Category Archives: romantic ideas

6 Fashion Tips for a Man’s First Date: a guest post by Rebecca Siggers

6 Fashion Tips for a

Man’s First Date

 

Having know-how on what to wear on a first date might be a difficult task for men sometimes. Most men want to leave a message behind with their time after the rendezvous is over. So, are you still wondering what to wear and impress your first date? No, then you are not the only one. A man having a considerable style quotient can impress his girl with full confidence. But then, if you think too casually to wear something while on your first date, you are very much mistaken.

Free-Photos, Pixabay

It is tough deciding on what to wear on a first date, and there are a couple of fashion glitches men tend to make while dressing. The primary one is not dressing appropriately, and the secondary is over-dressing. The following are six essential fashion tips for your first date so that you do not get all wrong and stand-out as a sorry contender for your next date!

●  Look your best

If you plan your first date at a fancy bistro or any pub, prefer going for separates. A crisp and stylish blazer with tailored pants is not a bad idea. But yes, going for your first date in a formal suit is, of course, not recommended. It instead gives the impression that you have just come out of your workplace, and have not much time to spare for your date!

krystian krzewinski, Unsplash

So, your goal for the first date should be a leisurely affair. Be straightforward and sophisticated looking. Many men prefer wearing khakis for their first date, but fashion gurus never recommend that. In recent times, denim is perfectly acceptable in most dating scenarios, barring stylish restaurants, which follow a strict dress code. To look your best, wear basic denim with a dress shirt/t-shirt along with a blazer/sweater, scarf, and a good pair of shoes. You will be the star of the evening.

photo created by javi_indy – http://www.freepik.com

  • Be color-coordinated

A little color will take you a long way. Many men choose only black or dress in full black to impress their first date. On similar lines, opting for beige or neutral color will also not do wonders. Too-flashy attire is going to be a big turn-off. Thus, the trick lies in the addition of color in a subtle manner for an attractive, and not-so-serious appearance.

cihan soysakal, Unsplash

Plan to wear a dress shirt or polo shirt along with forest green, maroon, or at least a blue blazer or pullover. Related colors also work well, by merely combining navy-blue with olive-green along with jeans – and you are ready to go! The complementary colors are the right option, but be a bit cautious with the triad colors.

  • Perfect Dress Shirt

A subtler patterned dress shirt is any day a better choice than a striped one. A striped shirt will only kill your chances of impressing your date. Otherwise, you can always wear a good-looking polo shirt for a casual look and club it tighter with a bomber jacket. Do not let your shirt hang loose. It does not look decent or sober at all. A man looks rather impressive in a tucked-in buttoned-down shirt. It is one of the most straightforward and striking style statement a man can carry always. Right from plain white to chambray and paisley print, you are free to play with various colors, prints, patterns, or textures.

photo created by phduet – http://www.freepik.com

But then, a couple of things are essential – the fitting and the fabric. Keep in mind that your shirt should be slim-fit but not a skinny one. It will then enhance your build, falling squarely on your shoulders and draping in naturally along your torso. Be a true lover of cotton, as this fabric always looks crisp and breathable. Put on a sweater for something extra. A sports jacket also will adjust to the color palette in accordance. Prefer picking lighter tones for the day-time date and dark ones for a night rendezvous.

  • Footwear

Your footwear has never been so significant, but it depends on your dating venue. And also for a woman, a more trusted man is the one who is wearing the nicest and choicest pair of footwear. Thus, portraying him as a more detail-oriented person in every aspect of his life, right from his official life to personal one. Chiefly, your shoe carries the power to accentuate your whole outfit. A gym shoe is never recommended. Go for a leather dress shoe, from monk to derby brogue, or boots. These variations will fit in a leisurely manner over your denim, dress shirt/t-shirt and sweater. When you select your pair, adhere to the dress codes always, generally linked to your date’s venue. Follow the overall aesthetic, while coordinating your pants to your footwear. You can then go for your comfort.

PublicCo, Pixabay

  • Be thorough

Convincing your date can always be easy if you pay much attention to the details. Then, you will be the cut above average on your first date. Your entire outfit will speak volumes of your whole personality. But, be careful while pairing your socks! You should never overlook them. Your pair of socks should always depend on the shoe you are planning to wear with your date-night outfit. Short-statured men should always wear the same color socks as their pants. It will aid in giving the illusion of a longer leg while improving the overall silhouette.

Moreover, it too depends on your choice of footwear. A well-dressed man in brogues should always go with a bright-colored sock. And for gym-shoes, tube-socks are just a perfect match.

●  Accessorize Manly

cocoparisienne, Pixabay

Apart from your positive self, loaded with humor, dignity, wit, and confidence, you should be presentable in whatever you wear on your first date. Remember that the first date counts every bit. Do not be the man who loves overdoing everything. Try to be simple in accessories, as well.

photo created by senivpetro – http://www.freepik.com

Pair a nice-looking wristwatch in one hand along with suave-looking beaded bracelets for men, on the other. Be mindful of not choosing a gaudy looking bracelet. The same should complement your dating attire. Also, do not be the one who bathes in cologne but opts for a modern and unique one, which will be successful in creating interest and avoiding a nose-attack!

Given that…

It is not always dependable to be conscious of your looks while going for your first date. But to be presentable and look sophisticated, you should select your attire complementing the other fashion accessories and the dating venue. Never go overboard, as to make the right impact, you have to look grounded and fashionable.

photo created by javi_indy – http://www.freepik.com

Do not overthink much, as these six fashion tips for men will aid you in deciding what and how to wear on their first date, discussing right from your hair-do to footwear, flattering your time inevitably.

Wow, such great tips!

Thank you, Rebecca, for this useful article, offering some advice for the male perspective on a first date… ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Rebecca Siggers is a working Designer and passionate writer. She enjoys writing about the latest fashion tips and lifestyle trends all around the globe.  Through her writing, she hopes to influence as many people as possible to help out.

Links

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/siggers_rebecca

Other Articles by Rebecca:  https://mystoryonline.org/7-style-tips-for-gentlemen-over-thirty/

https://aloha.com/blogs/nourish/6-organic-and-healthy-road-trip-snacks

https://www.teachworkoutlove.com/8-best-vacation-spots-for-military-families/

https://www.confettitravelcafe.com/7-must-visit-new-zealand-attractions/

https://greatlifezone.com/why-traveling-makes-you-a-better-person/

 

Thanks again! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

As always, happy reading, everyone! 😉 Have a great weekend!

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Filed under article, Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, feature, Guest Writer, Message, New Beginnings, Readers, Romance, romantic ideas, tips

Stunning Tips to Consider Before Dating: a guest post by Maggie Holmes

Stunning Tips to Consider Before Dating

 

Dating is a part of life that everyone who is old enough goes through. If you want to start dating, you need to know some things that will help you make the right decision.

You can’t assume that just because you like someone that they would be the perfect match for you. Keep in mind that finding the right person is a process.

Make a Positive First Impression

We have all heard the “You make only one first impression” saying. After only five seconds after your date has started, the person will have an impression of you not only because of the way you talk but the way you dress and your body language. A great first impression will help you get the date started and help your relationship in the long run. Building new relationships by making a good first impression is important. Even if you don’t end up together, you can still stay good friends.

Jonathan J. Castellon, Unsplash

How to Leave a Good First Impression on a Date

Yes, some of these tips may seem too obvious, but they are very important.

  • Dress nice – Put on something comfortable but something that you will look your best in. Make sure you are wearing clean, freshly washed clothes.

    Heather Ford, Unsplash

  • Norwood Themes, Unsplash

  • Personal grooming – By looking all nice, you are showing your date that you think they are worth making an effort for.
  • Get to your date on time – If you don’t get to your date on time, you will feel rushed and flustered. That will give off the impression that your time management skills aren’t good.
  • Don’t be on your phone – It is rude to constantly be checking your phone, texting or playing on your phone while your date is talking to you.

    Spencer Davis, Unsplash

  • Be open – A handshake or kiss on the cheek is an appropriate greeting gesture when you meet.

    Freestocks.org, Unsplash

The Importance of Physical Attraction

Many people said that the structure of a person’s face or body, or the person’s smell is the thing that physically attracts them to another person. Men are typically more physically attracted to women with large eyes, a nice smile and long hair. Women are more physically attracted to men that have masculine features. No matter what you like and what your type is, physical attraction is an important part of any relationship.

How Your Physical Appearance Affects Your Date

  • Care about how you dress.

We all know that people respond more positively to those who smell and look nice. Taking good care of yourself will send a positive message, no matter which outfit you end up choosing for your date. When you are asking yourself what you should wear, you should think about what impression you will give off wearing that outfit.

While you are dressing you need to keep in mind that you should dress like you, and choose an outfit that boosts your self-confidence. Because having confidence is the sexiest thing you can have.

  • Always smile.

Everybody enjoys being around a person that smiles. There is a real physical attraction that is linked to the act of smiling. It’s no surprise, negative facial expressions like frowning or making grimaces work diversely, like pushing people away. Instead of pushing them away, use the power of your beautiful smile to draw people in.

  • Speak with your eyes.

Created by Freepik

Eye contact is the most powerful stimulator of love and affection we have. When you are looking someone directly in the eyes, their body will produce a chemical called phenyl ethylamine that can make the person on your date fall in love. If you are a woman, you can have beautiful eyelash extensions as a great way to enhance your eyes.

Long eyelashes are the universal symbol of beauty and you will feel more attractive and confident. They don’t require much care and you can simply take them off anytime you want with an eyelash remover.

In the end, your date might not end up being the one, but all that is important is that you have a good time and that you feel comfortable.

Created by Senivpetro – Freepik.com

Wow, such great tips!

Thank you, Maggie, for this useful article, offering some food for thought before going on a date… ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Maggie Holmes is a passionate blogger keen on writing about beauty and fashion. Her exclusive hobby is to surf the net to find amazing articles that can inspire her with some fresh ideas for article writing. She loathes being a common person who wastes her time.

Links

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/maggie.holmes.31337

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MaggieH04666334

 

Thanks again! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

As always, happy reading, everyone! 😉 Have a great week!

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Filed under Anxiety, Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Hope, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, stress

Special Music Feature and Q&A: Christopher Ferguson

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Here is a great new music release by writer and musician Christopher Ferguson. Please help me in welcoming him back to this romance blog! 😉

Christopher Ferguson is giving look at his romance album, With Love, today.

Great cover!

 

This is the info on With Love:

With Love is a project started by the musician/composer, Chris Ferguson of Northern Alabama. Begun originally as a small collection of love songs, the project has grown and become a campaign to offer support for other charitable organizations that offer music, performance and educational services to schools and local communities. The current roster of charities that With Love supports is listed on the webpage http://www.wearewithlove.com. The website also includes original writings that have been featured on NPR, and original songs published on Reverbnation.com.

Currently featured on Reverbnation, the song “Beautiful Tears Will Fall” has 7.3 million listeners worldwide and With Love is ranked #1 locally (Northern Alabama), #1 regionally (Southeast U.S.), #1 nationally (U.S.) and #1 globally on Reverbnation. With a focus on hope, compassion and thoughtful self-reflection, the songs and stories from With Love offer a way for everyone to think of our life experiences as a part of a shared journey.

We also have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak with the musician and composer.

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Chris. Please have a seat.

Christopher Ferguson:  Hi, Marie! Great to see you again.

Marie:  It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Please tell us a little about With Love. What brought you to create it, and what is your origin story?

Chris:  I met a musician that changed everything that I knew. His name is Tim Noah. I started playing bass for him at his concerts and I saw that what he offered was not just music. It was much more than that. He started a live performance theater and invited anyone and everyone to participate. Young and old, experienced musicians and pure beginners, everyone is welcome to share their talent and message. It created a community that cares for one another. His efforts have been recognized with six Emmy awards. It’s really quite amazing.

Marie:  Nice! 🙂

So…you are a musician, but you are also a writer. Tell us something about that.

Chris:  There is an organization in Northern Alabama called The Huntsville Literary Association (HLA). It has about 200 members, which includes professional writers, university English professors, poets, and novelists. Harper Lee (To Kill A Mockingbird) and Billy Collins (Poet Laureate of United States, 2001-2003) have been members. I was invited to become a member because of a story I wrote that was broadcast on NPR about a 75 mile wilderness hike I took. The Poetry Group of the HLA intrigued me and I joined that group. We meet every month and present new works that we read aloud and everyone offers feedback. It has helped me to write more meaningful messages in the form of poetry that I then turn into songs. The HLA has also helped me to become a better short story writer as well, which I  write for NPR.

Marie:  Wow, isn’t it fascinating how the muse works? And such a great resource for you to develop your writing. Sounds like fun.

Any new works we should know about?

Chris: Well, I like to read the New York Times. Recently, I saw a story about a girl that lived in Sarajevo during the Serbian War in 1993. It was a really touching story. She was in high school and had been asked to go to the prom by her boyfriend. But the war interrupted that and she never got to go. Her family moved away from Serbia and she never saw her boyfriend again. Until twenty years later, when she got a text message from a mystery phone  number. It was her high school sweetheart asking her to go to the prom…again. The story really touched me.

So, I wrote a piece called “A Simple Thing” that presents the story in a narrative and song form. The song features Keith Taylor (piano), and Ingrid Marie (vocal) and myself on upright bass. It was produced by Phil Williams. I really love what he did for the production, a great, artistic result.

Marie:  So cool! Your music and writing resonates with the ILRB audience. It’s great when someone finds us because of a link that was included on another website like With Love.

Chris: Yes, I have been surprised at how the romance novel audience has embraced With Love. It just shows that there are some really passionate people interested in what the I Love Romance Blog offers. Such a cool and fun collaboration.

Marie:  Aww, thanks! Can you tell our readers where and how to find your music and writing?

Chris:  Sure, a new website was created for With Love earlier this year.

Of course, With Love has a Facebook page too.

And the website used for publishing music is called Reverbnation.

Marie:  Thank you so much for letting us know more about your music and your story. I am sure that our readers will find something they can enjoy and share with others. Best of luck!

Chris:  Thank you, Marie. It is always great to talk with you, and the I Love Romance Blog is really what we all need right now, I read it often!

Marie: Awesome! ♥♥♥

Readers, check out one of the songs, “Beautiful Tears Will Fall”, here!

 

Also, here’s Christopher’s new release and single on Reverbnation called “A Simple Thing”, featuring Ingrid Marie on vocal, Keith Taylor (Dean of Music, Univ of Alabama, Huntsville) on piano, and Chris on acoustic bass, produced by Phil Williams. Plus a live verson on YouTube! 😉

Wow! Thank you for telling us about your album! It looks wonderful!  😀

Readers, don’t forget to check this album out at ReverbNation. You’re sure to be moved by these songs!

Writer/Musician Bio

My name is Christopher Ferguson. I am primarily a musician/composer (….a bass guy) and have also been writing for NPR for the last couple of years, as well (mainly just short stories that I narrate and that get broadcast on our local NPR station here in Alabama).

I call my brand of music “With Love”. The music is piano, bass and vocal. It is intentionally not loud or aggressive. I am writing gentle songs, that are soft and require the attention of a listener, with the intent of giving them something to use to reflect upon their own thoughts and feelings of love.

Link

Website:  http://www.wearewithlove.com

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/musicbywithlove/

ReverbNation:  https://www.reverbnation.com/fergusonandwithlove/songs

 

Thanks again, Christopher! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime, perhaps with your next musical release. 

Happy listening, everyone! 🙂

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Drama, Event, Faith, Guest Writer, Interview, Love, Message, music, new release, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, score, Writers

Ten Effective Conversation-Starters for Couples: a guest post by Dr. B. Anne Hancock

10 Effective Conversation-Starters for Couples

 

Communication is an essential ingredient in any relationship. For couples, rich conversation makes their relationship delicious. It’s what builds connection and creates intimacy. For couples who’ve been together for a while keeping conversations fresh and interesting can take some effort.

Huy Phan, Unsplash

If you want to keep your conversations fresh and avoid telling each other the same stories, one effective solution is to try conversation-starters. By asking a few new questions, you’ll learn there’s always more to discover in the person you love.

Here are several ideas for opening a dialogue that reignites curiosity, affection and interaction:

  1. What’s your earliest childhood memory?

Rene Bernal, Unsplash

Most couples didn’t get to share childhood together, so there’s a wealth of experience just waiting to be tapped for conversation. Asking your partner about an early memory means you get to find out what left an imprint and why. You also gain insight into a part of his or her world that helped shape who your significant other is today.

  1. What do you remember most from our early days of dating?

Here’s a question that can take you both back to your budding love — that place where your connection began.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

Even better, as you listen to your partner recall happy memories, it may surprise you with what’s remembered, not to mention help stir up fresh affection for you both.

Andre Furtado, pexels.com

  1. What’s one of your favorite memories from our wedding day?

Recalling milestones in your relationship is a great way to discuss the happy moments you’ve shared. If you’re married, your wedding day is especially meaningful. Ask your spouse what stands out about that memory and enjoy it from another perspective.

Ivan Cabañas, Unsplash

  1. If you were given the chance to relive one day of your life, what would it be and why?

Maybe your better half would want to revisit a major milestone such as graduation, the birth of a child or your wedding day. Perhaps he or she would like to relive a day with a parent or grandparent who passed away or even an  event from high school or college. You’ll never know until you ask.

Karl Fredrickson, Unsplash

  1. Do you have any dreams you wish you could pursue? Are there ways I could help you try them?

Most adults have abandoned dreams still lurking somewhere inside them. Do you know what dream your partner longs to pursue? It could be something outlandish and surprising and you’ll get to be playful and imagine together. Or, it could be practical, such as taking a class, and you can be the encouraging voice to help your partner get right on it.

30daysreplay (PR & Marketing), Unsplash

  1. When was the last time you felt appreciated?

People don’t always verbalize their feelings unprompted. By asking your partner about what has encouraged and affirmed him or her, you may be surprised at what you hear. You’ll also learn how you can offer up additional support.

Created by Bearfotos – Freepik.com

  1. When was the last time you felt sad?

Milada Vigerova, Unsplash

Likewise, if your partner lets you in and tells you what’s been hurtful and discouraging, you’ll get a sense of what’s truly important. What prompts tears? What feels significant enough to change a mood? By asking…and listening, you get a chance to learn.

  1. If you could turn back the clock ten years, what would you tell your younger self?

This question offers your significant other a chance to assess and evaluate a decade of life, giving you a window into his or her regrets and wisdom gained. This can also start a conversation about moving forward with new information and insight.

  1. Say you won an all-expense paid trip to anywhere in the world, and you can’t consult me before picking the destination. Where would you go?

Paua May, Unsplash

Find out what travel destinations are on your partner’s dream list. Couples who have spent a long time together will often be so used to asking each other about preferences that it’s easy to miss what each one likes. Let your partner know you care about what he or she wants.

  1. If you had to pick three people, who would you say you most admire?

There’s a lot to be said for admiration. The people you highly regard are often the people you imitate — intentionally or not. Ask your partner who he or she looks up to and why. You’ll discover what qualities he or she values.

Hatham, Unsplash

The 10 ideas listed are merely the beginning for prompting meaningful conversations with your partner. Be curious. Ask questions. Invite discussion and keep learning. Continuing to discover each other is what helps your relationship feel alive and exciting year after year.

Hannah Cook, Unsplash

Wow! These are such great tips!

Thank you, Anne, for this illuminating article… ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Anne Hancock, PsyD, is a prominent relationship therapist and founder of Wellness Counseling Center. A licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Hancock specializes in working with couples and families. She has a doctorate in Psychology and a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Hancock always works from a wellness-oriented, non-pathologizing point of view — which means no blame, no shame. In addition to couples counseling services, Hancock also conducts personalized two-and-a-half-day couples intensives.

Links

Website:  https://thewellnesscounselingcenter.com/

Blog:  https://thewellnesscounselingcenter.com/articles/

Professional Background:  https://thewellnesscounselingcenter.com/team/anne-hancock/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/banne.hancock

https://www.facebook.com/pages/B-Anne-Hancock-PsyD/436325916561152

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/WellnessCNSLNG

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/annehancockpsyd

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/wellnesscounselingcenter/

 

Thanks again! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

As always, happy reading, everyone! 😉 Have a great weekend!

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Lovers Like Us, Message, Readers, reflections, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by The Smut Report

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on the I Love Romance Blog. In recent years, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep to the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback.

Without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to blogger The Smut Report, a female team with a few things to say about the question at hand.

What Does Romance Mean to Us?

 

At The Smut Report, we read a lot of romance novels. Like, a LOT of romance novels. And let’s be real – there’s a stereotype floating around that people who read romance novels have a skewed idea of romance and relationships. Obviously, we must be delusional spinsters or miserable sex-starved moms who expect men to read us poetry and/or fight monsters and/or know exactly what we want at all times.

Romance is also super oversimplified. There are pivotal life events like birth and death that, when addressed in literature, are considered really “deep” and vulnerable and raw. This non-genre fiction is lauded for its thoughtfulness and meaning. There’s a whole sub-genre dedicated to “coming of age” and all the inner turmoil that comes with that — but a genre whose sole purpose is to unpack the delicious, unsettling, sloppy moments leading up to individuals falling in love? That’s for unsatisfied housewives.

freestocks.org, Unsplash

Falling in love transforms individual people into something new, something with overlap and grey area and messiness. And strength. In romance we see people coming together to form a stronger whole, yet we also see how having the support of a loving partner can provide a wellspring of strength to an individual.

Ryan Jacobson, Unsplash

But before that can happen, all the messy feelings and social and personal obstacles must be resolved. There are new debates in the romance community every day about whether it’s romance if there’s no happy ending, if there’s no sex, if there’s this, or that, or the other thing. These arguments reflect this messy, sexy, grey area that exists in our lives when we love. This genre, maybe more than any other genre, asks us to be honest about what a satisfying life looks like. And it acknowledges that the answer is different for different people.

Created by Freepik

Even though the three of us have somewhat divergent tastes (Erin likes heroes who ooze power, Holly prefers her books on the sexy side, Ingrid sometimes skips the sex scenes so she can get back to the witty banter), there are a few things that we all love in a romance novel. Far from creating unrealistic ideas of what romance is, the best romance novels feature satisfying portrayals of emotional connection. It makes us ask what pleasure looks like for YOU, what commitment looks like for YOU. You know, that extra spark that brings out the swooning romantic in the most jaded of us. (That would be Holly, in case you were wondering.)

Created by Senivpetro – Freepik.com

Romance can be just a fun, sexy romp or a swashbuckling adventure, but it can also bring you closer to yourself. It’s a safe way to examine romance in your own life–your likes, your dislikes, what you want to feel and how you want to be loved. You know it when you read it.

Flower photo created by tirachard – http://www.freepik.com

We recently went to an author talk in which Sarah MacLean said she loves the increased use of dirty talk in romance because it’s “ongoing consent”. How amazing is that? That there are authors looking for ways to make love scenes more clear, more unfettered, by making sure the consent is obvious AND beautifully done. This stuff matters.

Romance is a largely inclusive genre – and that’s important. The authors who write these books are constantly bursting open doors and welcoming more people in. It matters to have characters that look like real people and who love like real people do. Race, gender identity, sexual orientation–it’s all discussed in the romance literature written every day. Possibly there are not really people in love with shifters, we acknowledge (if there are, Erin would like to hear from you). But in all seriousness, there are so many different combinations of who loves whom (and how many love together) out in the world that it’s appropriate and necessary for such love to be reflected in our literature.

Created by Ijeab – Freepik.com

And where reality fails us, we have the opportunity to explore the notion of romance in the “other” in paranormal, sci-fi, and other sub-genres of romance. The authors who are opening these doors and windows for us readers are also readers themselves, and we support each other. Romance creates community, even if we never speak directly to one another.

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

In short, romance means a lot to us. It’s been a source of comfort and connection for us for decades. It’s made us think about things in different ways. It makes us test ourselves. It’s made us uncomfortable and angry and happy. We have literally cried and literally laughed so loudly that we’ve scared pets and woken sleeping children.

Ben White, Unsplash

Romance brings us joy. It’s as simple as that.

Lovely! I couldn’t have said it better myself… 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post! Great to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

The Smut Report is the brainchild of Erin, Holly, and Ingrid, three thirty-somethings who have been swapping smut books for twenty years. They’ve read a lot of smut and love the genre. They want to share their love of smut with people who already love to read romance, but also with people who are curious about the genre, yet are a little bit scared to dive right in. So, in order to further their goal of sharing the wonderful, witty, and downright weird corners of the world of smut with everyone they know, they started a blog, where they can chat about romance novels to their hearts’ content.

Links

Website/Blog:  https://smutreport.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/smutreport/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/smutreport

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/91403885-smut-report

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/smutreport/

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is romance a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we usually get booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a freelance writer or author, or even from a romantic themed organization. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

Thanks again, The Smut Report, for giving us your take on what romance (and the book genre) has come to mean to you, plus some food for thought. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next guest post when Dr. Anne Hancock visits ILRB on October 3rd! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, feature, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Special Feature, Stories, Writing

My TOP 6 Dream Wedding Locations: a romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

My TOP 6 Dream Wedding Locations

 

Ever since I got engaged to my soul mate a few years ago, I’ve thought about the perfect locations for a wedding.

Sweet Ice Cream Photography, Unsplash

My fiancé and I have entertained big and small celebrations, anything from local to international ceremonies. And yes, most options tend to depend on the size of your wedding budget and the number of guests you intend on having.

Now, even though I’m a dreamer by nature, I am also a realist. That must be the Libra in me, weighing both sides! LOL. But in real life, I am much more likely to see the glass as half empty than remotely full. Lately, though, I have begun to see the benefits of taking an optimistic approach with some facets of life. Why not dream a little after all? What could it hurt?

Sharon McCutcheon, Unsplash

So if money was no issue, where might I choose for my wedding location? Well, I can’t pick one right now, but I will try to narrow down the regions a bit.

  1. England

My familiarity with British TV shows and movies has always led to a fascination with areas ‘across the pond’, so to speak.

Benjamin Davies, Unsplash

           A. London

  • Museum of the Moon

Located inside the Natural History Museum, this is a very modern event space which is only available from May to September. Looks like a cool place to hold a wedding reception, right? 😉

Natural History Museum – London

  • Sky Garden

With its stunning panoramic views, a wedding there is bound to be an unforgettable event.

  • One Marylbone

If you’re looking for an elegant place for a wedding and reception, this seems like a good choice.

  • Porchester Hall

This modern event space with different rooms is rather versatile, suitable for any type of occasion.

  • The Penthouse – Brick Lane

This private event space at a bowling alley might not seem like a great idea at first, but if you’re set on a casual yet intimate atmosphere, and aim to treat your guests to a lot of fun, it’s just perfect!

For London and its surrounding regions, Canvas Events is a great source for reserving a venue. You can even book Kensington Palace!

Wild, right? 😀

     B. Castles/Manors

I have a weakness for historical romance novels, and I’ve always wanted to visit all the lovely castles in Europe. Let’s look at some fancy venues in England.

  • Hedsor House – a country house with an Italianate style on the Buckingham-Berskshire border, and set amongst 100 acres of historic parkland.
  • Hengrave Hall – a Tudor style mansion complete with great halls and elegant chambers in the Suffolk countryside.
  • Chiceley Hall – a Georgian country mansion, decked out in the Baroque style with 48 rooms, a restaurant and a bar.
  • Clevedon Hall – a huge wedding venue in Somerset, situated on seventeen acres and boasting 25 luxurious bedroom suites.

C. Hotels

  • Dumbleton Hall Hotel – a 19th century Cotswald stone manor house with nineteen acres of gardens and a private lake.
  • The Grand Hotel – located at Tynemouth, close to the beach with a clifftop overlook. It has quite a history, having been originally built as a home for the Duchess of Northumberland.
  • Matfen Hall Hotel – a 19th century country mansion in Northumberland, located on 300 acres of parkland. They recently added a newly refurbished wedding space.
  • The Lodore Falls Hotel – situated on the shores of Derwentwater in Borrowdale, Cumbria in Lake District National Park. The site has 40 acres of tranquil land with a waterfall and a lakeshore.

These are all great choices! Here are some other venues to discover in England.

 

  1. Ireland

I have always been drawn to Irish mythology and Celtic music. So when I found out about two years ago that my great-grandfather was a full-blooded Irishman, it didn’t come as too much of a surprise that Ireland has been one of my top bucket list locations.

Patrick Metzdorf, Unsplash

          A. The Cliffs of Moher

Despite my fear of heights, this vista, which spans about eight miles across the Irish coast, is just too amazing to pass up! So, why wouldn’t it be an interesting locale for a wedding?

Jesse Gardner, Unsplash

  • Hotel Doolin Located in County Clare on the West Coast of Ireland and famous for its traditional Irish music, this contemporary hotel has spacious, modern rooms.

Let’s explore some other great wedding venues in Ireland.

       B. Drenagh Estate a 19th-century house, complete with a tree-lined driveway and richly wooded grounds.


       C. Ballyfin Set at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains in the center of Ireland, Ballyfin is an exclusive luxury five star hotel, situated on 614 private acres of parkland with a 28 acre lake.

       D. Dunluce Castle This medieval castle is on a cliff overlooking the sea in Northern Ireland, and is arguably one of the best and most memorable castles in the country, despite its state of ruins. It isn’t surprising that visitors go for the dramatic views, and yes, some choose to have a wedding ceremony there.

       E. Huntington Castle a 17th century house situated on more than 160 acres of gardens, woodland and farmland. And you might even spot the occasional peacock or rooster!


       F. Baily Lighthouse On cliffs extending into Dublin Bay from Howth, this is one of Ireland’s most photographed lighthouses on the eastern coastline. The cliff walk/path appears to be stunning and quite a romantic adventure. It’s no wonder some have chosen to set their wedding locales in clear view of the lighthouse!

       G. Ashford Castle (explore more wedding photos on the site here) A medieval castle which was transformed into a five star luxury hotel, situated on 350 acres of parkland, this castle has always appealed to me. I’ve been getting their brochures for years, and I can’t deny the pull I have to it!


       H. Adare Manor Set on 840 acres, this neo-Gothic architectural masterpiece, once the family seat of the Earls of Dunraven, has been transformed into a five star hotel and golf resort. Such stunning views!


        I. Castlemartyr Resort –The resort consists of a grand 17th century country manor house that sits adjacent to the ruins of an 800 year old castle. The five star hotel includes a 10 treatment room Spa and a luxurious golf course. With open meadows, manicured lawns and formal gardens, as well as a 24,400 square foot wellness, spa and fitness center, guests truly will want for nothing more.


        J. Castle Leslie – One of the finest castle luxury estates in Ireland, set on 1000 private acres of rolling hills, parkland and lakes to explore…why wouldn’t this be an idyllic countryside, just perfect for a dream wedding?

        K. Castle Durrow an 18th century country house in the Irish midlands – just an hour from Dublin – which was transformed into a luxury castle hotel. Looking over the wedding gallery on the site, the location has such picturesque gardens, and it’s easy to see why couples have chosen this site again and again.

Stunning! Here’s hoping that I make it to Ireland someday! Fingers crossed! 😉

Disover this link with more information on wedding locations in Ireland.

 

  1. New Zealand

Ömer Faruk Bekdemir, Unsplash

From bustling cities to dramatic mountainscapes to forests to scenic waterways, this country appears to have it all. At least everything you could want for a destination wedding. Here are some options, just to name a few.

           A. The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs Set on 6000 acres near Matauri Bay, The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs affords spectacular 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean. Situated atop a cliff and overlooking three pristine private beaches, alongside offering the amenities of a serene spa and a golf course, as well as a hotel restaurant, numerous local activities, and spacious suites to stay in, you just can’t go wrong!


           B. Huka Lodge Regarded as one of the top luxury lodges in New Zealand, surrounded by seventeen acres of countryside on the banks of the Waikato River, the Huka Lodge features an outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court, free airport transportation and a hot tub. It has air-conditioned suites with a private terrace and lovely river views. It’s only a 10-minute walk to the famous Huka Falls. Sounds like a great place to visit!


           C. Blanket Bay Located on the beautiful shores of Lake Wakatipu on a 10,000 acre high country farm with quintessential South Island lake and mountain views, Blanket Bay Lodge offers guests a relaxing hot tub and rooms with stunning views. The staff at this luxury lodge in a majestic mountain setting can arrange mountain bike tours, jet boating and Milford Sound tours. What a perfect wedding or honeymoon retreat, right?

    D. Annandale Coastal Farm Escape and Luxury Villa In one of the world’s most spectacular coastal locations, this is a rare 4000-acre sheep and cattle farm which also offers exclusive use of four multi award winning luxury villas.

Here is a list of other options in New Zealand.

 

  1. Turks and Caicos

With such clear blue beauty, what couldn’t be better than this view during a wedding ceremony? ♥♥♥

tkelly8843496, Pixabay

Here are some locales for a destination wedding. I won’t go into much detail with each site from now on, as I think I’m starting to sound like a travel agent. LOL. I figure you can decide for yourself where you’d like to base your dream wedding, and if any of the pictures appeal to you.

             A. East Bay Resort

            B. Blue Haven Resort and Marina

            C. Beach House

            D. The Regent Palms

 

  1. USA

Why not go for something more local? I have always dreamed of living by the ocean, so I wouldn’t mind a beach wedding in the U.S. either! 😉

Lauren Richmond, Unsplash

Especially if it’s a little easier to get to, here in my homeland. Hmm…let’s see what’s possible.

A. Florida

Jorge Vasconez, Unsplash

These are some venues in this beautiful, sunny locale.

  • Hollywood Beach Marriott
  • Panama City Beach Legacy By the Sea

Barefoot Hide A Way Grill

  • Miramar Beach Sol Mate (vacation rental home which is sometimes used for a wedding venue)

  • Destin Emerald Grande

  • Fort Walton Beach Holiday Inn Resort

For more information on Florida venues, click here.

 

B. California

Maarten van den Heuvel, Unsplash

  • Muir Beach Pelican Inn

  • Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Dream Inn
  • Monterey Monterey Tides Hotel

  • Laguna Beach Surf & Sand

  • Santa Monica Shutters on the Beach

  • Ventura Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

  • Santa Barbara Rincon Beach Club

  • Redondo Beach Chart House

For more California sites, click here.

 

C. Maine

  • Bar Harbor Harborside Hotel

Bar Harbor Inn

French’s Point

For more places in Maine to have your dream wedding, go here

 

D. Hawaii

  • Koloa The Beach House

Sheraton Kauai Resort

  • Lahaina Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa

Montage Kapalua Bay

  • Kapolei Paradise Cove

For more places to have a wedding in Hawaii, click here.

 

E. Georgia

1778011, Pixabay

  • St. Simons Island

The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort

The Golden Isles

  • Jekyll Island Villas by the Sea Resort & Conference Center

For more wedding venues in Georgia, click here.

 

F. North Carolina

AJ Gallagher, Unsplash

  • Manteo The Outer Banks of North Carolina

  • Nags Head Jennette’s Pier

  • Ocean Isle Beach Oceanfront Weddings of N.C.

  • Duck Sanderling Resort

  • Wilmington Southern Beach House

  • Havelock Neuse Breeze

  • Kitty Hawk Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks

For more locations in North Carolina, explore this link.

 

G. Massachusetts

skeeze, Pixabay

  • South Yarmouth Red Jacket Beach Resort & Spa

  • Mashpee The Club at New Seabury & The Popponesset Inn 

  • Provincetown The Provincetown Inn

  • Dennisport – The Sea View

Corsair & Cross Rip Oceanfront Resort

  • Hyannis Cape Codder Resort and Spa

  • North Falmouth Sea Crest Beach Hotel

  • Nantucket Galley Beach

Westcliff

Check out some more locations here for Massachusetts venues. And this is a link to additional sites in the U.S.

 

  1. France

Oops, I almost forgot! Can’t overlook France. It’s breathtaking!

Augustin de Montesquiou, Unsplash

So…I’ve always wanted to visit Paris for a vacation, but if I was going for a wedding venue? Nah, I’d probably pick something more natural or unique. Perhaps a villa, castle, a vineyard, or even some lavender fields.

  • Provence Chateau de Tourreau

Château d’Alphéran

Bastide St Mathieu

  • Loire Valley – Chateau de Jalesnes

La Chatellerie

Château de Chissay

Here is a link which includes more options in France.

Wow, lots of choices to go over!

Well, I hope I covered everything. Maybe this post sparked your own ideas for a dream wedding, huh?

Tyler Nix, Unsplash

So after all this, what place have we as a couple chosen for the big day? That will most likely depend on the date of the wedding and our budget for the event. Okay, so maybe I didn’t narrow them down all that much. I like to have some variety! 😉

I just hope this helped you in your own search. I’ll keep you informed of our decision, however…

As always, happy reading, and have a beautiful summer! 🙂

Host Blogger Bio

Multi-genre author of Victorian maritime romance/family saga, Heiresses in Love, and 20 other books. Reached the Top 10 Authors list on AuthorsDB.com for the last 4 years. Featured interview in the January 2018 issue of Womelle Magazine. BLOOD INSTINCTS reached TOP 10 status in the Romance category of the 2018 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART reached the semi-finalist round in the 2018 AuthorsDB Book Cover Contest. Voted TOP BLOGGER for 2018 on the Romance Lives Forever Blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated and made it past the first round in the 2018 Author Academy Awards. UPON YOUR LOVE and THE MISSING PIECE placed in the TOP 10 on the 2017 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated for the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards. The I Love Romance Blog became a finalist in StartDating DK’s Romance Blog Awards of 2017. ILRB landed on Feedspot’s 2017 TOP 100 Novel Blogs and TOP 100 Romance Blogs. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013, 2014 and 2016. 2013 and 2014 Amazon Bestseller Ranking for UPON YOUR RETURN. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and two cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She writes adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and has recently started some young adult fiction. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Her current published series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.

Links:

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/

Blogs: https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a

https://www.instagram.com/marielavender1/

Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2yFx62c
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender

http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/

Creative Universal Reading List Link:  https://books2read.com/rl/marielavendersbooks

http://www.pw.org/content/marie_lavender
http://manicreaders.com/marielavender/

Publisher: http://www.solsticeempire.com/products.aspx?categoryid=262

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

Sign up for Marie’s Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1g3wO13

Follow her on BookBub for new release updates: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marie-lavender

 

Have a lovely rest of your week, readers! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Engagement, Event, Hope, Love, Lovers Like Us, Marie Lavender, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Traditions, travel, Wedding

Top 10 Dating Tips for the Modern Woman: a guest post by author Kai Nicole

Top 10 Dating Tips for the Modern Woman

by Kai Nicole

 

Let’s face it, dating in this digital era is getting a bit crazy. We are in a cultural shift where women have a lot more money and freedom than they used to have, all while traditionalism is still desired by many. So, how are modern women to navigate the madness? Here are 10 tips to help the single women out there:

  1. Be Whole

Do not date with the expectation that there is someone else outside of you who will complete you. You are a complete person, and you should date like one.  If you don’t feel fully complete then dating should not be your priority. You should take the time to focus on yourself becoming whole and happy.

Happy women always have a better dating life.

  1. Be Open

One of the biggest reasons women are disappointed with their dating experiences is because they have so many expectations that cannot be met. In order to have better dating experiences, you have to be open. That means no expectations! Let the dates flow and enjoy the moment!

  1. Stop “Husband Shopping”

“If you are one of these women who is searching for a husband, you are not dating, you are shopping. You are looking for a guy who fits some requirements you have created in your mind – a fantasy. Stop doing that. If you want to date, you need to understand the reality. Dating is taking time to get to know someone. That’s it. You give your time and in turn a man gives his time to you so that you both get to know each other.” – Date Like A Woman

  1. Only accept dates from men who are genuinely interested in you

Clarisse Meyer, Unsplash

How can you tell that a man is genuinely interested? He will risk rejection. Ladies, if a man risks nothing, especially public rejection, he really isn’t that interested in you, period. You are just some woman to pass the time with. When a man is REALLY interested in you, he is going to make sure you know it even at the risk of being embarrassed. Because in his mind you are worth it. The men who risk something to ask you out, those are the men you should date. They are genuinely interested.

  1. Date In Your Circle

When it comes to dating, there are many types of circles/leagues. However, your dating experiences are best when you date within your leagues/circles. I talk about dating circles more in-depth in my book. If you want to know what circles you are in, you should take a look at your own life. Chances are you spend time with those who are most similar to you. The men who are most similar to the folks you hang around are the men who are in your circles.

Pixabay, pexels.com

Why are dating experiences with men in your circle better? Because you have more in common and will have more to share and talk about.

  1. Avoid online dating and dating men who only send you DMs

As I like to say, “shoot your shot in public so I know it’s real.” Men who only date online or shoot their shot in DMs lack either true interest in the woman or their ability to talk to women is lacking in some way. When a man is not genuinely interested in a woman, the dating experience is always subpar.

While online dating and DMs have made it easier for men to access women, especially men who are scared to speak to women in person, the increased access to women means there is a decreased chance of genuine interest. Of course, many people love to fight me on this point, stating that they either met their spouses online or know someone who has met a spouse online. Whenever this happens, I simply point out that the success rate for online dating is 5%. That means 95% (that’s ninety-five percent) of the time online dating does not work. On top of that, the online dating business is worth $2 billion dollars. Online dating sites make more money if they keep you single. So, if you are okay with that, then please, by all means, keep dating online.

  1. Be more than a pretty package

Matthew T Rader, Unsplash

Focus less on how you look and more on who you are as a person when you date. “You must be more than just a pretty face. If you aren’t interesting, men are not going to be interested in you. You must be more than just a ‘wrapping.’ You have to give your date more than just an appearance. You have to give your date something to get to know.”’ – Date Like A Woman

  1. Date more than one man at a time

If you are not in a relationship, you’re single. Act like it. DATE!

Huy Phan, Unsplash

 

Shanique Wright, Unsplash

  1. Learn to let go

If a date doesn’t go the way you want it to, don’t sweat it. Letting go and moving on when things aren’t “right” is one of the key components to a great dating life.

Created by katemangostar – http://www.freepik.com

Remember, this is dating, not a relationship! If one guy isn’t for you, date a different one!

  1. Buy Date Like A Woman!

Get Date Like A Woman, the BEST dating guide for women, if you really want a better dating life!

Flower photo created by tirachard – http://www.freepik.com

 

Want to read more dating blogs? Check out DateLikeAWoman.com’s Blog. Be sure to also check out Kai’s personal blog at FlyMommy.net! And, don’t forget to buy the best dating book for women, Date Like A Woman!

Too right! Thank you, Kai, for giving us your impression of how to navigate dating in this modern age.

Well, readers, shall we take a look at the book on which her philosophy is based? Sounds like a plan!  😀

Great cover!  🙂

Here’s the blurb for Date Like a Woman:

Date Like A Woman (DLAW) is for the 21st century woman who is ready for a new narrative about dating, romance, sex and life!  DLAW helps women move from fear to freedom. It offers practical dating advice, teaching women to navigate through the often challenging and daunting dating world, while countering the sexist, stereotypical and, frankly, stupid “instructions” spewed at women by self-professed male “dating experts.”

DLAW puts the FUN back into dating while also providing no-nonsense guidance that empowers and encourages women who have grown weary, been disappointed, and are still holding on to outmoded and unrealistic expectations about their dating choices. DLAW reminds women of their worth, helping them understand that they do not need to fit some antiquated model of being “accepted” or “chosen” by men.

For women who are so ready to sever the cord – quickly, forcefully and permanently – that has kept them bound by dangerous dogma and silly, sexist “thought leaders,” DLAW offers fresh, funny advice for discovering themselves, deciding what they really want, and enjoying dating!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/0692864350

Add it to Goodreads:   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36164605-date-like-a-woman

♥♥♥ Ooh…love it! This looks like such a helpful read! 

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Kai! Awesome to have you here! ♥

Author Bio

Published author, blogger and attorney Kai Nicole has emerged as an exciting and unique voice on dating and relationships. A graduate of Harvard University and Howard University School of Law, Kai’s professional experiences encompass diverse fields including legal, tech, and entertainment. She is a mother, world traveler, foodie, and lifestyle enthusiast.

 

Thanks again, Kai! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, reflections, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Singles, Traditions, Writers, Writing

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Lynn Chantale

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. In recent years, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep to the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback.

Without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Lynn Chantale, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

The Twelfth Wing

 

Romance does not come easy for me. If you’re looking for fancy words or deeds to make the heart melt or bring a tear to the eye, you’ve got the wrong woman. But you write romance, you say. Yes, I can appreciate a sentimental moment or gesture when it’s given.

For me, romance goes beyond flowers, cards, candy and trinkets. Those things are all nice but, they lost some of the awww factor.

Why? Divorce.

Recently,  I gave dating another chance. This time I focused on Meetup groups. This has proven a lot more successful in finding a worthy candidate. In one of these meetings I met a gentleman with a great sense of humor, intelligent, and and has that strong, silent thing going on that romance authors like to create in their heroes.

GEORGE DESIPRIS, pexels.com

I’ve read many romance novels in various sub-genres, have written a few myself, but to meet someone who embodies my type of romance changed my somewhat jaded outlook on love.

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

Romance is so much more than making love at the  end of a great date. It’s offering the twelfth wing, or the last slice of chocolate fudge cake. It’s opening doors, holding hands, or a single caress that says; “I am into you.”

In spite of an amicable divorce —I still love the stupid man— and with him getting engaged to a TTF (totally toxic female), I braved the dating world to find a POSiTive love interest.

Brett Jordan, Unsplash

Romance is not lowering your standards, but honoring yourself. When you’re true to who you are, you’re in a better position to receive the twelfth wing or the last slice of chocolate fudge cake. I know you’re probably wondering what the heck romance has to do with offering the last of something. It’s simple…I care about you enough to put your wants and needs above my own. I care for your happiness and well-being above mine. I consider your choice before I make mine.

Yeah, so simple a concept that it brought back the awww factor for me.

Briona Baker, Unsplash

Romance still needs consistent open, honest communication and quality time. With that comes the toe-curling, bed-breaking lovemaking at the end of a truly great date.  And yes, when we’re together I’ll offer you the twelfth wing. But be honest in your answer, ‘cause if you say no, I’m going to eat the last piece. 🙂

Nice! How incredibly romantic. I couldn’t have said it better myself… 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Lynn! Lovely to have you here! ♥
 
Guest Bio

Lynn Chantale, a romance novelist, short story writer, and part-time background singer, has published many stories across several genres.  Her works include Sex, Lies, and Joysticks, The Contractor’s Baby, and The Pick-Up Wife, to name a few.

When she’s not taking over the world, she’s dominating her household, family, and her cat, Shakespeare. You can visit her at any of her cyber haunts.

Author Links

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we get booked up fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

 

Thanks again, Lynn, for giving us a peek into what romance means to you. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next exclusive interview when author Dana Littlejohn visits us on July 23rd! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Faith, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Traditions, Writers

14 Memorable Fourth of July Date Ideas

Charles has some great holiday date ideas for you! ♥♥♥

phicklephilly

It’s that time of the year again.

For many of us, the Fourth of July is just another holiday to party hard, sleep in or lounge around at home.

But this time around, it’s time you do some something different with your loved one.

This independence day, indulge in a few activities that are fun and yet, patriotic!

14 Fourth of July date ideas

Do you remember the happy Independence Day celebrations you loved so much when you were a child?

What’s stopping you from doing that, now that you’re all grown up?

Instead of just waiting for the fireworks to light up the sky at night, go on out there and enjoy the day.

Here are 14 great ways to make your Independence Day date memorable, fun and oh-so-perfect!

#1 Raise a flag. This is something you can do first thing in the morning!

Plan ahead the earlier night…

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Filed under Blogging, Dating Tips, Event, family, Holiday, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Singles, Traditions

How Shopping Correlates with Dating and Relationships: a romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

 How Shopping Correlates with Dating and Relationships

 

I love, love, love shopping…well, for almost anything! I can never be trusted with a credit card. 😉 Most of the time I resist temptation, but now and then, especially if I have some extra money on my hands, I indulge in one of my hobbies – shopping for clothes, or even books.

Created by benzoix – http://www.freepik.com

But whether you’re browsing online or in the store, shopping for clothing items is a whole other animal. At least with a book, you can be sure you will usually end up a satisfied reader. The only issue, for me at least, might be a bunch of glaring grammatical errors, or so much head-hopping that I get fictional whiplash.

Amanda Jones, Unsplash

Shopping for clothes, however, is a different story.

Created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com

If you’re looking at stores on the internet, you have likely done your research already. Maybe you vetted the company for positive customer feedback. Looking over product reviews is never a bad policy.

When you’re dating, though, it’s not like you can ask your date’s exes how things went in the past, or what pitfalls to anticipate. It’s basically trial and error, right?

Created by katemangostar – http://www.freepik.com

Sometimes that happens with shopping too. Just because you properly assessed the site, or even had prior experience with it – you got a great bargain and the product was offered in the right size – that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically love the shirt you bought every time. Hell, you won’t know anything until it arrives at your house and you can try it on. Maybe the color is off, or the shirt fits smaller or bigger than advertised. Every brand is different. The problem is there are no guarantees with any purchase.

Same thing goes with dating. Just because your date is handsome – or pretty – doesn’t mean you’ll be compatible. Life is about more than appearances alone. Can you at least carry on an intelligent conversation with this person? Can you tolerate their presence for longer than five or ten minutes? An hour? These are ways to test someone out.

Created by Bearfotos – Freepik.com

If you try on a jacket in a store, you may not love it the same way a week later. If I’m just ‘meh’ about an article of clothing from that first moment in the dressing room, I’ll probably feel that way, or even worse later on. I may have a weakness for shopping, but I am also a highly discerning customer. I know when to go for the hard pass. I usually don’t jump to buy anything without a lot of forethought, or unless I am sure about it right away. Online purchases, though? It’s a toss-up as to whether I’ll be satisfied.

That happens with a relationship too. There is no better version than real, face-to-face human interaction. You can text, email or use social media messaging, even video chat all you want, and it still won’t replace learning about someone in person. Only then can you tell how it will work.

Created by Freepik

What about facades, though?

Just as there are scam artists selling faulty goods online – or leaving you empty-handed – and vendors selling their wares on the street, some people aren’t upfront about themselves with a dating situation. And I don’t mean the horror stories we see on the news. Please refer to Dating Connections’ article from November of 2017 about safely dating in a high-tech world. What I’m talking about it is a fact we often overlook…

Some of us make assumptions about people without knowing the truth. All we see is surface. Keep in mind that it goes both ways. A certain majority of people put up a facade to protect themselves from being hurt. Others may do so for darker reasons, or because they’re shallower than you realize. I think the key here is to take your time when getting to know someone. If you’re serious about dating – and not just playing the field – your instincts will guide you to the right answer, and the perfect fit will find you.

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Have you ever bought a pair of shoes, and then a month or two later they break? Or, maybe it happened with a purse or your favorite shirt which tore right away. You found out it was made cheaply, or it just didn’t work for another reason.

Your dating journey is about trying on different relationships until you reach the right fit. Don’t give up easily, but don’t stay with someone for a long time just because you’re afraid to be alone either. If you’re not meant to be together, you’ll notice the signs or glaringly obvious red flags. Heartbreak is sometimes just a temporary obstacle to finding out what you want in this life.

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But, I can’t emphasize this enough. Identity is everything when finding your soul mate.

Of course, we all come from different backgrounds, affording us various experiences. but the most important thing to remember is to know yourself well first. If you’re aware of all your likes and dislikes – a useful skill we often develop with shopping – that will go a long way toward understanding what you want in a relationship. It’s true that wisdom from experience – maybe going through a couple baddies – can also bring you the same result. But knowing who you are in and out will prevent you from making some crazy mistakes too.

Created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com

Diversely, was there ever an item you didn’t usually wear, such as a scarf or hat, even a dress that you bought on impulse because something about it called to you? Perhaps later, you decided you really liked it after all, simply because it made you feel different. Consider the same with your search for a romantic partner. You may have an idea of the one for you, dreamt that person up in your head for years. However, don’t go looking with a certain image or impression in mind. The right person for you may be completely different, someone you didn’t anticipate at all. Yet, it somehow works.

Whereas we often focus on size, style and color with clothing, personality and compatibility are paramount in dating. Make sure you have a few things in common, but not everything. The best relationship still results in the occasional surprise, to keep things interesting.

Created by Senivpetro – Freepik.com

It is pretty rare when you go to a store, try on an outfit, and everything about it works. Later, once you’ve purchased it, you wear your clothes with pride and this feels so natural that you never want to take it off. Falling in love and being in love are similar. It’s a little scary at first to trust someone with your true self, to know that you’re accepted. It’s okay to be yourself around this person, and you won’t be judged. No, life won’t always be beautiful or exciting every day, but you can rest assured that you both respect and love each other. Being in love is like coming home to the open arms that always want you, even if you drive your partner a little crazy sometimes. And vice versa.

Created by Freepik

Having a real relationship takes effort. Dating is work, plain and simple. We all know it; I think that’s why some people do their best to avoid a real relationship.

My advice? Be as discerning in your romantic relationships as you should be as a consumer, out there browsing stores in person or online. So…who is the one person you can still imagine sticking it out with you fifty years from now? Take a risk now and then, and don’t be afraid to look for the right signs that will lead you to the place where you belong.

Bruce Mars, pexels.com

At times we grab the nearest product out of necessity, and then end up disappointed by its contents later on. When you’re dating, don’t settle for a situation you don’t want, simply because you’re lonely or desperate for companionship. You’ll just be miserable in the long run. Believe me, I know.

Finding your soul mate won’t solve all your problems. You have to get yourself together too. Figure out what you want in life and go for it. But having the right person at your side will certainly make the roller coaster of life – the whole journey – a lot more tolerable.

Keep the faith. I know you can do this…

Host Blogger Bio

Multi-genre author of Victorian romance, UPON YOUR RETURN, and 23 other books. Reached the Top 10 Authors list on AuthorsDB.com for the last 4 years. Featured interview in the January 2018 issue of Womelle Magazine. The Heiresses in Love Trilogy made the TOP 10 on the Anthology category on the 2018 P&E Readers’ Poll, and BLOOD INSTINCTS reached TOP 10 status in the Romance category. The Heiresses in Love Trilogy and DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART both reached the semi-finalist round in the 2018 AuthorsDB Book Cover Contest. Voted TOP BLOGGER for 2018 on the Romance Lives Forever Blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated and made it past the first round in the 2018 Author Academy Awards. UPON YOUR LOVE and THE MISSING PIECE placed in the TOP 10 on the 2017 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated for the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards. The I Love Romance Blog became a finalist in StartDating DK’s Romance Blog Awards of 2017. ILRB landed on Feedspot’s 2017 TOP 100 Novel Blogs and TOP 100 Romance Blogs. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013, 2014 and 2016. 2013 and 2014 Amazon Bestseller Ranking for UPON YOUR RETURN. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and two cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 24 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She writes adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and has recently started some young adult fiction. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Her current published series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.

Links:

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/

Blogs: https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
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http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
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Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2yFx62c
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender
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http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/

https://books2read.com/ap/xrv162/Marie-Lavender

Creative Universal Reading List Link:  https://books2read.com/rl/marielavendersbooks

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Publisher: http://www.solsticeempire.com/products.aspx?categoryid=262

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

Sign up for Marie’s Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1g3wO13

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Have a lovely rest of your week, readers! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Faith, Hope, Love, Marie Lavender, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Singles