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Inspirational Ideas for a Hip, Happy Ice Cream Shop

Ice cream shops are no longer a staple in every town like they were a few decades ago. They became a dying breed; that is, until they were reborn as gourmet shops that offer a lot more than your standard ice cream flavors at a much steeper price. Creating the perfect quick stop shop involves a bit of creativity in order to keep attracting business, and we have some highly valuable, inspirational ideas for the ice cream shop your neighborhood needs.

Attractive Presentation

Of all of the ice cream shop supplies that you’ll need, the cups and spoons will be one of the most important in setting the theme for your shop. Customers love attractive packaging, and they will quickly choose a shop with boutique style offerings over one that uses boring Styrofoam cups if the product quality is about the same. Having a unique style, like brightly colored spoons and bowls and themed paper cones will make a lasting impact on your customers. This form of branding is important.

A Wide Assortment of Flavors

Traditional ice creams and gelato products come in a wide variety of flavors and combinations. You can generally guarantee that the more flavors a shop has, the better business will be. Ice cream is all about variety, and this variety also increases the chances for up-selling, as some customers might opt for a double scoop simple because they can’t choose one flavor.

Extreme Style

Traditional businesses tend to keep their decor minimal, but an ice cream shop caters to the fun side of life, making plain and unexciting the last things you want your place described as. For a fun and funky environment, you can style your ice cream shop after an old 1960s soda shop, brightly colored to put everyone in a good mood. Or, your ice cream shop can be given an incredibly modern feel that makes customers feel like they have just stepped into the future. The style of your shop will help it achieve brand awareness with first-time customers, as they will always remember “that one cool, hip ice cream shop” they visited.

Ice cream shops require a lot of supplies to start up, but the focus should also be placed on what the customer sees and interacts with. If a store doesn’t make a lasting impression, customers will easily opt for another place of business in the future. An ice cream shop should offer much more than ice cream — it should provide a fun environment that takes its customers down memory lane to revisit the excitement from their childhoods.

Top photo: Joel Kramer/Flickr

Give Your Home Interior a Boost

You flip through magazines all the time and watch shows where home makeovers happen in a snap. You’re ready to give your living space a face lift, but you’re not sure where to begin. It can be overwhelming, especially when you need to think about the cost of everything that is involved and what you can do on your own. You’d be amazed at the changes you can make without spending a fortune. It’s time to get the most out of your home. Start small and watch the transformation of your home interior begin.

Revive Your Furniture

You don’t have to buy new furniture to breathe new life into your home. Seat backs from the Foam Factory can give you that extra support you have needed. Consider covering your furniture with colorful covers, adding throw pillows, or having furniture cleaned with a steam cleaner. Bring pieces out of storage and send others to the attic. Move your furniture around and experiment with new arrangements to give the feeling of a new, luxurious home.

Create a New Color Scheme

Looking at the same colors for years on end can really get on your nerves. It’s time to shake things up and give each room a fresh coat of paint. You will often find great bargains in the clearance section of your local home improvement store when customers change their minds about a certain color. Someone else’s mistake might be perfection for you.

Give Your Bathroom Some TLC

The bathroom is often overlooked, treated as a practical room without any flair. You can give it some pizzazz. New paint, a shower curtain, and accents can make it feel like a transformed space. Consider throw rugs or new flooring for a change.

Open Up Your Interior

One of the best ways to have a home makeover of your own is to give yourself more room. Get rid of all of the clutter in your home, becoming more organized along the way. If you don’t need something, it is time to let it go. Have a garage sale or send things out to a charitable organization. You will feel a new kind of freedom when your home has more open space. At the same time, someone else can enjoy any items that you don’t need or want anymore.

Top photo: thepaperpony/Flickr

Choose the Training for Your Makeup Career Path at Cosmix

Attending the Cosmix School of Makeup Artistry is like having the opportunity to attend and learn from several different specialized makeup schools. With a myriad of degree programs to choose from as well as individual classes, students can learn a variety of makeup techniques. Attending classes at Cosmix is like going to a top special effects makeup artist school one day and a fashion makeup academy the next.

For students who want a well-rounded educational experience, Cosmix offers the Production Makeup Artistry program. This series of classes has been curated to give students the techniques they will need in order to be successful in a variety of career paths. Students leave the program prepared to work in film and television productions, fashion shoots, bridal makeup, and salons.

Cosmix FX makeup

Cosmix also offers specialized programs for students who know their specific makeup career path. The special FX makeup school at Cosmix prepares students to work on sci-fi and horror films and television shows. Students learn how to design and create creatures using makeup, prosthetics, and other tools. Along with creature design, students at our FX makeup school learn practical makeup techniques, such as how to create realistic blood or wounds, as well as how to age actors.

The Fashion Makeup Artistry Program at Cosmix prepares students for a career in fashion makeup. This includes learning how to do makeup for photo shoots and runway shows. The school’s location affords students the opportunity to work on photo shoots and shows taking place in the fashion hot spots of Florida.

Cosmix Miami Fashion Week

Students on a makeup career path can take programs in specialized makeup at Cosmix, or they can take individual classes to learn techniques. In either case, they leave the school with a strong grasp of the techniques needed to excel at their chosen craft.

Top photo: gomainstream/Flickr

Catering Trends That Will Make Your Summer Wedding Memorable

Every bride wants to offer their wedding guests a unique and unforgettable experience, especially when it comes to the food they will enjoy. Summer’s harvest of fresh ingredients creates an astounding array of choices when it comes to planning your wedding reception meal. Consider these catering trends when choosing a menu that is both distinctive and tantalizing.

Fresh and Light

A reception dinner doesn’t have to be heavy to delight your guests. Summer offers many options for dishes that will satisfy without leaving anyone feeling too stuffed to dance into the night. One current trend is lighter, fresher fare from local vendors who produce their offerings with natural methods and minimize use of pesticides and hormones. This reflects a growing nationwide consciousness of “clean eating” that’s not only healthier, but often far more flavorful than conventionally produced alternatives. The salad bar has found its way into many wedding events, allowing guests to combine simple yet sophisticated farm-to-fork ingredients such as pomegranates or Asian pear to salads made from a variety of heirloom lettuces and herbs.

Street Food

wedding dessert bar
Meals infused with food truck flavor are another trendy option. An assortment of themed stations that recreate the street food experience allow caterers to present an enticing wedding meal with visual impact and entertainment value. This option allows guests to interact with chefs who elevate simple fare such as ramen noodles or tacos to gourmet heights. The street food approach is particularly popular for summer weddings as it reflects the season’s fun, free spirit.

Family Style

Parting with tradition doesn’t have to mean ruling out a sit-down meal. Many caterers are offering the option of serving dishes to pass, giving the meal a more communal feel and encouraging guest interaction. Shared dishes create a less formal ambiance without sacrificing elegance or taste.

Dessert Bars

While wedding cake hasn’t necessarily given up its role as a centerpiece of the marriage celebration, many caterers are adding the option of offering guests an assortment of dessert selections from which to choose. Some couples are choosing to present attendees with additional cake alternatives, such as pudding, artisan cookies, fudge, or other handmade confections. A “cake” comprised of an assortment of individual cupcakes in a range of flavors allows guests to choose their favorite and then enhance it with a medley of toppings. Some are opting to eschew cake altogether in favor of dessert buffets or summer classics like make-your-own ice cream sundaes.

When it comes to planning your summer nuptials, drawing outside the lines is often the best approach. Summer weddings offer a host of possibilities for making a striking impression while infusing the event with the season’s fun, laid-back spirit.

Top photo: stylemepretty/Pinterest

Essential Oral Care Items for Traveling

Traveling is exciting, but it can also throw off our proper dental hygiene practices. That’s why it’s important to pack some essential items with you on your journey to make certain your oral health doesn’t fall by the wayside. These travel sized oral care items will make it easy for business travelers and vacationers alike to keep up with their dental needs.

Travel Toothbrush (and Accessories)

Many opt for travel toothbrushes, which often come with convenient carrying cases to ensure that they remain intact during transit. Cases can also prevent toothbrushes from coming into contact with any foreign substances in suitcases and bags, along with providing a place to dry after use.

Travelers should also be sure to pack floss and toothpaste. This is especially important if you require a special type of toothpaste, which may not be accessible once you reach your destination. During flights, it’s recommended that these items are kept in carry-on bags to increase ease-of-access.

Water Bottle for Rinsing

Dry mouth can lead to a number of ill effects, from unpleasant breath to general discomfort. Fortunately, taking a water bottle during your trip will allow you to rinse from time to time, which can have a significant effect on overall oral comfort and health.

A water bottle is particularly helpful during long flights when frequent brushing may prove inconvenient. A quick rinse is also beneficial after eating or drinking, especially when imbibing sugary drinks like soda or juice.

Healthy Snacks

While it may seem counterproductive, certain snacks can greatly improve one’s breath, while also doing away with dry mouth. Some snacks can actually serve to gently scrub and strengthen teeth while eating, including the following:

  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Strawberries
  • Cauliflower

Snacking is highly important during lengthy gaps between meals, as this can help combat stale breath and dry mouth. Accordingly, you can rest assured your breath will remain fresh and pleasant when on your way to your destination.

Chewing Gum (Minus the Sugar)

Sugar-free gum affords an even more convenient option than healthy snacks. A piece of chewing gum can provide the same benefits as the above items, while also taking up a lot less room in a bag or purse. However, it’s extremely important that the gum you choose is sugar-free to receive optimum health benefits. Gum containing sugar will only serve to damage teeth, thereby adding to decay when unable to brush and floss for an extended period.

A Bright and Healthy Smile Will Take You Far

No matter where in the world you may end up, a healthy smile is the perfect accessory. With the above items in tow, you can rest assured that your dental hygiene won’t be neglected during even the lengthiest of trips.

Top photo: nickharris1/Flickr

Top Cultural Events to See in Paradise Island

The Bahamas are full of unique people who embrace their diverse cultural heritage. Residents who have migrated from various lands over hundreds of years are proud to call the Bahamas their home. If you’re planning a visit to Paradise Island in the Bahamas, you’ll find friendly people and strong cultural influences that have contributed to some of the world’s best cultural events with exciting festivals, art, food, and music.


One of the most unique Bahamian festivals is the Junkanoo, held around the Christmas holidays every year. It began as a way to celebrate several days of freedom given to African slaves during Christmas time. Slaves joined together with colorful costumes made from crepe paper, lively music and native dances to celebrate their African roots. Although the Junkanoo festival almost died out with the abolishment of slavery, islanders kept it going, and it became one of the best festivals on the island. Each year, the Junkanoo begins on December 26 in the early morning hours. It starts with a parade through the streets and continues with beautiful costumes, delicious food, and lively music.

Bahamas International Film Festival

Every year in December, the Bahamas host the Bahamas International Film Festival to honor local filmmakers and showcase their work. As a major annual attraction, the event draws famous filmmakers, actors, actresses and directors from all over the world. The opening night gala includes an elaborate party with great food, film screenings, panel discussions and dancing. Although the festival celebrates local filmmakers and their films, the Bahamas International Film Festival is attended by interested film buffs from various regions around the world.

Bahamas Heritage Festival

Each year, at the end of April or beginning of March, The Bahamas Heritage Festival takes place on Paradise Island. It focuses primarily on the culture of the islands and features traditional island dances, music, food, and creative story-telling from the islanders, especially the older islanders who have wonderful stories to tell about their heritage. The Bahamas Heritage Festival also includes the Great Bahamas Seafood Festival which showcases island seafood dishes with Bahamian flavor.

Island Roots Heritage Festival

The Island Roots Heritage Festival is held every May in New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay. This lively festival celebrates the island’s loyalist heritage and African roots and promotes peaceful cohabitation of the two cultures that has existed for hundred of years. The Island Roots Heritage Festival is a family-friendly cultural event that includes a colorful parade, great island foods, and live music from local musicians. The kids can enjoy a tug-of-war contest, a conch cracking contest, and an exciting pirate demonstration.

Pineapple Festival

In June, you can enjoy The Pineapple Festival which takes place in Gregory Town on Eleuthera Island. The festival honors the pineapple industry and its workers that have been part of Bahamian history since the island was settled. Festival activities are fun for the entire family with activities that include a pineapple eating contest, a pineapple cooking contest, a 40-mile bicycle race around the island, and the Little Miss Pineapple Pageant.

Paradise Island is a wonderful adventure with exciting cultural events year-round. If you’re planning a visit, you’ll find wonderful hotels in Paradise Island with beautiful accommodations. Sunrise Beach Club and Villas offers relaxing island atmosphere that reflects authentic Bahamian culture and heritage.

Top photo: DeusXFlorida/Flickr

What You’re Paying for When Hiring a Skilled Contractor

Have you been wanting to create an addition onto your home or business; or do you need to repair damage that was caused by a fire, storm, or other natural disaster? If you can relate to these situations, you will more than likely require the services of a professional contractor to oversee the construction or repairs to your property.

When you hand over your hard-earned money to a contractor, you want the project to go as smooth as possible. You do not want there to be any issues. After all, you are depending on this person’s knowledge and skill to make sure that your house or place of business is safe for people to live or work in. Here are some examples of the qualities you are paying for when you hire a skilled contractor, and why these qualities are so important.

Peace of Mind

When a skilled contractor is overseeing the work being done on your property, you can have the peace of mind that the project will be done correctly the first time. Construction projects aren’t cheap, and with so much money wrapped up into any given project, having a highly qualified contractor at the helm will make you sleep much better at night.

Vast Knowledge of Construction

If a contractor is experienced enough, they will know all of the ins and outs of the industry. For example, a contractor should know how to build stairs for a deck and how to easily plan and execute the process should you need those built. Looking for that contractor with a wealth of knowledge? You can start your search for a skilled contractor and get a free quote for their services by visiting

Quality of Work

For obvious reasons, you do not want to have a contractor return to your home or business to fix something that was not done properly in the first place. When a contractor is experienced, they will be able to notice any potential problems at the time of their initial work, preventing them from becoming bigger issues down the road.

Many Years of Experience

When you a hire a contractor who has been around the block, they will have experienced many different situations during the many construction projects they have worked over the years. All of this experience means that they will know what to do and what not to do when various situations arise during the construction process. Having a contractor in charge of your project who has been in the business for many years is extremely valuable.

Have you ever hired a contractor before? What piece of advice would you give someone just beginning the process of finding a skilled contractor?

Top photo: usacehq/Flickr

9 Choice Restaurants to Frequent in Fort Worth, Texas

Fort Worth, the fifth largest city in Texas and the 17th largest in the US, is situated in North Central Texas. The city covers 350 square miles and serves as the seat of Tarrant County. Fort Worth is made up of about 800,000 people, and here are nine choice restaurants made popular by its inhabitants and a must visit for any tourist.

1. Taco Heads

It is no secret that the taco market is pretty competitive, but Taco Heads is a step above the rest. With fresh salsa, delicious tortillas, and tastiest toppings to go with, you will for sure become a regular after your first trip to this restaurant.

2. Pizza Snob

When what you want is pizza, few places can satisfy your craving like Pizza Snob. They use the freshest ingredients and top their pizzas with creative combinations that include caramelized pineapple, rosemary, goat cheese, and candied jalapenos. Just one slice from this place and you won’t regret why you came.

3. Vivo 53

Vivo 53 specializes in Italian cuisine. They have it all — pasta, homemade meatballs, and pizza. The local favorites include spicy sausage pizza and truffle fettuccine. For a full experience, pair your meal with a glass of sparkling wine.

4. Shinjuku Station

There is no doubt that Shinjuku Station is the best joint in town for Japanese cuisine. They of course have great sushi, but other must-try options include ceviche, ramen bowls, and sake steamed mussels. One visit to this restaurant and you will be recommending it to your friends.

5. Lee’s Grilled Cheese

Lee’s Grilled Cheese brings the most delicious food directly into your mouth! They have a grilled cheese sandwich menu that you wouldn’t have been able to come up in your wildest dreams. How does a cheddar mac n’ cheese sandwich loaded with mustard pork and black forest ham sound? You also must try their peanut butter and jelly grillers. If you are interested in something tasty and cheesy, this is the right place for you.

6. Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak has locations in several cities across the country, but in Fort Worth they cater to the local tastes of their patrons, and they have awesome steaks. What puts them in their own league from other steakhouses is how complete their menu is. They have options like jalapeno mac n’ cheese, a wide selection of seafood, and even chili-glazed calamari. Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak satisfies a wide variety of tastes.

7. Rodeo Goat

Bringing bar food to a new level, Rodeo Goat has exactly what you need during a night out with your friends and family. Some of the recommendations include Tabasco mayo, chorizo, queso fresco, pico de gallo, and fried eggs. They also have locally renowned “cheese fries surprise” topped with chili, jalapenos, bacon, ranch, and cheese, which makes for an excellent appetizer that everyone can enjoy.

8. Smokey’s BBQ

When it comes to smoking meat, the competition is stiff — especially in Texas — but Smokey’s BBQ serves up some of the very best. They have all the classics available, as well as other popular items like brisket, sausage links, and ribs with a dash of jalapeno. If you’re a fan of meat, then head to Smokey’s and settle into a massive rack of ribs. You’ll be glad you did.

9. Grace

Grace is more upscale than the rest of this list, but if you are looking for an experience and not just a meal, this is the place to go. They have a focus on revamping American favorites, and their chefs won’t let you down. Among the recommended delicacies are the Lobster Agnolotti and Duroc Pork.

Traveling to Texas? Fort Worth hotels will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression. Remember, when scouring for accommodations it is always best to go with a place that is reputable. In Fort Worth, that’s the Ashton Hotel, where you know you will be safe and secure throughout your stay and only have to worry about getting into Smokey’s before they run out of brisket.

Perfect Pool Party Themes for Summer

If you’re planning a summer party, the pool is an obvious choice for venue. Partying by the pool allows you to bask in the warm weather while reducing the need for providing built-in entertainment.  From planning to cleanup, there are many opportunities to get creative with an alfresco poolside gathering, whether you dive into an elaborate theme or keep it relatively simple.


pool party invitation
Martha Celebrations Summer Pool Party
Besides including the basics — date, time, location, and any other important details — your invitations should get your guests excited about your event. Introduce your theme with the type of invitations you choose. Cards shaped like flipflops or sunglasses are perfect for a general beach theme, while pineapples are great for a luau, and margarita glasses work well for an over-21 event.


Music is an absolute must for any pool party. Create a playlist that matches your theme and sets the tone for your bash. Classics from the 50s and 60s set a whimsical, retro tone. Beach-themed dance music is appropriate for an evening event. If children will be included, be sure to add a few songs with them in mind. A waterproof Bluetooth speaker is the perfect sound system for a pool party, keeping the music right in the mix and eliminating the need to set up any complicated equipment.

You can either let the fun take shape on its own, with the pool as the focal point, or plan some games in advance. Water polo or volleyball are obvious choices, as are classic beach-themed games like the limbo. For kids, a few pool-based rounds of Simon Says can be fun, although kids will tend to engage each other in games of their own design with minimal adult intervention.


summer party decor
James Merrell/Martha Celebrations Summer Pool Party
Transform your backyard into a beautiful coastal setting for an awesome beach party. Your decorations don’t have to be elaborate or costly to be imaginative and fun. String paper lanterns and nets around the edges of the pool area, float a couple of inflatable sea creatures or beach balls, and use dollar store sand buckets to hold napkins or utensils. Use colored glass bottles and scattered seashells for easy centerpieces. For a more sophisticated look, float candles in the pool during a dinner at sunset and then remove them when everyone is ready to dive in.


Finger food and disposable dishes and utensils are the order of the day for a pool party. Broken glass and bare feet are a combination sure to put a damper on your guests’ fun. Luckily, even paper plates and plastic cups are available in a variety of designs from whimsical to sophisticated to match any pool party theme. What you serve on them can also run the gamut in terms of complexity. Ceviche is a fresh, delicious, and classy choice for a more upscale gathering. For a laid-back affair, chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, and fresh fruit and vegetables can suffice. Cupcakes decorated with colored sugar “sand” and miniature paper umbrellas add an easy seaside touch to dessert. Slushy drinks are always a popular option, whether of the non-alcoholic variety for an all-ages gathering or spiked for an adults-only event.

The most important decision you’ll make is the decision to host your party. A pool party is a guaranteed good time no matter what the theme or level of complexity.

Top photo: shandopics/Flickr

Any Age is Suitable for Dating

During secondary education years some couples have paired off, but prospective dates are numerous simply because proximity places the potential pool of partners within a contained area. As people progress through their 20s and 30s, the numbers steadily decrease as singles regularly become doubles. However, single people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s or beyond shouldn’t be discouraged about dating. Technology has vastly improved the probability for meeting a special someone to share your life’s adventures.

Age Has Nothing to Do With Craving Companionship

Demanding careers that interfere with personal relationships, a spouse or lifelong partner’s dead, divorce, or a long-term relationship split are some of the reasons people find themselves alone in their later years. But once life settles down, craving companionship isn’t atypical. After all, humans are programmed as social creatures. We yearn for closeness. Sharing adventures adds a dimension of pleasure that doesn’t exist without that personal someone at your side. Instead of settling for days of unwanted solitude, internet dating sites for mature adults have begun to spring up across the world wide web.

Dating Sites for Your Mature Years

The internet has opened the world. It has also opened your home town. You may have walked past or met someone on several occasions but had no idea how interesting they are or that they’re single. Take this scenario:

Mary and John wait at the same train platform every day, but don’t progress conversation beyond a polite good day nod. They are both fifty-something, live alone, and crave someone to share their time with. Each one timidly decides to enter the somewhat daunting world of online dating, perhaps using a site like Before they know it, they’ve connected and once they realize they’re so close, they share a good laugh. They soon learn that chronological age doesn’t matter; whatever your age, having someone to do things with makes everything that much sweeter.

Narrowed Criteria

Deciding to join a site for mature adults specifically narrows the clientele to your age group and interests. Children may be grown, retirement has been reached or is looming, and you are ready for postponed rewards like travel. The advantage of knowing upfront others are looking for someone within your age range and other demographics hopefully eliminates doubts about compatibility. The decades you have both lived through create a cohesive bond for things like music, movies, and appreciation for your — and each other’s — accomplishments. A few online interchanges will have you soon knowing if you share common interests, such as boating, visiting museums, gardening, or any number of activities that bring you pleasure.

Be Honest

Once you have made the decision to try an online dating site, be honest. Don’t fudge on your age or proclaim interests merely to get a date. If the site has an option to post photos, use one less than a month old. You may not realize how much you may change in a year, but the camera — and your contacts — will. Also, instead of using only a headshot, consider posting action photos.

Once you get started, online dating can be rewarding. Your success will soon have you referring your friends to “…my favourite over 50 dating site…”

Top photo: safari_vacation/Flickr