Archive for March, 2011

chocolate-dipped honeymoon

Monday, March 28th, 2011 | travel | No Comments

I’m always a fan of anything that involves high quality dark chocolate. In fact, part of my 3 1/2 week honeymoon in Italy included a visit to the Perugina chocolate factory, a night in the Etruscan Chocohotel, and a six-course tasting menu – each of which included chocolate. So when I heard about this new, oh-so-fabulous resort in St. Lucia, I knew I had to find out all about it.


Hotel Chocolat is the brainchild of two British chocolatiers, Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris .

On this 140-acre, 18th-century plantation, you can learn the entire chocolate-making process, helping to harvest and roast the beans and, of course, taste the finished product. Or you could simply retire to one of the six cocoa- and cream-colored cottages with gauze-draped four-poster beds, ocean-facing chaise longues, and open-air rain showers. (Eight additional villas will open in October.) The restaurant takes its inspiration from the hotel’s crop, with dishes like yellowfin tuna with cacao pesto. Talk about a delicious getaway.  Definitely my idea of hot chocolate!

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exceeding expectations

Friday, March 25th, 2011 | testimonials | No Comments

I just got this lovely email from Sonya + Travis. They are a lovely couple – inside & out – it was a delight working with them both! xo


Hello Lisa,
I hope this email finds you happy and well.
I’m in the midst of helping two friends organize their weddings and find myself in constant awe of the spectacular work you did for Travis and me. From the vendors you recommended to budget to the wedding decor, you never led us astray. In fact, more often than not you exceeded our expectations.
When asked if I would recommend a wedding planner, I often tell the croquembouche story. The impossible dream wedding dessert that you somehow made happen. And when it tumbled, Travis and I were able to sit back with our guests and laugh instead of worrying because you were fighting that battle for us.

My husband and I know that you were vital to making not only the wedding but the whole planning process such a wonderful experience. Our wedding was truly the happiest day of our lives – thank you for helping make that dream a reality.

Take care,


PS We also owe you a belated thanks for recommending Giovanni. Finally a fashionable solution to Travis’ 14 inch drop. (Though he still LOVES his tux!)

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You’re Engaged! Now What?

Thursday, March 17th, 2011 | etiquette | No Comments

Here’s some great advice from Emily Post:


1. Share the good news
Your parents, and any children you may have from a previous union, should hear the news first. Then comes other relatives and close friends. Whether you do it in person or over the phone, do it yourself. Those closest to you will no doubt be hurt to hear the news second hand. Don’t announce an engagement until a former union has been dissolved, whether by divorce or annulment. Post it on Facebook only after your family and closest friends have heard the news from you. 

2. Meet the parents
Your engagement certainly signifies a change in the relationship with your fiancé’s/fiancée’s parents. Now’s the time to lay the foundation for a positive bond with your future in-laws. This is also when the parents of the bride meet – or at least make contact with – the parents of the groom. Traditionally, the groom’s parents call the bride’s parents to introduce themselves and extend an invitation to meet. But nowadays that first contact can also be made by the bride’s parents.

3. Make the guest list & set the budget
Your budget is the determining factor for the shape, size and fanfare of your wedding. But you can’t decide the type of wedding you will have until you have some idea of the size of the guest list. The easiest way to cut costs is to narrow your guest list.

4. Pick the date
The time of year you have your wedding is a key consideration. The most popular months for weddings are May, June, July, August, September and October. Popular wedding sites will be at a premium in terms of availability and cost during these times. Are you hoping for an outdoor wedding? Consider how many of your guests will have to travel when choosing a date as well. 

5. Don’t forget the three C’s
Not clarity, cut or color. We’re talking about consideration, communication and compromise. How you handle your wedding plans can foretell how you will handle the other major decision of your life together. Along with the stress that will accompany the big decisions and little details should be a sense of adventure and fun. You are celebrating one of the most joyous milestones in your lives. Do so with a focus on consideration, communication and compromise and the process is sure to be less stressful and more satisfying.

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fight fair

Monday, March 14th, 2011 | Q&A, Uncategorized | No Comments


You can live in a fantasy world, where you think you will never disagree. Why? Because “We just love each other so much.” Well, guess what? That is just not reality. The only way a marriage will never have confrontation is if your spouse always gives in and never challenges anything you do. If this is you, prepare yourself: this is a sign of a very unhealthy marriage.

Since disagreement and confrontations will inevitably come up in your marriage, a great idea is to set some guidelines that will help you through those times and come out as a stronger couple and partnership.

The way you approach a disagreement will largely depend on 2 things:

The Way You Were Raised
When I was younger, I thought all issues in the world were resolved the way my dad confronted them. We would sit down and unemotionally go over whatever the problem was until it was resolved. This method was quite foreign to my wife’s family experience. If I saw something in Carol that I thought was important to confront, it was best for me to package it into a short and concise statement, and then leave it with her. Trying to talk it through on the spot (like I would have with my father) only made the matters worse. We both came to realize very early in our marriage that neither of our family experiences was going to be the model that worked for us.

How was your family experience different from your partner’s? Did you come from a broken home where issues didn’t get resolved? No matter how you were brought up, you can find something that works for your marriage. It is never fun to be confronted, but since it is going to happen, ask your partner the method they would most prefer.

Your Personality Type
There are some people that love to confront and others that try to avoid it. If you are a confronter, pause for a moment and ask yourself if the issue is worth raising. What is your motivation? Is your purpose to help your spouse become a better person, or do you just want them to change to be more like you? 

On the other hand, if you’re avoiding confrontation, is that simply because you’re afraid of it? Would your relationship stand on healthier ground if you were to discuss the issue? If you avoid confrontation, you are not doing your marriage any favours. Your spouse will often never know what bothers you unless you tell him or her. By just stewing about something instead of dealing with it, the problem only grows. 

Timing is everything.
Here are a few ideas to help you pick the right time:

Don’t start talking about a contentious issue as you are going out. You will ruin your evening if you don’t have enough time to resolve things, and you’ll dwell on the issue the entire time.

Don’t let a problem be the first thing you raise after getting together after work. Let those first moments be kept for showing each other how excited you are see each other.

Never pick a time when there are others around. It will be awkward for them and embarrassing for your spouse. 

If you are not ready to deal with something, tell your spouse that you would like to give it a bit of time to think. If you are going to push it off for a while, tell your partner how much time you need. You can’t avoid issues forever and expect a happy marriage.

One last thing: Never attack the person.

There are words to avoid, which if used, will prolong your agony and leave battle scars. Avoid phrases like, “You always” and “You never.” They are rarely true and will provide something else to argue about.

Avoid words that attack the person and not the problem. By saying, “You are a slob,” you’re attacking the person, but by saying “Your actions are messy,” you address the problem. Similarly,  “You’re such a crab” attacks the person, but “You seem to be complaining a lot,” addresses the problem.

If you are prone to getting angry, practise talking slower and at a lower pitch. The goal is not to out-shout your spouse, but to help him or her see things from another perspective, or find some middle ground that you can both live with.

When a resolution is found, apologies may be needed (depending on what has transpired) before you can move on. I heard a story of a husband coming to his wife saying,“I’m sorry.” Her response came with a wagging of her finger: “I’ve seen sorry, and this isn’t it.” Make sure your apology is sincere and heart-felt. If you have wronged your spouse, an “I’m sorry” doesn’t always cut it. You will need to use the words, “Will you forgive me?” It is humbling to say this, but necessary to put it behind you.

After all is said and apologies are made, let the fun part begin. Disagreements are so much easier to take if you know that making up will follow. Since disagreements will come, and maybe some heated verbal exchanges as well, take comfort that you are not alone and working through these issues will only make your marriage stronger.


Source: Parrott, Less III and Leslie Parrott. “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before (and After) You Marry.” Zondervan, 1995.

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