Eat These 5 Foods for the Steamiest Wedding Night Sex Ever

 Happy Bride, Relationships, Sarah Jio, Wellness  Comments Off on Eat These 5 Foods for the Steamiest Wedding Night Sex Ever
Mar 132014
 
foods to eat on your wedding night

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Sexy lingerie shouldn't be the only thing on your wedding night shopping list — a few aphrodisiacs should be, too. Whether you believe in the idea of libido-boosting foods or not, experts say there are certain nutrients that can improve your sex life. So, in the weeks leading up to your big day, we recommend incorporating a few of the magical fruits, vegetables, and snacks into you and your fiancé's diet. It can't hurt, right?

Here, five foods you should eat to ensure more than satisfying wedding night sex:

Avocados: Rich in vitamin E, potassium, vitamin B6, and other vital nutrients, this superfruit is good for heart health and blood flow — essential for a healthy sex life. Guacamole anyone?

Almonds: Loaded with zinc, selenium, and vitamin E (all important nutrients for sexual health and reproduction, just in case you have babies in the brain), experts say that almonds may help increase men's sex hormones and provide a libido boost.

See More: 4 Healthy Eating Changes Every Bride Can Make Before the Wedding

Sweet potatoes: You and your guy should skip the mashed potatoes and opt for sweet potatoes instead. An excellent source of potassium (and vitamin A), sweet potatoes may help fight high blood pressure, which is a common culprit that leads to, ahem, erectile dysfunction.

See More: 8 Scientific Ways to Make Your Relationship Stronger

Watermelon: Your favorite summer fruit may also be a secret weapon in the bedroom. Low in calories and rich in phytonutrients like lycopene and beta-carotene, a study by Texas A&M researchers found that watermelon may relax blood vessels, which could, fascinatingly, jump-start your sex drive in the process.

Blackberries: Those blackberries you sprinkle in your yogurt or cereal every morning may actually be giving you an unexpected boost in the bedroom. Its heavy dose of antioxidants do the trick for sexual arousal and endurance, says Dr. Anna Maria and Dr. Brian Clement, authors of 7 Keys to Lifelong Sexual Vitality. For best results, they recommend eating 10 berries a few hours before you get intimate.

What Do Women Want? The Sexual Turn On That May Shock You

 Married Life, Relationships, Sarah Jio  Comments Off on What Do Women Want? The Sexual Turn On That May Shock You
Mar 112014
 
What Turns Women On

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Fact: Sex is loaded with health and happiness benefits (including this one, which is so surprising!). But before you get busy, you need to get in the mood — which is easier said than done. Researchers have long attempted to crack the code of female arousal. And while just what exactly turns on the majority of women remains a mystery, a new study by Kathleen Vohs in Scientific American gets us a little closer to the answer.

See more: Could a Relationship Contract Make Your Marriage Stronger?

Scientists have speculated that men tend to be more "short-term reward-seeking" when it comes to sex, while women are more apt to follow a "long-term risk-aversion" path. In other words, studies shows that guys are quicker to jump in the sack than women. So, researchers in Belgium devised an experiment to see at what point women's view of sex switched from risk-aversion to reward-seeking. The results are very interesting:

See more: Are You Guilty of Financial Infidelity?

When the researchers showed the male participants "sexualized" images, like a photo of a lady in a bra, men quickly admitted their interest in having sex, while women were more likely to hold firm. Even photos of hot guys in boxer shorts didn't get them the least bit hot and bothered, but something else did. Touching the boxer shorts caused them to let their guard down and admit their interest in taking things to the next level.

"Men can easily shift into reward mode in the presence of sexual stimuli, whereas reward mode comes online when women connect sex to emotions (through touch)," wrote one of the study's authors.

Boxer shorts: Apparently we are powerless to resist them. Take note, guys!

3 Experiences You Need With Your Girlfriends Before Your Wedding

 Happy Bride, Relationships, Sarah Jio  Comments Off on 3 Experiences You Need With Your Girlfriends Before Your Wedding
Mar 072014
 
Experiences Brides Need With Friends Before Wedding

Photo: Taylor Swift/Instagram

If you're an engaged girl, this is the time in life when you're most focused on the love of your life. But we don't need to remind you how important your BFFs are—and how you shouldn't put your relationships with your dearest friends on the back burner while you focus on all things wedding-related. (Worried you're being a bad friend? Here are five signs that you may be!).

So beyond the bachelorette party, bridal shower and wedding dress shopping, we propose putting some good old fashioned girl time that's not wedding related on your schedule. Our inspiration? The recent celeb girls' getaway that Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore, and Cameron Diaz all took to Napa Valley; and Taylor Swift's recent girlfriends' weekend with her BFF Karlie Kloss. (Taylor's Instagram feed was filled with the two together on beaches, hiking around in the forest and posing with adorable animals. Cute!)

It made us think of all the fabulous, bonding and stress-releasing girlfriend experiences brides can have before the big day. No, these aren't gorgeous getaways to Napa (save that for your bachelorette party!); rather, they're easy ideas that probably used to be part of your regular routine—but may have fallen off your radar ever since wedding planning took over your life! Here, three easy ideas that you should make time for again :

See more: 4 Healthy Eating Changes Every Bride Can Make Before the Wedding

Break a sweat: Your friendship has weathered all kinds of ups and downs. Honor it with something active and outdoorsy like a day hike, where you can catch up with your pals while doing something heart-healthy! (Not the outdoorsy type? Sign up for a class like Bar Method or Zumba!)

Have a beauty day: If stress is running high (and, um, we're sure there will be times when it is!) book massages, manis or pedicures with your BFF. Then hit Sephora or your local department store's beauty counter to try on new shades of lip gloss.

Schedule a wine night: Make it an old-fashioned sleepover, but extra-special with good wine or cocktails, a cheese plate, olives and a great loaf of bread. Settle in for a night of movies, conversation, and tears if need be. You'll have less of this one-on-one time with her after the wedding, so carving out a night of at-home fun is extra special now.


4 Healthy Eating Changes Every Bride Can Make Before the Wedding

 Happy Bride, Sarah Jio, Wellness  Comments Off on 4 Healthy Eating Changes Every Bride Can Make Before the Wedding
Mar 062014
 
After Party Wedding Guide

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You want to be your best self (inside and out!) for your wedding, right? Of course you do! And nutrition plays a key role in how we feel and look. Here are four hot-off-the-press nutrition fixes you can make for a healthier body and mind before your wedding day.

Eat more eggs. Surprising advice, right? But eggs are getting the thumbs up from health experts who say that not only are they a great (and affordable) source of lean protein, but they also may be loaded with health benefits we hadn't considered before. Take the new study from researchers at Tufts University: They found that eggs are chock-full of two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are known to radically improve memory and brain function (every stressed-out bride could use a dose of that, right?).

See more: 8 Scientific Ways to Make Your Relationship Stronger

Curb your meat and cheese consumption. Yes, you need your protein, but consider other sources (see above!). Here's why: the more meat and cheese you eat, say researchers in California, the higher your overall cancer risk (four times higher, in fact). Eek! Vegan pizza anyone? Or, better yet: Have fish, which was recently linked to boosting good cholesterol levels in the body.

Say yes to dark chocolate: The latest research from scientists in the Netherlands finds that dark chocolate (rich in antioxidants) is too good to pass up when it comes to heart health. Bonus: Other studies have shown that chocolate can give you a measurable mood boost. Just keep it to one or two small squares (2 ounces tops) a day, say nutritionists.

See more: 3 Healthy Changes to Make Before Your Wedding

Cut your sugar intake in half: After combing through years of research on the negative health impacts of sugar (for starters: diabetes, weight gain, dental issues, acne), the World Health Organization recently issued a new recommendation for the world: attempt to cut your sugar intake in half, and better yet, see if you can reduce the added sugar you consume in a day to a mere six teaspoons. Tough, but worth trying for!

Could a Relationship Contract Make Your Marriage Stronger?

 Married Life, Relationships, Sarah Jio  Comments Off on Could a Relationship Contract Make Your Marriage Stronger?
Mar 062014
 
Couples Who Sign Marriages Contracts

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Think of all the things you want from your relationship: lazy cuddling on Sunday mornings? Movie nights every Saturday? A listening ear after a hard day at work? Well, some couples take their wish-list to the next level and actually create a contract!

See more: Are You Guilty of Financial ... Infidelity?

Tina Sugandh and Tarz Ludwigsen (who starred on the Bravo reality show Newlyweds: The First Year) recently were interviewed by HuffPost Live, where they talked about how they actually created a legal document that set ground rules for their relationship. But before you think they sound rigid and rule-oriented, it was all done with good intentions. For example, Article 4.4 of their contract stipulates that Fridays are, well, officially designated as "Pizza Fridays."

The couple has both signed on the dotted line to confirm that each Friday night they will have a "pizza picnic" together. In fact, both parties "agree to keep this time free from all phone calls and other interruptions. No friends or business colleagues will be invited to Pizza Fridays."

See more: 8 Scientific Ways to Make Your Relationship Stronger

"It's very very easy to say, 'Oh, I want to hang out with my sister. She's having a thing on Friday night.' Or 'My dad's going to pop by on Friday night,'" Sugandh said in an interview. "But if you don't save one little time slot a week for your husband, how do you bond? You need time to talk about your week and get it all out."

While this may sound like an unusual idea, we think it's cute—and worth doing if it makes each of you invest more intention in your relationship. (And if the legal nature of a contract like this stresses you out, just write something on notebook paper and hang it on the fridge! No need for lawyers.)

Some things we'd consider putting in a so-called relationship contract:

*We agree to give and receive back rubs, often.

*We hereby consent to one weekend a year (okay, two) to spend with our girlfriends/guy friends.

*We will split custody of the remote control, as well as the most comfy seat on the couch.

*We will try something new, together, every month.

What would you put in a relationship contract?

Are You Guilty of … Financial Infidelity?

 Married Life, Relationships, Sarah Jio  Comments Off on Are You Guilty of … Financial Infidelity?
Mar 052014
 
Financial Infidelity in Couples

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Say you see a great pair of shoes (on sale—but still expensive!) and you buy them, even knowing it will break your budget a tiny bit for the month. Would you fess up to your husband? Surprisingly, a new survey conducted by the National Endowment for Financial Education/Harris Interactive found that one out of three American couples keeps secrets from each other about their spending habits.

"People commit financial infidelity because although they are sharing everything with their partner or spouse they believe that certain parts of their financial situation still should remain private," said Patricia Seaman, senior director with NEFE.

See more: 8 Scientific Ways to Make Your Relationship Stronger

Such behavior, according to the survey, is putting a huge strain on marriage in America. In fact, more than 75 percent of the respondents said that so-called financial infidelity spells big trouble for their relationships.

But what, exactly, equals financial trouble when it comes to marriage? And just what are Americans hiding from each other?

Thirty percent say they've tried to hide bills, purchases, or even bank accounts from their partners—and the deceptions get worse from there. A whopping 13 percent admitted to lying about their debt or how much they make at their jobs. These types of lies have risen slightly since 2011, causing experts to note the financial strain facing many married couples today.

See more: Say Yes to Sex Tonight! Here's the Surprising Reason Why

"You would think with the recession that people are talking to each other more about money," Ted Beck, president and C.E.O. of the National Endowment for Financial Education, told CNBC. "But people are continuing bad habits."

How can you buck the trend? Considering that a little deception can turn into a bigger deception, experts say you should always be open and honest with your husband about finances. Yes, even about those shoes!

Say Yes to Sex Tonight! (Here’s the Surprising Reason Why)

 Happy Bride, Relationships, Sarah Jio, Wellness  Comments Off on Say Yes to Sex Tonight! (Here’s the Surprising Reason Why)
Mar 042014
 
Health Benefit of Sex

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Some of the smartest people you know may be sharpened their minds in a surprising way: by having sex! The finding comes from a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland, who say that having sex, shockingly, might make us more intelligent.

See more: Stressed Out? The Little Trick to Feeling Better Fast

In their study of mice, they found that sex boosted neurons in the hippocampus, the area of the brain that holds our long-term memories. Not only did sex sharpen the mind, the researchers say that when the mice were prevented from having sex (poor mice!), they saw a decline in cognitive function.

Clearly, we're not rodents, but the ever-growing list of health benefits associated with sex piques our interest.

See more: The Surprising Relationship Booster That Will Make You Feel More Appreciated

In fact, a recent study from researchers in South Korea says that sex floods the brain with oxygen, which makes us more intellectual. And past research indicates that couples who remain sexually active into their elderly years are less likely to suffer from dementia and other forms of cognitive decline. So, go ahead—say yes tonight!

8 Scientific Ways to Make Your Relationship Stronger

 Married Life, Relationships, Sarah Jio  Comments Off on 8 Scientific Ways to Make Your Relationship Stronger
Mar 042014
 
How to Make Your Relationship Last

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The science behind a happy marriage? The folks behind the happiness app Happify have crunched the latest research data and say that by doing these things, couples can form their strongest bonds:

See more: The Marriage Secret That Happy Couples Around the World Know

1. Talk for at least 5 hours a week. Sound like a lot? It's not if you sit down to breakfast or coffee together each morning, and make a date to chat about your days before bed instead of watching TV.

2. Follow the 5:1 ratio. Yes, you're bound to fight now and then, but the happiest couples have five positive interactions for every negative one. So next time you find yourself snapping at him about something, make sure you follow up with five nice exchanges.

See more: 3 Healthy Changes to Make Before Your Wedding

3. Have sex at least once a week. This will give you both a 44 percent boost in happiness. But the happiest couples are said to have sex 2-3 times per week.

4. Boost positive interactions. This might mean sending a sweet text, complimenting your hubby, reliving a special memory or just doing something kind for him.

5. Celebrate each others' good news. It's crucial, say experts. When he comes home to tell you about a promotion at work, show him how proud you are. And maybe uncork the champagne.

6. Make new memories. Research shows that couples are happier when they try new things together. Time to finally book that trip to Italy?

7. Laugh...together. The more you crack up with the man you love, the happier you'll be, according to research.

8. Spin it positive. Even if you're going through a rough patch, couples who put a positive spin on their relationship have a whopping 94 percent chance of making it last long-term.

Bridal Book Club, Anyone? How Reading a Novel Can Boost Your Mood

 Happy Bride, Sarah Jio, Wellness  Comments Off on Bridal Book Club, Anyone? How Reading a Novel Can Boost Your Mood
Feb 282014
 
Reading Novels Zaps Stress

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Brides, if you're having one of those days, try this lesser-known anxiety-reliever for a little pick-me-up: Grab a novel and disappear into a few chapters. Call it bibliotherapy, but as it turns out, there's something to the idea of books helping to zap stress.

See more: He Said, She Said: What Your Language Says About Your Love

In fact, it's the hypothesis of a new study, published by psychologists at Emory University, who found that not only does reading novels improve brain function, but it also may help reduce your anxiety. "The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist," writes the study's lead author Gregory Bern. In other words: Reading can transport you from your stressed out reality to another world, and give you a shot of courage in the process. Bonus: The good-for-your-mind effects of reading last for hours, even days after finishing a great novel, say the researchers.

So why not put reading on your weekly to-do list? (Full disclosure: I'm a novelist so I'm a bit biased in favor of the idea!) Pack a great book along with you for your commute on the train home instead of zoning out with your music and text messages. Or, rather than turn on The Bachelor on Monday nights, pick up a classic novel and actually read about a romantic hero instead!

See More: 3 Healthy Changes to Make Before Your Wedding

The late American novelist James Baldwin said it best: "You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive."

Now that's stress relief.


A Brilliant Way to Get Wedding To-Do’s DONE (Try It!)

 Happy Bride, Sarah Jio, Wellness  Comments Off on A Brilliant Way to Get Wedding To-Do’s DONE (Try It!)
Feb 282014
 
How to Manage Wedding To-Do List

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Oh, the dreaded to-do list. You have to call the florist, get bids from DJs, apply for the marriage license (and let's be honest, who really wants to make a trip down to City Hall and stand in a long line?) ... and falling behind on any number of tasks could spell trouble for your wedding day. But there's a better way to deal with the list than to fall into the vicious cycle of stare at it, stress, repeat.

See more: 3 Reasons Why You Should Brag About Your Awesome Hubby

Happiness expert Gretchen Rubin has an effective trick that really works—whether you're tackling wedding planning tasks or just getting day-to-day stuff done once you're married. In fact, she puts it into practice once a week for the little, non-urgent tasks that always nagged at her. "They weighed on my mind and sapped my energy," she writes of her to-do list. "As I walked through my apartment, or sat at my desk, the accumulation of these little chores made me feel overwhelmed." (Sound familiar?)

Her solution: "Once a week, for one hour, I'd steadily work on these chores," she writes. "An hour didn't sound like much time, but it was manageable."

See more: 3 Healthy Changes to Make Before Your Wedding

Rubin calls this one-hour of her week "Power Hour" (apparently, there's a theory in psychology that if you call something an easy-to-remember name, you're more likely to remember and stick to it).

Now, clearly, wedding planning tasks are going to suck more of your time than one single hour, but by using this expert strategy, you might try allotting an hour to the most annoying, dreaded wedding planning tasks (think: noon on Mondays) and just knock them off, one at a time.

The net result? A less stressed-out you.

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