Thursday, April 25, 2013

5 Conversations You Should Have Before Tying The Knot

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You may be in premarital counseling now, or it might be the last thing on your mind. Either way, you already know there are a few delicate issues engaged couples are "supposed" to talk about before making it official. Here's what a few seasoned couples therapists say you should talk about before saying, "I do" (via

1. The Kids. If you haven't brought it up yet, now is the time to talk about whether you want children. But you shouldn't stop there. The experts think it's also important to discuss where each of you stand on issues that'll come up when you start trying to have kids and when they're actually around. For example, are you open to adoption if necessary? Or, how should the kids be disciplined when they disobey? These issues can become huge fights later, so it's better to go over them now.
It's okay to disagree on: The number of kids you want right now. "Once a couple has their first kid, they'll have a better idea of how many children they really want," says Jaclyn Bronstein, a licensed mental health counselor in New York. The number isn't as important as long as you agree on a timetable -- how many years you want to wait before you have children, according to Vivian Jacobs, a licensed marriage and family therapist in New York.

2. Money and your careers. Since one of the biggest things married couples fight about is finances, talk now to avoid arguments later. Decide whether you'll combine all your money or keep your accounts separate. Also, figure out which accounts you'll draw from for daily expenses and for large investments. If one of you is a spender and the other one is a saver, decide on amounts to set aside for the future and for personal spending that you both will be happy with. "No one has the right answer to what your money strategy should be," Jacobs says. "You just have to live within your budget, figure out what works for you, and be reasonable and communicate." Additionally, talk about your career plans. Where do you want to be in five years? How do you see your career, and your salary, progressing over your lifetime. Getting your expectations in line with reality will reduce money-related arguments later on, Jacobs says.
It's okay to disagree on: The number of hours you should be pulling at work right now. "If someone has a busy job and works 12- or 14-hour days, that might be a big issue at the beginning of a marriage," Bronstein says. "But maybe they agree that getting financially stable is more important in the long run." That's a trade-off that works, she says. 

For the other three tips, check out our source, 5 Conversations to Have Before Getting Married

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

5 Free Webinar Tips To Help Make Your Event Wildly Successful

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By B. Hopkins

Webinars are one of the most effective ways to market online. They have many advantages. Multiple forms of media can be used, presenters can interact with their audience and establish rapport through teaching and offering valuable information. They are a very effective way to sell products and also expand your influence in a niche. Here are five free webinar tips to help ensure your next event is wildly successful.

1. Plan your webinar ahead of time. You want your webinar to be entertaining, informative and concise. People are very busy these days and don't want to sit in front of the computer for hours, listening to someone ramble.

Keep you presentation interesting by using multiple forms of media such as slides, pictures and demonstrations using the Internet and other sources. Don't just use slides with lots of text.

A webinar is your opportunity to connect with your audience. Be sure to leave plenty of room for asking them questions and interacting with them throughout the presentation.

Once you have your presentation planned, practice, practice, practice. Make sure you are familiar with your webinar service technology as well.

2. Promote your webinar. Announce your webinar through your email list, write a post on your blog, post messages on your Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin accounts, and ask everyone you know to spread the word about your free event. Send out multiple messages so that people don't forget.

3. Enlist at least one co-presenter or helper. Webinars are often more interesting if there is more than one presenter. If it makes sense to have a co-presenter or guest speaker, it can definitely add a lot of value to your webinar. If you will be the only presenter, make sure you at least enlist someone to help you keep an eye on things. The chat window needs to be monitored, the audio needs to be tested, and you need to make sure the webinar is running smoothly without technical difficulties. Having an extra set of eyes, ears and hands can be a big help.

4. Be engaging and interact with your audience. Remember to interact with your audience. Ask them questions throughout the presentation and answer any questions they may have. You should always schedule time at the end for a Q&A session, but it's also a good idea to answer questions throughout the webinar.

Have fun, and remember to keep your audience interested and entertained. Don't worry so much about being serious and "professional." The key is to establish rapport so that people will begin to know, like and trust you.

5. Tape your webinar, and re-purpose it. Make sure that you tape your webinar so that you can use it later. Offer it as a replay to your email list and blog readers. Or you can also consider selling it as a product to those who did not attend.

You can also re-use webinar materials. You can post the slides on slide-sharing sites or offer them as a free bonus to your email list.

A free webinar is one of the most effective ways to market your business and establish yourself as an authority in your niche. With a little preparation and practice ahead of time, you should be well on your way to having a wildly successful event.

TeleseminarLive is a free service that sends you a list of upcaming paid and free webinars and teleseminars. Become a member of this site today, and reduce your risk of missing out on a free webinar opportunity. Also, find out more about how to find free webinars.

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Simple Ways to Connect with Your Husband

Photo from | Tomasz Wagner Mananetwork

April is Couple Appreciation Month! And one way to show your husband you appreciate him is by making sure you stay connected, just like you did when you first met. Check out the article below for ways to do just that:

Have you ever rolled over in the morning and not known the man lying next to you? I'm not referring to that time back in college -- I'm talking about the present. After years of marriage, you may start to feel like your husband is a stranger. Or is it that you feel he's getting stranger? Either way, here are five simple ways to stay connected to your husband:

1. Cook a meal together. Whether it's breakfast or dinner, it doesn't matter, as long as you're spending time together. How about getting up early Sunday morning and making a big, old-fashioned Sunday breakfast for you and the kids? Or sending the kids to a sitter and preparing a nice romantic dinner together?

You'll save money fixing the meal at home rather than dining out. Plus, you won't have to get "all dolled up" (unless you want to). Most importantly, you'll be using teamwork, which is the number one priority for any marriage.

2. Take on a project and get dirty. Tackle a big and messy job on your list -- cleaning out the garage, pulling up shrubs in the yard, organizing the attic. Make an afternoon of it, and do it together! You'll both feel a great sense of accomplishment that the job is finally done, and it'll feel great to know that you got it done by operating as a unit.

Now that you've worked up a sweat, why not draw a bath for two?

3. Spend a lazy afternoon going through old photos and reminiscing. Talk about the activities you used to do when you first started dating, and make a plan to start doing them again. You might not be able to do them all, but make the effort to do as many of them as you can, whether it is taking long walks, going to concerts or making out at the movies.

4. Play hooky! Plan a day where you can each stay home from work and spend the whole day home -- alone -- together -- doing absolutely nothing! Lay in bed all day, cuddle and watch movies. Make sure to turn the ringer off on the phone.

5. Make an effort on a daily basis to stay connected to your husband. Listen, ask questions -- be his partner in all aspects of your life. Something as simple as making it a point to say, "How was your day, honey?" every day when he gets home and listening to his response can make all the difference.

The most important thing to remember is that you are not in your marriage by yourself. Share your concerns with your husband if you're not feeling quite as close as you once did. Let him know how you feel, how it makes you feel and that you want to work on it.

Chances are, your husband will be clueless, but once he realizes that you are genuinely concerned, he'll jump right in and make more of an effort. Good luck!

Nicole Dean is a freelance writer for -- a website dedicated to helping married couples stay friends and to help them remember why they married each other in the first place. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Packing For Your Honeymoon

Preparing for your honeymoon? Check out these tips from Alexi Mintz and Kate Duff of

Photo from Highways Agency
Bring double-duty fashion items. Pack a few key items that can serve several uses, depending on the accessories you bring along. For example, a belt can turn a simple beach cover-up into the perfect sunset cocktail outfit. And a chunky statement necklace can make a T-shirt and jean ensemble perfect for a night out.

Play it safe when it comes to footwear. Shoes can be the most difficult item to pack. They awkwardly take up space in your suitcase, but they can make or break your outfit style-wise or ruin an "off-the-beaten-path" adventure if they're not comfortable. So, when thinking about what you'll wear, remember that marriage is about feeling comfortable and in love with one person the rest of your life. With that said, find a dressy pair and a casual pair of shoes you've tried ahead of time for comfort. Marry them, and stay faithful.

Roll your clothes. Mintz and Duff believe 100 percent in rolling your clothes when packing. Also, rolling  a necklace into a shirt is a great way to be sure it doesn't get tangled. And place your jewelry and accessories in your shoes to save space in your suitcase.

For more tips, check out How to Pack for Your Honeymoon.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Wedding to Remember: Unique Wedding Ideas They'll Never Forget

By Cherie Johnson

Photo from |
There are very few once in a lifetime events quite like your wedding day. From the flowers and dress to the flavor of the cake, the option to plan and personalize your wedding with your own unique wedding ideas is truly in your court. And we've all been to dozens of weddings that follow the standard format -- the rehearsal and subsequent dinner, the wedding ceremony where the bridesmaids, groomsmen and couple walked formally down the aisle and finally, the reception.

And yes, points are given to the couples that take the time to personalize their weddings with fun favors, unusual refreshments, decorations and other unique wedding ideas. But have you ever thought about shaking up your own wedding, perhaps even changing the very structure of it? With a little ingenuity (and planning), you can personalize your wedding in a way that's fun for everyone!

My Favorite Memorable Ideas for Unique Weddings
Consider the rehearsal dinner. Whereas most couples elect to run through the standard 'meet and greet,' practice their walk down the aisle to get rid of those pre-ceremony jitters, and then sit down to a light repast, some brides and grooms choose to infuse this gathering with their very own unique wedding ideas. One example I've heard of is eliminating the sit down dinner entirely, which is usually more formal in nature anyway. The brides then invite the rehearsal dinner guests over for a picnic (in warmer months) or a potluck supper (great any time). The option not only takes away a lot of wedding stress but also encourages the guests to interact more.

The wedding ceremony itself is, of course, meant to be solemn and respectful, but that doesn't mean before or after the priest or minister marries the couple you can't infuse the ceremony with your own unique wedding ideas. One of the more unusual examples I've heard about is the entire wedding party dancing up and down the aisle to the delight of the guests who get in on the act. Without so much as a hint as to what is going on, an upbeat tempo begins playing and guests start clapping. The bridesmaids and groomsmen get footloose up and down the aisle, making way for the groom's and bride's grand entrances. After all, a lively entrance is certainly one way to personalize your wedding and make sure your guests never forget your nuptials!

Another way to personalize your wedding is seating guests at round tables at the wedding venue itself (serving as both the ceremony and reception area). Though it appears to be the reception, the guests actually watch as the bride and groom are married while seated at tables, and then after a quick swap out, the area becomes a beautiful reception. The perks? The bride and groom save lots of money because there's no need to secure two venues, and your guests don't have to travel.

And, of course, if you choose to have a wedding theme, you can incorporate all sorts of unique wedding ideas. Take the idea of a renaissance-themed wedding. Both the bride and groom, for instance, will be wearing flowing fabrics and unique headpieces, while the entertainment could feasibly be even more entertaining. Couples have hired 'court jesters,' 'jugglers' and 'dancers' to lighten the mood, carry on the renaissance theme and personalize their wedding in a unique way. However, whatever your wedding theme may be, just remember to explore all the unique wedding ideas and possibilities available to you. If it's historical in nature, do your research! If it's hobby-themed, ask your friends to share their ideas. Not only will collaboration on unique wedding ideas help you to envision a better wedding, you'll also have the support of your friends.

At your reception  just about anything goes. It's your day, so plan and personalize your wedding reception how you want. Some brides feel as though they have to please their guests. Bottom line -- if you plan and personalize your wedding activities and events, your guests will want to stay all night long. Consider, for example, the buffet or sit down style dinner served at most weddings. A few brides have elected to have wait staff circulate with heavy hors d'oeuvres and beverages or have had multiple refreshment tables set up around the room. Usually, one of the most popular attractions and these refreshment tables is the giant chocolate fountain with fruit and pretzels for dipping.

Another one of the more unique wedding ideas I've heard about is a groom's cake made entirely of meat. Ideally, the groom's cake is meant for him and his right-hand men, so in many ways, it's appropriate. And you might just have a lot of extra 'cake' left over to enjoy later!

Memories that Last a Lifetime
These exmples of unique wedding ideas are just a few of the more memorable highlights I've seen at weddings over the years. Regardless of how you choose to personalize your wedding, it will always be a special day -- a celebration of love and romance with your closest friends and family members. And if you ultimately decide to play it on the traditional side, don't worry -- you have those beautiful memories to last a lifetime.

Cherie Johnson is the founder and owner of Creative Wedding Favors, a one-stop shop for personalized, unique baby and bridal shower, graduation, quinceanara, anniversary and wedding favors, helping countless couples and families make their big events a success. Cherie's wedding advice has appeared on several websites including Little Wedding Guide, Wedding Lenox and The Wedding Source. Before she launched her company in 2006, Cherie worked as a professional wedding photographer, capturing the most special moments of the bride and groom's big day. For more information on Creative Wedding Favors or to find a variety of colorful, customizable gifts and favors, please visit

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

10 Tips for Having a Smart Marriage(R) from the Smart Marriages Conferences

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1. Marriage matters. Married people and their kids do better on all measures of health, wealth, happiness and success. And married folks report having more and better sex than single or divorced people.

2. It's not the differences but how we handle them that separate successful marriages from the failures. Disagreeing doesn't predict divorce. Stonewalling, avoidance, contempt, criticism and the silent treatment predict divorce. Learn how to disagree in ways that help you fall more in love.

3. All happily married couples have approximately 10 irreconcilable differences -- 10 issues they will never resolve. If we switch partners, we just get 10 new issues that are likely to be even more annoying and complicated. Sadly, if there are children from an earlier marriage or relationship, disagreements about them go to the top of the list. What's important is to discuss our own set of issues just as we would discuss how to manage living with a chronic bad back or trick knee. We wish they weren't there, but what's important is to keep talking about how to manage them and still do the marriage "dance."

4. Love is not an absolute (a yes or no situation), and it's not limited to substance. It's a feeling, and feelings ebb and flow, depending on how we treat each other. We can learn new ways to interact and the feelings "of being in love" can come flowing back, often stronger than before.

5. Martial satisfaction often dips with the birth of a baby. That's normal. Marital satisfaction is at its lowest when there are kids in the house between 11 and 16. That's normal. We need to know what to expect, appreciate our parenting partner -- and hang on. It makes good sense to stay married for the sake of the kids -- and for our own sake. Even with challenges, it's a lot easier to be a parenting team than to be a single, divorced or remarried parent. Plus, there is a silver lining: satisfaction goes back up with the empty nest. The final stage of marriage -- a job well done -- is the real honeymoon period.

6. Sex ebbs and flows. It comes and goes. That's normal. Plan and make time for more "flows."

7. Creating good marital sex is not about putting the sizzle BACK INTO your sex life. Early marital sex is sex between strangers -- we don't yet know our partners or ourselves. The passionate sex is intimate sex based on knowing our partner and letting them know us. One of the most important tasks of marriage is to develop a satisfying marital sex style. It's not about going BACK; it's about going FORWARD together.

8. Repair attempts are crucial and are highly predictive of marital happiness. They can be clumsy or funny, even sarcastic, but the willingness to make up after an argument is central to every happy marriage.

9. Learn to welcome, embrace and integrate change -- to discuss and update your wishes, hopes and dreams -- on a regular basis. We often "interview" each other before marriage and then think "that's it." The marriage vow is a promise to stay married, not to stay the same. (Thank goodness!) Keep up-to-date with changes in your partner. Don't fear changes, celebrate them!

10. Try several different marriage education courses. Become informed consumers -- rate the courses, discuss what you liked best, which ideas were most helpful. Decide which courses to recommend to your kids, friends and family, which to give as wedding, anniversary and new baby gifts. The courses don't tell you what kind of marriage to have. That's up to you. They give you the tools -- the hammers, screwdrivers and levels -- so you can build the kind of marriage that suits you, one which can help you negotiate, and renegotiate, your own values meanings and goals.

Find a class here. Strengthen your own marriage and/or learn how to become a Marriage Educator and teach courses in your community.

By Diane Sollee, founder & director,

Thursday, April 4, 2013

10 Essentials for Brides at Their Weddings: Tips to Keep You Looking Your Best

By Cherie Johnson

Photo from /

It's the day of your wedding, and the tips and advice you received from your mother, friends and loved ones have paid off, and you look and feel beautiful. Time has been spent arranging your hair just so, making up your face perfectly and getting you ready for your big day. Many times, however, brides just consider the big picture -- and often forget how uncomfortable they may be during the ceremony or reception in a hot, heavy dress with four-inch heels. It's a bad scenario, but it happens. To keep you up, dancing and mingling with your guests, here are a few of the most essential bride must-haves for your wedding day. With a little forethought and a carefully packaged cocktail bag, you can be prepared for whatever the day has in store with these wedding day tips!

The Top 10 Bride Must-Haves
1. Comfortable shoes: One of the most essential must-haves is comfortable shoes. Imagine having to dance and walk around in those four-inch heels for a few hours. Sounds painful, doesn't it? Not buying comfortable shoes is the reason that many brides switch to flip-flops during the reception. Though a quick wardrobe change is one option, consider testing out the shoes you buy well in advance. One of the more routine wedding tips that experts suggest is to walk around your home to break the shoes in and ensure you don't get annoying blisters in the process. After all, squinting and wincing in your pictures will not be pretty. And if you're insistent on those pretty but painful four-inch heels, bring along another pair of more comfortable shoes for the after party -- some simple flats will do the trick!

2. Breathable gown: Much like your shoes, one of the best bride must-haves is a wedding dress that moves with you. A constricting dress will make your cringe as much as those shoes do, and tugging and jerking the fabric will damage it, not to mention alert everyone to the fact that you're extremely uncomfortable. Try your dress on beforehand. When trying it on at the shop, if it feels too tight, then your wedding day will be no different  Move around and get a feel for the dress to ensure that you are at ease on your big day.

3. Waterproof mascara: Oh, there will be a lot of tears shed -- by you, your mother, your close friends and family. But you'll be heartbroken when you see your mascara making bee lines all over your face. One of my favorite wedding tips is to wear waterproof mascara to combat the 'raccoon look.' Wearing waterproof mascara on your wedding day will keep your makeup looking fresh, and you'll rest assured that you have no smudges to worry about.

4. Long-lasting lipstick: From eating to kissing, your lipstick has many opportunities to fade or smear away. Before deciding on one brand or color, try it out for a while. Wear it while doing all the things you normally do to see if it has the possibility of fading, smudging or smearing. And make sure you pack the tube of lipstick in your 'bride must-haves' bag.

5. Durable antiperspirant. Whether your dress is sleeveless or not, antiperspirant that stands the test of time is an absolute necessity. You want to stay clean, fresh and sweet-smelling throughout the ceremony and reception, and one of the many wedding tips that experts suggest is to use long-lasting antiperspirant. The only way to guarantee this, of course, is with durable and/or prescription strength deodorant antiperspirant. This extra layer of protection will give you more confidence in whatever you're doing.

6. Small compact mirror: Throughout the ceremony and reception, you'll be relieved that you had your little compact mirror on hand. Tucked away in a small cocktail purse with your other bride must-haves, it's just a little bit of added confidence. You can quickly check for makeup smudges and reapply as needed or see if any food particles have become lodged in visible places.

7. Aspirin or ibuprofen: Headaches happen. And so do aching limbs -- usually at the most inopportune times. And as far as valuable wedding tips go, be prepared by adding a little tube of aspirin or ibuprofen to your 'bride must-haves' cocktail purse. Even if you don't need it, someone else just might.

8. Stain removal pen: You can find these handy little pens everywhere. Plus, they're small enough to be tucked into your cocktail purse, filled with your other 'bride must-haves.' Just make sure to spot test the pen on a discreet part of your dress before applying it anywhere during the actual event. Some contain bleach, which harm the fabric. For a quick removal of a tiny but noticeable stain, however, these pens are a God-send.

9. Hairbrush/comb: Tame those frizzies and stay beautiful throughout the day. Another of my favorite wedding tips is to purchase a fold-up brush, which is ideal for a small purse with precious space. A quick dab of lipstick and one or two brushes through your hair will have you ready to meet and greet with guests.

10. Emery board: There is nothing more annoying than a jagged nail. Keep your freshly manicured fingers looking lovely by taking a quick swipe of the emery board (or nail file) across it should one break or chip.

More Than Just Wedding Tips -- Valuable Advice
These 10 bride must-haves and wedding tips will ensure that you are prepared for your big day. Weather the day effortlessly by testing out your wardrobes, makeup and hair in advance as well as by packing a little cocktail purse with some of the essential bride must-haves listed above, like that tube of lipstick, compact mirror, aspirin, stain removal pen, comb and emery board. Even if you don't need them, you'll be glad you had them. Think of these bride must-haves and wedding tips as a little helpful layer of protection.

Cherie Johnson is the founder and owner of Creative Wedding Favors, a one-stop shop for personalized, unique baby and bridal shower, graduation, quinceanara, anniversary and wedding favors, helping countless couples and families make their big events a success. Cherie's wedding advice has appeared on several websites including Little Wedding Guide, Wedding Lenox and The Wedding Source. Before she launched her company in 2006, Cherie worked as a professional wedding photographer, capturing the most special moments of the bride and groom's big day. For more information on Creative Wedding Favors or to find a variety of colorful, customizable gifts and favors, please visit