Tag Archives: romantic

Why Giving Flowers Shouldn’t Just Be for Holidays and Apologies: a guest post by Dating Connections

Why Giving Flowers Shouldn’t Just Be for Holidays and Apologies

 

According to tradition, pop culture and classic literature, women should expect to get flowers only when they’ve been wronged by their men. For example, if a guy unintentionally flirts with someone, or when he’s caught browsing through BBW dating sites.

On the other hand, it’s also expected that a woman gets flowers as a gift for certain events, like Mother’s Day, Women’s Day, birthdays, anniversary and so on.

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

But what if we told you that this shouldn’t be the only occasion upon which a lady should receive flowers? Namely, getting a single flower or a whole bouquet doesn’t have to be conditioned by someone’s wrongdoing or exclusive to certain dates. Here are a couple of reasons why we shouldn’t be limited to presenting flowers to women only when we want to apologize or congratulate them on something, so make sure you keep reading.

Respecting Traditions

Before someone misunderstands our point here, let’s first explain something in regards to giving the gift of flowers to apologize for a mistake or to celebrate an anniversary. We’re not saying that this shouldn’t be done – on the contrary, a single flower or a whole bouquet is one of the best gifts a woman can receive for such things.

Created by V.ivash – Freepik.com

For example, you just can’t go wrong if you give flowers to your girl for Valentine’s day, possibly in a combination with another cute or romantic thing. Furthermore, it’s tradition to present a woman with flowers for Mother’s and Women’s Days, as well, while there’s nothing wrong with bestowing a small bouquet for a marriage anniversary, either.

The Unexpected Flower

Now, let’s talk about why men shouldn’t only think of giving flowers to their ladies when they’ve made an error or when they want to celebrate a certain date.

Thierry Hardoin, Flickr

Some people will say that this should be done approximately two to four times a year, while others won’t be reluctant to bring flowers to their woman constantly. There’s really no rule to this. However, there’s no arguing that your girl will appreciate you giving her flowers “just because.”

Flowers, by definition, are a symbol of beauty, affection, love, caring, and attention. Perhaps not everyone has realized this, but no woman can help but melt when presented with anything from a single beautiful flower to a bouquet of roses.

Being spontaneous about giving flowers to a woman won’t only show that you’re all about giving her your attention, but also that you’re a gentleman before all things. You want to be the perfect guy for your lady, right? Then, make sure that you don’t need a special occasion in order to be compelled to give her flowers.

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Types and Meanings

Since we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk about what kind of flowers you should buy. Many men have a problem determining which type of flowers are suitable for which occasion, so here are a few examples as to which flower suits which situation.

Created by Freepik

For instance, both single roses and bouquets are among the most favorite choices around the world, and there’s no really wonder about it, especially given that a red rose usually stands for love and affection. Still, you should be aware that flower symbolism actually exists and that the color should play an important role when picking flowers, too. That’s right, different colors convey entirely different messages. For example, we suggest you forget all about getting a yellow rose as an anniversary gift, even if your girlfriend or a wife prefers the color because it signifies merely friendship and joy, and is therefore more suitable for your female best friend or a female coworker hosting a casual summer party.

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On the other hand, if you want something that has a divine smell, looks really cute and can survive for quite a while in a vase, go for lilies. They vary in color and size as well, which means you’ll have a lot of options for your bouquet. Moreover, lilies are also capable of sending different messages to your lady, all depending on their color and subspecies.

Hannah Olinger, Unsplash

Finally, these exotic beauties will not only allow you to pay tribute to your lady’s beauty and coquetry (calla lily and day lily) but also to celebrate her pride and independent personality (tiger lily).

Alexandra Gorn, Unsplash

These are just a few examples but should be enough to give you a proper hint about the possibilities and wealth of the flower language. The language that should be spoken in every home throughout the entire year…

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

Nice! These are some helpful tips for anyone with the gift of flowers in mind, or if you want to consider the ‘just because’ theory. Either way, I don’t think you can go wrong!

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such great advice! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BoyanUlv

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

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, Gifts, Guest Writer, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas

“Aching Heart” – a poem

Aching Heart

Taillights easing farther away,

my eyelids shutter.

Patrick Tomasso, Unsplash

Even before you’ve left, I ache for you.

Missing you is pain.

In bed I yearn for your arms to hold me tight once more,

yet the room is dark and cold.

Ahmed Ashhaadh, Unsplash

All I have are memories,

the remnant of your kiss on my lips,

your scent surrounding me.

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

Even though I know you’re driving home,

I worry for you, hoping you’ll get there safe,

just as I always have.

Joe Gardner, Unsplash

These miles separate us too often…

Digital messages pale to the real thing…just having you beside me is a blessing.

Still, I ache.

I keep myself busy each day, but there there’s that moment,

when a joke comes along, or a sight I want to share…

William Iven, Unsplash

but you’re not here.

It’s frightening to need someone this way.

Yet I know it’s love,

the true kind.

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Yearning for the day we can finally be together without the world getting in the way…

it’s a long wait to say ‘I do’.

Brian Hartley, Unsplash

But I’ll keep going.

You are my strength,

my hope,

my heart,

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the only one I want to touch me in a million ways.

You mean so much to me.

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Before I say goodnight – knowing that maybe…just maybe I’ll see you in my dreams –

I will state one last thing you’ll never have to doubt.

I am…

always,

always yours.

Brooke Winters, Unsplash

© Marie Lavender, 2018.

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Filed under Blogging, Hope, Love, love poem, Marie Lavender, Message, poem, poems, Poetry, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing

How to Design A Camping Trip for the Summer That Will Please Your Romantic Partner: a guest post by Dating Connections

How to Design A Camping Trip for the Summer That Will Please Your Romantic Partner?

 

There are various ways to show your partner how much you care, and putting together a little camping trip for the summer to sweep her off her feet may be just the thing. You’ll have your work cut out for you if she likes the outdoors, but today we offer little tips and tricks if your partner is a city girl who can’t do without the electricity and a full bath. You may be infatuated by cougar dating, or she may be just fresh out of college.

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Whatever the case is, camping will give you a chance to show you’re capable of taking care of her, and below we offer advice on how you can excel when presented with the opportunity deep in the woods.

#1: Put Your Thinking Cap On

People who’ve never gone camping have no idea how much work it entails actually.

pxlpusher, Flickr

Setting up the tent, tying the tarp to protect it from the rain, organizing all the ‘kitchen’ stuff so that the food is accessible, making meals using nothing but a few raw ingredients and the fire that you have to keep going, and finding the time actually to enjoy the trip isn’t easy at all.

Kyle Glenn, Unsplash

What you’ll need to do to impress your partner is let your boy scout skills shine. Bring an extra umbrella because chances are it will rain at some point, don’t forget an extra flashlight when the batteries in hers die, bring an extra tent in case yours gets wet, and don’t forget a few additional layers of clothing even though it’s summertime.

#2: Feed Her And She’ll Love You Forever

If your camping trip lasts for more than a few days, just bringing food from home is not going to cut it. You’ll have to prepare meals, and ‘survive’ on what you have, which might not be your partner’s forte.

Lukas Budimaier, Unsplash

If you’re a good cook, there has never been a better time to show it. Use the campfire to cook meals, stop by the local market to get fresh fruit, bring plenty of fresh water, and don’t forget to throw away the scraps after you’re done.

Bring a small fridge or two to store the food, and make sure not only that she never goes hungry, but also that she eats tasty, fresh meals to have enough energy for all the activities that go with taking a camping trip.

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#3: Compromise with a Pop-up Camper or RV

Even if in theory they love the outdoors, most women out there tend to get pretty girly and may we say difficult when it comes to actual camping. If you think your girl would spend the entire trip trying to stop the insects from climbing up her hammock, using a pop-up camper or RV could be a great way to compromise and slowly introduce her to nature.

dimitrisvetsikas1969, Pixabay

KounG, Pixabay

Not even all experienced camping fanatics have RVs or campers parked in their backyards, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t rent one for your trip as the first step in helping your girl embrace the simple life out in the woods.

#4: Outdoor Activities Make The Trip

Created by Prostooleh – Freepik.com

Camping is all about swimming in the lake, going hiking, riding your bikes all day long, playing badminton, and taking a nap in the shade. Bring a few good books for her to read after lunch, and plan out your activities so that your days are filled, but she’s not beat by 6 pm.

Get up in the morning and go for a quick jog, have breakfast and give your body some time to digest it.

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Go for a swim or a bike ride, and come back to your site when it’s time to prepare another hearty meal.

Take a nap after lunch and go hiking afterward, and sit by the fire and tell scary or romantic stories at night. If there are friends who’ll be joining you on your trip it may not be the most romantic of getaways, but it will be filled with laughter, shared memories, and lots of stories retold in the years to come, plus you’ll both get to enjoy all the camping stuff that much more.

Drew Farwell, Unsplash

Nice! These are some great tips for anyone who wants to introduce their partner to the idea of camping. You definitely need to take a lot into account with this type of venture, but in the end it’s worth the experience…

Take it from me. I used to go on camping trips all the time with my family as a kid.

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such wonderful advice! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BoyanUlv

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone! 😉 Have a great week, and Happy Fourth of July tomorrow!

Created by Freepik

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Singles

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Dating A Single Parent: a guest post by Dating Connections

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Dating A Single Parent

 

Dating nowadays is undoubtedly not a walk in the park, yet dating a single parent introduces a whole new level of hard. Now, we don’t want to imply that it isn’t a worthy and rewarding experience, because it is; it’s just that it requires far more attention, dedication, and empathy.

Namely, there are a quite a few things you should be aware of should you start dating a single parent. As you already assume, it’s entirely different compared to other sorts of dating, such as senior dating for example.

Created by Asierromero – Freepik.com

 

So, what are in our opinion the top five things you should be concerned about when dating a single mom or dad, you ask? Just read the following paragraphs, and you’ll get the idea.

#1 Being A Single Parent is Overwhelming, So Good Date-Planning skills Are A Must.

Single parents usually, but not necessarily, assume the role of both parents. What you should do now is take a moment to picture how often an average individual takes for granted the help they get from the spouse. Or how easily he/she complains about not getting enough sleep or help around the house, often forgetting about the challenges imposed on single parents.

So, in the context of dating and translated to real life, this is how an average single parent usually thinks:

  • It’s the end of the day, and they are finally available for you, so they want to have a fulfilling and meaningful date that will recharge their batteries.

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  • They’re looking forward to it and might have a bit higher expectations because they know it can help them get energized appropriately for the following day, with all its challenges and small setbacks that might arise along the way.

We believe that this example perfectly illustrates the possible pattern of a single parent’s way of thinking while teaching us to be creative and caring when organizing dates at the same time.

#2 They Have to Plan Ahead.

Yes, they have to hire a babysitter and make plans far more in advance in order to enjoy their alone/date time. Childless people usually can’t grasp how it’s like because they haven’t walked in a single parent’s shoes.

Free Photos, Pixabay

On the other hand, you should be aware you’re not entitled to plan your partner’s schedule on their behalf whatsoever since it can cause issues, misunderstandings, and other additional problems.

No, no one is blaming you for wanting to head out for a romantic getaway with your partner, but you should understand that this isn’t always possible because their kid might have flu, or the babysitter might have canceled on short notice, just to mention a few possible reasons.

In this light, you’ll often need to be ready to come up with some viable alternatives that will be equally pleasant and will sometimes include your partner’s kid/s.

#3 Say Bye-bye to Spontaneity.

Hitting clubs until wee hours and struggling with massive hangovers is apparently not an option for your partner anymore, regardless of their age.

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They have to be fully functional the next day since children – especially if younger – require constant commitment and attention.

So, if you can make it work for both sides where you get to enjoy the nightlife without hurting your relationship – great! If not, perhaps it would be a good time to reconsider both your personal desires and mutual goals to determine whether you’re on the same page.

#4 Your Relationship will be Different…

…And there’s no point denying it. Caring profoundly about your partner doesn’t mean buying expensive gifts and taking them out to fancy dinners; it understands accepting them both as a parent and person you’re dating.

It can be confusing at times, we know, and no one expects you to be a parent to their children because they obviously proved they could live their life independently before you entered the scene.

Created by Freepik

Creating a genuine and unique bond with their kid, on the other hand, will reassure them that you’re a right partner for them.

Finally, kids can always tell if you’re a fake and won’t be afraid to express their opinion about it.

#5 They Will Sometimes Fail to Grasp Your Position.

Yes, they won’t do it on purpose, but you should always keep in mind that the person you’re dating will probably struggle to invest equally in their parental efforts, career, and house and that day only lasts 24 hours.

Sure, they might be getting occasional help from family or even an ex-spouse (if they separated on good terms, of course) but sometimes, it might just not be enough.

Created by Asierromero – Freepik.com

Consequently, this can lead to increased levels of stress and anxiety that might have a negative impact on your relationship. If this be the case, keep in mind that healthy and straightforward communication can be vital to solving this problem and is otherwise a basis of every stable relationship.

Are you dating a single parent at the moment? Have you done it in the past? We’d love to know all about it so don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Created by Freepik

Nice! These are some helpful tips for anyone who has their eye on a single parent. You definitely need to take more into account with this type of relationship, because it’s not just the two of you in this…

Take it from me. I tried dating a single parent once.

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such great advice! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BoyanUlv

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

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, family, Guest Writer, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Singles

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by C.L. Donley

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, 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 into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author C.L. Donley, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

It took me my entire 35 years to realize that I was a romantic person.

It was the last thing anyone would ever accuse me of being. None of the telltale signs were there. I didn’t particularly enjoy romantic movies, never had any bouts of boy craziness or childhood crushes. Certain love songs made me cringe. I was never particularly girly, didn’t go to dances or prom, hadn’t really been on a proper date really. Certainly I wanted to be in love, like any woman. And when I met my husband it was likely all of these misnomers that caused me to accept much less than I deserved. Anniversaries went uncelebrated; Valentine’s was just another corporate holiday. Even birthdays could sometimes be considered vain, if too much money was spent.

Several years and three kids later, after enduring all this, not to mention infidelity and a host of other problems, I found myself wanting to escape. It’s cliché, I know, but which part? The situation itself or my reaction to it?

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I knew I couldn’t very well get in the car and leave my family behind. If only there were a way to go somewhere without physically leaving. Instinctively, I reached for romance.

At first it was a concession, a guilty pleasure. Like everyone else, I knew all the stigmas attached to the genre. As an English major and writer, I had to get over my own pretenses and open my first romance novel. I chose a Harlequin, being familiar with the name. And it didn’t take long for me begin a steady diet of romance literature.

Within a week I was coming across some really compelling stories and I realized that like anything else, romance could be done well. One day I remember reading something and just feeling completely alive and happy. I realized that I actually was a romantic person. That romance wasn’t necessarily a certain order of outward gestures or traditions. It was the business of loving and being loved and the fruit of that, because all love bears fruit. I learned that it wasn’t romance I lacked, but sentimentality. It’s this lack of sentimentality that makes my voice unique among romance writers.

It didn’t dawn on me at first that I should write romance. I was a writer in denial, on the run. I never wrote for fun; the idea of writing as a job sounded like the worst torture. I pretty much only wrote for school, which was years ago, and after three small kids all under five, the idea of writing for me was pretty much laughable. Part of me was unsettled, because it was the most prominent talent I had. People that barely knew me would ask me if I was still writing, and I would have to break the news to them. In the back of my mind I felt all kinds of guilt that I wasn’t utilizing my gift.

In the thick of a separation from my husband, I was starting to think about the future, and what, inevitably I would have to do for money. I dusted off my résumé, started looking into childcare prices for my kids. In the midst of that I got a germ of an idea. Not unusual. I got story ideas all the time, all of which I ignored. But this one was a romance, and it gnawed at me all day. The thought of taking pencil to paper was nauseating, so I saved an audio note on my phone. And that was the moment the floodgates opened.

Aaron Burden, Unsplash

The ideas wouldn’t stop. I wrote for twelve hours that day. I had 12,000 words by the end of the weekend. In three weeks I had the whole novel, the initial draft of what eventually became Amara’s Calling.

Romance saved my life. Not only did it connect me to my heart, but to my identity as a writer. It kept me from taking out my frustrations on my family, propped up a marriage that would’ve otherwise crumbled before its time, and was the hope that kept me buoyant after it was over. It showed me that love was not a matter of being attractive or deserving, but a necessary part of being alive, not to mention a necessary part of being a woman. It made me realize that nothing was wrong with me or my sexuality, that my marital issues were less about my personal failures but more about the fact that I was being starved. Without that realization I might still be blaming myself today.

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I suspect that all women have an infinite capacity to be loved, as in no amount of romance is enough. It sounds like it’s a bad thing, but it isn’t. Do we ever get to the point as humans that we’ve had enough food and we no longer need anymore? No, because it’s not the way the system works. I suspect love is like food in that it can have a variance in quantity and quality, and these variables can positively or negatively affect the health of the individual.

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Love should be daily, fresh and new in the same way. To me, romance is life itself. And now that I’m waking up every morning, excited to see what more I can create, I’ve never felt more loved than I do now.

Great! Love should improve us in various ways…and like you, I agree that reading and writing romance opens your mind and heart to its possibilities. 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, C.L.! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

C.L. Donley is a future New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of multicultural and interracial romance. Armed with an B.A. in English and M.A. in Writing, she is a natural born writer and can’t wait to be done with this bio so she can get back to it. Her writing style is sophisticated yet simple, apologetically escapist and character driven. She likes to write lovable, redeemable and believable characters and place them in equally lovable, romantic and relatable settings and scenarios– removed from reality just enough so that reader can properly escape, and even revisit!
She loves hearing from readers and discussing her favorite parts of her own books, so feel free to indulge her. Check out her website, Facebook page, Twitter page and feel free to email her at cldonleyauthor@gmail.com.

Author Links

Website:  cldonley.com

Facebook:  facebook.com/AmarasCalling

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/C_L_Donley

Amazon author page:  https://www.amazon.com/C.L.-Donley/e/B078Z6TSS8/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17605062.C_L_Donley

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

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/bonniebmccune/

 

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’re getting booked 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, C.L., for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for a historical romance blog tour feature when author Sofie Darling visits us on April 24th! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Love, Message, Multicultural/Interracial, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writers, Writing

Unique Yet Perfect Date Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank: a guest post by Dating Connections

Unique Yet Perfect Date Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

 

You might not have even realized that BBW dating was made for you until you met your perfect plus-size lady who turned out to be everything you’d ever wanted and more.

Renepfister, Pixabay

That being said, with as much baggage as any of us have on our shoulders, dating someone new, trying to impress them and give them the world despite the constraints of everyday life isn’t always the easiest thing to do. However, it’s the thought that counts even if the execution is not as splendid as you’d like. At the same time, there are still things you can do to show not only that your heart is in the right place, but also to go a step further and be creative (say, frugal) in your ways of showing how much you care. Today, we explore several unique date ideas that guarantee a good time, and ensure you don’t break the bank in the process.

#1. Seeing a Local Band

If you and your girl like the same kind of music, catching a live show by a local band instead of a world renowned performer is a very unique option to dating on a budget. She might like heavy metal, and even if that is not your first choice, if you can enjoy that kind of music, getting her two tickets to a local heavy metal gig that takes place at a small venue with cheap beer guarantees she’ll appreciate your effort to be creative as you try to get her to fall even more in love with you.

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If the band happens to kill it, your chances will certainly increase!

#2. Taking a Bus Tour

It’s great when you can get two tickets to Mexico on short notice, and take your lady on a 7-day vacation to a 5-star resort, but when you can’t do that keep in mind there are lots of other ways to get out of town, and spend some time exploring new places.

Created by Onlyyouqj – Freepik.com

For instance, remember buses? Those large vehicles that transport people from one place to the next? Well, buses are pretty affordable and you can get two tickets for a daily tour of a sight that is a few hours away from your hometown. You’ll be doing something special for you both – taking a break from the everyday worries weighing you down, and spending quality time together doing something you don’t get to do that often.

#3. Cooking at Home + Going Out for Dessert

The word ‘date’ usually implies going out, but it doesn’t have to be so.

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You can stay in and have a wonderful time provided you allocate a certain amount of time to each other only, like you would at a restaurant. What you can do is pretty simple – you can prepare a lovely meal for the two of you that you’ll share over a bottle of wine, and once finished you can go out for a walk and get ice cream! You can go out for dessert, as in go to a patisserie and order a waffle or some pancakes, and merge your at-home dinner with getting sweets downtown or wherever you and your honey like to go.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

You’ll save money and ‘go out’ on a date at the same time.

#4. A Stroll Through the Park

Leah Kelley, Pexels.com

Among the weather permitting options, there is always a stroll through the park especially if you and your date are into art, or say, photography. You can take wonderful photos together of the changing seasons, and create stunning posts that you’ll share with your community, or you can start your own personal collection of how things are changing around you as the two of you remain stronger than ever.

To top it all off, you can make sandwiches and lemonade at home, and have a picnic after the walk tires you out.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

#5. Midnight Bike Ride

Turning a date into a workout session is not only unique, but it’s super healthy, and breaking a sweat together usually means your date ends in the shower. But that aside, going to the gym is not as exciting as staying physically active as you spend quality time together. Enter a midnight bike ride.

Everton Vila, Unsplash

At night, there is virtually no traffic so you can bike through the downtown core, provided it’s not the weekend or you don’t live in a big city because if you do, there is just no escaping traffic. But that aside, you can bike through your neighborhood or go wherever you like, and if this idea is outside of your comfort zone, even better because you’ll feel the rush of adrenaline that will bring you closer to your partner.

Nice! These are some helpful tips for couples who are trying to save money these days. Which, I bet, falls on many of us! As for the last point, definitely wear brighter colors for bike-riding, just in case. Safety is everything…

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such great advice! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BoyanUlv

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

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

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

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Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Bonnie McCune

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, 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 into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Bonnie McCune, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

Love at first sight. Many of us, at least the very young and very naïve, believe it happens. But whether love occurs with the speed of lightning or following long and complex efforts at a relationship, most agree romantic love exists.

JD Mason, Unsplash

Being humans, our fascination with romance, our expressions of love take many forms, most of them relatively harmless. We might shower gifts of jewelry on our beloved, share preferences in food and wine, proclaim our feelings on social media. We search for examples of love in films, music, art, and enjoy emotions vicariously.

Recently on opposite sides of the globe, however, authorities are intervening on physical demonstrations of attraction. First up, Vietnam, where the Publishing and Printing Department is cracking down on “clichéd, useless, obscene and offensive” works that are “poisoning” the youth. (This same claim has been used off and on in the U.S. and other regions during various censorship battles.) Furthermore, “government needs to regulate an activity related to culture and people’s way of thinking so that it can benefit people”.

If only. If only all of humanity could agree on a method to truly benefit people. Unfortunately, down through the ages, this activity always seems to include punishing, even destroying those who don’t concur with authorities, like Nazis and various religious fundamentalists.

Created by Freepik

I’m afraid that romance, like hunger, seems to be a basic instinct, and fails to obey rules, laws, even parental decrees. Think of Romeo and Juliet. Heck, think of American teens who not infrequently sneak out windows to meet their crushes. Or the teachers and chaperones who rode herd on necking couples at dances years ago.

Romance often benefits from tangible symbols. Over the years, letter sweaters, going-steady class rings, engagement rings, matching tattoos or nose rings are examples. In Paris, star-struck lovers once attached thousands of locks on bridges and railings as symbols of their relationships.

Pedro Kümmel, Unsplash

Some say Asian tourists started the craze, others that a book and film were responsible. In any case, sections of fencing on bridges were crumbling under the weight, posing a safety risk as well as “degradation of property heritage”, not to mention problems associated with graffiti, pickpockets and street vendors. The city now removes them for auction as mementoes.

Other cities face the problem differently. They don’t remove locks. Instead, in Rome, city officials created official spots—steel posts with chains on the bridge—to eliminate damage to the infrastructure. We haven’t had much luck in the USA catching perpetrators who use graffiti to proclaim their desires. Painting over the results helps but has little effect on carvings.

Created by Freepik

I’m not optimistic any activity can control the interest in and demonstration of romance. Humans are nothing if not creative. We’ve been dodging censors for millennia, and finding creative ways to express emotion even longer. However, the attempts at restraint are ever-changing and as entertaining as the many paths of love.

Created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com

Seems to me the true symbols of love consist of the length of a relationship and the content of it. I’ve never understood how patronizing or abusive actions can be labeled ‘romance’. Romance should be a positive quality. It should enhance the lives of the people involved. External trappings mean little to me.

My final evaluation, whether of a real-life romance or one in books, is…Does this romance bring out the best in the romantic partners? In Never Retreat, my newest novel, there’s no doubt both Raye and Des wind up as better, more caring humans.

That’s what romance means to me.

Nice! Love should improve us in various ways…and I agree that romance cannot be tamed, despite society’s attempts to control it. 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Bonnie! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio
Coloradan Bonnie McCune has been writing since age ten, when she submitted a poem to the Saturday Evening Post (it was immediately rejected). This interest facilitated her career in nonprofits, doing public and community relations and marketing. She’s worked for libraries, directed a small arts organization, and managed Denver’s beautification program. Simultaneously, she’s been a freelance writer with publications in local, regional, and specialty publications for news and features. Her true passion is fiction, and her pieces have won several awards. Never Retreat is her third novel and her fifth book of fiction. For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), she believes one person can make a difference in this world.

Author Links

Website:  www.BonnieMcCune.com

Facebook:  facebook.com/authorBonnieMcCune

Twitter:  twitter.com/bonniemccune

Amazon author page:  http://amzn.to/2DE5dW1

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6436876.Bonnie_McCune

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/117106546075845481531

https://plus.google.com/u/0/111883621680717398231

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/BonnieMcCune

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

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/bonniebmccune/

Publisher:  http://www.imajinbooks.com/bonnie-mccune/

 

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’re getting booked 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, Bonnie, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our new exclusive author interview feature when author Suzanne Jefferies visits us on April 3rd! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Guest Writer, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writers, Writing

“A Lover’s Vow” – a poem

A Lover’s Vow

Well over ten years have passed…

Still every touch,

every word,

every look feels right.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

When you hold me close at the day’s end,

once all our obligations have subsided,

and I can at last rest against your chest as we talk softly,

you’re the only home I’ve ever wanted or needed.

Created by Freepik

It’s always been easy between us,

a cosmic thread dragging us toward each other.

Especially when life got in the way,

still we’re here.

Through long talks and silly spats,

laughing until we cry,

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

wins and losses,

even personal heartaches,

our bond hasn’t changed.

It’s unbreakable,

just like the ever-flowing tides of the ocean.

Created by Kireyonok_Yuliya – Freepik.com

My love for you is steady and deep.

Attraction aside, I need you the way I require my next breath.

Your face,

your voice,

the heart that I crave,

completing our circle of hearts and minds as we explore the world together.

Created by Senivpetro – Freepik.com

We chose an eternal symbol to represent who we are…for plenty of reasons,

but I’d live whole lifetimes with you,

and perhaps we have before,

in past lives,

our souls connecting many times.

Everton Vila, Unsplash

Just know you mean everything to me,

and I yearn for the day I can proudly claim to be your wife.

Created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com

Until the moment our hearts and hands become one,

I’ll keep praying for your smile,

your touch,

your laugh and every part of you,

Created by Freepik

as you continue to brighten each day of mine.

This is my vow…

 I will always be yours.

JD Mason, Unsplash

© Marie Lavender, 2018.

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Filed under Blogging, Hope, Love, love poem, Lovers Like Us, Marie Lavender, Message, poem, poems, Poetry, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing

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

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, 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 into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Jenny Lynn, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

Romance is a moment that we can all feel building up inside us. It can exist when we make fleeting eye contact with an attractive stranger across a room. It can exist in a first kiss that rips through our entire bodies like a forest fire, completely consuming us.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Or it can exist holding hands during an evening stroll with the person we have loved for years, decades even.

Romance exists all around us, every second of every day. I love to search for it, to observe it, and through my stories – to give it a voice.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

I’ve always been a daydreamer, ever since I was a little girl. I loved romantic stories starting with Disney movies then I eventually discovered my mother’s romance novels and I was hooked. I liked that the stories were never straightforward, that there was always a point when these two people could stop and say, “It’s too hard; we can’t do this.” Of course, they never did. That’s the very essence of true love – believing that what you have is worth fighting for even when the world seems to be against you.

I dated throughout my teens and twenties, enjoying the blossoming excitement of first love and the crushing defeat of heartbreak. I learned who I was and what I wanted. I was so sure of myself. Then I met a man who broke all the rules I thought I had. As much as it sounds like I ripped this from the plot of one of my stories, I moved from a small town to the big city and met a tall, gorgeous tattooed musician who swept me off my feet. I fell hard and fast, and we had an exhilarating courtship that resulted in him proposing outside of an art gallery one evening.

It’s been almost a decade and I am still head over heels for my husband; we have added a cat and a toddler to the busy life we now live. It was with his encouragement that I started writing romance, and it is because of him that I am able to write about love.

My imagination is something that still drives my stories. I like to ask myself, “what if?” I do a lot of self-reflection on the types of fantasies I have, the type of men I find irresistible (mainly confident, somewhat cocky alpha males) and then I bring them to life. My characters tell me what they want to say, how they want to behave, but I tell them how they’re going to meet and how they’re going to fall in love.

In my first set of novels, a duet, I wove a thread of family intrigue and suspense into a billionaire romance first in Falling for the Heir, followed by The Abducted Fiancée.

My new standalone novel, Delicious, comes out December 1st and is a contemporary romance about a cocky New York chef who is hiding his lineage.

My characters come alive for me, and I always feel a sense of responsibility to do their stories justice.

I am in awe of the incredibly talented romance writers I have met while I’m starting out. They have given me so much support and advice, not to mention the readers whose wonderful feedback keeps me writing. Being a part of this world gives me a chance to create happy endings over, and over again. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Nice! I know exactly what you mean… 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Jenny! A pleasure to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

I’m a contemporary romance writer who creates complex characters, exciting plot twists, true love and steamy scenes that keep readers up and night wanting to turn the page. When I’m not writing I’m playing with my toddler son, going on dates with my husband, petting my cat or I’m in a dimly lit lounge sipping wine while I daydream about my next story idea. I have a background in creative writing and have had short stories published in multiple literary magazines.

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, as the host, 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’re getting booked 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, Jenny, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for  a great guest post by Dating Connections, which details some tips on how to better connect with your partner over the hectic holidays, when the company Dating Connections visits us on December 1st! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

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How to Meet Your Soul Mate in This High-Tech World: a guest post by Dating Connections

Innovative Yet Safe Ways to Meet Your Soul Mate in This High-Tech World

 

We cannot escape the fact that we’re living in the world where basically everything happens online, regardless of whether we’re talking about something as trivial as food ordering or stalking our favorite celebrities on Snapchat.

Still, we can’t help but wonder how does it actually affect our own mission of finding and meeting a soul mate? Is it still mission possible in this high-tech world? Do we actually have more possibilities than before? Well, we’ll try to provide answers to some of these questions in the following paragraphs.

The Rule of Online Dating Sites

According to various findings from Gottman Relationship blog – which tackled the issue of compatibility between the partners amongst many others – some of the most popular dating sites at the moment, such as OKCupid and chemistry.com have come up with some pretty detailed personality tests that every member of the site can take in order to get matched with someone enjoying the same activities and sharing the same values as them. On the other hand, the question that inevitably poses itself is the following: does having the same views on life represent the most important factor in predicting a relationship’s success? Everything indicates it’s far more complicated than that.

Namely, the definition of “soul mate” extends beyond mere compatibility –  this is hypothetically a person who’s looking up to us and admiring us on a daily basis, but is also capable of recognizing our uniqueness, which altogether leads to increased levels of love and affection with the passage of time.

Created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

The Necessity of Excessive Self-Preparations for Meeting a Soul Mate

Believe it or not, this is crucial. The intention behind OKCupid and chemistry.com’s efforts certainly is great, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will lead to an instant success. This could happen due to various reasons but the most important one, in our humble opinion, is definitely the one regarding the individual’s readiness to meet their soul mate. Sure, we’re always positively envious on the very notion of some couple’s happiness and properly seduced (especially the ladies) by the romanticized soul mate myth that we often see in movies and TV, but this doesn’t mean that we are actually ready to meet that special someone and thus, we send the wrong signals to the wrong people – which can potentially lead us to more unwanted emotional failures.

What to do?

Created by Iconicbestiary – Freepik.com

 

  • It is our legitimate right to turn to all high-tech means, meaning the various dating sites and nifty mobile apps in order to try and find our soul mate. Still, we need to be completely honest with ourselves in terms of our own desires. Sure, it’s always great to be optimistic and frank when responding to test questions, but we shouldn’t leave it all to the case, since meeting a soul mate is actually an active process – we’re not just passive participants.

Created by Onlyyouqj – Freepik.com

  • If we decide to pursue our soul mate online, we should definitely take some precautionary measures regarding our personal safety. After all, it’s not unusual for people to lie about themselves online. Sometimes, these are just white lies because we want to feel good about ourselves and the Internet provides us a chance to distort the reality a bit and thus create better and more appealing versions of ourselves.

Still, the existence of actual scammers is part of the same reality, meaning we should never share our personal data such as a credit card number or physical address to anyone prior to meeting them in person. Furthermore, it’s highly recommended to arrange a meeting in public with your online date first and then go slowly from there – and if the other side is genuinely interested in us, then they certainly won’t have anything against the idea.

Created by Peoplecreations – Freepik.com

After all, there’s no need to rush anything.

  • We should not be ashamed of our true desires and aspirations. It’s perfectly okay, for instance, to seek a partner who will put us in front of everything else because we believe we deserve it. Moreover, it’s highly recommended to stick to more of these positive statements and let the universe take care of the rest.

Created by Photoangel – Freepik.com

  • Getting rid of all negative thoughts from the past and solving various emotional conflicts that keep us from thriving romantically is also a must. Only then shall we be ready to start fresh with a great new person that has just entered our lives, regardless if it’s someone we met at a friend’s party or on some random dating site.
  • One of the keys to success is having faith in the laws of attraction because when we believe in ourselves, we consequently radiate good vibes.

Created by Freepik

And it’s one of those universal truths that everyone enjoys the company of positive people who love themselves and are self-conscious about their virtues but are not their biggest critics when it comes to their flaws.

  • Don’t wait for the future to happen to be the best version of yourself – instead, you can start doing it now. You should also have a clear image of your potential soul mate before your eyes in every moment. If you, for instance, would like to find a girl who is an outdoor person, loves dogs and reading, then you should definitely hit dog parks, take regular strolls and go to bookstores and libraries. Don’t just get lost in your fantasies while sitting on a couch; there’s a lot that depends on you.

Created by Jannoon028 – Freepik.com

So, what do you think about these tips? Have you already found that special someone? Tell us all about it in the comment section below!

Definitely some food for thought here, and these are great dating tips for the modern crowd.

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such great advice on romantic relationships! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DatingConnect

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone!  😉 And have a great weekend!

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Technology