Plan a Better Shower- Be a Better Bridesmaid

Thanks for joining me again for my Be a Better Bridesmaid Series! One element of being a Bridesmaid is helping to plan the Bridal Shower. The Shower is the one wedding event that is truly all about the Bride. This makes it very important, and very personal. The best way to Be a Better Bridesmaid is to Plan a Better Shower. Just like the wedding day kiss, remember to KISS yourself- Keep It Simple Stupid! Focus on a few elements to really highlight the Bride and how much you care for her! I’ve simplified the process into 5 steps and added a few tips and tricks. Follow these and you’re on your way to nailing the best Bridal Shower!

How Plan a Bridal Shower in 5 Steps

1. Choose the Venue and Theme

First you should reach out to the bridal party and get a consensus for the 3 or 4 best weekends for the Shower. Then you can call the venues on your list and find out when they are available for the Shower. The venue will help you to determine the theme that you decide with. Renting a garden space? You can throw a Tea Party Shower! Having the event at an artisanal pizza restaurant? Maybe try an Italiano theme, with wine and Italian pastries for dessert!

Once you’ve selected your venue and booked the date, move onto the theme. This will set the tone for how you plan the rest of the Shower! Here are a few of my favorite theme ideas:

Parisian theme: serve specialty cookies, French food, French wine and champagne, make it interesting with special food and wine pairings explained by the in house sommelier, gift Eiffel Tower wine stoppers as favors 

Lemonade theme: serve pink lemonade cupcakes, mini lemon meringue pies on cake stands, a lemonade bar with fruit wedges and syrups to add, decorate with fresh lemons in glass vases, gift lemon lip balm as favors

Tea Party theme: serve tea sandwiches, petit fours, decorate with tea pot centerpieces filled with flowers, gift candles made in vintage tea cups as favors

Donuts & Daydreams theme: serve a giant donut cake coated with bright icing and sprinles, coffee and latte bar, donuts stacked on tiered cake plates, donut “rings” with bling toothpicks, decorate with donut pillows, a donut apron for the Bride to wear, gift custom coffee cups as favors

2. Getting the Guests and Bride There

Once you have the date and location information, you can create invites. If you’re bold enough, you can design and print your own using PicMonkey. Otherwise, you can leave it to the pros, like Minted, and select one of their amazing designs!

Grab the guest list from the Bride and then keep her guessing as to the date and location for her Shower. This means getting the Groom involved. He will have to come up with some tricks to make the Bride think she is headed to her Shower well before the actual date. This way, she won’t see it coming on the actual weekend!

3. Decide on the Menu and Special Treats

I touched on some menu ideas in step 1, but you will need to work with your venue or caterer to build out a full meal for your guests. Depending on the time of day, you might want to serve breakfast and lunch items for brunch. Setting up a buffet allows guests to select exactly what they are in the mood for. Serving dishes family style will get guests talking and sharing more than just a meal together!

The most fun part of the food is serving a special dessert! Whether you’re going with cookies, cupcakes or a special cake made with the Bride in mind, presentation is key. You can also serve items that will also double as edible favors, yum!

4. Set up Games and Activities

Other than chatting, eating, and watching the Bride open her gifts, sometimes Showers can be a bit boring. Liven it up with some fun Shower games! This will get people interacting, and will surely get some laughs. Here are a few of my favorite Shower game ideas:

Newlywed Game– Quiz the Groom prior to the Shower and ask the Bride the same series of questions the day of. See how many answers they match!

Bridal Bingo– Hand out blank Bingo cards and pens and ask guests to fill in the boxes with what gifts they think the Bride will receive at the Shower. As the Bride opens the gifts, the guests check off the boxes. Award prizes for the first, second and third to Bingo! 

To start your own round of Bridal Bingo, feel free to edit and print the blank Bingo card below! I’ve left space for the name and date information above, and included instructions below! 

Bridal Bingo, free file to edit and print! 

Bridal Bingo, free file to edit and print! 

5. Special Details & Decor

They say the devil is in the details. Why not show the Bride just how much you care by going above and beyond for her special day! These details are the things that will really set your Bride’s Shower apart from the others! 

Work on decor for the Shower beyond flowers. Personalized and painted wine bottles, signs and banners will let the Bride know you care! Do the Bride and Groom love taking photos? Print out their Instagram pics as 3×3 photos using FoxGram and display them at the shower. Give them a binder and photo sleeves from A Beautiful Mess to complete the special gift!

Something personalized is always sure to be a big hit. Take inspiration from the fantastic Kristi Murphy and create custom coasters, pillows and banners that coordinate with your invites! These make great gifts for the Bride and favors for your guests!

Take the traditional Wishing Well idea and turn it on it’s head. You can request that guests bring lottery tickets since the couple is already lucky in love! Send out recipe cards with the invite and ask that guests fill them out and bring them to the Shower. You can compile a recipe book or box for the Bride to make for her new Hubby. How about having the guests contribute their best date night ideas? Set out posicle sticks for guests to write their ideas on with permanent markers and a mason jar to fill with ideas!

For many more Bridal Shower ideas to help you plan a better shower, check out my Be a Better Bridesmaid board on Pinterest!

Follow Jamie @ SnapGinger’s board Be a Better Bridesmaid on Pinterest.

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How I Contour My Face

If you’re a Makeup and Beauty lover like me, you know that Contouring is here to stay. After watching some beauty videos and reading up on it, I started using different powders and creams to contour my face and neck. I’m not talking Kardashian style or anything, but, before this new routine, I was a bronzer or blush only girl. Then I dabbled in highlighters, because they are just so pretty! Now I don’t feel complete without at least a bit of contour.  I don’t fully sculpt my face, but you certainly can use contouring to reduce a large nose or forehead. I try to keep it natural looking and use my contouring method to highlight my features. Here are my steps for how I contour my face!

Above you’ll find my key to the ultimate contour. You will need 3 products: Blush, Contour and Highlighter. You can use creams or powders, just be sure to set any creams with a powder to make them last. Your contour shade should be 4-5 times darker than your skin tone, and should be gray toned if possible (as opposed to orangey). The highlighter can be matte or shimmery, in a nice pale neutral color or a champagne or gold shimmer. This is all depending on the look you’re going for. My personal favorite products are listed below!

I’ve created a key above to match up the blush, highlight and contour sections on my “map” below.

Using the map above, I apply contour first, then my highlight than blush.

I start by contouring the hollows of my cheeks to slim the face. I carry that up to my forehead and down to the edge of my jaw bone. I then contour down my neck and blend everything in really well! I like to apply with a brush or a stick If I’m using a cream contour, and blend everything in with a Beauty Blender. I will set it with a powder last, but only after I’m done applying all creams. If I’m using a powder contour, I will blend in with the same brush I applied the contour with, being careful not to add any additional product.

I come back in with my highlight shade. I stick to mostly powders for this, but have seen quite a few beauty bloggers who have used creams. I like to use a matte highlight on my forehead, chin and on my cheeks, and blend it down my neck. I like to use a shimmer highlight on my cheekbones, down the bridge of my nose and on my cupid’s bow. I swear by The Balm’s Mary Lou-Manizer, it is absolutely my favorite highlight shade ever! I sometimes will use it in the inner corner of my eyes for an extra pop! I use my fingers a lot for this step, since they make for really great blending tools. If you’re using a brush, be sure to blend everything together so there are not harsh lines between your highlight and contour.

Last I add blush to the apples of my cheeks. I love using a nice rosy pink, or a coral for some pop in the warmer months. This step really makes you look awake and refreshed. If i’m using a cream to powder blush, like Maybelline Dream Bouncy, I will use my fingers to apply and blend the blush up towards my temples. I will then go back in with my powder to set my contour and highlight. Beauty pro tip: Don’t ever apply creams after powders- it will be a hot cakey mess!

Here are my favorite contouring products and tools, all available on Amazon, using my affiliate links.

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Do you have any tips and tricks from your contouring routine?

Review: Fogless Shower Mirror

 About a month ago, Cassani reached out about their Fogless Shower Mirror and asked me to review it for my readers! I was excited because the shower mirror that we had in our bathroom had lost its fogless-ness and we were in need of a new one!

The mirror is easy to install, and comes with a razor hangar as well, so it’s very convenient. Here are a few Frequently Added Questions (FAQ’s) from Cassani!

How is The Cassani Shower Mirror Fogless?

By warming the mirror with the shower stream the difference in temperature between the shower air and the mirror disappears. With mirror and shower being the same temperature there will not be any fog.

Where Should I Place My Mirror?

It is best to place your mirror facing to your back, when you are facing the shower head. 
We recommend you placing your mirror away from areas in the direct shower stream simply so there isn’t a constant splash causing you to search for own reflection.  🙂      Do a test run first before placing your mirror and razor hooks.

What Is The Best Way To Clean My Shower Mirror?

1) We recommend rinsing your fogless mirror with clean, warm, running water, and gently wiping it with your entire palm as it runs under the water. 
2) Additional Cleaning – The ongoing problem with *all* fogless shower mirrors is that they don’t last forever, but the way to extend their lives longer is with the rinse and wipe technique above and also giving it a light wash with 50/50 vinegar and warm water.    This will keep your Fogless Mirror fighting for your shaving freedom for a long time. 

How To Attach My Wall Mounts?

1) Clean the area in your shower where you will put your mirror and razor hooks with rubbing alcohol and make sure the surface is very dry before putting the adhesives in place.   
2) Place pressure on the hook(s) for 30-45 seconds
3) Allow the hooks a few hours to set before hanging anything on them. 

The mirror has kept it’s fogless capabilities so far, and we really love it! I recommend picking this up the next time you’re in the market for a fogless shower mirror!

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**Disclosure- The product featured in this review was provided to me for consideration.  This in no way influenced my experience with the product- all opinions are my own, and I was not paid to write this review. If you would like to read more about my Privacy Disclosure click here. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep SnapGinger snapping!

Coco Choco Smoothie

Yum yum yum, it’s time for another smoothie recipe here on SnapGinger! In this post I talked about storing your protein packets and other smoothie goodies, and shared a raspberry smoothie option. But who doesn’t love a good coconut and chocolate smoothie combo?! Here is my recipe!

Coco Choco Smoothie

INGREDIENTS
1 packet chocolate protein powder
11.2 oz coconut water (one container)
3/4 container coconut yogurt
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 cup ice

DIRECTIONS
1. Add all ingredients to the blender. Start with your lowest setting (my blender has 3 settings) and blend until a nice cyclone begins to form. Move up to your middle setting and then highest setting. You may need to add more coconut water depending on how the protein packet is incorporating. Or try some almond milk or coconut milk!
2. Blend for 2-3 minutes until smooth.
3. If your smoothie stops cycloning, stop blending, let the smoothie “burp,” and begin again with the lowest setting.

A Gift Guide for Mom

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and that makes me think: What do I get the most important woman in my life?! Mom is always there giving support, reality checks and fashion advice, so no ordinary gift will do. I’ve rounded up 7 perfect ideas for Mother’s Day Gifts. From the crafty, to the tasty, each one is unique and will make Mom feel special!

ONE

Treat Mom to an inclusive day of pampered feet! Pick up a pedicure gift certificate from  her favorite salon, or even a Visa Gift Card, include a cash $ tip, a brand new nail polish, toe separators, and flip flops. All Mom has to do is show up!

TWO

Follow my steps to make your very own DIY Spa Kit for Mom to do some at-home pampering!

THREE

Why not sign Mom up to receive delicious treats every month of the year?! This is possible thanks to the Cookie of the Month Club from Cheryl’s. They’re cookies are the best and make great gifts for any occasion! Delicious!!

FOUR

Help Mom to relax all year round with some pretty candles. I love this option, and the New Born Baby scent trio from Old Factory Candles. Check out my review of these little wonders here

FIVE

Who doesn’t love to celebrate being a Mom?! What better way than in the Ily Couture Mami tee

SIX

Sign Mom up for some sweet candy delights from Sugar Wish, she can choose from their amazing selection and have candy delivered to her doorstep!

SEVEN

Tickets to a show or concert she is dying to see. This means more Mother-Daughter time, something that Mom loves the most!

What are you going to get Mom for Mother’s Day? 

3 New Instant Beauty Faves

I love finding a new beauty product (or 3) but I love it even more when it’s something I am instantly over the moon about! The 3 products I’m going to cover in this post made their way into my beauty regimen after their first use, and I’ve never looked back! I can’t wait to keep picking these products up, and I suggest you try them too!

First up is O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream. This stuff is the bomb! My honey calls it the hockey puck, because it looks just like one, and it’s always following me around the house from room to room. The results are there, and this stuff really helped to heel up my dry and cracked post-winter skin! Love it!

Next is this super plumping and amazing lash hotness (very technical name) YSL Mascara. The real name is Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils- Luxurious Mascara. Ok, that’s a close tie with my name for it. This stuff is magical, it plumps lashes and makes it look like you’re wearing falsies. Plus it’s scented, which is sorta pointless, but kinda cool when you’re applying it! I was sent over this product by Influenster and I am so happy that I was! I’ve been combining this amazing mascara with the Root Stamping technique (pin below) for an amazing, no-eyeliner-eyeliner look! Instant Fave!



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Last, but certainly not least, is Clear Scalp & Hair Damage & Color Repair Nourishing Shampoo. I found this baby on the Allure Best of Beauty 2014 list, and ran out to Harmon’s to pick it up! I have a sensitive scalp, so a lot of different shampoos, cleansing conditioners and dry shampoos that I’ve tried have given me serious flakes. Not pretty. So when I read about the option from Clear, for color treated hair no less, I was excited. It hasn’t let me down, and I picked up the conditioner and treatment mask as well. My scalp has been great ever since I started using this, and my color looks great. This is my all time favorite shampoo!

I hope I’ve inspired you to try some new products, because you never know which ones will be your New Instant Faves!!

Do you have any new beauty faves?

Dressing up Your Bed Bath & Beyond Gift Wrap

I don’t know about you, but I have so many friends getting married, having babies, moving into their first homes and lot’s of other gifts to buy. One of my favorite places to buy from is Bed Bath and Beyond. They always have everything, and oh those coupons! I actually really love their gift wrap also, it’s neutral enough but still looks really nice. My only issue is the bow, or lack thereof. And that godawful purple ribbon.

I have a Bridal Shower coming up, and I ordered the item online, and had it gift wrapped. When it showed up at my door, it looked great, it was just missing some adornment. I picked up some metallic curly ribbon at Michaels and decided to make my own bow. Here’s how I did it!

Dressing up your Bed Bath and Beyond Gift Wrap

INGREDIENTS
curling ribbon in the color of your choosing
scissors
stapler
washi tape (optional)
 

DIRECTIONS
1. Grab your ribbon and scissors.
2. Cut 10-12 strands all around the same length. Mine were about a foot long each.
3. Grab each strand by the middle, approximately, and stack them between your fingers.
4. Staple the strands together a few times. Hold the staples and curl your ribbon with your scissors.
5. Tape onto your package with washi tape. If you don’t have any on hand, use another piece of ribbon to cover the staples and use regular tape to attach to the box!
6. I ended up adding some pre-made bows as well to accept the ribbon, since this box is huge, but you shouldn’t need to on a standard size gift box.

Happy wrapping!

National Pecan Day Recipe Roundup

Happy National Pecan Day! I haven’t done a National {insert amazing treat} Day post in a few months, so I was due to bring it back! What better one to start with than buttery, delicious pecans! They lend themselves well to sweet and savory dishes, so I’ve linked to both. Click on the image to be taken to the recipe and enjoy your pecan treats!

My Spring Wishlist

It’s Spring, the weather is warmer and, once the rain subsides, it’s time to break out the sandals and sundresses. I can’t wait to shop, and I’ve been keeping a list of all the fabulous Spring pieces that I have my eye on!  Whether it’s pastel bottoms, lace up sandals, slides, a new bag or some funky cool jewelry, I am so in the mood to shed the Winter layers and get my Spring on!

Here is everything on my Spring wish list. Click on each image to shop the post!

Follow my wish list board Swoon on Pinterest for more of my shopping finds!

Follow Jamie @ SnapGinger’s board Swoon on Pinterest.

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How to Make a Spring Wreath

A few weeks ago, we finally took down the remnant “Winter” decorations from our home. I’m not talking Christmas decorations, just really a beautiful metallic gold pine cone wreath that was in our dining room. The space looked empty once we took it down, and my honey and I decided we needed a replacement. We headed to Michael’s to pick one up. This was our first time sourcing a flowery Spring wreath, so we had no idea that they were over $60 each! I looked at each option and none of them was perfect, so I decided to make one myself!!

We picked up a grapevine wreath, assorted flowers and greenery and an awesome chevron bow. I came home, got out the hot glue gun, wire cutters and got to work. I was SO pleased with the results, that we ended up hanging the fun Spring wreath on our front door! 

We ended up spending a little under $50 (who knew flowers were that expensive) but the look was exactly what we wanted, and we will use this wreath for years to come! It was pretty easy, and fun, so I have shared my tutorial for you here!

PS- About a week later I found a beautiful wreath filled with succulents for our dining room on sale at Pier1. It was a great price, and it doesn’t look out of season to me, and we both love it!

How to Make a Spring Wreath

INGREDIENTS
1 grapevine wreath in the size of your choice
several bunches of flowers, or single flowers in your desired color scheme
several bunches of greenery and leaves
bow (optional)
hot glue gun and glue refills
wire cutters
floral wire

DIRECTIONS
1. Start by laying out your wreath base, and all of your flowers. You should get a sense of how many flowers you will need based on how much of the base you would like to cover. Remember that if you’re using a bow, you will need to leave empty space either at the top or bottom of the wreath.
2. Try laying out some of your flowers and leaves to see how they will look on the wreath. This takes some trial and error, but feel free to trim down some of the stems with your wire cutters to poke the flowers in to get a sense of how the wreath will come together.
3. I like a balanced, but not symmetrical wreath. After I tested the bow on the top of the wreath, I decided that I liked it on the bottom, and went from there. I tried to balance out the greenery on both sides of the bow, but kept the flowers more random, more like a traditional bouquet. Feel free to cheat and look at images on Pinterest to get inspiration from, or copy. I saw a great image in Michaels advertising the bow itself, and piggybacked from there for my concept.
4. You can begin to glue your flowers into place once you have your arrangement set. To make the wreath visually interesting, do something unexpected, like snipping some of the leaves from the floral stems, and layering them over the other greenery you chose as your base, and gluing flower buds sporadically over this arrangement. 
5. Lastly, I secured the bow to the front of the wreath, and secured floral wire to the top of the wreath to give me something to hang it from.

I couldn’t be happier with how the wreath turned out, and I encourage you to make your own wreath. Whether its for Spring or Summer, or a great Memory Wreath for the holidays, this is an easy and fun craft!