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Ideas for Fun Wedding Entertainment

Weddings are undeniably fun, but some couples like to take their wedding entertainment to the next level. These nine ideas will ensure you have a wedding that no one will ever forget.

1. Take a Walk Down Memory Lane

Create a gallery of photos – a visual memory lane. Hang pictures of the bride and groom, along with their friends and family. This will serve as a great conversation starter among guests.

2. Offer Dance Lessons

Hire a professional dance company to give dance lessons to your guests. Ask them to come up with a group dance that they can teach everyone at once. Or, ask them to teach guests an ethnic dance that plays homage to your background.

3. Offer Party Games

Just like at a bridal shower or baby shower, you can have cute games at your wedding. In front of each place setting, put a bridal Mad Libs or a crossword puzzle. Consider having your wedding stationery double as a game. For example, you can have a word search printed on the back of the dinner menus or an, “Advice for the Couple” card on the back of drink coasters. 4. Make Like a Kid

Who doesn’t love kids’ games? Make your wedding extra fun by renting video games, a popcorn machine, air hockey and a ping pong table.

5. Hire the Right DJ

Your DJ can make or break your wedding. To make sure you’re hiring one with the right energy for your crowd, check them out in action. Your reception venue will let you peek in while the DJ is hosting another wedding.

6. Hire a Food Truck

Add to the spread at your wedding by hiring a food truck for an hour or so. Ask for an ice cream truck, taco truck or crepe truck to make their way to your reception venue at a certain time.

7. Setup a Make-Your-Own Cocktail Bar

If the bride and groom are foodies, having a DIY drink bar will be fun for everyone. Let everyone make their own martini, Bloody Mary or margarita. You can also have beer taps setup so people can sample different brews.

8. Play College Party Games

As the wedding’s winding down, gather your buddies and play a game of Flip Cup or Beer Pong. So long as you have one long table, a couple of ping pong balls and a lot of red cups, you’ll have everything you need. After all, you already sprung for the open bar, so you know you’ll have plenty of beer!

9. Send Everyone on a Scavenger Hunt

Give your guests a checklist of items to find. In between noshing on delicious food and mingling with each other, they’ll be keeping their eyes peeled for your items. To encourage some healthy competition, offer a prize to the first one who finds or collects everything.

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8 Essential Experiences to Enjoy in Ecuador

Ecuador is a South American county bordered on the north by Colombia, on the east and south by Peru and by the Pacific Ocean on the west. The Galapagos Islands, located in the Pacific 620 miles west of the mainland, is also part of Ecuador. Here are some of the “don’t miss” sights and places to see for any first-time visitor:

Galapagos Islands – Visiting the famous islands that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution takes a long boat ride to get to, but most who make the effort say it was more than worth the effort. With its unique array of exotic wildlife like iguanas, flamingos, giant tortoises and penguins, many consider the Galapagos Islands the most biodiverse place on Earth.

Straddle the Equator– Just north of the capitol city of Quito lies the Inti Nam museum where you can observe water swirling clockwise on the north side of the imaginary equator line and counter-clockwise on the south side.

The ‘Avenue of Volcanoes’ – Two parallel mountain ranges run from north to south along a 124-mile route south of Quito. Rent a car or take a guided bus tour along the Pan American Highway and you’ll soon find yourself in a valley of more than a dozen spectacular snowcapped volcanoes. Because of the equatorial bulge, the Chimborazo volcano peak has the distinction of being the closets spot on earth closest to the sun.

Amazon trek – There are at least 230 species of mammals, 1,600 bird species and 4,500 different varieties of butterflies in the Oiente rainforest in Ecuador. This Amazon wilderness area is home to several eco-lodges where visitors and stay before setting out on guided canoe expeditions.

Quilotoa This beautiful lake set in the crater of a dormant volcano high in the Andes mountains is 250 meters deep and changes colors between brilliant blue to vibrant shades of green depending on the times of day and the angle of the sun.

The Basilica of the National Vow – This amazing cathedral located in Quito is the largest neo-Gothic cathedral in the Western Hemisphere. Construction started in 1924, but workmen never completely finished the job due to a local legend that told the completion of the cathedral would bring about the end of the world.

El Panecillo – Ecuador’s answer to Rio de Janeiro’s statue of Christ the Redeemer, El Panecillo stands high on a hill overlooking Quito. The statue of the Virgin Mary was Constructed in 1976 by Spanish artist Agustín of the Herrán Matorras with over 7,000 separate aluminum parts and is considered to be the greatest aluminum art work in the world.

Baños – This amazing town set high up in the Andes and is surrounded by many things for visitors to do. Adventurous activities like white water rafting, mountain climbing, hiking and hang gliding are only a few of the many things to try while in Baños. The quaint town also offers many mud baths and hot springs for those who desire to relax after a day of thrills and adventure.

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6 Moving Hacks You Need to Know

Anyone who has moved is aware of the amount of work and preparation that is involved when relocating to a new area. From packing up all of your personal belongings to transporting everything safely, it can be a difficult process that is time-consuming. For those who want to enjoy a smoother process, there are a few moving hacks to take advantage of.

1. Load the Mattress in the Truck Last

After packing all of the boxes and furniture into the moving truck, make it a point to load the mattress in last in an upright position before closing the door. It can also be laid on the top of all of the boxes without taking up too much room. This helps to add extra packing in the truck to prevent anything from breaking or shifting as it’s being transported. It also allows you to have something to sleep on if you’re traveling overnight to your destination.

2. Slide Clothes Into Garbage Bags

Instead of spending extra time removing each garment off of the hanger and packing it in boxes, you can keep the clothes on the hangers and group them together. Slide a garbage bag over 10 different garments for and easy way of rehanging them when you arrive at your new home.

3. Use the Same Size of Boxes

You may begin to collect different cardboard boxes when preparing to move or are prone to purchase different ones at the store throughout the month, but it’s important to use the same sizes of boxes when packing your belongings, according to dc.curbed.com. This will make them easier to stack them when loading each one into the moving truck. Boxes that are all uniform and fit securely in the truck are less likely to fall or move around when they’re transported.

4. Use Colored Masking Tape for Each Room

One of the main challenges that comes with moving is determining which room each box should be placed in once arriving at the new property. Organize the packing process by using different colors of masking tape for each room, which will make it easier for everyone to find what they need more efficiently, according to greatideas.people.com.

5. Wrap Your Dishes in Clothes

Kill two birds with one stone by wrapping your dishes and glassware in clothes or linens that you already plan to pack. This can save money on bubble wrap and will prevent having to use more boxes to pack all of your personal belongings.

6. Pack Heavy Items in Rolling Suitcases

It can be difficult to lift heavy items and boxes when you’re in the middle of the moving process, making it important to pack heavy boots, books, and weights in rolling suitcases that are easy to transport. This will make it easy to roll the suitcase out of the home instead of carrying it when loading it up in a car or moving truck, according to jconline.com.

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6 Essential Items to Have in Your Gym Bag

Whether you’re going to be spending a couple of hours lifting weights or you’re going to be in and out of the gym within an hour, it’s always a good idea to pack a gym bag with the essentials. The following six items should be in everyone’s gym bag.

1. Lock

If you stash your gym bag in a locker, but you’re not able to lock it, you run the risk of having somebody swipe your stuff while you’re working out. Some gyms will even have staff go through unlocked lockers and pull items out because it’s not safe to keep them unlocked – if that happens, ask about your bag at the front desk. Make sure you know the combination to your lock, though. If you tend to forget it, keep it in a password app in your phone. Or, opt for a key lock and keep your keys on you during your workout. It’s never safe to have your gym bag with you where you’re working out because it can post a safety risk for other people.

2. Dry Shampoo

If you’re not going to wash your hair after a workout, you can give it a boost with dry shampoo. This is a great product for people on-the-go who don’t want to do a full shampoo every single day. Dry shampoo soaks up excess oil so you can make your blow out last another day. Plus, it makes your hair smell fresh.

3. Specific Gear

RealSimple.com suggests that you keep your workout-specific gear in your bag. This way, you won’t be unprepared if you opt to take a yoga class instead of running on the treadmill one day. A bathing suit and googles, weight-lifting gloves, spinning sneakers or yoga mat should always be in your bag, depending on your workout preferences.

4. Face and Makeup Wipes

If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to scrub your face, a face wipe will help you cleanse quickly and get rid of any makeup that’s run off during your makeup. Even if you’re heading straight home for a shower, a face wipe will make you feel clean immediately. Plus, it will help prevent clogged pores that can cause acne.

5. Two-in-One Soap

If you’re going to shower at the gym before heading to work or going out to dinner, a two-in-one soap will get you clean without taking up too much space in your bag. These soaps work as a body and face cleanser as well as shampoo.

6. Water

According to US News, it’s a lot safer to bring along your own water bottle than to drink from or fill up at the water fountains. So many people drink from those fountains every day that they tend to be covered with bacteria.

Remember that the bag itself matters. You’ll want one that’s water-resistant and that’s small enough to fit in your gym locker while being big enough to hold everything you need.

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5 Innovative Skin Care Techniques that the Pros Learn

Everyone is chasing youthful, glowing skin, but it seems difficult to catch. There is a lot of conflicting information out there that can make choosing the right skincare routine difficult. This list contains five innovative skincare techniques dermatologists learn that are so good they use them in their own routines.

1. Sun Protection

While this isn’t exactly groundbreaking or innovative, it is, without question, the most important skincare technique the pros learn. The first and last thing any dermatologist will tell you is to protect your skin from sun damage.

Reapplying sunscreen every few hours can be tedious, though, so the Mayo Clinic offers a few alternatives to stay protected. An especially innovative sun protection technique is to introduce a powdered sunscreen for touch-up applications. The lightweight coverage won’t mess up any other makeup or products on your face.

2. Facial Mists

Facial mists can do everything from moisturizing parched skin to soothing angry red patches. This innovative skincare trick is a quick and simple way to give your skin a little more glow throughout the day. They are designed to deliver an ultra-fine spritz of product for better absorption and to help prevent makeup from running.

Facial mists can be purchased or created at home, according to many dermatologists. Ones formulated with spring water or mineral water will deliver extra goodness to your skin, while those created at home allow you to customize the ingredients according to your skin’s needs.

3. Retinol Creams

Retinol is a proven anti-aging powerhouse that also offers long-term benefits of increased cell turnover. Dermatologists love these products so much that they regularly incorporate them into their own routines. SkincareResearch.org even notes that Oprah and her most trusted doctor friends keep them on hand for their own routines.

The secret to this technique is to apply it at night alongside a good collagen cream, because these products work best as a pair.

4. Bedside Baskets

Pros know that sticking to a routine is critical for maintaining youthful skin, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. The most creative technique for sticking to your routine is doing it in bed. Keep a basket or container on your nightstand with your most crucial products, that way no matter how tired you are, your skincare is within reach.

Another helpful hint from the pros is to keep a pack of gentle baby wipes and cleansing water in the basket for the nights you don’t want to stand at the sink at all.

5. Exercise

Innovative and health-conscious dermatologists alike all agree that various forms of exercise are the best skincare technique they ever learned.

To improve circulation and get a lasting glow, one professional recommends yoga. To keep the rest of your body as youthful as your face, another doctor recommends strength training to maintain muscle tone and combat sagging. Another trick to combat sagging is low-impact exercise like cycling.

These five innovative skincare secrets from the pros will help you finally catch that elusive, young, healthy glow again.

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5 Crucial Lead Generation Tips for Small Businesses

Small businesses rarely have extensive advertising budgets that allow exposure to the masses, so that is why these businesses rely on solid lead generation techniques. By using proven methods for keeping their sales funnels full, small businesses can generate the revenue they need to pursue growth projects and plan for the future.

Maximize Your Internet Presence

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, the Internet is a critically important marketing tool for small businesses. For example, a small business can become more active on social media to increase the interaction with prospective new clients and build up new sales leads.

Your business website can also be a constant source for sales leads if you simplify your marketing sign-up forms and make sure that you have the proper type of opt-in feature on each form. By focusing on your Internet presence, you can increase sales leads and generate more revenue.

Use Content Marketing To Your Advantage

Content marketing is simply creating useful content (written articles, videos, or other content) that entertains an audience and delivers a marketing message as well. Business Computing World Magazine reminds us that submitting entertaining content with a marketing message to popular websites will reach a lot of potential customers is an extremely effective way to create new sales leads.

Develop A Customer Referral Service

One of the best sources for new customer leads is your existing customer base. Each time you conclude a piece of business with a client, remind that client that you have a referral program that will reward the client with discounts or financial rewards if they offer a referral that becomes a new paying customer. With a good customer referral program in place, your phone will always be ringing with new customer leads.

Give Your Employees A Chance To Make Some Money

If you extend your referral program to your employees, then you can create another valuable source of incoming new customer leads. With your employees, you have an entirely different set of rewards available that include paid time off and discounts on company products.

Your employee referral program should have very specific guidelines to prevent employees from spending too much time trying to find customers and not enough time doing their jobs. An easy way to administer the employee referral program is to give your employees business cards with their identification numbers on them and encourage employees to give those cards out to prospective clients. Even employees who are incapable of doing sales can get involved in this program and bring in more customer leads.

Marketing Partnerships

One crucial marketing tool that small businesses tend to avoid is teaming up with complimentary companies to share marketing costs and gain more exposure. The more business relationships you establish for your company, the more prospective customers you can reach with less money.

If you want to keep your small business growing, then you need a constant supply of new customer leads. By getting creative with your lead generation tactics, you can open up new doors and create new opportunities. But it is important to also utilize the basic methods of lead generation to create a strong foundation of referrals and warm leads.

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3D Projects: Which 3D Product is Right for You?

When it comes to starting a 3-D project, you can save a lot of time and money by choosing the right product from the beginning. To start with, there are quite a few free programs and programming libraries to use whether you’re creating a 3-D film, game or commercial or printing 3-D objects with a computer. It doesn’t take long to learn what you need to know about the 3-D products on the market, and you can get started right away by reading this list.

Blender

Blender is a free, open-source 3-D modeling program that allows you to create any type of virtual world you can imagine. It can be used to make still images as well as animations, and you can take advantage of the internal physics engine for game development. If you plan to create mesh models for your 3-D printer, Blender allows you to import and export files for your printing application, so you can easily edit your mesh before sending it to your printer.

You can basically think of Blender as a free alternative to professional programs like Maya and 3-D Studio Max. It has a comprehensive feature set that is expanded every time a new release is deployed. If you’re a game developer, you can import your game world and characters to the Blender viewport and use the powerful editing tools to change anything you need to edit in your file. It’s also easy to export the finished product to an external game development framework such as Unity3D or Unreal.

Unity3D

Unity is another free product that makes 3-D programming a lot easier. You can use it for free if you want to make games for desktop computers, but if you plan to use it for mobile games or other platforms, you’ll need to buy a license. With this visual development framework, you can actually see your game world as you develop the software code, saving a significant amount of time and easily offsetting the cost of a license. Other similar frameworks include CryEngine, Unreal and UDK.

DIY 3-D Printing Kits

You can save hundreds or possibly thousands by building your own 3-D printer from the pieces in a kit. These printers usually come with open-source software that’s compatible with programs like Blender and Z-Brush, but it’s important to read reviews about a product before spending your money. Some printers produce better results than others, and some printers are more convenient to use than others. Features to pay attention to include the type of plastic a printer uses and how difficult it is to replace the filament. Some printers can be improved with a simple modification.

As computing power becomes cheaper and software becomes more powerful, 3-D programs and printers will become more common and user-friendly. The learning curve is fairly steep when it comes to 3-D modeling and programming, but anyone can do it with a little determination. If you have an interest in sculpting or game development, take a look at some of the great products available for free.

I persuaded my daughter to give away two toys in celebration of her half-birthday. She donated a stuffed bear and lamb to Goodwill.

3 Ways to Teach the Importance of Recycling to Children

Modern society has created a world based on convenience, which has increased the amount of waste that is created from paper, plastic, and other material. Waste is becoming an issue that’s hard to ignore, with large garbage patches floating in the Pacific Oceans, and animals being harmed by trash. This is why it’s important to teach children about environmental friendly practices, such as recycling, so that the future generations can have respect for the planet, and help reverse the trend of waste. Here are three ways to teach children the importance of recycling.

Educate them.

This is the most important thing you can do to teach the importance of recycling to children. If they don’t know what is going on, then they will be less likely to care or take action. Teach them about the planet and it’s inhabitants, about ecosystems and plant life, and how waste and pollution can destroy these things. Take them to public parks or other areas where there is litter, and explain how this can make animals sick if they eat them, or hurt if they get caught in plastic or other waste.

Teach them about recycling, and how it works. Take a trip to a recycling factory and let them see the process. Show them examples of things that are made from recycled material. You can also take them to a dump or landfill, where they will see firsthand how much stuff people waste and throw away, which just accumulates into giant piles. It may be unflattering to the senses, but could be an effective way to get the point across.

Make it fun.

Since educating them on this subject can be serious and somewhat sobering, you can keep it light by showing them creative ways to recycle. Do some research and find fun ways to use trash for arts, crafts, and building things. Some examples of this are using egg cartons for planting seeds or for organizational trays, paper towel and toilet paper rolls for creating binoculars or instruments, and empty jars for snow globes or other projects. Show them that with a little imagination, recycling can be fun and easy.

Be a role model.

It’s hard to try to instill values in a small child if you are not practicing what you preach. So be a recycling role model for everyone. Instead of throwing out things after a few uses, learn to up-cycle old clothing, or donate to charity. Use your electronics for a few years before replacing, instead of rushing out to grab the latest model. Set up recycle bins in your home with labels for paper, plastic, and cans, and follow through with dividing up trash so that you reduce waste in your home. Make it part of the family’s routine, so your children will see that it’s important to you. This will make them more eager to understand and join you in recycling and helping preserve the planet.

6 Benefits of Brushing and Flossing Regularly

We all know that good dental hygiene keeps your breath fresh and your teeth and gums healthy. But you may not be aware that brushing and flossing regularly has a profound impact on your overall health and well being. Here are six less obvious benefits of brushing your teeth after every meal and flossing each day.

1. Have Better Self-Esteem, Confidence, and Quality of Life
According to WebMD, having a healthy smile helps you feel better about yourself, while having bad breath or discolored or missing teeth can dramatically impact your sense of self worth. Remember that your smile is an important part of making a good impression on everyone around you!

2. Save Money on Costly Dental Treatments
Taking care of your teeth helps prevent cavities, gum disease, and other issues that need to be fixed by a dentist. The worse these problems get, the more difficult and expensive they tend to be to fix. Even if you have dental insurance, procedures can often run into hundreds of dollars, so by taking good care of your teeth and gums you are also protecting your household budget.

3. Prevent Disease
A host of disease are related to poor oral health, even those that aren’t directly connected to that area of the body. People with bad dental hygiene have a 56 percent higher rate of HPV infection, which is a risk factor in most types of oral cancers. In addition, the chronic inflammation caused by gum disease is linked to cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, blockages of blood vessels, and stroke, according to the Mayo Clinic.

4. Protect Your Memory
In one study reported by the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, adults with gingivitis performed poorly on tests of memory and cognitive skill compared to people whose gums were healthy. Not only that, poor oral health is linked to a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease, particularly among those who have lost a tooth before age 35.

5. Have a Healthy Pregnancy
Women who are pregnant are more likely to experience dental problems, especially gingivitis. Experts also think there is a link between gum disease and infants who are born early and have a low birth weight. Take good care of your teeth while you are pregnant, including regular dental visits to nip any problems in the bud.

6. Improve Quality of Life
It can be hard to enjoy the things you love to do, concentrate at work, and feel happy and healthy when your teeth hurt. You can avoid painful toothaches and other uncomfortable issues by keeping up with basic dental hygiene. And if you do develop an issue, seeing your dentist as soon as possible can help stop small issues before they becoming big problems.

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Effective Treatment Options for Seasonal Depression

As the seasons change, and we shift into fall and winter, some people lose vitality and interest in all activities. But this goes well beyond ordinary winter blues, it is a condition that affects a person’s overall wellness. According to researchers, it’s estimated that more than more 5% of Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also called, Seasonal Depression. If you or someone you know is suffering from this condition, you can rest assured that there are safe and effective treatment options available.

Below are the most successful ways to relieve the symptoms of Seasonal Depression:

Light Therapy

Light therapy replaces the effects of the sunlight for people who suffer from this seasonal mood disorder. With this form of therapy, also called, phototherapy, the goal is to stimulate the brain into producing less Melatonin. It is believed that Seasonal Depression is caused by Melatonin over-production. The light is designed to emulate the sun’s rays but at a much higher intensity. Patients can use this method at home in the form of light boxes. The boxes provide 1000 times more light than ordinary indoor bulbs. The light acts as a normalizer to severely lessen or restrict Melatonin production in the brain. Users can see an improvement in their symptoms quickly; typically all symptoms disappear within two weeks.

Physical Exercise

Although it seems simple, regular exercise has proven to benefit those suffering from Seasonal Depression. It was discovered that people who exert themselves physically during the winter months see an improvement in their symptoms right away. This treatment option is so effective that it can actually replace light therapy. The effects of physical exercise equals to two and half hours of light treatment. The recommended duration to receive the benefits is one hour outside. Researchers were able to determine that even when conditions were less than favorable, with cloudy skies, patients still benefited for exercising.

Dietary Changes

One of the reasons why Seasonal Depression affects some is the change to shorter daylight hours during the fall and winter months. The shorter hours are related to an increase in sugar intake and carbohydrates craving. This is the most effective treatment that doesn’t require a lot of time or effort. Simply by cutting out junk food and eating clean during the winter months, it has been shown to help increase energy while decreasing the symptoms.

Suffers of Seasonal Depression crave sugar and excessive carbs because in short they supply the body with a quick and easy energy source. This offsets their depression by providing energy. As an alternate fuel source, it’s suggested that those suffering with this condition rely on complex carbohydrates instead.