Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Stand Up To Cancer

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Adventurous Honeymoon Ideas

Thursday, March 19, 2009
Honeymoons for our Adventurous Type Couples...

Costa Rica has been called a playground for adults, and for good reason. Not only will you enjoy beautiful beaches and hot nightlife, but active adventurers can do everything from whitewater rafting and mountain biking to surfing and fishing. And, if you're truly daring, consider swinging through the rainforest on a canopy tour. With the help of an adventure company, you'll use a harness and dangle from a cable from treetop to treetop, all while literally getting a birds eye view. Last, but certainly not least, Costa Rica boasts one of the top dive sites in the world in Isla del Coco where the reefs are teeming with everything from hammerhead sharks to manta rays.

Ever thought of a trip to Alaska? Where else can you see both lush rain forest and amazing glaciers? See humpback whales and moose from the comfort of a cruise ship, then choose helicopter rides, rainforest ziplines, or rock-climbing on port calls. Or spot moose, eagles, salmon, beaver, and bears from the thrill of a whitewater rafting trip. And, if its romantic seclusion with an adventure twist you're looking for, consider a backcountry lodge or fishing lodge.

Winter Wonderlands

If you love to ski, then Colorado is the place for you. Combine some of the best powder in the world with the glamour of historic ski resorts. Hit Aspen for both expert runs and a great beginner mountain, as well as a real town with Victorian architecture. Head to Beckinridge for a more affordable trip with rustic appeal and great slopes, or go to the country's most celebrated ski resort Vail, where 5000 acres of skiable terrain and a free bus system means that you can concentrate on getting down the slopes.

For the jet-set, St. Moritz, Switzerland is the place to ski, where you can choose from bowl skiing, cross-country, the vertical drops of Piz Nair, or the Olympic ski-jumping hill. Brush elbows with European royalty, while you gaze at the bucolic sites of chalets nestled in the hills.

And if you enjoy the snow more than the sports, check out Canada's many destination spots, especially Churchill, Manitoba where from October to early November you can see hundreds of polar bears along with helicopter tours of the tundra, dog sled races, and the northern lights.

Urban Nightlife and Culture

Las Vegas is a newly reinvented honeymoon destination. Once mostly casinos and strip bars, the city now boasts some amazing celebrity-frequented dance clubs, four-star restaurants headed by the country's most well-known chefs, and spectacular shows such as Cirque du Soleil. While the city boasts it's own Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Sphinx and Pyramid, don't come here looking for fine-art museums or high culture. Instead, celebrate the kitsch with a visit to the Liberace museum, a turn at the slots, a cheesy floor show, or the thrill of riding a rollercoaster inside your hotel.

New York City will always be the romance capital of the world. From the simple pleasures of a hand-in-hand stroll through Central Park, to the excitement of Times Square just before showtime, you'll feel like you're starring in one of the hundreds of romantic movies that have chosen New York as their soundstage. Hit the nightclubs, fill your belly at one of the hundreds of celebrated restaurants, visit world-renowned museums and adventurous galleries, and don't forget to bring some extra cash and an empty suitcase for the shopping.

While Jamaica is known for its white sand beaches, and breathtaking waterfalls, it's a great spot to party too. Drink the famous rum while listening to reggae and dancing on the beach. Or hit one of the many nightclubs for a mix of reggae, pop, and soca. The truly adventurous can head to Hedonism II, known for its toga parties, nude pool, and scenery of other couples en flagrante delicto, if you know what I mean. You can have the best of both worlds by hitting Montego Bay or Negril for the nightlife, then spending a few days in romantic seclusion near the Blue Lagoon, Black River, or Somerset Falls.

For more about honeymoon planning, including where to go, budget planners, and hot deals, check out About.com's Guide to Honeymoons and Romantic Getaways

By Nina Callaway, About.com

Top Honeymoon Ideas and Locations

Looking for a hot honeymoon idea that will fit your style? Here are the best and most popular honeymoon locations from beaches and romantic getaways to hot nightlife and adventures.

If You're Looking for Beaches

It's hard to beat Hawaii. With amazing beaches with surfer-quality waves and romantic scenery, you can hit the surf by day, and still turn up the romance at night. When you're ready for more adventure, ride a mountain bike down a dormant volcano, or witness the amazing scene that is an active one.

Mexico also offers amazing waves, a sophisticated culture with artwork and amazing food, and can be more affordable than other beach honeymoon destinations. In fact, it is overall one of the most cost-effective places to travel, especially if you can find a good flight deal. Avoid the touristy Cancun, and instead head for surfer hot spots like Puerto Escondido, Puerto Vallarta or Tulum.

If you're looking for a spot where every day is a great beach day, head for Aruba. The desert-like atmosphere and location far south of the hurricane belt means that you're practically guaranteed to have every day be sunny and beautiful. The hundreds of miles of white sand beaches, and turquoise waters will help you enjoy sunbathing and water sports, while at night you can hit the nightlife in Oranjestad.

And don't forget Fiji, a great choice for October brides, when you can go scuba diving and see the coral reef system bloom. You'll also get the wonder of leaving wintery weather behind for Fiji's 80 degree temps.

The Most Romantic Honeymoon Spots

You'll feel like you're on a movie set when you're in Tahiti sitting on the deck of a resort looking out over stunningly-blue waters while drinking fresh pineapple cocktails. In fact Tahiti, along with its sister islands of Moorea and Bora Bora, is a favorite vacation spot of Hollywood couples. While you're there, eat delicious tropical fish, watch Polynesian dance performances, walk through rainforests and waterfalls, before falling asleep in an overwater bungalow.

Paris usually gets all the credit for romantic European spots, but I recommend honeymooners check out the beautiful cities of Italy, where the piazzas of Rome and Florence are full of lovers eating at al fresco cafes with strolling musicians nearby. Spend a few days a short trip away in Venice where you can be serenaded by a Gondolier, and set a goal to kiss on every bridge in the city. Or visit Tuscany where wine tours can be combined with seeing Renaissance churches and lush countryside.

Closer to home, upstate New York is brimming with romance in fall, when Mother Nature puts on a show, or in winter where you can find reasons to snuggle on a snowy sleigh-ride. New York now boasts some world-renowned wineries, and a wine tour is tailor-made for lovebird honeymooners.

Or for a change, see the world's most spectacular sunsets from the private terrace of your hotel room in Santorini Island, Greece. Perched on the crater or caldera, formed when an ancient volcano erupted, there's hardly a bad view in the house. For the most romantic vacation, avoid the tourist-packed months of July and August.

By Nina Callaway, About.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Top Ten Wedding Planning Tips

Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Planning a Wedding is one of the most exciting and rewarding things a person will ever do, but it is also one of the most stressful. As a wedding coordinator I see all of the excitement and frustrations that a bride goes through. The following is a list of tips that I give brides that I work with. We have found them very helpful, and I believe you will too.

1. Start planning as early as possible. Places and service providers are booked earlier and earlier each year. So to insure that you get exactly what you want, start early. It also gives you plenty of time to find investigate other options if your first choice does not work out.

2. Know your service providers. The reputation of the service providers you choose is of the utmost importance. Avoid unpleasant surprises on the day of your wedding by selecting service providers with impeccable records.

3. Put everything in writing. When you book your service providers, anything that you discuss, including special arrangements or deals, that you want included in your package for the quoted price make certain is written in the contract. People can't remember promises they made to you a year ago verbally, so make sure all the details are written in the signed contract.

4. Be organized. In order to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the number of tasks ahead of you, stay organized. Make an action plan by week of what you are going to do, and keep track of progress. This will help you to keep your thoughts and plans in order.

5. Pursue proper etiquette. Following proper etiquette has two advantages. Firstly, you will avoid embarrassing social blunders that can ruin your most special day. Secondly, since weddings are an emotional event for everyone involved, not just the bride and groom, it is important to keep all relevant parties happy and excited. By following the proper rules of etiquette you can never go wrong. People cannot argue with what is right!

6. Invite people to participate in your wedding party because they care about you, not out of obligation. I can't tell you how often a bride asks someone to be in her wedding out of obligation, and is only frustrated by that individual's lack of interest and participation. This is the one of the most important days of your life. Only involve people who genuinely share in your happiness and love. If they don't, there is no way they can behave the way you might expect them to. It is impossible.
7. Watch your budget. It is very easy to get drawn into spending more on your wedding than you planned or may be able to. There are so many wonderful choices available to brides that you should not have to put yourself in debt to have the wedding you want. If you start out with a budget, stick to it and find alternatives that allow you to do that. You do not want to start your new life with your partner paying off wedding bills for years to come!

8. Compromise. Knowing how to compromise will save a lot of stress through the planning process. You, your groom, and families all should enjoy the wedding and be proud of it. While the bride and groom should do what makes them happy, be open to suggestions and sensitive to the feelings of those around you. If you disagree with their recommendations, speak about it calmly and diplomatically until an understanding is reached. It will make the day more enjoyable for all!
9. Confirm and follow-up. Make sure as the date gets closer, about 2 months before, that you follow-up with your service providers such as the band, limos, photographer, florist, and videographer to confirm your arrangements, provide any last minute instructions, and reiterate timing of all activities. It will make you feel secure and will insure that they understand your expectations.

10. Relax and enjoy! It is a fun, happy, beautiful time. Do not let the planning process mask that for you. Take moments to step back and enjoy what is happening. Especially the day of your wedding, just enjoy it. At that point, you have done all you can and it is in the hands of the trustworthy people you have hired.

By Karen BentleyBentley Event Coordinators, LLCwww.bentleyevents.com

Bouquet Jewelry "The Hottest New Wedding Accessory"

Bouquet Jewelry is a hot new bridal accessory that is being used to accentuate and personalize bridal bouquets. They are also turning up in bridesmaid’s flowers, boutonnieres, centerpieces, and even customizing the wedding cake. The jewelry is usually inserted into the bouquet by a six inch post, but may also be attached to stems and hand-tied ribbons.

A popular choice is Swarovski crystal monograms using the bride and groom’s initials. They may choose to use the initial for each of their first names as well as the initial for the groom’s last name. Six mm faux diamonds can also be inserted into the center of each flower to give the bouquet a dazzling new look.

Besides monograms, most online companies have the same selection of jewels: pearl clusters, bows, snowflake, bee, frog, dragonfly, starfish, flip flop sandal, palm tree, butterfly and crucifix. The bee only comes in clear crystal and the frog and palm tree come only in peridot crystals. The flip flop sandal comes in blue or pink. Pearls come in pink, yellow, white, blue, green, lavendar, peach, champagne and platinum. The bows come in a wide range of colors with gold or silver plating.

The prices range from $12.00 (snowflake) to $20.00 (dragonfly) each. Some are sold individually while others have a discount if you purchase in groups of ten. The crystal bee sells for $18.00 each and $153.00 for ten. That would be a savings of $27.00. The starfish sells for $13.00 each and $110.00 for ten. That would be a $20.00 discount.

The bouquet jewelry should be chosen to reflect the bride’s personal taste or reflect the theme of the wedding. Starfish, flip flop sandals and palm trees would be perfect for a beach theme wedding. The crystal crucifix would reflect a more solemn and spiritual wedding and could also be used around the holidays.

The bride and groom can continue to use the jewelry long after the wedding for holiday centerpieces and floral arrangements. They should choose the colors carefully, because many online companies advise they are non returnable and non refundable.

Submitted by Kathleen Terrana, the owner of Beautiful Bridal

Six Unique Wedding Centerpiece Ideas

A lot of planning goes into creating the wedding of your dreams. A large part of your budget and time will be dedicated to your wedding reception. The menu, entertainment, decorations and wedding favors you choose are all important parts of your big day.

Wedding centerpieces can play a large part in helping to set the theme and tone of your reception. You want your wedding to be memorable, and the centerpieces you choose can help set your wedding apart from all the others.

Wedding guests often times don’t notice or remember the small details of weddings. However, one of the few things that guests often remember are the wedding centerpieces you choose. They will be looking at them for four or five hours during your reception, so why not do something unique and different?

Usually when most people think of wedding centerpieces the first thing that comes to mind is flowers. While most wedding centerpieces have at least some flowers in them, choosing a unique wedding centerpiece idea allows you to stand out from the crowd.

Here are six unique wedding centerpiece ideas:

1. Even if you do choose a flower-based centerpiece, you can still add some uniqueness to your reception tables by choosing unique vases or containers to hold the flowers. Ideas include square vases, vases with a design or color and even a unique shape like the Eiffel tower. Sophie's Keepsakes offers wonderful flower vases to use as centerpieces, one of our favorites is our Square Glass Photo Vase.

Our exclusive Square Glass Photo Vase is one product that you'll be able to use for all occasions. From a wedding day accessory to an essential office supply, this multi-purpose square vase will be used for years to come! Fashioned in well structured glass, the four-sided accessory display features four slots to enter your favorite photos. Place in images of you and the one you love the most, fill it with fresh cut flowers and place it on top of your wedding cake for a topper or use as a centerpiece that is literally filled with your love!

2. Simply adding things to your flower vases can make your centerpieces unique. For example, add color by adding a few drops of dye to match your wedding colors, or add pearls to the bottom of the vases.

3. Add other things like fruit, stones or candles to your flower wedding centerpieces. Fruit like lemons, limes and oranges are perfect for spring and summer weddings. Candles come in many shapes and sizes, and they can really help to set the mood of your reception.

4. Use your wedding theme for unique wedding centerpiece ideas. For example, in the fall add pumpkins, leaves or apples to your centerpiece to help finish off a fall-themed wedding. For a beach-themed wedding add items like shells and sand.

5. Combine your wedding centerpieces with your wedding favors. Have small potted plants in the center which can double as favors. Or, have frames with different photos in each displayed in the center of the table.

6. Cake wedding centerpieces can also be fun. Have small or mini individual wedding cakes in the center of each table as your centerpiece. Each table can have a uniquely decorated cake for your guests to enjoy. Don't be afraid to use your creativity to come up with your own unique wedding centerpiece idea. For more ideas on cakes visit Sophie's favorite bakery, Yummy Cakes and More!

Article Author: Stephen Badiali of
Wedding Ideas Guide

10 Wedding Mistakes to Avoid

Hey Everyone,

I found this article that is a must read for any bride planning a wedding. Your wedding is one of the most special days of your life. And it involves a lot of planning, you of course want it to be perfect but there are small mistakes that brides end up doing that can actually take the life away from you come wedding day. On Bended Knee Wedding Coordinator, Jackie Baird, out of Los Angeles wants to help you avoid these common wedding pitfalls...

Let's Begin...

# 10: Don't Rock the Cash Bar- When it comes to alcohol at your reception, what you serve is entirely up to you. Whether you choose to serve a full bar, limited cocktails, Beer and Wine, or no alcohol at all will be based on various factors including budget. The one option that is not recommended is a Cash Bar. Your guests should be gracious enough to accept what is being offered to them. If however a guest feels the need for a drink selection that is not offered, chances are that he or she will be resourceful enough to find it.Also, request that bartenders not put out tip jars. If you are hosting the bar, tell your catering contact that you are happy to pay gratuity to the bartender(s) but that you do not want your guests to feel obligated to tip.

#9: Go flat - A huge number of brides give feedback that they wish they had worn flats, having kicked off their heels during the reception. As a bride you can expect to be standing for 8-12 hours on your wedding day. Be sure to break in your shoes well in advance. Even when wearing flats, unexpected blisters can form after a few hours on your feet.

#8: Have a little faith - D.J.'s are perhaps the wedding vendor most micromanaged by couples. Too many song requests may actually impede the flow of your party. You hire your D.J. to judge when to play what music. You wouldn't instruct your Caterer step by step on how to prepare food, or your Photographer on what angles and lenses to use. Limit your D.J. request list to a few favorites and a do-not-play list of only the songs you cannot stand. Do not get carried away and have some trust.

#7: Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize - What really matters most to you, the photographer, the music and dancing, the food and wine, the decorations, or being able to accommodate a large guest list? Put your money towards what you care about. You will have regrets if you skimp on what really counts. When you, the Bride and Groom are not footing the bill yourselves however, you may have to forfeit some financial decision-making. If this is the case you will need to compromise on certain priorities or if you really want that pricey photographer offer to pay for one yourself.

#6: Bibbity Bobbity Boo - Wedding Dress shops are notorious for having your dress shipped in at the last minute. Think about it, if you owned a Wedding Dress Boutique you wouldn't want every brides dress held at your shop for nine+ months before their weddings. Schedule your first fitting well before your wedding. Your final dress fitting should be no less than 1 week prior to your wedding so that alterations can still be made. Tuxedo rentals for all attendants must be tried on, that includes Dad. Whether the Tailor seemed to take precise measurements or not, too many men still show up at weddings with high waters or baggy tuxes.

#5: Don't hit the road, Jack - Your wedding day is one of the biggest, most important days of your life. You will be exhausted and a bit disorderly the following day. Going away is the last thing you will want to worry about. Wait at least a couple of days before venturing on your honeymoon. Your wits will thank you.

#4: Last night of single life - DO NOT hold your Bachelor or Bachelorette party the night before your wedding! This may seem like a no-brainer but many brides and grooms still practice the archaic ritual of drinking all night on that fatal evening. It is simply not worth it, as the Bride/Groom and your attendants will no doubt feel tired, look tired, have a hangover, or worse be sick walking down the aisle. If necessary, request that any out of town attendants arrive a day earlier to help you to prepare and celebrate a different night.

#3: No Guidance - With no Director there are too many details left to too many people at your ceremony. Having a Wedding Coordinator allows for one person to coordinate your wedding party processional, music, minister, seating guests and to resolve any unexpected last minute complications. A Coordinator will ease the stress level of everyone, including you, tremendously on your wedding day. So if your location does not include a Wedding Day Coordinator who also directs your rehearsal, hire your own. A Wedding Coordinator may be much more affordable than you think.

#2: Stretching yourself too thin- As the bride you will make everyone around you crazy by waiting until the last minute in planning and finalizing details. If you have a hard time planning and prioritizing on your own then get help. You don't want to be remembered as “one of those brides” that put everything off and then expected her friends and family to pick up the pieces, do you? Do not commit yourself to social events the day before your wedding. This day is meant for you to wrap up loose ends, beautify yourself, attend your rehearsal and rehearsal dinner in many cases, and most importantly get some amount of rest for the day ahead. You are going to need it!

#1: High demands - Try to keep in mind that although your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen may offer you extra help, these friends can become taken advantage of. The only "official obligations" of wedding party members are emotional support, the financial expense of wedding attire and travel, participation in the rehearsal and the obvious role on your wedding day. In the case of the MOH or BM, reception toasts are traditional as well. Other help that these individuals may offer should not be viewed as duties, but rather as acts of kindness including: setting up/tearing down, transporting ceremony goods, throwing a bridal shower or other party, distributing gratuities, and any other help that is offered. Remember to be thoughtful towards your attendants. Bridesmaids may not be comfortable in 4 inch heels, purchasing new jewelry or paying to have their hair or makeup professionally styled. Do not forget to personally thank any bridal party members for taking part in your wedding, as well as family members who gave you assistance. A small thank you gift is always appreciated.

Article Author:Jackie Baird, owner of
On Bended Knee, Wedding Coordination

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Free Prizes and Vacations and Diamonds! OH, MY!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Great news, I got my hands on some awesome sweepstakes that you all can enter for a chance to win fabulous prizes. I’m going to try my best to give as much advance notice about them as I can, but for these first few ones, you better hurry up and register because there’s not much time left! Good Luck!

  • Hallmark: The Perfect Start Sweepstakes
    You could win $4,000 for your perfect start + a year of FREE greeting cards from Hallmark Gold Crown. No purchase necessary. Enter for your chance to win at Hallmark.com/Brides.

    Go to Hallmark.com/Brides for official sweepstakes rules. Must be at least 18 years of age to enter. Sweepstakes began 12/16/08 and ends 03/16/2009.

  • NWA World Vacations : Destination Romance Sweepstakes
    Win a trip to one of 3 countries from NWA World Vacations, $500 in products from Destination Romance by Dawn. No purchase necessary. To enter, visit

    Go to
    www.destination-romance.com/trip for complete sweepstakes rules. Contest ends 03/31/2009.

  • Sandals: Dream Honeymoon
    Win a free one week honeymoon at the Sandals Resort of your choice. No purchase necessary. To enter, visit
    http://www.sandals.com/ido Sweepstakes ends 04/30/2009.

  • De Beers: Brides 75Th Birthday
    In honor of BRIDES 75Th birthday, De Beers is treating one lucky reader to a pair of stunning diamonds rings! It’s a once-in-a-lifetime prize to treasure forever. No purchase necessary. To enter, and for sweepstakes rules, visit
    www.brides.com/75 . Contest ends 4/6/2009.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hello, Everyone!

Thursday, March 5, 2009
Welcome to our blog! And thanks for taking a moment to read a little more about us!

Sophie’s Keepsakes is a trendy online boutique offering a unique collection of favors, personalized gifts, wedding gifts and much more. Follow us to stay up to date on the newest arrivals, sales and other special offers right here at Sophie’s Corner!

Aside from our up-to-date specials and offers on our fabulous product line, my girls and I are dedicated to finding and promoting valuable wedding blogs, vendor blogs and local businesses websites. We will also feature wedding inspiration and ideas, product reviews, vendor spotlights, advice and news, with a core focus on real brides’ wedding planning journeys from engagement to “I Do” and beyond.

With new blogs and websites coming online every second, we understand there are too many blogs to pay attention to, so our goal is to make sure the wedding blogs and websites that are worthy of your time will be displayed right here at
www.sophieskeepsakes.blogspot.com/ so we can connect you to the leading, independent businesses in a comfortable, chic environment.

Browse around, comment with your opinion of the blogs and websites we’ve showcased, and let us know if there is anything else you’d like to see and we’ll do our best to bring out the best in blogging.

I hope you enjoy our inspirations and favorite things in the wedding/gift industry as much as we do. Enjoy our blog and be sure to visit often!

Best Regards,
Design by Pocket
This template is brought to you by : allblogtools.com Blogger Templates