Girlfriend Celebrations - Because Girlfriends Make Life Better

Better With a Girlfriend – Summer Shape Up!

With swimsuit season staring us in the face, we’ve been thinking a lot about fitness. Getting in shape is definitely one of those things that is better with a girlfriend. It’s so much easier to stick to a fitness regime when you have a partner to check in with, to cheer you on, even to commiserate with you. So, we girlfriends-in-chief have embarked on another little fitness quest together. This time, we’re working on our tummies! Read on for the details, as well as a few more easy suggestions for getting fit with a girlfriend. And, we’d love to hear your suggestions, as well!

You may remember a while back we did the Mama Mio Bootcamp for Butts, with good results. Well, our girlfriends at Mama Mio came out with a Bootcamp for Tummies and we were two of the first lucky ladies to try it out! First of all, we simply adore Mama Mio products. They smell heavenly, they are loaded with high- quality ingredients, they are smartly packaged, they are labeled with good humor,  and most importantly, they work! For the Bootcamp products, Mama Mio has teamed up with exercise specialists to create targeted, efficient exercises that you can realistically do in just minutes a day. (For the tummies bootcamp, maternal fitness expert Julie Tupler developed the exercises.) The tummy exercises are easy to do, and you can literally do them sitting down (in the car, at your computer, anywhere!) The rest of the regime consists of two skincare products: Tummy Toner Skin Tightener and Get Waisted Body Shaper—each of them a great product on its own. If your tummy is puffy, crepey, and mom-like, you will see a difference from using these products. We’re into about the third week of our bootcamp, and we both are seeing our waists look more whittled, and the look and texture of our skin has definitely improved! One important lesson we’ve learned from using Mama Mio products is that by paying attention to a body part and treating it nicely, you actually start to feel better about it! And when you feel good about yourself, you look good!

So, here’s our point: Doing this bootcamp together is much more motivating than doing it alone. We can check in with each other and say “Did you do your exercises today?” or “How’s your tummy doing?” It’s fun to hear each other’s progress and share in each other’s successes. If you are “stuck” in your fitness regime, we challenge you to call up a girlfriend and get her to be your fitness partner. Just give it a try for 30 days and see how much better fitness can be with a girlfriend!

We’re all about easy, quick, ways to fitness, so here are a couple of our other fave ways to get fit with girlfriends:

Wii Fit Club: Invite your girlfriends over to work out on your Wii together. Using Wii Fit or the new EA Sports Active for Wii, you can create indivdual profiles and track your progress together. Do you workouts at home, then get together once a week for a check-in and group workout.

Walking Group: Maybe it’s from reading the new novel Wildwater Walking Club, but we’re newly inspired to walk! Walking and talking is seriously good for the soul. Take to the sidewalks, hiking trails, or woodland paths with your girlfriends at a regular time. Invest in a pedometer and pledge to reach 10,000 steps a day. 

Your turn: Do you exercise with girlfriends? We’d love to hear how that is “working out” for you. Give your fingers a workout and tell us in the comments! Read the rest of this entry »

“Waste Not, Want Not Party” is a Treasure Hunt

It’s not often we find a party idea that rocks the house and the budget, but we did! Our girlfriends over at the DuPage Mamas Community recently inspired us with their guest blogger post from girlfriend Liz on how to have a  Waste Not, Want Not party. We found it so inspiring, in fact, that we thought we should share it with you.  


We loved the idea of this party because it is so easy to pull together. The total concept forces you to use what you have lying around instead of going to go buy “more things” to host a wonderful party. Not only do you get to save money and time while acquiring new treasures, it gives you the opportunity to catch up with the girlfriends in your life. (Which is a perfectly good excuse to plan a party all by itself!)  Here is what girlfriend Liz had to say over at DuPage Mamas community:  

Recently, my neighbor had a Waste Not, Want Not party. I had never heard of one before this, but after reading the invitation, I was intrigued.

“Empty out your pantries, freezers and refrigerators and bring all the extra food items to this brunch. We can then trade with each other and take home new and much needed goodies. Whatever is left over we will donate to a food pantry. Times are tough and there is no reason to waste perfectly good food. So don’t!”

It was the kind of party that would have been fun in any economy, but seemed all the more relevant in the current climate. I’ve never thought of giving someone a half-opened jar of food, but hey, why not? If it’s something someone else would use…

Since I regularly purge my cupboards, drawers and closets, and Freecycle, donate, or leave things at the curb, I was afraid I wouldn’t have anything worthwhile to bring. Somehow, though, I filled a big diaper box full of half opened boxes of tea, a set of old iced-tea spoons, a full bottle of mint liqueor, an extra bottle of molasses that wasn’t used during Christmas cookie season, some mason jar lids (large and small) and a couple of beautiful books on honey and tea that have been gathering dust for 6 years on my tea shelf, waiting for me to find some time to get inspired to start my own beehive.

Confession: the real reason I was excited to go to my neighbor’s party was the word ‘brunch’. And it wasn’t potluck. When I walked in, the table was spread with an amazing assortment of quiche, and cakes, breads, and salads – all made with items from her pantry she was trying to use up.

Sipping a Mimosa, I chatted with women from various parts of my friend’s life – her husband’s law school friends, her farm market friends, an ex-peace corps member who now works as an editor for the Tribune, the owner of my favorite natural body product shops, and a number of other radically different, yet essentially connected women.

Everyone seemed just as interested and excited as I was about this party.

(there’s much more if you click!) Read the rest of this entry »

The Budget Bachelorette Party (and Giveaway)!

Summer is wedding season!  As those of us who have been bridesmaids or brides already know, weddings are expensive, and the list of expenses goes on and on. If you’re responsible for throwing the bride a bachelorette party, you can reluctantly add another “cha-ching” to your list, OR you can have a fabulous bachelorette party without going into debt. We thought you’d prefer the latter, so we asked some of our girlfriends for their best tips on budget bachelorette parties. And if you add a tip of your own, you can enter our giveaway for a great little bachelorette gift at the end of this post. Photo via flickr.

Skip the bar-hopping

This post from MSN Money estimates that a typical bridesmaid spends $75 – $100 on the bachelorette party. That’s just too much for many girlfriends right now. Most of the cost of traditional bachelorette parties comes from spending the night out on the town at pricey restaurants, bars and clubs, drinking expensive drinks, hiring limos, and seeing tacky shows. The obvious way to cut your costs? Host part or all of the evening at home. 

There’s no need to drink expensive cocktails out when you can recreate specialty drinks at home for a fraction of the cost! Burst Bar Shots are a great way to offer your guests a delicious shot to get the party started without having to fuss with multiple mixers and alcohols. The newest flavors include Sex on the Beach (our favorite), Lemon Drop and Alabama Slammer. Priced at only $10.99 a bottle, they are a great value, and a fun, festive and easy way to start your evening. We brought these to a party last weekend and they were quite a hit!

Our girlfriend Jennifer Luby, home entertaining blogger at Second City Soiree, suggests starting the party with your own ginger martinis (find the recipe at and then visiting just one favorite watering hole. Or, she suggests, “skip the bars and hit the late-night fast food stands” if you crave some people-watching. If you must go to the hottest club, Jen suggests going early to avoid the cover charge.  ”Also, some clubs have restaurants attached, and if you eat there, they’ll often let you in the club for free.”


Get Cooking

And speaking of dinner, you don’t have to blow out your budget with a spendy restaurant dinner. You can have just as much fun, Jen says, if you potluck at home. “Everyone but the bride brings something; just be sure to have a balance of food types.” Or why not take this thinking a step further and have a more creative type of bachelorette party? We asked our girlfriends at Gracious Bridal to put on their thinking veils for us, (they are in touch with brides-to-be and their wedding parties every day, after all!) and they suggested a cooking party. We think this is a fabulous idea for girlfriends who have had their fill of clubbing. Some of the best girlfriend bonding times come from hands-on activities. Here’s how to do it:

Have the Maid of Honor pick a couple of her favorite recipes (the bride-to-be needs a break from decision making). You can all pitch in on providing the ingredients. Then, proceed to make a feast together! Show off your culinary skills, have fun with the girls, and of course, enjoy a glass of wine while doing so. Have each bridesmaid walk away with a decorative recipe card (and of course a belly full of fabulous food). Gift the bride-to-be with a Jessie Steele Vintage Apron for all of her future culinary endeavors.  Read the rest of this entry »

Girlfriend Getaway of the Month: The Hamptons

Here’s a quintessential summer experience for U.S. girlfriends: The Hamptons! Read on for Casey Wohl’s report about this perfect girlfriend getaway and then plan your own.

by Casey Wohl

I was so excited about our Girls Getaway to the Hamptons that I could barely sleep the night before.  We were going for Memorial Day weekend, which is “opening” weekend of summer vacation for the Hampton-ites.  I had heard so much about this great place…the celebrities, huge vacation homes, and summer beach parties galore!  The Hamptons refers specifically to the towns of Southampton and East Hampton on the South Fork, Suffolk County, New York. This strip of Atlantic coast on Long Island’s eastern end has long been a favorite summer escape for city residents. I was meeting my friend Liz and her girlfriends from Miami.  I knew this would be a very “festive” trip since most of the girls were single.   
We arrived in the Hamptons Friday night and ventured to our first stop, a bar/night club called DUNE (while very unassuming from the outside, the place was filled with people starting the holiday weekend). We had a great Girls Night Out (GNO) and decided that what happens in the Hamptons, stays in the Hamptons…On Saturday, we took a taxi to the Southampton Village. We ate lunch at 75 Main (, along Main Street, and then browsed the shops along Main Street and Jobs Lane. This is a quaint shopping area with unique boutiques and outdoor seating at several restaurants and a great place to spend the day with your girlfriends. We discovered a fabulous designer consignment store, Collette ( She has several clothing and home decor consignment stores in Southampton, East Hampton, Sag Harbor, and Bridgehampton. On Saturday night, we attended the Social Life Magazine ( Party. There were several reality stars there, including Whitney Port from MTV’s The Hills and Alex McCord from Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York City.  Champagne, martinis and delicious appetizers were served to the “Who’s Who” of the Hamptons. We had a great time, especially when Liz borrowed Gerard’s flute to play a tune for everyone there. Good times! 

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Girls Night Out for Charity at Juvenesse Spa

Girlfriends love to spa—and when they can spa for charity, they feel even better! We recently had the pleasure of hosting, along with, a Girls Night Out for Charity at Juvenesse Spa in Chicago. It was a fantastic evening for girlfriends to network in the tranquil environs of Juvenesse, a hidden gem in the River North neighborhood. All proceeds from the event benefited Peace Journey, a charity started by spa owner Jeannette Kravitz. Girlfriends attending the event enjoyed complimentary champagne, a fabulous spread of hors d’oeuvres, and two mini spa services, ranging among chair massage, eye zone therapy, and makeup application.

In addition to receiving a $25 gift card for a future visit to Juvenesse, spa samples, and discounts from Juvenesse, girlfriends also received a bag full of swag thanks to our fabulous sponsors! In the bag:

The Wildwater Walking Club, a new novel by Claire Cook from Hyperion Books and Voice. This novel, about a woman who has to figure out what she wants out of her life after some bumps in the road, follows three women as they begin to find a new path. Great summer reading! Our guests each received a hardcover edition. For more about the book, click here.

The Art of the Apology by Lauren Bloom. This book by a business ethics expert teaches how to apologize effectively to practically anyone. Since a sincere apology is an essential friendship skill, we were happy to have this book in our swag bag!

Conversation Confetti from Chicago-based always a girls girl.  This package of 20+ cards with talk-about-it questions and scenarios gets your guests mingling! Get a conversation confetti FREE when you purchase a conversation tin from always a girl’s girl using the code “Girlfriend Celebrations”!

PakNaks These decorative accessories transform plain backpacks, bags and other stuff into personalized, ever-changing, colorful works of art. Over 40 adorable peel-and-stick designs are available. We can totally see using these to brighten up a summer tote bag. And there’s no ironing, sewing or pinning! PakNaks has a special offer for GirlfriendCelebrations readers: Receive 20% OFF your order with the code “PAK20″!

Discount card from Tunix - the site for chic, American-made tunics perfect for beach, resort, or lunch with the girlfriends!

“Piggy” wine charm and recipe book from the National Pork Board 

GirlfriendCelebrations bookmark

M&Ms also supported this great event. Have you tried M&Ms Premiums? We tried the Raspberry Almond flavor and they are quite the delicious little splurge. 
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Happy Mother’s Day – a Salute to Mommy Bloggers!

Sunday is Mother’s Day, girlfriends, and we’d like to wish each and every one of our mommy girlfriends a Happy Mother’s Day. We hope someone is pampering you for Mother’s Day, or you are taking some time to pamper yourself. (We’ll be at the soccer field for Mother’s Day, but we’re hopeful for some pampering at some point.) We wanted to take this opportunity to salute all of our dear mommy blogger friends! If browsing the internet is one of the ways you relax, you probably know there’s a whole world of mommy blogs out there, providing information, entertainment and community for moms. We thought today would be a great day to list some of our favorite mommy blogs and websites, and we invite you to do the same. Let’s create a list of our favorite mommy blogs! Here are a FEW of the mom and parenting sites we love, just to get you started. We’ll be adding to the list this week. Please feel free to submit your links in the comments and tell us about your site! (photo via flickr)


ParentingPink – for parents of girls

DuPage Mamas 
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What You Told Us About Bunco

The girlfriends have spoken! The verdict on bunco as a girls night activity is…mixed. Almost half of you have never heard of or never tried the popular game of chance. Thirty-three percent of you “love it,” and only 8 percent of you “hate it.” Eleven percent of you “tolerate it because it gets the girls together.”

For those of you who don’t know what bunco is, the World Bunco Association can explain it to you in great detail. But basically, it’s a progressive dice game, played in pairs, that has taken girlfriend groups by storm. You can find bunco groups in practically every suburban subdivision in America. (Apparently it dates back to the 1800s!) It’s become quite a phenomenon. One of our twitter girlfriends said she belongs to three different bunco groups, one of which is a couples group. Wow! Some people really enjoy this game.
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Spring Flings: Five Easy, Fun, Inexpensive Girls Night Ideas to Use Right Now

Happy MayDay, girlfriends! Finally it’s starting to feel like spring, and it’s a busy season filled with graduations, Mother’s Day, first communions, and other celebrations that fill up the weekends. Combine that with work stresses, finals, kids’ sports schedules, and end-of-the-school-year activities, and it’s hard to find the time or energy to plan your next girls night. So, if you’re feeling a little pressed for time, try one of these quick and easy ways to get the girls together. TIP: pick a date, time, and activity, then call or email your girlfriends. They are much more likely to say yes when all the decision-making is done for them!

1. Have a picnic! Here’s an easy way to take advantage of the spring weather. All you need is a blanket and some simple fare. Go on your lunch hour, or set up a fun spread during the kids’ soccer practice. To liven things up, bring along a conversation tin from always a girl’s girl. We have the original tin and had fun with it over a girls’ weekend. We especially liked the “Love it or Hate it” questions (Example: “Love it or Hate it? Time Magazine, diaries, book lights.”) As they say, it’s “Small talk with big laughter”! SPECIAL OFFER: Right now, if you order a conversation tin from always a girl’s girl, they will throw in a conversation confetti for free! This is great deal! Just use the code “GirlfriendCelebrations” in the comments.

2. Plan a MayDay Stress Relief Party. This party costs next-to-nothing, and gives you a place to relax and connect with your girlfriend by exploring different stress-relief methods. You can also exchange “kindnesses” to give each girlfriend an extra dose of nurturing. Click the link for all the details.
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