Category Archives: Beyond the Bedroom; SeXpressionz
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by Rachel Khona
Do Your Own Thing
It’s important to have a life outside of your relationship, therefore you should always try to have your own hobbies and interests. It’s easy to become besotted with a new partner and want to spend all of your free time with them, but ultimately that will leave you with nothing new to talk about and a lack of appreciation for the time you do spend together. Ensure that you still see your friends regularly and arrange to go out on your own, not always as a couple. Nobody wants a partner who lacks their own ideas and personality so let yours shine through by having an interesting and fulfilling lifestyle outside of your relationship. Similarly, let your partner have his own time too. Some women find that allowing their partners to have a social life away from them can lead to paranoia and anxiety. They wonder what they are up to when they are away and this can lead to all sorts of trust issues and conflict. But ultimately some free time will give you the break you need (even if you think you don’t) and a greater appreciation of the time you spend together.
Don’t Rely On Him Too Much
Being independent means not having to rely on anyone else and even though you are in a new relationship you shouldn’t feel overly dependent on your partner. Of course it’s OK to ask him to help you fix that leak under the kitchen sink, but retaining control over practical and emotional aspects in your life will leave you feeling empowered and probably more attractive. You should always be able to rely on yourself to provide your own happiness and security. As soon as you begin relying solely on someone else to make you happy you will become overbearing and dependent.
Think Carefully Before Moving In
Moving in together is a huge step in any relationship and not something that should be entered into lightly. Remember that living with someone means that you invariably lose some independence as you will almost certainly need to compromise on some issues as well as sharing financial pressures and coping with a loss of personal space. Personalities can clash in the close proximity of living together and it can sometimes make or break a relationship. If you do decide to take the plunge then remember communication is key. You need to make joint decisions on household chores, finances, personal space and even how you design and decorate your home.
Pursue Personal Ambitions
In any relationship it is important to get the right balance between ‘us’ and ‘me’. You should always consider your partner’s feelings but this doesn’t mean you should lose sight of what you want out of life either. Therefore do not let a new relationship stop you from pursuing any personal ambitions. Some people think that once they become attached to somebody else they are no longer free to travel the world, throw themselves into their career or do anything remotely selfish. Try and manage your personal ambitions and your relationship together but if this isn’t possible then never forfeit your aspirations or you will end up resenting your partner. As ever, compromise is key.
Don’t Over Analyse.
In the early days before you get to know each other inside out, it can be easy to misinterpret things he says and does. Don’t spend hours over analysing text messages or trying to find hidden meanings in an offhand comment he made; if you start doing this then it won’t leave you time to think about anything else. Women’s brains work differently to men’s – our brains are larger in the areas that process emotions and language whereas he has a more logical, problem solving approach to life, so communication can sometimes be misconstrued. While you should always be open and honest about any concerns you have in your relationship, repeatedly harassing him and trying to search for double meanings in what he says will make you appear clingy and insecure.
Falling in love is a beautiful thing and it takes two people to form a relationship. But if those two people are able to retain at least some individual independence then it will ultimately make for a stronger union and a longer lasting relationship. All it takes is some mutual compromise to ensure that this is done in a way that leaves you both feeling secure, happy and fulfilled.
Rachel Khona stopped by to share her coveted tips from American Pie film – - you know, the hilarious classic, insanely zany movie that teaches & entertains a few lessons in love and sex! She’s our favorite Dating Expert after all! In fact, we invite you to ask your questions about love & (sex) romance!
If Female Masturbation Becomes More Taboo, Better Sex and More Orgasms May Follow!
5. “Don’t judge a book by its cover…”
I love weddings. Something about the whole process screams fairytale romance. So, I’ve gone ahead and compiled some great tips from weddings expert, Cara Davis! Go on and enjoy…and leave a comment to let Media Maven & Cara Davis know how we’ve helped your fantasy day come true! And now, here’s Cara…
While you’ve likely been planning your wedding for years, the Internet offers a seemingly bottomless database of online resources for your big day. Here are 13 must-see wedding websites to help in your planning, inspiration and execution of the ultimate celebration of love.
This beautiful site features a blog, marketplace and vendor request section where you can submit your wedding needs and budget and allow vendors to bid for the job.
A perfect solution for today’s modern bride looking for an alternative to a traditional registry, Card Avenue allows you to register for gift cards to national retailers. Guests can contribute any amount they like and even take advantage of savings by purchasing discount gift cards.
This site is chock-full of wedding planning tools, including creating a personal website, budget tools and an RSVP manager.
No one wants a cookie-cutter wedding! Offbeat’s approach will spark creative ideas and connect you with vendors who think out-of-the-box.
Founder Emily Newman started this site as the only free listing service for used gowns. Now she has a media empire with Once Wed, which includes a newly published magazine.
Don’t just pin and repin. Set up multiple boards for each aspect of your wedding and invite your maids and moms to weigh in on such important decisions as side-swept hair or chignon?
A leader for creating free, personal wedding websites, this is another one-stop-shop for wedding planning and resources. Tip: Set up a personal domain name, like EricandErin.info to forward to your wedding website URL.
This UK-based website is brimming with nontraditional, unique and beautiful wedding ideas. If all things pastel and princess are not your thing, you’ll feel right at home here.
Pre-wedding, browse this collection of DIY projects and real wedding inspirations. Post-wedding, list your items for resale for free in the Recycle Your Wedding section.
The gorgeous photography featured on this blog is unparalleled and will leave you clicking through galleries from real weddings and vendors for hours.
Boards and classifieds connect you with other brides while DIY and template section and a wiki will get you hands-on in no time.
There’s plenty to love about this site, but one of the best features is its extensive printable online invitation suites. Print your own custom, designer invites for the cost of the ink and paper!
Think of it as Pinterest solely for weddings. This site features gorgeous photography and days’ worth of unique, modern ideas for today’s celebrations.
No one wants a cookie-cutter wedding. The day you tie the knot should be as unique as your individual personalities. There’s a quote that says, “The universe is not made of atoms. It’s made of tiny stories.” Just as you’re coming together as man-and-wife, allow your creativity to spill into the details you’re sharing on your wedding day.
1. Craft a story.
Telling your story as a couple as you approach the altar is a powerful way to connect with your guests and chronicle your journey to this point. Think of every element of your wedding — from the invites to the wedding favors — as a chance to craft a story from beginning to happily ever after. Don’t be afraid to incorporate religious or ethnic touches that are special to you.
2. Pick a theme.
A well-executed theme can add loads of personality to your wedding day without looking cheesy — like these Lego, hockey and 50s-themed weddings. By picking a theme that’s already a hobby or interest, you’re likely to already own a lot of materials you can incorporate into the decor.
3. Pick a repeating element.
If a theme is a bit much for your taste, focus on one element you can repeat throughout the printed materials, decor and attire for big impact, like these feathers or parasols.
4. Go handmade.
Making decor by hand ensures that the look of your wedding is one-in-a-million. Consider paper or fabric flowers (like these cuties) or buy a custom wedding stamp to personalize all your paper goods.
5. Shop vintage.
Shopping for vintage or thrift items for your wedding and reception may save you some time and headache over everything handmade. A vintage wedding dress customized with modern accessories could be the thing that makes your wedding standout and memorable.
6. Register for gift cards.
Create a wedding registry online at CardAvenue and register for the the stores you most like to shop at nationwide, instead of just one or two generic ones that offer wedding registries.
Stick closely to your theme but allow variations to create a unique look and feel. Think non-matching bridesmaids dresses and a menagerie of vintage vases of differing sizes in the same hue as centerpieces.
8. Re-imagine the guest book.
Set up an iPad to record or photograph guests as they enter, or set up something unique for your guests to sign that you’ll incorporate into your home decor later (a signed vintage map from your location, smooth rocks you can use in a clear vase). In our fall wedding we scattered colored paper leaves on the welcome table and pens and used the leaves in our wedding scrapbook.
9. Festive food.
Marry at a non-traditional time or place and you can pull off a unique reception for cheap. Think coffee bar & pastries for a mid-morning wedding, or a Memorial Day wedding on the lake for a laid-back barbecue dinner.
10. Send off in style.
Forget bubbles, sparklers and bird seed (some venues won’t even allow them due to the cleanup involved). Offer wrapped candy for tossing (which the kids are sure to clean up without complaining), release balloons or have your guests create a human arch or a large paper banner for you run through. For a nighttime wedding, fireworks or glow sticks create a fun and colorful goodbye.
Some brides dream of their wedding day from the time they’re old enough to play dress-up. Some even start making plans before they’re engaged. But plenty of couples find themselves wanting to get married on a time-table that doesn’t allow for meticulous planning.
If you’re planning a wedding — whether three weeks or three months out — here are some challenges you’ll face, and how to address them in a budget-friendly way. It’s still one of the biggest days of your life, no matter how much time that goes into planning, and you deserve to have the most memorable and beautiful event you can imagine.
Challenge #1 – Venue
One of your biggest challenges will be finding a venue that’s not already booked. However, you may find that some of the most economical places to marry aren’t traditional wedding venues. Think private homes, city parks and even city hall. Contact your local visitors’ bureau for ideas.
Challenge #2 – Dress
You won’t have much time for alterations, which are costly anyway, so pick a dress that fits off the rack. David’s Bridal often has a clearance section where you can pick a dress for $99. A bride friend of mine purchased two dresses off eBay in different sizes and simply returned the one that didn’t fit. The other fit perfectly. (Make sure to check return policies first.)
Challenge #3 – Photography
Since many wedding vendors, including photographers, often book up to a year in advance you might have trouble finding one available on your day. Ask for recommendations from friends, but don’t overlook local college students, who are more likely to shoot your wedding on a dime, work really hard and try newer, more modern treatments on your photos (if you’d like).
Challenge #4 – Food
The reception is always the most expensive and hard-to-plan-for part of your big day, so take the sting out by getting married in between meal times (afternoon, perhaps) and giving your reception a theme: like a dessert buffet. Or stick with cake, punch and simple finger foods. Instead of using a catering service, order from a local grocery store or, like bride Becki Fowler, from a big box retailer like Costco. “Everyone was surprised to hear our wedding was catered by Costco!” she told the retailer.
Challenge #5 – Registry
If you’re marrying in a hurry, you probably don’t have time to think about setting up a traditional registry. Spread the word among family and friends that you’d really appreciate cash (perhaps toward a large purchase you’re hoping to make), or sign up for a gift card wedding registry at CardAvenue, where you can select gift cards to hundreds of national chains, like Home Depot or Crate&Barrel.
Challenge #6 – Officiant
If your state laws allow it, have a mutual friend get certified online. Other states let you marry yourselves but you can still have a friend (not certified) conduct the ceremony. Just check the appropriate box and the marriage license and voila! Husband and wife.
Challenge #7 – Flowers
Pick up stems from the grocery store or florist (which are cheaper than a formal bouquet) and arrange in mason jars (look at stores like Big Lots or Walmart for discount jars). Hand-tie bouquets to save on costly arranging.
Challenge #8 – Invitations
There’s no shame in your game if you use e-vites or Facebook to get the word out about your last-minute wedding and ditch mailed invitations. Evite.com has some great designs to elegantly convey your message without the cost. Keep in mind some folks might not use email or social media (like Grandma), so delegate a family member to make the necessary phone calls to relay the details.
Challenge #9 – Guest List
After the wedding you can send out formal wedding announcements (with a pretty photo from the big day) to everyone you know, but keep the big day itself small. The smaller your guest list, the cheaper your wedding will be, the less stress it will be to plan and the more intimately it will be remembered. If you want to include a large crowd in your celebration, organize a reception party when you have more time.
Challenge #10 – Travel
Don’t feel pressured to jet off to your dream honeymoon when you barely have time (and money) to plan your wedding day. Just wait. Take your time to plan your dream vacation when funds are replenished and you’ve got the space to relax, plan and enjoy.
Looking for a custom invitation without spending upwards of $700? The average cost of wedding invitations and reply cards is $659, according to 2010 data from The Bridal Association of America.
Here are some ways to trim costs for your 2012 wedding. When using these tips, expect to pay around $200 for 100-150 invitations.
1. Establish the Look
Use Pinterest to browse for invitations from which to draw your inspiration. Start a board and “pin” examples. Once you find a direction you’d like to go in, you’re ready to start on your very own. There are several options for today’s budget bride including free online templates, designing it from scratch or ordering at a discount.
2. Use a Template
There are several online printers that are affordable. Some offer wedding invitation templates, and if you’re feeling like you don’t want to try designing an invitation yourself and don’t have access to a designer, this is the way to go. One of the best sites with customizable templates I’ve seen lately is WeddingChicks.com. They offer entire invitation suites for free (invitation, rsvp card, table numbers, escort card, etc.), and you can edit it all online, instead of relying on software. Oh – and the designs are modern and gorgeous.
3. Design it Yourself
Use a stock photography sites like iStock or Shutterstock where can search for stock illustrations and graphics. Search for illustrations or vectors similar to the look you’re going for by using keywords like “swirl,” “scroll,” “vintage,” “invitation,” etc.
4. Save on Printing
If you create you own design, look for a printer who specializes in invitation printing so you’re sure to get the type of paper you need. Online vendors like PSPrint.com and VistaPrint.com provide online quotes for easy cost comparison. Before using any site to order invitations, find online coupons from CouponSherpa.com for money-saving discounts you can use toward your purchase. Some of these sites regularly run specials like 25% off on invitations. Plus, when using a new site, always sign up for newsletters or free loyalty accounts.
5. Think Small
If you’d like a separate RSVP card, consider making it the size of a business card and include a URL where guests can register. When the RSVP was a web address, there is no need to make the RSVP card postcard size to return, so you’ll saved money on printing costs and return postage (and extra envelopes!). ProjectWedding.com offers free wedding websites where you can track RSVPs, but there are other sites that offer this service as well.
6. Picture Perfect
Bride Erin added a really cool touch to her invitations to ensure that it wasn’t quickly tossed. On the back on the wedding invitation she included a photo of her and Eric from their professional engagement portrait session. It printed beautifully and now her friends and family have a photo they can keep of the couple. The cost to print on the backside was nominal and she saved a lot of money by not developing pictures separately.
7. Off the Shelf
Printing custom invites still out of your budget range? Craft stores offer kits you can use on your home printer. Nashville bride Amanda says, “We’re making our own invitations from those prepackaged kits you can buy at any office supply store. We’re doing all the invitations for $80, and they’re actually quite pretty.”
8. Handmade Touch
A big trend for weddings and paper goods these days is using a personalized, custom rubber stamp. Etsy.com artisans offer both custom and pre-designed choices, while sites like PictureMyStamp.com allow you to upload your own art. Antiquaria Design Studio offers some absolutely stunning customizable stamps for weddings. The bonus? Use your stamp to customize paper goods for the wedding — like the wedding program, water bottle wraps, paper bags and more.
If you’re feeling down, bitter, angry or whatever negative state you may be in, stop beating yourself up for feeling that way. Often the pressure we put on ourselves to feel differently than we do is worse than the negative feeling itself. Acknowledge that is how you feel right now without judging.
2 – Think in terms of what you want
Do a thought check. Do you spend the majority of your time thinking about what you don’t want and what’s wrong or what you do want? Start paying attention to what you focus on because what you focus on expands. Every time you catch yourself thinking about what is wrong with your life, stop. Interrupt your thought pattern and start asking “What do I want?” You will be amazed at what answers and opportunities present themselves when you begin asking the right questions. Lose the “Why me’s?” They serve no positive purpose.
3 – Make your happiness a priority
Studies show that every aspect of the human body functions better when we’re happy. What makes you happy? What do you enjoy? Start doing more of that without guilt. You were literally designed for happiness. If you feel the people around you don’t make your happiness important, it’s probably because YOU don’t place enough importance on it. Set some time aside for you and what you enjoy.
Bonus: The quickest way to feeling happier is to get out of your own head and do something for someone else. Whether it’s a simple compliment to a stranger, showing gratitude to others or doing something kind and unexpected for another person, the act of lifting up another is a powerful “happy pill” you carry with you at all times.
By Rick Reynolds, LCSW
President and Founder of AffairRecovery.com
AffairRecovery.com (http://www.affairrecovery.com/), a national leader in offering personalized online infidelity support as well as the free Affair Analyzer (http://www.affairrecovery.com/aa.php), offers tips to handling the discovery of an affair
Do you think your mate has been unfaithful? If your goal is to find out what happened in order to determine what you want to do, then don’t make a bad situation worse by how you confront them.
Can your marriage be saved? It depends…but know that there’s hope. You can view the full article at AffairRecovery.com (http://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/betrayal-confronting-mate) and take the free Affair Analyzer (http://www.affairrecovery.com/aa.php), which will give you a personalized plan of action and answers to many of your questions. But first consider these 6 steps:
1) Do your homework: First, gather as much information as possible to verify your suspicions. Intuition can be wrong. If you make accusations before gathering proof, they will begin covering their tracks, and proof of their infidelity may be more difficult to find.
2) Pick the right time: Confronting someone in a situation where they will be embarrassed or harmed professionally (such as at work or in front of the children) won’t be productive for a good outcome. Find a time where the two of you can have an adult conversation.
3) Be in the right frame of mind: Be mature… You want this to be a rational conversation not an emotional conversation. Refrain from hurling insults and name calling. As hurt as you may be, if you’re looking for answers after an affair (http://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/surviving-infidelity-discovery-part-1) try and remain calm. It may seem backwards, but you want your mate to trust you when sharing in order for them to feel safe enough to give you the information. If you are out of control why would they want to make things worse by telling you what’s going on?
4) Rehearse what you are going to say: This is highly emotional, and being able to clearly communicate your message in a matter of fact way will surprise your mate and catch them off guard. If you successfully approach them in a rational manner they will be far more likely to respond to you in like kind. As difficult as this may sound, if you maintain an attitude of concern for them they will be more likely to honestly engage with you.
5) Keep the end in mind: To keep your wits about you, keep reminding yourself of the end in mind. Most likely your mate will deny or minimize what’s going on. They may also tell you that you’re crazy and need to get help. Don’t get defensive and let them make it about you. This isn’t your fault. Keep reminding yourself this is about giving them a chance to tell you what’s going on, not about proving what you know through your discovery or who’s at fault.
6) Listen to what they have to say: You’ll learn far more by not talking and listening to what they say, than you will by telling them what they are doing and what they’re thinking. Tell them you’re giving them a chance to come clean. Let them know if they want to have any chance of being in relationship with you they will have to be totally honest.
Even though saving your marriage (http://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/why-cheat-healing-after-affair) might not be something you’re interested in, first try these six tips for confronting your mate and consider the hope that maybe, through the survival of infidelity, the relationship can grow into something deeper and more real. For further advice, please take the free Affair Analyzer (http://www.affairrecovery.com/aa.php), use this as one small step in the process of healing.
Affair Recovery specializes in helping people heal after infidelity. After recovering from his own affair 25 years ago and helping 2,000+ other couples do the same, founder Rick Reynolds and his team have developed research-validated, groundbreaking online and in-person programs for redeeming the losses created by infidelity, betrayal, and sexual addiction. To learn more, visit www.AffairRecovery.com(http://www.affairrecovery.com) and take the free Affair Analyzer(http://www.affairrecovery.com/aa.php)
By Rachel Khona
With self-love being a topic that women cannot discuss and “slut-shaming” sexually empowered women, there is definitely a double standard when it comes to M word (masturbation: healthy exploration of sexuality available to men).
But there is no parity for women. More often than not, when women in popular culture masturbate, it is often portrayed as a symptom of their deviance. Elizabeth Banks’ masturbating character in the film The 40-Year-OldVirgin is a (to put it mildy) a sex addict; Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) from Sex and the City had an abundance of well documented issues with sex and men; and Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka) in Mad Men receives a palm to her face and a one-way ticket to a psychiatrist after her mother catches with her hands down her pants.
And maybe things are starting to shift for the younger generation. After all, a 2008 Kinsey Institute report shows more than 50 percent of women ages 25-44 have tried vibrators. Despite an expected dose of giggles and euphemisms, sex is something that young adults are talking about more frankly and proactively than ever before. Study: Sex And The City Leads To Frank Discussions About STDs
Twenty-something writer and editor Elizabeth Narins speaks to this in her recent Men’s Health article “Women On Top” about us entering a sexual golden age, with men and women bearing equal power and pleasure in the bedroom:
Whether by Jacuzzi jets or TV, young women are going to discovertheir sexuality. Going forward, hopefully it’s something they tackle with information and empowerment rather than ignorance and shame.
“Why should women masturbate?” The reasons are many, but mostly for female empowerment!
*Enters Media Maven* – and in keeping with this (once tabooed) topic…how many of you divas knew that exercise is linked to orgasmic bliss?
Exercise – is there anything it can’t do? HellaWella shares highlights from a recent study finding that exercise can lead to orgasm among women – Oh? Study Shows Execise-Induced Orgasm is Common Among Women.
“The goal? For the person to face their fears and insecurities so that they can take the next step down the aisle.”
After seven years and six kids, Brad and Angelina announced this week they’re finally tying the knot, a decision the couple says came at the “request of their children.” In her latest Psychology Today blog post, Dr. Jane Greer looks at what marriage really means – why some lifelong couples decide not to marry and the possible reasons for hesitation – asserting that ultimately a healthy marriage is about stability and security.
Don’t miss this week’s article, “Brad and Angelina: What Does Marriage Mean?”