Erin Celletti


So, What’s the Difference Between PMS and PMDD?

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Not to be confused with PMS, PMDD stands for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder—and it’s really important to know the difference.

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Your 6 Week Postpartum Checkup: What to Expect

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The first time you see your doctor post giving birth can be tricky. This is what new moms should expect at their 6 week postpartum check up.

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How to Handle Buying Holiday Gifts When One Partner Earns More Money

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As if you needed one more thing to stress about during the holidays, here’s how to deal with buying gifts if your partner makes more money.

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Cozy Up to These 11 Perfumes, Perfect for Winter Weddings

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Here are some of our favorite winter wedding perfumes to rock down the cold-weather aisle.

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Real Couples Share Their Favorite Holiday Traditions

Wedding in the Maldives islands, Its celebration of happiness in the middle of ocean with World class Accomodation and Food on your Holiday package, Photo by Asad

We spoke with real couples to discover how they make the holidays special in their own unique ways with their favorite holiday traditions.

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What Exactly Is a Postpartum Doula?

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We spoke to an expert about why new moms might want to consider using a postpartum doula and what exactly a postpartum doula does.

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What Your Zodiac Sign Says About Your Love Life This Week: December 10, 2018

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See what your zodiac sign has to say about your weekly love horoscope, with relationship and career advice for every sign.

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How Much Sex Does It Take to Make a Baby?


Sex makes a baby, this we know. But beyond that, things can get a bit complicated in terms of frequency and timing.

Some babies are conceived on the first try, with just one unprotected romp in the hay to thank. Others can take lots and lots of practice, medical interventions, procedures, and more. How can this be?

The length of a woman’s cycle, timing of sex, quality of sperm, hormones, and biological environment all come into play. Sometimes it all aligns in to the perfect baby-making moment, and other times it doesn’t.

So, if you’re trying hard to conceive (or trying not to conceive),BRIDES spoke with Lakeisha Richardson, an ob/gyn in Greenville, Mississippi, for more info.

“It’s funny that for when people are trying to get pregnant, it can take more than one time to actually conceive,” Richardson says. “But for women who aren’t trying, all it takes is that one time (at the right time) for an unintended pregnancy to occur.” And while we’ve all probably heard stories or even have friends who have or are themselves “one time” babies, the irony can be quite painful for those struggling to conceive.

Believe it or not, getting pregnant isn’t as easy as you may have once thought in high school. In all actuality, a multitude of perfect situations need to line up for sperm to successfully meet egg, implant in the uterus, and stay there.

Richardson says that in order for conception to occur, the following things need to be in place:

• A woman needs to be ovulating.

• There needs to be viable sperm.

• The environment has to be healthy.

She says, “Don’t use any products that could be harsh for the sperm or the egg. Many couples aren’t aware that most personal lubricants can actually harm sperm motility. Make sure to use a fertility-friendly lubricant such as Pre-Seed.”

So, How Much Sex Are We Talking?

On average, Richardson says, “Women should have sex every other day during fertile window.” She explains that there is a bit of a misconception among women that ovulation occurs on day 14, but in reality it all depends on your own unique cycle length—it’s different if you have 25, 28, or 35 day cycles. “Have regular intercourse as soon as your cycle ends (end of your period) and then every other day on days 10-20 of the menstrual cycle,” she says.

That’s about six times.

Sticking to the “day 14” rule may very well result in you missing your ovulation window and being unsuccessful for that cycle.

If you’re struggling to identify your personal ovulation time, Richardson advises, “The most accurate way to identify ovulation is to use an at-home ovulation test kit, such as First Response, that identifies your two most fertile days of the month.”

You also might be surprised to know that having too much sex can actually backfire.

“Males require 24 hours for their sperm count to rebuild,” says Richardson. “Too much sex will be counterproductive.” Remember, sperm can live 48 to 72 hours once in the uterus.

See more: What All Women Should Know About Pregnancy Tests

Best Advice

Trying to conceive can be really stressful, and stress can increase your rate of infertility due to rising cortisol levels. So, Richardson says for couples trying to conceive, “have fun, and make it stress-free!”

And while there’s no sexual position that’s more effective than the other in regards to conception, she recommends propping your hips up with a pillow 15 minutes after intercourse to increase the chances of sperm reaching egg.

Finally, she recommends: “Be spontaneous, keep it romantic, and don’t forget the foreplay.” Doctor’s orders!

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8 Winter Sunday Activities To Try If Watching Football Isn't Your Thing


Does it seem that everywhere you look this time of year (either in real life or on Instagram) there are endless jerseys, tailgates and television screens all dedicated to football? You’re not alone. “America’s Game” seems to continue to take fall and winter Sundays (and Thursdays and Mondays) by storm—but what do you do if watching football really isn’t your thing?

If you’re not into football, there are plenty of other ways you can spend closing out your weekend that have nothing to do with touchdowns, tailgates or turnovers. Here are eight winter Sunday activities that will carry you through football season and beyond.

Spa Day

If your partner will be out watching the games for the day, why not reclaim your bathroom and turn it into a home spa? Go all out with essential oil diffusers, a bubble bath, face and hair masks—the whole nine yards. Relax in knowing they’ll be no knocks or barging in, and the stress of the week will melt away as you prep for the new week ahead. Looking to up your home spa regimen? Here are 11 calming products to try now.

Meal Prep

Meal prepping sometimes gets a bad rap for being time-consuming and chore-like, but it doesn’t have to be! Crank up the tunes, pour yourself a hot cup of coffee or glass of wine, and get cracking in the kitchen. Not only will you have fun trying out new recipes, but you’ll be doing something productive for yourself that means less stress and more leisurely time throughout the week. Want to try some new recipes but aren’t sure where to start? Try out one of these meal kit subscriptions to get you on your way!

Quality Kitchen Time

If making meals in advance isn’t your thing but you still love cooking and baking, Sundays are the perfect time to try a new recipe, or experiment with your slow cooker. Since everything moves a bit slower on the seventh day, experiment with simmering sauces, complicated soufflés, or other recipes that might need a little more attention than your weekday typically allows.


As if you need another excuse to go hang out with your non–football loving besties, avoiding the hustle and bustle of Sunday sports is a great time to get some face time in. While pubs or sports bars may be overflowing with fans on Sundays starting at 1 p.m., nicer brunch-serving restaurants will typically be less crowded once kickoff starts. So, select a special Sunday to dress up and head out for a long and leisurely meal that starts with coffee, ends with champagne and is filled with lots of laughs in between.

Grocery Shopping

Though not glamorous, if you dread the weekend crowds at the grocery stores (and who doesn’t?) it just might be a good idea to head there once the games start. You can peruse the produce aisles in peace instead of ramming into other carts and waiting in long checkout lines.

See a Movie

If a hot new film has just opened in theaters, people will typically swarm on Fridays and Saturdays for opening weekend. So, Sunday afternoons just might be prime time to see a newly released movie, and to enjoy less crowds and noise, too.

See more: 8 Weekender Bags for Romantic Weekend Getaways

Work It Out

Whether you love heading to the gym or you have to drag yourself to that workout class, waiting to use your favorite equipment or machine is a total bummer and workout buzzkill. But, if you head to the gym during NFL prime time (a.k.a. any time after one on a Sunday) you’re bound to face less crowds than, say, during rush hour after work. Work out those Sunday scaries in peace!


As busy as life can get, there are always organizations that can use however much time and energy you are able to generously offer. Especially during this time of year, practice some gratitude and give a bit of your time to a food bank, shelter, or community event that might need a helping hand.

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What Your Zodiac Sign Says About Your Love Life This Week: December 3, 2018

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It’s Sag season, y’all!

As the next few weeks are the Sagittarius’ time to shine (with the New Moon in Sagittarius on December 7, too) it’s a fun, festive, and extremely busy time of year — making it all the more important to be empowered and prepared.

For some, this week will bring heightened intimacy and opportunity, while others need to slow down a bit and settle some issues in the past.

For more on what the week ahead has in store for you, here are this week’s love horoscopes, courtesy of The Love Astrologer, Kathryn Andren.

Aries: March 20 – April 20

It’s an energizing week for you, Aries, as the New Moon and expansive Jupiter light up your area of opportunity and travel. If you have been working too much, surprise your sweetheart for an evening of fun. Take your time to talk things out. Explore options together for your long-term future plans. There is fuel for fruitful action once you are in right alignment with your vision and goals.

Taurus: April 20 – May 21

Take your time Taurus as the New Moon this week illuminates your area of intimacy. The good luck planet Jupiter brings extra energy to speak your truth and bring your vision into action. Date night may include a delicious meal with witty conversation, reading sensual poetry, or action under the sheets. Whatever your pleasure, it is important that words and actions match. Say what you mean and mean what you say to attract that special someone.

Gemini: May 21 – June 21

Good news, Gemini, this week’s New Moon lights up your area of relationship. While you may be exploring options for your love life, lighten your mood by spending time with your friends or special someone. Get creative with your conversation to open doors of intimacy and connection. Go big on the sweet talk to turn on your special someone for powerful passion.

Cancer: June 21 – July 22

If you can’t quite put your finger on your current connection, find joy in the simple things to turn you on. This week, the New Moon and Jupiter expand on your area of life dedicated to details. Look at your lovers curve of lips, the sweetness of their smile or appreciate the softness of their touch. Notice who is grabbing your attention these days. You can be open to more love in your life when you remember life is an adventure.

Leo: July 22 – August 23

Shine your light, Leo! The New Moon in the fire sign of Sagittarius this week lights up your region of romance. Call on your friends and lovers, partner or playmates. Foreplay includes sweet talk or dynamic discussions with those dear to your heart. Your words have power so remember to express yourself with clarity and discernment. While there is opportunity to explore many options, remain focused on your goal to receive the love you deserve.

Virgo: August 23 – September 23

Make the most of your moments with family since this month’s New Moon illuminates your area of home and private life. When you focus your attention with your special someone, remember life is an adventure! If single, light up the night with friends at your place. Coy conversations and dynamic discussions open doors for multiple possibilities to express your passion.

Libra: September 23 – October 23

Let it all out Libra as the New Moon this week shines in your area of connections and communication. You have the opportunity to do some serious networking this week. Single or coupled, new possibilities come your way when you open your mind. Sweet talk stimulates mind and heart this evening. However, it is important to say what you mean and mean what you say. There is added fuel for forward momentum this month once you can speak to the truth of your desires.

Scorpio: October 23 – November 22

Let your light shine sexy Scorpio. The New Moon this week illuminates your area of assets and finances, so focus on who and what you value. Buy something special for your sweetheart and enjoy life’s little pleasures. Stop and smell the roses. Then, have the courage to speak up and let the people in your life know how much you really care. You receive reward when you show appreciation and gratitude for people you truly love.

Sagittarius: November 22 – December 21

Are you walking your talk? Set your goals high since this month’s New Moon falls in your zodiac sign, Sag. Your relationships need to be an adventure. What turns you on is connection through conversation, an appreciation for the truth, and traveling to places unknown. Make sure your partner understands your need for individuality and honors your desire to hit the trail on your own now and then.

Capricorn: December 21 – January 20

Take care of old business before moving to far too fast in life or love. This month’s New Moon shines light on the past, your region of completion is expanded these days. If you have been distracted by lost love, better lighten up. This is opportunity to focus on a bigger dream. Surrender your resistance and go with the flow.

Aquarius: January 20 – February 18

You have extra energy Aquarius as the New Moon this month falls in your area of friendships and associations. Optimize your timing to network with potential playmates. Reach out in person or connect on line with your interests to explore fun options. Creativity and authenticity are your allies in magnetically attracting potential partnerships. Honestly, you never can have too many friends.

Pisces: February 18 – March 20

Perfect timing, Pisces, to shine your light in your public life. Have you been magnetically attracted to someone at work, or been exploring different options in your home life? The New Moon this month lights up your area of status and career. Speaking up with your sweetheart supports forward movement in your relationship. Keep your long term goals in mind to receive your reward in life and love.

See more: Bachelorette Party Ideas Based on Your Zodiac Sign

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The Best Lip Balms and Treatments for Dry Winter Lips

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Every bride dreams of their first kiss at the altar, but the winter weather can pose some potential problems for your pout. Just like the cold wind and bitter temperatures can dry out your hands and your complexion, it can also wreak havoc on your lips. If dry, chapped lips is one of your major concerns ahead of your wedding (besides the RSVP list and seating chart and mother in law, that is), don’t worry—we’re here to help beautify your pout.

Hydration, protection, and exfoliation are all important components of healthy lips—which are not only totally kissable, but also the perfect smooth base for your wedding-day lipstick. (You don’t want that beautiful red lippie fading and flaking, do you?) So to ensure you’re first-kiss ready, check out our favorite lip products for the winter months—and beyond.

We now pronounce you, perfectly kissable!

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Here's How to Grow Out Your Hair Ahead of Your Wedding


Dreaming of long, flowing locks for your wedding day? While you’re most certainly going to need a haircut sometime right before your walk down the aisle, you want to be as close as possible to your desired bridal length when you go in for that pre-wedding trim. So, how exactly can you grow out your hair—and fast—for your wedding?

First, it’s important to understand hair growth.

According to Nikki Klaczany, owner of the Up And Out salons in Hoboken, New Jersey, the average speed of hair growth is half an inch per month. While this rate can vary based on genetics, health, or age, this means that in a year’s time hair grows on average about six inches.

To acheive your desired length by your wedding date, simply do the math to determine when you need to start growing your locks, being sure to adjust for trims along the way. “Running with that average of half inch per month, 18 months should yield about nine inches of growth. With perhaps two to three trims during that time, you could expect about seven to eight inches of healthy growth,” Klaczany explains. So if you’re looking to grow your tresses an extra five inches, start about a year out from your wedding date.

Of course, growing and maintaining a healthy head of hair requires consistent care. And that means using the right products. Klaczany suggests adding a Biotin supplement to your daily vitamin regimen to promote healthy hair growth. (Always consult a doctor before adding any additional supplements to your routine.) “The unfortunate catch is that [with Biotin], all hair grows—not just the hair you want to grow,” Klaczany warns. Better schedule a waxing appointment…

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Additionally, Klaczany suggests any professional brand of shampoo and conditioner, but she has her favorites. “I like the Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner from MoroccanOil—I call this the ‘OG,’ or ‘old faithful,'” she says. “It’s been a favorite for many years. My clients and I always go back after trying something else for a bit. Lately, I’ve also been into Fusionplex by Wella Professionals, which contains amino acids to protect from breakage.”

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While many among us suffer from split ends, Klaczany says that there’s unfortunately no true “cure” for them in between trims. However, she suggests another MoroccanOil product called Mending Infusion to help smooth split and brittle ends and give them a fresh and healthy look in between trims.

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It can be natural to think that growing out your hair requires a lot of time, attention, and work. (And who has time for that while wedding planning?!) But in fact, it’s often true that less is more. Don’t try and get too creative with non-haircare products—Klaczany specifically notes that coconut oil is best to be avoided, as it has a smoke point of 350 degrees. Since curling and flat irons have a temperature range of 260-450 degrees, there’s a good chance you’ll end up seriously burning and singeing your hair. Bye-bye, gorgeous length!

To sum it all up, Klaczany suggests supporting healthy growth by eating a healthy diet, using professional products, spacing out your cuts, and using a deep conditioner twice a month. Also, to avoid breakage and other damage, Klaczany says to use a heat protectant while using hot tools and blowdrying, and to avoid using hair ties on wet locks.

Ultimately, Klaczany’s main word of advice is one from the heart: “Treat your hair well, and your hair will love you back!”

See more: 30 Ways to Wear Your Hair Down For Your Wedding

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What Your Zodiac Sign Says About Your Love Life This Week: November 26, 2018


After a busy week filled with giving lots of thanks and eating lots of food, it’s time to officially kick off the busy holiday season. Be sure to not get too caught up in the hustle and bustle, though — remaining in tune with your feelings and surroundings can be quite difficult this time of year, so it’s incredibly necessary to take time for self-care.

To help you stay connected this week and beyond, here is your love horoscope, courtesy of expert astrologer Christian Klausner.

Aries: March 20–April 20

Things are opening up for you this week, but there also seems to be the need to contain your vital energies. Your mind is opening and your vision is sharp on the horizon, but the actual terrain ahead and in front of you may be a little tricky. Despite your breadth of vision and growing willingness to learn, the answers themselves will take some work to find! And that work, for you, is inner work. Your planet Mars being in Pisces is a sure and simple indicator of that. When it comes into your sign on January 1, then you will have lift-off. But until then, you can gain the most and find the answers you need by going within.

Taurus: April 20–May 21

The issue of trust is receiving some attention now, and although it may be operating on the level of your relationships, the truth of the matter is to be found in your own trust of self. This week, solidify your trust in yourself—whether it’s to make the right decisions, to complete what you set out to do, to create a fulfilling life, etc.—so that next week you’ll know exactly what to choose and what to refuse when your many opportunities, invitations, and offers come rolling in. If you have difficulty trusting others this week, you’re probably feeling these intuitions for a reason. Know that you can cut away at much confusion with a few calming breaths, and an intention to tune into the wisdom of your heart.

Gemini: May 21–June 21

Communication can be tricky this week, dear Gemini, especially when you have to work with individuals who are not as motivated as you are. Getting others to cooperate with you can be frustrating, particularly if you have many strong and specific expectations for how you would like things to look. During this period of Mercury retrograding in your sector of partnerships, it will be helpful to exercise tolerance, patience, and acceptance when dealing with others, whether in business or love. It will be in the little ways that you can demonstrate a kindness (through small gestures of approval or words of understanding) that will come through as a profound and generous love to the eyes of others this week.

Cancer: June 21–July 22

This is a week of making adjustments, dear Cancer. A tweak here, and a little tug there—you’re able to perceptively find ways to fine-tune the elements of your life that will allow for greater ease and efficiency. However, your ability to detect where corrections can be made this week will need to be controlled so that you do not stress out or become restless. Find enjoyment in the process, if you can, of making your living situations more conducive to an efficient, harmonious, and healthy lifestyle. Enjoy how the insights simply come to you, as a result of being open to positive change.

Leo: July 22–August 23

This week has good things in store for you, dear Leo, but you’ve got to be patient with yourself when it comes to your creative expression. Mercury retrograde is providing an experience where it can be fruitful to revise your creative methods. To make things easy this week, keep your ideal in mind and act in accordance with it as best as you can. Speak simple and kind words of love, and discuss only those things that spiral your thoughts into exalted states of hope and wonder. Don’t play into the game of tossing around gossip; keep to your ideal, and let your heart lead you in all matters of communication.

Virgo: August 23–September 23

All kinds of repairs can be made within the home this week. These can be physical repairs, or emotional repairs in your relationships—but restoration is surely forthcoming, and all you need to do is simply be present. To go smoothly, these repairs simply need your overarching supervision, you could say. All you need to do is be there—for your family, for your friends, or for the plumber to come in and fix the sink—because your presence, your observant consciousness upon the matter, is facilitating or holding space for the best possible outcome. All week long, let love pour out of your eyes as you look upon your world.

Libra: September 23–October 23

This is an excellent week for educational pursuits, dear Libra. Your mind is absorptive and flexible, and the exercise of concentration can be a rewarding practice. The reason you can strengthen your faculty of concentration is because you will likely attract many distractions, with Venus spending this week in your sign, which boosts your personal magnetism and enhances your glow. To get the most benefit from this week, the trick will be to continue learning even after you’ve put your books down. Study every interaction, and you will gain insight into your own nature as a social and lovable being. Enriching your knowledge of yourself will prove to be the most rewarding interest of all this week.

Scorpio: October 23–November 22

Mercury is retrograding in your money sector, dear Scorpio. This is an opportunity to revise your mentality around wealth and to take charge of your creative direction regardless of how conditions may appear at present. You have the freedom to shape your perspectives, and this is a highly empowering fact when internalized. This week offers you the space to assertively furnish your mental environment with countless diamonds and endless gold rivers. What use would outer wealth be anyway, if you didn’t feel wealthy on the inside? Make this the week where you will discover new vistas of prosperity internally, and the outer will mirror the inner as it always does.

Sagittarius: November 22–December 21

The Sun is now in your sign, dear Sagittarius, so happy birthday season to you! This week starts it off with an explosion of Sagittarian energy, as Jupiter, Mercury, and the Sun all form a conjunction in your sign (meaning they’re together in one spot). This energy is familiar to you, making this a very positive week for all ventures that allow you to expand in self-expression and creativity. With Mercury retrograding in your sign, this is a very favorable week for self-reflection. The healing of your inner child is taking place, if you will give a little attention to him/her this week. You can help this process along by seeing your self-understanding as a journey, in which you are always right where you should be. Be adventurous this week, and go boldly into new terrain (both outer and inner).

Capricorn: December 21–January 20

This may be the time for a softer approach, dear Capricorn. Venus in your career sector is highlighting the fact that your sensitive, loving, and compassionate expressions can do wonders for the advancement of both your vocation and self-realization. A willingness to be vulnerable and to show your caring instincts will bring you into a favorable light which will attract the right people at just the right time. In all matters of business let your heart lead the way. Conversely, in matters of love and romance, it will be helpful to employ your enterprising spirit so as to invent new ways of bringing in more color and richness into your relationships this week.

Aquarius: January 20–February 18

This Mercury retrograde is happening in your sector of friends and networks, dear Aquarius, making this a propitious time to contemplate whether or not you’re hanging with the right groups. The nature of our associations tends to reflect back to us how good we are at expressing our goals, aspirations, and objectives, and making our deepest dreams known. If you don’t feel supported by the groups you’re involved in, or you feel that your friend groups aren’t resonating with your highest ideals or visions for your future, then this can be a great time to do the hard task of letting certain people go. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that we end up being the average of the five closest people we associate with. Is that an average you’re happy with?

Pisces: February 18–March 20

Mercury retrogrades in your sector of career and vocation, dear Pisces, allowing you to mentally reframe what it would mean for you to stand out publicly and professionally, and how you can contribute your own unique form of creative world service. Jupiter is blowing up this area with good luck for you as well, while Mars in your own sign gives you courage and assertiveness. If channeled correctly, this can be a time in which any pent up anger or aggression within you can be relieved through directing this energy into creative practices that allow you to self-express and release certain emotions. Having plenty of forgiveness for yourself and others is a powerful companion to this process. Make this the week where you step into a new realization of your power.

See more: Bachelorette Party Ideas Based on Your Zodiac Sign

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Real Couples Share Their Favorite Thanksgiving Traditions


The holidays are a super special time of year, filled with tradition, sentiment, food and lots of love. But the best part? They somehow get to be even more meaningful once you have a special someone to share them with. And what better way to celebrate your union than creating new Thanksgiving traditions, or incorporating some family traditions into your new household?

Some couples carry on the Thanksgiving tradition of a handed-down recipe, while others make new and quirky twists on old favorites. Football, games, and cocktails are also some fan favorites, while others can’t wait to turn on the TV for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

To find out more (and get inspired for our own holiday dinners!), BRIDES asked real couples to share their favorite Thanksgiving traditions.

“It’s pretty simple. We always go over to my aunt’s to eat dinner. The boys watch football and the ladies drink wine and gossip.” —Diana, 30

“My husband and I actually decorate our apartment for Christmas the night before Thanksgiving. That way, when we wake up early on Thanksgiving morning, our home is decorated and feels super cozy, and we make fresh coffee and a hot breakfast, then cozy up while watching the parade.” —Nicole, 31

“Fighting over whose family to visit. I look forward to it every year! Not.”—Pamela, 30

“Waking up and watching the parade. We used to go into the city every year and stay in a hotel and go to the actual parade and it’s always been my favorite thing to do. I can’t wait to do it with my son now when he gets a little older.” —Stacy, 30

“Every year we make little table settings using our hands to trace and then turn them into turkeys. I love seeing how they change, and how we can hold on to them for years to come.” —Nancy, 38

“Cooking. My wife and I were so nervous to make our first turkey two years ago. It may have taken all night, but it was worth it. Now I look forward to it every year, and we’ve gotten better at it. Secret ingredients: orange juice champagne! “ —Chris, 31

“Pre-kids we used to go out on the town Thanksgiving eve and then sleep in on Thanksgiving and eat to cure our hangovers. Now that we have little kids, we go to my sister’s on Thanksgiving eve and make milkshakes—we call it Milkshake Mania. We have them while watching the Wizard of Oz. Oh, how traditions have changed.” —Kristine, 35

See more: How to Survive the Holidays With Your New In-Laws

“This is only our second Thanksgiving together, but last year we split the day in half with both of our families. He’s Polish, and I missed out on my favorite Polish dessert at his family’s house. So, his aunt saved it for me and I got to eat it the next day. I am super excited for this to be a tradition now, and I know every year the day after Thanksgiving I’ll have something sweet to look forward to.” —Tara, 27

“We keep it easy. Sleep in, spend a lazy morning together with the parade on in the background. Head over to visit family, and then talk that night about how next year we’re going on vacation, but we never do!”—Sean, 30

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How to Show Your Partner Gratitude This Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is more than just turkey, stuffing, football and shopping. While it’s all too easy to get caught up in the kickoff of the holiday season, it’s important to remember and reflect upon what it truly means to be thankful, and in what ways you can your gratitude for the blessings in your life.

While your typical daily routines and responsibilities can grow to feel a but mundane, it’s important to continue to nourish your relationship — and showing gratitude to your partner throughout the holiday season and beyond is truly important.

Even the experts say so.

“The holiday season brings out a lot of emotions in couples, and naturally so. Increased expectations and pressure only adds to the stressful time, but it doesn’t have to,” says Natalia Murtaugh, Relationship Expert & Coach based in New York City.

Instead, if in the midst of the hustle and bustle you can find time each day to focus and share your gratitude for your loved one — it just might be the happiest holiday season (and beyond) of all.

Here are five expert approved ways you can show your partner gratitude on Thanksgiving.

1. Be present.

“The healthiest (and big emphasis on the biggest) form of gratitude and way you can show your partner your appreciation and love for them, in my opinion, is by authentically being present for them,” says Murtagh. While this might look different within every relationship, start by ensuring that you eliminate any and all distractions during the precious moments you get to share together within the same physical space. “Love means being present. Lots of people will be demanding your time and attention, be sure to water your most precious gift of all,” she says.

2. Communicate.

“Gratitude looks like you’re maintaining communication if you’re not seeing each other for long periods so that the attachment is being nourished,” explains Murtagh. Examples she loves include sending cute texts if it looks like you’re running late, and then show up with the cider spices for the signature cocktail recipe, or something else that’s fun for the season.

3. Listen.

Active listening is perhaps the biggest gift you can give your partner, and something both of you will be grateful for time and time again. “Happy coupes can turn to each other and trust that their partner is emotionally present,” says Murtagh, and this begins with listening. Sometimes couples make the mistake of thinking their physical presence is enough, but it doesn’t mean much if ears and heart aren’t present at the same time. Put the cell phones down, turn off the television and truly listen to what your partner is saying or showing.

See more: How Not to Fight With Your Partner Over the Holidays

4. The Little Things

Ignore large and flashy displays of love and affection this time of year and focus on the little things instead — for they are always the most meaningful. Bring home a hot cup of coffee, switch up your chores one day and take on a few of theirs, pick up their dry cleaning or wake up early with the dog even if it’s your turn to sleep in. Sometimes these little bits of effort can go the longest way in making someone feel cared for. When they are reciprocated by both individuals, it’s a beautiful thing.

5. Be Emotionally Open

Emotions and stress can run high this time of year. Work seems to only get busier as your social calendar fills, and budgets are often stretched to their limits. So, it’s important to support your partner during this time, “by allowing them to be vulnerable and themselves,” Murtagh says. “It’s important for emotions to pass through us. No need to put on a happy face. Happy couples can turn to each other and trust that their partner is emotionally present,” she explains. This might look like end-of-the-day chats, or looking out for little signs your partner is stressed or can use a break. This doesn’t mean you have to press your partner, but just showing interest and letting them know you are there can go a very long way.

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How to Avoid Fighting With Your Fiancé Over the Holidays

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The holidays are a time to celebrate and have fun with family and loved ones. Traditions come to life and good times are to be had by all. But what happens when two families are forced to become one during the holidays?

A milestone in any romantic relationship is your first holiday together and making new memories to share in the years to come. Yet each individual has their own family and friends, along with customs and traditions that are near and dear to their heart.

Now, conversations and compromises are in order. To help things go smoothly and avoid any holiday tension, BRIDES spoke with Deborah J. Cohan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort for some tips and tricks to help you have a truly happy first holiday as a couple.

Communication is Key

It may seem like a “now” issue, but handling how to split the holidays can actually affect your relationship in the years to come, says Cohan. So if you find yourselves arguing or intentionally avoiding the uncomfortable task of planning how to spend the season, you’ll want to think again.

“A lack of honest communication and solid understanding of each other’s priorities, concerns and values can reverberate into the whole relationship for years to come. Patterns set early really do matter,” she says. So make honesty, listening, and empathy top priorities.

Don’t fret, though, as Cohan believes, “Brides and grooms-to-be, as well as newlyweds, can cultivate pre-holiday planning habits that set themselves up for better marital conditions for years to come.”

To start, recognize that while you each are forging a path for the future together, you both come from equally important families that may or may not have special traditions — and you can’t expect one another to simply leave them behind. Instead, find a balance.

A Learning Process

Whether your backgrounds are alike or similar, familiarize yourself with holiday customs, traditions, and recipes from each side. You may find that some lend themselves to easy compromises.

Cohan explains, “People might find themselves with a partner who was raised very similarly or perhaps very differently. We might have become attracted to and married someone with a very different background and initially felt eager to learn about that but when the holidays approach, we might find ourselves under more pressure from our own families and our partners for how to make this all come together.”

If you have never missed a Christmas Eve away from your parent’s house, but for your partner the importance is more on Christmas Day — problem solved. If, however, you both feel strongly about a specific day, it may be time rotate, split the day if distance allows, or forge ahead with an entirely new experience of your own.

In most situations, there is room to negotiate. Though, Cohan points out that, “Obviously, differences in religion may impact and complicate decision making and planning for holidays, but it need not even be about those issues that are seen as more potentially charged.” She says that blended families, different casts of characters and personalities, geographical distance and the practicality of trying to see a lot of people across many miles at times can also make things more complicated than they need to be. Especially when you factor in costly, crowded, and unpredictable conditions (like winter weather!).

Regardless of having to hammer out the details, the number one most important thing to keep in mind is that you should really be handling the holidays together. “The worst thing is when one person decides it is all too much bother and too much work and says they will go on their own to see their own family,” Cohan says. Doing so does not send the message to each other or to the respective families that the couple is in this together.

How to Find Solutions

What works for one couple may not work for you, but remember that there is always a solution. “We have all heard of couples who switch off holidays and switch between families and that can work for some people, but it is not necessarily the best way to handle this,” advises Cohan.

She says, “One person may feel more strongly about being with their partner and their own family of origin on Thanksgiving than Christmas and the other person may not care as much or may really prefer Christmas—switching back and forth would not accomplish anything in a case like that.” Instead, she suggests it may be more meaningful and productive if you, look into what you both want and need rather than what the larger culture dictates.”

It’s also important to remember that whatever course of action you take this year does not dictate the future, nor does it set in stone how to proceed for every holiday season to come. Instead, view it as a trial and error experience. “Couples also benefit from trying various ways of doing this before settling in and committing to, or announcing, that this is how they will continue to do it,” Cohan says. “As a new couple, it is good to give yourselves the flexibility to borrow what works and then tweak and create brand new special traditions.”

Keep in mind the reason for the season, after all. When you feel yourselves getting tense or stressed, Cohan says, “Couples benefit from expressing gratitude to each other for all the big and little things in life, and doing this during an engagement and early on in a new marriage is particularly helpful.” Remember that love, kindness and gratitude are the driving force behind the holidays.

See more: How to Navigate Your First Holiday Season as a Married Couple

And don’t forget about self care. During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s important to take time for yourselves as a couple, too. While it’s easy to get lost in holiday plans and family gatherings, be sure to prioritize time dedicated to enjoying the new family you are creating together. Cohan suggests this may involve going on a day trip somewhere new, going into nature, or taking a yoga class together.

The Bottom Line

It all boils down to compromise, communication and honesty. “Handling the holidays gently, firmly, kindly and fairly for each other and in relationship to each person’s family of origin goes a long way,” says Cohan.

Practicing these skills now is also great practice for the future—for example, when couples may go on to have children and will juggle demands for attention from grandparents and extended family and will need to set boundaries.

It’s all part of the beautiful growing process that is being a couple in love. So, do your best to embrace this holiday season with an open mind and heart.

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What Your Zodiac Sign Says About Your Love Life This Week: November 19, 2018


This week is shaping up to be a busy one — and not just because Thanksgiving is just days away and the holiday season is kicking off. Astrologically speaking, Mercury has just turned retrograde, the Sun enters Sagittarius and will square Mars and conjunct Jupiter, Venus is stationary, and there is a Full Moon on Thursday. Phew!

With all that lies ahead, it’s important to be informed and best understand what this means for your sign. Read on for your weekly love horoscopes, courtesy of expert astrologer Christian Klausner.

Aries: March 20 – April 20

You’ve been sidestepping trouble left and right, protected by unseen forces, and probably haven’t even noticed it. If you will acknowledge now your incredible luck, there are amazing things you can accomplish this week. It could be that the extra push you need is simply a reminder (from a friendly astrologer) that luck is indeed on your side. Go for what you want. Take a leap of faith, but stay in control of the one thing you actually are in control of: your attitude. Stay in the right spirits, and “luck” will see your outstretched hand and latch onto you. New things are beginning this week, and in order for you to get a good start, it is imperative that you take this week to believe in yourself with a steady conviction. If you don’t, no one else will.

Taurus: April 20 – May 21

While the full moon will officially be in Gemini, it spends a good deal of its time of brightness in your sign this week before reaching its peak, dear Taurus. The light is shining now upon how you can make the most of every moment, whether dull or exciting, empty or full, intriguing or boring. Even if things seem to be progressing too slowly for you, take your time to realize that things are unfolding just as they need to so that your greatest gifts can emerge. In the coming days, impatience should be avoided. This week is an opportunity to soften and feel yourself, right where you are. Your planet, Venus, has stopped retrograding and is now holding still in the sky this week. Find your own stillness, and you will see that from this place, even very slow-moving things in life move with rapidity. There is no need to rush.

Gemini: May 21 – June 21

Opportunities are now flooding in to you in the region of your career life, but it looks like you could have some challenges or distractions as regards balancing work and relationships this week. Your partners, peers, and associates will likely press you for your time and attention when you most need to concentrate on your work. The question may now be asked how you can integrate the importance of both relationships and work. A clue may lie in setting boundaries this week. Your time is your greatest and most valuable asset, and your ability to be very clear about your priorities this week, and to succinctly deal with those problems that are right in front of you (whether career or relationship related), will show yourself and others that you are a force to be reckoned with. Be a strict manager of your time, and you’ll not only avoid the pitfalls of the week, but you’ll also be a clear channel for both love and respect.

Cancer: June 21 – July 22

This could be an important week for you to find scheduled time to sit alone and ask yourself the deep questions. What matters the most to me? What is my most important desire? As the week goes on, you may feel continually pressed to find the missing elements of your life, as though you lost something and need to find it, but can’t remember what it was. By doing the inner work, and supplementing with prayer or contemplation as you search for your heart’s truest desire, that feeling that something is missing will vanish. All that you need is within, but it’s hard to remember this in this busy, outward-focused world. Keep your gaze inward, and your intent on finding what you need to feel whole on the deepest level, and the realization of a brighter life will be set into motion this week.

Leo: July 22 – August 23

You want to be ready when the lights hit the stage, don’t you? Alright then, get ready for your dress rehearsal. This Mercury retrograde is bringing on a reevaluation of your creative methods. Play around with different styles in your speech and personal presentation; this is a week of experimentation and expansion, so try on different costumes, play with different tactics to wow the crowd, and know that you’re on the way to finding out what works the best for you. It’s okay to try new and varied things, but keep in mind that the way you rehearse will determine how you appear when its show-time; the way you practice is the way you perform. Make it a point to be patient and forgiving with others in your communication. This is not the week to indulge in any ill-controlled or snappy behavior — wear that smile proud, because others are looking.

Virgo: August 23 – September 23

My advice, dear Virgo, is to be precise and concise (as you usually are) this week when it comes to defining your feelings. This is the time to sort things out as they relate to your relationships with family members, with feeling secure in yourself, and with creating a sense of belonging. The idea is to perform ‘root work,’ this week, and the clearer you can be about what you’re feeling and why, the smoother will the rest of your mental problems unfold. In fact, the glorious acquisition of increased knowledge which is waiting to be yours, cannot be yours until this step into your emotional body is taken. Spending time with siblings or parents can help facilitate the emergence of early memories, feelings, and thoughts that can aid you to achieve clarity into your present feelings.

Libra: September 23 – October 23

The Venus retrograde is over, and this planet has stopped in her tracks in your sign, dear Libra. While this planet of love hangs out in your energy, why not spend this time pampering yourself? Of course, while giving time and attention to the beauty and functionality of your body is a clear way to demonstrate self-love, what is more important to Venus is that you discover the beauty of your Self which goes beyond form, concept, or condition. Unconditional love is that state which you can become increasingly familiar with this week by giving yourself complete permission to be who you are, to do the things you want to do, and to find a simple and serene appreciation for where you currently are. The glow which comes from your peaceful poise is inspiring to others, so invite a group to go with you on a trip to the pamper parlor.

Scorpio: October 23 – November 22

We’re in the last days of Scorpio Season, as the Sun departs from this energy on Thursday. That which has been revealed to you up till now has served to show you what you’re capable of. The details of your personal destiny are becoming clearer. If you want to complete the picture, you must use your inborn creativity (which is now increasing in strength) in a focused, self-directed way. The temptation to fritter it away through explosive expeditions may be strong now, but contain your energy. In doing so, your creative potency will heighten your senses, and you’ll dissolve old problems simply by looking upon them with your newfound, laser-like focus. Let this week be a practice in storing and withholding your dynamic energy, and you’ll see that it can be used in more economic, profitable, and powerfully effective ways.

Sagittarius: November 22 – December 21

Congratulations on the planet of abundance, Jupiter, entering your sign for the next 12 months. Ready for a year of growth, expansion, and increase? Good, but do be deliberate in choosing, directing, and willing that which should grow, expand, and increase. It is all your choice; whatever you place your attention on will grow. With Mercury retrograding in your sign for the next few weeks, this is a good time to put your attention on your mind. Where do you habitually go, in your thoughts? What types of places do you tend to wander into when your mind is left alone to roam? Keep a tight leash on your mind; keep tabs on it, because you can now rewrite its programs, and retrain its behavior. Your mental habits determine what comes to you and where you’ll end up, so you cannot do better than to prioritize the intensive study of the movements of your own mind this week.

Capricorn: December 21 – January 20

You might be feeling more soft this week, dear Capricorn. This is ideal, because those around you will be seeking your counsel, and your delicate touch will allow you to feel out what it is they really need. Your soft approach, mixed with your no-BS policy, makes you a very helpful and effective friend. As others come to confide in you due to your saintly stature this week, remember that you can go one extra step by opening up to others, as well. This is a great week to develop trust, and to nurture the feeling that you are surrounded by love. This Mercury retrograde is highlighting how you can add greater color, purpose, and meaning to your life through acts of selflessness. What would happen if you actually forgot yourself for one week, through immersive acts of kindness and charity? I invite you to take this one week to find out.

Aquarius: January 20 – February 18

Rearrangement is the word that comes up, regarding how this Mercury retrograde will likely affect you, dear Water-bearer. An incredible domino effect can occur simply by the careful and deliberate rearrangement of your normal routines. The activities you regularly engage in can provide a whole new effect upon your life simply by ordering them in a new way. A little shake-up of the regular order of things can have a large influence on the way you see your life, and by enlarging your perspectives this week, you’ll find new expressions of the lover within you. The spark of love can become a roaring fire within you, but it requires the kindling of your courage to make small and creative changes in your mundane routines. When enmeshed in your schedule this week, try to think of something you normally wouldn’t think to do.

Pisces: February 18 – March 20

You have a peculiar ability to find the beauty of life in its darker places this week. It could be that you’re able to show others the value of the shadow, of contrast, of suffering. Knowing what we don’t want is helpful in becoming clear about what we do want, and Mars in your sign is now giving you the power of assertive choice. You are showing others, “Yes, I am aware of what I don’t want, and that is why I can bravely look it in the face and tell it to leave.” You can only dismiss that which you have fully acknowledged. Face your shadows, shine your light, and be aware that there is much you can accomplish this week simply by holding your ground and knowing that darkness flees the light, and there is nothing to fear. You are a source of courage and an example of strength to others this week, so realize that your bravery and initiative is a benefit, not only to yourself, but to all those around you as well.

See more: Bachelorette Party Ideas Based on Your Zodiac Sign

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How to Deal With Family Wedding Drama Over Thanksgiving

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Holidays at home can be hard enough without having your wedding plans on the hot seat at your family’s Thanksgiving celebration. Even if you’ve worked overtime to “forget” to text a pestering Aunt back who wants to know if she can add some extended family to your guest list or you’ve found an excuse to rush off the phone early when your grandmother makes “suggestions” about the wedding menu, all those unresolved issues, questions, and debates can come out to play on Thanksgiving.

So how do you spend the holiday being thankful for all that you have and all that is to come without having to stuff turkey into your mouth to keep yourself from talking back to a family member? Try one of these five tricks to have a peaceful Thanksgiving celebration without any family drama.

Practice Your Responses

Start off by jotting down all of the wedding questions you think your family will ask you that might get your blood boiling. Questions like, “Can I bring one more person?” or “Can I give you my opinion on the wedding colors you picked?” might be among the slew of questions your relatives will ask. Take that list and pair it with short answers so that you’re prepared to take on their questions with rehearsed responses that won’t leave you backing down on the wedding decisions you and your fiancé already made.

Table the Drama Until Turkey Is Eaten

If you notice the wedding drama starting to flair before people have even taken their first bite, politely ask your family member to table these questions until after the holiday is over. Explain that you’ve been working hard on wedding planning and you’re so excited to share the joy with everyone there, but you’d prefer to deal with people giving you wedding suggestions once you’ve digested your turkey and slice of apple pie.

Enlist Help From Well-Behaved Family Members

Before Thanksgiving arrives, ask a couple of your more well-behaved and trusted family members to help step in and push away the wedding drama when it comes as a side dish to the dinner table. Assign a few of them to encourage family members to stop fighting over wedding decisions or arguing over traditional differences. Having a team of people help you manage the family chaos will surely help take a load of stress, pressure, and anxiety off your shoulders during this holiday season.

Have a List of Alternative Conversation Starters

If ever there was a time to learn how to be good at changing the subject, now would be a really good time. Carry a list of 10-15 topics or (light) news headlines that you can toss into conversation to derail the talk around your wedding. When relatives start pouring out how much they disapprove of your wedding choices, throw out a conversation topic that they can get their energy behind and then you can get off the hook.

See more: Holidays as an Engaged Couple: Here’s What To Expect

Get Good at Tuning Other People Out

Whether you like it or not, you might start to find that a couple of your relatives just won’t give up infusing your wedding plans with their drama during Thanksgiving. If you’ve tried what you can to change the topic and asked other family members help out, then you might just want to practice tuning them out either with deep breathing or focusing 100% on eating all of the food on your plate.

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The Best Curling Irons and Wands for Faking a Blowout


What bride doesn’t want a fresh salon blowout to rock at every one of her pre-wedding parties? But between the engagement party, the rehearsal dinner, and everything in between, those trips to the salon can quickly start eating away at your wedding budget. The good news is that you can totally fake a blowout at home! With an arsenal of the best curling irons and wands, no one will have to know.

The secret to faking a beautiful blowout is all in the tools. After drying and straightening your strands, simply use one of the products below to curl the very ends of your locks, working in two-inch sections of hair and holding the tool horizontally. Use a volumizing styling powder or dry shampoo on your roots to perfect your full, bouncy look.

Here are a few of our favorite curling irons, wands, and hair tools to help you fake a blowout at home.

See more: 5 Secrets to Maintaining Your Bridal Blowout From Your Ceremony to the Honeymoon

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7 Holiday Nail Polish Colors Just in Time for Engagement Season

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Happy engagement season! As the weather chills, our Instagram feed fills with dozens of engagement ring selfies posted by freshly minted brides-to-be. But before you snap that selfie, be sure to prep your nails with the perfect shade of nail polish to complement your brand new sparkler. Luckily, this season’s holiday nail polish colors are just right for this festive occasion.

Not only are these holiday nail enamels perfect for ring selfies, but whether you’re a winter bride or have an agenda full of parties from November through December, you’ll want to coat your nails in these stunning shades, too.

From snowflake-inspired sparkles to traditional and festive reds, here are seven of our favorite holiday nail polishes to deck out your next mani!

See more: 28 Beauty Gift Ideas: Gift Sets from Charlotte Tilbury, Glossier and More

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