Friday, March 11, 2011

The Perfect Gift: Personalized Chocolate Bars!

Chocolate and caramel. Awesome. Chocolate and pecans. Also awesome. Chocolate and orange pepper? Chocolate and jalapenos? Potentially very awesome but I’ll let you try them first. Literally billions of unique and delicious combinations of flavors are offered by the first ever design-your-own online personalized chocolate bar company, CreateMyChocolate.com.

Originally launched in Germany in 2008 as chocri, the once small operation has since expanded from the continent to the US. Their acclaimed chocolate and innovative flavors have popped up in premium magazines such as GQ, Shape, Self, InStyle, Maxim and Cosmopolitan. Not only is the world in love with chocri, everyone can indulge in their chocolate guilt-free. Each eco-friendly bar is made with organic, vegan, kosher, Fair Trade Belgian chocolate. Despite their wildfire success, the founders proudly maintain the intimacy of the small business experience by forging relationships with their customers. After all, they get to know you pretty well when you repeatedly order white chocolate with wasabi peanuts, gold flakes and sprinkles.

Ordering from CreateMyChocolate.com is genius for weddings! Each chocolate bar can be customized so every person on your gift list can know exactly what you think of them, I mean (ahem), how well you know and care for them. There are four base options-- white chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate and a special combination of white and milk chocolate. From there you can add on a combination of fruits, spices, nuts, and miscellaneous toppings ranging from the expected (bourbon vanilla?) to the unexpected (cayenne pepper?). You can also browse their recommended creations and see recent and popular orders.

If you’re still looking for the perfect groomsmen gifts, perhaps consider the Anti Hangover Chocolate Bar. Yes, it exists. Believers swear it is the perfect antidote to bachelor party shenanigans. This wonder bar with a base of milk chocolate boasts a remedy recipe of ginger, banana chips, ground coffee beans and sea salt. With so many possible combinations and extraordinary ingredients, CreateMyChocolate.com is fascinating to explore and too mouth-watering to ignore.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Three Tips for Choosing an Engagement Ring Store

Finding that perfect engagement ring can seem like a intimidating task. If you pay close attention to what your girlfriend likes, you should be able to select an item that she will cherish for a lifetime. Here are some tips for making your selection!

1. Find out what kind of jewelry she likes: Your soon-to-be fiancĂ© will (hopefully!) be wearing this piece of jewelry every day as a symbol of your blossoming relationship, so it’s important that she loves it. Finding the right ring can be a daunting task if she isn’t usually into jewelry or hasn’t been dropping hints for the last few months. If you’ve both been talking about the next step in the relationship, asking her what she’d like and even perusing some local jewelry stores together is a great way to get an idea of what she wants. If you want to keep it the whole thing a surprise then try asking her friends and family for advice. One warning: If you want to make sure it is kept a surprise, make sure you only ask the most trustworthy family members and friends who you know can keep a secret. Once you know what kind of jewelry she likes, your next step is to find the jewelry stores which carry that style.

2. Go Shopping at Quality Jewelry Stores: Don’t even bother trying to go the discount store route for this important purchase. If you want to find a good deal, you should look at the many quality engagement ring stores in your area. You can often find a sale or talk your way into a discount, while still being assured you are getting a superior piece of jewelry. Also keep in mind that the store you choose to purchase her engagement ring is probably also a good place to consider buying your wedding rings later. That way you already have a relationship with the store and its owner and they may offer you a better deal as a repeat customer.

3. Be Picky! You don’t have to buy the first ring you come across. Shop around a little. I know this is a hard assignment for most guys. But remember, she’ll be showing this off to all of your friends and family and wearing it every day. So really, you both better love it. If you find something you think is right, but aren’t sure, ask the store to put it on hold for 24 hours while you think about it and check around at other stores to see if there’s anything that might grab your attention. If you’re still in doubt, bring your mom/her friend/your friend and ask for a second opinion. Be careful not to let second opinions confuse you even further though. In the end, I think the best advice is to go with your gut feeling and make sure you get a receipt along with the store’s return policy. Best of luck!