see as much of your natural surroundings as possible and budget is a concern. Many people cannot afford to fly their family all over the country. This doesn’t mean your vacation has to be any less spectacular. Load up the family vehicle and get lost in your own area. Pack a cooler with food and drinks and see where the day takes you. Exploring your local fishing hole, museum or downtown shopping may be the answer.

Water Sports

If everyone likes to be on the water and renting a houseboat or a boat is out of the budget, consider spending an afternoon exploring some water sports. Having a fun afternoon sharing some seadoos or kayaks can be a memorable event for everyone. Many water sport rentals offer different size water craft that is suitable for those who like a leisurely paddle to those who prefer full throttle. Canoeing can be relaxing as is stand up paddle boarding or tubing behind a larger boat can be a blast. Take some water ski lessons and enjoy this time with your family.

Planning For a Dinner Party


Planning for a dinner party can be a blast as long as you can keep an open mind. If you obsess over every last detail, you may take the fun out of the entire event and transform it into a stressful ordeal. Stick to a backbone plan outline and it will all work out well.

Pick a Theme

If you incorporate a theme into the dishes you desire serving, you can really make this a night to remember. For instance, if your famous spaghetti can easily feed a dozen of your closest friends, consider implementing an “Italian Theme.” Ask one couple to be in charge of the garlic bread appy and another to serve a pastry dessert. Another couple could be in charge of decor and drop off the required table cloths and candles.

Free Decorating Ideas

Give yourself a couple of weeks notice to plan this big event. This way, you will have time to meal plan, shop accordingly and pick up or make homemade decorations. Use the Internet or visit your local library to do a little research about your theme ahead of time. This will enable you to incorporate authentic colors and textures for your re-creation.

Who’s Coming?

This can be a fun night to enjoy with your closest friends or an exciting opportunity to meet the new neighbors. Decide what kind of evening you want to create and then go for it.


Printing off some custom made invitations will help your communicate your intentions for your guests. For instance, mentioning that there is a specific dress code, assigning dishes or beverages to contribute and asking for feedback regarding any allergies to be aware of or asking for a music list will give your guests a few weeks to prepare and think about your party.

Include Your Email For Feedback

Be sure to incorporate a return email or cell number for texting so that your guests can communicate with you. It’s great to handle every last detail on your own; however, it’s even better to be inviting people who you can ask to pick up something along the way. Being personable or becoming closer often one of the main reasons for having a dinner party in the first place.


Having a theme party can give you numerous avenues to explore. Table settings, center pieces, atmospheric lighting, ambiance, candles and chair decor can all contribute to your overall theme. Do you need live houseplants to create a jungle or thriving atmosphere? Do you need LED lighting to set the mood? Do you have a fireplace on hand that you can use?

What colors are specific to your theme? Do you need a red rose, black and white murder mystery feel? Asking guests to come dressed a certain way can help create the atmosphere once everyone arrives.

Food Preparation

Make some detailed lists for the grocery store. Consider making your handmade chocolate desserts or brownies, or pies or squares or cookies or cakes ahead of time and freezing them. This will save you time on the big day.


Incorporate enough time to dust, wash the floors, counters, appliances, baseboards, entryway mats etc. before the big party. You don’t want to use up all your time in the kitchen and be rushing to clean the house before everyone comes.