Thursday, June 19, 2014

Guest Post: Fabulous bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts

Meet Ann
Today's guest post is brought to you by Ann Harris of Beauty Makeup Online. Ann lives in Melbourne, Australia with her lovely husband and two beautiful children. She loves to write about love, relationships, beauty, weddings, DIY, and more. 

David and I both struggled with finding the perfect bridal party gifts. I ended up giving each bridesmaid a robe, slippers, and wedding day jewelry in a jewelry pouch. David was more personable and found different gifts for each groomsen including a vintage pipe holder, DVD set, and computer gadget. He also included the pocket square and fun dress socks to wear at the ceremony.

For those of you looking for some unique ideas, Ann has come up with a list of the 7 fabulous gifts for both bridesmaids and groomsmen! 

the Bride

7 Fabulous Bridesmaids and Groomsmen Gifts

Picking out a gift for someone is hard enough, but it gets even more challenging when you have to shop for several bridesmaids and groomsmen who have varying tastes and personalities. For soon-to-be married couples who are stuck and cannot figure out what to give their dear friends as a token of appreciation for helping celebrate their union below are excellent suggestions.

Bridesmaids Gifts

Certificate for a Spa Weekend
There is no woman who would turn down three days and two nights of mind-numbing pampering, especially when it is free. Brides usually invite their closest female friends to their wedding so giving the girls the pampering of a lifetime is always a winner. The spa certificates can be for the same package, or you may also opt for varied treatments to suit the preferences of each bridesmaid.

Among the most popular treatments include rejuvenating facials, deep tissue massage, detox salt baths, and mineral mud wrapping. Any of these treatments would certainly be appreciated by your bridesmaids.

Dalton Blue Note by Crane & Co
Personalized Scented Stationery
If your bridesmaids still subscribe to the merits of putting pen on paper and leaving quick notes as opposed to text messaging, a set of personalized stationery would make for a great gift. 

Certain high-end stationery stores (many of which can be found online) can create lovely scents specifically for stationery, and you even get to pick from a wide array of fragrances.

Classy Clutch Bags
There are very few women in the world who would turn down a free bag, especially one that is one-of-a-kind. Classy clutches would definitely count as a very thoughtful gift your bridesmaids, especially if they can be used for casual as well as formal events. The clutch bags can come in any color, shape, size, and accents (i.e., sequins etc.). 

Added bonus: You can pick out something that your bridesmaids can bring to the wedding.

Gift Certificate for Cooking Classes
Many women love to cook, and some would like to hone their culinary skills. A gift certificate for cooking classes (especially those taught by celebrity chefs) would be such a great gift for one or all your bridesmaids.

Kimonos by SunsetToSunrise
Monogrammed Robes
Decadence takes on many forms, one of which is a terrycloth or silk robe that is soft and luxurious to the touch. Online specialty stores offer monogramming, which would make the gift all the more special. 

Added bonus: You can take some cute bridesmaid photos while you're "getting ready" in your matching robes.

Scented Tranquility Candles
If you prefer to pamper your bridesmaids in the comfort of their own home, aromatic candles would make a fine gift. You may also opt for a package that includes essential oils, potpourri, and many other sweet-smelling goodies.

Necklaces by JewerlyByRMSmith.
Engraved Jewelry
Brides want their bridesmaids gifts to be as memorable as possible, and nothing can be more appealing than a piece of jewelry (bracelets, necklaces, earrings). Engraving is an option especially if you are getting the same item for all bridesmaids. 

Added bonus: You can pick out something you'd like your bridesmaids to wear for the ceremony! (That's one less thing they have to pay for.)

Groomsmen Gift Ideas

Microbrew of the Month Membership
A lot of guys like a good beer, and some of them prefer microbrews. A microbrew of the month membership (usually 6 months to one year) would be greatly appreciated by your male comrades, perhaps even more than a very expensive bottle of Scotch.

Tickets to a Sporting Event
If one or more of your male friends likes sports, tickets to see their favorite team would be an excellent gift. Ideas include: football, golf, hockey, basketball, baseball, and racing. If you can afford it, try to get excellent seats so that they really feel part of the action.

Personalized Beer Mugs
If your friends love beer, they would certainly appreciate a personalized beer mug. Wooden mugs are a tip of the hat to old speakeasies and the tradition of drinking beer at the end of a particularly grueling work day...or you may prefer a etched glass stein.

Skeleton Pocket Watch
by Things Remembered
Monogrammed Pocket Watches
Not a lot of grooms can afford to gift Rolex watches, so personalized pocket watches are the next best thing. 

This kind of timepiece may be outdated by any standard, but it is certainly novel to have on hand. Men do appreciate excellent timepieces, even those that cost about $50-$100.

Added bonus: You can have your groomsmen wear their watches if you're doing a vintage theme.

Laser Tag Tickets
Grown men who still enjoy childhood activities would definitely like laser tag tickets. This provides the groom a choice of getting together with friends after the wedding. This is quite a fun gift and one that almost no one would turn down. Other ideas include miniature golf or go-karts.

A Day on the Track
If one or several of your groomsmen like to race, a track day would do very well as a token. Some track racing packages even provide a choice of cars, from run-of-the-mill Japanese cars, to exotic cars such as Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Maseratis.

Swiss Army Midnite MiniChamp
Swiss Army Knife
A Swiss Army Knife is something both practical and nostalgic. These multi-tools are indispensable and useful. Besides the typical knife blade, they may also include the following: scissors, screwdriver, bottle opener, light, nail file, keychain, and pen.

Some come in different colors and may have the option for engraving.

When choosing gifts for your bridal party, it is always ideal to factor in the personality and interest of each individual. While there are generic gifts available, it pays to go the extra mile so as to convey the couple’s gratitude for sharing in their very special day.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Why I don't shave anymore...

In March, I saw a TV commercial for the Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X and was immediately intrigued by the possibility of never having to shave my legs again. I was impressed with the positive reviews I read online, but was not impressed with the price. I constantly hear radio ads and see Groupon deals for laser treatments, but upon further research, I would discover that for permanent results, it would require multiple (costly) treatment sessions. When I was researching the Tria, I kept seeing (positive) reviews for the Silk'n Flash&Go. What was even more appealing about the Flash&Go was the price. After reading tons of reviews and price-matching, I found a great deal at Bed, Bath, & Beyond by using a 20% off coupon as well as Ebates.

I did my first Flash&Go treatment on March 22nd and repeated it every 2 weeks for a total of 4 treatments. I am now on Treatments 5-7 (which are planned for 4 weeks apart) before moving onto Treatments 8+ (as needed). After the first 2-3 treatments, I saw a big difference in the slowing of hair growth. After only 2 months, I am seeing minimal hair growth, and shaving my legs maybe once every 2-3 weeks to get rid of any "stubble" I feel. I am ecstatic with the results and can't wait until I can finally throw my razor away!

If you hate shaving or waxing, I highly recommend investing in the Silk'n Flash&Go. I feel like it was money well spent and I am very satisfied with my purchase. A few things to keep in mind before making the investment:

  1. It is not recommended for darker complexions. (I am Asian and do tan easily, but my actual complexion is not very dark). According to the website FAQ, "Do not use Flash&Go on naturally dark complexion. Flash&Go removes unwanted hair by selectively addressing hair pigment. Varied quantities of pigment also exist in the surrounding tissue of skin. The quantity of pigment in a particular person's skin, which is manifested by their skin complexion, determines the degree of risk they are exposed to using Flash&Go. Treating dark skin can result in adverse effects such as burns, blisters, and skin color changes (hyper- or hypo-pigmentation)."
  2. It works best on dark hair. I have dark brown/black hair. "Treatments work best on darker hair types or hair that contains more melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives hair and skin color, and absorbs light energy. Black and dark brown respond the best, although brown and light brown hairs will also respond, but typically require more treatments. Red may show some response. White, grey or blonde hairs usually don't respond as well to treatments."
  3. Be prepared to purchase extra lamp cartridges. Each lamp cartridge is supposed to contain 5,000 pulses/flashes. The kit came with 2 cartridges (for a total of 5,000 flashes). I was able to do 5+ treatments on my lower legs and underarms before having to switch to the 2nd cartridge. Fortunately, I am not a very "hairy" person to begin with and only have to shave my lower legs, so that probably let me get a lot more sessions out of the individual cartridges (vs. someone who has to treat their upper legs). I am also pretty short, so have a smaller area to treat than someone who is taller.
  4. Be prepared. It's not completely painless. I use the 2nd to lowest setting because I did get some irritation the first time I used it. If my skin feels extra sensitive, I just turn it down lower. Flash&Go is said to be safe for your eyes but I think it's wise to invest in a pair of safety glasses that are approved for IPL use. (Your eyes and vision are priceless and it's better to be safe than sorry!)
Feel free to ask me any questions about my experience with the Silk'n Flash&Go! I'll do my best to answer them. And for you brides out there, wouldn't this be a great pre-wedding gift to yourselves? :)

the Bride

I was not compensated for this post. I decided to write about my experience with the Silk'n Flash&Go after seeing great results.