Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day: Dates in a Jar

It's Valentine's Day, and whether you love it or hate it, are married or single, it finds you every year. We know that our blog is dedicated to all things weddings but for this Valentine's Day, we thought it would be nice to include some fun 'date' ideas for you instead of Valentine-Day themed weddings/stylized shoots. This way, you can use some of the ideas for tonight or this weekend or whenever you are feeling indecisive.

First off, a way to make this fun- even for you as the planner, is to put together a Date 'Jar'. All you need are Popsicle sticks, a mason jar, a sharpie and some ideas (that we'll help you with a little later).
  1. First, color code your Popsicle sticks according to the amount of time, planning, or money that an activity involves. That way, when you're looking at the jar, it's easy to choose from only dates that you know you will actually be able to do.
  2. With a marker, write a bunch of ideas out on your sticks --1 idea per stick. If you don't have many at first, just keep the sticks and marker somewhere easy to get to so that you when you think of something you can write it down right away. Choose ideas that you actually want to do so that when you draw one, you stick to it. (pun intended).
  3. Fill your jar with all of your date options and decorate it however you want! You can keep the sticks after you use them or toss them, but I would definitely add to the supply whenever you think of something so that the options are always fresh and exciting.
So, to help you get started, here are some ideas we have for you:

Dinner & A Show
Play some video games at a local arcade and then go out for pizza — ask them to cut the pie into the shape of a heart.

Try live entertainment, such as a band at a local bar, instead of a movie.

Pick a TV show, get a season's worth on DVD or On Demand and make a running date to watch it together every night.

Head out to a midnight cult movie, like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Showgirls or Donnie Darko. The Mayfair Theatre has some classics playing every month.

How about dinner and some stargazing at the Museum of Science and Technology ?

Try brunch and a matinee; fancy restaurants are way more affordable in the a.m.

Pick up a bucket of fried chicken and head for the drive-in. Closed in the winter but this one is the one closest to Ottawa and will re-open in the spring.

Seductive Secrets
Put on your sexiest stilettos; sip fancy cocktails at a hotel bar.

Bubble bath for two. Candles. Champagne. Need we say more?

Oysters are said to be an aphrodisiac, so head to a seafood place, we love Whalesbone, and slurp them right out of the shell.

Take a dinner cruise: There is a company in Ottawa that offers this. The motion of the ocean sets off sensuous signals inside us (think water beds).

Gooey, sexy, delicious: Get a fondue pot and have a feast. Add a French movie and French-kiss all night. My favourite: Amelie.

The sultriest music? Jazz. Try a trip to a jazz club or a night at home with a CD by Cassandra Wilson. Brookstreet Hotel offers live jazz in their Options lounge Tuesday-Sunday nights. You could add on an overnight stay and a trip to their spa the next morning.

Make a finger-foods-only dinner and feed each other.

At-Home Dates
Take turns singing cheesy out-of-tune ballads at or free

Have your own version of trick-or-treating: Put on a sexy outfit and knock on the den door. Don't forget the treats!

Enjoy a rousing game of Twister.

Dress up your backyard picnic table with a white tablecloth. Add candles, fancy cheese, chocolate and voilĂ : five-star fun.

Too cold or wet for an outdoor picnic? Spread a blanket on the floor and have a living room picnic.

Make a mixed 'tape': by 'tape' we mean an iTunes playlist that you can load on your partner's ipod.

Create a beer garden: Scour local stores for unusual beers.

Invest in an ice-cream maker or a bread maker; then invent your own homemade treats.

Curl up with the Sunday crossword puzzle.

Order live lobsters, plop them in a pot and have yourselves a shore thing. (Try, which even has a cooking guide.)

Bring home your favorite fast food, but serve it on your best china.

Cheap Dates
Museums usually have one free night a week, so hit one then. Check out the list of Ottawa museums here and find which afternoons are free.

Find a happy hour with 10-cent wings and two-dollar draft beers.

Take a sketchpad to a scenic bluff and draw your own version of the vista.

Grab a basketball and hit the free courts at the park.

Sample international food at a street fair. Ottawa is famous for their festivals so check out this website for a calendar of all festivals happening in our city.

Go to the library and page through the coffee-table art books.

Suit up and spend a late afternoon at an indoor pool. Chateau Laurier has an amazing indoor pool which is reminiscent of the 1920's. (think art-deco) It's only $20 to use it all day, and that gives you access to their fitness room too.

Head to the highest point in town. Spend an early evening watching the twinkling lights turn on.

Find a bridge and walk across it; the view can't be beat.

Drive out to a country field, lie down and snuggle under the stars.

Make yourselves the biggest, craziest ice cream sundae ever.

Creative Dates
Take a tour of the house you'd (someday) love to own.

Get your palms or tarot cards read.

Fly a kite.

Sign up for a one-night or weekend class at your local college- about anything ! We love Algonquin College I have taken a few Forensic courses there :)

Hit a farmers' market and scavenge for your dinner. The best ones in Ottawa are the Byward market, the Parkdale Market and the Little Italy Market.

Get an easy-to-operate remote-control plane, go to a park and take turns trying to avoid the trees.

Take a hayride.

Hit a flea market and find a beautiful blanket to snuggle in together.

Take a tour of garage sales in the ritziest neighborhoods.

Don't you just drive each other up the wall sometimes? Prove it — at an indoor climbing gym. Coyote Gym was Ottawa's first.

Head to an ice skating rink and strap on skates for some icy fun. Ottawa's Rink of Dreams is great if the canal is a bit too much for you to handle.

Poke around an antique shop.

Ride the Ferris wheel at a local carnival.

Give each other haircuts.

Pick out the perfect frame for your favorite photo of the two of you.

Mini Dates
Find a fountain and throw in 10 pennies, taking turns making wishes.

Write a poem together.

Stop at a fancy bakery and pick out a treat each — for each other. We can't get enough of Art is In

Feed the ducks.

Hold a kiss for one elevator ride.

One word: Frisbee.

Ride a tandem bike.

Get up early or stay up all night (wink, wink) to watch the sunrise.

Try this kissing challenge: 100 kisses in three hours.

Climb a tree together.

Man-Friendly Outings
Pick up The Girl's Guide to Football by Peaco Todd, for a mini tutorial. Then join your guy at his next big game.

Take a test-drive of a fun sports car, such as the Nissan Z.

Head to a batting cage and swing at some balls.

Trim your fingernails, wear thick socks and hit the bowling alley. Rock N Bowl is a great alternative to regular bowling- and you can drink alcohol as well !

Get in the saddle for a horseback-riding lesson.

Hit a sports bar and cheer on your team. Ottawa now has a huge sports bar located at 90 George Street called Real Sports

Map out a long bike ride through a local park.

Fire up the grill for burgers and sticky s'mores.

Play paintball.

Check out the action at the nearest racetrack. Rideau Carleton Raceway has live horse racing and the Hull Casino has just added a new horse racing game.

A bar, beers and darts. Anyone up for some healthy competition?

Hit the golf-ball driving range.

Work out your aggressions with some co-kickboxing.

Sniff out a cigar bar and loll around, acting like Tony Soprano. The only one in town (which is actually out of town) is over in Gatineau at the Hull Casino. It's called Bacchus

Unleash your inner pool shark and hit a dive bar or a pool hall.

Mini Getaways
Book a double massage at a fancy-schmancy spa.

Take a balloon or helicopter ride over your town.

Rent a fancy car. Tool around as if you actually own it.

Find a nearby bed-and-breakfast. Spend the night someplace where someone else makes the bed and cooks breakfast.

Outdoor Adventures
Grab a pair of binoculars and spend an afternoon bird-watching.

Log on to to find out how to become a pair of butterfly spies.

Hit a hiking trail near you. The Gatineau Hills are amazing.

Snowfall? Call your man, make him run home and build a snowman.

Take a walk on the beach.

Culture Vulture
Check out the talent at a small local art gallery. We recommend Orange, Cube and Wall Space.

Get up and move: Try swing dancing, tangoing or square dancing.

See if your local college has a pottery studio and sign up for an evening class. If not, check out this shop that has been around in Ottawa since 1996.

Amateur theater is fun to see — and even more fun to try out for.

Find out which classes LCBO is offering: cooking, beer and wine tasting. DiVino is another great venue that offers cooking and wine classes.

Same goes for cheese shops. Call and ask if they have regular tasting parties.

Get all dressed up and catch an orchestra or opera performance at the NAC.

Nostalgia Trips
Dig out that concert T-shirt: You're never too old to catch your favorite classic rock band on its reunion tour.

Take a local walking history tour.

Make a time capsule about your dating days to open 10 years from now.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Guest Blog: 2013 Bridal Beauty Trends from

Gone are the days of baby pink lips and nude eye shadow. Bridal makeup trends have evolved from understated and cautious to the forefront of the beauty industry. Traditionally dictated by celebrity red carpet looks and high fashion trends, brides increasingly want makeup that is cutting edge, sophisticated and never boring. In this month’s guest blog, beauty experts Amy, Elissa, Heather and Rachel of each dish about what trends they are seeing on real brides and share their thoughts on a hot trend: airbrushing.

Amy on trends and airbrushing

photo: Barbara Ann Studios
I find that brides are getting 'sexier', and more daring. They are embracing the smokey eye and/or the red lip. Modern brides aren't afraid to play with their makeup a bit more.

Even with new and different makeup trends, beautiful skin is at the top of every bride's wish list...and the trend towards airbrush guarantees this for every bride.

A fantastic way to provide coverage and a flawless finish while still showcasing fresh, clear skin is airbrushing. Airbrushing allows the bride and her attendants to forget about their makeup. It is incredibly long-wearing, helping their makeup to last the entire wedding day.

Elissa on effortless elegance

Brides continue to ask for elegant and glamorous wedding day makeup. They want a look that is more special than their everyday makeup, but not so drastically different that it seems artificial or unnatural. There is a trend towards timeless and effortless elegance; incredibly flawless and smooth skin, glowing shimmering cheeks, naturally rosy lips and defined eyes. What every girl wants, right? Don't we just wake up like that?

 Brides are no longer afraid of makeup; they want everything it has to offer in order to make them feel their most beautiful. This doesn't mean thick and heavy makeup; it means understanding how makeup can help them achieve their dream look. Almost every bride is asking for false lashes to add extra drama to the eyes. The trick is choosing the appropriate style that compliments each bride’s eyes and lashes. I also have a lot of clients wanting dramatic, smokey and sexy eyes with an elegance factor that makes it perfect for the wedding.

photo: Fleischer Photography

Our clients are also so excited about airbrush foundation. We are able to achieve a flawless complexion with minimal makeup. It feels so light on the skin and lasts all night. Whether you need light or full coverage, airbrush looks so natural on every skin type.

Heather on brides as muses
Brides we see in blockbuster movies and celebrity wedding photos are the perfect muses for makeup artists and cosmetic brands everywhere. The best example is the vampire influence: bold lips, flawless complexion and subtly smokey eyes. Deep cranberry tones for lips and lip stains instead of sticky, goopy glosses are all the rage. We are seeing this trend carry over to celebrity weddings with a focus on perfected and often paler skin than we have seen on brides for a long time. That luminous look is really beautiful, especially with a sheer or slightly pearlized airbrush foundation so that deeper smokey eyes, naturally flushed-looking cheeks and lips really stand out.

Rachel on the bold and the beautiful

Brides love glam eyes! What constitutes a glam eye? It could be colour, shimmer or intense smokey drama but it undoubtedly always makes the eyes the focal point of a glam makeup. It’s almost over-the-top but with a sophisticated edge.

Increasingly we are seeing rosy and bright lips - that cherubic “bitten” look that evokes freshness and innocence that is sexy at the same time.

photo: Barbara Ann Studios
Big lashes are still super hot, from extensions to luscious false lashes. Brides love them. Bold brows are also making a comeback. Not quite the Brooke Shields brows of the 80s but big, brave and beautifully groomed to frame and enhance the eyes.

Radiant skin and the “no makeup” makeup go hand in hand. As seen on the red carpet or perhaps copied by red carpet celebrities who want to look fresh and flawless like brides, the perfected finish only achievable with airbrush is what every bride wants.

For more information, check out the talented ladies at!

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