August 08, 2009

Honeymoon Series: Adventure Honeymoons compiled a great list of the ultimate adventure honeymoons. If laying around on a beach is not your style, check out this list by Forbes Traveler.

The World Beach

If you're determined to just lay on a beach somewhere but can't agree on which stretch of sugar white sand it should be, there's an adventure honeymoon to suit. TCS Expeditions "Around the World: Islands" private jet trip stops in the Seychelles, the Galapagos Islands, Easter Island, Tonga, New Zealand's South Island, Tasmania, Brunei, Madagascar, Seychelles and Malta. And the $64,950 per person price tag will make the cash you blew on the wedding seem like small change. (TCS Expeditions)

Safari: Kenya

Abercrombie & Kent's safari in the Masai Mara is ideal for cat lovers. The stealthy guides driving open-sided jeeps know exactly how to approach to within a dozen feet of slumbering lions, leopards, cheetahs and more. (Apparently, humans don't resemble lunch until they step from the vehicle.) At Olonana tented camp—overlooking the Mara River and resident hippopotamus pods—the outdoor showers, double vanity, free laundry service and morning delivery of fresh coffee make it hard to believe you're in one of the wildest places on earth. Rise early for a tree-skimming dawn balloon ride to spot leopards, crocodile and all manner of predators before chowing down on a sumptuous champagne breakfast. (Abercrombie & Kent)

Archaeology Cruise: Egypt

Abercrombie & Kent's 13-day Romance Along the Nile itinerary will suit honeymooners who want more honeymoon and a little less adventure. Visit the Pyramids with your very own Egyptologist guiding you through secret passages and chambers. From the vantage point of a table set for two, watch the sunrise over the pyramids while your gloved waiter pours yet another glass of the bubbly. (Abercrombie & Kent)

Camel Camping: India

India's kaleidoscopic culture and royal connections make it an ideal destination for honeymooners with an adventurous spirit. Greaves Tours suggest an itinerary taking in Reggie Singh's Camel Camp, located in the dramatic Rajasthan desert. (Reggie's informal name belies the fact that he is actually the grandson of the Maharaja of Jodhpur.) On camel, visit local villages by day and, by night, return to camp to relax in the heated swimming pool among sand dunes. Before leaving India, spend a night at the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, where Greaves can arrange for the Maharaja himself to join you for tea. (Greaves India)

Elephant Safari: Thailand

It's the "regal arrival" option at Anantara Golden Triangle that really lets your fellow travelers know that this is no ordinary vacation. Guests who choose this option arrive via long-tailed boat and elephant ride to be toasted on arrival with champagne. The three-day elephant safari brings you closer to nature and teaches you how to be a mahout (elephant driver). Ride to the top of a nearby mountain for sunset cocktails and dinner overlooking the Mekong River as it meets at the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. Staff can also arrange a private breakfast in one of the nearby 600-year-old temples. (Anantara Golden Triangle)

Gorilla Trekking: Uganda

Travcoa's gorilla trekking itinerary includes three nights in a gorilla forest camp, nestled deep in the misty mountains and giant bamboo of Bwindi National Park. This verdant valley—not surprisingly a UNESCO World Heritage Site—is home to half the world's gorilla population and is lush with orchids and, rather conveniently for new couples, mistletoe. When honeymoon guests arrive back at camp after a day communing with their distant evolutionary cousins, they'll find a bath drawn, candles lit and flower petals spread across the floor. (Travcoa)

Hiking: Bhutan

Every visitor to Bhutan feels giddy and lightheaded. It might be love, but it's probably the altitude—20,000-foot peaks are spread across this tiny Himalayan kingdom. Embark on Uma Paro's ten-night Druk Path hike, taking in the region's precipitously positioned architectural and natural wonders. The highlight (which should be attempted only after fully acclimating to the altitude) is making the pilgrimage to Taktsang Monastery, known locally as the Tiger's Nest. After each day's rigorous hike, return to Uma Paro hotel where clawfoot tubs, open fireplaces, couples massages and hot stone baths await. The resort can also arrange traditional Bhutanese wedding ceremonies. (Uma Paro Hotel)

Rock Climbing: Italy

In the Tyrolean village high in the Dolomites, Rosa Alpina Hotel and Spa may have just invented Michelin-star climbing. The property's two-Michelin-star restaurant, St. Hubertus, is the perfect culinary base camp from which to explore the region's crags and peaks. Enthusiastic guides like "Pippo" Cola (who is also a professional chef) provide fascinating history lessons by exploring the vie ferrata (a network of suspension bridges, cable ladders and boardwalks used during the world wars). Don't miss a night in the property's remote rustic cabin, high in a verdant alpine meadow. (Rosa Alpina)

Sailing: Tahiti

With a plethora of over-water bungalows from St. Regis, Four Seasons and Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa, Tahiti is enduringly popular with honeymooners but can be a little light on adventure. After the novelty of feeding sharks and stingrays wears off, charter Taravana, the world's first catamaran capable of big game fishing under sail. A sunset cruise complete with a glass of bubbly in one hand and a thrashing marlin in the other will ensure that ordinary sailing will never be the same again. (The Art of Travel)

Scuba Diving: Australia

The thing that makes Lizard Island—the northernmost resort on the Great Barrier Reef—so remarkable is both the abundance and variety of fish and the vibrant color of the coral. The outer reef location means bluer water than the slightly greener inner reef. Find colorful fish, including the "Nemo" clownfish, without having to endure a lengthy boat ride. Highlights are cobalt blue Mori wrass, cuttle fish (the chameleon of the sea) and giants like and 1,000-pound blue marlin and 300-pound curious potato cod at Cod Hole. (Voyages)

All photos and information from

August 07, 2009

Honeymoon Series: Underwater Camera

For any type of honeymoon that you choose, the Olympus Stylus 1030 SW camera will be a great tool to have. The camera is shockproof, waterproof, freezeproof, dustproof, and crushproof. It can survive in temperatures down to 14 degrees, withstand 220 pounds of weight, falls up to 6.6 feet, and go down to 33 feet. It's the perfect tool if you are going scuba diving or snorkeling, skiing, or surfing.

You can find the Olympus Stylus 1030 SW camera at the Olympus Store, on, or at most major electronics retailers. Estimated retail price is $349.99.

Real Wedding: Shannon & Matt

Back in May, I got the pleasure of working with Shannon & Matt during their wedding at the Forsgate Country Club. During her entire planning process, Shannon was in law school and preparing to take the bar exam (as if a bride doesn't have ENOUGH on her plate already!). I got to know her parents during the planning process but it wasn't until close to the wedding that I got to know Shannon. She is such a sweetheart and I am so happy that she got the wedding of her dreams!

At the end of the night, I went into our holding room as I started to prepare for pack-up. As I approached the bridal suite, I heard some very loud giggling. I opened the door and found a group of superheroes looking back at me. Some of the guests planned a special surprise for the bride and groom. Thank goodness they thought it was funny!

It was such a pleasure working with Shannon, Matt, and Shannon's family. I wish you guys a lifetime of happiness!

A huge THANK YOU to Chris and Suzanne at CLB Photography. This was my first time working with CLB but will most definitely not be my last. I had such a great time with them. They are such a talented duo. If you haven't booked a photographer yet, they are a team you MUST consider!

August 06, 2009

Honeymoon Series: Westin Diplomat &

Right down the road from Miami is Hollywood, Florida. If the glitz, glamour, and prices of Miami are too much, Hollywood is the next best thing. You can enjoy the nightlife of Miami and then take a short 20 minute ride back to the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa.

The lobby is nothing short of spectacular. The open air feel makes you instantly feel like you are in paradise.

The resort has 898 guest rooms and 100 suites. The hotel was recently refurbished and many eco-friendly products were used during construction. One restaurant you don't want to miss at the resort if Hollywood Prime. It's a steak and seafood restaurant with a very extensive wine list. My personal recco is the filet mignon. It was so good that I had it twice during my stay at the Diplomat!

The pools at the Westin Diplomat are out of this world. They cover a ton of ground so there's never a problem finding a chair. You have the option of private cabanas with butler service if you're looking for a private, intimate pool experience.

It's tough to see from up above, but the pools are actually layered. The circle in the center is glass, so when you are in the lower pool, you can watch the people swimming above you. At night, the pools light up in brilliant hues.

When you are ready to leave resort grounds, head straight across the street to Nikki Marina. The restaurant features an awesome menu of seafood and sushi. You can opt for outdoor seating right on the marina or inside, where the tables have plush pillows for your comfort. The back level of seating is full sized beds. Your dinner will be delivered to you in bed.

In case you needed any more convincing that the Diplomat is a great honeymoon destination, the Westin Diplomat was the venue where the lucky recipients of Us Magazine's Dream Wedding was held in 2008.

August 05, 2009

Honeymoon Series: Flip Camera

One of the last things you'll want to pack on your honeymoon is a camcorder and all that goes along with it. If you still want to recorder a few key moments without all of the baggage, grab a Flip Camera. You can choose between 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB. There's the option of regular video or HD. Now, you can also personalize and design your Flip Camera. They range from $149.99-$229.99. The Flip Camera comes with software that allows you to edit, create movies, and add music to your clips. It's a great item to pick up before your wedding if you aren't having a videographer. Assign one of your guests to capture a few of those special moments like toasts and entrances.

You can buy the Flip Camera online or at most major electronics retailers.

Roasted Tomato Soup Recipe

I love tomato soup. Follow this recipe for the best tomato soup you'll ever taste!

  • 3 pounds fresh tomatoes (mix of fresh heirlooms, cherry, vine and plum tomatoes)
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 large yellow onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 of a quart chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • sea salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Chop all of the tomatoes into small chunks. Spread the tomatoes, garlic cloves and onions onto a cookie sheet. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, or until caramelized.

Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot. Add the chicken stock, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.

Chop basil leaves and add to the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Return soup to low heat and add cream. Serve garnished with a vine tomato and basil leaf.

August 04, 2009

Honeymoon Series: JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort

If you make it to the Phoenix area for your honeymoon, take the short drive to Scottsdale to eat at the Italian restaurant named Sassi. They hold weddings and events there if you're interested in a destination event. The food is excellent, but the real draw is the beautiful design of the restaurant.

The glass candle holders on each table are made by a local artist who designs especially for the restaurant. He just loves what he does and wished to remain anonymous. Eventually, after much persistence, he decided to sell them at the restaurant. They are rare, so if you have the opportunity to purchase one, it makes a great gift to bring home. I have one and it's one of my favorite pieces in my home.

I love that this restaurant is made up of different rooms. Each room has a different layout, rather than one larger room. There is always something new to discover around every corner.

If you were to have your wedding at Sassi, it could be held on the lawn with the gorgeous desert backdrop.

Your cocktail hour or any other small event can be held on the patio. My personal dinner recco at Sassi? Hands down, the lamb!

While in Phoenix, The JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort is one of the nicest hotels you can stay in. The grounds are stunningly beautiful, the hotel is immaculate, and the food is to die for. There are 81 suites and 950 guest rooms, yet the resort never feels crowded. You are surrounded by the desert and mountains. It's truly a gorgeous oasis retreat.

You'll never go hungry at the Desert Ridge Resort. For casual dining, head to Blue Sage and order the blue corn pancakes. For more formal dining, dine outside overlooking the fountains and mountains at Tuscany. You cannot under any circumstances go to Phoenix without stopping at Tuscany and trying their gnocchi. I have been trying to replicate their recipe for two years now with no look. It's incredible. The Meritage Steakhouse is another great option. The cow-patterned chair give the steakhouse an authentic feel, but the firepits and flat screen tv's add a bit of comfort.

Relaxation is inevitable when you open the doors to the Desert Ridge Spa. You are immedately calmed by the fountain centerpiece in the foyer. There are 41 rooms where you can get anything from a mani/pedi to a romantic couples massage.

There is nothing better than laying out in the pool, lazy river, or hot tub and seeing an 18 hole golf course up against the backdrop of the desert mountains. It's absolutely breathtaking.

Other great hotels to stay at in Arizona are the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess and the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort (the entire hotel does a complimentary tequila shot every night at 5pm!). Consult with the Arizona Guide for more information on traveling to Arizona.

August 03, 2009

Honeymoon Series: Honeydew Intimates

Honeymoon lingerie doesn't need to break the bank. Honeydew Intimates has adorable intimate sets that are sporty but sexy. They have an entire section of 3 for $36. It's a bargain you can't pass up!

I love that they feature so many boyshorts - so comfortable!

The best part about Honeydew Intimates is that they offer a gift registry and gift certificates. So, if you're on the modest side, this is the perfect thing to register for to avoid opening extremely inappropriate lingerie in front of your friends and family at your shower.

You can buy Honeydew Intimates online or in select Dillard's, Bloomingdales, or Nordstrom.

Save on your Cake Costs!

Specialty wedding cakes can range anywhere from $5-$25 per slice and up. Depending on the flavors, materials, and handmade details in your cake, you could be facing a pretty large bill. If you're on a tight budget, cut down on the cake. If the specialty cake look is what you are going for, have a smaller dream cake made. It'll be much cheaper to do a very detailed cake for 50 people and have sheet cake reserved for the guests than a detailed wedding cake for 250 people. People will never know the difference!

August 02, 2009

Honeymoon Series: Passport Covers

The most important thing to bring with you on your honeymoon (aside from your new husband or wife) is your passport. Here are a few unique passport covers that ensure your passport stays safe and keeps it easily identifiable.

Mr. & Mrs. Passport Covers
by the Classy Bride - $39.95 per set.

This seller has a ton of different designs so you can pick one out for your husband as well!