Fool-Proof Plan to Throwing the Perfect Engagement

Becoming engaged is tremendously exciting. It’s a time for two families to come together, and most importantly, for you and your loved one to celebrate and plan your future with one another. Yet, before you can plan the wedding, you must plan a faultless engagement. This means determining, when, where, how and with what ring. Something that seems so simple, can somehow become stressful. Here’s a fool-proof plan to throwing the perfect engagement.

The Proposal

There is no right or wrong way to proposing, and it depends entirely on what your other half prefers. If they prefer something quiet and low-key where it’s just the two of you, then avoid proposing in public. Alternatively, if they enjoy big events, you could propose in front of friends and family. You know them best, so make sure you decide how to propose.

You’ll want to present them with the most flawless ring, but deciding the cut, style, color and size can be daunting. The months leading up to your engagement, take note of what they say – do they stop at the window of a jewelers and point out emerald cut more than anything else? Do they focus on gold banded rings more so than silver? Are they more likely to enjoy captivating champagne diamonds more than usual diamonds? If you want to be subtle, but are adamant to find out their ring size, you can either look at other jewelry that fits on the same finger and take it to a jeweler, or enlist the help of friends.

The Engagement Party

Typically, the engagement party should fall within the first few months of the proposal. It’s a happy medium, caught between carefree ‘we’re engaged,’ and the start of serious (and stressful) wedding planning. Arranging a time where everyone is free to celebrate your engagement can be difficult, so it’s best to send out your engagement invites soon after the proposal, for a couple of months in advance. You may want to contact friends and family before sending out formal invitations, so you can determine the best date for everyone.

Traditionally, the bride’s parents host the engagement party, with the groom’s parents hosting a separate party if they wished. However, nowadays both sets of parents either come together, or the couple themselves throw the party. Etiquette also stated that you were to only invite people who were invited to the wedding. This has changed over the recent years, and now, people are inviting new friends and co-workers to their engagement parties. If you’re worried about people assuming they’re invited to the wedding, you can either stick to traditions, specify, or make sure to invite them to the after-wedding party.

You do not have to plan a sit down, five-course meal for your engagement party. Usually, there’s a mixture of friends, and so having people up on their feet, talking, drinking and eating canapes can be great for socializing. You can still serve gourmet food, and your guests will be able to mingle.

Your engagement party can be whatever theme you please. It can be completely different to how you envision the actual wedding, and as lowkey or fancy as you please. Simple but tasty food, small bouquets of flowers, quirky details and alcohol can easily set the scene of your engagement party. Make sure it doesn’t upstage the wedding, though!

You’ll want to wear something that makes you stand out, but not too obviously. If it’s in the summer, the bride-to-be can wear a simple, white summer dress with beautiful jewelry and hair accessories, while the groom can wear a casual suit. If you have a dress code, make sure to include it in the invitations. Make sure it coincides with your overall theme – if it’s simple, ask for simple attire; if it’s a formal occasion, ask for suits, ties and ballgowns.

Subtle Signs That Your Man Is Going To Propose

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For most couples, the pinnacle of a relationship is getting married. And, that won’t happen until the guy in your life gets down on one knee. The funny thing about a proposal is that it is completely out of hands. You don’t even know it is going to happen until he pops the question. At least, you can never be sure because he won’t let it slip over dinner. However, there are signs that an engagement is around the corner. They may not be obvious, but they are there all of the same.

 

Here are a few hints.

 

He Plans His Life With You In It

 

As Hollywood likes to spice things up, it makes some women believe they will find their guy shopping for Tacori engagement rings online. Unless he is very careless, the whole ring in the pocket scenario isn’t going to happen. More likely, it will be a slip of the tongue that gives you an insight into his intentions. Men that say things like ‘when we get married,’ or ‘when I propose’ aren’t just saying it because they can. The reason these statements come out is that they have already planned their life and you have a big role.

 

He’s Secretive

 

Okay, so Hollywood gets it right from time to time. One reason men are secretive, apart from the obvious, is that they are planning a grand gesture. Clearly, you are not allowed to know, so they will do everything to keep you out of the loop. That means lying about having to work or meeting up with friends because they are ring shopping. There is a chance that they are not going to propose as some guys are just secretive in general. The law of averages, though, say they can hear wedding bells in your near future.

 

He Gets The Whole Family Together

 

How often do you go to family parties or events where everyone is present? Not too often. Let’s face it – families are a lot to handle. So, people like to keep their immediate family close and avoid the rest. But, when your man organizes for the entire crew to turn up, there must be something big on the horizon. After all, no one would go through the pain of dealing with estranged family members for no reason. A tell-tale sign is when he tries to get both parents together in the same room.

 

Everyone Else Is Getting Hitched

 

Although most guys like to do things their way, there are times when they follow the lead. If your friends are engaged, this may be one of those moments. When a friend gets married, it makes people think about their life choices. Plus, men don’t like to be the first to get married, especially when all the boys are single. So, if this wedding season is a busy time of year, it may make him think twice.

 

If there are no signs, it could be time to take measures into your own hands.

How To Cope When The Worst Happens

As much as we’d like to simply ignore the fact, our lives aren’t always cheerful and full of fun. We scroll through our social media feeds and see people smiling on Facebook and Instagram but the truth is often different behind closed doors – not everyone is happy all the time and everyone has their own demons to battle. There are a lot of issues in life that affect all of us at times – here are some of the biggest ones and how you can get through it.

 

Injuries And Illnesses

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Not all of us can remain completely healthy all the time unfortunately, as much as we’d like to. Sickness can hit any of us no matter how much exercise we do or how many leafy greens we eat, as can accidents, whether they’re at work, at home or on the roads. First and foremost, if you should get compensation then hire a company like Salvi Law to help you win it, so that you can use the money to make up for a loss of future earnings and to make your life a lot easier. Secondly, remember that even if your body has changed, you’re still you – keep doing what you love as much as you can.

 

Divorce

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Although we all promise to love our partners for the rest of our lives, things don’t always work out that way. Relationships break down for numerous reasons, and most of them simply aren’t your fault – people often just outgrow each other and realise that they’re no longer meant to be together. This can be extraordinarily painful to go through as you grieve for your relationship and the future you were planning together. The best thing you can do is to keep things stable for your kids and to be civil as much as you can – you didn’t fail at marriage just because the relationship is over.

 

Grief

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Everyone is hit by grief at some point in their lives – as you get older, beloved pets die, grandparents, parents, and even friends. It’s one of the saddest things about ageing and something that will never quite end – you don’t get over grief but you do learn to deal with it better and the burden of it will get lighter. The only thing that will really help is time – you have to hold on for the brighter days ahead and go to see a grief counsellor to find productive and safe ways to deal with your feelings.

 

Financial Issues

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Through no fault of your own, you may have some financial issues, whether it’s because of a broken down car, a job redundancy, or even just simple bad luck. Remember that it’s easy to cut back on nonessentials like gym memberships, expensive clothes and vacations – but everyday life is also important to consider. Cut out expensive convenience foods and cook from scratch instead. You could also consider socialising in different ways – cook for your partner and spend date night at home instead of at a fancy restaurant, and meet your friends for brunch instead of dinner so you don’t spend all evening at an expensive bar.

How to Make Him Happy On Father’s Day

Make no mistake about it: I AM TIRED! Sure, motherhood is fun and fulfilling, but it can be daunting at times- especially for a single mom like me.  I have to admit that I envy moms with a doting husband by their side, willing to give them a foot massage whenever necessary.

On that note, I would like to honor all loving fathers out there. Life would be miserable without them. Their unwavering dedication to their family earns them the right to be recognized on this special day.  So if you’re still in the dark about what present to get your Dad or husband for Father’s Day, here are a few suggestions:

Clothes make the man

Men do care about the way they look, so give them a piece of clothing that matches their personal style.  A simple cotton jersey in their favorite color should do the job. Find them something comfortable to wear on weekends.

Tools are everything

It goes without saying that men love to tinker.  Give him a set of tools, or a nifty power drill. He’s sure to enjoy playing with it while he spends ‘me’ time inside his man cave.

Time with the family

More than anything, men love to spend time with the people closest to his heart.  With all the pressures and demands of work, a nice and intimate dinner with his family is a welcome respite.

It doesn’t really take much to make the fathers in our lives happy. If we just stop to think about what matters most to them, coming up with gift ideas should be easy as pie.

If you need a few more suggestions, you can head on over to Gifts Less Ordinary.

 

Going Through The Psychological Cycle Of A Relationship

Until you find the right one, relationships do tend to follow a cycle that helps you to understand errors to avoid in future. After all, it is human to get things wrong. Consequently, it’s likely that you will have to endure several relationship cycles before you can finally get things right and find Mr. or Mrs. Perfect. But don’t worry: Each time you go through the cycle you learn something new about yourself.
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Knowing It’s Love

At first, what truly starts a relationship is not the first date. It’s the moment when you realize that you are in love with them. Sometimes, it happens so subtlely that you may not notice at first, but soon you will find yourself thinking about your crush or your date a lot. There are signs that are dead-giveaway about your feelings – for this is what it is about here: Feelings and being able to read them clearly. For instance, if you feel lonely when you are not with them, or if you feel nervous around them, it’s an indication that your feelings have developed into love.

Realizing You Don’t Love Them Anymore

 

Many relationships don’t last forever. It’s part of the cycle until you find the right person for you. Consequently, when you begin to realize that you don’t love your boyfriend or girlfriend anymore, the best thing to do is to be honest about it. Beware though: being honest about your feelings doesn’t give you the right to hurt theirs. You need to picture yourself in their shoes when you approach the breaking up point. Your partner deserves compassion and respect. In other words, don’t do anything that would cause unnecessary pain. Choose your timing wisely – breaking up before their big job interview is a no go – and do it privately and face-to-face.

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Missing Your Ex

Sometimes, whether you broke up with them or they did with you, you might find yourself missing your ex. You may even be googling desperately ways to get your ex back easily. If this is the case, you need to be honest about it: It’s a tough job because the simple fact that you still have feelings for them doesn’t mean that they do for you. So it’s important to know how to play your best cards to make them fall in love with you again.

Getting Over Them

You can’t always get your ex back. Consequently, you need to get over them as soon as possible. Habits trigger the feeling of missing someone. For instance, walking past a restaurant you used to visit together is a strong trigger. Therefore if you can identify the triggers that create the craving for your ex, then you can learn to isolate and remove them. This is done by creating new habits that you associate with these triggers. For example, why not organize a girls’ night out at the same restaurant? It will provide a new meaning to the place.

Meeting Someone New

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Meet someone new

 

Finally, when you are ready to meet someone new, it’s time to be creative to meet new people. Online dating sites are useful, but real life can be just as good too. You could accompany your friends to parties and events, which is great to expand your network of friends. Being brave and talking to strangers can be rewarding as well! Don’t miss a chance to meet new people.

 

 

5 Ways to Break Up With Someone Gently

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Let him down easy”? There is absolutely nothing easy when it comes to breaking up with someone. The fact is: it is going to hurt, regardless of how gentle and compassionate you try to be towards them. There is unquestionably nothing you can do about their broken heart. Breaking up gently will help in making sure your partner will not be angry, thus, not ending things on a sour note. Here are the top five ways to “let them down easy.”

  1. Picture yourself in their shoes.

– The more you can understand their feelings, even if you’ve fallen out of love, the easier it will be to convey your words in a more caring and sensitive fashion. Some people just don’t care enough about being empathetic towards others. If breaking up with someone is an easy thing for you to do and you throw them cliché phrases, then you probably are not putting yourself in their shoes, and that is not fair to your partner.

  1. Break up face to face and do it PRIVATELY.

– Too many people use email and texting to do their dirty work, which is extremely insensitive and unfair. The best way to understand how someone is feeling, you must face them to talk. Most people assume that they are being gentle by breaking up through a text message, but that is actually worse. Not to mention, unbelievably cowardly, as well. Breaking up with someone in a public place is highly disrespectful and rude. Your partner will want to be in the comforts of their own space to let it all out after you leave. That’s not possible for them to do if they’re waiting on a salad they ordered, but no longer wish to eat when all they can think about is how hurt they feel. Insecurity tends to take over immediately. This is advice you’ll find everywhere. Online, through friends, family, in magazines, etc.

  1. Timing is everything.

– Breaking up with someone who cares about you more than anything when they’re about to walk into an interview for a job they really want, or after a family member passes away, are not appropriate times to break things off with them. Before class starts is another example of an inappropriate time. Best wait till the weekend when they’ll have time to cry, process, and accept it. Although it’s never a good time to break it off with somebody, there are better times than others. When you think about what you want to say, try to make accommodations for timing. Think about where she’s at in her life. If she’s in a bad place already and going through a difficult time, try to wait it out.

  1. Offer your friendship, so she knows you still care.

– When a relationship ends, realize that it isn’t just those people in the relationship who are hurting. What if your partner grew close with your friends, parents or siblings? If they feel they cannot talk to you anymore, they will feel like they lost more than one relationship, as it would be uncomfortable for them to keep in touch with anybody close to you. Offering friendship when they are ready will help decrease those awkward feelings and discomfort. Not only will it show that person you still care about them and want them in your life, but it already gives them the green light to keep the same friends they’ve made since the beginning of the relationship.

  1. Don’t put them on the defensive.

– This happens to married people more often than those in a relationship. Even if you’ve just got married, listen to their response and only use statements beginning with “I” and never with “you.” Not many people pay attention to this and it will normally be overlooked and as a result, both you and your partner will become defensive. Notice the difference in the examples below:

Expressive Language

“I feel hurt when spoken to like a child.”

Defensive Language

“You always talk to me like I’m a child.”

One expresses feelings which helps get to the bottom of the problem, where the other one shoots blame onto the other person. What’s sad is that not many of us even realize we do this, but you can expect it from your partner when breaking up. Even if they put you on the defensive, be understanding about it, because chances are, they don’t mean it and are speaking out of hurt. You can find more here.

Be mindful. Be compassionate. Be confident, but kind.

3 Tips To Start Loving Yourself Again

Think about it enough, and you’ll realise that there are far too many people in the world who have no idea just how special they are. Many of us invest far too much time in focussing on the negatives, or are surrounded by so many negative people or influences that we forget about all the things in life there is to be positive about. If this sounds all too familiar, here are some great tips to start loving yourself again!

Make More Time for the Things You Want to Do

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If one of your friends calls you up on Friday night and invites you to a night on the town, you’re really under no obligation to say yes. If you’d rather stay in and practice a hobby, or read your favourite book one more time, then do it! While you don’t want to alienate the people who care for you, or miss out on anything that’s a genuine family milestone, it’s very important not to go out and do supposedly pleasurable things just because you feel you need to save face. The next time you’re invited out and feel it’s something you “really should” turn up to, take a step back and think about whether it’s something you really have to do, and whether there’s anything more fulfilling you could be doing with your time. Know when to politely decline, and just be you!

Reward Yourself

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It may not feel like it all the time, but we all do things that are deserving of a little treat here and there. Giving yourself rewards makes it easier for you to establish and achieve your goals in life, allows you to recharge your batteries and re-focus your energy, and makes you an all-round more confident person. Don’t carry on thinking that you’re undeserving of all the lovely things you want. If you’ve been window shopping for stylish leather jackets for months on end, take the plunge and get yourself one! If you’ve been straining your stomach and calorie-counting, and it’s all feeling too much, then eat something decadent one evening in the coming week. While rewarding yourself unjustly can quickly snowball out of control, too much hard slugging and discipline can eventually turn into a bad thing. Love yourself by cutting loose once in a while!

Be More Active!

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You’re probably sick to death of hearing that you should be more active from blogs like these. However, this is another essential staple in giving yourself the kind of self-love you deserve. Being active doesn’t have to mean gruelling sessions in the gym. It can be as simple as going for a walk around the block, jogging in place while you watch TV (don’t worry, no one’s looking!) or doing some simple yoga poses as part of your morning routine. By making these things a habit, you’ll be loving yourself physically, but mentally too. As you exercise, your brain will release endorphins (feel-good chemicals) and make you feel more energized, optimistic and satisfied. Soon, you’ll find it so much easier to tackle whatever life throws at you.

 

How to Cope When Life Kicks You in the Teeth

As much as the movies would have us believe, life is rarely a box of chocolates. Bad things happen, partners cheat on us, a loved one dies unexpectedly, or we are diagnosed with a serious illness. You can’t prevent these things from happening, unfortunately, but you can do your best to prevent them from tearing your life apart.

Nobody’s life is perfect. It doesn’t matter how rich you are, or how pampered your existence is, sooner or later life will kick you in the teeth. When this happens, you have two choices. One is to lie back and take it, the other is to pick yourself up and fight back. Which option you take is up to you, but I recommend option two.

Breathe in and Count to Ten

Whatever the cause of your woes, you are likely to be in shock for a while. Shock has a habit of disabling us. We can’t sleep, cry, or deal with anything. Instead, we go over what’s happened, repeatedly, rather like the events of Groundhog Day.

Instead of allowing events to flatten you, breathe deeply and try to stay calm. You can deal with this, so take things one day at a time.

Share the Load

No man or woman is an island. A problem shared is a problem halved, so reach out and ask for help. Friends are there for you, but you need to ask for help. Draw your loved ones close and let them shoulder some of your burden. That’s what friends are for.

Talking Therapy

Sometimes, talking to friends is not enough. As much as our friends and loved ones want to help, there is only so much help and support a friend can offer. After all, they have their own life to lead and they can’t be there 24/7.

If you are struggling to deal with your crisis, make an appointment to speak to an online therapist or counsellor in your neighborhood. Counsellors and therapists are trained professionals who can help you work through your pain, grief, and anger. Don’t expect a quick fix, but a few sessions with a counsellor or therapist should be enough to get you back on the road to recovery.

Practical Solutions

Once the initial shock has faded, start looking for practical solutions to your problems. Do you need somewhere else to live? Do you need cash? Think through your problems logically and reach out to friends and family for help. No matter how impossible a problem appears, there is always a solution if you look hard enough.

Let It Go

Don’t hang on to resentment and anger, or it will poison you from within. Instead, try and let it go. Railing at the injustice of your situation, or vowing revenge against the person who hurt you won’t help you to heal your wounds. Learn the art of forgiveness.

Move On

In time, you will be able to move past this terrible time. It may take a while, but you are strong enough!

How an Unexpected Pregnancy Birthed a Short Film

By Amy Ferguson

Riddle me this: Two long time friends living in different states get together for one passionate night after twenty years of wondering ‘what if?’ One lost his wife to cancer six months prior, and is still working through his grief. The other has spent a great deal of her adult life a single cat lady dedicated to her career as an artist. What do they do when they find out that one passionate night resulted in a pregnancy?

No really. What do they do? Because that cat lady is me and in the moment I had absolutely no idea. Eight months into that pregnancy I did know I wanted to capture the unique and strange circumstances that brought me to where I was– an unusual crossroads of life I’d never planned.
Myself and my partner in this decided to take things in our relationship at a normal pace, even though baby’s arrival was fast approaching. He stayed in Colorado, while I continued my life in Los Angeles, although life was rapidly becoming new and strange and very different– solo midwife visits and baby shopping were fast replacing a late night beer and comedy show. Even though we were dating, and in love, I was planning for the birth alone, getting the apartment ready by myself. Then there was the uncomfortable Mother’s Day and Father’s Day I wished could be joyful, but held a certain sadness. My significant other had his first birthday without his wife, and after, the one year anniversary of her death. And then there was me, holding the promise of something new in my belly while helping him let go of the past. It felt impossible. It was a lot. Pile on some pregnancy hormones, and you could at times have a crazy emotional cocktail.
There was also another child to think about. A child who lost a mother. And then me. There with the promise of a new baby growing ever bigger in the face of their grief. Again, it was a lot. We’re still trying to figure it all out because, hey, if we can make this work, that would be pretty cool, right? Being partners in this crazy world, making the impossible possible for my new baby born from passion. But it’s just not that simple… He’s used to his mountain life, surrounded by nature. I’m used to my city life, surrounded by artists and collaborators. How do we meld these two lifestyles? Can we make a life that satisfies us all? What will become of our new family? Or will we simply be long distance co-parents?
In helping me process how rapidly my life was changing, I made a short film about it all. I hoped to capture how strange it was to constantly be filled with love, sadness, and uncertainty. I’m still facing the uncertainties now, but that’s was life is, isn’t it? Uncertainty and delicious surprise.

Thanks you for watching!

‘Til Death Do Us Part from Lindsay Stidham on Vimeo.

This film would not be possible without my co-director/ writer Lindsay Stidham, amazing DP Scott Uhlfelder, co-star Mort Burke, executive producer and co-parent Bryan Madden, and many others who donated their time and talents.

The Gifts Your Best Friend Bride Really Wants

If your best friend has just announced her engagement, chances are she’s going to be coming to you for some help. Weddings are huge events that cost thousands. What she needs from you is attention to detail, honesty, and support. Your friend certainly doesn’t need another tea set or vase. Give her a gift she will treasure forever – a wedding to remember!

Dress shopping will be quite high on her agenda, and you will undoubtedly be invited. What you need to bring to this exciting shopping excursion is the gift of sensitive language. If she has her heart set on a dress that really doesn’t suit her, can you find the most tactful way to suggest a different direction? What if you hate her choice of bridesmaid outfit for you? How will you tackle this without hurting feelings?

Cutting the guest list down to size is a common problem that can result in spats between the bride and groom. If you can help eliminate a few sensitively, the happy couple will be delighted. Seating arrangements, travel arrangements, and accommodation arrangements are also problematic at this stage. Remind the bride this is for the guests to work out, and steer her to make wedding invitations instead. Keep her engaged with creative tasks to reduce her stress.

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Thanks to Pexels for the photography

 

Kids and flowers are two of the biggest challenges a best friend will have to rise to. Your gift to your bride Besty could be to take care of the smaller members of the wedding party. Flower Girls and Page Boys can get stroppy, tired, loud, and uncooperative. If you can manage to keep them entertained, engaged, and excited in a muted way, you will have given the happy couple the best gift they could ask for! Pocket tissues, kids games on your phone, and small stuffed animals should be in your emergency kit when you’re taking care of children.

As for the flowers, be prepared to drive all over town without losing a single bud or petal. If you’re charged with picking them up from the florist, your role won’t end there. You’ll need to furnish the men with their button holes, the Mothers with their hairpieces, and the bridesmaids with their half bouquets. Finally, you can present the bride with her bridal bouquet without her knowing a thing about the traffic jams, mixed up hats, or problems with pink roses off season.

It’s the big day, and your best friend bride is having last minute jitters. You’re still not dressed, and her makeup is definitely going to need to be redone. Are you ready to give the gift of clarity and purpose? It sounds pretty dramatic and important, but the truth is your friend needs you now more than ever. Reassurance, support, and positive thinking are things you should be able to offer in abundance. Maybe it’s time to crack open that tea set and offer her a cuppa to settle her nerves? As a best friend to a bride, you are the superhero who knows exactly what to give her when she needs it.