Sunday, November 24, 2019

Three Tips for a Fun Wedding Day

Your wedding is an incredibly important event that signifies an amazing commitment between two people. While marriage is a serious thing and is even sacred to many, it's also cause for some major celebration! Here are three ideas to help you make the most of your wedding day by keeping things fun and memorable at your reception.

Pick Your Reception Music Carefully
For starters, live music creates an exciting atmosphere and is an extra source of entertainment for your guests. Consider some local wedding bands NYC and see if there's a group that fits your style and tastes. If live music isn't your style, make sure you evaluate your DJ just as closely as you would a wedding band. Attend some upcoming gigs or ask for videos to help you get a better feel for their personality, and make sure you're very involved in picking the set list.

Include a Unique Activity for Your Guests
Surprise your friends and family with some special activities throughout the event. Hire a caricature artist, rent an adult-sized bounce house or set up a station with different games your guests will love. Be sure to include options that will appeal to all of the age groups you've invited to your big day. If your reception lasts for more than four hours, plan to order pizza for the guests that stay late to dance the night away.

Serve Extra Sweet Treats
Wedding cake doesn't have to be the only dessert option at your reception. Set up some tasty sweet treat stations so your guests can indulge whenever they want. An ice cream sundae bar is a delicious option that can still partner well with a slice of cake. A candy station gives guests the option to take home some sweets to enjoy later and can even serve as a wedding favor. For winter or outdoor events, set up a s'mores station for a special dessert option. 

Your wedding is something worth celebrating! Find creative ways to make the day exciting for you and your guests.

The Christmas / Advent Calendar

When we first moved here in Germany in 2009, the Christmas calendar is among the gift-giving traditions that I look forward to. And it is very interesting to learn along the way how this very romantic idea of a calendar to make waiting for Christmas day to arrive a little bit easier turned out to be a million industry.

Everything started very simply: with pictures and texts. It was in 1903 when most probably the first Advent calendar was designed, by the Munich publisher Gerhard Lang. The calendar was inspired by his mother, who made him a calendar made from 24 cookies when he was still a child. Every day a cookie for the little Gerhard, which made waiting for Christmas day to come a little bit easier.

Even before the published calendar, this counting tradition is already practiced by many German families - for example chalk marks on the wall or the door to count off the days. But then of course, colorful pictures and beautiful texts are more interesting. Lang's calender with the title "Im Lande des Christkinds" (In the Land of the Christ Child) is a kaleidoscope of various motifs of the kinder world. After the premiere in 1903, new versions were published every year. 

Because children love sweet things, the publisher soon had another idea: Christmas / advent calendar with chocolate. It was in 1920 when the first calendar was published, just like the typical calendar we have today: with 24 small doors to open. It was an optimal idea, because people love beautiful surprises. Clubs and parents in other areas then started designing their own calendar.

It was in 1945, after the second world war, when other countries and even the industry found the idea interesting. Famous artists designed calendars - there is the classic with the chocolate and slowly in more and more variants.

Today, there are all sorts of Christmas calendar available in the market - for all ages and for a wide range of products. There are calendars with chips, seasoning, gin, fragrance, make-up tea, coffee, even Lego and Playmobil - there is a calendar to almost every product that one can purchase. It has become a million-business. 

But do we really need all this? I personally love the chocolate bit, one for each day. But with all the products being sold out today, I think it has already lost its essence and meaning. The happiness that opening one door brings has maybe become superficial. Despite the massive commercialization, may we never lost touch of the true meaning of Christmas.

Three Gift Ideas To Show Appreciation to Your Staff

Gift-giving can be a great way to show appreciation to your employees. It's generally important to reward your staff for their hard work and determination. Go out of your way every once in a while and surprise your team members with thoughtful presents. However, picking out gifts is often not so easy. Here are three smart gift ideas to get you started on employee appreciation.  

Gift Baskets
Executive gift baskets usually contain selections of hand-picked goodies all wrapped up neatly in a beautiful hamper. A gift basket is often an appropriate present for any employee and any occasion. Something that can make gift baskets truly special and valuable is adding a few personalized items or touches that are unique to the recipient. Just about everyone loves gift baskets, and there is almost always an excitement that comes with receiving one because you never know what's inside.  

Personalized Presents 
Nothing says special like a personalized gift. If you're hoping to touch your employees’ hearts deeply, then personalized gifts may be the way to go. Find out what every employee is enthusiastic about, their hobbies, likes, and preferences. Then select gift items that best reflect an individual’s interests and personality. For instance, get game tickets for sports fans, dog collars for dog lovers, novelty items for art enthusiasts, and so on.  

Tours and Excursions 
Here’s an idea – don’t give your employees anything; instead, take them out on a fun trip or thrilling adventure. You don't have to pay for expensive foreign tours; visiting local attractions also counts as an extraordinary experience. Outings and collaborative activities are also essential for team building, socializing, and cultivating morale among co-workers. Studies have also revealed a strong correlation between workers' appreciation and workers' productivity and well-being.

Appreciating your employees through gift-giving goes a long way in showing that you recognize their efforts and care about them. An employee who feels appreciated is often inspired and motivated to work hard. 

Fresh, Fruity and Festive

The Body Shop has launched its Christmas edition products, with fresh, fruity and festive scents to get you in the mood for the holiday season.

This Christmas season, The Body Shop have released three limited edition product series:

1. Juicy Pear (fresh and sweet) - Luxurious body care highlights with pear extract from Italy.

2. Rich Plum (floral and fruity) - Turkish plum extract gives the sweet fragrance a nip.

3. Warm Vanilla (warm and creamy) - Vanilla extract from Madagascar encases the skin with a sweet fragrance.

I personally love the Rich Plum's fruity and floral fragrance. I still have to try the Juicy Pear. I am not a very huge fan of vanilla though, I find it too strong for my senses. I love The Body Shop products because they are committed to principles close to my heart: "Enrich, not exploit" by partnering with local communities in sourcing out sustainable and fair raw materials. It is also among the companies that have 100% vegetarian ingredients and continues to actively engage in a worldwide ban on animal testing of cosmetic products and ingredients.

Which Christmas Edition product variant have you tried?

Note: Images from The Body Shop.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Essential Things You Should Know About Ovens

Congratulationss on acquiring your fancy new appliance. It must be exciting to bring your oven home finally. You probably have a whole list of meals that you want to prepare with the new fancy appliance. However, you will have to do a few things before you start cooking with your new oven.

Oven Installation
It would be wise to hire an expert for the installation process, rather than installing it by yourself. You may think that the installation process is easy and you can save money with a DIY project. Unfortunately, you could be putting yourself at risk. You need to hire professionals such as oven installation Washington dc if you want the installation process carried out with expertise. The professionals are certified and licensed to carry out oven installations. As such, they can handle any complexities that arise during the installation process without damaging your oven.

Break In
You should break in the oven once the installation process is over. The step is vital for both electric and gas ovens. Failure to break in the oven may leave your oven with a sticky chemical smell that can permeate your food when cooking. Most manufacturers advise oven users to heat their new ovens to a high temperature to aid in removing residue from surfaces inside the appliance.

Maintenance Tips
An oven, just like other kitchen appliances, requires regular maintenance. You can read through the user manual to see the instructions for using your oven correctly. But, oven installation experts can also help you with that. You can ask the expert questions regarding regular oven maintenance. Let the professionals guide you on proper oven handling and maintenance based on their experiences.

You can now prepare your delicious emails on your new oven. Make sure you read the user guide and contact the installation experts whenever you have any questions. Don’t forget to properly take care of your oven so that it can serve you for longer.

The Wilhelma Christmas Garden

Winter is slowly making it's way in this part of the world. Days are getting shorter and shorter, and the wind is chilly and icy. But despite the cold, I always find joy and wonder in this season, for winter is after all "the most wonderful time of the year".

Why? Well, because of this of course:

And these mammut trees that seem to be dancing in a play of lights or these angels, playing the hymns of Christmas:

Or enjoy the lotus pond illuminated with lights:

Should you ever get hungry or want to grab something warm to drink, a small Christmas market is available at your disposal:

Yes, everything lights up, making the sleeping botanical garden alive and awake:

Where is this, you ask? The lighted elephant gives it away.

Yup, you got it right! It is in the Wilhelma Zoo! Visit the Christmas Garden at Wilhelma in Stuttgart between 17.00 - 22.00 PM. They opened the Christmas garden last 14th November 2019 and will be available until the 6th of January 2020.

Don't miss the Christmas Garden at the Wilhelm Zoo in Stuttgart, now on its second year! Tickets are available online at or at the selling booths outside the main gate.

Photos were taken last year and are the blogger's own.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Three Tips for Picking an Instrument To Learn How To Play

If you want to learn how to play an instrument, there are so many to choose from! Before you settle on one, consider these three questions.

1. Do You Buy Or Rent?
If you are going to learn how to play an instrument, you need to decide whether you want to buy that instrument or rent it. If you want to learn how to play the piano, check out some Boston piano dealers before hand. Is there a piano in your price range? Do you have a place to store it in your home? Maybe you want a flute or saxophone that is more portable. If you cannot afford to buy it maybe renting or leasing is the best option. Think about what instrument would suit your situation best.

2. Do You Know How To Read Music?
Before choosing an instrument to learn how to play, you want to consider your proficiency at reading music. If you can read treble clef but not bass clef, you might want to go with an instrument whose music is in treble clef. If you can read tabs then maybe you want to pick up some kind of guitar. If you want an instrument in a clef you do not know or you have never read music before, factor in taking some music lessons that will include learning music notation. 

3. What Do You Like To Listen To?
When you think through the logistics of owning and learning an instrument, you want to think about what instrument fits you. If you love rock music, maybe you want to pick an instrument that is featured on your favorite songs. If you like jazz, consider a drum set, saxophone or trumpet. If you love the symphony, maybe a clarinet or some string instrument would work best. You are more likely to stick with the instrument you choose if you like how it sounds!

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