How To Ship Your Golf Clubs Like The Pros

The world’s best golf destinations offer beautiful views and storied courses, but a little familiarity can go a long way on the greens. Smart travelers who bring their own sets of clubs along for the ride can make sure they show up with their best swing. With airline and shipping options from the traditional to the new, it’s never been easier to stay close to your set without breaking the bank.

Airlines swing a deal

When shipping clubs, airline bag fees actually prove a thrifty option. Whether flying to scenic Sedona for canyon views over the green or Punta Cana’s courses by the beach, the big airlines count golf bags the same as checked luggage. That means fees of $25 for first checked bags or $35 if the second bag checked. The airlines typically recommend players pack their bag in a rigid carrying case. On American, the case can weigh up to 70 pounds; Delta sets the cut-off at 50 pounds. United doesn’t have a limit. International destinations can actually prove cheaper, as some airlines waive fees for flights outside the U.S.

Ship that lucky set

Plenty of golfers choose to skip the hassle of lugging their set to and from the airport — and the inevitable baggage claim wait — by choosing to ship

their clubs ahead. FedEx and UPS have both developed in-store shipping systems to easily receive and send along golf sets. Each offers special boxes on location for packaging, and FedEx even offers golf club tubes for individual clubs along with a golf-focused online travel planner.

A trip to the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club in Florida using traditional shippers costs about $85 for clubs sent by three-day ground service, including packaging and fees. A cross-country trip to Scottsdale’s picturesque greens like at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort can cost about $96 over FedEx.

Startups drive a bargain

Younger companies offer even more service, arranging for at-home or at-office pickup and then saving by finding the cheapest shipping routes themselves. Competition also leads these startups to offer highly competitive rates.

Ship Sticks will pick up clubs and send them wherever they’re told at just the hassle of printing a shipping label. At $59.99 for five-day ground transit or $99.99 for three-day select shipping, Ship Sticks can have clubs waiting in good hands at the hotel, from Palm Beach to Pebble Beach. Luggage Forward’s charges vary but can be $84 cross-country with a week’s notice or $104 for three-day air. GolfBagShipping.com can go even cheaper —just $72 dollars if ordered at least a week ahead and with a week’s shipping.

Cautious travelers who aren’t used to venturing far from their clubs can take comfort in the strong insurance policies these startups offer. If Ship Sticks is a day late, it automatically shells out $200 for rentals at the course, and offers insurance up to $3,500. Luggage Forward offers money back plus an additional $500 if clubs don’t make it to their promised destination.

In short, those looking for the most budget choice will find airlines have cheap and accommodating policies today. Players who prefer a familiar and affordable option can check with experts at their local FedEx or UPS. And for serious golfers who value convenience, the shipping startups offer door-to-door service that leave the stress to just lining up the best approach shot on that famous par 5 in Maui.

This post was posted by Fiona Moriarty on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on June 15, 2015.

 

BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Confessions of a Queen B* by Crista McHugh

Confessions of a Queen B*

by Crista McHugh

YA Contemporary

Book Description

Alexis Wyndham is the other type of Queen B—the Queen Bitch.

After years of being the subject of ridicule, she revels in her ability to make the in-crowd cower via the exposés on her blog, The Eastline Spy. Now that she’s carved out her place in the high school hierarchy, she uses her position to help the unpopular kids walking the hallways.

Saving a freshman from bullies? Check.
Swapping insults with the head cheerleader? Check.
Falling for the star quarterback? So not a part of her plan.

But when Brett offers to help her solve the mystery of who’s posting X-rated videos from the girls’ locker room, she’ll have to swallow her pride and learn to see past the high school stereotypes she’s never questioned—until now.

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MY THOUGHTS: 3 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

Confessions of a Queen B* by Crista McHugh

This short tale gets three stars, but just barely. To be honest, it’s full of stereotypical characters, decisions that make no sense, and predictable moments. But at its’ heart, it had a compelling theme that kept me reading until I finished it in one sitting.

Our main character is Alexis, senior and resident gossip blogger at her high school. There apparently is enough going on at this school that Alexis has gained quite the rep: if you’re trying to hide something nefarious, she will find out, and it will be posted on her blog for the entire school to see!

It should come as no shock that Alexis doesn’t have many friends. Her besties are the outliers; a flamboyantly gay Asian kid, and a sex grazed Goth girl. Other than that, everyone else in school is pretty much scared of her. Except for one boy: quarterback and student body president Brett Pederson.

It just so happens that Brett and Alexis get paired up for a school project. Though Alexis does her bitchy best to repel him, Brett is immune and instead seems to want to get to know her better. Alexis must learn to let her guard down around him, which she never does with ANYONE.

As I said, the book is full of stereotypical characters–the gay boy that can only talk about penis (wtf, I know that’s not all he thinks about), the head cheerleader with fake boobs, the quarterback that is nothing but perfect. I saw another review that said if you can remember Freddie Prinze Jr’s character in She’s All That, then you’ve got Brett–and that is a SPOT ON observation. Even when it comes to his parents putting pressure on him about college. That is literally the only problem he has in his life. He is too good to be true, and that does not make a good YA character.

Alexis does have a bit more depth, and getting peeks into her true feelings is what kept me interested. Alexis cannot let anyone see her true self; I think she does not know how. She’s also concerned about losing her status at school, though she would never admit it. If she’s not the Queen Bitch, then what is she? Her struggles with her identity are a bit buried, but there if you are looking.

Apparently this book is the first in a series, but I’m not sure if I’ll be continuing. I might though, just to see what Alexis turns into once she breaks out of her high school mold.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Growing up in small town Alabama, Crista relied on story-telling as a natural way for her to pass the time and keep her two younger sisters entertained.

She currently lives in the Audi-filled suburbs of Seattle with her husband and two children, maintaining her alter ego of mild-mannered physician by day while she continues to pursue writing on nights and weekends.

Just for laughs, here are some of the jobs she’s had in the past to pay the bills: barista, bartender, sommelier, stagehand, actress, morgue attendant, and autopsy assistant.

And she’s also a recovering LARPer. (She blames it on her crazy college days)

For the latest updates, deleted scenes, and answers to any burning questions you have, please check out her webpage, www.CristaMcHugh.com.

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Four Travel Tips for an Exceptional Las Vegas Experience

A trip to Las Vegas, Nevada is an unofficial rite of passage for most Americans, as well as for many folks worldwide. The sensory overload headquarters of the West offers thrills for all tastes and inclinations, so make the most of a trip to Sin City by adhering to a few sensible guidelines.

Plan to Beat the Heat

Summertime temperatures can reach 115 degrees. Drinking plenty of water while you trek from one attraction to another is a key strategy for enjoying your trip and avoiding dehydration. Keep in mind, however, that regardless of the season most hotels in Las Vegas set their casino thermostats at around 60 degrees, so a light jacket might still be necessary. If you plan to relax poolside, golf or wander up and down the strip, don’t forget to use plenty of sunscreen — preferably the kind that doesn’t wear off from perspiration.

Mind the Etiquette of Freemont Street

Freemont Street is the lifeline of Downtown Las Vegas and is home to a special brand of regional charm in the way of local exhibitionists dressed up as everything from Batman to Michael Jackson. If you’re walking into the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino and you happen to run into the King of Pop, be sure to present a tip if you ask to have your picture taken with him. This practice is as customary to the area as adding a gratuity onto your dinner bill or your taxi cab fare.

Avoid Toxic Overload

In addition to dehydration, the Las Vegas landscape presents other health-related pitfalls. Exposure to cigarettes in gambling areas can affect those who are sensitive to secondhand smoke. Thankfully several hotels like the Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel offer smoke-free gambling areas. Another danger is alcohol abuse. Since many of the bars never close it’s rather easy to overdo it. The day after that bachelor party or wedding can be pretty brutal, yet Vegas is home to a unique service called Hangover Heaven, a mobile service that provides IV treatment including hydration, vitamins, antioxidants and more. So, you can roll out of bed at the Mirage Hotel and Casino looking pretty wrecked, make a phone call and feel better in no time.

Stay Connected

Paying for a nice vacation might mean you’ll need to stay in touch with the office while you are away. Many hotels offer free high-speed internet, Wi-Fi and even business centers so you can take care of a little work and get back to the business of having fun — so don’t forget your laptop.

Get the most out of your trip to America’s playground. If you’re hydrated, hip to local customs, health-conscious and connected, it will no doubt be a trip to remember.

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Get Safe Email for Kids at KidsEmail.org

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UPDATE 7/28/2015: We are still using and LOVING KidsEmail! When my son sees me checking my email, he immediately asks to go check his.  I signed him up for a few newsletters, such as those from Nick Jr. and some car magazines (his passion), and he loves seeing that he has new messages.  As he uses it more and more, I don’t even really need to show him where to click–he has got the hang of it!  I’m so glad we found this program.

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KidsEmail is giving THREE readers  1 year of Kids Email (value of $38.95).

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

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As my son gets older, he is definitely wanting to do things more and more on his own, and wanting a bit of privacy. At 6 years old, he has already learned some computer skills in his Montessori kindergarten classroom.  I decided now was the perfect time to get him an email of his own.

KidsEmail.org is the perfect solution for kids who want the freedom of their own email address, and parents who want to be able to have some control over what their child sees.  Parents have the option to choose who their child can email and who can email them. You can block senders, filter language and attachments, and so much more!

On the kids’ side, they get to pick a fun login name and customize what their email screen will look like. There are many designs to choose from–here are a few examples.

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My son chose the “Racing Champion” template, as I knew he would. There are cool designs for both boys and girls, younger kids, tweens and teens.

Speaking of teens, with KidsEmail your child has the option to have his email grow along with him.  As your child feels they might be getting a little old to have a “kiddie” email address, their account can be changed to a KMail.org address–but still allowing parents that monitoring option.

All of these features are available at one low price, and you can even get your first 30 days free! Try out the KidsEmail service free for the first month, then choose from one of the low priced subscription plans–as low as $2.99 a month.

(Please ignore my perpetually cluttered desk!)

My child thought it was so cool that he could have an email of his very own, and I could tell that he was proud of it and felt so grown up.  It was very easy for him to understand the interface, and he got the hang of his inbox really quickly. He is already asking to check it every day!

If you’re looking for a safe, fun, highly customizable email for kids, look no farther than the award winning KidsEmail.org!

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6 Reasons to Travel With Your Friends to Miami Beach

Miami Beach has long been known as one of the partying capitals of America. So, if you’re planning on traveling there, why not go with your friends? There are plenty of cheap hotels in Miami to house a crowd affordably, and there are endless ways for groups to enjoy the sunny vacation spot.

1. It’s a party town

One of the best reasons to go to Miami with friends is because it’s a city that’s all about fun — and what better way to have fun than with your buddies? There are countless bars and clubs that stay open here all night, and traveling with a group is a great way to ensure you have a gang to hang out with when you check all of them out!

2. There are great deals on suite hotels

If you want to travel with a group, you’ll find hotels in Miami with rooms as big as apartments or luxury suites. One of the best hotels in Miami with large (but affordable) suites is the Fortune House Luxury Apartment Suites.

3. There’s a wide variety of activities

Although Miami is all about the nightlife, it also has tons of other attractions that make it a great place for a group of people with diverse interests. In Miami, people can enjoy things like a Miami Heat basketball game at the AmericanAirlines Arena, a quiet nap in the sun on North Beach or even a massage and facial at The Palms Hotel & Spa.

4. There are group discounts to activities

Many of the most popular activities throughout the city offer discounted tickets for groups. This means that everyone can enjoy an activity affordably. Some of the most popular group discounts in Miami Beach include discounted Cirque du Soleil tickets and Skydive Miami group discounts.

5. The beaches are vast and gorgeous

When you travel to Miami, you don’t have to worry about finding room on the beach for a whole group of friends. It may be a tiny city, but it is made of barrier islands. For instance, on the eastern coast, from the northern tip to the south, it’s nearly all beach, meaning all of your friends will have plenty of room to stretch out, sit back and relax, no matter how busy the city is.

6. The food is delicious

There’s nothing better than bonding over a delicious meal with friends. Luckily, Miami has no shortage of amazing culinary delights, from upscale, haute cuisine dining destinations to delicious Cuban food served on the street. Grab your friends and have an unforgettable luxury meal at the Setai Grill located in Setai Miami Beach, or just get a quick bite of sustainable farm fresh fare at the courtyard pool bar at the Freehand Miami.

Miami Beach offers travelers of all sorts an unforgettable vacation experience. So when you go there, bring along your friends! You’ll have the chance to make memories of a lifetime in one of the most fun and beautiful places in America.

BOOK TRAILER REVEAL: Max the Brave by Ed Vere

“Are You My Mother?” meets “I Want My Hat Back” in the hilarious new picture book, Max the Brave (Sept. 8), by author and illustrator Ed Vere. Follow fearless Max as he encounters every other creature except the one he’s searching for…mouse. Check out the trailer!

Max is a fearless kitten. Max is a brave kitten. Max is a kitten who chases mice. There’s only one problem-Max doesn’t know what a mouse looks like! With a little bit of bad advice, Max finds himself facing a much bigger challenge. Maybe Max doesn’t have to be Max the Brave all the time…

Join this adventurous black cat as he very politely asks a variety of animals for help in finding a mouse. Young readers will delight in Max’s mistakes, while adults will love the subtle, tongue-in-cheek humor of this new children’s classic.

 

Expected release date is September 8, 2015. Preorder now!

Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | BAM

6 Reasons to Start Dreaming of a Trip to Cuba

Since 1961, U.S. travel to Cuba has been heavily restricted. Now that the U.S. and Cuba have begun to re-establish diplomatic ties, it’s getting easier for Americans to pop over to Havana for a visit. But how exactly does this shift in international relations impact American travel to Cuba? Here are 6 things any traveler needs to know about what has and has not changed.

1. Get the Facts

Be sure to get a travel license. While there are still no tourist visas being issued for travel to Cuba, it has become easier to obtain a “general license,” which now covers 12 different categories of travel. These include educational activities, humanitarian projects, athletic competitions, and “support for the Cuban people.” Check out this fact sheet for more info on the categories.

2. Book a Flight

In the past, Americans had to use an authorized travel service provider to book a chartered flight from Florida. Now it is possible for the average Joe to purchase a plane ticket from many cities in the U.S. directly to Cuba. (Just make sure the travel license has been taken care of.)

3. Stay A La Casa

It can still be a bit tricky to book a hotel in Cuba, so it’s best to plan ahead and start the process early. For those interested in a more authentic Cuban experience, it is also possible to stay in licensed private homes, called casas particulares. This experience, which is something like a homestay/B&B, allows visitors to get to know some Cubans and it supports the local economy. Many casas offer additional services or meals (breakfast is usually included) at an extra cost.

4. Pay With Plastic

For the first time, U.S. credit and debit cards can be used in Cuba. This is great news—in theory. However, keep in mind that ATMs are not yet widespread (most are in Havana). ATMs also might only access checking accounts, are likely to have a limit on the number of bills per transaction, and simply may not have enough cash for a large withdrawal. For places that take credit cards, it seems that Visa and Mastercard may have the best luck, though this is all changing pretty quickly. Just to be on the safe side, it may still be a good idea to bring enough cash or travelers’ checks to get by.

5. Bring Cigars Home

Cigars are still Cuban icons. Visit a working tobacco plantation, such as the Alejandro Robaina Plantation near Pinar del Río, or just sample some of the local products (but be on the look-out for fakes or scams). And now, it is

legal to bring some back for your friends! Thanks to a new policy on imports, U.S. travelers can bring home up to $100 of combined alcohol and tobacco products. (On second thought, perhaps your friends don’t need to know about this…maybe those Cuban cigars could go into a personal stash?)

6. Enjoy the Good Stuff

Fortunately, the things that make Cuba a classic destination will not be impacted by the new policies. The beautiful beaches and turquoise water have not changed with improved U.S.-Cuban relations. Ditto the rich musical heritage combining West African, Spanish, and even some Chinese influences. The architectural diversity (ranging from Moorish to art deco) which makes Old Havana a UNESCO World Heritage Site is still preserved. A Cuban bartender can still make a mean mojito, and travelers can even see the same old American cars which have been driving around Cuba since before 1961.

This post was posted by Fiona Moriarty on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on June 10, 2015

 

Two for Thursday Book Blitz: The Looking Glass and Of Breakable Things #T4T

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Welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!

Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!

You just might find your next read!

This week, #T4T presents to you:

The Looking Glass by Jessica Arnold and
Of Breakable Things by A. Lynden Rolland

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

The Looking Glass

Find the diary, break the curse, step through The Looking Glass!

Fifteen-year-old Alice Montgomery wakes up in the lobby of the B&B where she has been vacationing with her family to a startling discovery: no one can see or hear her. The cheap desk lights have been replaced with gas lamps and the linoleum floor with hardwood and rich Oriental carpeting. Someone has replaced the artwork with eerie paintings of Elizabeth Blackwell, the insane actress and rumored witch who killed herself at the hotel in the 1880s. Alice watches from behind the looking glass where she is haunted by Elizabeth Blackwell. Trapped in the 19th-century version of the hotel, Alice must figure out a way to break Elizabeth’s curse—with the help of Elizabeth’s old diary and Tony, the son of a ghost hunter who is investigating the haunted B&B—before she becomes the inn’s next victim.

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Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | The Book Depository | IndieBound | Google Play | BAM | iBooks

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

 

Curses, ghosts, betrayal and love. All elements to a perfect ghostly story..” – Jasmyn, Bitten by Romance

 

“I think one of the creepiest things about The Looking Glass was the way it made me feel so claustrophobic. It was similar to the way I felt when I read Stephen King’s Under the Dome–trapped and a bit panicked.”Kelly, Reviewer

“It was so different and so beautifully written and detailed that I really could not put this story down and I felt as though I was there with Alice throughout the story.” – Melissa, Simplistic Reviews

about-the-author

Jessica Arnold

Jessica Arnold writes YA, codes ebooks, and is currently a graduate student in publishing at Emerson College in Boston. She spends most of her time in class or work or slogging through the homework swamp. If she has a spare moment, she’s always up for a round of Boggle. Given the opportunity, Jessica will pontificate at length on the virtues of the serial comma, when and where to use an en dash, and why the semicolon is the best punctuation mark pretty much ever.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Of Breakable Things

A captivating debut about the fragility of life, love, and perspective.

When Chase dies tragically, Alex embraces her own mortality. What she didn’t expect was that she’d have to make a choice: forget the years of pain and suffering once and for all, or linger as a spirit and get another chance at life and love.

Alex doesn’t hesitate to choose; she’d follow Chase anywhere. But the spirit world is nothing like she expected, and Alex finds she’s forced to fight for her life once more. For even in a world where secrets are buried much deeper than six feet under, a legacy can continue to haunt you—and in a place this dangerous, no one is resting in peace.

add to goodreadsAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | The Book Depository | IndieBound | Google Play | BAM | Chapters | iBooks

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

 

“I am so in love with this story.”Linda, Lala Toadstone


“This is one book that I can see being turned into a film adaptation successfully!”Victoria, Escape into Pages

 

The concepts and worldbuilding are imaginative and fun–and so well written!–but it was the emotions and characters that really carry this from good to great for me.” – A.M. Supinger, Author

about-the-author

A. Lynden Rolland

A. Lynden Rolland was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, a picturesque town obsessed with boats and blue crabs. She has always been intrigued by the dramatic and the broken, compiling her eccentric tales of tragic characters in a weathered notebook she began to carry in grade school. She is a sports fanatic, a coffee addict, and a lover of Sauvignon Blanc, thunderstorms and autumn leaves. When she isn’t hunched behind a laptop at her local bookstore, she can be found chasing her two vivacious children. She now resides just outside Annapolis with her husband and young sons.

 

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumbler | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube

Giveaway

Complete the Rafflecopter for your chance to win!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

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Better Sleep With Organic Bedding

One of the greatest pleasures in life is slipping into a bed fitted with clean, cool and comfortable sheets. Our beds are a refuge from routine stressors as well as a welcome reward at the end of a long, tiring day. So just imaging the extra boost you’d get from knowing your sheets, pillowcases and blankets were made from natural materials that are free from harsh fabric treatments. Especially for people with sensitivities to chemicals, organic bedding could be the key to deep, restorative rest. Let’s take a look at the basics of organic bedding.

Materials

Cotton is a common choice for organic bedding, but it is by no means the only option. Some other materials are bamboo, wool and silk. Regardless which you choose, it’s crucial that it was farmed or grown without the use of pesticides or other toxic chemicals. All of these options include excellent benefits including moisture-wicking properties, breathability and a smooth, soft feel next to the skin. Cotton, bamboo and wool sheets generally are categorized according to their thread count, while silk’s fibers are measured in “mommes.” Medium-weight silk usually is in the 20 to 28 momme range, and 400 to 600 thread-count sheets are ideal in cotton, wool or bamboo.

Price

Organic bedding is usually more expensive than traditional bedding because the cost of producing the materials is higher and the difference is passed on to consumers. However, if you consider the benefit to your overall health of not sleeping on chemically treated bedding for a third of your life, the investment becomes more logical. The availability of organic bedding also is fairly limited, though it slowly is increasing. The best resources for organic sheets and blankets are online retailers.

Care

In particular with cotton, wool and bamboo bedding, maintenance is quite easy. This is important for people with allergies, who likely wash their bedding quite often. Machine washing is possible in a lot of cases. These materials all have been known for centuries for their durability and universal appeal. Also, many organic fabrics have the benefit of being antibacterial and hypoallergenic.

Environmentally Responsible

Not only is it nice to rest easy in the knowledge that you are sleeping on chemical-free sheets from an allergy standpoint, it’s also great to feel good about how the materials are sourced. You will be assured that you purchase something that was grown responsibly without harming workers, the people living near the farm or the environment. As more consumers make the investment in organic bedding, manufacturers will be able to increase production in a sustainable way.

 

Summer is Perfect for A Do-It-Yourself Wedding

You are over the moon about your upcoming wedding to the love of your life. You’ve decided to keep it simple and cut down on costs. A big, overblown affair isn’t your style. There is no time like summer to plan a wedding that you can put on by yourself. You and your fiancé will appreciate the occasion even more when you tailor this unforgettable moment to suit you. Turn your backyard into your venue and you’re already halfway there to a wedding that is perfect for you.

Rent Tables, Chairs, and Tents
You will want to be prepared for bad weather. After you rent your chairs and tables, look into tents as well. You may need to take cover if the rain is falling down. Recruit friends and family to help you with set up. Check out party supply stores and discount stores for paper products. There is no reason to spend a fortune. You can still have attractive decorations without breaking the bank.

Plan Your Menu
You have several options when it comes to food. You can cater your own affair or you can supply the food. If you opt to do it yourself, pool your resources. Talk with those who are close to you and ask them to bring a dish. Prepare and freeze foods ahead of time. Make it as easy as possible on yourself. You want to be able to enjoy this day and not worry about everyone having enough to eat. If you can’t afford to hire a caterer, you could ask family members to be in charge of refilling dishes and bringing out more options once the wedding is underway.

Set Up a Dessert Bar
Instead of cake, consider individual servings for dessert. Pudding cups, cupcakes, and gelato are always popular. You’ll discover a comprehensive selection of ice cream spoons and more at Gelato Products. When the temperature starts to rise in the summer, you will want to give your guests something cool and refreshing. A punch bowl, fruit salad, and smoothies will keep everyone happy. You can rent a snow cone machine for a touch of fun. Put someone in charge of serving your cold treats and enjoy yourself. It will give you plenty of time to celebrate the moment you have been waiting for all of your life.

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