Thursday, January 24, 2013

Calling All Guest Bloggers!

Since I've been busy these past number of weeks and school will be starting back up next Monday, I was giving my readers an opportunity to guest blog on my blog. This way my readers don't get bored. So, if you'd like to do so, email me at You can write about anything! Fashion, beauty, DIY, crafts, relationships, etc. Anything at all! Just shoot me an email and we'll talk. 

Have a lovely day!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Who Else Wants Some Free Party Planning Apps?

Whether you are planning a simple birthday party for kids or adults or a more elegant affair such as a wedding, engagement or anniversary party, the big event can't happen without a few necessities such as party invitations, refreshments and other essential supplies. Simplify your life and make planning any event quick and easy with any of these three free party planning apps.


In today's uncertain economy, it seems like the prices of everything just keep going up. While you might not be able to do much about controlling the cost of food and party supplies for your next gala bash, you can trim your expenses a little by availing yourself of Evite's free party invitation services. Send potential guests an invitation right to their mobile phone, and make an RSVP for the party quick and convenient for them. As a plus for hosts, Evite tracks the positive responses, which makes taking a head count and budgeting for food, decorations and paper supplies incredibly easy. Choose from their huge inventory of in-stock invitations or make your event special by uploading photos and personalizing an invitation. From baby showers and parties to celebrate baby's first year to family gatherings and graduations to potlucks and pool parties, there is bound to be an invitation that is tailor made for your special event. The Evite app is compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad and can be downloaded for free from the iTunes store.


Take your party planning skills to the next level when you harness the power of the Punchbowl app. In addition to offering services such as free online invitations, use Punchbowl to choose a theme for the party, find creative food ideas, and even connect with the best vendors to help make your event the party of the year. If you are looking for a one-stop shop for all your party planning needs, give Punchbowl a test drive.
If you'd like to add some bells and whistles to your Punchbowl party planning experience, consider upgrading from the free membership to one of the paid membership plans: Plus, Premium, or Platinum. Depending on the level of membership, you can choose from additional invitation design options, fonts or even personalized "postage" stamps. Currently, the Plus membership is $19 per month, Premium is $59 per month, and Platinum is $99. Download the Punchbowl app for free from the iTunes store. It's compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.


While this is not an event-planning specific app, Evernote is a feature-rich, multipurpose note-taking and archiving app that can be used for planning parties just as easily as it can be used for keeping track of classroom or sales meeting notes. Think of it as a virtual "sticky-note" system that allows you to stack and track guest, shopping and to-do lists by date or tags. Record audio notes while you do your party shopping or even capture photos of products to make your event special or creative decoration ideas. All notes are synchronized among devices and easy to search. Download a free app for iPhone or iPad from the iTunes store and let the party planning begin!

Venuemob is an Australia-based website that connects owners of function venues with people who are seeking a place for their event. They provide an easy to use platform to look, compare and book function venues.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Top 10 Apps for Self-Portraits

The digital photo trend took the world by storm a few years ago, and mobile manufacturers even began integrating cameras into their cellular models. Ever since, the technology of cell cameras has slowly but surely improved to the point that photos taken from mobile devices look almost as good as those taken from digital cameras. And this jump in quality has given birth to a new kind of self-portraiture: the smartphone photographer.

It seems those with smartphones and tablets can’t stop using the integrated cameras to take self-portraits, and the mobile application industry has been watching. There are now plenty of apps for both iPhone and Android geared towards helping those who can’t keep their faces out of frame to take the best shots possible.

Self Timer – Android (free -- $0.85)
This is a good app for those who want to be able to remove camera shake from the portrait equation. Simply set the timer, place the camera and when the digital clock winds down to zero the picture snaps. The free version of this app takes low-resolution photos while the paid version provides somewhat higher quality images.

Morpho Self Camera – Android ($1.29)
The traditional method of taking smartphone portraits is rather clumsy and involves the subject blindly sticking their arm out and blindly taking the picture. Morpho Self Camera points the user toward perfect image composition via a series of verbal prompts based on internal settings.

Camera Trigger – Android (free)
Camera trigger is another timer app that uses movement to trigger the camera shutter. It has three time delay settings, and once the time is up the camera will shoot a photo after detecting motion.

Volume Key Camera – Android (free)
This is a useful app for those with large-screened smartphones or tablets. It actually links the volume key or the whole of the screen so a simple tap of one of these areas will take the shot.

Sound Camera – Android ($0.82)
Geared for remote camera activation, Sound Camera operates by allowing the user to take photos remotely via sound prompts. Simply set up the camera, take a position and – like the as-seen-on-TV Clapper – clap hands to take the picture. Sound Camera will work for remote smartphone photography; it won’t work for turning on the house lights.

Camera ClickMe – iPhone ($1.99)
This is like the Morpho app in the sense it gives voice prompts to ensure accurate image framing on the part of the self-portraitist. But this app uses face-detection technology in order to ensure accurate results every time.

Arms Length – iPhone ($1.99)
Another app that directs the user where to point and shoot.

Faceplay -- iPhone ($1.99)
The more extroverted and goofy of self-portraitists should have a lot of fun with this particular app. That’s because Faceplay augments portraits with various digital props and costumes.

Photo Timer -- iPhone (free)
This is a standard photo timer app for iPhone that features multiple settings – from 2-300 second intervals – and includes a burst mode.

Light -- iPhone ($0.99)
This app is unique in that it adds artificial lighting effects to portraits. Users simply take a photo and then select various lighting options such as “Elizabethan” or “French Doors.” The user can also control the positioning, hue and saturation of the light.
These are just a few of the top app options for the obsessive self-photographer. And whether the user is working with iPhone or Android, one of these options is sure to provide the assistance necessary to take great portraits.

Ken McDonald is a photography enthusiast. In his spare time he plays around with different hd video cameras and loves toying around with Adobe Premiere. You can also find him on MTB trails with his GoPro Hero HD.

Famous Festivals in Iceland

New York. Paris. London. Reykjavik?

Iceland has become popular among foreign travelers for many reasons, but its capital city is not chiefly among them. Many people in recent years have begun to flock to this northern European country to experience its myriad sights and pristine natural landscapes. Indeed, visitors come for the active geysers, the majestic glaciers and the rejuvenating natural hot springs. And then there’s the spectacle that is the aurora borealis. But these same people often overlook Reykjavik.Iceland offers almost as much in the form of celebrations as it does in sightseeing, ground zero for Iceland’s cultural party scene is its capital city. There are many festivals in Iceland, and the best part is that they occur year round. So with that in mind, here are some of the top holidays, celebrations, festivals and music gatherings on offer throughout the year in Reykjavik.

Prettandinn/Twelfth Night – January 6th
This national holiday is in honor of the last day of Yule and Iceland celebrates it much the same way as it does New Year’s Eve, although in a much smaller manner. Twelfth Night celebrations often include leftover fireworks from the New Year’s festivities as well as torch-lit parades featuring locals dressed as kings and elf queens. Evening bonfires provide a hub for locals to congregate and shoot the breeze while warming themselves.
It’s a uniquely Icelandic holiday that features much of the country’s imaginative folklore.

Thorinn – January 25th – February 22nd
Icelanders celebrate the end of winter by holding a long festival called Thorrablot. During this period, there is much singing, dancing and an abundance of traditional Viking food that adventurous travelers should definitely make time for. The offerings include everything from stockfish to singed sheep’s head.
National Day – June 17th
June 17th has been Iceland’s National Day since 1944. Each year on this date the city of Reykjavik comes alive with parades, dancing, music and theater.

Reykjavik Culture Night – August 24th
Culture night has become one of Iceland’s most popular holidays because it allows anyone and everyone to come out and support this nation’s cultural life. And most people do. During Culture Night, thousands of people pour into the streets in order to enjoy and take part in the various folkloric shows and cultural exhibitions.

Lighting of the Oslo Christmas Tree – December 2nd
In 1952, Oslo, Norway presented Iceland with a Christmas tree to celebrate the holidays. And Iceland has maintained this tradition every year since. Each year, a gigantic Christmas tree is placed in Austurvollur Square, which is located in the middle of downtown Reykjavik. And every year families come out in droves to watch the lighting of the tree and sing Christmas carols.

New Year’s Eve – December 31st
After a few dark months, Icelanders get understandably excited at the promise January holds of more light. Therefore, New Year’s is a popular celebration that involves dining with family and friends and gathering among a gigantic bonfire to watch fireworks.
These are just a few of the national holidays that showcase Iceland’s rich cultural heritage. Any one of the festivals is worth it for the experience alone, but there are many other newer festivals throughout the year, including music and theater celebrations. 

Nonni Haraldsson is a Social Media Coordinator at, Iceland’s Trusted Provider since 1964, offering accommodations in several cities across Iceland including Hotel Marina Reykjavik and Reykjavik.

1 Week Itinerary for Guatemala

This is for those travelers that want to take a vacation but don’t have month to explore Guatemala. There are places you can visit to have a great vacation, and to be able to see the best this country has to offer. 

Here is a 1 week itinerary:

Day 1 – This is when you get to the country. You will arrive to la Aurora Airport. Skip the city and have your transportation ready to take you to Antigua. It is only 45 minutes way.  When you get there you will find a small 8 square block city. The reason why it is so great is because it is the last 'True' Colonial city of Latin America. It literally looks like time has not gone by. It is also packed with boutique hotels, resorts, restaurants, museums and artisans markets.
When you get there, get settled in your hotel, unpack, get some food and rest.

Day 2 – Next day wake up really early, put on some comfy shoes and get a traditional Chapin Breakfast. It is time to explore the place! It is not a good idea to drive in Antigua, plus it is really small. Instead walk around the cobblestoned streets, enjoy the volcano views, do some shopping, go on a carriage tour and visit a couple of its restaurants.

Day 3 – Now it’s time for more walking, so be prepared. Visit the churches (they are filled with artwork), explore the ruins and make sure you spend some time at one of the central park.

Day 4 – It is time to say goodbye to the relaxed Antigua and move on to Atitlan. It is a two hour drive and you will be so grad you did it. This is where you will find the famous Atitlan Lake. It is known as one of one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Many hotels are right next to the lake, so when you get there dedicate yourself to enjoy the views of the lake.

Day 5 – Next day explore the Mayan villages around the lake, do some more shopping, go to the local naturally heated hot springs, go on a boat tour, adventurers can even go on a snorkeling adventure in the cold waters of the lake. Also try to make some time to visit Maximon, a mixture between a Mayan and a catholic god. For some money you get to see the chaotic and extremely weird ritual.

Day 6 – It is time to explore crib of the ancient Mayan civilization. Because of how limited time is, head back to Guatemala City and take a flight to Petén; you will arrive at Flores in the evening. Flores is a town located on an island, in the middle of the Petén Itza Lake, just minutes away from Tikal. 

Day 7 – Spend the day walking in the middle of the jungle looking at the beautiful Mayan pyramids at Tikal National Park. This is an amazing experience! Aside from the beautiful structures you get to see beautiful birds, monkeys and other species of exotic animals hiding among the trees.

Day 8 - Sadly your Guatemala vacation has come to an end. Since the airport in Petén is international you can catch a flight home from here. You can also go back to Guatemala City, to start your way back home from La Aurora Airport.   
As you can see you can get a taste of the beauties of Guatemala, even with only a few days available and truly being able to enjoy it, without rushing. This itinerary is great for all kinds of travelers, including families with small kids. 

Ken Ripoll is the founder of, a Los Angeles Passport expediter specializing in passport renewals and visas to China. 

Floral Art: How to Add Sophistication to Any Wedding

What’s your favorite color? Who cares! Not every wedding theme comes from color, so why does it seem that most floral arrangements do? Instead of creating floral pieces around your dress, you can choose to add intelligence, originality and interest to your flower choices. One way to do this is to look for inspiration in art.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Calla Lilies With Red Anemone

What better way to represent the beauty and wonder of womanhood than to carry a Georgia O’Keeffe-inspired bouquet down the aisle? For a simple piece, choose Calla Lilies with Red Anemone. Take two calla lilies and cut them to the same height. Place a shorter cut of a single red anemone under the flower of one of the lilies. Tie together with a faded lavender or teal ribbon. This arrangement works well for most kind of bouquet arrangements, including cascade (you’ll have to add more lilies), a nosegay or a sheaf.

According to “The Language of Flowers,” a publication by Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University, calla lilies represent beauty.

San Remy, Almond Branches in Bloom

Delicate, intricate; timeless—Almond Branches in Bloom, painted by San Remy¸ offers any wedding a touch of innocent elegance. While the branches might be too large for a bouquet, flowering almond branches can sit in vases around your wedding space. For a more dramatic look, border the head of the aisle with two flowering almond branches. Use oceanic blue details in your wedding space to accentuate the white-pink of the flowers. Because almonds are winter or early spring flowers, Almond Branches in Bloom provides inspiration for weddings at either of these times.

According to the Dictionary of Literary Symbols, by Michael Ferber, the almond tree is symbolic of “spring’s arrival.” It also is significant in commitment. If flower and tree symbolism is important to you, the almond is wonderfully suited to weddings.

Vincent Van Gogh, Poppy Flowers

While Almond Branches in Bloom and Calla Lilies with Red Anemone show flowers’ elegant side, Vincent van Gogh’s Poppy Flowers represents a more rustic and realistic take on florals. To use this arrangement, fill completely a large brown-glass vase with yellow poppies. At the bottom, add two red anemone or red poppies to add a pop of color. Use dark browns, oranges and reds for your major color theme. You can translate Poppy Flowers to a sheaf bouquet, or use a few poppies to create a nosegay.

According to “The Language of Flowers,” a publication by Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University, poppies represent the imagination (and of course, sleep, as most know from The Wizard of Oz.)

Whatever your choice of inspiration, creating a bouquet based on timeless art pieces adds intelligence and interest to your wedding.

Tiffany Wells is a professional blogger that writes for, a leading online retailer of silk flower arrangements and floral supplies.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

How to Find Shoe Values Online

One of the products that is easily bought online are shoes. Retailers, understanding that some people hate to set foot in shoe stores, have put much of their product inventory online including some of the latest and most popular fashion designs. Shopping for shoes online can be done by visiting a trusted retailer, but if you are looking for a special pair of footwear such as ladies black leather boots, then your process will likely start with a search engine first.

1. Search engines. First, navigate your browser to your favorite search engine: Google, Bing or Yahoo to name a few. Second, in the search bar, type in the words that best match what you are looking for. In our example, that would be "ladies black leather boots." You might also consider inputting "black leather boots for women" or "leather womens boots" to see what your search turns up.

2. Examine the results. The search engine results pages will likely turn up dozens of pages of information. You may end up with more information than you can handle, therefore concentrate on the first page's results and go no deeper than page three. Begin to visit each result to see what your search efforts have turned up.

3. Read carefully. Your results should turn up a variety of black leather women's boots, but there are a few things you should note. Some boots are sold in U.S. sizes only while others may include British or European measurements. Use a shoe size conversion table to find what you're looking for. For instance, a women's size 6 shoe sold in the United States and in Canada would be a 3 1/2 in the U.K. and a 36 in Europe. The size differences extend to other countries including Australia, Japan and Korea, therefore confirm what size basis a retailer is using before placing your order.

4. Materials offered. You are getting real leather when you order your boots, right? Well, not always. Besides imitation leather, known as leatherette, you may discover that your boots are made of calfskin, goats, crocodile, ostrich, lizard or even shark. Ostrich is softer and easier to shape while shark leather is resilient and resistant to wear. Find out what type of materials are used including straps, buckles, inner lining and soles.

5. Color choices. You want black boots, but confirm that black is what you are getting. This applies to all colors, not just shades of black and white. Concerning black, there are off-color black colors that come in very close, but are not precisely the same. These variations include ebony, charcoal, onyx, licorice and jet. You may be fine with these variations, but you need to know that that black you are ordering may not be in fact black.

6. Secured site. Shopping online can carry additional risks, including some that are not so obvious. You want to shop from a secured website, therefore when you check out verify that either a closed padlock can be found on the edge of your screen or the web address is changed from "http" to "https" with the added "s" telling you that you're at a secured site.  When a website is secured, then you know that your credit card information is protected. Avoid fraud by shopping on legitimate retail websites and storefronts only.

7. Shipping information. How much will it cost for you to have your pair of ladies black leather boots shipped to your home? Shipping, handling, taxes and a restocking fee if you send the item back should be considered. You may find that if you hit a certain price threshold, such as $50, then you can get two-day shipping included with your final price.  If you need your boots tomorrow, expect to get hit with a correspondingly high shipping charge.

Shopping Notes:

Always shop with a credit card when shopping online. Credit cards offer more protection than debit cards with consumers covered by the Fair Credit Billing Act in the event of fraud or identity theft. If you are not sure about the legitimacy of any website, simply make contact with the company directly by phone or by chat, or move on to the next retailer. Lastly, don't forget about using a coupon code to get the best savings on ladies black leather boots and other items.

Robert Langdon is a professional blogger that writes for Great Deals offers thousands of good deals at hundreds of retailers including coupons
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